BERT VAN MANEN, MEMBER FOR FORDE: Well good morning and thank you to Gary and Cameron for welcoming us here to GCI this morning. It's a terrific local family-owned business and I'd also like to welcome the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Senator Amanda Stoker. It's another terrific example of a local business that is out there every single day manufacturing goods for Australians. But also most importantly, employing Australians. We've seen this business over the years continue to grow and prosper and importantly this business benefits directly from the changes we’ve made in the Budget last week, with the increase to $50 million dollars in turnover for the instant asset write off eligibility. But also importantly in our job skills package, we’ve got a company here that employs 12 apprentices. It’s involved with our local schools and does this stuff that continues to create opportunity for everyday Australians. So again thank you for allowing us to come down here today, it’s greatly appreciated. It's not the first time I've been here, I regularly visit and they do a tremendous job. I'd like to invite the Prime Minister to say a few words.
PRIME MINISTER: Well thanks very much Bert. The reason I'm here today is because this business is why the Australian economy is stronger today than it was when we came to government five and a half years ago, this business here today demonstrates why we've had record employment growth. It demonstrates why we've got more apprentices coming into the Australian economy. It demonstrates why Australian manufacturing is here and alive and well and thriving, because of the entrepreneurship and because of the investment that has been taking place over the last five and a half years. Over 120 employees here, we've got a dozen apprentices here. We've got a business that's between $10 million and $50 million in turnover, that is benefiting already from the fact that they're playing lower taxes under our Government.
Businesses will be benefiting from last week, to the instant asset write off which we’ve extended to companies up to $50 million in turnover. We've extended that instant asset write-off to $30,000 for each and every item. Businesses that benefit from the apprenticeship subsidies and support for apprentices themselves, which will create 80,000 new apprenticeships right across Australia, this is actually what makes our economy stronger. This is what is building our economy. Because at the centre of everything - more funding for hospitals, up more than 60 percent since we came to government, more funding for public schools up more than 60 percent since we came to government, more funding for Medicare up 27 percent and the highest level of bulk-billing that our country has ever seen - all that is made possible by businesses just like this.
When we back these businesses in, as we have been doing with lower taxes and supportive economic policies, it means they can continue to build our economy to secure your future. That's what last week's Budget was all about; it's all about businesses like this employing more Australians, being more successful, keeping more of what they earn and their employees keeping more of what they earn.
As the NCSAEM modelling, the independent modeling has shown, people on average wages will be $1,000 better off under the Liberal tax plan than under Labor's tax plan.
Of course we've been out there backing these businesses for a long time. I remember being here with Bert at the last election and we were talking about reducing taxes for businesses just like this. The Labor Party opposed us. They opposed us every step of the way. They went to the last election saying this business should pay higher taxes. We won that election on the basis of reducing their taxes and supporting small and family businesses, right across Australia including here in Queensland and south east Queensland.
So that's all part of our plan to build our economy and secure our future. I'll tell you what's not in our plan; what's not in our plan is higher taxes. What's not in our plan is Labor's reckless emissions targets. Their reckless carbon targets, that is not only will drive up the prices and drive up the cost of doing business for businesses just like this one, with higher electricity prices, but it’s a war on the weekend, when it comes to the vehicle you drive and the vehicle you want to choose. The sort of vehicles that Bill Shorten wants you to drive, you can't get one for less than $45,000 and it won't tow that boat. It won't tow that trailer. It won't get you to a favorite camping spot, as well. That's part of Australian’s way of life. What Bill Shorten is seeking to do is take away your choices. They've learned nothing, but they will change at all if they're elected.
So I'm really pleased to be here today. It's all part of our plan to build our economy, to secure your future. It's a really good plan for Queenslanders and I'm going ask Amanda to talk a bit about that, then happy to take some questions.
SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND, AMANDA STOKER: Thank you, good morning. Well might be hear in Yatala right now checking out GCI, this is wonderful local business. But we see businesses like this doing great work right across the state. Whether you're in Rockie or Emerald or Roma or right here, you see the benefits of the Liberal Nationals commitment to growing business. Labor like to pretend that enterprise and growing business is a dirty word, it's a dirty concept. But there's a very good reason we do it; the reason we fight to make it easier for businesses like this to stay in business and to grow, is because of the people who work for them. There's 140 people working here, a dozen apprentices getting their start in their career. But there's 7.7 million Australians in workplaces just like this. When we give them chances to grow, we give chances for all Australians to succeed, chances for all Australians to reach their goals and to reach their potential.
That's why it's so great to be here sharing many of the benefits that come from the Budget for businesses just like this one. Thanks.
PRIME MINISTER: Thanks Amanda and we’ve got a new partner for you down here on the Coast. Tell us a bit more about who is running down here in Moncrieff?
BERT VAN MANEN, MEMBER FOR FORDE: Well, wonderful news over the weekend, to see local businesswoman Angie Bell being preselected for the LNP for the federal seat of Moncrieff. I rang Angie and congratulated her on Saturday and I look forward to working with her through the upcoming election. But more importantly, welcoming her to Canberra as part of the Coalition team and the Government after the next federal election. But terrific news, to see another terrific local businessperson preselected as part of the LNP team going forward.
PRIME MINISTER: Great to have Angie Bell on the team.
JOURNALIST: [Inaudible] weekend was a bit extreme wasn’t it, what do you say, are they going to destroy the Australian way of life?
PRIME MINISTER: Well what I'm saying is Bill Shorten is not going to give people a choice in the future. I mean, electric vehicles currently make up 0.2 percent of the vehicles market, for new vehicles in Australia. He believes he can take it to 50 per cent in 10 years. But it's not just that, it's also the carbon emissions per kilometre that he’s imposing on the Australian economy. Now there's only two out of 20 top selling vehicles in this country that go anywhere near Labor’s standard. So your Hilux, that's out, according to Bill Shorten. Even the Hyundai i30 does not meet Bill Shorten’s carbon emissions standard for vehicles. So what Australians have always expressed a preference for, is the vehicles that have a bit of grunt, have a bit of power, because they like to enjoy the great recreational opportunities that are out there. What Bill Shorten wants to corral Australians into as part of his plan, is out of the sort of lifestyles that are supported by the vehicles they're currently buying. So I think it just shows he doesn't get how Australians like to live. I think what he's saying with his new carbon policy when it comes to vehicle emissions standards, it’s one that really is taking choice away from Australians.
Now I support people buying electric cars. We've got our own plan that is designed to facilitate that, but we're leaving the choice in the hands of Australians. That's what we're doing. We're letting them have the choice, Bill Shorten wants to take that choice away. This is what I mean when I say Bill Shorten, he wants to change it all. They have learned nothing, they’ve changed nothing in terms of how they go about politics and policy - but they will change it all, with higher taxes and encroaching on the very choices that Australians want to continue to make.
JOURNALIST: Newspoll this morning is slightly better than Ipsos, but you are starting from behind, correct? Do you agree that you’re the underdog in the campaign?
PRIME MINISTER: We’ve been the underdog in this campaign right from the outset. What I know is Bill Shorten has already measured up the curtains and for all I know, he's probably gone out and bought the curtains. But my suggestion is he should keep the receipt, because I think the Australian people will have a bit more to say. Because what we've seen with Bill Shorten, particularly on his reckless carbon emissions policy is he's not across the detail of his own policy. And if he can't explain it, if he doesn't understand it, how can he expect Australians to. And if you don't understand it don't vote for it.
I mean Labor is about lies and higher taxes, that's what you'll see over the course of this campaign. We're about building our economy to secure your future, to back in businesses like this. We understand that if you want to list more medicines, affordable medicine on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme which takes drugs from hundreds of thousands per course, down to $6.50 for a concession and just over $40 dollars for another patient, the only way you can do that is by ensuring you have a stronger economy and a balanced Budget.
Labor once promised before that they would list all these affordable medicines. But when they were in government they stopped doing it, because they ran out of money, because they don't know how to manage money.
JOURNALIST: [Inaudible] turn those polls around and –
PRIME MINISTER: Our Budget sets out once again our plan for a stronger economy to secure and guarantee the essential services that Australians rely on. The resources for doing that, come out of success of the business that we're standing in today. Backing in small and family businesses all around the country, keeping taxes down and investing a $100 billion in our infrastructure, that not only bust congestion and upgrades things like the M1 here in south east Queensland getting people home sooner and safer, it gets workers to work sooner and safer, it gets tradies onsite out of the traffic jam.
We've got a plan for managing Australia's population growth. Labor has no such plan. Every time you hear Bill Shorten lips moving, he's increasing his taxes. Every time he opens his wallet, he's opening yours.
You will get the bill from Bill Shorten, for each and every thing.
JOURNALIST: Do you concede you can’t win?
PRIME MINISTER: Not at all, not at all. You know our Government has always backed the hard work and effort of Australians. That's what we believe in, that's what we're backing in and I'm very pleased to go to an election backing in Australians who are working hard and saying to them; “I want you to keep more of what you earn.” I know Australia gets stronger by the hard work of all Australians.
I don't believe you need to set one group of Australians against another. I don't think that one worker gets a pay rise, by having to sack another. That's Bill Shorten plan.
My plan is to grow our economy so all Australians can benefit and they can share in their own hard work and rewards.
JOURNALIST: Just on another subject, animal activists have this morning brought the Melbourne CBD to a standstill. They’ve chained themselves to [inaudible]. What’s your message to them and what can you do?
PRIME MINISTER: Well, I think state and territory governments should ensure that the full force of the law is brought against these green collar criminals. I can also say for those who are out there attacking our farmers, our farmers that are going through some of the hardest conditions that we've seen in this country for more than a century in some cases - facing floods, facing drought - these farmers, these graziers, these pastoralists are subject to the indecent attacks of green collar criminals.
Now last Friday, we introduced and made regulations which are now in effect that subjects “Aussie farms,” this activist group, to the full force of the privacy laws in this country. They can face fines of almost up to $500,000 for the sorts of things - potentially - that they're engaged in. But I also say this; if there are pastoralists and farmers or graziers or groups that are in a position to actually bring a civil action against these groups, these green collar criminals who are looking to undermine their livelihood and the economy of the Australian people then the Commonwealth is totally open to supporting them in a test case, to show these green collar criminals that you don't get to go and pull the rug from under our Aussie farmers.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister will the Government sign off on the Adani project?
PRIME MINISTER: We're taking the advice from scientists, like we have on all the approvals and both the Queensland State Government the Commonwealth have been considering a large number of these approvals. There are some remaining on some very administrative matters, there's sub-approvals for early approvals. So we're following the normal administrative process on that. We'll be taking the advice of the scientists when it comes to making those decisions. I don't think there is anything particularly unique about these remaining matters. They are quite minor matters in the scheme of the broader approvals that have already been provided. Like in all the other cases, we will be relying on the scientific evidence that is provided to the government in making those decisions. Thanks very much.
JOURNALIST: When is the election?
PRIME MINISTER: May. Right, thanks guys.