Press Conference - Molendinar, QLD

20 Jul 2020
Prime Minister

ANGIE BELL MP, MEMBER FOR MONCRIEFF: I’m Angie Bell, Member for Moncrieff, Well I’m absolutely thrilled to be here today in the beating heart of the Gold Coast, that is Creative Productions here in Molendinar, the owner, a local small business Dave Jackson, is, at his business here today to make a great announcement and I welcome with great gusto our Prime Minister to Moncrieff and also my Gold Coast colleagues and Minister Michaelia Cash also for this announcement today to support local jobs and to support local business in the movie industry so with no further ado I’ll introduce our Prime Minister, welcome to Moncrieff.

PRIME MINISTER SCOTT MORRISON: Thank you Angie, thank you Angie it’s great to be here, it’s great to be back in Queensland, it’s been a while since a Sydneysider had been able to be in Queensland so, I know many are enjoying that opportunity and it’s great to be here on the Gold Coast, it’s certainly warmer than it was in Canberra earlier this morning, and I know many southerners are enjoying that as well. Sadly, our friends in Victoria are unable to do that, particularly at this time. But before I say much more. Let me just open by saying it's six years since MH17 was felled and shot down. 38 Australians perished, were killed, in that attack. Some 298 souls were lost. And it is still a tragedy that continues to affect us all, and in all of the many meetings I've had with Prime Minister Rutte from, the Dutch Prime Minister, we have spoken about this constantly as we continue to seek justice for those Australian lives that were lost and were taken from us. And we are as outraged about it today as we were many years ago, and we will continue to fight for their families and all of their loved ones in remembrance of those who were lost.

But the reason for being here today is a much more positive one, and that is because we're about jobs. Our JobMaker plan is about ensuring that we have jobs right across Australia. And whether that is in the home building industry, whether that is in any parts of the hospitality; the tourism sector; the entertainment sector, where we announced some $250 million of support to get shows back on the road recently. We are about creating jobs and a big part of the jobs that we can create, which we've known, has been in the film and screen industry. So much of which is represented here on the Gold Coast. I've been here on many occasions, particularly with Cowboy Dave who I got to meet on the first occasion when I was here with Bert, and we made announcements about our support for the film industry. And every investment we have made as a Government in the film industry here and right across the country has been a good one. It's produced the results we had hoped for. It has produced the jobs. And jobs and everything from sanitation to water supplies; to sparkies to traidies; to actors; to special effects; and particularly Dave's business here. Our other Dave here today in the lighting industry and the technology side of this incredible business, with so much more of that business going down that path.

It creates jobs. And today we're extending and putting a seven year programme in place to the tune of $400 million to ensure that we can attract those big films and productions and screen events for them to be produced right here in Australia. Earlier today I was able to meet with Baz Luhrmann over at the Village Roadshow studios where they're filming Elvis, and was so encouraged by Baz's great passion for Australia, which is well known, and great passion for the Australian film industry. But I'll tell you what he's even more passionate about, I think, is he's so proud of the jobs that he creates in the productions that he puts here in Australia, and is so passionate about the further jobs that are going to come. Already since making this announcement this morning, we've heard from Screen Australia, some, Jerry Bruckheimer's outfit and Ron Howard's outfit have already reached out to Australia, on the basis of the announcement we have made today. There is serious interest in basing films here in Australia. We've already got Disney making films here; and we've got the Marvel syndicate; we've got Paramount Studios. All these big studios know our potential and capability here in Australia, and they've known it for many years. But they also know that this is a safe place to make a film. This is an industry that can be drawn on here in Australia to produce world-class productions. And whether it's Hollywood or Bollywood, or wherever they're coming from, they know they can come here and make the films that will create great success, that will generate the jobs. Whether it's from making coffees or, the quite sophisticated work which is done on prefabrication of sets, the film industry, reaches into so many different sectors. And people who work in the sector also work in other industries, particularly here around the Gold Coast, and so this is an investment in jobs. 8,000 jobs every year, every year supported by this investment alone. And that, combined with the many other supports that are provided, will mean that our film industry, our screen industry will be a key part of our COVID recovery.

There is a COVID recovery. We saw yesterday with the jobs numbers and Minister Cash will talk more about that. 210,000 jobs came back in June. They came back in June. The effective rate of unemployment fell from over 13 per cent, just down to just over 11 per cent. And we're seeing when we can open up our economy and get things moving again, then we see the jobs come back, and that gives us all hope. And particularly for those down in Victoria doing it so tough at the moment. I mean, world class studios, world class facilities, world class people down in Melbourne and in Victoria, who also have that capability to host these productions and provide that support. Just like in New South Wales or anywhere else around the country. And that's what we want to see happen. When you combine the $250 million we've already put into the entertainment sector with the $400 million we're putting in here, and the jobs that will come from that, we know we're investing in a strong and positive future. That's why we can lift our heads as Australians and know that we have a bright future ahead of us. And so we're very pleased to be part of bringing this not just to the Gold Coast, but all around the country today. And I want to invite Minister Cash to talk more about the job creation initiatives we're pursuing as a Government and how this fits into that broader JobMaker plan. Thanks Michaelia.

MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT, SKILLS, SMALL AND FAMILY BUSINESS, SENATOR THE HON MICHAELIA CASH: Thank you Prime Minister, and it is fantastic to be here today on the Gold Coast with Angie Bell, the member for Moncrieff; the Prime Minister; and my colleagues, to talk about this important job-creating announcement.

And I want to acknowledge Dave from Creative Productions, who is hosting us here today. Dave started as a DJ at the age of 16 and he has built his business up. It's now located in three states in Australia to what it is today. He employs 30 full-time staff, and he's told the Prime Minister and my colleagues today, JobKeeper itself has enabled him to keep that important connection with those 30 staff throughout COVID-19. And that's what this Government is all about, job creation. Today, we're announcing a $400 million jobs boost for this screen industry. Often as Australians what we see is the final result of a production, and we don't necessarily remind ourselves that there are thousands and thousands of small businesses that really are the building block to get to that final production. And many of those small businesses are represented here today. Whether it's Linda and Chris who are making the fantastic coffee for us. Or we look at Floyd, really important part of it, Serious Waste Management, all the way through to Cowboy Dave, you've got to have somewhere to stay. And that is, of course, those fantastic caravans that are out there. Thousands and thousands of small local businesses are part of the screen industry. And as the Prime Minister said, this is about providing a pipeline of work, stimulating local jobs, stimulating local industry. But more than that, giving people the opportunity to upskill and reskill into an industry which provides so much to Australia each and every year. 8,000 jobs a year. That is what this $400 million investment boost for the screen industry is going to provide.

But it also backs in what the Prime Minister and I announced yesterday, which was of course, an additional investment of $2 billion in skills and training in Australia. So many people want to do a vocational education. They want to do an apprenticeship. And so yesterday we announced an additional $1.5 billion to extend and expand the supporting apprentices and trainees wage subsidy. Currently, that wage subsidy is supporting around 80,000 apprentices across Australia. That's a good thing because those apprentices are still in training and they are still in jobs. But we also recognise that people are still doing it tough, and that is why we have extended the wage subsidy for another six months. But we've also expanded it from just not just small businesses, but through to medium businesses with 199 or less employees. That's now going to cover around 180,000 apprentices throughout Australia. We want to see those apprentices kept in training and on the job. And that's why we've announced that $1.5 billion extension. And of course, yesterday we also announced a half a billion dollars put up by the Commonwealth for a JobTrainer fund to be matched by the states and territories. The Prime Minister and I were delighted that within one day, six states and territories already put their hands up and said, we're going to match that funding - we want to be part of promoting skills training across Australia. And that's why we're here today. A $400 million jobs boost for the screen industry. It's all about creating jobs.

PRIME MINISTER: Thank you Michaelia. So lights, camera, jobs. That's what this is all about. Happy to take questions?

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, how do you expect the effective unemployment rate to change over the next few months? And do some people just have to accept working less hours?

PRIME MINISTER: What we saw in yesterday's jobs numbers was that the effective rate of unemployment actually did fall between May and June. And we welcome that. But obviously, with what's occurred in Victoria, and we know that there is still some difficult months ahead of us out over the next few months. The unemployment rate, the official unemployment rate, 7.4 per cent, that's well short of where Treasury thought that would be at around 10 per cent by this time. So we're going to keep monitoring this, but our economic performance is bettering our estimates at this point. But we've still got a long way to go. And there are two things that we will continue to do. We will continue to support those businesses who are doing it incredibly tough and the Treasurer and I will have more to say about that next week and then particularly the employees who depend on those businesses for their livelihoods.

The second part of that is we need to maintain the flexibility in the workforce during these difficult times. We saw over 200,000 jobs come back into the economy. A majority of those were for young people and for women and that's welcome because they were they were the groups most affected by the downturn as a result of the coronavirus. And we had 20- just over 20,000 less people on JobSeeker at the end of June than we had at the end of May and the Minister for Government Services here, he can talk more about that. But that is welcome. And but the only way we're going to continue to get jobs back into the economy and reduce that rate of unemployment, particularly that effective rate of unemployment, is by seeing businesses succeed. It's businesses that create these jobs. And that's why we're making these investments. And investments, whether it's in the screen industry and in the residential construction industry, in the entertainment sector, in the aviation sector, which we've invested in heavily, who have been so, so especially impacted by the COVID virus and how it's impacted on on both their international business and their domestic business. It's great to see that there are more people in Queensland now in the tourism and the hospitality sector taking the opportunities that are here. And we're hoping that that's going to see an improvement in their turnover in their businesses. But you know what? Australian businesses, particularly small and medium sized businesses, they've been fighting back. They've been adapting. They've been overcoming. And it's that spirit of resilience that is going to see Australians get back into work. Stay in work. And that's where we're putting our trust and our faith. And it's in those hardworking small businesses and medium-sized businesses.

JOURNALIST: You're back in Queensland today and with an election coming up here, have you met with the Queensland Opposition Leader during your visit today?

PRIME MINISTER: No, I spoke to Deb Frecklington last night and let her know I was coming up here today. And she was very pleased with the announcement we're making today for Queensland. I also spoke with the Premier last night, and I filled out my, well I had the paperwork filled out, so I can tell you I'm certified and available, able to travel into Queensland and, and so that's that's welcome news. But we hope to see these arrangements a lot more easy to deal with in the future. We look forward to our economy continuing to open up because the more it opens up, the more jobs there are. The more jobs there are, the stronger we'll all be. And and we need every part of the country to succeed, for Australia to succeed, we need Victoria to succeed. We need Melbourne to succeed. We need the Gold Coast to succeed. And that's why we're here. The Gold Coast has done it tough in the tourism and hospitality industries. My colleagues here have shared with me on a regular basis, doing it really tough, and so today, I hope was a real shot in the arm for the Gold Coast. A big GC shot in the arm. And that will boost local businesses and give them that greater confidence to keep going out there.

JOURNALIST:  Prime Minister did you have to fill out a border pass to get here today?

PRIME MINISTER: Sorry I couldn't hear you.

JOURNALIST: Did you have to fill out a border pass to get here today?


JOURNALIST: Was that a smooth process?

PRIME MINISTER: Yeah, it was.

JOURNALIST: Is this the first time you've been in Queensland since the borders re-opened?

PRIME MINISTER: Yes. I wasn't able to come before, the borders were shut. I was, I was not able to come to Queensland.

JOURNALIST: Since the borders re-opened rather?

PRIME MINISTER: This is the first time, yeah.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister on that, the Queensland Government and Queensland Police want to see the border crossings moved into New South Wales. The New South Wales Government is pushing back - do you think…

PRIME MINISTER: Well, it's a matter for Queensland. I mean, the difference here is that New South Wales and Victoria and the Commonwealth Government worked quite closely together to make the decision together on what was done on the New South Wales-Victorian border. And we have the Defence Forces which are supporting that arrangement on both sides of the border. Queensland made its own unilateral decision about its borders here. So really, how Queensland manages its borders is a matter for the Queensland Government.

JOURNALIST: In terms of Queensland wanting to move the border further south. Where would you stand on that?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, it's a matter for Queensland. Because Queensland has made their own decision about their border closures. And so it's it's a it's an issue and a problem for Queensland to sort out.

JOURNALIST: Similar to Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, would you like to see the Queensland and New South Wales Governments working together on this?

PRIME MINISTER: Oh well, I think the way that New South Wales and Victoria, and indeed the Commonwealth, work together on managing that very difficult issue has been very positive. I mean, I've worked closely with the Queensland Government. The National Cabinet has been a strong team working together. And right now, whether it's here in Queensland or down in New South Wales, states and territories all around the country are supporting the Victorian Government. Whether it's in testing or public health official's support or the Defence Forces from the Commonwealth, we're all working together to support Victoria at the moment. And whether it's up here or anywhere else in the country, we want Victoria to succeed. And while we can all be here in the way we are here today, those of, those Australians in Melbourne, across Victoria, are doing it a lot tougher. So we, they are very much in our thoughts.

Sorry one at a time, who would like to go first?

JOURNALIST: When will you release the local content quotas for broadcasters?

PRIME MINISTER: That's a discussion paper that is currently being pursued by the Minister. That process is still in train, so he'll update you when he's in a position to provide further details.

JOURNALIST: 428 new cases in Victoria, 3 additional deaths. Do you foresee any further lockdowns in Victoria?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, that'll be a decision for the Victorian Premier and his Government. At this stage, he has indicated publicly, as well as to us, that that's premature to be making any decisions on that. We would not have expected to see the results of the lockdown measures put in place in Victoria as yet. And I made very clear earlier this week, as indeed the Premier has, that we would expect to see some rather concerning numbers for a while, and we have, and as concerning as they are, that's not unanticipated, we would hope to see that change. And and we'll be watching that very closely in terms of any further supports we are called on. We have an open account with Victoria. I've said that to the Premier. He's got an open book with us. He can pull down what he needs as is required. And I've got to say, all the Premiers and Chief Ministers have been equally supportive to the Victorian Government. So it's a problem to solve in Victoria by the Victorian Government, but they're getting no shortage of help and assistance from the rest of the country. It's a national effort.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister we're told President Trump responded positively to Australia's defence update?

PRIME MINISTER: Yeah, he did.

JOURNALIST: What ways was he positive?

PRIME MINISTER: We had a very good discussion this morning. We speak reasonably regularly. It was about a half hour discussion this morning. We covered a lot of issues, a lot of regional issues, of course the pandemic issues, the work that is being done by like-minded partners across the region, a lot of the global economic issues. And we were both able to speak of in recent times, both the US economy and the Australian economy, our recent jobs numbers were encouraging, just as they were in the US. And you know, we both want to see our economies go forward. We want to see people back in jobs. And we share a lot of common views on those things. But the United States is a is a, it's our most important alliance and it will always continue to be along those lines, and it was good to be able to update on what we've been doing on our front. We have troops on rotation now out through the Northern Territory. That's proceeding incredibly well. And this remains a big part of our joint effort. But I mean we have a very respectful and a very mutual partnership with the United States, and we appreciate the opportunity to engage regularly.

JOURNALIST: Did the President express any concerns about the amount of cases arising in the US, with you?

PRIME MINISTER: No. We know this US situation very well. So it didn't require a lot of discussion on that. And I was also able to say how 7 states and territories were going in Australia, which is extremely well. I mean, Australia's success in managing COVID has been well recognised around the world. And Australia is not the only country who is dealing with an outbreak like we are in Victoria and we've seen similar cases throughout Europe, Israel and the United States have also got their challenges. China has their challenges. And so the world is dealing with this, and outbreaks are not uncommon. The challenge is how you deal with them. And Australia is dealing with those challenges better than many, and better than most.

JOURNALIST: Was he complimentary of our response to the situation?

PRIME MINISTER: Yes, he was.

JOURNALIST: Can you elaborate on, was he envious of our response?

PRIME MINISTER: No, he was just very, very complimentary of Australia's response, not just on this issue, but on the responsibility we take in our region. I mean Australia, not only have we targeted 2 per cent of the size of our economy in our defence spending, doing our own heavy lifting on our own defence. But that is now a floor, it's not a target. And this is something that we believe is very important for stability and security in our region. The United States is a key partner in that stability and security, and working with many other like-minded countries in the region. And, you know, you want to have a partner that carries their own water, that carries their own weight. And Australia certainly does that. We're no passenger in any relationship that we have. And and that is greatly appreciated by our American friends.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister the Gold Coast Theme Park operators say they were in the final signing stages of a deal, a funding deal, with the federal government when that fell through can we expect anymore support for our theme parks?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, we're here with $400 million of support for the screen industry. And the financial markets, and the banks, and others, where they can provide that support to sectors where they've got bankable proposals, they do. The Commonwealth is not an active lender in this space, and we do, by rare exception in these circumstances, and those things are looked at very carefully. And we wish the theme parks all the very best with their re-opening. And I'm I'm sure if there are things that the Queensland Government want to do to support them, then I'm sure they will. But the Federal Government looks at these issues on a national basis. And the first port-of-call on these things is always with the state governments. So we would encourage them to continue the very good discussions I think they've had with the Queensland Government. But it's great to see the parks re-opening. It's great to see Australia re-opening, because Australia re-opens, Australians are going back to work. And that's where we want to be. COVID-19 is going to be with us for some time, until we can find a vaccine, and mass produce that vaccine, and distribute it, we're going to be dealing with these uncertainties. But what's so fantastic is the resilience, the innovation, the determination, that we see from Australian businesses, just like the one we stand in today. And their heads are up, they're looking forward, they're looking for opportunities. And today we are backing that in with $400 million in investments to see those jobs come, 8,000 jobs a year. And that's a great return on an investment for an industry that has so much to offer this country.

Thanks very much everyone.