PRIME MINISTER: Well it’s great to be rolling in here to Rocky and we’ll be down in Gladstone later today as well so it’s great to be here in Central Queensland. We have got $800 million reasons for being here announcing the Ring Road project today, which is going to be tremendous for Queensland.
JESS: That was going to be my first question, Mr Prime Minister. Can you explain to us…
PRIME MINISTER: I was too excited. I was too excited about it.
JESS: Can you explain to us exactly what you are bringing to Rockhampton?
PRIME MINISTER: Well this is the Ring Road project in Rockhampton. It’s about a billion dollar project, we’re going to put in 80 per cent of the money and it’s going to get rid of eighteen sets of traffic lights. It’s going to ensure that we are able to connect up the agricultural sector and it takes the big trucks out of the center of Rockhampton which is good for, you know, mums and dads driving their kids around Rockhampton just getting about their daily business. But it’s going to mean hundreds and hundreds of jobs, but it’s going to just be a massive investment in boosting the economy here in regional Queensland which is tremendous for jobs and for young families who are moving here and living here, it says you’ve got a big future here in Central Queensland and I get it, I’m up here listening to what people have said. Michelle Landry has been championing this project and I’ve heard what Michelle has got to say and we are going to back it in.
TIM: Now do you think… obviously this has been met with a lot of positive reaction from a lot of people here in CQ but have you heard from anyone that’s concerned now that a lot of business through town is going to be lost like petrol stations, motels. Has that concern been raised to you at the moment?
PRIME MINISTER: Well that will be all part of the planning that now gets underway to ensure it takes the right route and does all these things. But that’s an issue that is commonly raised when you do these types of projects around the country and the experience is that it’s the reverse. It actually revitalises the town. I mean, when you get the big trucks off your main roads and your main streets, it’s not that pleasant sitting there having a coffee while they are rolling by and so it actually works the other way. It actually revitalises and lets the town be the town and grow and expand – and the jobs that come, it’s all good. It’s just all good.
JESS: Now Mr Prime Minister, you said you were going to be in Gladstone this afternoon, is there any $800 million projects you are going to be announcing for the Gladstone region as well?
PRIME MINISTER: I’m down there visiting the Boyne aluminium smelter and obviously electricity, power prices these sorts of things are very important for jobs in Gladstone and I’ll be down there with Kenny O’Dowd and we’ll be visiting the Boyne aluminium smelter and I’ll be taking some briefings down there, look around there. I’m just there to listen there this afternoon and get first-hand understanding of what their challenges are. I mean that’s what I’m like. It doesn’t matter what portfolio I’ve had in the past, I’ve got to get there and I’ve got to get on the ground and I’ve to you know, hold the dirt in my hands or I’ve got to put my hands on the panels or the buttons or whatever they are doing there to really get it in terms of what their issues are.
TIM: Now, I do give a bit of a warning, they are probably want to get you to stick around because they are always looking for more workers so just be careful.
JESS: Yes they might stick you in orange jumpsuit.
TIM: If they give you a contract maybe just be careful.
PRIME MINISTER: Maybe they’ll make me a good offer, who knows.
TIM: It is great to see a Prime Minister in Central Queensland, it’s the first time a Prime Minister has come to Gladstone since I think it was about 2015 and we did want to focus on something. We’ve noticed obviously your bus that’s coming through all of Queensland at the moment, there is a signature on the side. Now, is it ScoMo? We understand that there’s the nicknames going in the media at the moment, is that something you’ve just gone you know what I’m going to own this, I’m Mr Prime Minister, I’m Scott Morrison but I’m ScoMo.
JESS: Or have you always been called ScoMo?
PRIME MINISTER: They have been calling me that for years and years, I mean some people are just getting to know me now and some people in the media too, they think it’s just sort of turned up in the last six months, well that’s rubbish. It’s been round for years, I mean I still sign if I’m going for a bank loan or something like that with my formal signature and if I’m signing official papers yeah, but I’ve been signing that way for things for people who ask me can you sign this bottle of wine or can you sign this photo or something like that. Or when I used to do budgets and people give me budget papers to sign, I’d just sign it ScoMo because you can’t read my other signature.
TIM: And then they can’t hack into your bank accounts either so it’s a win-win.
PRIME MINISTER: There you go, I hadn’t thought of that, there you go. You’re looking after me, good on you, Tim.
TIM: And just before we go Mr Prime Minister, I have one final question. Now, I’m sure that you might actually struggle with this now that you are the Prime Minister of our country but next week I am taking Jess my co-host on a camping trip.
JESS: Are we really asking the Prime Minister about this?
TIM: We are, and I was just wondering, were you a big camper because obviously I don’t think you could do too much of it now.
PRIME MINISTER: I was when I was much younger, in fact I am in Rocky today and when I first came to Rocky it was after I finished high school and me and a whole bunch of mates drove up here in a very old Kingswood and we went and stayed on Great Kepple - the resort was running back then but we couldn’t afford that - so we just camped on the beach in a tent and we were there for I think about a week or two I think. And we did the big road trip all the way up here so I did enjoy that when I was younger but these days I don’t get the opportunity so much. I’ve got two girls, nine and eleven. The youngest one probably wouldn’t mind to camp out but Jenn and I went for a camping trip many years ago and we got caught in the rain and we got washed out and we just went…
TIM: The one day it rains in Queensland and it got you.
PRIME MINISTER: That was up around northern New South Wales at the time where is does tend to rain a bit.
JESS: This is the thing I was concerned about, Mister Prime Minister, because Tim wants to take me camping and the only camping experience I’ve ever had there was a giant pool of water in my tent so I’m not looking forward to it. But if Great Kepple Island is good enough for the Prime Minister, it’s good enough for me.
TIM: You’re not better than the Prime Minister Jess, so if it’s good enough for Scott Morrison, it’s good enough for you.
JESS: Add Kepple to the list Tim.
PRIME MINISTER: The last camping I think I did was when I trekked up in Papua New Guinea, I trekked Kokoda many years ago which was great and the last one I did was up in the northern part of Papua New Guinea, what’s called the Black Cat Track, which where in 1943 the Australian Diggers fought with the Americans and pushed the Japanese back out of the northern part of Papua New Guinea and we went on about a six day trek through there and so spent a fair bit of time in a tent then. So I’m not a stranger to it so you’ll be right Jess, Tim will look after you don’t worry.
TIM: There you go Jess, you’ll be right, the official advice from our Prime Minister. We really appreciate you speaking to us Mr Prime Minister and thank you so much. It seems like you are bringing some great stuff here to Central Queensland.
PRIME MINISTER: All good, ScoMo out, cheers.