PRIME MINISTER: G’day.
PRICEY: You even have people ring the phone for you now?
So you get the big job, you get someone to dial the phone for you!
PRIME MINISTER: Oh well I’m using his phone, I couldn’t find mine.
PRICEY: You do have your own phone?
PRIME MINISTER: Yeah I do, I do.
PRICEY: Unbelievable, Mr Morrison! We’re Triple M here, so perhaps that’s motoring Mr Morrison that stands for. But what happened to the bus?
PRIME MINISTER: Well we were only ever going to take it as far as Rocky and Gladstone, because otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to get up here in time for Paul Murray last night.
PRICEY: Yes, I know, I know.
PRIME MINISTER: Spending time with people on the ground here in Townsville than sitting on a coach for that period of time.
PRICEY: No, no, you might have to change a tire but the thing is little bouncing Billy has decided he is coming up on a solar skateboard next time to outdo you.
PRIME MINISTER: Well good luck to him.
PRICEY: Mate you were at [inaudible] brewery last night, and I love Paul Murray, I just think he’s terrific. You’ve said yes to pretty well everything, but what did you learn about North Queenslanders face to face? What did you learn about us?
PRIME MINISTER: Well last night there was a lot of topics. There was obviously a lot of issues focused on the Defence Force community and the veteran’s community and of course I think… I mean, I’ll be over at Lavarack today. But on top of that water, a huge issue, electricity prices were also a big issue. Not just on them being high but the fact of the monopoly on how electricity prices runs up here and let’s not forget it’s a monopoly owned by the state government.
PRICEY: You going to fix it? The power?
PRIME MINISTER: Well we’ve got legislation that’s coming through and we want to see more generation come into the system. The bottom line is the state government is taking out huge dividends out of their power companies, putting it in their pockets and making Queenslanders pay higher prices.
PRICEY: Yeah but you’re a bigger boss than them.
PRIME MINISTER: Well they’ve got sovereignty over what they’re doing with their companies but we’re introducing legislation which will be dealing with those big companies and in Queensland, the big companies are the state government.
PRIME MINISTER: You know, who owns them is up to the state government. In other states, other companies own them. But the fact is here, they are the big electricity company that is actually putting prices up and hitting customers, hitting consumers here in Queensland.
PRICEY: Yeah everyone’s been talking about coal versus renewables. What do you reckon? We’ve got a lot of solar farms out here at Sun Metals as you know, more going up. Do you reckon we’ll ever take over with renewables? Is there opportunity there in time to come? What is your Government doing about that?
PRIME MINISTER: Well we’re for all of the above. You need them all. You’re going to need coal for a long time and we’ve got more renewables coming in and they’re coming in increasingly because they’re affordable and they’re making common sense and they are not going to be subsidised going out into the future. So if it stands on its own two feet, whether it’s coal, whether it’s gas, whether it’s renewables, preferably things that don’t just depend on the sun or the wind, because you can have renewables that don’t do that and in other parts of the country we have that. And of course there is hydro and things like that as well.
PRICEY: Hey on the subject of hydro, did they mention last night the 14 metres on top of the Burdekin Dam wall which would give us hydro? Because that’s what was planned thirty years ago?
PRIME MINISTER: Yeah that was raised by one of the questioners, and my understanding is the state government is looking at that and they...
PRICEY: Yeah but not… that’s SunWater, they want to put about three metres. But once we do three metres it’s not enough and it will stuff things up if we ever do want fourteen metres. We need water security for good.
PRIME MINISTER: Well we’re looking at all those projects, we have a whole range of projects under feasibility for a while and we haven’t made any final decisions on those. As you know, first things first was the water pipeline which I announced last Sunday, $200 million, that’s securing Townsville’s water supply in our lifetime certainly and well beyond.
PRICEY: You’ve been a really good boy.
You really have. Like, we in the media think we’re going to get him, you’ve ticked every box. Now is this written in water or blood? Like you know, is there a contract on our $200 million?
PRIME MINISTER: Yeah well it is on the Budget, it is in the forward estimates, locked in. It’s not a promise, it’s actually now policy and it’s fully funded in the Budget, and if anyone ever tries to touch that in the future they would actually have to reverse that decision. So it’s an actual decision, it’s done.
PRICEY: Yes good mate, because we were let down many years ago. But that’s beside the point, we’re looking to the future now. We are a garrison city, you’re heading out to meet the Brigadier today no doubt, past the rock. What’s your story on Lavarack and the future of our diggers outside of the service?
PRIME MINISTER: Well where I’m going today… the reason I wanted to come up here and give this speech today about what we’re going to be doing more up in the Pacific is the boys and girls out there are the ones who are going to be very involved in this. And rather than, you know, sit in a big room in a lecture theatre in Sydney or Melbourne, I thought the people I should be explaining to about what our plan is for the Pacific and what their role is in it is them. And I should come to their base and they should be the first ones to hear about it. So I’m looking forward to doing that as well as congratulating and thanking them for their service as well as reminding them that as a Government, we have been investing heavily in Defence Force capability and the Land 400, that is a huge project we have committed to. Last time I was up here I was up here I went out to Lavarack and they put on an exercise to show me their wares and I was massively impressed and they were all terribly excited about the Land 400 programme and I sat down and had a meal with them, we were chatting about that. It just gives people who are serving in the Defence Force a real shot in the arm that we’re getting spending on Defence back to 2 per cent of GDP. We promised that, we’re going to hit it three years ahead of what we said we would and we inherited a situation where Defence Force spending was at its lowest level since prior to the Second World War. So that was a disgrace. I mean, Labor didn’t commission one naval ship in six years. Left a massive big hole and left our Defence Force personnel not invested in.
PRICEY: Well we’re very proud of all our services, we truly are. Honestly, all these things you’ve said are pretty good, we’ll keep an eye on you and we’ve got them all written down to make sure that everything comes to fruition. Mate, tonight Mr Turnbull is on Question Time, Q&A. What’s one question you’d like to ask him?
PRIME MINISTER: Oh how’s he going?
PRICEY: Ah good for you mate, good for you. Hey listen, thanks for coming up to paradise. Listen, PM stands for prime mover does it next time, seeing as you’ve come up in a bus?
PRIME MINISTER: Well I love coming up to Townsville, I’m up here quite regularly. But the last time I came up was to put the $75 million into the Port and I think that’s going to be a huge project, not just for Townsville, but for all of North Queensland.
PRICEY: Yes, can we have $80 million for the national aquarium as well?
PRIME MINISTER: Well…
PRICEY: Oh come of, you’ve got the glomesh purse open!
PRIME MINISTER: There’s always a long list in Townsville. Mate I’m still paying for the stadium we’re building there for JT.
PRICEY: Oh we’re all paying for that, thank you. Hey mate, all the best to you and make sure you take a case of that beer home with you.
PRIME MINISTER: Yeah the ScoMo brew is down there at the brewery so check it out.
PRICEY: Yes indeed, as long as if you have a couple of glasses of it, it doesn’t make you forget your promises.
PRIME MINISTER: Absolutely not, we’ll never do that.
PRICEY: Mr Prime Minister, thank you very much.
PRIME MINISTER: Cheers.