18 May 2017
Transcript - #2017114, 2017

Joint doorstop interview, Gold Coast, Queensland

SUBJECTS: Infrastructure.

STEVEN CIOBO (MINISTER FOR TRADE, TOURISM AND INVESTMENT):

It is terrific to be able to welcome the Treasurer Scott Morrison here to the Gold Coast this afternoon. We’ve taken the opportunity to come along and to take a look at the investment that the Federal Government’s doing, in conjunction with the State Government and the local council, in supporting facilities in preparation for not only the Commonwealth Games but also from our perspective, an investment in legacy infrastructure for the city. The simple fact is that the Federal Government’s investment, initially of $156 million several years ago through the Federal Budget process and now most recently the additional investment of around $45 million into making sure that our athletes are in the best possible position they can be in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games. As the local Federal Member, as the Minister for Tourism I want to make sure that the Gold Coast has a legacy outset base that we can continue to use in the years ahead. And the simple fact of the matter is that by investing in legacy infrastructure we will make sure that we have a thriving sports tourism industry that will be here for many years to come. And that will help to underpin and visiting teams, visiting competitions from not only Australia but indeed throughout Asia and ideally the world, all of which will help to play into making sure that we have a sports tourism base here which will drive the local economy and also help to drive employment. I’m particularly pleased that we’re able to have a conversation in the tour led by Mark Peters, Mark brings so much skill and experience into the preparation of the Commonwealth Games and I’d invite Mark now to say a few words.

MARK PETERS:

Thanks Steve and again to welcome the Treasurer and Minister, who’s not a stranger to us, but this is as we’ve often said, this is a global event the Commonwealth Games, it’s the biggest event ever on the Gold Coast and Queensland and for a decade the biggest event in Australia. The key thing is for any global event without the support of all levels of Government, it’s not possible, so we know about the tremendous commitment from the Queensland Government but equally we’ve seen the Australian Government and the City of Gold Coast contribute significantly and it’s not just the financial contribution from all the Government agencies, everything that happens around the scene. So whether it’s a Commonwealth Games, a World Cup, the sort of work that we see through the Australian Defence Forces, through Border Control and all those Australian Government agencies are key to allowing this to happen and we’re very pleased to see that support coming and we continue to acknowledge that and have discussions as we move through. But as Minister Ciobo said the key thing is legacy, and this facility for the Gold Coast and I think for Australian sport gives such an outstanding legacy, it’s what the planning needs to incorporate across Games. So again great to have the Treasurer here to be able to show off, not just our great city, but also the great outcomes from the Australian Government’s investment.

TREASURER:

Thanks mate. Well it’s great to be here with Mark and Steven and particularly, Steven’s always wearing the green and gold for us out there, winning business for the country, but today he’s very much in Gold Coast colours and because first and foremost we’re both local members first and Steve’s passion for the Gold Coast is always on display and so it’s great to be here with him sharing in what is yet another announcement out of the Budget supporting the Gold Coast, for this incredibly big opportunity that’s coming your way here on the Gold Coast. As Steven said over $150 million originally invested in the Games here and that’s on top of the almost $100 million on the light rail project which we announced just under two years ago. On top of that another $45 almost $46 million into making sure the Games works here and then actually on top of that there’s another $15 million to make sure the athletes are at their best in these Games when they come forward in additional sports funding for those Games. So the Commonwealth is a big participant in what’s happening here to build the legacy, we’re spending $75 billion on infrastructure all around the country over the next ten years. Now a lot of that yep it’s in roads, it’s in rail, it’s in runways, it’s in airports, it’s in all of these big economic infrastructure, but we’re also investing in important community infrastructure and sporting infrastructure which creates these economic opportunities and tourism opportunities right here on the Gold Coast. So I think that’s really exciting and Steven congratulations on your leadership on this, really driving it forward and it’s great to see Mark what’s happening here at this venue, the world of Badminton’s focus will be descending on the Gold Coast very shortly like it will for so many other sports in the years ahead, not just for the Commonwealth Games but well into the future because of the excellent facilities which are here not just to host these big events which is good for the economy of the Coast but it’s also good for the national economy. But for the community there’s great facilities and great encouragement for them and the many sports clubs and other community organisations that will be able to share the sort of venues and the facilities that we have available here, and let’s not forget the jobs, at the end of the day it’s jobs and it’s jobs and it’s jobs. Today we’ve seen the unemployment rate fall again today, we welcome that news but most of all we congratulate the businesses that are creating those jobs in our economy; the businesses that are taking advantage of the trade deals that Steven and his predecessor have been able to negotiate and open up those opportunities. The jobs that are coming from our investments in the defence industry, the jobs that are coming because we’re taking off the burden of taxation on small businesses, so they can employ more people and invest in their businesses. Turnbull Government has a clear national economic plan supporting jobs and growth, supporting more and better paid jobs and that’s been set out in this Budget again and we’re seeing that right here on the Coast with the announcements we’re making today.

QUESTION:

Mr Morrison, why won’t the Federal Government fund anti-doping through its own agency for during the events at the Games next year?

TREASURER:

Well I’ll refer that to the Sports Minister and the Health Minister. But Australia has always been going back many, many years the leader when it comes to anti-doping in sport. I don’t know if you want to make a comment on that Steven, but our commitment on these issues I don’t think is unquestionable.

QUESTION:

I think the point raised was that the Sydney laboratory that does it is rather expensive and that the hope was that perhaps that price could come down or maybe overseas facilities might administer it.

TREASURER:

Well what I know today is that we’re saying we’re going to be spending $45.6 million on the running of these Games in both cash and in kind support and what’s happening here on the Gold Coast, that comes on top of $150 million for the sort of facilities that you can see around about us here and the Commonwealth is fully invested and I think taxpayers all around the country have been making a significant investment in the opportunities for the Gold Coast there’s no question about that.

QUESTION:

If the Federal Government runs ASADA and it runs that lab, yet it plans to bill the games for the services, it can’t just [inaudible] this for the services?

TREASURER:

I’m happy to refer those questions to the Sports Minister who would be more informed on the specifics of the matter that you’ve raised but the point I’m making is that the Commonwealth has invested heavily, heavily in supporting the success of these Games and you can see the benefits of that investment all around us today. So the Commonwealth has certainly come to the line on this and is certainly serving up for the Games.

CIOBO:

Just on the issue of the drug testing, the Federal Government’s providing I think from memory $1.9 million for that drug testing laboratory, I’m very happy, I’ve got a great working relationship with Kate Jones. The Federal Government will continue to work through issues together with the State Government as matters arise, we’re all committed, we’re all invested in making sure that this Commonwealth Games works very well. So there’s money already on the table for the laboratory, the question now is, is that enough? You’re suggestion that maybe we should waive the fee for testing, we can’t, I mean we have a matter of competitive neutrality, there are principles that apply with Government services we don’t just stop charging for these things because we feel like it so whilst I appreciate the question, that’s the reason why we don’t just abandon principles like competitive neutrality. But most importantly we’ve put a lot of money on the table already, we’ve paid out in full years ahead of time and on matters like these, these sorts of detailed issues we’ve got a good constructive working relationship and we continue to work through these sort of, what are frankly, fairly small issues in the context of the overall Commonwealth Games.

QUESTION:

Does Mr Peters think that the anti-doping is a small issue? Do you think the Federal Government need to do that?

PETERS:

I think at the moment we’re in a good place in terms of with our international federation together with the Australian Government, the State Government and the Commonwealth Games Association to implement the best, what we call high intelligence, anti-doping program. There’s no doubt when you talk to representatives from WADA that this will be the strongest program ever. There has been additional funding put in place for pre-Games testing for ASADA which I thinks revolutionary and takes the ASADA function to before. We are in continual discussions with Minister Hunt’s office, the Australian Government’s Minister for the Commonwealth Games because there are aspects of it that we believe we can work cooperatively on. So those discussions haven’t been completed and in fact I had another discussion this morning, but certainly in the to and fro of producing the best in the world, who pays and how it works properly will always be a debate and at the moment we expect to have a positive outcome in the near future.

QUESTION:

Do you expect to get the money?

PETERS:

We expect to be able to set up the best high intelligence anti-doping program in the world.

QUESTION:

Treasurer, S&P has reaffirmed the AAA credit rating but it says that the rest of the Budget outlook remains negative, what’s your response to that?

TREASURER:

There’s been no change to what Standard & Poor’s AAA credit rating is for Australia, so we have retained that AAA credit rating status. It is exactly the same rating status we’ve had, when it was reaffirmed last December and so the Budget that I delivered last Tuesday week has ensured that that AAA rating has been maintained not just for S&Ps but for the other ratings agencies as well. And I welcome that, I mean if we’d lost that AAA credit rating then a number of things would have happened. First of all that would have put a lot of pressure onto the State ratings as well, what happens to the Commonwealth’s rating does impact on State Government’s ratings, but it also impacts on the ratings of our major banks. And National Australia Bank has estimated the cost of a downgrade of their rating at 10 basis points, just at the start of May this year they considered a 10 basis point movement something that they could absorb, not something that was significant and so if they can absorb a 10 basis point movement in what they thought might have happened on the credit rating, then it puzzles me that they find a six basis point levy to, that has actually ensured that the credit rating has been maintained, that’s something for them to explain. But we welcome the fact the AAA credit rating has been maintained across all three ratings agencies, six months ago all sorts of people were saying that that would not be possible, that it could not be maintained and I think it just demonstrates that the Commonwealth just keeps working to solve the problem, to work the issue. The other thing that S&Ps said was that the Parliament, the Parliament has to now support the fiscal measures that we’ve put in this Budget. I mean the Parliament has a responsibility to support the AAA rating as well by passing the measures that are in this Budget, I welcome the support so far for the bank deposit levy, sorry I should say the bank levy it’s not a bank deposit levy at all in fact it’s the opposite of that. And so I welcome the support for that measure and we look forward to getting the support for the many other measures that are in the Budget.

QUESTION:

Treasurer, some analysts today are saying that the latest figures suggest that part-time employment is up, full-time employment down and there are concerns about underemployment, your comments on that?

TREASURER:

The last six months full time employment has gone up by around 100,000 and the unemployment rate has come down today and the participation rate has remained constant. And we’ve also seen a fall in the youth unemployment rate and that’s something I think everyone right across the country would welcome. The way to continue to improve our situation for more jobs is to grow the economy and growth just doesn’t fall from the sky. You’ve got to do things like invest in infrastructure, you’ve got to do things like making sure our tax rates are competitive. I find it amazing that the Labor Party thinks that 10 years from now Australia can be competitive if we have a corporate tax rate of 30 per cent and a top marginal tax rate at 49.5 per cent. I mean a top marginal tax rate where your great reward for actually doing well is to work one day for the Government and one day for yourself. I mean that is not a competitive way to run your economy and so we don’t believe in that future for Australia, we believe in a lower tax future for Australia., frankly both for individuals as well as for companies because that’s how you drive your economy, particularly by backing in small business which has been another big feature of our Budget this year. So that’s how you create the jobs, that’s how you get the more and better paid jobs that you need and particularly I commend the companies that are providing those jobs, they’re the ones that are behind people getting jobs. They’re the ones who are the real success stories that are delivering that, that extra employment.

QUESTION:

The Queensland Government has granted Adani a so called royalties holiday where they’ll be paying no more than $2 million a year in royalties for seven years, is that something the State Government should do, is that the sort of deal they should be striking?

TREASURER:

We want to see big projects go ahead, we want to see people in North Queensland have jobs, we want to see the resources industry do well, we want to see the infrastructure that is built around these major projects proceed and anything that is actually seeing these big projects go forward we think is good for the national economy.

QUESTION:

Do you have any comment on the latest developments with the stock exchange movements, that there’s been some slide following events in the US?

TREASURER:

Well there’s been a lot of volatility following the events in the United States and I best, I think assist by actually not making comments on these sorts of things, there’s often market volatility and I’m sure the analysts on these things will be watching them closely in the days ahead. What’s important from Australia’s point of view is that we continue to focus on policies that grow our economy, I mean Steve will be heading off again as usual, tomorrow, to be up there negotiating more trade agreements for Australia, I mean that’s what we’re focused on. The economic opportunities around the world are improving, and despite the volatility we’ve seen in relation to sort of more recent, specific events, at the last G20 meeting I attended earlier this year for the first time in a long time these developed economies are starting to see things improve. And so there are better days ahead that are out there in the global economy and for Australia but we have to secure them, they just won’t happen and so the investments in infrastructure, the investments in small business, the lower tax rates that inspire companies to invest more in this country. They’re the things that grow jobs, that’s how you make thing happen in this country and things are always happening on the Gold Coast.

QUESTION:

The Palaszczuk Government sort of saying that their sort of small business strategy has helped driving the economy in this state, what’s your response to that?

TREASURER:

I have an invitation to the Palaszczuk Government. In the Budget I announced $300 million for state governments to cut red tape for small business. Now up until now, we invited the Queensland Government to sign up to a process to reduce regulation for business, so far prior to the Budget they hadn’t signed up. Well there’s $300 million on the table and the more red tape they cut for small business, the more they will be rewarded out of what would be their allocation for the fund. If the Queensland Government doesn’t seek to do that and doesn’t choose to do that, well their allocation will be put in a general pool and other states who want to get on cut red tape for small business will be able to access that money. So I’m looking for a bit of competition between the states, healthy competition that is seeing state governments looking to cut red tape for small business and where they do it the Commonwealth will reward them and that can go to support many services that they put forward as a priority. So there’s the incentive there, let the games begin on cutting red tape for small business because the reward will be there for those state governments who are serious about it and I look forward and encourage the state government here in Queensland to become part of that process. Thank you.