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Transcript 41591

Radio Interview with Paula Kruger and Peter Bell, 720 ABC Radio Perth

Photo of Turnbull, Malcolm

Turnbull, Malcolm

Period of Service: 15/09/2015 to 24/08/2018

More information about Turnbull, Malcolm on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 27/04/2018

Release Type: Transcript

Transcript ID: 41591

PAULA KRUGER:

How important is your vote? It would seem very important.

The federal bidding war for WA votes has escalated with the Turnbull Government today announcing a multi-billion dollar funding package that will include $500 million for the Ellenbrook train line as Jonathan just mentioned in the news.

Joining us now is the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull who is on his way to the Perth CBD for a press conference. Prime Minister, good morning - why funding for these specific projects?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well because it's important that West Australians get home sooner and safer Paula.

It's important that we bust congestion and that's why we already put $1.4 billion into Metronet. Now we're adding another billion dollars into the Metronet projects that will enable the Morley-Ellenbrook line extension to be built and the extension from Armadale to Byford and indeed, hundreds of millions of additional dollars for further Metronet projects.

Plus well over a billion dollars for rail - for road I should say – both in Perth and outside of Perth including the Bunbury Outer Ring Road. So all told, what we're announcing today is over two and a half billion dollars of federal government money going into these congestion busting projects.

PAULA KRUGER:

So Prime Minister is this a sweetener for WA voters when what they really want is a fairer share of the GST?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I think what many of your listeners want Paula is to be able to get home sooner and safer and get to work and get kids to school.

And what we're delivering after very careful discussions with the state government and this is all being done in collaboration with the state government - is funding for the projects that will relieve the congestion both by better roads and also by improving the public transport network.

PAULA KRUGER:

Prime Minister it seems a lot of the good news are happening in federal seats that are held by the Liberal Party at the moment so we're talking Pearce, Canning, Stirling, Moore, Swan and Hasluck.

I mean are those really the areas of biggest need when it comes to infrastructure spending.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well Paula you as a resident of Perth understand what's happening is the city is growing rapidly. The growth is fastest on the, in the outer suburbs which include those electorates and of course that is where infrastructure is having to catch up.

Now what we're doing is making sure that we're providing the money to enable the Metronet project to be rolled out. And these are these are vital links.

So for example, I'm just here near Bayswater station and of course this is where we're already funding the Forrestfield Airport Link. That's something we've already put money into just as we've already put money into the Yanchep extension and now we're funding the Morley-Ellenbrook line going up to the north and of course the extension from Armadale down to Byford down towards the south.

But these are all areas of very, very rapid growth. The inner city of Perth obviously benefits as well from all of this infrastructure,  but it's vital that people living in the outer suburbs of Perth- not right in the CBD or very close to it - It's vital they get the infrastructure they need.

We're determined to work with the state government to ensure they do. We want people to get home sooner and safer, they need this congestion busting infrastructure.

PETER BELL:

Prime Minister there doesn't seem to be much good news for regional areas other than the Myalup-Wellington Dam project and you mentioned the road projects near Bunbury. Rural and regional Australia…

PRIME MINISTER:

Well that is $560 million that we're putting into that. Peter - that's quite a lot of good news.

PETER BELL:

Okay.

PRIME MINISTER:

And if you are living down in the south-west or indeed if you're travelling down in that direction, that Bunbury Outer Ring Road is going to be enormously important. And if you are interested in either agriculture or the products of agriculture - desalinating the water in the Wellington Dam is going to be enormously important.

I remember that project back from the days when I was Water Minister for John Howard. It has been talked about for a long time but we're actually now putting the money there to make it work. That will mean more reliable water supplies for all of those irrigation districts down in the south-west.

PETER BELL:

What about the suggestion that with the funding to a lot of projects today - they've already been committed to by Bill Shorten, the suggestion that you're playing catch up here with regards to the Ellenbrook rail, the Byford extension, Midland station, for example.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well again people are interested in getting home sooner or safer, sooner and safer.

They're interested in congestion-busting infrastructure they want to know that the government is supporting them if they're farmers and they need more security of water supply.

Look Peter, what we've got here is the benefits of a stronger economy. We talk about Bill Shorten - the big difference between me and Bill Shorten is that all of my policies support more investment, more employment, more jobs and that's - the runs are on the board. There is record jobs growth. And that means we're getting better tax revenues and we're having less money to pay for unemployment benefits.

Bill Shorten wants to put up tax for individuals, companies, on property, for retirees. He's got every form of tax increase he's got in mind. And what do you think that's going to do to the economy? It will crash it - because it will discourage investment and discourage employment.

What we need is strong economic growth because not only does that give more people the chance to get ahead and realise their dream and that's the most important thing. But it also means that we get stronger revenues that we can then invest in the vital economic infrastructure.

So the problem with Bill Shorten is that he doesn't have any plan other than for higher taxes. He talks about spending money -his approach to the economy we'll never see realized because without a strong economy you cannot get the growth that you need - both the growth in jobs and the growth in revenues to enable you to do these good things.

PETER BELL:

It's 22 to nine and we’re with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Yesterday Scott Morrison announced you're walking away from an increase to the Medicare Levy that was supposed to fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme but you're saying now you can find that eight billion dollars somewhere else.

I'd like you to hear from wheelchair athlete Kurt Fearnley and what he had to say about this Prime Minister.

[excerpt plays]

KURT FEARNLEY:

Whether they found it from an additional fee, whether they found it from general revenue or whether they found it from a reduction in other programs as has been hinted at, we just need certainty of funding, not for two years, not for four years, not for ten years.

People with disabilities lives don’t live and die around an election – we’re here for good. And if you want to make permanent gains, you've got to give permanent funding. If we have to continue to fight for a specific bunch of money to fund the NDIS then we're going to miss the point because all of our energies are going to be talking about parcels of fundings and not for outcomes with people with disabilities.

PETER BELL:

Have you contributed to that uncertainty that he's talking about Prime Minister?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well no, quite the contrary. Can I just say - isn't Kurt Fearnley just an inspiration? I mean what an outstanding, what a great guy, and what a great athlete. You know his last triumph in the Commonwealth Games was just such an outstanding conclusion to a brilliant career.

PAULA KRUGER:

Yes but he makes a solid point doesn't he, about certainty?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well certainty is important and the certainty is that if you have a strong economy like we have, you've got the tax revenues that enable you to fund the NDIS.

Now at the last Budget we took a conservative approach to the economy and our economic forecasts. We proposed the NDIS levy in addition to the Medicare levy. The Labor Party opposed it. They opposed it.

Let's just get this straight. They opposed that. Now we've been able to obviously see the benefits of the additional revenues that have come in. Jobs growth has been very strong. Our prospects are sound.

We believe with the strong economic plan we have, with our plan for stronger growth, more jobs and lower taxes that will enable us, we have no doubt that will enable us to fund the NDIS now and into the future. The real threat to the NDIS and to the infrastructure and to all of the congestion-busting projects we've been talking about - is Bill Shorten because he has an anti-jobs, anti-business, high tax set of policies.

I mean Bill Shorten fails to recognise you cannot tax your way to prosperity. If you want to get more government revenues you've got to encourage businesses to invest and employ people and encourage people to have a go. That's what's happening right around Australia and that is due to the hard work and enterprise of Australians and Australian businesses, mostly small and medium family businesses I might add. But it's also enabled by our economic plan and that's a huge distinction.

When the election comes, there will no doubt be debates about infrastructure I'm sure. But the real issue is going to be, do you want a government that is in favour of lower taxes, stronger growth, more jobs, more investment or a Labor Party that wants higher taxes on everybody. Everybody from young people to old people to retirees to businesses large and small and as a consequence that means under Labor you'll have fewer jobs and less investment and less growth.

PETER BELL:

Prime Minister…

PRIME MINISTER:

You won’t have the money to pay for all these good things.

PETER BELL:

Prime Minister did you make the wrong decision in not holding the banking Royal Commission earlier?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well you know with the benefit of hindsight I can see why people say we should have held it earlier and clearly we've had been we've been criticised for that.

But you can't live your life backwards Peter. The reality is that I made the decision in 2016 when I called out the fundamental problem which was that the banks and other financial institutions were not putting customers first, this is essentially a cultural problem - a major one across the industry and I spelt that out in a speech in 2016 and rather than hold a Royal Commission, I felt what we should do is get on and put the reforms in place that we needed, which we have done. Okay so we got ahead with the substantial work because my concern was frankly if we had a Royal Commission it would run for several years as they do and in the meantime everyone would say, ‘well you can't make any reforms, you've got to wait for the Royal Commissioner’s report’.

So we got on with the reforms and now we're having the Royal Commission. And so I can understand the arguments that said you know particularly from a political point of view we should have had it earlier.

But believe me we have always and I have always identified the heart of the problem which is this cultural problem of not putting customers first and we more importantly, we have taken the tough action - new regulations, a better one stop shop for dealing with complaints, banking executives if they do the wrong thing they can get barred from the industry, we've really toughened up the regulation to protect customers and protect consumers.

PETER BELL:

With that in mind how do you assess the role of ASIC during what has been uncovered or given what has been uncovered during the banking commission?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I think a number of these matters that have come up have been under investigation by ASIC. We have put substantial, if you're going back historically Peter, you know I'm sure ASIC will be found, or I'm sure people will say ASIC could have done more or should have been aware or more active.

What we have done is put hundreds of millions of additional dollars into ASIC. We've not only given them more resources but we've given them more personnel and we've given them stronger laws.

So we've given the ongoing watchdogs because the any Coyal commission can't go forever, plainly.

So you've got to make sure your permanent institutions are better resourced both from a legal point of view and financial point of view and we've certainly done that with ASIC.

Now listen on that note - Paula and Peter, on the Bayswater station the Premier is here and I'm getting out and catching a train with him so I'd better love you and leave you.

PAULA KRUGER:

I'm sure you can multi-task while doing that Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER:

Paula I'm going to have to go. Thanks a lot.

PETER BELL:

We appreciate your time. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull there - who is jumping on the train, he’s down at Bayswater way.

[ENDS]

Transcript 41591