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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript - 24434

Joint Doorstop Interview, Darwin

Photo of Abbott, Tony

Abbott, Tony

Period of Service: 18/09/2013 to 15/09/2015

More information about Abbott, Tony on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 09/05/2015

Release Type: Transcript

Transcript ID: 24434

Subjects: Darwin International Airport; Budget; jobs for families package; White Paper on Developing Northern Australia; counter terrorism.

E&OE……………………….……………………………………………………………

NATASHA GRIGGS MP:

It’s fantastic to have our Prime Minister here today for the opening of the Darwin Airport – something that I’m very proud of – and it’s just wonderful to have him back here and I think he’s got some exciting news about north Australia. Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER:

Thanks Natasha and yes, it is good to be here in Darwin for the opening of this upgraded terminal which is a real sign of the confidence and dynamism in northern Australia, generally, but particularly here in Darwin.

Darwin is in so many ways the gateway to Australia – but it’s not just the gateway to Australia, it’s the gateway to Asia. This city has grown enormously in recent years, it’s a very dynamic city, it’s an eye-opener for people who haven’t been here for a few years to come back to Darwin and see what’s being done here. The fact that the private sector has spent $75 million of its own money upgrading this terminal is a sign of the confidence that Australian business has in northern Australia and the fact that we are on the verge of releasing our northern Australia white paper, is a sign of the confidence and the commitment that the Commonwealth Government has in northern Australia.

Yesterday I announced $100 million to improve the beef roads of northern Australia. Today I announce just under $40 million to improve remote airstrips and air services as a down payment on the white paper that will be released next month. This is a Government which is doing everything we can under the circumstances to boost our national development. This is why there is so much reason for confidence in our country right now. I believe that the Budget that will be brought down on Tuesday night will be very good for confidence. We know it will be good for families. We know it will be good for small business. It is in the end all about families but we need more jobs for Australian families, that means stronger small business so that there will be more jobs for Australian families and if we have stronger small business there’ll be more optimism and more confidence in our economy and in our country.

So these are great days for our country and I believe it’s getting better all the time.

QUESTION:

Is the Budget in the national interest or your own political interest?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well obviously I want a Budget which is going to be good for Australia. I’ve been saying for weeks now that this is a Budget that will be measured, responsible and fair. It will be a Budget for jobs, growth and opportunity and that’s what I think our country needs – the result of all that will be more confidence in our country, a more optimistic Australia.

QUESTION:

If it’s in the national interest then why isn’t the Budget making the tough decisions to get back to surplus?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well what you’ll see on Tuesday night is a credible and sustainable path back to surplus, that’s what you’ll see. It is important that government lives within its means. We all know that families and businesses have to live within their means and government in the long run is no different. We inherited a debt and deficit disaster from the Labor Party. We are responsibly moving back towards surplus. There are tough decisions in this Budget – some of them were announced by Scott Morrison this week – because it isn’t easy to overcome the kind of debt and deficit disaster that we inherited, but that’s what we are determined to do and we’ll do so in ways that are measured, responsible and above all else fair.

QUESTION:

The Health Minister has announced that the medical research super fund will go ahead, can you outline where specific areas you’ll get that money from?

PRIME MINISTER:

What we’ve said is that any savings that we make in health will be reinvested in health in the medical research future fund and this is very important because it’s today’s research that gives us tomorrow’s new drugs and tomorrows new treatments. Australia is very, very good at medical research; we are in fact a world leader in medical research. We have about one per cent of the world’s population, less than one per cent of the world’s population, but we produce about five per cent of the world’s high quality medical research. So when you invest in medical research you are investing in a better future, longer lives and more productive and more fulfilled people, that’s why when we save money in health, we’re not taking it out of the system, we’re putting it back into the system in the most productive possible way.

QUESTION:

Its $20 billion, you must have an idea specifically where it’s going to come from?

PRIME MINISTER:

We are as you know in discussions with various parts of the pharmaceutical supply chain right now. We’re confident that we can get some responsible savings there and the savings that we get in health will be invested in the medical research future fund, that’s been a very clear principle of this Government.

QUESTION:

A lot of mothers will be hoping you get tomorrows child care package right. Will you disappoint them or are you confident that it will be right?

PRIME MINISTER:

I am confident that this is going to be a big improvement on the existing situation. The existing situation is complex, it’s confusing and it’s narrowly focussed. So we do want a child care system which is simpler, which is fairer, which is more affordable and more accessible and I’m confident that the child care package, which is really a jobs for families package, I want to stress that – it’s a jobs for families package – because it will make it easier for family members to take the jobs that will increase because of the small business measures that we’ll announce soon. I’m very confident that this child care package or jobs for families package will be well received.

QUESTION:

With Mother’s Day tomorrow, how do you feel about the allegations of a terror plot that might have taken place on Mother’s Day?

PRIME MINISTER:

We know that we face a very serious terror threat, a very serious terror threat. The tragic truth is that there are people amongst us, not very many it’s true, but there are some people amongst us who would do us harm and it’s vital that our police and security agencies be given all the support and all the resources that they need to do their job properly. There have been some raids over the last 24 hours in Sydney and Melbourne. There’s been at least one arrest. There is evidence of a bomb plot that was in a reasonably advance state of preparation and the police will have more to say about this shortly.

QUESTION:

Is it concerning Prime Minister that we’re starting to see more of these events being planned at major events where people, large crowds of people gather?

PRIME MINISTER:

It’s important that we don’t underestimate the terror threat, but it’s also important that we keep it in perspective and the point I keep making is that the best thing you can do right now is live your life normally because the whole point of terrorism is to scare us out of being ourselves. The great thing about Australia is that we are a free, open and fair society, we must continue to be a free, open and fair society because after all our freedom, our fairness, our tolerance, our welcome to people from all around the world, of all different faiths and cultures, that’s what the death cult and its supporters hate, they hate that because we are a reproach to them, our freedom and our decency is a reproach to their extremism and their fanaticism and that’s why we have to continue to be the kind of warm and welcoming country that we are.

QUESTION:

Will there be more money for the northern territory roads in the white paper next month?

PRIME MINISTER:

I’m not going to entirely pre-empt the white paper, obviously, but you can be confident that this is going to be good news for the Northern Territory, just as its going to be good news for tropical Queensland and northern Western Australia.

Already there’s the $100 million that I’ve announced for upgraded beef roads in northern Australia – that will obviously be good for the Territory – there’s the remote airstrip programme, the remote air services subsidy programme which I have announced some additional $40 million towards today. Yesterday I released Infrastructure Australia’s northern Australia infrastructure audit and roads, rail, ports, water, infrastructure in northern Australia are all dealt with quite extensively in that report and what I want to do is see more people, more development, more economic activity here in northern Australia. There will be a series of announcements by the Government over the next few weeks which will absolutely indicate our complete commitment to northern Australia.

A lot of people have talked about northern Australia over the years, a lot of people have articulated a vision for northern Australia. This won’t just be a vision for northern Australia, it will be a vision backed by concrete measures, serious spending, a vision with a plan to make it come true.

[ends]

Transcript - 24434