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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript - 24676

Joint Press Conference, Geelong

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: 06/08/2015

Release Type: Transcript

Transcript ID: 24676

Subject(s): Building a modern centre of innovation in Geelong

SARAH HENDERSON:

Good morning, everyone. My name is Sarah Henderson, I’m the federal Member for Corangamite and it’s a great day here in Geelong, in Corangamite. It’s my great pleasure to welcome the Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, here along with Industry Minister, Ian Macfarlane, and the Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham.

As you would have gleaned from the announcement we’ve made today, we have a very strong commitment to jobs, to innovation and to helping this great city and the electorate of Corangamite transition to a modern centre of innovation. Some great announcements both for education and also for advanced manufacturing. We are a great manufacturing city, we are a great manufacturing region and today’s announcement will take us from strength to strength. And on that note, I’d like to welcome the Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER:

Thank you, Sarah, and it’s great to be in Geelong. It’s great to be with my colleagues, the Industry Minister, Ian Macfarlane, the Assistant Minister for Training, Senator Birmingham, and of course, my friend the Local Member, Sarah Henderson.

Everything this Government does is about jobs and growth. You know that I was in Adelaide earlier this week to talk about shipbuilding. Well, Australian naval shipbuilding is about jobs and growth. I was talking about our Free Trade Agreement with China and singing an MOU between the Adelaide produce markets and the world’s biggest produce market. Again, it’s about jobs and growth. I was with the South Australian Premier talking about roads – roads are about jobs and growth. And, of course, today talking about advanced manufacturing here in Geelong – that, again, is about jobs and growth. So, everything this Government does is about jobs and growth.

I’m very conscious of the fact that Geelong is a region in transition – it’s an economy in transition from traditional smoke stack industries to a dynamic, modern economy based on higher education, advanced manufacturing and tourism – and both of today’s announcements are designed to foster that.

Some of you might remember that I was in the United States in the middle of last year and while there, amongst all the other things that Australian Prime Ministers and US Presidents talk about, I went to visit what’s called a P-Tech school in Brooklyn – a Pathways in Technology school in Brooklyn – in a very tough part of town, but because of the integration of business into the education system, kids who might have ended up without much of a future were going in to get jobs with IBM, one of the world’s greatest companies.

So, we’ve now brought this concept to Geelong. Senator Birmingham will be in Ballarat later today to bring the concept there as well. It’s all about preparing people for a future. It’s all about creating growth and jobs because that is at the heart of this Government’s mission: to ensure that we have the economic growth we need to generate the jobs we want to produce a better future for Australia and our people.

I want to say thank you to Ian Macfarlane, the Industry Minister, for the work he’s done. He is evangelical about ensuring that our industries are ready to face the future. Thank you to Ian and thank you to Simon and now Ian and then Simon will add to these remarks.

INDUSTRY MINISTER:

Thanks, PM. The future of manufacturing in Australia is in the area of advanced manufacturing, high tech, high value goods that we sell in the global supply chains so we sell the products all over the world. They key to it is to put science in the middle of industry policy. Later this morning, I’ll be announcing the new Chairman of CSIRO who will assist that drive to have science and industry work hand-in-hand to make sure we produce the innovative, high value advanced manufacturing jobs here in Australia and particularly here in Geelong.

Geelong has a long, long record of producing highly sophisticated goods. That record is going to be added to today as Geelong takes the next step with the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre being established here and driving the jobs of the 21st century – jobs like the 100 jobs that have been created at Carbon Revolution that I saw this morning – jobs that weren’t there two years ago, jobs, for example, for one of the Ford employees who’s left old manufacturing and has now for a long-term job producing a product that no one else in the world is producing.

ASSISTANT EDUCATION MINISTER:

Thanks very much, Prime Minister. Nothing is more important for the skilling of young Australians than making sure that the skills they get are relevant to the jobs of today and the future. The Pathways in Technology pilot that we’re operating here in Geelong and also in Ballarat is about ensuring that young people in the school environment are getting skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics that are relevant to the jobs of the future. We can best guarantee the relevancy of those skills by having real businesses working alongside teachers and the schools themselves to actually deliver training in the schools and work opportunities for those students within their businesses.

The Pathways in Technology pilot that the Prime Minister saw in Brooklyn in the United States and that he and I and the Government have worked with IBM to bring to Australia, links local businesses with those schools. Here in Geelong, the Committee for Geelong working with local businesses like Sky Software and Barwon Health will be providing year nine students upwards with work opportunities, with real curriculum in the classroom that links to on-the-jobs skills. It will complement and supplement the existing curriculum so students will be able to complete their VCE and start a pathway towards a vocational qualification, but at the same time actually get real skills from those employers and those businesses that will help them when they get out into the workplace.

The same will occur in Ballarat where Federation University will work directly with IBM on the second P-Tech pilot. Together, these will hopefully provide a model that can be rolled out around the rest of Australia and give a demonstration of how, as a Government, we are transforming education and training to better skill Australians for the advanced manufacturing opportunities, the technology, science and engineering opportunities of the future and to give those young people real skills that will make them job ready and help our economy to grow.

PRIME MINISTER:

Thank you, Simon, thank you, Ian, thank you, Sarah.

Any questions?

QUESTION:

Prime Minister, why not provide a guarantee around shipbuilding in Victoria?

PRIME MINISTER:

What we’ve done is made a very historic announcement that for the first time we won’t just be building a ship or a class of ships in Australia, we’ll be building just about all of the major surface ships here in Australia. It’s not a shipbuilding announcement, it’s a fleet building announcement and it’s going to be very, very good for our country because it will be very, very good for our Navy.

QUESTION:

But there’s no guarantee that some of that work will be done in Victoria, is that right?

PRIME MINISTER:

The problem is that the former government in six long years did not place a single naval shipbuilding order with an Australian yard. If we were to avoid the so-called ‘valley of death’, decisions would have had to have been made by 2011 at the latest. Those decisions weren’t made, but because this Government is not allergic to decisions as our predecessor was, because we have made this decision, naval shipbuilding jobs in Australia will at no stage drop below about 1,000 and from 2020 onwards, they’ll start to build up to 2,500. This is happening because this Government has brought forward the Offshore Patrol Vessel, or Corvette, build to 2018 and we’ve brought forward the frigate build by three years to 2020. Because we’ve brought forward these orders, we have secured the future of naval shipbuilding here in Australia.

QUESTION:

But Prime Minister, just specifically on BAE, the company in America overnight has not guaranteed the future of its Williamstown operations. That must certainly be bad news to those 600 or so workers that are in the firing line there. What can you say to them about, you know, what these announcements mean for those jobs?

PRIME MINISTER:

BAE welcomed the announcement earlier in the week. They very enthusiastically welcomed the announcement earlier in the week because the announcement earlier in the week from this Government means that the boom-bust, stop-start nature of this industry, which was abundantly reinforced by the former government, is now at an end. The boom-bust, stop-start thing that has afflicted naval shipbuilding forever in this country is gone thanks to this Government.

QUESTION:

Mr Abbott, has the Government and Opposition been talking about a potential peace treaty regarding the expenses scandal considering that a number of revelations about different politicians from both sides continue to come out in the media?

PRIME MINISTER:

What I want is root and branch reform so that the public can be absolutely confident that their Members of Parliament are working for them and that’s what I believe will be achieved by the review team headed up by David Tune, the former secretary of the Department of Finance, and by John Conde, the head of the Remuneration Tribunal. I’m very confident that as a result of decisions that this Government has just made, building on the decisions we took early in our term to abolish the employment of immediate family members by Members of Parliament, to stop first class overseas travel by Members of Parliament and to restrict family travel, building on those decisions, this root and branch reform should finally mean that the public can be confident that Members of Parliament are doing their job in a responsible fashion that accords with community standards.

QUESTION:

In terms of that inquiry, is that being broadened with those on the board? There is speculation that former Labor and Liberal MPs could be part of the inquiry?

PRIME MINISTER:

We will be announcing the full inquiry team in the next day or so and, yes, David Tune, the former secretary of the Department of Finance, and John Conde, the head of the Remuneration Tribunal, are heading it up, but we do want to ensure that people of insights into both community standards and what is reasonable given the life of our elected representatives are also part of it.

QUESTION:

Prime Minister, you said on radio this morning that for a Member to go to a fundraiser and use a Comcar for it is not necessarily out of expectations, but obviously – and you said this morning – that using a helicopter is outside community expectations. Is it right for you to indicate what the review of expenses should find before it has even started?

PRIME MINISTER:

The point I have been making is that Members of Parliament have to be able to do their job and Members of Parliament have a number of different roles. We have a governmental role, we have a parliamentary role, we have a political role and we have got to be able to do our job. If we can't do our job, we can't properly serve the Australian community. In order to properly serve the Australian community, we have to have access to some resources in the same way that people in business need to have access to some resources in order to do their job properly. The important thing is that those resources are used responsibly – where possible, frugally – and in accordance with community expectations and that will be the result of this root and branch reform.

QUESTION:

How did you get to the party fundraiser event last night?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, I went with the police. But that wasn't the only thing I was doing yesterday. As you know, I was here in Geelong to make some announcements – some important announcements – which will be very good for the people of Geelong and the people of Australia. And, look, the event I was at last night, sure, it raised some money for the local party, but it was an opportunity to meet with people like Darren Baum, one of the really innovative world class boutique manufacturers here in the city of Geelong. It was an opportunity to sit next to John Verrall from the Australian Lamb Company, this is a business which is on the verge of expanding employment by a couple of hundred people, to serve dynamic and growing markets here and overseas. It was an opportunity to talk to a lot of people in the energy sector. So, these are opportunities to learn more about the way our country works, to learn more about what is on the minds of the people of Australia and I think they are an important part of a job like mine.

QUESTION:

Do think that you’ve lost support of the Party Room due to your handling of the saga regarding Mrs Bishop?

PRIME MINISTER:

I am very confident that there is very widespread support for the measures that the Government has already taken to restore confidence in the Parliament. As I said, banning the employment of immediate family members in MPs' offices, stopping politicians from going overseas on first class. Being a lot tougher on family travel, both abroad and at home and this root and branch reform is a very important part of ensuring that the public can have confidence in the work that their Members of Parliament are doing.

QUESTION:

Prime Minister, Tony Burke says he would pay back $90 for a car trip to see a Robbie Williams concert – do you think that’s going to bring a smile to Bronwyn Bishop's face?

PRIME MINISTER:

Again, as I have been saying all week, the issue is the system. And, yes, some people have done things that with the wisdom of hindsight shouldn't have been done, but the problem is a system under which things have been inside the rules but outside community expectations and that is why we need root and branch reform and that is exactly what will happen.

QUESTION:

So going on from that then, obviously with Christopher Pyne today as well, the fact that his children travelled business class as well, we have seen Tony Burke have his children on business class tickets as well, domestically. I presume that doesn't pass the pub test then?

PRIME MINISTER:

Again, the important thing is to ensure that what is within the rules is also within community expectations and that is why we have got this root and branch reform. I am determined to ensure that the public can have confidence in their Members of Parliament, can have confidence that we are doing our work for them and that will be the result of this root and branch reform.

QUESTION:

Prime Minister, on MH370 – given that it has now been confirmed that that piece was part of the plane, will our search, the money that Australia is putting in, will that continue?

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes, it will. Yes, it will. We have invested upwards of $100 million into this search. But I believe that is appropriate because not only were there six Australians on that plane, but millions of Australians, almost every Australian, at some point in time is an air traveller and we owe it to the hundreds of millions of people who use our skies, we owe it to the 24 million Australians who use our skies, we owe it to them to try to ensure that air travel is as safe as it possibly can be, to try to get to the bottom of this terrible mystery. And that is why the search must go on, but what we have found in the western Indian Ocean does seem to indicate that the plane did come down, more or less where we thought it did and it suggests that for the first time we might be a little bit closer to solving this baffling mystery.

Thank you.

[ends]

Transcript - 24676