PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 41523

Doorstop, Unanderra, NSW

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: 22/03/2018

Release Type: Transcript

Transcript ID: 41523

Location: Unanderra, NSW

PRIME MINISTER:

Fantastic jobs numbers everyone. This has been a day of setting records.

I’m here with the Member for Gilmore Ann Sudmalis and Gary Stewart, the Chief Executive of Rheinmetall Australia and Greg Alton, our host, the Chief Executive of Bisalloy.

Now today we have seen that over the last 12 months, the largest number of jobs created in Australia ever, 420,700.

We have seen 78 per cent of them are full time. We’ve seen 17 consecutive months of jobs growth.

That is the longest run ever. One record after another. Highest female participation rate in the workforce, ever. Best numbers ever and Greg, you’ve got a good example here. Greg, your production has doubled in the last 18 months, come and talk to us a bit about this. So at Bisalloy, production has doubled in the last 18 months, your employees have increased, workforce has increased by what, nearly 20 per cent?

GREG ALBERT, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, BISALLOY STEEL:

That’s correct.

PRIME MINISTER:

Fantastic, isn’t that incredible? And this is the best steel in the world.

Greg, we've gone through the tour, you've seen this steel is going to be used in the Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles, the Boxers, that are going to be built here in Australia, initially in Germany and then in Australia by Rheinmetall. The biggest single contract ever commissioned by the Australian Army. This is steel to keep our soldiers safe, to ensure that they can do their job, complete their mission and come home safely.

This steel is being exported to the most demanding customers in the world in Germany, in Europe, in the United States, in Israel. This is the best steel.

Greg, you must be so proud of what you and your team are doing here, how do you feel about it?

GREG ALBERT:

Absolutely, very, very proud right now. As I said before, the relationship with Rheinmetall and the Land 400 vehicles has been a fantastic experience for our whole company. It's taken the company to another level.

PRIME MINISTER:

Tell me, Gary, how did you choose Bisalloy, because you’re building this big contract, this Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle, the Boxer, what brought you to Bisalloy?

GARY STEWART, MANAGING DIRECTOR RHEINMETALL DEFENCE AUSTRALIA:

So, we were able to find that Bisalloy has a strong pedigree in the high hard steel they’re doing for the mining industry, the extensive work they’ve done with the Bushmaster program with the Australian Army. That allowed us to come in with confidence that they have already an association with this type of steel. Then our own engineers and our own scientists have worked with them over the last 12 months to bring them up to the standards and qualities we're looking for. Their steel will be shot at and blown up by the German government over the next six months, to verify that it has the requisite level of performance and protection so that we know we can to build with confidence and have an Australian-made Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle.

PRIME MINISTER:

There you go and that steel is made here, to protect Australian lives. It’s made with Australian steel by Australian workers, right here. This is where the safety of our soldiers will begin, with the best steel in the world.

Now Ann, so many of the people that work here come from your electorate of Gilmore, how do you feel about it?

ANN SUDMALIS, MEMBER FOR GILMORE:

I actually spoke to a couple of them today, they're absolutely thrilled because this gives them more work. Some of them have just been clicked over into full time, so they're ecstatic. Some are coming from as far away as Fishermen's Paradise which is quite some way down the south coast. So, I'm very proud that people from Gilmore are coming up to be part of this amazing, innovative, first-class international, famous place. And it used to be such a tiny operation, oh my goodness, I'm so proud of you.

PRIME MINISTER:

You're getting bigger all the time and you know, these jobs figures I talked about, just last month, just this last month, the numbers that have come out today, there's 64,000 new full-time jobs created, 47,000 less casual jobs.

What that’s telling you is that as business advances, as economic growth continues, you get more investment and you get employers who have taken on workers on a casual basis, moving them to full time. You've been doing that right here, Greg.

GREG ALBERT:

Yes, we have.

PRIME MINISTER:

So just lately, how many casuals have moved into full time?

GREG ALBERT:

This week alone, three.

PRIME MINISTER:

Three, so of that move from casual to full time, three of them were right here at Bisalloy.

Now the final point I want to make about competition is this; Greg is competing in the most competitive market in the world, with the most demanding customers. All of his international customers can buy – and indeed his Australian customers - can buy their steel from the four corners of the world. So, he has to have the best product, the most competitive product.

We need to ensure that he is best able to compete. Right now in the Senate, we're debating our company tax legislation, which will reduce the tax on Australian businesses down to a competitive rate, over time down to 25 per cent. The US is already at 21 per cent. We're not competitive at 30 per cent and that's why we need to have a more competitive tax rate.

Greg, if you have a lower company tax, what will you do with those additional earnings you can retain?

GREG ALBERT:

Well our plant is quite old, we'd invest the money into improving the plant, improve the production and capacity and all of our workers share in the profit bonus and the capacity bonuses.

PRIME MINISTER:

So your deal with your workers, they share in production, they share in profits.

GREG ALBERT:

Yes.

PRIME MINISTER:

So there it is, that’s one example of what’s happening right around the country. With a competitive tax rate, Greg will invest more, he'll employ more and that will result in higher wages.

That's what the economists tell you. You might be sceptical about the economists, but you're hearing it right now from someone right in the very front lines of the most competitive industry. That’s what Greg says and he's dead right. That's why we need to have a competitive tax rate for all Australian businesses.

I’d be happy to take some questions.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, can you guarantee wages will rise if the company tax cuts are passed?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, all the evidence indicates that they will. Greg has just given you a good example. What drives increases in wages is more demand for labour. You're seeing that in the numbers, they’ve published the new labour force numbers today. So that’s good, you're starting to see growth in real wages. But you get more investment, you get more productivity.

Greg will tell you himself, as he puts more money into this plant, it becomes more productive and therefore, a better deal for his workers as well.

JOURNALIST:

But can you guarantee wages will rise if it’s passed?

PRIME MINISTER:

There's no question that you'll see a rise in wages with a reduction in company tax. That's always been the case and that’s actually the point that Bill Shorten used to make when he was in Government and indeed what many other Labor leaders have done. Because they have recognised, they used to recognize - before they got onto the anti-business high tax agenda which they’re currently on - they are not only trying to slug businesses like Greg’s, they're trying to rob pensioners. So they're quite unscrupulous.

But in the days of Paul Keating, you had Labor leaders that recognised that everyone's got a vested interest in a business like this being profitable. They're all union workers here, aren't they?

GREG ALBERT:

Yes.

PRIME MINISTER:

So they've all got a vested interest in this business being profitable and being able to invest. That’s what our policies will do.

JOURNALIST:

If a company uses its tax cut to give its shareholders a bigger dividend instead of a bigger paycheck, is that still an investment in Australia?

PRIME MINISTER:

The reality is that businesses invest, the history shows - and you've got the evidence, evidence is standing right next to me now - if you get companies able to compete, they're able to compete internationally, they can retain more of their earnings. They invest more, they grow, they become more productive and you get higher wages. It's worth $750 in additional wages, per worker over the period of the tax cut. So it's a big increase in returns. That’s why countries around the world are reducing business taxes to be competitive. It's not been done out of some sort of, it's not a charitable exercise. This is hard headed economics. How do we set this business up to be more competitive, more successful, more productive and pay all the workers here better wages, because it's doing better.

JOURNALIST:

Why is the government considering a $5 tax on overseas purchases?

PRIME MINISTER:

There’s a big assumption in what you're saying, so I wouldn't rely on that just because you read it in one of our distinguished newspapers. As you know the Budget is only weeks away so were not going to comment on the budget. I’ll just leave it at that.

JOURNALIST:

On the Cambridge Analytica scandal in the UK, can you tell us what the Liberal Party is doing here in Australia to collect data?

PRIME MINISTER:

As far as Cambridge Analytica is concerned, I'm not aware of it doing any work for the Liberal Party. So I can't comment on it’s work here.

JOURNALIST:

What about a company called I360 which the Liberal Party may have been using in South Australia?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, you should talk to the South Australians about that.

JOURNALIST:

Is it time to review the Privacy Act, which exempts political parties?

PRIME MINISTER:

Look, I think you getting into a different - the real issue at the moment is the extent to which Facebook makes information about individuals, choices, political inclinations, views, et cetera, available. That's the question and that’s the issue.

JOURNALIST:

Does the Liberal Party use Facebook for those purposes?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, I have a Facebook account. I hope you like it, you know, refer to it regularly, on the hour, I would suggest. But look, you're asking very general questions. The specific issue is about Facebook's policies. As I understand it just from reading in the media, Mark Zuckerberg said that he’s reviewing that. This is a big issue with all of the big platforms, in particular Facebook and also of course Google.

JOURNALIST:

Can I just ask Greg, are you for increased wages if there is a tax cut?

PRIME MINISTER:

Greg, come and talk about that.

GREG ALBERT:

Sorry, what was the question?

JOURNALIST:

Will the company increase wages if there is a tax cut?

GREG ALBERT:

If there's a tax cut, what I said was that we'll invest in the operation of the plant to make it more productive. Our workers work on a production bonus basis and also we have a profit sharing basis. So that would be the way we’d distribute more money to the workers.

JOURNALIST:

Would their pay increase?

GREG ALBERT:

Wages normally we just increase on the CPI, but we put more emphasis on production increases.

PRIME MINISTER:

That's part of your EBA, isn't it?

GREG ALBERT:

Yeah.

JOURNALIST:

And would you employ more apprentices? Because Shoalhaven has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the country.

GREG ALBERT:

Yeah we do employ apprentices and we do bring people in. It's quite frequent that we’ll get people, I get people coming in, in the front door and handing in resumes and just wanting some sort of casual work, any type of casual work.

JOURNALIST:

But if this tax cut does come in, you won’t necessarily increase wages? Yes, no?

GREG ALBERT:

That’s not the way we do it. We do it more towards, the plant needs upgrading, the plant needs to compete against the best companies in the world and we'd be looking at doing more on the production and efficiency side of the business.

PRIME MINISTER:

But that’s more money in the worker’s pockets –

GREG ALBERT:

Correct.

PRIME MINISTER:

Because that’s the point, what Greg’s got - you said you got a great relationship with your work force, you've got production bonuses, profit sharing - so if the company produces more and makes more profit, then everybody benefits. That's the whole idea.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister on President Barack Obama’s visit, will you be catching up with him? I guess, do you have plans? Do you think that might upset your other friend, Donald Trump?

PRIME MINISTER:

On the last question, absolutely not. Look, I look forward to catching up with President Obama when he's visiting and of course, he'd be a very welcome visitor, albeit briefly, to Australia.

JOURNALIST:

What have you got planned?

PRIME MINISTER:

We'll just catch up and have a chat. Okay thanks very much.

Transcript 41523