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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 41590

Doorstop, Yagan Square, WA

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: 41590

Subject(s): WA Infrastructure; North Korea; NDIS; Waste


Thanks for being here but Ben and I want to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land on which we stand the Wadjak people, their elders past and present and those who are on their way through to eldership. Both of us are extremely proud to be part of this announcement today as two West Australian Aboriginal people who hold leadership positions.


Can I thank Ken. Obviously I've come in as a as a younger Wyatt with a suite of older Wyatts like Ken and my father, Brian, the late Brian Wyatt who have done things and had to deal with things I haven't, and I would acknowledge them and the leadership of Aboriginal people who have enabled me to do the things that I've been able to do. So I welcome you and thank you for coming.


Well thank you. Thank you Ken. Thank you Ben. Thank you so much. Look I'm just so thrilled to be here with Ken and all my colleagues and with Mark and his colleagues to make this announcement about $5.4 billion going into vital Western Australian infrastructure.

We are putting in, as the Federal Government, $2.5 billion dollars and that is going to enable vital infrastructure to be built; train line to Ellenbrook, an extension to Byford, ring road outside of Bunbury and many other congestion-busting investments.

This is all about ensuring that people in Perth, and indeed outside of Perth, can get home sooner and safer. This is congestion-busting billions of dollars, and we're able to do it because we have a strong economy.

We have more people getting jobs, record jobs growth, fewer people being paid unemployment benefits, revenues are stronger and that's what you get from a stronger economy.

You can afford to have lower taxes but more jobs, more investment and more investment in particular in the vital infrastructure that this city needs. I want to thank you Mark for the way you've worked with our team, with all of my federal WA colleagues, including Mathias Cormann, I know you've had a lot of discussions with Mathias, you and he are getting on very well!


I’m starting to develop a bit of an accent.


It's not going to be a sort of Emmanuel Macron, Donald Trump bromance is it between you and Mathias?


He doesn't have any dandruff.


No. There you go see. Very good. All right well that's great but it's been a good case of people working together. State and federal government working together to ensure that we get the right infrastructure.

We've just got on the train at Bayswater where there was lots of work going on on the link, the new line out to Forrestfield through the airport. Again, that's jointly funded by the Federal Government just as we're already funding the extension Yanchep so all told there's about $2.4 billion dollars of federal money going into METRONET alone in addition to the funding that's going into roads.

So getting commuters home sooner and safer, busting congestion, ensuring that this great city has the infrastructure it needs. So, thrilled to be here with all of my West Australian colleagues and with you Premier. So the floor is yours.


Thanks, thanks very much Prime Minister. Can I also acknowledge both Ken and Ben and thank them for their welcome. I acknowledge the traditional owners, while we're standing here at Yagan Square and I thank the Prime Minister in particular for coming to Western Australia, an exhausting schedule he has but coming to Western Australia to make this significant announcement.

This announcement today is about creating jobs and opportunities for Western Australians. It's about long term planning for the future. It's about ensuring that we can get on and build important rail, road and health projects across Western Australia, not just in the city but also in the regions.

We want to get on and build Metronet as soon as we can. We want to make sure, and we will make sure, that the rail line to Ellenbrook is built. It will be built as soon as we possibly can.

We're also going to build the rail line to Byford, extend the line to Midland, as we know we're building the Yanchep and Thornlie-Cockburn extensions as well.

This is all about making sure that our city is liveable for the long term and we get on and provide decent planning and jobs for our citizens.

On top of that there's important road projects across Western Australia, in particular I want to acknowledge the Bunbury ring road. That road is incredibly important for our state's second largest city and very important for the people who live in the south-,west an important piece of economic infrastructure is the Bunbury ring road.

I'm very pleased that Western Australia is now on the political map around Australia and I'm very pleased that since the election of my government there has been that focus by Canberra on Western Australia that wasn't there before.

We're fighting hard for additional infrastructure for our state. We're making sure we put forward all of the important projects to Canberra that we need to have funded and we're very pleased that there's been commitments, by both sides to be fair, towards Western Australia for important infrastructure.

So can I thank the Prime Minister for today's commitment. You'll know I went out and made some announcements with federal Labor as well, I thank them for their commitments as well.

But of course the fight doesn't stop here. We've got to get a better share of GST and we've got to also ensure that we get our fair share of infrastructure into the future. But today's announcement, I just want to reiterate, very important to the future. I'd like to thank the Prime Minister for that commitment.


Thanks Mark. And I just should add that in addition to the investment in METRONET and in roads we've talked about, we also have $190 million going into hospitals. The bulk of it into the Joondalup hospital and again we've worked very closely to make sure we co-ordinated that.

And we've also got about $140 million going into a project that's been around so long I remember it when I was John Howard's Water Minister which is the Wellington Dam and making sure that water in that dam which is very salty can be desalinated and used for agriculture and that's going to make a huge difference for the water security of that region and of course improve the security of all those irrigation areas.

So all told, in terms of everything that we're announcing this week here, it's $3.2 billion of federal money coming into Western Australia. So that's a massive investment whether it's in health, whether it's in rail Metronet, whether it's in roads, both regional - Mark mentioned the Bunbury ring road which is very important - or indeed in water, so that underlines the depth of our commitment and determination to ensure that Western Australians benefit from the strong economy, the higher revenues and get the infrastructure and services they need.

So thank you Premier again. Good to be here. Thank you.


This is double what Labor has offered federally. Does this mean a vote for you at the next federal election is the only way to go for Western Australia?


I can tell you if Western Australians want to have a stronger economy and all of the benefits that flow from that, the only vote is for the Liberals. I can assure you.

You know Bill Shorten is offering - again, Mark I don't want to embarrass Mark with a partisan comment, but I'll be very factual - Bill Shorten wants to tax individuals more, he wants to tax companies more, he wants to tax trusts more, he wants to tax self-funded retirees more, he wants to tax property more.

There is no one who is going to miss out from his high tax grab and I have to tell you it's a fact of life, if you want people to invest and employ you've got to give them some incentives and there's a reason why we're having record jobs growth in Australia and that's because you've got a business-friendly federal government that is encouraging businesses to get ahead and hire.


3.2 versus 1.6 Premier, must make you even think about voting Liberal.


No, no. I just want to be very clear I'll be voting for Bill Shorten and Labor at the next federal election and I'd urge all West Australians to do so.

But in any event, look obviously we appreciate –


It lacked a bit of I know you meant it, possibly.


I guarantee you I'll be voting for federal Labor I'd urge all Western Australians to do so and I work well with Bill and the team and obviously I appreciate very much the fact that Bill Shorten has come out to Western Australia to make some very important announcements about infrastructure.

But just remember this, it is not over yet, we still have another year or so to the federal election. I'd love to see further commitments both by Federal Labor and by the Federal Coalition for our state.

Western Australia is now in a bit of a sweet spot.

We're now on the national political map. People are acknowledging nationally that we've had an unfair deal and I want to make sure I use that and push that for all I'm worth and my colleagues will push that for all we're worth, to make sure that Western Australia gets a better deal whether it's infrastructure, GST, health funding, education funding, or the like.


Do you feel a little bit grubby though, I mean obviously you've got to accept money from, from the federal government at the moment and they could actually win the election on the back of this?


Well I'm very excited that Western Australia's finally getting recognised.  I mean you've got to remember we went through a long period, with our GST share going down, not a great deal of federal funding coming into Western Australia. At last we're getting recognised.

I think the earthquake, the political earthquake that took place was the state election, in which Western Australia swung to Labor and I think it's now acknowledged on all sides nationally that Western Australia needs a better deal. I appreciate the fact that all sides are putting in more support for our state and we'll continue to advocate for even more.

My colleagues Rita and Ben, I want to acknowledge them, they put in a lot of effort to secure this deal with the Federal Government and we will continue to fight with it for, sorry will continue to fight for a better deal with the Federal Government and with the federal opposition in the lead up to the federal election.


This isn't making up for our low GST share, does it? It's not really close to that is it?


Well this is a very substantial investment. In terms of the GST, Western Australia has had a very raw deal.

I called that out several years ago. And we've set in place the mechanism, through the Productivity Commission, to review the way the GST formula works so that we can get a revised approach to GST which will pass the pub test everywhere, not just in Bunbury which will benefit from this great new ring road, but also in Burnie in Tasmania, and Bundaberg in Queensland, and Bendigo in Victoria.

You've got to make sure that GST arrangements are seen as fair across the country and that's what we're working on.

But we have already, we've contributed from the Federal Government, over the last four years, $1.4 billion in GST in additional payments to top up what WA got from the GST and the contribution of $190 million which has gone to the hospitals I mentioned, that was announced yesterday, that brings WA's GST share, effectively, up to 50 percent this year. And that's still too low but that's a lot better than the 30 percent which is where it was heading a few years back before we took action.


So can you commit to a timeframe for a permanent fix though, everyone knows we know we are waiting for that Productivity Commission report, what's the timeframe for a permanent fix to the system, the GST system.


Well the first step is to get the Productivity Commission report, which will be next month, and then we'll be working on it very, very closely. And as I said the important thing is, Mark understands this very well having been to these COAG meetings, It is very important to bring the rest of the Federation along.

So it's a big country, but we are united in a desire to see - a commitment to see that everybody gets a fair deal. And that's why I say, the GST share for WA at the moment doesn't pass the pub test. We've got to have a new arrangement that passes the pub test in every pub whether it's in Bunbury or in Burnie.


You mentioned the funding for the roads was going to make roads safer but there's no funding being put into some of WA's most dangerous roads like the Albany highway, Great Northern Highway up near Geraldton, how come they weren’t pitched in?


Well there is money going into the Great Northern Highway, but I might ask Paul or perhaps your Treasurer, Ben do you want to talk about - Rita, why don't you talk about some of the detail but there is money going in - it's not just in Perth.


So this is just the major roads package today and I have to also outline, as part of $2.3 billion dollar package last year, there was a regional road safety package which has been primarily funded by the Federal Government. And that's going through a number of regional roads which are unsafe and that's down near Albany, across the wheatbelt and also the northwest.

So this is part of an overall package and the first package primarily targeted, as part of the redistribution of the PFL funds, a lot of the regional roads in particular, there was a specific - for the first time - a specific regional road safety package that was funded by the Commonwealth.

So we'll continue to work with the Federal Government and of course next year we're also negotiating the future National Partnership Agreement between the states and the federal government.

But this Bunbury Outer Ring Road is a safety issue, it is a congestion issue and also an economic development issue and would really facilitate further economic development in the south west, but we'll continue to work with the Federal Government on road packages across the state.


Prime Minister have your West Australian MPs been feeling the heat? Are they telling you that members in their constituencies are angry at missing out on what we see as a fair share over here in WA?


Oh the answer is of course. All of my colleagues are very keenly, keenly aware of the concern here and they share that concern. They are West Australians and they live here, they understand it and I share it.

I have never made any bones about the fact that the current arrangements and the GST are not giving WA a fair deal. I mean I gave a speech about this a couple of years back and it's clear that changes have to be made and that's what we're working through with the Productivity Commission.

But you've got to get it right. As I said, we've got to recognise that whatever the new arrangements are, however they're structured, they've got to be seen as being fair everywhere.


Is this just a plan to save WA Ministers that are tipped to lose their seats at the next election?


This is a plan to get West Australians home sooner and safer. To bust congestion. To improve everybody's amenity here in this great city, it's a growing city it needs better infrastructure.

It needs better rail.

We were just on the train talking to a young couple who were coming into the city to work and we got on at Bayswater and the young woman was talking about how excited she was about the idea of being able to get the train from Bayswater to the airport.

She was saying, “How fantastic is that, you know we should be able to get the train to the airport”. She was also talking to us about how important the Bunbury Ring Road was going to be. She works in tourism, you know.

That's what Western Australians are talking about. The benefits of this infrastructure, the way it changes their lives, enables them as I said to get home sooner and safer.


In the budget how big will the cuts to income tax be?


Well you're asking me for the content of the budget and I can't, I'm sorry I can't help you, much to your surprise, I'm not going to disclose the budget here today.


Can you rule out an election before the end of the year given some of the signals that you're giving at the moment?


The election will be next year. In the first half of next year.


Prime Minister, in terms of the Korea meeting are you planning on visiting the peninsula?


I don't have a plan to visit Korea in the foreseeable future. But I'm staying very closely posted on the developments there and North Korea and the issues on the peninsula have been, as you know you would have seen my public statements, they've been a very top issue of discussion in all of the political meetings I've had while I've been in Europe.


What are your hopes about the Korean meeting?


This meeting between the leaders of North and South Korea, I hope this will be the beginning of steps that lead to the denuclearization of the peninsula.

That's everybody's goal. That's what is needed. We welcome, but with caution, these meetings and the remarks that have been made by Kim Jong Un.

But we have seen this before. We have had false dawns before on the Korean peninsula. So that's why it's really important to maintain the pressure of the sanctions.

It's the economic sanctions that have brought this apparent change in attitude and that pressure has to be maintained. But the goal is denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.


On the NDIS how confident can people be that the scheme will be fully funded given the government has changed its funding position three times now?


I'm not sure what changes you're talking about but the levy that we proposed in the last budget we’ve said we won't continue with.

We weren't able to get the numbers for it through the Senate largely because the Labor Party and the Greens opposed it. But as the Treasurer has said we have stronger revenues thanks to the strong economy that is the consequence of the economic leadership my government is providing.

You know we said in 2016 we would deliver jobs and growth and we have delivered that. Exactly that, stronger jobs growth, record jobs growth in fact in our history and that's delivering higher revenues and so we are able to fully fund the NDIS without the levy. So that's why we're not proceeding with it.


Australia is approaching a 'waste crisis given the recent events in China, is it true that the Federal Government needs to do more to contribute to dealing with and treating reuseable waste?


Well Josh Frydenberg is having a meeting with environment ministers today. This is largely, the Premier may wish to comment on this, this is very largely a state and local government matter, the management of waste.

But I think there's no question that we are going to have to recycle more. We're going to have to look very carefully at how much plastic waste that we can avoid creating in the first place.

There are a lot of measures that we'll need to undertake. Energy from waste is a very big agenda and in fact I had some discussions about that while I was in Germany with some German companies.

So it's a big area. Australians are actually very good recyclers. We've all got lots of coloured bins, you're all familiar with it. But we are going to have to do more. There's no doubt about that.


We're working on this issue in particular. As you know we're phasing out plastic bags in a couple of months. On top of that we plan to bring in container deposit legislation in the next couple of years and obviously those two things will make a difference.

But what China has done in saying that they're not taking a lot of waste - got a fan club up there - what China has done in saying that we're not, they're not going to take waste from other countries is obviously difficult to manage.

We're doing our best but container deposit legislation, phasing out plastic bags and I might just also add I think there needs to be a national, if not a world approach, to trying to deal with disposable plastic because it really is the enemy of the world's environment and it's destroying oceans and waterways and terrestrial environment and destroying creatures that have no capacity to deal with it.

And so I personally think that plastic is really one of the big world environmental issues that we all need to get on top of.


There's no doubt about that. It's just a question of getting the policies right that are going to be effective.


Can I ask you Premier would you call on Bill Shorten to support this infrastructure deal that you've done today?


Well Bill has already announced a $1.6 billion dollar package over a shorter period of time. So there is no way you can compare apples and oranges on this. But all I'd say to both sides of politics, the election is still a year away, I expect there'll be further announcements and I look forward to further announcements from federal Labor.


Are you all in on this one? If it's a poker analogy are you all in Prime Minister with your 3.2 or is there more to come?


I can answer that, yes.


Well, let me just thank you all very much for joining us here today. Let me just wrap it up on this point because you've raised the issue with Labor and again we're having a very bipartisan friendly gathering.

Here's the reality. And you know, the Premier and Ben, the Treasurer, my Finance Minister Mathias Cormann understand this - the numbers people - they understand this very well.

All of these projects are important but you've got to be able to afford to pay for them. Now we can afford to pay for them because of our policies which are delivering a stronger economy, more jobs, therefore higher revenues and lower unemployment expenses.

Now that is a consequence of our economic plan and that involves lower taxes and giving business the incentives to get ahead.

Bill Shorten on the other hand wants to tax everything higher. Companies, individuals, trusts, families, property, self-funded retirees, no one's going to miss out.

So the choice at the next election is going to be between strong economic management, more jobs, more investment and hence more investment in infrastructure or on Labor's side higher taxes on everybody, therefore lower government revenues, because business confidence will collapse. Fewer jobs and higher unemployment.

So it's going to be a very, very stark choice. You can't afford any of these things without a strong economy. That's a fact of life.


Can you just give us a rough timeframe of when this all will be instigated. That's the billion dollar question for West Australians, that's what they want to hear.


We were talking about when the rail lines would be built.


Without wishing to go into what's in budgets, a lot of the money is upfront in the coming federal and state budget. A lot of the money is over the longer term but we plan to get on and build the Ellenbrook line, the Byford line and the Midland line in accordance with our election promises so we expect to start the Ellenbrook line next year.


Where do you find the $2.1 billion, Premier?


Well obviously we're going through our business case process to define costs to see where we can push costs out of our commitment, our part of our component of these things.

Obviously the Commonwealth's commitments are over a significant period of time, so it gives us time to find the state’s commitment over that time and also we haven't ruled out further applications to some of the Commonwealth funds out there that are available for road and rail.

So there's a National Partnership Agreement on Transport that is coming up. Obviously we'll still be attempting to secure a better deal out of that.


But $2.1 billion do you see that in your forward estimates.


As I said our approach to these things is we do the business case on these things – it’s in the release -  we define the costs. We work out how to fund it before we put it into our budget.

That's the normal process at the state level. As you know John Langoulant said that's exactly what should occur.

We're going to go through that process but the Commonwealth's commitment goes over a significant period of time so we will deliver our share of these.

But it's still something we're working on to secure the money both internally and externally.


I'm confident you'll do it. You won't break the hearts of all those people we saw on the train this morning. They really want these investments to go ahead and they're thrilled that we're working together.


They are.


They know you'll get the money. I'm backing him.


We worked constructively and productively to achieve the right outcomes for WA.


Last time you were in WA you visited Kalgoorlie, today there is a rally against the cashless welfare card in town happening do you still support the cashless welfare card?


Yes. Yes.


How come?


Well I'd encourage you to go there, as I did, and sit down with the community and listen to the heartfelt stories about the importance of that cashless card and the way it saves families, it saves lives.

I have rarely been as moved as I have been by the personal stories that I heard there in Kalgoorlie from members of the community including leading members of the Aboriginal community there. Thanks very much everyone.


Transcript 41590