The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Wayne Swan

Wayne Swan

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013

2 February 2012

Doorstop interview

Joint Doorstop interview with
The Hon Anna Bligh MP
Premier of Queensland

Tully, Queensland

SUBJECTS: First anniversary of Cyclone Yasi; car industry; leadership

TREASURER:

It's good to be here today to recognise all of the hard work of this local community in the reconstruction that's taken place over the last 12 months. Anna and I are just so proud of what has been achieved by everybody in this town and in this region over the past 12 months. This was the biggest natural disaster in Australia's history, the combination of the floods in the south-east and cyclone Yasi here in the Far North. It posed a huge challenge for our state and a huge challenge for our nation but we came together and we worked to deal with all of the challenges. Whether it's the housing or whether it's the public infrastructure, the roads or the railways, or whether it's the devastation that families have felt with being dislocated. All of these things meant that we had a big challenge on our hands and in just 12 months so much has been achieved. It doesn't mean to say that everything has been done however because to recover from such a huge natural disaster, it takes time, it takes resilience, it takes effort and it takes goodwill and all of that has been on display in this community.

The people that have been coming here for holidays now to help people in the tourist industry – there's been a change, more people have been coming into the region. Australians have been looking after other Australians, recognising that they are in need. All of the work of the volunteers that were here this morning: our SES workers, the police, everything that the Army did during this period, all of these things meant that we had the best opportunity to really deal with the challenges. And today is a great opportunity for me in particular, and for Anna, and all of those elected officials here, to talk to the local community about where we're going next but most particularly to pay tribute to what they have done in the most difficult of circumstances over the past 12 months.

There's been a very big financial commitment between the State and Federal Government to the area but at the end of the day what really matters is people's commitment to community, to build a stronger community, a stronger business community, a stronger set of relationships between people living in the suburbs. All of these things are really important and it's been important today to pay tribute to all of that. Thanks.

(Premier Bligh makes further remarks)

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer more jobs lost at Holden despite millions of dollars for the industry. Is that money well spent?

TREASURER:

Well, I think the auto industry is a very, very important industry for Australia but it faces at the moment very challenging conditions, challenging global conditions; demand for autos worldwide is down and global growth is down somewhat and of course we've got the strength of the Australian dollar which poses challenges for many of our export industries. So challenges for the auto industry, our first thoughts must go to those workers affected by this announcement. We must do everything we possibly can to assist them gain future employment. The Government is very much focused on this industry, has been focused on it for a significant period of time, working with the industry to make sure that it is competitive and viable into the future given the change in the global nature of the auto industry there are challenges but we're absolutely determined to have in this country a viable and competitive auto industry and of course Australians won't get that from Mr Abbott. He wants to rip funding out of some of the most important programs which make our auto industry competitive.

JOURNALIST:

(Inaudible)

TREASURER:

Well, we are spending taxpayer money wisely in the auto industry to make sure it has a place in the global supply chain. We are absolutely focused on its competitiveness and making sure that it's viable into the future.

JOURNALIST:

(Inaudible) Fair Work Australia (Inaudible)

TREASURER:

I think that story is a complete beat-up.

JOURNALIST:

Why is that?

TREASURER:

It's a complete beat-up because it doesn't say what is claimed at all. It's simply an email from an office for the inquiry, nothing more and nothing less.

JOURNALIST:

So it doesn't show collusion?

TREASURER:

No it doesn't. It shows nothing of the sort.

JOURNALIST:

Julia Gillard (inaudible) she's losing support (inaudible)?

TREASURER:

She's got strong support because she's a really strong leader. She's demonstrated that time and time again, and in particular demonstrated in this state through her guts and determination to back the people of this state given the natural disasters that occurred in this state over the past 12 months, and the Commonwealth has put on the table in difficult economic circumstances $6 billion for the rebuilding of this state. That's just one demonstration of her strength of leadership and her commitment to good public policy.

JOURNALIST:

(Inaudible)

TREASURER:

I beg your pardon?

JOURNALIST:

(Inaudible)

TREASURER:

We've got a terrific team and we all work well together. We've got a really strong team of Ministers. Kevin Rudd is the Foreign Minister, doing a good job. I'm out there all of the time. I'm working with all of our other Ministers. We've got a good team.

(Premier Bligh continues press conference)