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

13 June 2013

Doorstop Interview

Joint doorstop interview with
the Hon Deb O'Neill MP
Member for Robertson

Central Coast

SUBJECTS: NBN, Innovation Summit, Small Business Instant Asset Write-Off, Offensive Liberal Party Fundraiser Menu, ALP Pre-selections, Target Jobs, Kevin Rudd, Roy Hill mine in WA

O'NEILL:

Good morning everyone. Welcome to the Central Coast. It's been a wonderful morning to have the Treasurer here with us and we've been able to make some fantastic announcements. Firstly, this morning $2.3 million to go to our local TAFE. The NBN was switched on six weeks ago in Gosford and now it's live in Kibble Park, right in the heart of Gosfod, which is pretty close to our TAFE. And because of that investment in the future of our country, right here on the Central Coast in the heart of Gosfod, our TAFE has the capacity now to go ahead and offer really innovative education. Their particular focus is on three key areas; aged care, childcare, and tourism and hospitality. Each of these areas are mainstays for our local economy and this opportunity for training, which can start with locals but move all the way out to anybody who wants to learn in an online environment, is going to be driven right here from the heart of the Central Coast at Gosford.

So I'm delighted that the Federal Government has been able to work in partnership with our local TAFE and the vision that they have for creating very different learning styles, learning opportunities that meet a learner's needs was very well explained to us this morning by Louise Lewis and Phil Cox from the local TAFE. So that was one fantastic announcement.

We followed that with a visit here to the Innovation Summit. Can I say how proud I have been of the innovative capacity of local businesses and local leaders in our community in innovation. We are one of ten Enterprise Connect areas that are around the country engaging in innovation and collaboration to improve the productivity, improve the economic wellbeing of our local community, and through that, to grow jobs. With 35,000 to 40,000 Central Coast residents having to leave the coast for work predominantly in in Sydney and some in Newcastle, getting jobs and growing our economy on the Central Coast is at the heart of everything that I do every day and certainly at the heart of the vision for this Government.

Finally, as it's tax time and I have the Treasurer beside me, I really want to take this opportunity to communicate with all people in small business but particularly those on the coast. We'll be heading out to a small business locally to make sure that small businesses understand that we are supporting local businesses by providing a $6,500 instant asset write-off. So if local businesses are growing, if local businesses can improve their productivity by replacing old and broken photocopiers or brick saws or whatever it is that they need, they can do that this month and next month. They will actually be able to put in a tax return and claim the entire amount back. It's not just for one item. There might be three or four new computers that need to be purchased – each at say $4,000. This means that the cash flow improvement, that money coming straight back into the business as soon as the tax return is lodged, is going to create an opportunity for our local businesses to grow, and through that; jobs for local people.

So for those three things I have to say thank you to the Treasurer. There are many more things I could thank him for, and for his leadership, and his dedicated focus on growing jobs for all Australians. I want to put that on the record while you're here on the coast. Locally, if you're a small business, do not miss the opportunity. This is a Labor Government investment and we're making sure that small business grows. Thank you.

TREASURER:

Thanks very much, Deb. It's great to be here on the Central Coast. It's great to talk with all of the participants today in the Innovation Summit and to have a discussion with them about a range of policies that we've put in place to drive jobs and growth. That's where innovation is central and of course that's where the NBN is so important for future of local economies like the economy here on the Central Coast, but right across the country. Empowering businesses, providing new sources of productivity growth and driving business models for many people here, in a way which was never ever possible before. That is the key to growth in the future for communities like this and that's why we've got this great nation-building project in place, the NBN, to drive growth and deliver new services.

This morning we were down at the Gosford TAFE with TAFE teachers and talking to them about how they're going to use the NBN to deliver their teaching to a whole range of people who were not possible for them in the past to get access to education. The NBN is just part of innovation. What the Government is doing to invest in had school improvement program, particularly here in New South Wales and on the Central Coast is vital to Australia's future, not just for individuals but for the economy as a whole. Lifting the quality of our education, providing additional resources to each and every school across the Central Coast is critical to the future of regions like this. That is why it is so sad to see the approach of Tony Abbott to the decision of the New South Wales Government to participate with the Commonwealth Government in the school improvement program. Tony Abbott intends to cut to the bone here in New South Wales, if he comes to Government the additional funds which would have been available for every school in New South Wales. That will have a dramatic impact on local regions such as this.

I'd also like to just say a few words about an announcement also today from the Liberals and Mr Abbott and that is that they don't intend in the future to continue to support our car industry. That decision from Mr Abbott, if he were in Government, would cost this country tens of thousands of jobs. And just as he has the attitude to the school improvement program, he has to the car industry. It's not smart, it's destructive and it will wreck jobs for the future. Over to you.

JOURNALIST:

Do you agree that the Government has over-reached on the Mal Brough story as it now appears the menu was never distributed? And will you retract your call for Mal Brough to be dis-endorsed?

TREASURER:

Absolutely not. This is a vile act by those that were at the lunch. The stories that have been told by various participants simply don't add up. To my way of thinking, it's almost inconceivable that this menu was not sighted by participants at the lunch and I don't think we've heard any convincing case from any of the participants that it wasn't seen by people.

JOURNALIST:

Do you not believe the owner of the restaurant who said it was just an in-joke and that it was never seen by the Liberal Party?

TREASURER:

No, I don't.

JOURNALIST:

Do you know if the ALP is any closer to choosing a candidate for Dobell yet?

TREASURER:

Those are matters you'll have to direct to the ALP. I don't handle pre-selections.

JOURNALIST:

Major job losses have been announced at Target. Should we be prepared for an increase in the unemployment rate today?

TREASURER:

I'm not going to speculate about figures which are going to be published in an hour or so time. Australia has done well over the past five years. Over 950,000 jobs have been created in Australia during a period of great difficulty in the global economy, in fact the greatest difficulty in the global great economy since the Great Depression. So Australia has done well but we're not immune from global uncertainty and of course a higher Australian dollar has put a lot of pressure on a number of industrial sectors and put pressure on employment. But what we will continue to do, as we did in the Budget, is to make sure we do everything we can to grow our economy, to support jobs and job security. That is why in the Budget we announced very substantial investments in infrastructure, it's why in the Budget we said we would take a little longer to come back to surplus so we could support jobs and growth now. The real threat to that strategy lies in Mr Abbott who would cut to the bone critical spending in infrastructure, critical spending in education and as we now know, critical spending to support jobs in the car industry.

JOURNALIST:

Will the Government provide assistance to those affected Target workers?

TREASURER:

I'll have to see the full announcement, but we have a range of assistance available to people who are impacted upon by decisions of companies to restructure.

JOURNALIST:

Kevin Rudd was mobbed yesterday in Western Sydney while he was campaigning. Will you be inviting Mr Rudd to campaign in your electorate?

TREASURER:

I'm campaigning all over the country and in my electorate, as is Mr Rudd. That's what we do and we will continue to do.

JOURNALIST:

Do you welcome news that Gina Rinehart is now unlikely to need foreign workers for Western Australia's Roy Hill mine?

TREASURER:

I haven't seen that report, so I couldn't comment on it. Thanks.