MONDAY, 2 JULY 2018
SUBJECTS: Commuter car parks; Labor’s plan for jobs and education
ANNE CHARLTON, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR ROBERTSON: Hello everyone, I’m Anne Charlton, I’m Labor’s candidate for Robertson in the upcoming federal election. It's great to have Bill Shorten here on the coast. I've been talking a lot to Bill over the last, good, couple of years since I was a candidate in the last election about the issues we have around commuter car parking. We've got more than 30,000 people that leave the coast every day. It's really important that they have somewhere to park and this is an issue that Bill has been listening, as he always does, listens to the issues in our community and having him here today making this announcement about commuter car parking is a very special time for me and our community. So thank you very much for being here today everyone.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Hi everyone, it's great to be here in Gosford. It's great to be announcing with our great candidates of course, Anne Charlton running in the seat of Robertson and Emma McBride, our Member for Dobell. These two great MPs and candidates have been saying Bill, we need to fix some of the public transport issues on the Central Coast and the people who commute to Sydney. In particular, they’ve said to me that before you can have a conversation with commuters about anything else, can't we just fix up the car parking? Can't we just make it easier for people to find a car park when they want to commute into town or catch a train into the city and back? And in fact, what these two great candidates are saying is the same as I hear from Labor candidates all over Australia. Governments want people to catch public transport but then we don't make it easy for them to catch public transport. So I'm really pleased to announce the very first location, the very first rollout of Labor's $300 million Park and Ride fund is right here on the Central Coast.
30,000 people make the commute from one of the fastest growing areas in Australia but we make it hard and government makes it hard for them to just catch the train. Every day you have people, the car parks in Woy Woy, Gosford and Tuggerah are full up by 6.30 in the morning and what on earth are people meant to do? They have to park in suburban streets or shopping centres where they can get fined. They have to park a long way away from the station. So every morning they make the drive to the station, then they’ve got to have the battle for the car park. It puts people off catching the train. I've met commuters who have said they've just given up using the train, even though it is far more useful and better for their quality of life because the search for the car park is just too frustrating. And of course, that whole cycle happens every evening again when people have to come home. And you add to that, not only the inconvenience of finding a council fine underneath the windscreen wiper of your car, the difficulty of the walk back to the car, but at night-time it is not always safe.
So what we're doing is we're going to propose $15 million out of our $300 million fund, $15 million working with Central Coast Council to help build multi-storey car parks, to help extend the bitumen car parks at Woy Woy. This is good news. I mean it is as plain as this, this is what the Government should be doing, helping Australians get on with their lives with the least fuss and bother. We'll build these 50-60 car parks right across Australia, we will get it done in the first term of a Labor Government. We're not building the pyramids here. It shouldn’t take - we don't need a review, we don’t need another investigation. What we will do is we will make sure 1,000 extra car parks across these three very busy railway stations on the Central Coast and we're starting here because Anne Charlton said "Let's start here, Bill", Emma McBride said "Let's start here". The Council's done the work. We are going to roll out car parks across Australia because we want people in the suburbs of Australia to have better quality of life, more time at home to be safer and not to have the burden of extra cost. That is what a Shorten Labor Government will do.
We are on the side of the people. We prioritise people and families over giving $17 billion to the big banks. And the beauty of what we're proposing, $15 million to build two multistorey car parks and extend the Woy Woy bitumen car park, we can afford to spend that $15 million helping 30,000 commuters because we we're not going waste $17 billion on a big bank hand-out which is what Mr Turnbull's plan is for the Central Coast.
Happy to perhaps now ask Emma to say a few words and we'll take questions on this very practical announcement.
EMMA MCBRIDE, MEMBER FOR DOBELL: Thank you so much Bill. Bill Shorten listens. Bill has done town halls across Australia. He's been at train stations, he's been knocking on doors and people are telling him in communities like ours that we need to fix public transport and the first thing we can do is have proper parking for people.
In my community almost one in four people leave the Central Coast each day for work. The car park at Tuggerah station is full before 6.30. We know that, it matters and we can do something about it. So I'm so pleased that this national policy has been announced. The first commitment, the first local commitment has been made right here on the Central Coast.
The Central Coast in the regions and the suburbs matter to Labor. And we will start here to make this change. Thank you so much Bill for coming to the Central Coast. We have aw fantastic candidate in Anne Charlton, our Labor candidate for Robertson who is working so hard to make sure that the needs of our community are heard, that the needs of our community will be met and Anne has our full support and the support of the community to do what needs to be done to improve the Central Coast. Thank you so much Anne for all you're doing and Bill for the strong commitment you've shown to our region. Thank you.
SHORTEN: Thanks, Emma. Are there any questions on this and then we can go on to other matters.
JOURNALIST: Specifically how will it work? Where will those car parks be built?
SHORTEN: For Tuggerah and for Gosford, we're proposing multistorey car parks. For Woy Woy we're going to propose extending the flat level car park there. What we will do is we will work with the Central Coast Council. I must congratulate the Central Coast Council. They've said this is an issue, and they've helped provide us some of the detail. So we'll sit down now, having announced our fund and talk to local communities. The locals know where the car park should go. I also just have to make it very clear here, we're going to talk to the police. We want to make sure that where we have got the multistorey car parks and new car parks we want public transport commuters to feel safe. I'm not saying anything wrong will ever happen but I do think that we just need to remember that where we don't put in this support of infrastructure around our public transport, then that could be regarded as a safety concern for some commuters and we've heard our commuters. We hear the people say "Can you put some more CCTV, can you work on making sure the lighting’s better?". Little things like this go a long way. So we'll work with the Council and we'll work with the police and of course we'll work with the state governments.
I have to say this Park and Ride fund, where we will build 50 or 60 multistorey car parks or extend existing car parks, it's popular. I've already had local MPs and state governments ringing me up saying "How can we get into this?" This is the start of the job, it’s not the end of the job but I just want to get on with it. It's one of the many reasons why I'm excited about the next election. Because if we get a chance to form a government, no more just looking into everything and never doing anything for half a decade and blaming the previous government, I just want to get to work. Any local journalists here, have a question then we'll go onto the national stuff?
JOURNALIST: When you say 1,000 car parks, that is across the three, Gosford, Woy Woy and Tuggerah?
SHORTEN: Yes, that's right. We will work with Council. Council has been thinking about this, to be fair to them, but councils can't fund the whole system on their own. People on the Central Coast pay taxes to Canberra, they have the reasonable expectation that some of those taxes will be reinvested, improving all the other parts of their working lives including getting to and from work.
JOURNALIST: The car park, can that be expanded? Do you have any plans to expand onto that to make it taller?
SHORTEN: In terms of which car park?
JOURNALIST: The one that's there now, the one near the station.
SHORTEN: We’ll take the advice –
JOURNO: That’s the one we would want.
SHORTEN: We'll take the advice of the engineers and the local council and of course our local members. The best thing I can suggest though is to talk to Anne. People have observations. The commuters know what needs to be done. They’re the ones who frankly, it should be built for their purpose.
JOURNALIST: They were going to extend it that's the closest one, not one miles away.
SHORTEN: You make a lot of sense.
JOURNALIST: We have a question about employment. As you say, 30,000 people commute to the city from this region every day. We've got one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the state. What will your Government deliver in terms of job creation for this region?
SHORTEN: Well let me pick in fact, this project as an illustration of the bigger point. I'm committed to make sure that apprenticeships aren't something young people read about in the history books, that they're part of peoples' future. A lot of parents know that their teenage kids, some of them want to go to university, but others want to just do an apprenticeship but they're worried about their availability. So I am pleased to say that one strategy we have is to help make apprenticeships a viable pathway for young people. So even on these three projects, these construction projects, we will be specifying that one in 10 of the people who works even on the construction of these projects has to be an apprentice. We've got a one in 10 rule. If there is a Commonwealth taxpayer dollar, we are going to require the businesses - and this provides some support for small business too - if you have an apprentice, if you've got a profile which includes apprentices in your employment profile, well then, you've got a better chance of getting the contract.
More generally, we are going to be the party who saves public TAFE. I think that we've got to send a very clear message to young people in years 7,8, 9 and 10 at school, that you have choices. If you want to go to university, well you'll have that choice and we're going to increase the number of university places by 200,000 over the next decade. But you're also going to have a choice to do an apprenticeship.
My father was an apprentice fitter-and-turner, he always gave me that choice. Now, what we want to do is make it easier to go to TAFE so we are going to pay the up-front fees of 100,000 TAFE places over the next three years. We are also going to put some more money into revitalising the TAFE infrastructure. We've also said we're against the rampant privatisation of vocational education - so at least 2 in every 3 dollars that the Federal Government has, spends on our TAFE, we want spent on actually TAFE - not the private providers. So yhey're good TAFE plans.
In terms of industry and what we do there, we've got a series - we want to start backing in renewable energy and that's going to create jobs. We certainly want to start backing in tourism infrastructure because we think tourism is a good generator of jobs. We have got plans in other parts of Australia for defence infrastructure. We're also creating an Advanced Manufacturing Future Fund so that people can, small businesses and medium sized businesses who've got an interest in manufacturing in this country, can access cheaper finance than they currently do.
We've also proposed, which will help create jobs, what we call the Australian Investment Guarantee. Currently when companies invest in new technology, new software, new plant and equipment which helps them generate business, they have depreciation schedules where the money they spend can be written off over time against their tax bill. We're going to turbo-charge that by putting an extra 20 per cent depreciation on day one for any expenditure over $20,000. So what that means is if you buy trucks or you buy industrial kitchen equipment or you buy software which is going to upgrade your productivity, under a Labor Government, you're going get a return on your tax which rewards you for making productive investment.
So that's a whole range of jobs. One of the other things we're going to do which I think people lose sight of - and I will stop going through the whole catalogue, I don't want to lose people - but we're going to restore penalty rates. You might say at first blush, what is the connection between penalty rates and helping generate more jobs? The fact of the matter is when working Australians have more money in their pocket, they spend more money. The people who get penalty rates by and large don't have a lot of money to save, they spend it. So once we start putting more income into the system, into the pockets of people, what happens is they spend it - that generates economic confidence for small business and for regional centres and for the suburban High Street shops.
So, that's just a taste of what we will do.
I will go back to something I said earlier to wrap up this answer on, I can't wait to the next election because we just want to get on and get things done. We're not interested in giving corporate tax cuts to the top end of town and $17 billion for big banks. We’re a party of the people and for the people. We want to do the things which make a practical difference.
Perhaps if there are any national questions?
JOURNALIST: Do you agree with Tanya Plibersek that Labor will have a huge win at the Braddon by-election?
SHORTEN: I think it is an uphill battle. If we win, that will be huge. But what I would say is that it is a tough contest, no question. Anyone who says that an election is in the bag, I think we just need to remember that the voters still have to make the decision.
But when it comes to Braddon, if you use the North-West Hospital down there, we're going to fund it better. One of the big issues in Northern Tasmania which people might not be aware of is that they don't get some of the same health outcomes that people on mainland Australia take for granted. I have friends or people, union members I used to represent who, when they need health care for their families, they have to, to see the specialist, they have got to get on a plane and go to Melbourne - that is horrendously expensive. So if the health and hospitals is the number one issue in Braddon, then I think Tanya's right, we will do well. The other thing we intend to do is properly fund the schools there. We've said we will improve the road infrastructure on the Bass Highway. We have a lot of good plans for North-Western Tasmania because our policies are about looking after working and middle class people not the top end of town. And the reason why I can afford to make promises in Braddon and why Labor can stand up for working people and improve the hospitals and access to medical specialists in North-Western Tasmania, because we're not giving $17 billion to the big banks. It is all about choices - Mr Turnbull is choosing the big banks, I'm choosing the health of Tasmanians.
JOURNALIST: Does the latest Newspoll concern you, Mr Shorten?
SHORTEN: No. I've made a practice as you'd know from covering my interviews over the last two years, that I don't comment about the polls - good, bad or indifferent.
What I actually think is that when people get to see our positive policies, when they get to hear the plan we're outlining for the Australian people and how we put people first in our propositions, then we'll win the next election.
So my job is not to get distracted. My job is not to get into the trap of arguing about every little personality issue, but instead to focus upon the policies which effect people. What the people here want is they want a multi-storey car park so the commute is not so onerous. People want real things in their lives. They'd like our tax refund of $1,000 for people who earn up to $125,000. They want to see the Medicare freeze unfrozen so the out-of-pocket costs for people who go and seeing the doctor don't keep going up and up. They'd like to see some real action on energy rather than this constant warfare between Mr Abbott and Mr Turnbull about whether climate change is real.
JOURNALIST: But as preferred Prime Minister, your polls are very low, why aren't you making an impact? Personally making an impact with people?
SHORTEN: Well, I say this with all niceness but I love the media - they spend half the time, half their lives, telling us that we talk too much about ourselves and then the other half of the time, they want me to talk about myself. I'll take the first half of your advice.
JOURNALIST: Media reports on the weekend say Anthony Albanese already has enough support to become the Labor leader if there was a vote, do you agree with that?
SHORTEN: Listen, I'm not even going to start speculating about that, and you know, I get that the media’s a job to do, but the issue here is that the Australian people want to see the Labor Party, and indeed, the Government, talk about the people. I tell you what, if we go out and do a survey in the street, what's more important to you? Politicians having arguments about themselves, or properly funding Medicare, getting the power bills down, looking after the pensioners, making sure young people can get an apprenticeship, making sure a commuter doesn't have to walk half a mile to get to be able to get to the railway station in the dark? I know that they're interested in priorities.
Perhaps one more question.
JOURNALIST: Did you make an honest error last week on company tax cuts as Wayne Swan said?
SHORTEN: Listen, on the company tax issue, I'm not going to debate the process. But I think we got to the right place in the end. There's no doubt that my economic team thought that an initial threshold of $10 million was sufficient but looking at the uncertainty that business raised with us and colleagues raised with us, we listened and now we've led. And what we can say to Australian businesses right across the nation is that at the next election, for 99.8 per cent of Australian businesses, you'll either pay the same tax under Liberal or Labor, or you’ll pay less tax under Labor because you'll remember at the start of the press conference, I was telling you about our great idea, the Australian Investment Guarantee - what that allows, and the business people will understand this very clearly - is currently when you buy equipment, which helps you enhance the profitability and productivity of your business, you can depreciatiate it, you can claim the cost of it over time against your taxes, the investment you make. Because of Labor and because of the hard decisions we've made, the serious economic reforms we're making, we're going to add 20 per cent on top of the tax deductibility for any business who invests more than $20,000 in job-creating, profit-making technology. When you look at those policies, I think business, small and medium, will realise Labor’s is the best bet.
Beyond that, I do have to say though, for the top end, for the multinationals, for the four big banks, for the big companies, Labor doesn't think that you deserve to get a handout from the Government ahead of sorting out the pensioner’s power bills, ahead of looking after our hospitals and fixing penalty rates. Labor is on the side of the millions of Australians who go to work - small business, farmers, pensioners, wage and salary earners. I can't speak for everyone in the Government, but it is disturbing that the share of corporate profits in this country is going up and up and up. And the share of the economic growth of this nation that goes to wage and salary earners is going down and down and down. Labor wants to get the balance back in the system. We want to make sure that we can make, for millions of Australians, it's all about jobs, health and education. And, of course, more car parks at Gosford railway station. Thanks everybody.