Thursday 9 July 2020
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Australian PM - 1 month ago

Doorstop - Googong NSW

FIONA KOTVOJS, LIBERAL CANDIDATE FOR EDEN-MONARO: Good morning everybody, it s lovely to have you here, I’m Fiona Kotvojs, the Liberal candidate for Eden-Monaro, and it s a true pleasure to be able to welcome the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, the Housing Minister, Michael Sukkar, our Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, and Senator Jim Molan to Googong, a great growth area in our electorate. So we have a wonderful announcement today and I look forward to sharing this with you. PRIME MINISTER: Well thank you, Fiona, and it s great to be here with you again here in Eden-Monaro. And back here in Googong actually, where we re talking about one of the most important industries we’ve got in our country, our home building industry right across Eden-Monaro, rebuilding communities, rebuilding our economy, right across the country that is also the case. You wouldn t want to be anywhere else other than Australia. Particularly in times like this, when we look around the world and we see what s happening. And Australia is certainly not immune from the difficult challenges that are being faced. But here in Australia, we re doing better than many, and better than most and that s not just on the health front. Even with the difficult news that we had yesterday that the Treasurer had to share. Australia is making its way, and importantly, we re making our way back. It s going to be a hard road back. There are many lives and livelihoods that are going to be impacted by the dreadful impact of the coronavirus, both on the health impact and on the economic impact. Jobs lost, businesses closed. But Australia is reopening and Australia is in that battle for jobs. And our government is in that battle for jobs. And in that battle for jobs, we ve got to deal with the difficulties in the short term and we ve got to deal with the challenges over the longer term as well. In the short term, we know that in the residential building and construction industry, that on the other side of September, the pipeline of work that they ve been working on will really start to dry up quickly. Some 30,000 homes or thereabouts won t get built. That means jobs not just for tradies and apprentices, but all of the other industries that feed into the home building industry and all the jobs that depend on that. The retail jobs, and the jobs more broadly throughout the community. And that s why we believed it was important that as part of the many, the many measures, the many supports that we re putting into our economy at the moment, supporting our home building industry and not just new homes, but significant renovations of homes, knockdowns and rebuilds. $25,000 dollars to support those families and those Australians whose dream it was to build their home or to do that big renovation, a dream that they thought might have been crushed by the coronavirus. Well, we re here to tell them that we re going to take that dream alive for them and the dream alive of the jobs of the apprentice s and the builders and the, and the tradies and all of those who depend on this critical industry right across the country, in our regional cities, and in our towns, in our suburbs like where we are today, right across the country. This is good news. It s good news because it shows that the government understands the challenges that we face in rebuilding our economy, both the short term challenges of keeping industries like this going, but also the longer term challenges. Just yesterday, just yesterday, people from employees, and employer organisations sat down together to work out how they could have a better workplace so we could create more jobs. There s just one thing going on and that is creating jobs. And this initiative that we ve announced today, $25,000 dollars for families and individuals, $125,000 income, $200,000 per household income. This is going to make a big difference for them. It s going to make a big difference for the economy that will depend on the building industry, the residential home building industry continuing to move forward over the next 6 to 12 months. A lot of thought has gone into the programme. I want to commend the Treasurer and Michael Sukkar the Housing Minister for the work they ve done in bringing this programme together. I want to thank the states and territories in advance. This is one of the sectors we ve spoken about with Premiers and Chief Ministers, and they ll be doing their part in this as well, in supporting the implementation of the programme. And I know there ll be other states and territories that will come in and provide further support. We ve kept to our principles when it comes to these programmes of using existing delivery methods so we can make sure the money goes where it needs to and we can protect against any integrity issues that can arise. So I want to thank you again, Michael, and it s great to be here out in Eden-Monaro to make this announcement. It s another important step in the road back. We ve got the plan to get out of this. We just need to keep applying ourselves to it, taking those steps each and every day and assuring Australians that just as we look around the world today and we can see that Australia is faring better than most. This is a great country to be in. Particularly at a time when the country is going through such difficulty and the world is going through so much hurt. I ll pass over to the Treasurer and then to the Housing Minister. THE HON. JOSH FRYDENBERG MP, TREASURER: Thank you very much, Prime Minister. Thank you, Fiona, for the invitation to join you here today. Congratulations to the Housing Minister on all the work that he s done. To Jim Molan,  and to the representatives of the housing industry thank you for the constructive dialogue that we’ve had in the lead up to today’s announcement. Well, as the Prime Minister said we are on the road back. We are on the road back to recovery with the agreement by National Cabinet to ease the restrictions. But despite those restrictions being eased, there are still some sectors of the economy that are going to do it tough for a while yet. And the housing sector is one of those sectors. It s worth $100 billion dollars a year to the Australian economy, around 5 per cent of GDP, more than a million people are employed in the construction industry more generally across Australia. So today s announcement is designed to get our tradies back to work. Our plumbers, our carpenters, our sparkies, our painters, to get them back to work. But this house, you see that we’re at today, that has a long supply chain. It has the prefabricated materials. It obviously has the workers on the site, but it also has the many, many other workers who are putting it together, the things that go in, into a new home. So today is a really important day and a really important announcement because what we re trying to do is fill that void in the housing sector and it s going to open up between now and the end of the year. We re on the road back and today’s announcement will help us ride that road back in a much quicker fashion. Michael. THE HON. MICHAEL SUKKAR MP, ASSISTANT TREASURER AND MINISTER FOR HOUSING: Thanks. Well, good morning and Fiona thanks for having us here in Googong, the PM, Treasurer, Senator Molan, it s wonderful to be here today in announcing the HomeBuilder programme, the Morrison government is saying that this will spark a tradie-led recovery of our economy. As the Treasurer s rightly pointed out, the residential construction industry employs a million Australians. All through the supply chain. This $25,000 dollar grants for new homes and substantial renovations will make that decision so much easier for so many Australians. That big decision to buy a new house, to renovate, a major renovation of your existing home. And that just means jobs for Australians. Those jobs are so important for our economy, we re very pleased the HomeBuilder programme has been warmly welcomed by all of the industry groups, and particularly the Master Builders Association who have said that this investment from the federal government, $25,000 dollars for new homes and for substantial renovation will unlock $10 billion dollars of construction activity. That is a huge multiplier for our economy. Again, supporting hundreds of thousands of Australians. And again, as the Prime Minister said, we will work really cooperatively with the states, many of whom have their own schemes for first time buyer grants or stamp duty exemptions, and we know of some states who certainly back this in with even further support of their own because they understand again how important this sector is for the economy. So the HomeBuilder programme, $25,000 dollars for Australians to purchase a new home or substantially renovate their own home. It s available from today for any of those projects contracted from today onwards. So we encourage all Australians, if you are teetering on the edge of making that decision, this is the investment that the Morrison government that we hope will ensure that you make that decision. Thank you. PRIME MINISTER: Thank you, Denita from the MBA. DENITA WAWN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF MASTER BUILDERS AUSTRALIA: Good morning, Denita Wawn from Master Builders Australia. There s a sense of relief around the thousands of builders and tradies around the country and all of those that supply the building industry. We were facing the valley of death towards hundreds of thousands of job losses, and we simply wanted support to keep people working. We didn t want them on JobSeeker, we wanted stimulus to ensure that the industry kept going. We were facing a 40 per cent decline across the country in residential home building, which would have equated to nearly around about 450,000 job losses over the next 6 months. That had to stop. And we greatly appreciate the federal government coming to the rescue of the industry to ensure that not only we can continue, but all of those supplying the industry can do so, as well as the support services they get, including all those tradies that I saw getting their coffee this morning on the way out here to Googong. So thank you very much to the federal government for their support for the residential sector. Thank you. GRAHAM WOLFE, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF THE HOUSING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION: Thank you, Graham Wolfe from Housing Industry Association. Today’s announcement of the HomeBuilder programme is great news for the home building industry. It’s great news for the builders and trade contractors, for the professional service providers in the industry. For the schedulers, for the designers, for the supervisors and everybody involved in home building activity. It s also great news for the manufacturer and retail workers, the people who provide all the materials, the building products that go into building a new home and the people that provide the white goods and furnishings that make our house our home. It s fantastic news for the economy too, generating over $15 billion dollars worth of economic activity across the land development, building, manufacturing and retail sectors that all input into the home building industry. I look forward to working with the federal government as they move through the economic recovery, but it s worthwhile acknowledging the federal government s role in bringing together the states and territories also in these endeavours. And I look forward to working with the state and territory Premiers and Treasurers in the coming weeks and months as they announce their programmes to complement what the federal government has announced here today. Great news for the industry. Great news for jobs in our industry. Grate news for the Australian economy as we, as we ve recovered from the downturn that was caused by COVID-19. PRIME MINISTER: Okay, happy to take some questions. JOURNALIST: Prime Minister it’s safe to assume that this will not save every single construction job at risk of going? And also can you concede that people are doing it tough, how many people really have at least $150,000 to spend on a home renovation right now? PRIME MINISTER: Whether you’re spending money on a renovation or you re building a home, what this is about is the jobs of the people who work on those projects and ensuring that their jobs are sustained by having those projects continue. We ll see some 30,000 fewer homes expected to be built as a result of what has happened in the COVID-19 crisis. And so whether it s in this sector or many other sectors we re working across. It’s just a straight forward matter of addressing the challenges and the needs that we see in front of us, JobKeeper and JobSeeker work right across the entire economy, 5 million Australians supported right now. And let s not forget, when the Treasurer and I announced both of those programmes, there d been no figures that had come across at that point about what unemployment was or what the national accounts were going to say, we knew that COVID-19 was going to have a big impact. And we took that action well in advance of all of that news. And we know there s still harder news still to come. And that s why we re making the announcements we re having today. No one measure, no one single thing solves every single problem, but everybody working together, and all of those programmes working together is what enables Australia to make its way back. And that s what our plan is based on. Yesterday s news was really tough. It was really hard. And Australians are doing it really tough. But what they can take confidence in, is that there s a plan that is being put in place to ensure we get ourselves back. And when you look around the world, there s no place you d rather be than right here in Australia. JOURNALIST: Prime Minister Wayne Swan could never say the word ‘deficit’ can you say ‘recession’? PRIME MINISTER: It s certainly something that I never wanted to see happen in Australia ever again. I really didn t want to see a recession ever again in Australia. And as a Government, we worked so hard to bring the Budget back into balance, to create one and a half million jobs. And there were many sacrifices that had to be achieved to get Australia s economy back on track and to see Covid-19 hit it like a torpedo is absolutely devastating. And so where we find ourselves now is heartbreaking. But what you do is you respond and you pull together and that s what the country is doing. I think one of the things Australia has done to its credit and is a reason for our success compared to so many other countries, countries just like ours, sophisticated developed economies, democracies. They’ve been hit by the same risks that we have. But Australia s resolve has been so much better and one of the reasons for that is that people were drawn together. As a Government, we have brought people together. As a Prime Minister, I ve sought to bring people, the Treasurer the same, all of my ministers in our federal cabinet, working with states, territories, industry, the various groups that are impacted, day in and day out, to bring Australians together to get through this crisis and today is another example. JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, on the home renovations, the threshold is $150,000. That might be alright in the city but in places like Eden-Monaro where home values are much lower, how is it fair to have that same threshold right across the board? PRIME MINISTER: Well, it s important to have, and Michael might want to comment on this and so might those in the sector, but when you look around at this estate here and it s like many estates all around the country. I mean, the average price for building a home these days is about $350,000. I mean, that house we were just in there, about $600,000 or thereabouts as a construction price, I think it’s owned by a service family. But the issue is the project. It s the project that creates the jobs and the income limits we’ve put on the test for people to be involved in this are the same that we put in for the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme. Now, the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, which was a key promise we made at the last election, has been delivered. 10,000 Australians... So it s the projects that count, it’s the projects that count. And I was talking about the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme. 10,000 Australians, as we said would take this program on, have taken it on. And another 10,000 will get that opportunity from the 1st of July. So the parameters we ve set around these programmes in the past and here now today have proved to be right on the money and this programme is also right on the money for jobs. JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, why not social housing? Why? Why new homes and renovations? What about social housing for vulnerable people in this economic crisis? PRIME MINISTER: Well, in our partnership with the states, we all do our bit. And as Treasurer, I set up the National Housing Finance Investment Corporation which has been one of the biggest investments in social housing all around the country. And I ll let Michael come in on that. The states are actually investing in social housing and as they should, that’s their job, and we ve supported them through programmes like the National Housing Finance Investment Corporation. But these are the things that we can do. And so we all work together. The Federal Government doesn t have to do every single part of the process. States do their bit. We do our bit. It all comes together and they re important projects and I agree. And our support for housing projects at state level continues and we’ve got an ongoing agreement on homelessness and we have the National Housing Agreement. Michael, did you want to? THE HON. MICHAEL SUKKAR MP, ASSISTANT TREASURER AND MINISTER FOR HOUSING: Yeah, sure. Well, to answer your question, we have ongoing investments in social and affordable housing and the PM when he was Treasurer set up the National Housing Finance Investment Corporation, which has funnelled billions of dollars into the community housing sector. In particular, those support services led to hundreds of additional dwellings being delivered just this financial year. The other point I d make is, again, was an investment like this from the Federal Government of $25,000 grants in the homelender program unlocks and unleashes a multiplier private investment in a scheme like this. So an investment like this of about $700 million from the Federal Government delivers, whether it’s the Master Builders Association saying it or HIA [inaudible]. So it leverages so much additional private investment but the Morrison Government has done more for social and affordable housing, I think I can quite safely say, than any previous government. That will continue. It’s an annual, ongoing commitment that we’ve made. JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, we know that the arts sector injects a similar amount to building and construction into the economy each year. Is that something that you’re looking at supporting in terms of industry-specific stimulus and just secondly, we’ve seen some fairly distressing scenes in the United States over the last 48 hours. It’s triggered a discussion here in Australia. What are you reflecting on as the Australian Prime Minister, given the discussion around black lives matter? PRIME MINISTER: Well, firstly, I ve already indicated the Government is working in the area of media and entertainment. We’ll have more to say about that when we’re in a position to do so. I should stress, though, that that sector is like all sectors supported by the JobKeeper and JobSeeker programme. The Treasurer can talk to those more specifically, I think it’s about 75 per cent of jobs in that sector are actually supported by both of those programmes. So all sectors are supported by the JobKeeper and JobSeeker programme, but there are particular sectors, the tourism and hospitality sector and support we’ve put into the aviation sector, subsidies on flights to keep planes moving around the country and all of those things. There have been sectoral supports. There have been widespread supports. Now in Australia, when I look around the world at the moment, I look at the distressing scenes around the world, again, my first response is just to be grateful for the wonderful country we live in here and the way Australians have responded to the crisis here. Australia has its own challenges when it comes to some of the issues that have been raised, we will continue to work through those. The Closing the Gap initiative, the work we’re doing with states and territories. This is important work. I meet regularly with the peak Indigenous groups in Australia and we re making good progress on that. Working closely with the states and territories, these are important issues that are taken seriously by my Government, by governments all around the country. We need to make sure that we progress all of those initiatives. In terms of some of the violence we’re seeing around the world today, and to those Australians who find themselves in situations, I would urge them to show great caution and already we have had to provide support, as you probably know, for those in the media or journalists who found themselves in those situations. And of course, we will continue to provide that support. But I would urge people to be extremely cautious. These are dangerous situations and people schedule exercise great care in where they’re placing themselves. JOURNALIST: The Federal Government [inaudible] domestic flights beyond that initial eight week period which is due to, sort of expire? PRIME MINISTER: With all of these things, we are carefully considering each step and we don’t get ahead of ourselves. We look at the evidence, we talk to the sector and we make judgements as each step unfolds. We’ve got a long way to go and one of the things we’re careful to do it not get too far ahead of ourselves. As I said, we put JobKeeper and JobSeeker in place for six months and the rest of the world, when they had similar programmes, were only doing it for three. So we’ve had a good vision on where we think this is going and we continue to track closely against that and retain the flexibility to make the decisions we need to make and today is another good example of that. JOURNALIST: On those protests, there are more planned this weekend, in Melbourne for example. Do you support people’s right to go out and protest or given we’re facing coronavirus restrictions, is it not advised? PRIME MINISTER: Well, everyone should be seeking to follow the health advice at all times. But we’re a free country and there is a right to peacefully protest and I m sure it s not beyond the wits and imagination of those who wish to do that, to do that in a safe way and I would encourage them to do so. JOURNALIST: Just on those protests we’ve seen in the United States, we’ve seen attacks on three Australian journalists now, one in the US and two [inaudible] in London. Do those sorts of attacks by protest groups, being struck by police officers, Australians being hit in those circumstances concern you?  But in terms of specific action, are you asking [inaudible]? PRIME MINISTER: I think our record speaks for itself. I mean, with Amelia the other day in the United States, we moved very quickly on that issue and Ambassador Sinodinos has already been following up on that issue and we’re working closely with Seven on that and we’ll work with others in similar circumstances. But again, I would just say, these are dangerous situations and many of you may have worked in those situations before in other places. We’ve all got to take care in these circumstances. Our Australian consular services are second to none around the world and provides tremendous support to Australians in whatever sectors they work in. So I would urge all Australians, wherever they are around the world, if they still find themselves in those places, to exercise a lot of care. JOURNALIST: Can you confirm whether anyone in your office was aware that the Channel 7 crew had been attacked before you spoke to Donald Trump on Tuesday morning? PRIME MINISTER: I wasn’t aware when I spoke to the President. The point is, I mean, it’s a matter for Washington Police. It s not a matter at a federal level. I mean, I m no more responsible for the Western Australian police than the President is responsible for the state police. I mean, that s just not how the system works. So the appropriate channel for that to be raised was through our Ambassador and with the local authorities there in Washington. So that s what should have happened. That s what did happen. And when I became aware of it, I reached out to 7, as those who work at 7 know. I was concerned for the journalists in that circumstance. But I’m concerned for all Australians that would find themselves in danger at this time in these places. These are terrifying and horrible scenes. They re very distressing scenes. And again, thank goodness we live in Australia. Thank you.

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