Speech at the Braddon by-election campaign launch

July 8, 2018





Thank you Jess, thank you so much. Thank you Sue, thank you all of the family for the way you’ve supported Brett and here is the plan for Braddon! Now this is coming out right across the electorate. This is a positive plan for Braddon. This is about jobs, this is about opportunity. This is about all the essential services that we are able to deliver because we have a strong economy. Because we’re able to bring, as Brett said, the Budget back into balance a year earlier. We’re able to deliver tax relief for hard-working Australian families so they can keep more of the money they earn. Kelly, so many of your team here will be getting $530 back in their tax next year, this year, from this current financial year.


And over the whole stretch of our personal income tax reform, we’re going to get to the point after a few years where 94% of Australians do not have to pay more than 32.5 cents in any extra dollar they earn and that is all about delivering the opportunity and the encouragement that Australians expect.


Now a lot of this in Tasmania is about, as Brett said and as Will said, it’s about confidence. Will, you have led, Jeremy and your whole team, you have led an extraordinary transformation in Tasmania. I have never felt a more positive mood in Tasmania than I do today. It’s a sense of real confidence and, you know, I look around the room and people are nodding. It’s as though you came in combined with a Liberal government in Canberra, a Liberal government in Tasmania and you went from having a glass half-empty attitude to a glass half-full attitude.


The attitude was one of enterprise. It was one that was based on the values that Brett and his family lived their whole life with which is of having a go, doing your best to get ahead, if it doesn't work out, dust yourself off and have another go. That is the spirit of enterprise.


That's why we've reduced taxes for businesses with a turnover of up to $50 million including 8,700 small and medium businesses, all family-owned, in Braddon. We want those businesses to be able to compete and win. But they obviously need a competitive tax rate.


What about Stubbs Construction here in Burnie, run by Wayne Light? I spoke to Wayne last month. Wayne started at Stubbs Construction 40 years ago, he told me, as an apprentice, when the business was a fraction of the size it is today and now because of his hard work and enterprise he's a part-owner, the business employs 63 people.


It's not a huge corporation but it's a story of aspiration. Aspiration, that's the thing that Tanya Plibersek says is a mystery to her. She did. She actually said that on the radio, she said it's a mystery to her.


She and Bill are launching the campaign for the former dual citizen today and they will have a long list of grievances, but not a word about encouraging people to get ahead to invest, to grow a business and to seek, to aspire, to achieve, to have a vision for greater opportunities in the years ahead.


I mean that is what the Australian spirit is all about. It is what our party has always been all about. And you know there were times when the Labor Party used to talk about it too, but not anymore.


What about another business, BridgePro Engineering, it's in Latrobe. It employs 60 people, most from Braddon, it was founded by Aaron Brimfield in 2010 he’s Tasmanian through and through, a structural engineer trained at the University of Tasmania, built his business from two to 60 staff. He's got about a $16 million turnover now. So it's a growing business, supports 60 jobs. He builds bridges, jetties, any project he can get his hands on and what he says Tasmania needs is confidence, it needs confidence and business needs support.


And what does that tax relief, what does that do for him and for his business and for thousands of others across this electorate and across the state and the nation?


It enables these small and medium businesses to retain earnings, more of their earnings which they then invest. Wherever you go you find there are family-owned businesses that have grown because the owners have started them small, they've worked and they've reinvested and reinvested and with a great team that generally are like family, even if they're not actually related, they work together and they grow those businesses.


And of course the tax relief that we're delivering is also, as I said, supports so many middle income earners. Now here in Braddon there will be 40,000 low and middle income earners who will be up to $530 a year better off under our personal income tax relief plan I mentioned earlier. That's gone, that's gone through the Senate as you know just a little while ago and I want to thank you Eric and all of our Senate team here today, all of you for your help in securing that.


That's one of the reasons why, that confidence is why we have 1,800 new jobs created here on the north-west coast. Unemployment, as Brett said, has fallen from 9.3 percent under Labor to 6.3 percent today. But we want it to go a lot lower. There's more work to do.


Yet because we're able to manage the Budget well, because we've got a stronger economy, because we've had record jobs growth, the largest number of jobs created in Australia ever last year. And, you know, the lowest number of people of working age on welfare in 25 years.


Now what that means, that's great, that means more people have got jobs, that's fantastic, they are getting on and realising their dreams. But it also means the Government has got stronger revenues and that's why we can provide record funding for schools.


Remember, these are the facts. This is the record, as Brett said. Don't be taken in by Labor's lies. Labor believes and Bill Shorten in particular believes that if you repeat a lie often enough people will believe it.


Well they got away with it once in 2016. We will never let them do that again. Schools funding, health funding is up. Our funding for Tasmanian hospitals is up 42 percent, 42 percent since Labor lost office in 2013. And that doesn't take into account the $730 million payment, the largest single Commonwealth payment to Tasmania ever, in respect of the Mersey Hospital.


And of course as you saw with Brett and Greg Hunt last week, we're investing additional money and it's all set out in the plan here. It's all set out in this plan, additional money to provide community based mental health services here in Braddon, and I want to thank you Richard Colbeck, Richard had a big hand in that, very very, he understands the local community and the specific needs.


Now Brett’s daughter Jess spoke so beautifully, you really did. And you spoke from the heart and you described your father as hard-working, passionate, wears his heart on his sleeve, which he does. And he's a deliverer. He is not a complainer. He is a deliverer.


He sees his job as getting things done. And he has described some of those things and they’re set out here. The Circular Head Irrigation Project, the Dial Regional Sports Complex, the expansion of the freight export scheme, so important.


Can I tell you, Australia's exports are going so well at the moment, and Tasmania is playing a huge part in it. And you know what? What have we done since we came into government? We've opened up one new free trade deal after another. You know, with China, with Japan, with Korea. What about the Trans-Pacific Partnership?


That's a great example of the difference between our side of politics and Labor's. I'll just dwell on it for a moment. So the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a big free trade deal in the Pacific, which had been under negotiation for a long time. The US was playing a leading role in it.  Japan was there, we're there, Chile is there, Mexico, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore - it's a long list. Vietnam.


Anyway, Donald Trump became president and decided to pull out of it. And everybody thought or said the deal was dead. Now, John Key, then the Prime Minister of New Zealand, and I decided we should keep with it.  And we took the view, people said to us “Oh you’re flogging a dead horse”, and we said, “Well, you know what, if the horse is dead, it won’t mind the flogging”.


And there's no harm in keeping at it. And so we kept going and I was able to persuade Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, that we should keep going with this and you know what, we now have a TPP-11. It doesn't have the Americans in it, but we've done two things.


Firstly, we've secured all these additional markets for Australian exports, particularly agriculture, food and wine and so forth. Do you know our beef will now go into Japan with a tariff of around 9% and the Americans are paying 38%?


Well, that's what you get when you have a government that is committed to Australian exporters and Australian jobs. Shorten said, he said I was deluded, I was engaged on a vanity project and I should drop it. In fact, he gave a whole speech at the Press Club saying how foolish I was.


And what did that mean? He gave up on Australian jobs. I didn't. Labor gave up on Australian jobs, the Liberal Government did not.


We stuck with it and we have delivered and that's why our trade numbers are getting better and better. Now, in this plan - I want to focus on three of the specific initiatives. Firstly, on jobs, we have a north-west Job Ready Generation package, $3.9 million collaboration between business and TAFE. It will upskill 600 north-west Tasmanians with the qualifications and the on-the-job training required in agriculture, mining, manufacturing, building and construction.


It will include $1 million to fund the delivery of school-based pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship training and it has the funding to support 160 pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships over three years.


It will not only ensure Braddon's youth have the training they need to get the job they want but that the region has the skilled workers it needs to meet the growing job demands in Braddon's strengthening economy and this is a great, Elphinstone, Kelly, your family business here is a great example of the advanced manufacturing, the expertise, the demonstration that here on the coast you can build anything, but obviously you need support from government to make sure you've got the skills to do it.


And on infrastructure, as you all would know, in our recent Budget we made available $400 million for a Tasmanian roads package through our Roads of Strategic Importance initiative. Today, I can confirm that $60 million of that funding will be spent on the Bass Highway, between Wynyard and Marrawah, which is a very, as you know, very important section of the highway. In conjunction with $40 million from Will's government, that means a total of $100 million will be invested in that section. That's a great outcome.


And just to be clear - that's not a promise. It's not an election pledge. It's real money. It is a commitment. That money is going to flow because we're in government. Only government can deliver. The only candidate in the Braddon by-election who can be part of a government to deliver, after election day, on 28 July, is Brett Whiteley and that's why we're asking the people of Braddon to vote for him.


Now, later on, later on today, I'll be heading down the Murchison Highway to Queenstown where I'm really looking forward to politics in the pub at the Empire Hotel and I'm pleased to announce that I'll be bringing some very good news in the form of a $10 million contribution to continue the upgrades on the Murchison Highway.


And you all know better than anyone, that's a key freight and passenger route connecting the west and north-west regions of Tasmania, critical for the movement of mining product to the Burnie port for export as well as everywhere else in the state.


And this is also going to improve safety. It's vitally important. You know, we want Tasmanians to get home sooner and safer so every dollar we're putting into roads, putting into bridges, is designed to ensure that. These are the sinews of commerce - yes, they are - but they're also, good roads mean that our families and loved ones can get home sooner and safer.


The choice, therefore, is a very clear one. We have Brett Whiteley with all of his commitment and his record, his demonstrated record of service and delivery who, if he's elected, will be a member of my government and able to deliver real outcomes.


Or the Labor candidate, who even if she's elected will remain a member of the Opposition, unable to deliver anything and just simply be a mouthpiece for the constant stream of complaints from Mr Shorten.


We have a plan to deliver even more for Braddon. We know that we need Brett Whiteley there as a strong voice for Braddon. Brett understands the community here. He's part of it. His family are part of it. He's a passionate Tasmanian. He's a passionate member of this community and as you can see, he's a very eloquent one and a very persuasive one.


Ladies and gentlemen, the choice is very clear: Brett Whiteley has delivered for Braddon. He will deliver even more in the future. Thank you for your support and we look forward, as Brett said, to make history on the 28th. Thank you.




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