KAREN ANDREWS: It’s great to be here at beautiful Burleigh Heads, I’m here in my capacity as the Member for McPherson and also the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology and I have here with me today the Assistant Treasurer, the Member for Fadden Stuart Robert and the LNP Candidate for Moncrieff Angie Bell. As you can see the Gold Coast is very well represented we also have Scott Buchholz who is the member for Wright and an Assistant Minister with responsibility for Transport and we have Burt Van Mannen who holds one of our Government WIP roles, so for a long time the Gold Coast has been very well representative with five members here on the Gold Coast and also representation that has been greatly improved under the Morrison Government with appointments to Cabinet and to the Ministry.
But we’re here today to talk about all the great things we have achieved over the last three or more years here on the Gold Coast. We all know that transport infrastructure is one of the most significant issues for us here on the Gold Coast and the LNP federally has delivered upgrades to the M1. We’ve funded the upgrade and the widening all the way through to the border. We’ve funded light rail, we’ve announced funding for an additional $112m to take the light rail from Broadbeach through to Burleigh Heads and we’ve committed money to make sure
that we are able to do the forward planning to take heavy rail through to the Gold Coast Airport. So we have delivered significant transport infrastructure here on the Gold Coast.
But we also know that the Gold Coast is the small business capital of Australia. There is about 70,000 small businesses here and in the budget we have just announced that there will be additional funding for small business here, we are increasing the instant assess write off from $25,000 to $30,000 and we’re making sure that businesses with a turnover of up to $50m are able to access that. That’s so important because we need to make sure we continue to grow the Gold Coast economy and in doing so we’re making sure that the small businesses which are the engine room of our economy here on the Gold Coast are able to expand their businesses and to employ more people.
Now just one more comment before I hand to Stuart Robert as the Assistant Treasurer, we’ve just had announced today that there is more Treasury modelling that has come out which indicates that so far with the policies that Labor has announced, it will be an extra $387b in taxes, and that’s only on what they have announced so far. That actually means that Gold Coasters are going to be slugged with about $5,500. We cannot afford that; we cannot allow that to happen. There’s been strong representation from the LNP here on the Gold Coast. Labor is generally a no show here, they haven’t been here for years, they are the Johnny Come Lately’s to the Gold Coast, they stand up and they do a little bit of me too, we will agree to that as well, but they don’t have a presence here, they have a part time Senate office here, but I don’t know where Murray Watt actually votes, its not in the seat of McPherson, and I’ll ask Stuart Robert as Assistant Treasurer to talk a little bit more about the Gold Coast and what we are doing to support businesses here.
STUART ROBERT: Yeah thanks Karen, great to be here with the Gold Coast team, it is an extraordinarily strong team and it’s a team that’s delivered in spades for the Gold Coast and great to have Angie joining us as the newest member of the team, of course looking to fill the great shoes of Steve Ciobo. And this Government has delivered for the Gold Coast, not just $1.2b for the light rail as Karen has said, or $1.2b for M1 and $112m for the light rail, but of course tax cuts coming through in 13 weeks up to $1,080 per individual or $2,160 for a couple. In fact under the Coalition tax cut policy, the average Gold Coaster will receive at least $1,000 in tax cuts whereas under Labor the average Gold Coaster will be slugged $5,000 in new taxes over the medium term. So this election for the Gold Coast is quite simple, it’s about a strong economy and strong leadership under the Coalition, or a weaker economy under Labor. It’s about tax cuts under a Collation Government or about tax increases under a Labor Government. It’s about delivering for the GC, which this strong team, and Angie joining us is about doing, as opposed to Bill Shorten’s Labor that can’t even be bothered to turn up. Thank you
KAREN ANDREWS: Any questions?
QUESTION: So what are your general goals for future of the Gold Coast – how do you want to keep improving this city?
STUART ROBERT: Well we love the GC, it’s been home for all of us for so many decades and it has so many great things to be proud of. We want to continue to deliver strongly for it. So whilst the funding for the M1 is there, $1.2b and it will take a number of years to see that right through to completion, so the major bulk of the road left to go is from about exit 83 to the Tugun bypass, Karen? We want to see the light rail finished, we want to see the study into heavy rail through to not just the airport but fast rail though to Brisbane, we want to see those projects finished the design work and come to fruition as well.
KAREN ANDREWS: And can I just add to that by saying that the Gold Coast’s economy has been built on building and construction, and also tourism, so we need to make sure we have the transport infrastructure in place, we are doing that, we are delivering but we are also going to be working to ensure we strengthen the economy here on the Gold Coast, so we are going to be looking at hospitality, we are going to be looking at tourism, we are going to be looking at jobs here on the Gold Coast. So we have announced that we will be putting funding into making sure there are an additional 80,000 apprentices across Australia, this is on top of what we have already committed through the Skilling Australians Fund. Here on the Gold Coast we are working to make sure that more apprentices are taken on by our small businesses in particular, so we are going to be growing opportunities in hospitality, in tourism, and making sure that we are having a very strong trade base here.
QUESTION: Any further significant announcements for the Gold Coast to be expected in the election campaign?
KAREN ANDREWS: We’re going to certainly keep working to make sure we are able to keep delivery here on the Gold Coast. Many of the significant budget announcements were made pre budget here, so we are working to make sure we are fast tracing them as well. But if course there will be announcements that are made during the course of the election that have an impact on the Gold Coast and we’ll be out there talking about it every single day.
QUESTION: What do you think the deciding issues will be for voters on the Gold Coast this election campaign?
KAREN ANDREWS: The issues that Gold Coasters are interested in is making sure that they have the Government that is able to deliver for them, not just now, but into the future. The LNP Government has demonstrated that it is able to get the budget back in the black; we have a plan to pay down the debt, so that it is paid off by 2030. We have been able to demonstrate that we the Government that is ready, willing and able to continue leading Australia into the future. That’s what’s important to Gold Coasters. That’s what they will be looking for.
STUART ROBERT: And the Gold Coast is a cracker of a place in terms of tourists visiting, small business coming and growing, but only a strong economy does that. When I speak to Gold Coasters getting around every day, they are looking for job opportunities, they’re looking for a strong economy so their kids can get jobs, they’re looking to get home safety from work, hence our $100b in infrastructure. This is about a strong economy, that’s what this Government is delivering, and this election is a clear choice, and there hasn’t been a choice like this in a long time, between a strong economy under us with a big infrastructure spend and tax cuts, versus a weaker economy under Labor by putting a huge tax burden on Australian’s and I don’t want to see any more taxes on Gold Coasters. I want Gold Coasters paying less tax so they can get out and about, and spend their money and enjoy the quality lifestyle here. If Bill Shorten takes money out of their pockets, then that money gets taken out of the pockets of all the small businesses that surround us here that make up the bulk of the Gold Coast. So we are going to stand up for small business, and we are going to stand up to ensure they get the tax cuts they deserve.
QUESTION: If you three get elected, does the Gold Coast run the risk of having its members in opposition?
STUART ROBERT: Say that if we get elected?
QUESTION: If you three get elected, the Gold Coast, their members will be in opposition?
STUART ROBERT: Well we are here to win, there is no question about that, we are here to win our seats and we are here to win Government. And there’s nothing short of the future of Australia at stake in this election. We are not here to lose in any way, shape or form.
QUESTION: Sure but if the polls go the ways they are looking, the country is looking to be a Labor Government, and we would have three LNP members on the Gold Coast. What benefit does that serve locals?
KAREN ANDREWS: The Morrison Government has been able to demonstrate its commitment to the Gold Coast. The pity for the Gold Coast would be that if Bill Shorten were to be elected, which I doubt that he will be, but if he were to be elected, he has not been able to demonstrate that he has provided or even promised anything for the Gold Coast for many, many years. All Labor does is jump on board once the Liberal National Party has made commitments, for example, for transport infrastructure. Labor was no where to be seen until they came along snapping like little terriers at our heels, saying yeah well we’ll do that too. Well Gold Coasters are a little bit smarter than that as well. We have a strong team here, it will be strengthened with the addition of Angie in Moncrieff and we will make sure we are out there fighting every single day for Gold Coasters. We aren’t the Johnny Come Latelys to the Gold Coast, Labor is.
QUESTION: Sure, that doesn’t quite answer my question; the question is what would you guys do in opposition.
STUART ROBERT: We aren’t here to go into opposition, we are here to win. And that’s the message for the Gold Coast team, is that we are here to fight every single day to win, and that’s what we are going to do, and if Gold Coasters want to continue to see the great sense of delivery of what we have put through already, we are asking the Gold Coasters to back a proven, strong team to win.
QUESTION: But that’s still not quite answering my question, because it’s a genuine consideration for locals. The country, the polls are indicating a Labor victory nationwide, but if they elect three LNP members for their own area, they’ve got opposition members, what does that serve them?
KAREN ANDREWS: Well let me make one comment in relation to that. That whilst the general view may be that people think Labor might win, that’s not going to necessarily translate to them voting for Labor at the polling booth, that’s actually quite different, secondly we will be elected as representatives of the Gold Coast and we will fight every single day for the best deal for the Gold Coast. That will be much harder if we have to fight with a Labor Government, because we know they have no commitment to the Gold Coast, so we’ll be here fighting to make sure we are re-elected so that we have a Liberal National Party Government, that we have a Senate with Liberal National Party members in it and that we can continue the fight to make sure that the Gold Coast is not ignored by Labor.
QUESTION: The seat of Forde looks like it will be fairly crucial in Queensland in particular, what’s your plans or strategies there to hold onto that seat on the Northern Gold Coast?
KAREN ANDREWS: Bert Van Mannen is a very very strong candidate; he’s got very high recognition in his electorate. I wouldn’t be writing Bert off now, he’s a very very strong candidate. We know the seat he represents has a low level of engagement in politics, but they know Bert Van Mannen. They’re confident of him, he’s got a finance background, he understands small businesses, he understands the people of the Forde electorate. He’s the one that’s going to be able to lead them through the changes that they need to make, whether it’s supporting small businesses which he is doing and the Morrison Government is backing him. Bert will be the person that they need to re-elect to make sure that Forde is not forgotten.
QUESTION: And Angie, you’re a new face on the Gold Coast, short time before pre-selection and the election, what are you doing to get your face recognised around the Gold Coast?
ANGIE BELL: Well the campaign is underway, the teat is at the ready, and we’re ready to stand up for the Gold Coast and not take the seat for granted. Absolutely the biggest challenge is being in more than one place at a time, visiting the chambers and the small businesses on the Gold Coast, that’s my background, in small business, and I will be standing up for small business on the Gold Coast, if elected, so we’re very very busy at the moment and I’m thrilled to be here with Minister Andrews and Minister Robert.
QUESTION: Is Minister Ciobo offered some advice to yourself?
ANGIE BELL: Yes, I’ve met with Mr Ciobo and he’s been very helpful, he’s done a great job as a former Minister and I have very big shoes to fill.
KAREN ANDREWS: Thank you very much.