Doorstop - Hervey Bay 3/7/18

03 July 2018


SUBJECTS: Labor’s bigger, better and fairer income tax cuts; Labor’s Australian Investment Guarantee and support for company tax cuts for small and medium-sized businesses; regional Queensland; Fraser Coast.

CHRIS BOWEN, SHADOW TREASURER: Thanks for coming everybody, it’s great to be here in Hervey Bay. I want to thank Mayor George Seymour for making Jim Chalmers, Senator Anthony Chisholm and myself so welcome and for facilitating some very important meetings about economic development. We’ve heard about George’s plans and the work the Council is doing with key stakeholders around tourism and the future of a CBD for Hervey Bay, etc.
I just want to say something about the electorates of Hinkler and Flynn. Jim Chalmers and I make a point of being regular visitors to regional Queensland. The Treasurer and Finance Minister should be focused on more than simply Sydney and Melbourne. Here in Hinkler, for example, 49,000 taxpayers will be better off under Labor’s personal income tax plan compared to the Government’s. We will deliver bigger, better and fairer tax cuts earlier than the Government, in 2019. They’re focused on tax cuts for higher income earners in the never never, we’re focused on tax cuts right now. In Flynn, next door, 58,000 taxpayers will be better off under Labor’s plan. This is a key difference between the Liberal Party and the Labor Party.
Just on Sunday, 10,000 people in Hinkler suffered a cut to penalty rates under the Liberal-National Party. Down here in Hervey Bay, a tourism-focused economy where people need to work on Sundays, it’s a seven-day a week economy where tourists are active on the weekends, which is great, people are giving up their Sundays and one-in-five workers in Hinkler took a pay-cut on Sunday. The difference is stark. The Labor Party standing up for those doing it tough; the Labor Party putting forward better tax cuts for low and middle income earners. The Labor Party standing up for penalty rates with Bill Shorten committing on Sunday to restore penalty rates to previous levels. The National Party is missing in action, not standing for low and middle income earners, not standing up for people working on Sundays. Prepared to talk tough in Canberra but not actually do anything for people who are doing it tough in their electorates.
It’s been good to come here and hear from George on the plans for the local area and the future, but also to highlight areas right around the country like in Hinkler and Flynn will be better off under Labor’s bigger, better and fairer tax cut plan compared to the Liberal-National Party plan. Mr Turnbull’s plan is better for high income earners, ours is targeted for those doing it tough and in need of it.
I’ll ask Jim to make some comments and then Senator Chisholm and then we will take your questions.
JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE: Thanks for that Chris. George, can I thank you for getting so many local businesses and decision-makers together for us to learn about the priorities of this community. Chris and I see many Mayors around regional Queensland and Australia and nobody is more dynamic and committed than George is, so thank you for your time George.
Chris, Anthony and I spend a lot of time in regional Queensland and one of the things we know, I think, better than our opponents in Canberra, is that we know to grow the national economy you don’t just focus on the boardrooms of Sydney and Melbourne, you need to focus on regional economies like this one in Hervey Bay and throughout regional Queensland. That’s why we have made the top priority for company tax cuts, local communities like this one, the businesses which employ people in local communities like this one in Hervey Bay, are our highest priority when it comes to company tax relief. Something like 99.8 per cent of Australian businesses will pay the same or less tax under a Labor Government because we have made small and medium-sized businesses our highest priority when it comes to providing tax relief that businesses need, deserve and rely on to employ more people. That’s why local businesses here including some we met with today, we have made such a high priority.
Now contrast that with Mr Turnbull and Mr Morrison and Senator Cormann who want to give the lion’s share of company tax cuts to foreign multinationals, the big four banks based in Sydney and Melbourne. The contrast couldn’t be clearer in terms of supporting Australian businesses in regional Queensland. Under Labor, regional Queensland’s businesses will be a top priority, under the Liberal Party and Mr Turnbull they won’t get a look in.
Now at the next election, here in Hinkler or next door in Flynn, tax will be a very important battleground and the economy more broadly. What we understand in the Labor Party is if you want to grow the national economy, you have to grow local economies, and if you want to grow local economies it won’t cut it to use Malcolm Turnbull’s playbook which is to direct income tax cuts as Chris said a moment ago, overwhelmingly to high income earners, it won’t grow the local economy to prioritise foreign multinationals or the big four banks with a company tax cut. It won’t grow the local economy by Mr Turnbull’s cuts to TAFE or hollowing out services or failing to get the NAIF up sufficiently to get the investment that we need in this part of Australia.
The only way to grow local economies like this one is with Labor’s plan to prioritise low and middle income earners with tax cuts that they will spend in the local economy, to prioritise local businesses so that they can invest and employ more local people, to invest in infrastructure locally, to get the NAIF going, to support the renewable energy, all of the sorts of things which will actually grow the economy of Hervey Bay and right throughout regional Queensland.
There’s a real difference because Budgets are about priorities and Chris and I and Bill Shorten and the Labor team and Anthony Chisholm, we will always prioritise local communities over foreign multinationals and the big four banks.
SENATOR ANTHONY CHISHOLM: Thanks Jim, I just want to add a few words. The first is to think George Seymour as the mayor. I was in Hervey Bay a couple of months ago when George was acting Mayor, it’s good to be back now that he is officially Mayor and also see how determined and focused the Council under George and I think they are going to get some really strong runs on the board which will be fantastic.
It’s also fantastic to be here with the Shadow Treasurer and Shadow Finance Minister and I think that what you heard from them is the real contrast emerging where you’ve got a Federal Labor show that is so committed to regional Queensland versus what we are seeing from our opponents and I particularly like to focus on the local member here, Keith Pitt and he is absolutely in lockstep with Malcolm Turnbull and what they are delivering for the big end of town in Sydney and Melbourne and delivering nothing for Hervey Bay and Bundaberg. And that’s what you’ll see a real contrast with Federal Labor. Federal Labor is committed to ensuring that we know that the Australian economy is strong when the economies of Hervey Bay and Hinkler are strong and that will be a real focus from the Labor team and it’s fantastic that such senior economic leadership team of Chris and Jim are spending time in regional Queensland as they have done since the last election getting an understanding of what it takes to deliver for these communities.
Thanks for your time.
BOWEN: Do you have any questions for us?
JOURNALIST: Yeah, I just had one. Now the Liberal Government do claim that their big business tax cuts will in turn actually further encourage economic progress in our communities. What is your response to that?
BOWEN: Well, this is their big lie. I mean the Labor Party has a better corporate tax plan designed to get investment going. Now they want to give away more than $80 billion in a tax cut in the hope and the prayer that it gets invested. Are there any conditions on their tax-cut? No. Not one. They just say ‘Here is a tax cut, please invest it. We would be very grateful, we would be ever so grateful if you invest it in Australian towns, in Australia at all’. Now we say no, we will match the tax cuts that have already been delivered for businesses that are under a threshold of $50 million in turnover but we will also have the Australian Investment Guarantee which is an upfront deduction improving the cash flow of businesses on the condition of investment. I don’t care if that investment comes from a big business or a small business, I don’t care whether it is by a multinational or by a small business here in Hervey Bay, if it is creating jobs in Australia, if it is creating activity we will provide the tax relief but we won’t provide a windfall to investments that were made many years ago where 60 per cent of the benefit of the Government’s tax cut goes to offshore investors, it does nothing to stimulate investment or certainly no guarantee of stimulating investment whereas ours is contingent, is conditional on that investment occurring.
JOURNALIST: And George touched on the Fraser Coast and the uni here and potentially a CBD. How do you guys help support that infrastructure?
BOWEN: Well the first thing we do is we listen and George with his team put together for us an excellent presentation, we heard about the plans for a CBD, we talked about the marina, we talked about further potential for tourism. Now of course these are tours in which we listen. Jim and I and Senator Chisholm take away what we have learnt and heard, we go and talk to other Shadow Ministers whether it be Anthony Albanese in tourism,  Stephen Jones in regional development. We encourage them to come, follow up our visit, we get more plans from George and that is exactly what we will do. These plans, these visits which Jim and I conduct, this is my 12th visit to Queensland since the Federal Election two years and one day ago, they are very important in our policy development and you see it reflected in future policy announcements.
So the idea for example for a $1 billion North Queensland Tourism Fund which is not that relevant here but that idea came from a visit which Jason Clare, Jim Chalmers and I working with Anthony Albanese conducted on our Queensland listening trips. So these are things which are very important, we take these plans away, we work on them, we develop them, we test them and then we make further announcements.
JOURNALIST: So essentially it is from these grassroot conversations?
BOWEN: Absolutely. Absolutely. You’ve got George leading the Council here doing a good job thinking about the future of the Fraser Coast, there’s good things happening already. He briefed us on the Mary Poppins Festival which I’m sorry we are going to miss. That sort of outside the square thinking is excellent and it shows a Council that is focused on economic development and the future and we like to partner with Mayors like George, with Councils like Fraser Coast on these innovative plans and of course working through the State Government as well.
Okay, thanks very much.