STEPHEN JONES MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES
MEMBER FOR WHITLAM
LABOR CANDIDATE FOR EDEN-MONARO
TUESDAY, 30 JUNE 2020
SUBJECTS: JobKeeper; Eden-Monaro by-election; Superannuation; Snowy 2.0.
KRISTY MCBAIN, CANDIDATE FOR EDEN-MONARO: Good morning guys. Welcome to Queanbeyan this morning. I'm Kristy McBain, Labor's candidate in the Eden-Monaro by-election. I'm joined today by two of Labor's Shadow Ministers, Jim Chalmers and Stephen Jones.
We've had some figures this morning in regards to small businesses and JobKeeper in Eden-Monaro. 5,000 businesses and 18,000 workers across Eden-Monaro are eligible for JobKeeper and are currently on it. We've got a whole range of people currently unsure about what's going to happen in September. Let me be clear: snapping back JobKeeper will break the back of many small businesses across Eden-Monaro. That's 5,000 businesses and 18,000 workers.
Our communities need a plan. They need a plan for the future, not just short-term fixes but long-term plans for what is going to happen to the future of industries like forestry, tourism and hospitality, and agriculture. If we do not provide a plan for their future, we have many businesses across Eden-Monaro that are simply going to whither.
I'm Kristy McBain. I need you to send a message to this Government on 4 July, to vote Labor because we need a plan for our future and we are not currently getting one with this Government.
JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW TREASURER: Thanks very much Kristy. After the fires and during this recession, too many people are being left out and left behind by Scott Morrison, and he shouldn't be rewarded for that on Saturday. This by-election is an opportunity to send a message to Scott Morrison and the Liberals about their bungling of the JobKeeper program which is doing so much damage to communities like the one that Kristy seeks to represent. 4,822 businesses and the 18,000 locals that they employ are being held hostage to Scott Morrison's secret plan for JobKeeper which he won't release before Saturday's by-election is done and dusted. These are 18,000 reasons for Scott Morrison to come clean before Saturday. 4,822 businesses employ something like 18,000 local workers, and Scott Morrison won't come clean to them about the future of the JobKeeper program. There is so much anxiety and so much uncertainty right around Australia and here in Eden-Monaro. There are too many businesses and too many workers being held hostage to the uncertainty that Scott Morrison is creating by not coming clean on his secret plan. How many jobs need to be lost before Scott Morrison will come clean on his secret plan for the JobKeeper payments?
This Government mismanaged the economy going into the recession and we can't let them mismanage the economy coming out of the recession. Every day that he delays, more jobs are being shed because of this uncertainty around JobKeeper.
This by-election is an opportunity to do two things; to send Scott Morrison a message about JobKeeper and to send Kristy McBain to the National Parliament to be a champion for the workers and businesses and communities of this electorate.
I'll throw to Stephen Jones and then we will take your questions.
STEPHEN JONES, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER: Thanks Jim. Thanks Kristy. If we're going to get jobs moving, if we're going to get businesses growing, we need investment. We know today that superannuation funds want to invest nearly $20 billion into the Australian economy, creating over 200,000 jobs. The thing that is putting this at risk is policy uncertainty. We know that Scott Morrison's got a plan for superannuation, he just won't come clean until after the Eden-Monaro by-election. Scott Morrison needs to come clean. We need jobs here in Eden-Monaro. We need certainty so that our superannuation funds can invest in the national interest and for the long-term. With 200,000 jobs at risk because of policy uncertainty, it's time that Scott Morrison got his foot off the throat of our superannuation funds so they can be investing for the long-term and in the national interest, investing in infrastructure and creating jobs right here and right around the country.
CHALMERS: Any questions?
JOURNALIST: You mentioned that jobs are being shed every day because of uncertainty. How do you quantify that?
CHALMERS: We know that there are 4,822 businesses here in Eden-Monaro and something like 18,000 workers employed by those businesses and organisations. Every day it seems we turn on the radio or we turn on the news and we hear about more jobs being shed. Scott Morrison is creating a lot of the uncertainty in the economy by not coming clean about the JobKeeper program. We know from speaking to businesses locally, and indeed around Australia, that they need to know desperately what's going to happen with JobKeeper, what's going to happen with the various programs and support in the economy because businesses are finding it hard to hang on. They need to know what the future looks like. There is so much anxiety, so much uncertainty, it’s not too much for the Australian community, particularly for businesses and workers, to expect from this Prime Minister that he will level with them. Whether it's his secret plan for JobKeeper, his secret plan for super, or his secret plan to jack up the GST, we can't have a situation where people are left in the dark until after Saturday's by-election is done and dusted.
JOURNALIST: The Prime Minister has consistently said that there's a September deadline for the JobKeeper program. Is that not enough clarity?
CHALMERS: Scott Morrison said that he would come clean on JobKeeper in June, and then he worked out that the by-election wasn't until the first weekend in July, and so now we have all of this uncertainty. Once again, he's putting politics before people and their jobs. The only way for people in Eden-Monaro to send a message to Scott Morrison is to vote for Kristy McBain because Kristy will stand up for the workers, businesses and communities of this electorate. She won't leave them in the dark or treat them like mugs like Scott Morrison. It is well past time for people to understand what Scott Morrison's plans are for JobKeeper, what his plans are for super, or to jack up the GST. He shouldn't be allowed to skate through this by-election without levelling with the Australian people about those things.
JOURNALIST: Just on the PM's Snowy 2.0 announcement today, we've seen the Federal approvals for the environment go through. Do you think it was rushed?
CHALMERS: I'll ask Kristy to add to my answer in a moment, but when it comes to Snowy 2.0, Labor has been long term supporters of that project, but not just that project. We understand, even if the Morrison Government doesn't, that the future of energy relies on the combination of renewables and storage. You can't actually be fair dinkum about Snowy 2.0 unless you're fair dinkum about a comprehensive plan for renewables and storage, and unless you have a vision for renewable energy and cleaner and cheaper energy sources more broadly. Anthony Albanese has offered to sit down in good faith with the Prime Minister to get in place more certain arrangements for investment so that we can get that cleaner and cheaper energy, create more jobs here in Eden-Monaro and around the country. It has been disappointing that Scott Morrison hasn't grasped that opportunity to seek the common ground that the business community and the broader community needs when it comes to cleaner and cheaper energy and more jobs.
I'll just see if Kristy wants to add to that.
MCBAIN: Thanks Jim. From a my local perspective, I welcome the announcement. I hope there is going to be a local jobs target with that project. We met with Snowy Hydro executives a couple of weeks ago. I did a tour of the T2 power stations in December last year. It's a fantastic project for the region but we should be talking about not just Snowy 2 but about Snowy 3 and Snowy 4 as well. Let's create a pipeline of work in Eden-Monaro when we need it. We know we've been hit really hard with drought, with bushfires, and now COVID-19. Here's an opportunity to really build a project in the region that could actually do some long-term good for the communities around the region. Not just Snowy Monaro or Snowy Valleys, for the entire region. That's why it has to be a long-term project.
JOURNALIST: Kristy, [inaudible] the PM did mention that the best way for locals to make sure the project goes well is to vote for Fiona Kotvojs, saying that only a local Member who is part of the Government can make a difference. What's your response to that?
MCBAIN: That's just incorrect. Mike Kelly was a fabulous local Member in Eden-Monaro and he delivered for this community when he was a Government and when he was in Opposition. He delivered the Bega bypass and the Southeast Regional Hospital from Opposition. He's been a fabulous local advocate. In my role, I have been a community advocate now for over eight years. As Mayor of Bega Valley I've worked with people of all sides of politics, at different levels of government, to get outcomes for my community. What you need to understand about regional communities is they want someone to speak up for them during a by-election, after a by-election, in a party room, whenever you can because these people need a voice. They need a voice that will not shrink away from the big issues. They need a voice that will stand up for them. They need somebody that knows exactly what they're going through and I'm best place to do that for the entire community.
JOURNALIST: What's the plan between Saturday and now?
MCBAIN: There'll be a lot of time on pre-poll. Hopefully at some point in time I'll get to see my family. But a lot of time on pre-poll, a lot of talking to constituents. Every vote is going to count in Eden-Monaro. Every town and village should count regardless of the size of their population and it's going be hard work right to the end.
CHALMERS: Thank you.