Haulmark Trailers Doorstop

22 Feb 2019 Transcipt


Haulmark Trailers Doorstop

22 February 2019

SUBJECTS: Osborne Shipyard; Defence Job Creation; Julie Bishop;

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Are you all ready? Great, well thank you very much for coming along today to this really important opening of another economic facility here in South Australia, it’s great to see the Defence dollar driving growth and jobs and economic activity. It’s wonderful to be here with the Premier and we both, you would have got our words, opening the facility, so we’re open to any questions.

QUESTION: Minister, what guarantees are we talking, Defence jobs in particular, what guarantees can you provide us around the size of the workforce at the Osborne shipyard going forward under the Future Submarine contract?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Well I'm surprised this has become an issue because the guarantee that I can give is the action that we've been taking, which is clearly taking shape at Osborne, when we came to power six years ago, Labor had not made a decision in six years of their government to build one vessel. We have commissioned 54 vessels and a large number of the very big ones of course are at Osborne. So the guarantee that I can give is that the Collins-class submarine program had an 80 per cent local build. The local build is defined as about 60 per cent. The submarine project when it was first mooted was going to be built overseas. Because of the work that I did and Steven Marshall when he was the Opposition leader and the other representatives in South Australia, we have committed to build 12 submarines here in Australia at Osborne, driving jobs. I turned the first sod on the Osborne North submarine yard in December. I raised the sides, well I personally didn’t raise the sides of the steel sheds, down at Osborne South shipyard and it's about 40 per cent complete, that’s a $500 million investment. The Osborne submarine yard is even bigger.

They're both creating jobs right now, estimated to be about 400 to 600 for each of those projects. PWC who’s not the government, say there'll be 8000 jobs in ships and submarine construction at Osborne, 8000 jobs. We've always estimated that the Hunter-class frigate project would be about 2200 jobs and the submarine, the Attack-class submarine project would be about 2800 jobs. So that's 5000 jobs; PWC thinks it's even more than that. So I hope it is even more than that, but we've been conservative about our estimation. Those jobs are being created right now. When we announced BAE would build with the ASC the Hunter-class frigates, BAE announced that they would recruit 1000 people in the next 12 months, which they’re well on the way of doing. So the guarantee I can give is not cheap talk like the Labor Party, who talk about percentages and targets and actually delivered zero jobs in shipbuilding and submarine building, zero. Actually that's one, they delivered zero jobs. I'm delivering 5000 as a conservative estimate, so I'm not going to be lectured by the Labor Party about how many jobs I've created here in South Australia.

QUESTION: If we move on to other matters; what do you make of China's decision late yesterday around suspending coal imports from Australia into China? Does that raise a concern with you as Defence Minister?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Well they haven't suspended coal exports. In the quart- last quarter of last year, we exported more coal to China than in the previous- in the quarter of the previous year, the same quarter in the previous year, in 2017. They are making some assessments of their own which is- they are entirely within their rights to do, about whether five ships should be allowed to dock in China. Now, there's no suggestion from the Chinese Government or anybody else that the coal exports have been suspended, and I think it's very unwise for people to exaggerate what is clearly, they’re perfectly entitled to do in protecting their country from whatever reasons. They might- just like our biosecurity here in Australia, we do all sorts of checks. They obviously want to do some assessments of their own and they're perfectly entitled to do that and I don’t think we should be over egging the omelette.

QUESTION: What's your latest briefing on the situation?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Well I haven't received a briefing on the latest situation because it’s not a Defence related matters.

QUESTION: So you're not aware of any briefing at the moment, which has been given to the Government on the matter?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Well the Trade Minister, quite appropriately, Simon Birmingham has asked for a briefing on what the situation might be because it's an export, which is exactly the appropriate thing for him to do.

QUESTION: Minister, what- you were asked earlier, I know in the week, but can you tell us what your intentions are for the next election? Are you going to be running?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Look, I've answered this question too many times already. So I’m not answering it again.

QUETSION: Please Minister.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: No, no, no, I've answered it already.

QUESTION: But when you- can you accept that when you give an answer like that, people might think you’re not running.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: No, because I've answered it every other time - I've said I intend to run at the next election and yet you're still asking me the question. So I’ve decided I'm not going to answer it anymore.

QUESTION: Do you intend to serve a full term if the people of Sturt return you?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: I don't believe in unnecessary by-elections, I've always said that as well.

QUESTION: Just reflecting on recent departures from the House, have you got some reflections on Julie Bishop and her time in Parliament?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Well Julie Bishop is a very good friend. She's a very valued colleague; she's done a tremendous public service to Australia in the last 20 years. She was an astoundingly good Foreign Minister and I think she cast a shadow as Foreign Minister, greater than our country’s because of her capacity to deliver a message around our values as a nation. And to establish the relationships with other foreign ministers and heads of state that she has done. So she'll be missed, but of course, nothing lasts forever and she’s made a decision to retire and it's very nice to be able to retire on your own terms.

QUESTION: Has her decision given you pause for thought?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: [Laughs] I’ve answered that question already.

QUESTION: Do you think that she would be a good candidate for South Australian governor?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Oh, I can’t possibly answer that question.

QUESTION: Premier?

STEVEN MARSHALL: Well look, can I just say, Julie Bishop has done an outstanding job as Foreign Minister, as deputy leader of the Liberal Party for an extended period of time. I know Western Australia keep claiming her as theirs, but the reality is she was born here in South Australia. I've always considered her a great South Australian, she served our nation extraordinarily well and I wish her all the very best for her - what it will - actually I'm not going to say retirement, because I think who knows what's going to come next.

QUESTION: Would she make a good first female South Australian governor?

STEVEN MARSHALL: Look, I think she's got enormous capability. There are so many roles that Julie Bishop could take on going forward.

QUESTION: Have you had any conversations with her about them?

STEVEN MARSHALL: Look, the reality is that the decision regarding the role of governor in South Australia is a decision of Cabinet, and I can categorically say we have not considered this matter. The reality is we have an excellent governor in place in South Australia. He’s got a considerable time to run on his term, and I think he is doing an outstanding job and much loved by the people of South Australia.

QUESTION: [Indistinct] Can you just talk about the Haulmark new facility here, and just tell us about the growth the business has seen and what it means for jobs.

STEVEN MARSHALL: I think this is- Haulmark Trailers coming to South Australia is just another indication that the defence sector in South Australia is growing. We really are the defence state of Australia. More jobs coming to Edinburgh. We often talk about what's happening down at Techport, at Osborne shipyards, but there's actually a huge sector here at Edinburgh and it's growing massively.

QUESTION: And Premier, just on another issue. The Government’s contract with QBT Travel. Is there a conflict of interest there?

STEVEN MARSHALL: No. This is just- it's almost laughable. Labor have got nothing but fear, and smear, and innuendo. The reality is this is a contract which was awarded last October. It was overseen by an independent probity officer; it then went to the under Treasurer. It ultimately went to a Cabinet. I didn't hear Labor raising any questions about QBT Travel or the state government travel contract in October last year, only this year- only this week when they feel that they've got a political opportunity. They’re all at sea.

QUESTION: But the start of the contract was delayed three months. Why were they selected if they weren’t ready?

STEVEN MARSHALL: Look, I didn't actually look through that matter. It was a matter that was actually handled by Treasury and Finance. So you can direct those questions to Rob Lucas. But as I said, a completely independent process. I mean Labor this week, I mean, well what did they do this week? There was a meeting between an opposition leader in South Australian and opposition leader in Canberra talking down the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, talking down the defence projects, now finishing off the week with some smear regarding a travel contract. I mean, what they need to do is start talking up the possibilities in South Australia. We're ignoring what they're talking about, we're getting on with running the state and today is another happy day for South Australia because of more jobs coming into our state.

QUESTION: You know how many other organisations went for that tender?


QUESTION: And what’s QBT’s [indistinct]?

STEVEN MARSHALL: No, I’ve got- I’ve- literally, it's not a tender that I oversaw myself, it's done by Treasury and Finance. There are dozens and dozens of contracts awarded every single week with the South Australian Government, nobody would expect the Premier to know about the details of every one of those contracts. So the reality is, as I said, overseen by an independent probity officer, went to the under Treasurer, ultimately to Cabinet. That was last year, went to Cabinet last year. No questions raised by Mr Mulligan last year, only this week. I think they've really run out of things to talk about in the Labor opposition in South Australia.

QUESTION: Premier, is your government being heavy handed with its crackdown on smaller, independent retailers and some supermarkets in South Australia?

STEVEN MARSHALL: Look, well we've always said that the current arrangements are hopeless. We've tried to change that legislation, but Peter Malinauskas and the union bosses say no. So look, we've got laws in South Australia. We can't just pick and choose which laws are enforced. We've got to enforce the laws as they stand at the moment, but we are, as a government, ready to move on further deregulation in terms of shop trading hours and the other elements that exist around it.

QUESTION: Are you not here though, maybe shooting yourself on the foot here by going after small businesses?

STEVEN MARSHALL: No. It's a law. The government of the day doesn't get to choose which laws it's going to implement and which it's going to completely and utterly ignore. The reality is we tried to change these laws to make them more suitable. We tried to reflect what the people of South Australia wanted. Peter Malinauskas and the union says no. Well, until that changes, we've got to enforce the laws that we have in South Australia at the moment.

QUESTION: Is this payback?

STEVEN MARSHALL: This is an implementation of the law as it stands. But I make this point very clearly. The Liberal Party - the government - is ready to negotiate. What we need is for Peter Malinauskas and the union bosses in South Australia to put the people of South Australia first. They want further deregulation of shop trading hours. They voted for it in the election, but Peter Malinauskas and his union mates say no. Well, that's an unfortunate situation; we're now left with the unenviable role of having to enforce the laws as they stand at the moment, acknowledging that they need to change.