Doorstop - Gold Coast

Cooperative Research Centre projects, Labor’s retiree tax

Karen Andrews: Today, I'm announcing about $15 million in Federal Government funding to support nine projects to transform Australia's recycling industry. So these are CRC, Cooperative Research Centre projects. Applications were called for last year. They closed in October and we are now announcing the nine projects that will transform Australia's recycling sector. Importantly, these are projects that will bring together the best of industry and the best of our research population to make sure that we are resolving issues that are faced every single day by Australians. Now, the projects were specifically designed to make sure that we are addressing issues with Australia's recycling industries. 

So one of the projects, Great Wrap is a project that will transform waste food into a stretch-wrap product. Now, we're all familiar with stretch-wrap, whether or not we use it for covering up our bowls in the kitchen or whether it's used by industry to wrap pallets. This particular project will look at using waste food to develop a new type of stretch-wrap, which, of course, is going to be biodegradable. So it's a win-win situation.

Now of course, recycling is one of the six national priority sectors that the government has announced for manufacturing. So we are committed as a government to make sure that we are doing all that we can, firstly, to deal with recycling issues, but importantly to make sure that we are building the manufacturing industries now and for the future. And of course, we do have a significant history in this over the last 18 or so months in particular, where we have developed a manufacturing strategy. We have announced that strategy, it is in the process of being rolled out. We have opened a second round of funding for our Manufacturing Modernisation Fund, which will support our small and medium enterprises to be able to transform to look at new technology and make sure that they are developing and delivering the jobs that are needed now and for the future.

So I'm happy to take questions.

Question: Are any of these projects are based in Queensland or South East Queensland?

Karen Andrews: Look, there will be some projects that are based in South East Queensland. But importantly, what will happen is that these projects are going to deliver for not just Queenslanders, but for all Australians. Food waste in particular is a particularly important issue for us. About $20 billion in food is sent to waste, to landfill each year. So to be able to transform that product into something else, in this case, into a stretch-wrap is going to benefit all Australians, all Queenslanders. And one of the things that we will be looking at clearly is to do all we can to make sure that we are growing our recycling industries so that we can deliver into the international markets. So we are not just looking at developing for Australian use and an Australian industry, but we are looking at opportunities for us to be part of global supply chains and to deliver into the world marketplace.

Question: I’ve just got a couple here. Has the Government committed to an election timeframe yet?

Karen Andrews: The Prime Minister has made it very, very clear that he will run for the full term. And obviously the decision is with the Prime Minister. I as a cabinet minister, I am very focussed on delivering for industry, for science and technology this year and delivering on our last election commitments.

Question: Just your reaction to Labor abandoning their franking credits policy? 

Karen Andrews: Well, the Australian people decided two years ago that they didn't support that policy. So Labor, quite frankly, has been very late to abolish that policy. So it begs the question, is it really going to be abolished? Is it going to be renamed as something else? The Labor Party took about $387 billion in taxes to the last election. Anthony Albanese needs to make it very clear that Labor will not tax your income, it won't tax your business, it won't tax your superannuation. And for older Australians, they need to be assured that they are safe and that their savings are not going to be taken away by Labor. Now, it's taken them two years to come to the conclusion that they should be ditching the franking credit policy. How long is it going to take for them to understand that Australians didn't support the $387 billion in taxes and they should be scrapped? Labor is clearly a very high taxing party. And the one thing that we can be assured of is that no matter what they say now, what they will take to the election and what they would do if they were ever elected is make sure that they are putting their hands out and taking as much as they can from our savings and from our income.

Question: Are you concerned at all about the threat Labor poses at the next election? 

Karen Andrews: No.

Question: I’ve just got a question from -

Question: [Interrupts] Minister.

Question: Sorry, Minister. Thanks for accommodating me remotely. I’m not sure if you’ve answered this question, I’ve had a little bit of trouble hearing here. But Anthony Albanese also describes Scott Morrison as a fake, and someone who is always looking to shift blame on big issues. What’s your response to that claim?

Karen Andrews: Well, look, quite frankly, he can personalise his attacks as much as he wants. What that clearly demonstrates is that our policies are sound. They are delivering for Australians. And, you know, it's very well evidenced that if you're going to attack an individual, it's because you can't attack the policy. So I think he's just demonstrating that- to the Australian people, that that he's going to have to go with a personal attack because he can't attack the policies.

Question: Mr Albanese also says that Mr Morrison has used the pandemic as a cover to not deal with things like installing a Federal ICAC, like installing an indigenous voice to Parliament, like not ensuring that someone was held responsible for the sports rorts scandal and the like. Is that what Mr Morrison and your Government is doing?

Karen Andrews: We have been very focussed over the last 12 months on keeping Australians safe, in making sure that we are doing all that we can to support those people to- if they can't stay in their jobs, to at least remain connected to the workplace. We have done a lot of work to make sure that we are in a position to support the development of a vaccine. These are important things to every single Australian. So I understand that Mr Albanese and Labor is desperately out there trying to become relevant. But quite frankly, they need to focus on the interests of Australian people and not worry so much about having personal attacks on the Prime Minister.

Question: Thank you, and I do think you answered this question, and just tell me so if you did, I didn’t quite hear it. Have you already given your reaction to them dropping their franking credit policy change?

Karen Andrews: Well, the Australian people decided two years ago that they didn't accept that policy from Labor. So it has taken almost two years for Labor to determine that they are going to not proceed with that policy. They need to rule out taking to the next election the suite of tax-grabbing policies that they took to the last election. And I notice that Mr Albanese and Labor have been very silent on that. They need to rule it out, and now- and quite frankly, they need to explain to the Australian people why it took them two years to listen to the Australian people.

Question: Thank you Minister.

Question: Can I just confirm 2021- will that be an election year?

Karen Andrews: Well, that's for the Prime Minister to determine. We are very focussed on delivering. And it really is only day two of 2021. We are focussed on delivery here. And we are focussed on making sure that we are delivering for Australian families, for Australian individuals and for Australian businesses.