Press Conference, Sabrini Foods Carrum Downs, Victoria

Food and beverage component of the Modern Manufacturing Initiative

Joint press conference with Prime Minister the Hon Scott Morrison MP

SHARN COOMBES: I'm Sharn Coombes, the Federal Liberal candidate for Dunkley, and it's my absolute pleasure to welcome the Prime Minister here today to this facility, along with the Honourable Angus Taylor, Minister for Industry and the Honourable Senator Jane Hume, Minister for the Digital Economy. And thank you to Raja and Sabi for welcoming us here today. Thank you. 

PRIME MINISTER: Well, Raja and Sabi, it's great to be here with you and Sharn, it's tremendous to be here with you. I welcome you to our team, I was so thrilled to have you in our team here running in the Federal seat of Dunkley. You bring tremendous experience, both as a legal practitioner as well as having deep roots in the community and the community work that you've done. And I'm just so thrilled to have so many great candidates, like yourself, putting your hand up and coming forward and wanting to be part of my Liberal National team as we go forward to this next election. So, looking forward to spending even more time down here in Dunkley with you as we continue to make the case as to how we will secure Australia's economic future and particularly the economic recovery.

Today is an important day for Australia. It's an important day for Australia because we have passed the 90 per cent first vaccination rate right across the country. And that is an important milestone. Ninety per cent of first doses around the country. Australia not only will have one of the most significant achievements in having one of the lowest fatality rates from COVID, saving over 30,000 lives, one of the strongest economic performances of any developed economy coming through COVID, but we are also on track to have one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. And importantly now, we've got 80 per cent first doses in every single state and territory around the country. So it's a bit like that grappling hook, you throw it up there, it gets firm on there at 80 per cent and then you pull yourself through to the 80 per cent in all of those other states and territories. And we know from the scientific work done by the Doherty Institute right here in Melbourne that  that 80 per cent mark is when you can open safely and stay safely open, which is what we're seeing right here in Victoria. And it's been such a thrill to see that happening as I've been out and about right across Melbourne this week.

Now the other important thing about coming out of the pandemic is that we need to secure Australia's economic recovery. And manufacturing will play a significant part in Australia's recovery. Under our Modern Manufacturing Initiative, under the policies we've been putting in place, we now have a million, a million Australians in manufacturing jobs in Australia. Under Labor one in eight manufacturing jobs went. We've been able to turn that around as a government through our economic policies and get a million Australians back in manufacturing jobs here in Australia. And we're doing that by being smart about it. We're doing it by backing in Raja and Sabi and so many other people like them who have invested in the facilities, in the technology importantly, and the people and the training, the products, the research that enables them to be as great success in manufacturing. And, you know, in food and beverage manufacturing, one of the six core strategic areas of manufacturing that we have chosen to focus on, food and beverage manufacturing is the biggest employer in manufacturing. And so with $33 million going into this sector to support manufacturers as they do breakthrough products and breakthrough processes with breakthrough technology, that is going to make Australia competitive as we emerge. You know, as we come out of this pandemic, we've had enough, I'm sure all Australians, of governments telling people what to do. Victorians know that better than anyone. And what's important as we go forward is we let our entrepreneurs, we let our manufacturers, our industrialists, our enterprising young people who are coming through with great talents and fantastic ideas, backing them in as they're starting businesses. We are going to have a business-led recovery here in Australia, and it's because of the energy and the effort of Raja and Sabi and everyone like them in Australian manufacturing that's going to achieve that. So, Sharn, that's what we're going to see here in the electorate of Dunkley, and we're going to see it right across the country. Now I'm going to ask Angus to come forward and speak to the program a little bit more. 

Angus also today will be, later today, will be releasing the modelling on our lower emissions technology strategy to get us to net zero by 2050. I said it would be soon. I was telling you absolutely it would be soon, and today we'll be releasing that and that will be made available later today. So we're getting on with the job of getting to net zero, our manufacturers are going to play a key role in doing that, using smart technologies, using clean technologies. But importantly, the best thing that they bring to the table is their entrepreneurship and their passion and their dedication to look after their customers. That's how you get a business-led recovery. Angus.

ANGUS TAYLOR: Well, thanks PM. It's great to be here at Sabrini Foods. And of course, with Sharn and Jane from Victoria in the seat of Dunkley. And of course, this is a seat where manufacturing is strong. More than 8,000 people in this electorate are employed in manufacturing, more than 700 businesses. And of course, that's strong right across Victoria. Victoria is just under a third of Australian manufacturing. And as you've just heard from the PM, manufacturing is resurgent in Australia. More than a million people again employed in manufacturing. We haven't seen that for 10 years, since Labor was in power, since the carbon tax was put in place. And it's wonderful to see that gain in manufacturing jobs, 90,000 jobs in the last three months as Australian businesses strengthen, replace imports, create new markets, fix bottlenecks. This is Australian businesses leading the recovery, as the Prime Minister said. Of course, our Modern Manufacturing Strategy is all about achieving that. It includes opening up new markets. It includes making sure the skills are in place, making sure there are lower taxes, like the accelerated depreciation. These are initiatives that we know are supporting investment and growth of jobs in manufacturing across Australia. And of course, what we're announcing today is that food and beverage component of the Modern Manufacturing Initiative, a $1.3 billion initiative, and it's $33 million today for food and beverage, which is one of the themes, the priorities in this overall initiative. The $33 million going to seven businesses across Australia. Businesses that will be familiar to many. Businesses like Sullivans Cove in Vic - in Tasmania, sorry. It's a distillery, some of the best whisky in Australia and in the world coming from Sullivans Cove. Here at Sabrini, producing food and paneer, in fact, is the product that will be produced from this $1.4 million government initiative, which will replace the imports coming now in frozen form. This business will be able to replace those imports with the funding that is being provided here. And this is how we create jobs. This is how we strengthen our manufacturing sector. This is how we re-establish Australia's manufacturing sector as one of the leaders in the world. We'll have more initiatives like this to announce in the coming months with additional parts of the overall Modern Manufacturing Initiative. But the one thing we are absolutely focused on is making sure jobs in Australian manufacturing strengthen in the months and years to come.

PRIME MINISTER: Well, happy to take some questions. 

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, you said earlier today you've never lied in public life, is that really true?

PRIME MINISTER: That's what I think to be true. What are you suggesting? What do you think I did? 

JOURNALIST: Well, this Tuesday you were saying Labor wanted to mandate electric vehicles. 


JOURNALIST: No, they had an aim for it.

PRIME MINISTER: No, what Labor wants to do, and wanted to do then was, through their fuel emission standards, was push up the price of petrol and push up the price of running conventional vehicles to get people to push, and push them over into buying electric vehicles. Now I'm not for that. I'm absolutely against that. I'm not for trying to mandate people, trying to shift them from one choice to another by putting up the price of the thing they're using now. See, this is where Labor and Liberal and Nationals are different. Labor wants to control what you do. They want to control your life, they want government more involved in your life. That's not how we're going to secure the economic recovery. Labor were talking about it yesterday. They said they want to shape, want government to shape the future. I want Raja and Sabi to shape the future. I want Australian families to shape their own future. I don't want them having to be told what to do by governments. Australia is great because of people like Raja and Sabi risking their own capital, risking their own fortunes by investing in their ideas, in their businesses. I want business at the centre of our economy, not government. We've had enough of government having to step in and stand in the middle of our economy. It was necessary while we were going through the biggest pandemic the world has seen in 100 years. Of course, government's going to step in. But now it's time to let the Raja and Sabi's really take it on and take it forward. And so I disagree with Labor. They might want a sledge and whine and whinge, but if sledging and whining and whinging is what makes a good government then vote Labor. If you want a government that believes in businesses, particularly small and family businesses getting out there and making the economy work again, then vote for Sharn Coombes here in Dunkley and vote Liberal and vote National.

JOURNALIST: You've been accused of being...

PRIME MINISTER: Sorry, we've already had one here.

JOURNALIST: You've been accused of being a liar by a former PM and a president. How can Australians trust you? 

PRIME MINISTER: Because on my record, I've been doing the things I said I would do. Now again in politics, in public life, when you make decisions that upset other people, now of course the French are upset. I decided not to go ahead with a $90 billion contract that would deliver a submarine that Australia no longer needed. And so I decided that's not something we should do. I decided and my government decided that Australia needed better and that we needed nuclear propelled submarines. So over an 18 month period, I made sure Australia got that. Now, if that upsets the people who made the previous decision, if that upsets another country, albeit a great friend of Australia, I'm prepared to make those decisions. And if they're upset with me, I understand. But I'm not going to have Australia's best interests intimidated by people who might be a bit upset with me over things like that. I see the Labor Party and Anthony Albanese backed in those criticising those decisions. He backed in even the Chinese criticising those decisions. So that's for him to explain, not me.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, what will your message be to APEC tonight after Xi Jinping warned there could be another Cold War in the Indo-Pacific amid criticism of the AUKUS deal? 

PRIME MINISTER: Well, I'll talk about APEC, and that's largely about trying to ensure that in the recovery from the pandemic that we do need a business-led recovery and we need a trade-led recovery. And so that means we need to do things that means that rules-based trade is what determines how countries in a free and open Indo-Pacific can trade together and that countries are not subject to trade coercion, trade bullying, and the rules of the trade system are respected and that they are upheld. And that's what a free and open Indo-Pacific means. Now I observed those comments from President Xi, and what I know is this. Everyone is very aware of the 14 points that were raised by the Chinese embassy in Canberra. Those points talked about the freedom of our press. They talked about the freedom of our parliament. They talked about Australia's right to make sovereign decisions in our own defence interests. And I can tell you, you know, I'm never going to, I'm never going to compromise on those issues. And if that means that Australia gets targeted because of that, if that means that we will attract criticism because we decide to get better submarines and that upsets people and they want to have a sledge at me, well, so be it. But what I know is this. A key part of having a free and open Indo-Pacific is working, especially with our like minded parties. We have wonderful relationships working in the Quad, with India and with Japan and of course, the United States. And our AUKUS partnership with the United States and the United Kingdom. I welcome the comments that were made overnight by the National Security Adviser in the United States. These are things I know well from our own discussions. The United States are very committed to ensuring that we have stability in a free and open Indo-Pacific, and AUKUS is absolutely central to that. And I do find it disappointing at the same time, when implied in those comments that were made last night by President Xi, there is a criticism of AUKUS that in the exact same time, the Labor Party here in Australia seems to be joining in on those criticisms for what they're seeking to do and undermining it here in Australia. You can't have an each way bet on national security. Australians know where I stand when it comes to national security, on AUKUS, on the submarines that we should have. And I've stood up for those things. And you can't have an each way bet on it.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, on net zero, how do you model something based on technology not yet thought of?

PRIME MINISTER: I'll let Angus, he can add more to that, but this is the point that you make assumptions about achieving technology targets. Now, you'll be familiar with the technology targets we set out in the low emissions technology platform, hydrogen at $2 a kilo, for example. When you can get technologies at the right price so they can be commercialised and introduced at scale, then, you know how that would impact on industrial processes and how these fuels are used in Australia. And that's how you work that through, and your modelling of the economy to understand its impacts on being able to lift up jobs. It's like in any sort of modelling, you are saying these policies are designed to get these outcomes and those outcomes produce this for the economy, on jobs and on earnings. But Angus may wish to add more.

ANGUS TAYLOR: Thanks PM. The priority technologies in the roadmap are well known. We laid them out last year, whether it's clean hydrogen, low emission steel and aluminium, carbon capture and storage, soil carbon. These are technologies we know, we understand. The key is the costs are coming down, they will keep coming down, we lay that out in the plan, page 48 of the plan and we'll see it as well in the modelling. And as costs come down, the investment in those technologies go up. We've seen it with solar. 50 years, 50 years we've seen the cost of solar coming down four percent a year over 50 years. And the result is that 90 per cent of the solar installed in the world has been in the last 10 years. So that's how it works. That's what you will see in the modelling. That's what you see in the plan. And that means backing businesses, to make the investments. Backing businesses to get on and reduce the emissions, as well as reduce their own costs through productive technologies, that's the heart of our plan.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, one of your first things we did as PM was you came to Langwarrin Station in Frankston and you recommitted $225 million to extend the Frankston line to Baxter. It's now been a few years since then. The project hasn't gone anywhere and the business case has revealed it's going to cost about $1.5 billion. How can the residents of Frankston in the Dunkley electorate be assured that money remains committed and that you remain committed to that project?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, we do remain committed to the project, but sadly the Victorian government doesn't want to do their part of that project. And that's why that hasn't been able to proceed. Now, that's disappointing. The Premier has made it very clear in all of our meetings that that's not a project that he wishes to pursue. I'm seeing Premier Andrews this afternoon, we'll talk about a number of infrastructure related issues, but in particular the reason for the meeting is we're working through, as I am with some other Premiers, the mRNA manufacturing opportunities that we have. Victoria, I think, has a very strong part when it comes to being a medical manufacturing centre here, and so do other states. So I'll be looking forward to having that conversation with Premier Andrews, with Dan later today, and we always sort of discuss these issues quite practically, and we're very upfront and honest with each other. He doesn't want to build that rail line, and so that obviously makes it, makes it an issue. I mean, the East-West also, that's also a project which we remain committed to. The Victorian Labor government have been very clear that they don't want to do that. But I think people know what our commitment is. And you can still see it referred to in our Budget each year. 

JOURNALIST: It's been one year since Australian women were kicked out of the Qatar Airlines flight and strip searched. You were very vocal about it at the time, there's been no apology. What has the Australian government been doing to help?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, what I'm pleased about, and following representations that we've made, I'm very pleased that there was an investigation, there has been a conviction, and there has been a significant change to airport processes at Qatar. So getting the problem fixed. And that was an egregious thing to have happened. It was an awful experience for those women, and yes, I did have a very strong view on it, and we did follow up on it, as did Minister Payne. And so I'm pleased to see that action was taken, has been taken, and as I say there was a police officer who was convicted over these issues, and that's the sort of action that we would hope to see occur. So I think just one more.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, do you think you'll need to be more ambitious on climate change policies ahead of the next election to hold on to seats like Higgins and Kooyong here in Melbourne?

PRIME MINISTER: We have a great practical plan. And today, as modelling will be released on our plan to get Australia to net zero by 2050, a plan that is about technology, not taxes. It's about choices, not mandates. It's about having a portfolio of technologies that we can have brought to scale and at the right cost to ensure that our economy can be on that path. That ensures that we have affordable, reliable power, which I can tell you facilities like this need to remain competitive and to ensure that not only when they're making paneer, we can stop those imports coming from Canada and make it here, that they can take more markets back domestically as well, and to ensure that we're very transparent about that. That's what our plan is based on. We believe we will hit a 35 per cent reduction, I think that's a conservative forecast, by 2030. Now this is at a time when Australia has already reduced its emissions by more than 20 per cent. Now, countries like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Angus remind me, they're at four percent and one per cent, respectively. So we are doing almost 20 times better than our trans-Tasman colleagues and five times better than what's happening in Canada. So we're getting it done. Others will talk a big game. We're actually delivering the big game on emissions reduction. A 20 percent reduction on emissions. And you add to that what we will achieve by 2030 and a clear plan to get us to 2050 and net zero. We've put it all out there. People know our policies. 2030 commitment, our 2050 commitment, our modelling is out there, our 130 page plan is out there. What has Labor got? Labor don't even have a 2030 target. They have no plan and no modelling in terms of how they say they're getting to 2050. What I know is that they want to put policies in place that tell you what to do rather than allow you to make the choices. And our policy is to make those choices cheaper, not make the things that you're currently paying for more expensive, whether it's your fuel or your electricity. Thanks very much everyone.