TRANSCRIPT: Doorstop, Corangamite, Wednesday, 11 May






SUBJECTS: Funding announcement for G21 in Geelong, Labor's positive plans for jobs and education, Liberals' unfair budget

LIBBY COKER, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR CORANGAMITE: I would like to begin by welcoming Tanya Plibersek to Geelong, to the Corangamite, and also Richard Marles the Member for Corio. Today is a very exciting day for our region. It is the first announcement for Corangamite for the Labor Party in this election and I'm so proud that what this is about is jobs. It's about looking at how we improve the lives of people who are experiencing long-term unemployment and making sure that everybody in Corangamite, and also across our nation, has an opportunity for work. That is really important. And I would like to say, that if we expect to have jobs and growth we need to have investment in schools and in education of our young people, and the Labor Party is intending and will do this. It is a great day. So I would like to also acknowledge G21 who are here today, Elaine Carbines and Bill Mithen, who have worked tirelessly along with the local businesses and Northern Futures to make this happen. Thank you.

BILL MITHEN, CEO GIVE WHERE YOU LIVE: Thanks very much. Look, it's a fantastic announcement for the region and for this project, the GROW Project which is G21 Region Opportunities for Work. It is a locally born and locally developed and locally implemented project. It's a local solution to an entrenched issue, addressing entrenched disadvantage is at the very core of what the project is about and that means creating targeted job opportunities for people who are living in extremely vulnerable circumstances. We'd like to really acknowledge and thank the Deputy Leader of the Australian Labor Party, Tanya Plibersek, for being here and announcing this funding today. As well as to Richard Marles, the member for Corio and Libby Coker, the candidate for Corangamite for their support and advocacy. And announcements like this don't come simply by just our advocacy, it requires their advocacy as well. So it's a terrific day. We're really pleased. We know that this will help us deliver what is a 10 year project over a $6 million budget and we're extremely excited about today's announcement.

RICHARD MARLES, MEMBER FOR CORIO: Thank you. Well, can I also say how pleased I am to be here. This really is a very exciting announcement and I'd like to acknowledge Bill Mithen and Elaine Carbines and, obviously, great to be here with the Deputy Leader of the Labor Party, Tanya Plibersek, and Libby Coker our candidate in Corangamite. I think everyone knows that Geelong's been doing it tough over the last few years. We've seen decisions at Ford and Alcoa and more recently in relation to Target, and every one of those decisions, I think, adds another disadvantage to our most vulnerable suburbs - places like Norlane and Corio and Whittington in the electorate of Corio, and places like Colac in the electorate of Corangamite. And what the GROW project is doing is really targeting a whole lot of social initiatives, impact investment, impact procurement and really targeted job assistance to those areas so that we can, as a community, say that we are not going to leave people behind. Geelong is not going to leave anyone behind in our economic progress. And that's one of the wonderful things about Geelong, that there is, I think, a civic leadership here, and Bill and Elaine are great examples of that, wanting to put their hands up to make sure that no suburb and no person is left behind in Geelong's story and that's ultimately what the GROW project is about. And so the announcement today, ultimately, is supporting a community that is helping itself. And that's the best form of government investment you get. So great, great day. Fantastic announcement. Very exciting for both Libby and I, as the Labor candidates in both areas, but let me hand over to Tanya to finish this off.

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Well thanks very much Richard. It's great to be here with Bill and Elaine and other members of G21 and with our fantastic candidate Libby Coker and my good friend Richard Marles to make a very important announcement. We know that jobs and growth are important in regions like this. We know that this investment will make a big difference over the next 10 years. What you see here is a group of local councils, businesses and non-government organisations working together to ensure that the money that's spent in the region actually drives jobs and growth in the region. G21 have worked out that there's about $17 billion worth of goods and services bought in the region annually and what they're saying is that those goods and services should be for the benefit of the region - so businesses that are driving investment here, businesses that are supplying goods, supplying services should also be employing local people including from some of the most disadvantaged communities in the area. What we'll see over the next ten years is a real improvement in the job opportunities for young people, those who are thinking about what they'll do after school. Making sure that they finish school, go on get their further training, but then actually have an opportunity to work in the community that they've grown up in. So my congratulations go to G21, to all of the member organisations, to Libby in particular, who has fought so hard for this extra funding, to Richard who has been a great supporter of G21 and one of the people who originally brought all of the organisations together to focus on local employment. This $2 million will mean that a 10 year plan can go ahead. It's a 10 year plan for jobs and growth that will deliver for Geelong and surrounding communities.

JOURNALIST: Would you prefer to see this sort of money going to programs like this than for tax breaks for the wealthy?

PLIBERSEK: Well this election will be all about choices. And you can see a Shorten Labor government that will prioritise investment in education and investment in jobs and opportunity in communities like this. The alternative, of course, is a Liberal government that only wants to offer tax cuts to the highest income earners and the biggest companies. You only need to look at the budget last week to see the different priorities of the Liberals and a Labor government. The Liberals said that the most important thing they can do is give a tax break to companies that have a turnover as high as a billion dollars a year, and tax cuts to people on above $180,000 a year. Think about people in this community. There are not many people earning a $1 million a year. But if they were earning $1 million a year they would get a $17,000 tax cut. If, on the other hand, you are a working mum on $65,000 a year, with two kids in high school, you'll lose about $4,700 according to this budget because of the cuts to Family Tax Benefit, Schoolkids Bonus and so on. This budget really sets the tone for the election and what you see are the same old cuts that Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey were so keen on. And on top of that you see huge tax cuts for big multinational companies and the highest income earners, at the expense of hospitals and schools.

JOURNALIST: Is this part of a wider strategy to strategy by the Labor Party to address the rural-urban imbalance?

PLIBERSEK: Well, we've always been interested in rural and regional communities and regional centres like Geelong because we know that, while many of them are thriving and doing very well, there are pockets of extreme disadvantage in our regional cities and rural communities. We're always about sticking up for the people who need a helping hand, and so I guess in that sense you could say it is part of our strategy. It is part of our strategy for a fairer and more equal Australia where we invest in health and education, where we drive jobs and opportunity.

JOURNALIST: Why not give businesses the opportunity to, the tax breaks to be able employ more people that the Liberal Party is proposing?

PLIBERSEK: Well, we certainly support a tax cut for small business, but a small business is a business with a turnover of $2 million or less. What the Liberals' tax cut proposes is that over a ten year period, companies with incomes or turnovers as high as $1 billion will get a tax break as well. It is ridiculous to redefine small business to include, straight away companies with a turnover of $10 million, and then progressively over a number of years get to businesses with turnovers of over $1 billion a year. Now, we can choose to give that money away as tax cuts to big companies that will shift most of their profits offshore, or we can choose to invest that money in our schools, in our hospitals, in projects that drive growth just like this one.

JOURNALIST: I was going to ask Libby, do you see jobs as one of the really big issues in your efforts, in Corangamite, in the battle for Corangamite?

COKER: Jobs are very important for Corangamite, as they are for Corio in your region. We have seen the automotive industry decimated and we have seen Ford about to close by the end of the year, we have Target which is now leaving Geelong. Alcoa has left. We need to have a plan for jobs. Labor will be announcing its plan and this is, I think, a really important project because it shows that we will not leave people behind. People who live in areas where there's high unemployment, particularly high youth unemployment, will not be left behind by the Labor government. We will support them and we will ensure that they have a chance for a job.