Doorstop interview, Perth, WA

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Anthony Albanese MP

Prime Minister of Australia

Ministerial contact

Prime Minister's Office - 02 6277 7744 -

The Hon Matt Keogh MP

Minister for Defence Personnel

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Media contact

Stephanie Mathews on 0407 034 485

Release content

2 April 2023

SUBJECTS: Resources Technology Showcase; National Reconstruction Fund; manufacturing; STEM; making more things here; climate change; safeguard mechanism; Federal Budget; AUKUS; critical minerals; Voice to Parliament; public trustees; Perth Derby.


MATT KEOGH, MINISTER FOR VETERANS’ AFFAIRS & DEFENCE PERSONNEL: Well, everybody, it's fantastic to be here at the Resources Technology Showcase in Perth. And even more amazing to have the Prime Minister join us after a busy morning out in the seat of Aston, of course, where we've had the by-election on yesterday. But what's important here is the Resources Technology Showcase, highlighting the amazing technology across our resources sector, but also how that technology plays a role in our defence industry, and in space as well. And today, seeing all of the kids that have joined us, and the families, giving those kids an opportunity to see if they study STEM in school, they have amazing opportunities before them across resources, defence and space. That's what this expo, this showcase, brings alive for families and for children is those opportunities of the careers of the future across the resources sector which is so important here in Western Australia, but across defence and space as well, which takes us from WA to the nation to the world. And that's why it's so amazing and fantastic to have our Prime Minister here today, as we showcase what we do so well here in WA to the nation and beyond. Thanks, Prime Minister.


ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: Well, thanks very much, Matt. And thanks also to Roger Cook, the Deputy Premier. And thank you to Ryan Stokes, and other people from the business community, who've shown us around the Resources Technology Showcase here. What an awesome event being held here in Western Australia. And the best thing about it isn't really looking at the companies, looking at the adults, it's the kids. Thousands of them. Our future. Looking at future jobs, future industries, future technologies, looking at career paths which will give them secure work into the future. My Government is a great supporter of the resources sector. And we see the opportunities which are there across all of these facilities. We're looking at industries that will grow with the shift to clean energy. The opportunity that we have for lithium, not just to be mined here, but to be turned into batteries right here in Western Australia. What we need to do is to continue to export our resources, but where we can, value add using technology and using innovation. And Australia has always been so good at science and innovation. What we haven't always been good at is commercialising those opportunities. And what this does today is do that and inspire these young Australians to go into these future career paths, which will provide good, secure, well-paid jobs, and importantly, will continue to drive the Australian economy. I am incredibly optimistic about Australia's future. And I'm optimistic because of the interaction I have with the business community, the interaction that I have with the science community, not just in the traditional resources sector, but looking at space, looking at the defence sector as well. Part of what AUKUS is about, and Western Australia and South Australia, of course, are the two states that will particularly benefit from the expansion in defence industries, is about making sure that we have that multiplier effect from any investment, that there's a spin off of investment in defence going forward as well. But when we look at the future, by 2030, the world will need around about 50 new lithium mines, 60 new nickel mines and 17 new cobalt mines. Now, Western Australia has benefited traditionally from iron ore, from gold, from the resources that have made such a difference up to now. And it'll continue to play a role. But the fact that Western Australia has critical minerals going forward is going to ensure that this great state continues to drive our national economy. I'm very pleased to be here. And I thank all of the industries and businesses that showed us around the showcase. But I thank, in particular, the young Australians who interacted with me this afternoon. It's been an absolute treat to be here. Happy to take questions.


JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, they've been talking about value adding here since the 60s, early 60s, when they started digging iron ore out of the ground. Why is it going to be different now?


PRIME MINISTER: Because we have a plan. We have a plan, two elements of which passed the Parliament this week. The first is the National Reconstruction Fund. $15 billion to make sure that we manufacture more things here, for value adding in areas like critical minerals, in areas like the resources sector, in areas like information technology, in new industries going forward. What that $15 billion will do is facilitate private sector investment, support startups, support that capital which is needed to take a small company with a really good idea and make it a large company. And we see that all of the time. And that's why, as I've gone around on Friday, I was at Tritium in Southeast Queensland. They produce the fastest and most effective electric vehicle charging stations in the world, produced in Southeast Queensland. Here in WA, we have an enormous opportunity to produce batteries. We know that the electric vehicle transformation is occurring. Yesterday in Tasmania last night, I spoke to a business there that is producing electric ferries. We know that the sort of nonsense we heard from the former Government, 'You can't say your trailer, you can't tow your boat', is all just ridiculous. That's why we've made electric vehicles cheaper. But we know that batteries will charge not just motor vehicles, but also to ensure that storage occurs with renewable energy as well. It's the sort of innovation that we need. We have a vehicle to support that. In addition to that, we had the safeguard mechanism this week. Now, as we transition to net zero by 2050, which all of those companies as I go around, BHP, Rio Tinto, Woodside, Fortescue, all support net zero by 2050. And they all supported our legislation, it was supported by the Minerals Council and by industry. This week, what we had was we passed the safeguard mechanism, which will provide that certainty for industry going forward. That's what business have been crying out for. It's what we've delivered, in spite of the fact that the Liberal Party opposed each of those legislations when it was before the House and before the Senate.


JOURNALIST: And in terms of defence contracts, the big contract that Western Australia wants is full-cycle docking. Are we going to get that?


PRIME MINISTER: Well, we'll work those issues through, of course. And we've got one of the ministers for Defence here with me today, Matt Keogh. We know that Western Australia is going to play a critical role going forward. And we'll continue to work on those issues. But you will see in the Budget, when we have our Defence Strategic Review that we will release this month, and then there'll be funding in the Budget going forward, substantial levels of funding going forward, across the forward estimates and beyond. Because we know that this investment is important. And Western Australia will be a big beneficiary of it.


JOURNALIST: Do you have any plans to change the petroleum resource rent tax in the upcoming Budget?


PRIME MINISTER: Well, we make Budget announcements in May. That's when we make Budget announcements. And that's what we'll be doing.


JOURNALIST: Should the Government be collecting more revenue from LNG exporters?


PRIME MINISTER: Well, we'll make Budget announcements when they are made, rather than speculate. There'll be a lot of speculation. Most of it's based upon absolutely nothing. Most of it is based upon someone writes a letter somewhere. The Budget will be handed down on the second Tuesday in May. It's not far away. We're working constructively with business. We know that the Budget faces pressures. We inherited a trillion dollars of debt and no plan whatsoever to deal with that debt. We are working constructively. We have a plan for economic growth. That's what the mechanism is about, driving certainly on climate change, meaning new, clean energy, which is cheaper, the cheapest form of energy, driving new industries, training Australians for those jobs. Not these young ones who are here who I've met today, they won't benefit from our fee-free TAFE. But I will tell you what. There are 18,000 Western Australians who are benefiting from fee-free TAFE. And our 20,000 additional university places, again, in areas of skill shortage will benefit as well. So, we've got a plan for new industries, driven by cheaper, cleaner energy and training Australians for the jobs that they'll create. That's part of our plan for economic growth. That is how you deal with the future. And my Government does have constructive plans. You'll see more of it in the Budget in May.


JOURNALIST: Would you like to see WA follow suit of South Australia and establish its own Voice to Parliament irrespective of the outcome of the referendum?


PRIME MINISTER: That's a matter for the Western Australian Government. I welcome the actions of the Malinauskus Government. That is something that they took to the election. But I think that the constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is an important step. That should be a moment of national unity. And I'll be campaigning strongly for it. And I must say, here, I welcome the businesses who I see represented here for their support as individual businesses, as well as the Minerals Council of Australia and other business groups who've all said, very clearly, that they support constitutional recognition with a Voice to Parliament. It is something that we've waited a long time for. It is time to get it right. If we don't do it now, when? And these young people who are here today, every day, I'm sure, at school, like when I go to church, like when we go to sporting events, they are welcomed to the country. It doesn't hurt anybody. It just makes an event more fulfilling. Similarly, a Voice to Parliament won't have an impact on most Australians' lives. But what it will do is have an impact on some of the most disadvantaged people in Australia, on their lives, by giving them a say, by allowing them to be heard. And that's why it's such an act of generosity and why I sincerely hope that Australians vote 'yes' when we give them the opportunity at the referendum later this year.


JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, you're going to the Western Derby this afternoon. Is the blue shirt and gold tie an indication of who you are supporting?


PRIME MINISTER: I did think of that as I put the tie on. I can say, to stop the arm wrestle behind me here, that I will be neutral this afternoon. I hope it's a great game. And I'm really looking forward to going to the Derby. I've heard about it for a long period of time. And these rivalries are really important. Beneath the argy-bargy behind me is a sense of an event where people come together. So, Freo and West Coast. It is my second Derby. I went to the women's AFL, I think it was last year from memory. And it was a fantastic event there. It was one of the first Derby that was held at the stadium between the two clubs. And I really look forward to this afternoon. And I'm hoping for a one point win by either side.


JOURNALIST: You did show some favouritism. You were signing a lot more Eagles footballs. I don't think you signed any Dockers.


PRIME MINISTER: I was signing whatever footies were handed to me. Don't read anything into that. You can't change footy teams. And when I was a kid, of course, I am a South Sydney tragic, I was a board member for a long period of time. And in the VFL as it was then, all of the teams had different colours. That meant you couldn't follow a similar New South Wales Rugby League team as it was. So, I am a Hawthorn supporter, which is, I think we're going to have a rough year, although we did have a win yesterday. And I congratulate Sam on the first win of the Hawks.


JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, public trustees around the country (inaudible). How appropriate is that?


PRIME MINISTER: I know there's been a couple of roundtables as part of the Disability Royal Commission. And we'll await any recommendations that come from it. Thanks very much.


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