TRANSCRIPT OF DOORSTOP INTERVIEW
28 JULY 2010
E & O E – PROOF ONLY
Subjects: Stormwater harvesting announcement; Company Tax; Murray Darling Basin; Inflation; Australian Women’s Weekly
PM: It’s great to be here in Adelaide in my hometown, and we are in the federal electorate of Sturt and I’m joined by Labor’s candidate, Rick Sarre, who is with me. I’m also joined by my ministerial colleague Penny Wong, our Minister for Water, and here in that capacity today. By Kate Ellis, our Member for Adelaide and one of my ministerial colleagues. By Tony Zappia and by Robert Bria from the local council, who’s joined us for this special announcement.
And I’m here today with my colleagues to talk about reusing storm water in Adelaide. Now I grew up here in South Australia. I’ve heard every joke anybody can make about Adelaide water. I don’t need anybody retelling them to me. And when I grew up here, there were concerns about our water supply. The quality of our water, the need for periodic water restrictions. Now, in the modern age, those concerns are greater as Adelaide has grown and as we have learned about climate change and seen the developments in the Murray Darling Basin. The Minister for Water, Penny Wong, has been leading our efforts to deal with water policy. And there would be no city in this country that cares more about water policy than the city we are standing in right now, in Adelaide.
We have already as a Government invested in projects which enable us to reuse stormwater. We’ve already invested in projects that bring this water into greening parks and gardens like the one we’re standing in. Now this obviously makes sense because if you can use this water for purposes like greening parks and gardens, it means you aren’t using precious drinking water to do that. Today with my colleagues, I’m announcing that we will make available $100 million for further projects that focus on stormwater and water reuse. And today I can announce that we will invest $10 million right here in a project that has been worked through by the eastern councils in Adelaide; a project that will mean because there is stormwater being caught there is more water to use. And we were talking about it just before – and at the moment, local councils here have to make difficult choices. Which of the parks and playing fields will they irrigate? Which will they leave unattended and allow to die off and go brown? Having more storm water, and water that is able to be reused available, means councils will be able to keep more of these vital facilities in the kind of shape that people want to see and people want to see in their local communities. So this is good news, good news for this local area, good news here in the federal electorate of Sturt and beyond. So with those comments I’ll turn to Penny Wong for some supplementary statements
WONG: Thank you very much Prime Minister, well we can’t let our precious water go to waste. When it rains we can’t simply let that water run out to sea and that’s why we’ve got to invest in projects such as these. It’s why this Federal Government has invested so significantly in water here in Adelaide, funding some 31 projects including 30 stormwater harvest and reuse projects. We’re funding projects which will deliver some three quarters of Adelaide’s water supply in a year. This is all about diversifying Adelaide’s water supply, making sure we have a range of sources of water, working with local government to deliver these outcomes and ensuring we secure Adelaide’s water supply. So we are very pleased to be supportive of this project. We funded projects as you would know in the north, in the south, in the western suburbs and now here in the eastern suburbs of Adelaide – a project which is about recognising we have to preserve our precious drinking water, we can’t simply let that go to waste. Thanks very much.
PM: This better not be a joke about Adelaide water or my colleagues here, you know, Rick and Kate, Penny and Tony – they’re ready, they’re ready.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister Tony Abbott has today announced company tax cuts to 28.5 per cent by 2013 I think. What is your reaction to that? Will you match the cuts? Has the Coalition trumped you on tax?
PM: Oh dear me. Look I understand that Tony Abbott’s made some statements today about company tax so as I understand Mr Abbott’s position now, he’s going to put company tax up and he’s going to put it down. That’s what Mr Abbott’s saying. If he was Prime Minister, he’s going to put company tax up and he’s going to put company tax down. Well I think this is further proof that Peter Costello was right about Tony Abbott. He’s clearly bored by economics and he’s not understanding any of the details. There would be a lot of kids that I’ve met in my travels around the country that would be able to explain, if you asked them, that you can’t be putting tax up and tax down at the same time. Now all of this is about trying to camouflage Mr Abbott’s plan to increase company tax on Coles and Woolworths and have that feed through into the prices that people pay for everyday goods. And Peter Costello I think got it right when he thought Tony Abbott wasn’t up to dealing with the economic plans that this country needs.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister I asked you this morning and you said you would answer it this afternoon-
PM: Yes, thank you for your patience.
JOURNALIST: The Murray Darling Basin Authority has produced a report on the future of the River Murray and the Darling Basin but they’re refusing to release it until after the election. Is that really fair on electors that they’re having to vote on future policies without knowing what is going to happen as far as the Murray Darling Basin is concerned?
PM: Look I’ll turn to the Minister for a comment too. But the simple fact here is that the Authority is independent and I think that is a good thing, that the Authority is independent. As a Government of course we are very happy to be judged on our efforts in dealing with water and Penny has led substantial efforts, substantial efforts including dealing with water purchasing so that we can see more water flow. And this is in real contrast to what Mr Abbott is saying. His team refers to water purchasing as ‘theft’ and we know what that means for the health of the Murray. But I’ll turn to Penny…
JOURNALIST: But can’t you (inaudible) the Authority to release the report?
WONG: Well look, on this Greg, one of the things we all wanted was the Murray-Darling run by an independent authority free from political interference. We think that’s in the best interests of South Australia and of all communities in the Basin. So obviously if it is an independent authority, it’s got to be an independent authority now as as in the future. I think the real question in this campaign is where is Tony Abbott’s water policy? Does he back the position of Barnaby Joyce, that water purchase is theft? Because what that means is that he’s saying to South Australians, we are not going to purchase water for the environment and for the Lower Lakes. And if that’s his policy, he should come out and say it.
JOURNALIST: The Basin plan’s been delayed twice now. It was due out in early June. Do you have confidence in the way the Authority is doing its work, given it has had to delay twice?
WONG: Well look, the Authority is doing something under this Government that has never before been done in the nation’s history. We have never managed the Murray Darling Basin as a single Basin. It’s unsurprising it’s challenging, it’s unsurprising it’s tough, but they are working through what is a very substantial challenge. They’ve made clear the process forward. We’d encourage people to consult, but as I said again. One of the things that we all wanted, when we all argued for water reform was an independent authority free from political interference. And that is what we have to preserve in terms of the authority.
JOURNALIST: Did you breathe a sigh of relief today when you saw those inflation figures?
PM: Well look the inflation figures are obviously below market expectations. My colleague the Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan will be making some, I think he already has in fact made further comments on the inflation figures. So they are below market expectations and obviously I think that is good news. Now clearly I suspect your question is leading to a question about interest rates and all I’m going to say is that the Reserve Bank sets interest rates independently.
JOURNALIST: Have you had a look at a copy of the Women’s Weekly yet today and what did you think of the cover girl? Can I also ask the Ministers their reaction to that?
PM: I have picked up a copy of the Women’s Weekly, I think I’ll let others judge what they think of it. Obviously a combination of make-up and lighting that does you a lot of good.
JOURNALIST: Can I ask Kate Ellis and Penny Wong what they thought of it?
ELLIS: I’ll have to confess at this point, I haven’t made it to the newsagency to pick up my copy of the Women’s Weekly just yet, but I’m certainly looking forward to doing that and have had a couple of other priorities this morning.
WONG: I had a very quick look and I thought the photos were fabulous, but that’s all I can say.
JOURNALIST: Will you be making another visit to South Australia during this campaign?
PM: I try and get to South Australia as frequently as I can, so obviously I’m always very happy to visit here. We’ll be making campaign arrangements and diary arrangements during the campaign as we go and I can’t reveal all of those today, but I always love getting back to my home town, back to South Australia.
I like getting to Melbourne too, because it’s where my house in Altona is. I mean this is where I grew up, this is where my family still lives. I’ve got that sense of homecoming about it, obviously for all of my adult life really I’ve lived in Melbourne, and Melbourne my Altona home where Tim is, is very precious to me.
JOURNALIST: You have a background in refugee law, do you feel comfortable with the policy Labor is pursuing on asylum seekers and particularly the offshore processing of refugees?
SARRE: Can I say this morning’s focus is on sustainability and as I doorknock the area, I hear about people talking not about a big Australia, but about a sustainable Australia. They’re concerned about the environment, they’re concerned about our natural resources. Our great natural resource of water is under threat and this program this morning of $10 million dollars to waterproofing eastern Adelaide is a fantastic process and a fantastic outcome for the people of Adelaide, eastern Adelaide and in particular, the electors of Sturt.
PM: Thanks very much.
28 JULY 2010
COMMUNICATIONS UNIT: Phone: (02) 9384 2220 | Fax: (02) 9264 2213
AUTHORISED N.MARTIN for the ALP, 5, 9 Sydney Ave. Barton ACT.
To discuss any information in this email please contact (02) 9384 2220 at ALP Campaign Headquarters