Caboolture TAFE Doorstop Interview

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Monday, 13th December 2021

Caboolture TAFE Doorstop Interview

with Labor Candidate for Longman Rebecca Fanning

SUBJECTS: Queensland border reopening; Labor’s Future Made in Australia Skills program; A Future Made in Australia; Labor’s policy agenda; Federal election; Julian Assange.
 
REBECCA FANNING, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR LONGMAN: Hi, everyone. I'm Rebecca Fanning. I'm Labor's candidate for Longman. I want to thank Anthony Albanese and Senator Anthony Chisholm for joining me here at the Caboolture TAFE today. I also want to thank Brian and Mary and Robin from TAFE Queensland for giving us a tour of the nursing labs. And it was great to meet some of the Diploma of Nursing students and see what they do as part of their studies. Now, here in this region, we are seeing huge population growth. And we also have areas of large numbers of elderly individuals. So, it's vital that we have enough nursing and aged care graduates for our growing and ageing population. We also have industrial areas and businesses that are struggling to get the skilled workers they need. And I know that's an issue across Australia, with one in four businesses experiencing critical skills shortages. And that's despite 2 million Australians either looking for a job or wanting to get more hours. Now, all we have seen under Scott Morrison and this LNP Government is cuts to TAFE funding and slashing apprenticeships. After eight years of this LNP Government, we now have 85,000 fewer apprenticeships and traineeships than eight years ago when Labor was last in Government. And we've seen, in the news this week, talk about migration and that being the only plan to fix the skill shortage. Well, I am so proud that under Labor, rather than importing workers from overseas, we are going to fix the skills crisis by training Australians, by providing free TAFE in industries of critical skills shortages. Under Labor's plan, we will see 465,000 TAFE places. And we will create up to 20,000 new university places. And that will mean more nursing graduates at TAFEs like this one in my area. It will also mean more graduates in fields like aged care, childcare, trades and construction and advanced manufacturing. And that's exactly what our region needs. And it is exactly what locals have been telling me they want to see. I will now throw over to Albo.
 
ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: Well, thanks very much, Rebecca. And it's great to be back in the Longman electorate here at Caboolture TAFE. And it's been terrific to have the tour this morning, seeing firsthand the real difference that TAFE Queensland is making to filling the skill shortage, to providing people with opportunities for a good, well-paid, secure job into the future. And that's why we need to address the skill shortage. We have one in four Australian businesses saying that they don't have the skilled workers that they need. We have 2 million Australians who are either unemployed or underemployed, who want more hours. We need a Government that addresses that as an absolute priority. And that's why I'm very proud of the fact that our Future Made in Australia Skills Program will work hand in hand with our policy to make more things here. We need to make more things here, and we need Australian workers to do it. And that's why TAFE has such a critical role, particularly in our regions and in our outer-suburban communities, such as this one here. The fact is that this Government have neglected the skills crisis. During the pandemic, we've seen the strength of Australian society. People working for each other, people making sacrifices. And I want to congratulate Queenslanders on getting those vaccination rates up, in spite of the fact that the Federal Government didn't deliver enough vaccines early enough. The truth is that Scott Morrison said it wasn't a race and it always was. And the truth is also that Scott Morrison failed to secure purpose-built quarantine where it was needed. And Queenslanders has had to go it alone in building the facility at Wellcamp, along with the private sector, that I visited with Senator Chisholm just a short while ago. We need a Government that is as strong as the Australian people themselves, that plans and helps build a better future for Australians. What that's about is investing in infrastructure, but also investing in people. And we can invest in people by having 465,000 free TAFE courses, by making sure we have an additional 20,000 university places, by making sure that we have a positive future for Australians. The Government has been in office now for almost a decade. They have no great legacy of reform to show for it. They're complacent about the future. Australia's economy was so weak, even before the pandemic. But the pandemic has exposed that we're not resilient enough, we're not self-reliant enough. And to be truly self-reliant, we need to have people with the skills for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Only a Labor Government will deliver that.
 
JOURNALIST: You saw the joyous scenes of Brisbane Airport firsthand this morning. How much pressure is there now on the WA Government to open up to the majority of the rest of the nation?
 
ALBANESE: Well, Queensland, of course, was kept safe by Annastacia Palaszczuk. And they made decisions based upon the appropriate health advice. And what we've had from Scott Morrison was sniping at state governments, but not doing his job. His job was to supply the vaccines earlier. If that had happened, then the scenes that we're witnessing this morning firsthand wouldn't have occurred because people wouldn't have had to have closed borders in order to keep people safe. It is a failure of the vaccines and a failure of purpose-built quarantine that meant that we had lockdowns. I was locked out of Sydney, effectively, myself for some three months of this year. Because if I went there, I wouldn't be able to go anywhere else in terms of travel. So, it's been a really difficult year. But Queenslanders have been magnificent. And West Australians are getting out there as well, getting vaccinated, getting the jabs. And I'd encourage everyone, as well, who needs their booster shot, to get out there and to do that. Quite clearly, going forward, it is obvious that at some stage the decision will be made whereby booster shots will be necessary to be classified as being fully vaccinated. It makes common sense to follow the health advice. So, I'd encourage people to get their first jab, get their second jab, and when they're eligible, get their booster shot as well. Because we need that to keep up the vaccination rates. I myself had by booster just last Monday, given by Emma McBride, a trained pharmacist, the Member for Dobell.
 
JOURNALIST: You and the Prime Minister have been locked out of Queensland for much of the past six months. Why did you choose Longman to come back to during this trip?
 
ALBANESE: Well, I've been, of course, to Longman over the last six months. I think this is my third visit in the last six months at least. And I've been in Queensland whenever it's been possible to be here. Scott Morrison visits when there's an election on. The last time he spent any considerable time in Queensland was during the state election campaign where he came to tell Queenslanders that they got it wrong. He came to tell Queenslanders to open up the borders. And if that had occurred, then you wouldn't have had the safe response that Annastacia Palaszczuk's Government have presided over this year.
 
JOURNALIST: And during that state election campaign, the Premier said that she wouldn't need you to come up and hold her hand to be able to win the election. Will you be relying on her star power to help you win back more Queensland seats?
 
ALBANESE: I'll be working with everyone in Queensland. Stacia is a good friend of mine. We've been friends for a long period of time. We worked together very closely when we were both infrastructure ministers in our respective governments. When we planned projects for Queensland, like Gold Coast Light Rail, like the upgrades to the Bruce Highway, like Cross River Rail that was then abandoned by this Government, it would have been open now if Tony Abbott and Campbell Newman hadn't had squashed the project when they were elected. We planned projects, indeed, community projects like the Caboolture Town Square upgrade, right here in this town. I'll be campaigning with our candidates. I'll be spending time with my Queensland Labor colleagues as well. And I expect that, I'm very hopeful, that we'll have a good response. I'll be visiting Queensland regularly. I'll be back at the end of this week. I had planned to come in on the 17th of December when Queensland was ready to open up. But of course, it opened up early. So, here I am. And I'm very pleased to be here.
 
JOURNALIST: How many seats do you think you will be able to pick up?
 
ALBANESE: Well, we are hopeful of picking up additional seats.
 
JOURNALIST: How many?
 
ALBANESE: That's up to the people of Queensland. But we don't write any seat off. And we want to talk to every voter. Today, I'm in Longman. After this, I'll be with Mick Denton in Petrie. Before I was here, I was with Anika Wells in Lilley. On Friday, I'll be back in Brisbane and then in the Hinkler electorate. I intend to be a regular visitor to Queensland, as I have been over the last two decades. I like Queensland. I like Queenslanders. They're straight-talking. I'm a straight talker. What you see is what you get. And that's why I think I can very much relate to Queenslanders. I look forward to campaigning with them on issues of their concern. Because we need a change of government. We can't afford a second decade of this do-nothing Government. A Government that's obsessed by the 24-hour media cycle, that's obsessed by marketing, that makes promises but never delivers. And one of the issues that will come up for this Government is - where is the delivery? Today is the third-year anniversary of Scott Morrison promising a national anti-corruption commission. And we haven't even had the legislation introduced into Parliament. It says it all about Scott Morrison that he's running from a national anti-corruption commission. That's because his Government that he leads has been involved in Sports Rorts, commuter car park rorts, a range of other scandals and scenarios. No wonder he doesn't want accountability. And we'll be looking very closely at MYEFO, the Mid-Year Economic Forecast, at the end of this week to see how many more funds are established without saying where the money's going to, treating taxpayers' funds as if they're the funds of the Liberal and National Party.
 
JOURNALIST: Because you've come to Queensland straightaway, surely, you must be worried about your electoral fortunes here in the state given you were on the first flight out of Sydney?
 
ALBANESE: No. It's a positive thing. It's a positive thing to come to Queensland. And guess what? I'll be here again on Friday. And I very much look forward to spending a lot of time in Queensland. We have fantastic candidates as well. And I want every opportunity to showcase candidates like Rebecca, like Mick, and others right around the state. And I look forward to doing that. I do like campaigning. It's great to be out and about and to meet today the nursing students, as well as the people providing those skills and training is a great privilege. It is a great privilege to be in public life and to be able to engage with people about issues of concern and to meet people who want to devote their careers to helping the health of their fellow Australians. I can't think of anything more honourable than that. And I give praise to them.
 
JOURNALIST: Would you support a bring forwards of tax cuts given that we are saddled with the most debt since World War Two?
 
ALBANESE: Well, we'll wait and see what the Government does. But of course, what they're talking about here is the LMIO, the Low- and Middle-Income Tax Offsets, that the Government deliberately put in as a temporary measure, unlike their other measures which were permanent. So, we'll wait and see. If something doesn't happen, then what we know is that people will get a tax increase in July next year. This is a Government whose focus is always just on the electoral. They don't have a focus on the economic needs. There's no big economic reform that they've put forward. I've put forward Jobs and Skills Australia, a body made up of private sector and public sector representatives to advise on where careers are going, what the jobs will be of the future, how do we skill Australians for them in a planned way to coordinate activity across federal, state and local government. I put forward that in 2019. The Government hasn't responded. There's just been more cuts, more cuts to skills, the abandonment of universities during the pandemic. This Government doesn't get it. I understand that the key to Australia and strong growth is having a high-waged, high-skilled high-value economy. That's one that I want to build. Thanks.
 
JOURNALIST: I just have one on Julian Assange. Should the Prime Minister be urging the US President to drop the charges against him?
 
ALBANESE: Well, I've said before that I fail to see what purpose is being served by the ongoing incarceration of Julian Assange. There's been a heavy price paid. Now, I don't agree with a whole range of Julian Assange's views, but there needs to be a point in which you say that enough is enough. And that is the view that I've put forward consistently.
 
ENDS

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Electorate Office

334a Marrickville Road
MARRICKVILLE NSW 2204

Phone: (02) 9564 3588
Fax: (02) 9564 1734
Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

Parliament House Office

PO Box 6022
CANBERRA ACT 2600

Phone: (02) 6277 4022
Fax: (02) 6277 8562

Phone: (02) 9564 3588
Fax: (02) 9564 1734
Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

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