02 November 2017

CHRIS BOWEN, SHADOW TREASURER: Well thanks for coming everybody, its great to be here in Brisbane today talking to the Queensland Media Club, in which Ill be giving a speech about Labors approach to economic growth. And particularly welcoming the Productivity Commissions report which endorses investment in Australias people as the key to productivity and economic growth.

Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison have a one point plan when it comes to economic growth. Its a $65 billion corporate tax cut. Weve had five wasted years when it comes to investing in education and skills, in innovation and in health and a Shorten Labor Government will have a very different approach which we will be outlining today.

While Im in Queensland I will make this point. The people of Western Australia have a legitimate concern about GST distribution. Labor has dealt with that concern in a way that does not affect the GST distribution to any other state or territory. Just this week we had the Acting Prime Minister to say that states like Queensland should be worse off when it comes to GST distribution. The Labor party doesnt agree. Now I dont expect that Queenslanders will see much of Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison during this state election campaign. I suspect the LNP would like to see them as far away as possible.

Bill Shorten, Tanya Plibersek and I will be regular visitors as will the Federal Labor team. But on those rare occasions where you see Malcolm Turnbull or Scott Morrison in Queensland over coming weeks, I say this. If its good enough for the Labor Party, the alternative Government in opposition, to say that we dont support changing the GST formula which would see Queensland worse off by millions of dollars, then it should be good enough for Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison as well. They should rule out changing the GST distribution formula in a way which disadvantages Queenslanders, and the LNP in Queensland should demand that they do. If they dont they will be copping out on behalf of Queensland.

Now the Palaszczuk Government, the Shorten Labor team are all of one mind. We will fix WAs legitimate problem, in a way which does not disadvantage Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia or any other state or territory in the Commonwealth.

Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison should be able to say the same. They wont. And this is the opportunity for Queenslanders, this state election, to hold them to account and to demand that they rule out changing the GST distribution formula.

Happy to take any questions on those or other matters.

JOURNALIST: Whats your reaction to Richard Goyders comments at the Press Club he said its too easy to take the populist path, it doesnt work over the long run. Do you have a reaction to that?

BOWEN: Well I havent seen the full context of those remarks, I havent seen the speech obviously Im here for the Queensland Media Club and hes in Canberra. But certainly the Labor party has had the view that we need to be robust in policy to deal with peoples legitimate concerns that economic growth is not being shared fairly. That income inequality is on the rise. Now weve been very robust in our policy. What we believe is in tackling those people like Pauline Hanson who offer simplistic solutions to genuine concerns and who say everything would be alright if we just take the populist path. The Labor Party completely rejects that. We reject that at the state level, we reject that at the federal level, and we will continue to argue for good policy in the national interest.

JOURNALIST: You seem overly passionate about Queensland. Is this purely because the election is happening and youre drumming up (inaudible)?

BOWEN: Well what we are doing is calling them as we see it. We will say the same whatever jurisdiction we are in. Now this is, and Tony Abbott used to go around and say different things about GST distribution depending on what state he was in, and Malcolm Turnbulls done the same. He promised a floor to the people of Western Australia, hasnt delivered. Weve been to Western Australia and weve said to Western Australians, you have a legitimate concerns. Bill Shorten and I have announced a package to deal with that. But we did it and designed it in such a way that we can come here to Queensland and say the same thing, the people of Western Australia have a legitimate concern and we will fix it in a way which doesnt make Queenslanders worse off. Malcolm Turnbull cant say that. Scott Morrison cant say that.

I simply make this point. The Queensland election is an opportunity for Queenslander voters to demand that they do. And if they wont, to vote accordingly.

JOURNALIST: Theres been some reports that Adanis in talks with Indian and Chinese backers to get funding to create the mine. I mean if thats the case and that goes ahead, should our Government, regardless of which party is in charge, be giving subsidies?

BOWEN: Well we at the federal level, we have made our position clear. We think the Adani would have to stack up financially and we dont support tax payers money being used for the Adani mine. I mean if the Adani mine stacks up, thats obviously good for Central Queensland, North Queensland, but its not a case where you only support economic growth policies if you believe in tax payer subsidies. And we dont. We dont support that.

JOURNALIST: Whats your opinion on Mark McGowans suggestion that there could be transitional top up payments before a kind of permanent reform is introduced with the GST?

BOWEN: Well again, weve announced a fair share for WA fund, its a substantial fund, Mark McGowan welcomed that. We worked closely with him in designing it. He and the Treasurer of the Western Australian Government, of course, have a job to do to put forward the Western Australian case, as does every premier, as Annastacia Palaszczuk has done here. But we have a solution for Western Australias very legitimate concerns which has been carefully designed, which is a payment to Western Australia over the period before they return to a more normal level of GST distribution.