Press conference, Somersby
LUCY WICKS (Federal MP for Robertson): It follows the Federal Government’s commitment of a $4.4 billion Jobs for Families package which has been so well received here by people on the Central Coast. Because we know that the challenge of juggling work and family, particularly in the commuter belt where 30,000 people leave early in the morning to Sydney and return late home at night to their families, is a real challenge. Thanks to the Government’s Budget we are now seeing some real solutions for this very important problem. But importantly on top of that we now have a $10 million commitment, an investment in partnership with Gosford City Council to upgrade Somersby Industrial Park and I am pleased to say that that is going to result in the creation of around 3,000 new jobs for the Central Coast. A real boon for Central Coast families, a great boon for commuters who may no longer have to go to Sydney or Newcastle to be able to work and great opportunities for our young people on the Central Coast as well.
PAUL ANDERSON (Gosford City Council Chief Executive Officer): The funding that we have been able to secure enables us to deliver on the ground infrastructure in road works, water and sewer and creek stabilisation. It enables us to bring forward access to people to enable further subdivision and further development in an industrial area which is important to enable us to create those jobs. But also gives us an ability to augment water supply through other areas of the city and future-proof our water supply and also create ability for us to do some redevelopment in areas like Mt Penang which have been failing for a long time to actually get across the line. We now have an ability to fast-track all of that development for the benefit of the residents of the Central Coast.
QUESTION: What kind of timeline are we talking about here?
ANDERSON: Look we are ready to start that infrastructure work straight away. We have done our design work; part of the programme of applying for the grant had to be shovel ready. We have basically got escalators ready to roll as soon as we can sign the agreement away we go.
QUESTION: Mr Morrison, we’ve talked about a lot of benefits for the Coast, any assurances that these will be people from the Coast that will you know be up for these positions?
MINISTER MORRISON: Well let me start off by saying I am pleased to be here on behalf of the Prime Minister to announce that the Commonwealth is providing $10 million to transform the Somersby Industrial Estate. I want to congratulate Lucy Wicks as the local member; she has already brought 600 jobs on their way to the Central Coast through the Commonwealth precinct in Gosford and now $10 million here teaming up with the Council which is going to create another 3,000 jobs here on the Central Coast. Lucy Wicks is a jobs machine for the Central Coast. Through her advocacy and through her vision, shared with the Council, we are looking at the future of the Central Coast here, and it’s all about jobs. The best form of welfare is a job, that’s what we believe and that’s what we are making here – jobs. It’s the other reason why in this year’s Budget we are saying to young people we want you to go out and get a job. That’s why we are changing the waiting period for people to get access to Centrelink as well; they will have to wait five weeks if they are getting out of school before they can access that. Because we want them to go and get a job, we don’t want kids to walk out of school and walk into Centrelink. We want them to walk into jobs, like right here. That’s why are investing in these sorts of projects, to ensure that the jobs are here for those young people to move into and every time I come to the Coast I just find a great sense of optimism and going forward and these sorts of projects, supported by the Council, the investments they are making teaming up with the Commonwealth is going to make that happen. So look I think it is really positive. How the local community responds to this, it’s over to them. The jobs will be here for them to apply for and get involved with and young people in particular we want to encourage them to get to the starting line on that job and go across it and get in those jobs and stick in them. Rather than going down the path of going on welfare and things like that. So there is a very different future here for young people on the Coast and it is being built right here in Somersby.
QUESTION: Exactly where will the 3,000 jobs come from?
MINSITER MORRISON: From the community, from the people who are trained here. When I visited here with Lucy and Karen McNamara further up the Coast the young people going through our colleges and going through our schools; we want our young people to leave school and go into a job, not walk into the Centrelink office. That’s our version of what they’re future should be. We are disappointed that the Opposition, Bill Shorten, is saying right now that he thinks someone should be able to walk out of school and walk into a Centrelink office and sign up straight away. We are saying no. We are saying five weeks and in that five weeks you’ve got to go and apply for jobs, you’ve got to get out there and put a CV together, you’ve got to get a jobs plan together and you need to do the work to go out there and get a job. That’s what we want young people to do because we want their future in work and not in welfare. What’s happening here in Somersby is going to enable them to have the jobs that they seek.
QUESTION: We certainly have a big issue, youth unemployment here on the Coast – are we going to be able to ensure that those jobs are accessible to those types of workers?
MINSITER MORRISON: Well, the jobs are here for them to come and get. But every young person, every person, needs to get out there and put themselves forward for those jobs, and we want to encourage them to do that by investing in projects like this, and we also don’t want to provide the easy way where someone can just walk out of school and walk onto welfare. What we want them to do is be aspirational about being in work, we want to help them to do that, and there has to be a job for them to go to, which is what this investment is about. But there also needs to be ‘the get up and go’ for those who want to do that. This is a Budget for those who want to have a go, and this project will give them that go. What we’re doing in terms of welfare reforms will also encourage them to have a go, and that’s what this Budget’s about.
QUESTION: You mentioned the 600 jobs from the ATO, there’s some scepticism within the community with regard to those jobs, saying well when we are going to see them? What’s the timeline? and is that going to be delivered?
MINSITER MORRISON: Well Lucy might want to comment on that, there’s always scepticism about these things, but what the Government’s doing is getting on and investing in the future of the Central Coast. Lucy has a great strong plan for the Central Coast, with Karen McNamara up the Coast together with the Councils who are also showing a lot of vision on the Coast, and I think it is just a great place to see that optimism being realised, and I think it’s something that people need to get involved with. But Lucy, you might want to comment on the Commonwealth precinct.
WICKS: Yes, look I’m really pleased to comment on this. It’s a very important announcement for the Central Coast, 600 new jobs in Gosford in a purpose built building that will be completed by the end of 2017. This is a Federal Government that takes the Central Coast seriously. We went to the Central Coast with a commitment of 250 to 300 new jobs. I’m pleased to say, in last year’s Budget, we not only doubled that, but we committed a purpose built building, and the expressions of interest and the tender process is under way as we speak, and this building will be located in Gosford. 600 new jobs with hundreds more created directly as a result of 600 people coming into Gosford every single day. And of course in this year’s Budget we have now seen on top of the Jobs and Families package, on top of our initiative to support small businesses, we’re now seeing $10 million injected directly into the Central Coast to upgrade this very important business park here – the industrial park here, and I do want to pay tribute to Gosford City Council, led by the Mayor Laurie McKinna, and also the CEO Paul Andersen for their initiative and their support to see the Central Coast thrive with more jobs, with more opportunity, with more growth in infrastructure like this.
MINSITER MORRISON: I mean this is how Macquarie Park started, this is how Norwest Estate started, this is how down in my own electorate, places like Taren Point and others started, they started with the council and others about the vision to go and make this happen, so the storm water drains will go in, the roads will go in, the sewerage will go in, and that will bring the businesses with them. And that means the people living on the Coast, the idea of just a commute in their future will change, and there will be more jobs here for them to stay, and live and work on the Coast which is important, and that will be backed up by the Jobs for Families package, which means they can get the child care that they need and can afford as well. So all together, this is a great package for the Coast; Jobs for Families support for small business to go and invest in the future of their businesses and the jobs for the young people to get themselves into.
QUESTION: Just to confirm, there will be no assurances though, that they will be Central Coast jobs.
MINSITER MORRISON: The jobs will be the result of the businesses that come here and employ local people. So it’s the businesses that will be doing the hiring, it’s the businesses that create the jobs, what we’re doing here is creating the opportunity for businesses to base here and employ local people. But businesses create jobs. That’s why the Government has invested in small business; $20,000 in depreciable items written off in one year, it used to be $1,000, now $20,000 that is us backing small business. So if you’re a small business that wants to get ahead, you now have the backing from the Government to get out there and make your business stronger than it is today. And for those who got up early to go to work this morning in Gosford, this Budget’s for you too, because the investments in child care and getting local jobs here are there for you.
QUESTION: What’s the timeline, so 3,000 jobs you’re talking about once this entire industrial estate is up and running and obviously looking very different from how it looks today?
MINSITER MORRISON: We are partnering with Council, so the Council might want to comment on the overall project of this and the scope over time, but that’s the case with all of these projects.
They all start somewhere, and this is where this one is starting and it’s starting with a strong partnership with great local leadership from Laurie and his team, from Lucy here as the Federal Member and a Federal Government who believes in what is happening here on the Coast.