Let me begin with happy birthday! Let me begin with congratulations to the LNP on its 10th birthday. I look out there and I see one of the greats and the founders, Bruce McIver, congratulations to you all on ten years!
Gary Spence, thank you. Larry Anthony, Federal President of the Nationals, Allan Pidgeon, Federal Vice President of the Liberal Party, Ben Hindmarsh, Federal Director of The Nationals, Deb Frecklington, the LNP state leader, my Lord Mayor, your worship, Graham Quirk.
My only achievement in local government, the only one was to be the first man to be Lady Mayoress of Sydney. So I have always been very deferential to Lord Mayors. Very important. Our 40th wedding anniversary is not far off. Michael, thank you so much for your speech. You are a wonderful colleague, a great partner. I want to thank all of our LNP parliamentarians, members, and senators here today. I want to thank, above all, our LNP members.
Politics is a tough business. I want to acknowledge the service and commitment of our Queensland LNP members and senators today but recognise, in particular, the outstanding service of three who have not been successful in recent pre-selections. Jane Prentice, doing a magnificent job as Assistant Minister for Disabilities, thank you Jane, you are a champion. And Senator Ian Macdonald, the father of the Senate, and of course Senator Barry O'Sullivan, who was very much at home with us on our western Queensland tour. Ian, of course, will be running again in the number four spot on the Senate ticket. While that preselection was disappointing, for them, I want to thank them very much for the amazing effort they have made.
And, of course, welcome and congratulate our new Senate, LNP Senate ticket, Paul Scarr, Susan McDonald, Gerald Rennick, Ian Macdonald, Brad Carswell and Nicole Tobin.
As the preselection process goes on, we will be working hard for the election of newly endorsed House of Representatives candidates, in Ryan, Julian Simmonds, Philip Thompson in Herbert and Frank Beverage, full of fight from Charters Towers, in Kennedy.
As Michael told you, we were fortunate to spend some time out in western Queensland looking at the very, very long drought and the consequences there. Spending a lot of time there. Listening to locals, farmers, had a great visit, for example with Cameron and Jackie Tickell who have a property near Charleville, looking at the way they were sustainably harvesting the Mulga to feed their stock. It was very important. By the way, we got about 40 times as many people saw the video of that on Facebook as live in Charleville. But we got an even bigger hit on social media when we were out there.
When we were there, everyone was talking about the drought. We were all talking about the problems of managing drought conditions. When do you destock? The problem is if you destock and it rains and you can’t afford to restock. And if you don't destock, you keep hand feeding forever, you can obviously go broke. It is not easy on the land. We are the land of droughts and flooding rains and we have to remember that and respect and back and support our farmers. David Littleproud is doing a magnificent job as Agriculture Minister. And as Michael said, we have made changes to the farm households assistance grant.
But anyway when we were in Charleville, we encountered the Mayor of Thargomindah. I know you're all familiar of Thargomindah, it has a population of 270. It is the capital of Bulloo Shire which has a population of 500. The Mayor of Bulloo Shire is John Ferguson who goes by the name of Tractor Ferguson. We were talking about hand feeding stock and the virtues of cotton seed. I have been putting a lot of cotton seed out on our place in the Hunter. And we were talking about that, various approaches and Tractor said it is so dry in Thargomindah that we are hand feeding our bees. He did. He said that. And everybody laughed. I think that I was the only person who thought he was fair dinkum.
Anyway, but it sounded like something out of a Banjo Paterson poem, didn't it? Anyway, Tractor went back to Thargomindah, population of 270, he did an instructional video on how to hand feed bees in times of drought. It has had over 150,000 views on Facebook and LinkedIn alone. The whole nation is working out how to hand feed bees like they do in Thargomindah.
What it tells you is that Queenslanders are tough. They are fighters. They are resilient. They understand that you have to deal with, in Queensland, a climate that can be very capricious. And you have to be committed and enterprising and prepared to have a go. If you don't succeed, dust yourself off and have another go.
That is the spirit of our party, of our political movement. There is another great Queenslander, great in every respect, who is fighting hard for our cause at the moment. Big Trevor Ruthenberg. He is so big. That guy, when Peter Dutton told me about Trevor Ruthenberg, he said ‘he is a big guy’. I thought ‘there are a lot of big people in Queensland’. He is so big, I did a press conference with him the other day and when the camera was on me, when I was talking, you could see Trev's chest. And then, when the camera went to Trev, you couldn't see me at all. I had vanished. He is a big unit. But he is working hard. He really is working hard in Longman. And, you know what, he is out there campaigning with great support from the LNP members and grassroots, great support from all of our federal colleagues, especially our Queensland colleagues, and he is taking on Labor's lies. You know what I said earlier about whack-a-mole, man we are seeing it again in Longman.
The lies they are telling there are so shocking. They have got trucks going around saying we have cut funding from Caboolture hospital, completely and utterly untrue. Federal funding for that part of Brisbane's hospital network is up 53% since the Labor government was in. Our new 5-year public hospital agreement, which we have offered to all the states and territories, and most have signed up to already, is another $30 billion across the nation, $7.5 billion is for Queensland. It is just a shocking, shameful lie.
But here is the thing, because we are responding, we are rebutting it, nailing it, not letting them get away with it, people are starting to recognise that Bill Shorten is a liar. He cannot tell the truth. There is no point being mealymouthed about this. He is a liar. Now there was a great example of his approach. He was on the radio the other day, in June, on 4BC I think, and Patsy rang in from Caboolture. And she complained to Mr Shorten that he had said that if you lived in Caboolture you had to drive to Brisbane to get chemotherapy. And she made the point it wasn't true. There were chemotherapy services available locally. She set them out. And Shorten kept on talking over the top of her and patronising her and finally he said, "Well, Patsy you're entitled to your opinion." And she said, "It's not my opinion, I live here!"
It shows you the contempt the Labor Party has for the people of Longman. The people of Australia. The way they continually lie. And they believe that if you repeat the lie often enough some people will believe it or enough people will believe it.
And our mission, our job, this is for every member of the LNP, our job is to rebut those lies. So when you see on your own social media accounts, when you see a rebuttal, whatever it is, whether it is a tile or a video, make sure you get it out. Everybody has got influence. And all of us, all of our members and friends have to get that message across. Labor is lying about health, they're lying about schools, in saying that we are cutting funding. Completely and utterly untrue. Funding is growing every year. If somebody doubts you refer to the budget papers. It is all set out there.
Now, we are getting on with the job of delivering on what we promised in 2016, which was jobs and growth. Last year we had the highest jobs growth in Australia's history, ever. The highest jobs growth. Well over 400,000. And we have 3.1% GDP growth, which is higher than any of the G7 economies and the envy of most of the OECD. We are delivering a new affordable childcare system for families who need it the most. Over 1 million Australian families will be better off because of our new childcare system, which began on the 1st of July, including 7,148 families in Longman alone, who will be, on average, $1,300 better off per child.
We have dealt with some really difficult problems that have been around for a long time, like the GST and the issues they've had with Western Australia, where their share got down to under 30%. Clearly, that wasn't fair, it did not pass the pub test in Bunbury and it would not pass it in Bundaberg either. What we have done is addressed that, we have come up with a new model. Yes, we have provided some additional federal funding, but it means every state and territory is better off, including Queensland, which will be better off to the tune of over $500 million from here through to 2026-27. That's going to provide for more schools, more hospitals, more roads here in Queensland. It is a way we are committed to making sure that the federal system, the GST, works for everybody.
Because we have a strong economy, we have high government revenues - that is vital. The Labor Party wants to declare war on business. It is business that is investing and employing. Businesses like AKD Softwoods that I was with yesterday with Big Trev in Longman. They're going to double the size of their sawmill there in Caboolture, so they'll be creating 100 more jobs in Caboolture. There will be trucks of logs that were going all the way to Brisbane and then off overseas, that instead will be going to the sawmill in Caboolture, being processed into beams that will go into building houses in Queensland and in particular in Caboolture. Isn't that great? Isn't that what we want to achieve? More jobs. More production.
And I know this has been the subject of resolutions at many LNP and Liberal Party and National Party conferences I'm sure as well, Michael, over the years, it is doing more processing, more value-adding in Australia to our raw materials. We should be exporting fewer logs and making more beams and furniture and other processed timber products here in Australia, and that's a big part of our forestry agenda which David is very familiar with, as Agriculture Minister.
Now, because we've got a strong economy, we're able to invest in the resources we need, the capabilities we need, to keep Australians safe. Peter is putting additional dollars into keeping us safe at airports, keeping our borders safe, and we should never forget that. There has not been a successful boat arrival for over 1,500 days.
Now when you look around the world, and you look at the problems that are created when countries have lost control of their borders, we have to say that our government has done the right thing, the just thing, the fair thing, the compassionate thing, in keeping our borders secure, ensuring that Australians, through their government and Australians alone determine who comes to Australia, and we end what Labor had going which was outsourcing our borders to people smugglers, criminals, the worst sort - criminal people smugglers were in control of our border policies, if you could call it that, under Labor, 50,000 unauthorised arrivals and most tragically of all, 1,200 at least deaths at sea.
That's not happening now because we are in command of our borders.
And don't be fooled when Bill Shorten says he would adopt the same policy. He won't. He won't. Just as Michael was saying about environmental matters, he says one thing in Queensland, and another thing in inner city Melbourne. He cannot be trusted on border protection any more than Kevin Rudd could be trusted on border protection. The reality is Labor cannot be trusted to keep our borders safe, and you don't need to read a lot of newspapers or watch a lot of news to realise that the pressure on border security around the world is greater than ever, and that is why we cannot afford a Labor government once again to outsource border protection to people smugglers and criminals.
Now, our record investments extend to new Navy future frigates we were announcing last week, but also a $5 billion LAND400 contract to build 211 Boxer Reconnaissance vehicles right here in Queensland.
And that's all - I have to say congratulations to the advocacy of Team Queensland. There is Ted O'Brien. He rounded everyone up and did a great job in advocating the merits of Queensland as the place for making those light tanks, I guess is what you would - probably the vernacular way to describe them.
I talked about health earlier and Labor's lies, and I talked about how funding for the hospitals in the northern part of Brisbane has increased by 53% since we took over from the Labor Party, but let me give you a more - you know, a more intimate example of Labor's failure. We are able, because of a strong economy, because we have the Budget under control, we're able to list life saving drugs as they are recommended onto the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, and whether that is Kisqali was a recent one, Spinraza - you read about them. Greg Hunt is doing a fantastic job, bringing those life-saving drugs on. Now, do you know that when Labor was in government, they had to defer the listing of life-saving drugs on the PBS and they set all that out in the Budget Papers in 2011. So this is fact. you can read it yourself in the 2011 Budget Papers. So there were people who needed those drugs, but couldn't get them, because Labor couldn't afford to list them.
Now, that's the difference, that's the difference. That's years on somebody's life, that's all of the opportunities that comes with it.
So, think about it. A strong economy, a well-managed economy, it goes to the very essential services that Labor lie about when they say we are cutting them, completely untrue, and we have to nail those lies and say, "Here are the facts. This is our record. Here are the facts. This is our record."
But remember, what about Labor's record? Not only did they set us up with a mountain of debt and a structural deficit, but they also couldn't deliver on a vital obligation of government. Well, we are. More money is going into health and to infrastructure, as Michael described, into schools, into keeping Australians safe than ever, and we're doing that as well as bringing the Budget back into balance a year earlier, because we are managing the economy well and the economy is growing, and that is the - that's the very bottom line of what we need.
Now, we have delivered that strong jobs growth and, do you know, I think the one - we have delivered, as Michael said, one million increase in employment since we came into office in 2013, five months early. We said we would do it in five years, and we got it done in five months short of that, and as of May, there has been 1,031,250 new jobs. Now Luke Howarth and I celebrated that milestone at Kennedy's Timber in Narangba, another great Queensland business, that is in Petrie but employs a lot of people who work in Longman. Kennedy's Timber, like many is one of thousands of small and medium family owned Australian companies turning over less than $50 million a year, and it is benefitting from our tax cuts that have actually already been delivered.
We met there their newest staff member, a young lady call Cherry who could well have been Australia's one millionth new employee since 2013, so we gave credit to her without reference to the statistician on the chance it may well be right. And she got a job there a couple of months ago after attending one of Luke Howarth's job seeker bootcamps so it's a great example of our commitment and Luke's commitment to getting people into work.
The Labor Party has positioned itself in the most left-wing, anti-business way I can remember in my lifetime, or at least for as long as I have been taking an interest in politics, which is a very long time. We had their Deputy leader, Tanya Plibersek, say on radio the other day that aspiration was a mystery to her.
No, she did. She said, "The Liberals have gone on about all this aspiration stuff. It is a mystery to me." And they reckon we're out of touch.
Well, 90% of people who work for business work in the private sector, and more than half of them work for companies which turn over less than $50 million a year, who are benefiting now from our tax relief and are investing.
And many of those employees - in fact, most of them, will benefit from the personal income tax cuts that we were able to get through the Senate in the winter sittings.
Now, what we've been able to do there, was make the biggest reform to GST since it was introduced, a really difficult problem that has been in the too-hard basket, kicked into long grass, whatever metaphor you want to use, we've addressed it and got on with it. Personal income tax needed needed reform. We took that on. It is the biggest reform for 20 years. Nearly 20 years - I would say since 2001.
And what we have done is ensured that families - taxpayers on middle incomes will get $530 back from their tax next year, over 4 million people will get that amount, over 10 million will pay less tax next year, and then over the whole reform, we will get to a point where, from $41,000 income all the way up to $200,000, you won't pay more than 32.5 cents in any additional dollar earned. Now, how long have we been talking about, as Liberals, as LNP members, as Nationals, about the problems of bracket creep and people earning more, doing another shift, getting a promotion, business improves and they go into a higher tax bracket and they are losing more to the tax man?
So what we've done is created a flat tax model between $41,000 and $200,000 - of course, that's where the 45 cent bracket will then begin, but what that means is 94% of Australians will not pay more than 32.5 cents on any additional dollar they earn. That's a massive reform.
Now, Bill Shorten rejects all of that. He wants businesses, every business, large and small, to pay more tax. I know people say he did a backflip on company tax. It wasn't a backflip, it was a belly flop, believe me. It really was.
First he said he was going to roll it all back, so from any business from $10 million turnover to $50 million turnover would go from 27.5% back to 30%, if he got in. Then after a few days later, when all of his colleagues revolted and objected to the fact that he had made this decision without any consultation with them, he then said, "No, we'll leave it at 27.5%, but you're not going to go down to 25%," which is where, under our plan, they will.
So the truth is that literally every single business in Australia, from the smallest to the largest, will pay more tax if a Labor government is elected, led by Bill Shorten, and we're not going to allow that to happen. Because we know that when businesses invest, you get more employment, you get greater productivity, you get more jobs and you get higher wages.
And do you know what, Bill Shorten said exactly that only a few years ago. This is why people don't believe him. Every Labor leader, including him in the past has recognised that if you reduce business taxes, you get more investment, higher productivity, more jobs and higher wages. It isn't rocket science. And we're in a competitive world.
Queensland is a great state. Australia is the best country in the world. But with the US company tax rate at 21%, how competitive are we at 30%? I mean, how much lead do you want to put in your saddle bag? How good do you think our business opportunities are that we can afford to have business tax rates that are way in excess of other countries? I mentioned the US, I could talk about the UK, I could talk about France, you could go right around the system. At 30 cents in the dollar, our tax rate is currently the highest in the whole OECD, the only country which is higher than that, and not by much is Portugal.
Well, we have to be more competitive than that. We are backing business, and by doing that we are backing jobs, we are backing Australians and we are backing aspiration.
Now, most of us are old enough to remember when Labor leaders and Labor governments, Hawke and Keating and others, talked about aspiration, they talked about their object being to ensure that people could get ahead. That is no longer the modern Labor Party.
We are the party that is the party of aspiration, of enterprise, and of freedom. Labor has become a party of envy, negativity, pessimism and grievance.
So it is aspiration on our side and grievance on the side of the Labor Party. That is a pessimistic - that is a pessimistic, it is a gloomy, it is a sort of self-doubting view of the world. It is so, so against every fighting Australian spirit, no wonder people are waking up to Shorten and saying, "We don't want your lies. We don't want your negativity. We want to invest, we want to get ahead and by the way, Ms Plibersek, aspiration is not a mystery to us."
And to give you an idea of how negative Shorten is in a very practical way and what a defeatist he is, I want to talk about trade and the Trans-Pacific Partnership which is a big trade deal, including Australia and New Zealand, Japan, the US and many others and it was all steaming ahead and of course, as we all know, particularly in Queensland, how important trade is, and open markets - one of the reasons why the finest produce of the Darling Downs is on the dining tables of Asia and the whole state benefits from trade. We know that. Trade means jobs. And Steven Ciobo is doing a great job as our Trade Minister, I might add. Anyway, Donald Trump became President and he said, "Right, America is pulling out of the TPP" and a lot of people were very down about that, and in fact I think most people thought it was dead.
Well, John Key, who was New Zealand Prime Minister at the time, good friend of ours, good friend of Australia and he and Bronagh are good friends of Lucy and mine as well. John and I thought, "No, we should stick with it. What have we got to lose?" And we both agreed. And when people said, "You're flogging a dead horse." we'd say, "Well, if the horse is dead, it won't mind a flogging, so we might as well get on with it."
The RSPCA won't complain. So we thought, "Never give up". That's the Anzac spirit. What have you got to lose from fighting for Australian jobs? So I spent a bit of time with Shinzo Abe the Prime Minister of Japan, and together we were able to agree that we should keep at it, and there was huge scepticism, particularly from that weak, defeatist Bill Shorten.
Bill Shorten said, "Oh, the Prime Minister is on a vanity project. He is deluded.” He told me I should give it up, stop wasting my time. Giving up on Australian jobs? Giving up on Australian exports? Giving up on the opportunity to get our beef into Japan with a tariff of 9% when the Americans are a tariff of 38%? Why would you give up on that? Why would you?
Well Bill Shorten would. He urged me to. In fact, he gave a speech at the Press Club about it. Well, you know what? In March, Steven Ciobo signed the TPP-11 in Chile, he signed that, and what we have done is created more opportunities again for Queenslanders, for businesses, everywhere around Australia, and that's the difference. We never give up on Australian jobs, we never give up on Australian business because we are the party of aspiration. We are the party of enterprise. We are the party of freedom.
So, whether it is in Longman, whether it's in Braddon in Tasmania or Mayo in South Australia, we are fighting for our values of freedom, of enterprise, of aspiration, of backing Australians.
We are the party that is positive. We are confident, we are optimistic. We don't give up. If we get knocked down, we dust ourselves off and we have another go. That's our spirit. Labor has become a party of lies, negativity and grievance. They have nothing to offer but a long, dreary whinge, interrupted by falsehoods.
That's not the Australian way. That's why Australians are waking up to Bill Shorten and his lies. My friends, your values, our values, are timeless. They are timeless values, but they are more timely today than ever. Thank you very much for your support and we look forward to success in the election!