Future Made In Western Australia

Prime Minister

I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet and I pay my respects to their elders past, present and emerging.

I do want to take a moment this morning to express my heartfelt sorrow to the parents of Callum and Jake Robinson.

Their beloved sons have been murdered in Mexico.

And right now they are trying to come to terms with what is every parent’s nightmare.

I join with all Australians in offering them my deepest sympathies and condolences.

It’s great to be back in Perth and I want to thank our hosts – Business News and 9News.

I acknowledge all my Federal colleagues joining us today, along with so many other distinguished guests.

Our Government understands that here in Western Australia and around our nation, people are under financial pressure.

Which is why next week’s Budget will deliver new help with the cost of living for all Australians.

We’ll be building on the two years of work we have done to make Medicare stronger and medicine cheaper.

Adding superannuation to our expanded Paid Parental Leave.

Investing in skills and education, carrying forward the success of fee-free TAFE.

Backing the aspirations of everyone who works hard to gain a place at uni and studies hard to earn a degree by wiping $3 billion off student debt and making the system simpler and fairer for the future.

As well as providing financial support for the next generation of teachers, nurses and social workers while they do their practical placements.

We are maintaining the GST guarantee – so WA schools and hospitals will continue to get their fair share of funding.

And we’ll be making new investments in productivity-boosting projects like METRONET and backing new infrastructure to drive growth into the future.

Including the funding we’re announcing today to get work moving on Westport.

Planning a new container port at Kwinana, with connecting road and rail infrastructure.

Creating jobs in Western Australia’s regions – and boosting exports to our Indo-Pacific region.

And at the centre of this year’s Budget will be a tax cut for every Australian taxpayer.

All 13.6 million of them, not just some.

Eight out of 10 WA taxpayers will get a bigger tax cut than they would have under the Morrison Government’s old plan.

Our new tax cuts are better for women, for part time workers, for low and middle income earners and for parents going back to work.

And they’re better for business and the economy too – because they will boost workforce participation.

Our Government’s number one priority is taking action to help with the cost-of-living, without adding to inflation.

And we do this while building for a future made in Australia.

Because it’s the job of responsible Government to deal with the challenges of the here-and-now, while preparing for the opportunities of the future.

That’s true even in times of international uncertainty, indeed especially in times of international uncertainty.

Because securing a future where living standards, wages and productivity rise together and building an economy that is more competitive, more resilient and more prepared for the next global shock means working together to shape the future, not waiting for the future to shape us.

Western Australians know this better than anyone.

And you understand that in order for our nation to seize the transformative opportunities of this decade, we must begin by recognising the economic realities of this moment.

Advanced economies around the world are engaged in a new competition for the next generation of jobs, investment and prosperity.

They are committed to net zero by 2050.

They have endured the shock of the pandemic – and the long aftershock of its impact on supply chains.

They are emerging from the most significant global energy crisis in 50 years.

And they are learning – and applying – the lessons of these events.

Seeking greater economic sovereignty and greater energy security.

And central to their approach is the capacity of government to be a catalyst for private capital.

To help businesses grow and thrive by providing tax credits, investor incentives and cutting red tape to accelerate projects and boost productivity.

As well as direct investment to support pre-commercial activity and a combination of loans and subsidies to attract private capital.

The United States’ Inflation Reduction Act is the best known example.

But the same economic and strategic imperatives are at work in the European Union, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Canada.

And let’s be clear – this is not a political fashion trend, or a passing ideological fancy.

It is not nostalgia for old-fashioned protectionism – or a retreat to it.

This is the economic course some of our most significant trading partners are setting for the future.

This is where the world is heading.

And no-one is waiting for around Australia to make up our minds, no-one is holding the door open for us to follow.

If we don’t move now, this world of opportunity will go right past us.

That’s why our Government’s plan for a future made in Australia is about acting with purpose and urgency.

Building on our unique national strengths – and growing beyond them.

Making the right investments in skills and training, research and education, infrastructure and clean energy – and advanced manufacturing.

So when a researcher at an Australian university makes a breakthrough in green hydrogen, or vanadium battery technology we turn that discovery, into industry.

Making products here. Manufacturing technology here.

Creating secure jobs for good wages here.

Moving Australia up the international value chain.

Taking more Australian ideas and innovations and green products to the world.

This doesn’t mean pulling up the drawbridge, or cutting ties with our trading partners.

Our plan is about diversifying our economy to deepen our engagement with the region.

Building on Australia’s hard-earned reputation as a reliable energy provider for the economies of North Asia.

And capitalising on the new global demand for clean energy by supplying the metals, minerals and technology and – through green hydrogen – the energy itself.

In all of this, Western Australia has a central and vital role to play.

WA metals, minerals and resources.

WA universities, research and technology.

And WA businesses and workers – the global respect your skills and knowledge command.

This is the compelling combination of strengths that Western Australia brings to the table.

And it’s also powerful proof that Australia can absolutely compete and succeed in a changing global economy.

Time and time again, the companies in this room and across this state have embraced new technology and the productivity gains that come with it.

That’s why mining today employs robotics experts and automation specialists, as well as engineers and geologists.

You’ve invested in clean energy.

From Hydrogen Hubs in Kwinana and the Pilbara to Synergy’s Collie battery energy storage system – which will be one of the biggest grid-scale batteries in Australia.

You’ve engaged with the opportunities of our region.

Western Australian gas and iron ore helps build our nation’s wealth – and power Asia’s growth.

And the workers of this state have learned new skills and achieved new standards in safety and sustainability.

As it has grown and adapted, the resources industry has invested in the regional communities that support it.

Creating local jobs, upgrading local infrastructure and working with traditional owners to create economic opportunity in remote communities.

All of that should give us confidence and optimism for what’s ahead.

Because while it’s true that the resources industry has been a great constant in your state’s economy and our national prosperity.

It has achieved that by constantly evolving – and adapting.

By anticipating and shaping the next opportunity – and that next opportunity is upon us.

Our Minister for Resources, Madeleine King, always says that the road to net zero runs through Western Australian resources.

Gas is playing an important role in firming and energy security, as our economy transitions.

And we know that making more solar panels, batteries and clean energy technology means exploring and extracting more lithium, cobalt, nickel, copper, critical minerals and rare earths.

The world needs more of these resources – and our Government is going to help Australia find more.

Today I announce that next week’s Budget will invest in a new era of mineral exploration.

We will fund the first comprehensive map of what’s under Australia’s soil – and our seabed.

Meaning we can pinpoint the new deposits of critical minerals and strategic materials we need for clean energy and its technology.

As well as traditional minerals like iron ore and gold.

And potential storage sites for hydrogen.

This landmark new funding commences on the 1st of July this year and it will be long term – with $566 million provided over the ten year medium term.

The best time to start this generational project was a decade ago – the next best time is right now.

A future made in Australia relies on providing confidence to investors, and supporting those who take on the task of exploring our vast continent.

The world-leading experts at Geoscience Australia will drive this work.

And our Government will ensure their findings are freely available to industry.

So companies know where to drill, dig and explore to find the mineral resources that will power our future growth and prosperity.

This is a map to greater community certainty as well.

Because it will assist with infrastructure planning, environmental assessments and supporting the agriculture sector.

And help create a sustainable pipeline of projects – on an orderly timeline.

So much of our future prosperity depends on finding more critical minerals, extracting more critical minerals – and doing more with critical minerals before we export them.

Too often, ‘comparative advantage’ is the reflexive reason given for why we don’t make things here in Australia.

We’re told it’s not worth trying – that there are too many other countries with more people willing to work for less money.

Our abundance of cleaner, cheaper energy changes that equation.

It signals a new era of comparative advantage.

Because as the emissions footprint of technology becomes more important to buyers being able to power refining, processing and manufacturing with clean energy becomes more valuable for sellers.

On the east coast, over 30% of homes have rooftop solar.

Here in the west, it’s over 40%.

More and more of us make use of renewable energy in our daily lives.

And by using clean energy to power heavy industry – we can make Australia a renewable energy superpower.

This will be a clear priority in the Budget – and beyond.

As will the opportunity presented by co-locating extraction and production.

Providing the investment incentives and the regulatory framework to support more downstream processing, on our shores.

Taking raw materials to the nearest regional centre for value-adding, rather than shipping them other side of the world.

Creating jobs, cutting transport emissions – and reducing costs.

One of the lessons many nations took from the pandemic was to pursue greater diversity in their supply chains, rather than relying too heavily on any one country.

For example, in the European Union, the Critical Raw Materials Act sets a target of no more than 65 per cent of annual consumption of each strategic raw material to come from a single country.

That’s a market open to us – and it’s a reminder of another great national advantage we hold.

Australia is a stable democracy. A trusted trading partner.

We engage with global markets, we champion the rules-based order.

We are home to diaspora communities that give us a family connection to every part of the world.

We are a leader in our region. A middle power in our own right.

And when nations are drawing a clear connection between their economic and security interests – all of this matters, all of this counts in our favour.

Everyone in this room appreciates that Australia is a great investment.

Government has work to do to ensure that our nation continues to attract new investment, drive new projects and deliver better returns.

This isn’t always a matter of government doing more – or spending more.

There’s a key role for government in de-risking private initiative.

Funding discovery, investing in research and supporting the commercialisation of breakthroughs.

And helping new industries and start-ups get over the hump.

But just as market forces alone won’t get us to net zero, fill the gaps in our skills base, build resilience in our supply chains or strengthen our communities – this task can’t be left to government alone – or funded by government alone.

I’ve made it clear that in this time of fiercely contested global opportunity, our Government is not going to sit on the sidelines and watch the game unfold.

Nor are we trying to play every position.

Because we know a big part of the value government can add is in building the right regulatory framework for business.

One of the key objectives of our Future Made in Australia Act will be to help streamline international investment in national priority projects.

Offering faster pathways to approvals while maintaining important environmental standards.

As the Treasurer, Jim Chalmers, explained last week – this includes simplifying the process for international investors with proven track records.

We need faster and better processes to local investment in local projects as well.

Whether it’s critical minerals or renewable energy – the current environmental approval process is far too slow.

That’s why we are investing nearly $100 million to speed up decision-making.

More support for staff reviewing business proposals for renewables and critical minerals.

More support for business to help them comply with environmental law.

Providing a better steer on site selection, with more surveying work ahead of time.

And better planning and co-operation with state and territory governments.

To make it clear where development can occur – and where the no-go areas are.

And to join-up community and industry needs, so priority projects have the right surrounding network of roads, rail – and community infrastructure.

Many of you have heard me say it before: our Government is pro-worker and pro-business.

That’s never been a point of tension or compromise for us – it’s a matter of logic.

We know that without thriving businesses, there are no secure jobs or fair wages.

And our plans for a future made in Australia are also about making it easier to do business in Australia.

Our agenda is pro-trade and pro-investment too.

Because so much of what we want to achieve for Australia, depends on our engagement with the region and the world.

For our Government, it’s not a matter of taking sides or picking winners.

Our plan is for workers and businesses to succeed together.

Profits and wages and productivity and living standards to rise together.

Investment and trade and industry and agriculture to grow together.

And our regions, suburbs and cities to share in new jobs and prosperity – together.

Because we can all win from this opportunity.

Two years ago and about a kilometre from here, I launched Labor’s campaign for Government.

I asked the Australian people to trust us with the honour of serving as their Government – and join us in the work of building a better future.

For all the challenges we’ve known since then, for all the global uncertainty our nation has endured.

We still have every reason to believe that better future is ours to seize – and nowhere is that more true than here in WA.

Western Australia is home to the resources the world needs.

And we can make Western Australia home to the energy and technology and skills the world needs too.

Working together, we can convert this moment of opportunity into a generation of prosperity.

We can make the most of our nation’s boundless potential.

We can make this decade our own.

We can make our future, here in Australia.

/Public Release. View in full here.