Prime Minister – Transcript – Press Conference – Luddenham, NSW

Liberal Party of Australia

PETER JENSEN, FIRST NATIONS ENGAGEMENT MANAGER, WESTERN SYDNEY AIRPORT: Hello, everybody. Awesome to see you guys here today. My name’s Peter Jensen, I’m the First Nations Engagement Manager for Western Sydney Airport. I’ve just come along today to do our acknowledgement of country. When coming to, when coming onto country it’s custom to let our old people know that we’ve arrived, to pay our respects and to move on. I’d like to acknowledge the Darug, Gandangara and Dharawal people, Aboriginal people who lived on this land for thousands of years. I’d like to acknowledge [inaudible], the lyrebird. I’d like acknowledge all our elders past and present. Thank you very much for coming. Just pass on to Melissa McIntosh, Member for Lindsay.

MRS MELISSA MCINTOSH MP, MEMBER FOR LINDSAY: Thank you. Thanks so much PJ for that beautiful welcome. I’m Melissa McIntosh, the Federal Member for Lindsay. I’d like to welcome the Prime Minister here today, as well as Paul Fletcher, Urban Infrastructure Minister, as well as Simon and Paul, Western

Sydney Airport. And most importantly, to all the local employees, including Julie from Penrith. It is so fantastic that we, Western Sydney, are such a powerhouse when it comes to building things and employing local people. And the Morrison Government is investing in record breaking investments into projects like this. This is nation-building projects, this is investing in our local people, most importantly, and it’s investing in the strength of our country. And it’s quite exciting for me as a local Member of Parliament to think right here in the not too distant future, planes will be taking off, not only with local people enjoying the world again, but taking off with local produce, with local Aussie made products made in Western Sydney, grown in Western Sydney, and that is so exciting to see. But most importantly, it’s about local jobs, and Western Sydney Airport is already smashing their targets of 30 per cent. We’re already at almost 50 per cent local employment. And we also have the Connectivity Centre in Penrith, which I’m really proud of because that’s connecting local people again to the job opportunities right here at Western Sydney International Airport. So thank you very much for being here today, and I’d like to introduce Simon from Western Sydney Airport.

MR SIMON HICKEY, CEO, WESTERN SYDNEY AIRPORT: Thanks, Mel, and thanks PJ for that welcome to country. Well, we’re here today to announce the start of the runway works for Western Sydney International. It is from this very runway that in less than five years, people from Western Sydney will take off to be connected to the world. This runway is one of the most advanced runways in the world. We’re actually going to have a CAT IIIB system which will enable aircraft to land in any weather conditions. And so when fog is closing down the rest of Sydney, aircraft will be landing and taking off at Western Sydney International. This runway is 3.7 kilometres, which really means it can take any aircraft in the world. It can take the ultra long haul 777X, or the extra large A380, and take that and connect people to the world. It’s a sustainable project that we’re working on here, and actually we’re standing right now on sandstone that’s been brought here from WestConnex, a great recycling project connecting really big projects here in New South Wales. And I’d like to acknowledge and say how delighted we are with the announcement this morning about the business case that’s going to be looked at connecting the Metro that goes through this airport and connecting it from Bradfield down to Glenfield. That’s a really important connection for the airport. It means that the people of Liverpool can connect to the airport. It means that the people of Campbelltown can connect to the airport. It means that the two airports are connected via Metro, and it means that people can get directly into the city from this airport. So it’s really connecting the west with the west and the west with the east. And I think that having a connected Sydney is so important to the future of Sydney and the future of this airport. So with that, I’d like to hand over and welcome the Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison.

PRIME MINISTER: Well, thank you very much, Simon, and can I thank PJ for his welcome to country. It’s great to be here with you, Melissa, doing an outstanding job here in Western Sydney, and to our two Pauls – mine, the Minister, he’s done a, Paul and I have been on this journey on the Western Sydney International Airport, the Nancy-Bird Walton Airport, for a very long time [inaudible], as well as Chairman of the Western Sydney Airport Company here on behalf of the Government making this a reality.

And can I say, thank Julie Moore for that wonderful ride up and down the runway here. I said to Julie that I’ve driven down Conrod Straight with Mark Skaife and that was pretty exciting. But I’ve got to say, driving down the runway that we’ve been waiting in this city 60 years for was a real thrill. And to be doing it as Prime Minister with Julie in the cab of her truck was quite an exciting moment for all of us.

Can I acknowledge all the other workers here at Western Sydney Airport and thank them for the great job they’re doing and as Melissa was telling us, around half of the jobs here on Western Sydney Airport are from Western Sydney. People in Western Sydney are building this airport. We make things here in Western Sydney, and as Melissa McIntosh and I often say, and Sarah Richards and the whole team out here in Western Sydney, we make things, we manufacture things and we build things and we build big things. And this is a big thing. And you know, in this country, what, we want to build even more.

There’s 1,200 jobs alone in just the construction of this runway – 1,200 jobs. And that’s part of 11,000 jobs that are created by this massive project here for the airport. But you know, that’s part of 120,000 jobs that have been created and are underway right now in the pipeline and of projects that we’re delivering in infrastructure right across this country. We are building a stronger Australia – airport by airport, road by road, rail by rail, port by port. We’re doing that all around the country, and we’re going to add to that 120,000 jobs in the Budget on Tuesday night with another 40,000 jobs by extending out our pipeline of projects from $110 billion to $120 billion, and expanding that jobs army that we’ve seen through our infrastructure projects around the country.

We’re doing a number of things. We’re getting Australia the skills we need. What I’m excited about about this project is 30 per cent of the people working on this project are apprentices, 30 per cent. And that is building a workforce here. Not just a runway, not just an airport, but it’s building a skilled workforce, particularly out here in Western Sydney, which will be able to apply themselves to so many other endeavours and projects over the course of their careers, which will make Australia stronger. But this massive set of infrastructure works, which we’re announcing on Tuesday night, which includes faster rail in Queensland and in New South Wales in particular, faster rail to places like Newcastle, up to the Sunshine Coast, safer and better roads right across the country, whether down in Tasmania or South Australia, or out in the rural and regional areas of the country – major programs to build safer roads and better roads.

But it’s also about connecting better, connecting better. And the intermodal project in Melbourne is a massive part of that. And Paul Fletcher will speak more about the specifics of these programs. But our infrastructure program is getting people home sooner and safer. It is making our economy stronger so people can get from job to job a lot quicker. It is connecting better our cities and our cities with our regions and rural areas, to ensure we can get our world class products and produce, as well as our resources. We can get it at the port and we can get it on those ships and we can send it to the world, and we can bring the tourists in and and we can ensure that they can go home again at the end of the day with such marvellous infrastructure we have here, which will also be assisting greatly with the freight task.

And so the companies are getting this too. Not far from here, you see the big Amazon distribution centre and the logistics centre that been built up around this infrastructure here with the Government to step forward to deliver. Same will be true with the intermodal down there in Melbourne and the faster rail projects, making it more possible for people to be able to get to work quicker and live in more places across this incredible country.

Now I’ve come here today particularly to announce the expanded infrastructure program that will be in the Budget on Tuesday night for a particular reason. Because this project, I think, demonstrates more than any that our Government gets things done when it comes to building infrastructure. Before the last election, I was here when we turned the sod, when we were moving the earthworks, and that task was a herculean one and it’s been done by amazing people. I’ve been back on several occasions, whether it’s on the terminal building and now with this runway underway. We’ve been getting this done.

Now my opponent in this election, he was elected back in 1996. He talked about this project, even said it in his first speech in Parliament. He talked about it for 11 years, and then he became the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure in the Labor Government. He had six years just to turn one sod and nothing happened, zero delivery. We are building this airport and we’re building it every single day with great Australians, building the skills, building the capabilities and building the infrastructure. So when it comes to who gets it done, who actually delivers, and who talks about it, I think Western Sydney Airport, particularly the people of Western Sydney, say it very, very clearly. They talk about it in Labor. We do it in Government, and that is the history of this project. It demonstrates our delivery.

Now this infrastructure works that I’ve announced for the Budget tomorrow night is obviously part of a very important Budget for the country, and that Budget is all about a plan to deal with those cost of living pressures now, that immediate relief that is required to deal with the very real cost of living pressures that are on Australian families and are on Australian businesses, particularly small businesses right now. The impacts on fuel prices and things like that is really causing some great concern to people. And the Budget on Tuesday night, the Treasurer will hand down, will provide that immediate relief, but that’s part of a balanced and responsible plan.

We’ve taken the time to get that package right, and that feeds into our broader economic plan. Our broader economic plan, which is about investing in the skills and the infrastructure that Australia needs to, needs to grow our economy, that needs to ensure that people can get home sooner and safer and be better connected. The Budget is also about guaranteeing those essential services with the record investments we have in hospitals and in schools. But it’s also about delivering on Australia’s defence and security needs, something that this Government has always had on the top of our priorities. It’s about a stronger economy, a strong economy for a stronger future.

One other announcement that has been made today in the Budget is about housing. It’s hard to buy a home, particularly hard to buy it in this city, but it’s hard all across the country, and it’s been increasingly hard in rural and regional areas, particularly over the last few years. And this is one of the major issues when it comes to addressing cost of living pressures. Now, before the last election, just like I stood here and said, “We’re building this and we’re getting underway,” and look where we are now – 30 per cent of the way through. A week out from the last election, I said, “We’re going to get more Australians into their own homes,” and we had a range of projects to do that. We have now, over the course of this last term, put more than 300,000 Australians directly into their own home. And that’s been achieved through the Home Guarantee Scheme, which we announced before the last election, it’s known as the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme. We’ve done it through the HomeBuilder program, which Labor opposed. We’ve done it through the First Home Super Saver Account, which Labor opposed. We’ve done it through the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation that’s particularly been helping people to get into affordable housing. All of these projects has seen our Government directly get 300,000 people into their own home in a housing market that’s been tough.

And we’ve done it by dropping the amount of deposit that they needed to get that first home, saved some people eight years. We’ve done it by ensuring that the HomeBuilder program to get grants to enable them to build their own home, which has really saved our residential building industry during the course of this pandemic. Today, we’re extending that out. Our Home Guarantee Scheme will be doubled to 50,000 a year. That’s 50,000 Australians, families, individuals, single parents and others who will

directly benefit and be able to get into that home which is their dream, and they will join the more than 300,000 that we’ve already helped to get there. So we’re very proud of that announcement. At the last election, Labor went there promising higher taxes for housing, what we went to the election was with programs that were going to get people into their homes. And that’s exactly what we did, with over 300,000 of them going into those homes. And I’m looking forward to 50,000 and more every year joining them in the three years from now.

Okay, I’ll hand over to Minister Fletcher and he’ll take you through the other projects.

THE HON. PAUL FLETCHER MP, MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS, URBAN INFRASTRUCTURE, CITIES AND THE ARTS: Well, it’s great to be here at Western Sydney International Airport with the Prime Minister, with Melissa McIntosh, the Member for Lindsay, with Paul O’Sullivan and Simon Hickey, Chair and Chief Executive, with all the team from Western Sydney Airport, from the contractors, [inaudible] and all the other people who are working on this extraordinary project.

Prime Minister, thank you for your continuing support and championing of this remarkable project. And as the Prime Minister has said, we’re reaching today a significant milestone on this $5.3 billion project here at Western Sydney Airport, which is part of our pipeline of infrastructure investment. A 10-year pipeline we’ve just announced today – $17.9 billion of additional infrastructure investment will be in the Budget, taking us to more than $120 billion, and that’s projects like faster rail. In New South Wales, we’re going to contribute a billion dollars towards four tracks between Wyong and Tuggerah that allows you to run faster, more frequent services. Similarly, on the Sunshine Coast, $1.6 billion for rail from Beerwah to Maroochydore in time for the Olympics in 2032, and $1.2 billion for faster rail between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, Kuraby to Beenleigh – again four tracks going from two tracks to four lets you run faster, more reliable services, you run express trains as well as commuter trains. Practical benefits for consumers. In Victoria, we’re committing $3.6 billion towards two intermodal terminals at Beveridge andTruganina, supported by significant funding for a road connection at Beveridge, including Camerons Lane and a rail connection the, what’s the so-called outer metropolitan ring south – $920 million from the Morrison Government towards that major project. Melbourne, in many ways, is a logistics hub connecting the east, west to the north, south. Of course, the more than $14 billion inland rail is going to transform logistics around Australia, get a lot more freight off of road onto rail, and these two intermodals that we’re committing to, and the associated road and rail infrastructure, will be about improved productivity and efficiency. So, important for long-term economic benefits. But we’ve got funding commitments for projects around the country. Outback Way, over $600 million, $200 million for Marion Road in South Australia, we’ve got a Northern Tasmania road package – additional funding for Metronet in Perth, transforming the rail network in Perth.

So the Morrison Government committing very significant infrastructure funding – $17.9 billion in this Budget and this is part of our long-term infrastructure plan for greater safety, greater efficiency, greater productivity. And can I particularly point out that the Wyong to Tuggerah construction will be able to begin by the end of 2024, completed 2028. This is about practical benefits. By contrast, Mr Albanese is talking about high speed rail on the east coast. That would be a $200 to $300 billion project. He announced in January, $500 million to buy some land for it. That won’t deliver any immediate benefits to rail users on the Central Coast or between Sydney and Newcastle. Our faster rail plan that the Morrison Government is delivering already, including the $2 billion for Geelong Faster Rail that we announced a couple of years ago. Now these three additional projects, it’s about practical, immediate benefits, so people are able to move more quickly and efficiently by rail. People in the community, the Central Coast, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast. So this is practical short-term benefits as compared to frankly vapourware from Mr Albanese and as the Prime Minister said when it comes to the Western Sydney Airport, Mr Albanese talked about that for a very long time when he had the opportunity and he was the Minister for six years, he came up with a series of reports and excuses not to build Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek. It was going to be Wilton. It was going to be Richmond. It was going to be all kinds of places. It was an excuse not to act.

Well, the Morrison Government is standing up for Western Sydney. We’re delivering this airport 30, almost 30 per cent completed and we’re delivering working with the Perrottet Government, the metro rail that will run from St Mary’s to the aerotropolis. As Simon Hickey said, just today we’ve announced over 70 million for business case to extend beyond the aerotropolis to Leppington and Glenfield, so looking very closely at that project. Of course, we’ve got the Western Sydney City deal, we’ve got the Western Sydney Parklands Authority, an integrated plan for Western Sydney. The Morrison Government working with the Perrottet Government. And there is no stronger proof point of delivery than here at Western Sydney Airport. I congratulate the entire team on getting to the point where we’re now commencing work on this extraordinary run, runway, 3.7 kilometres.

There is a very sharp contrast between the Morrison Government’s approach to infrastructure. We’re delivering. We’re getting it done. It’s easy to talk, you know, Mr Albanese was Minister for Communications when he left government in 2013. At that time, there were barely 50,000 premises connected to the fixed line NBN. We’ve delivered. There are 8.4 million premises connected around the country to the NBN. You can look at Western Sydney Airport, you can look at NBN, you can look at a whole range of these infrastructure projects. Mr Albanese has a record of talking and not delivering. The Morrison Government, well, don’t look at what we say. Look at what we’ve done. The proof is right here.

PRIME MINISTER: Happy to take some questions.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, will relief on petrol prices last beyond the election or will any measures just last weeks?

PRIME MINISTER: The Budget is on Tuesday night. It is not far away now. What we recognise is the great pressure that small businesses are under right around the country, and we’ve designed a suite of measures to address those cost of living issues to ensure that Australian families, individuals can get the support they need now, and that’s part of a longer term plan for Australia’s economic growth and jobs and the skills and the very infrastructure we’ve been talking about today, which we continue to provide longer term support for the Australian economy and the jobs that Australians rely on, which supports the services they rely on.

JOURNALIST: A fuel excise cut of 20 cents a litre plus the $250 bonus payments is going to cost the Budget up to $8 billion. Can the Budget really afford such big spending?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, I note the speculation and you’re repeating speculation. The Budget is on Tuesday night and the Treasurer will make announcements about all the elements of our package to support Australians as we deal with the cost of living pressures now, but also the Budget is about a long term economic plan that provides jobs and a stronger economy for the future because I can tell you, you cannot build this. You cannot support the 2800 listings we’ve got on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. You cannot pay for the national disability insurance programme, you cannot pay for the pension, Medicare and all of the supports we particularly provided during the pandemic, unless you run a strong economy. Now, the investments we’re making in this Budget is about making sure our economy remains strong and gets stronger because that’s how we pay for things.

Now it’s also by ensuring that you have sound and responsible financial management. Our government has demonstrated that. Throughout the course of this pandemic, we have retained Australia’s AAA credit rating. We are one of just nine countries in the world to have done that, particularly during the pandemic. There used to be more. There’s less now, but we are still one of them because of the responsible and balanced way we’ve made our investments. The ratings agencies have noticed how we’ve been focused on where we’ve been making our investments to make our economy stronger. Because it’s that stronger economy, which enables you to pay down the debt when you combine that with responsible financial management, which our government has demonstrated before the pandemic hit, we had got the Budget back into balance.

How did we do that? We’ve got our costs under control now that we inherited from the Labor Party, and we ensured that we grew the economy and we got people off welfare and we got them into work. You want to know how to balance the Budget? You get people into jobs. Unemployment is now at four percent and it’s going to a 50 year low as a result of the economic plan we’ve been putting in place. And the Budget will add further to that economic plan. I know our economic plan is working because Australians are working in record numbers and particularly women. More than a million women have gotten into jobs, many of them here at this very project, at this very project and in what some would call non-traditional industries. So I think we can get rid of that, that point of reference, this is as much a traditional industry now as the new tradition has been established by the women of Australia, working in big projects like this and out on the mines and taking on trades apprentices. Now we’ve got 220,000 Australians in trade apprentices right now. That is the highest number on economic record in Australia, going back to 1963. On the weekend, I announced a further extension of our apprenticeship programme, which will see even more apprentices, some 35,000 coming into the programme.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, with cash handouts and cut to petrol excise, is the strategy simply to buy votes?

PRIME MINISTER: This Budget is about addressing the cost of living pressures being faced by Australian families. That’s what this Budget is about. It’s about the long term plan that Australians need to grow their economy and deal with the uncertainties that are ahead. I mean, we’ve steered the Australian economy through one of the most challenging and difficult times since the Great Depression. And we’ve steered this country through a time of great international uncertainty, particularly in our region, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Second World War. And to do that, you’ve got to have the experience, you’ve got to have the strength to take Australia through. On the economy, our economy has come through the pandemic stronger than the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Canada. All of these countries, the strongest advanced economies in the world. But yet, Australia’s economy has come out the strong above all of those, while at the same time saving over 40,000 lives. That’s the type of result that you get from strength and leadership, not weakness, not prevarication. You get it from strength and the experience to know and having the right instincts. Instincts that have been formed over decades and decades. So you make the right calls in the right moment. And that’s what our government has done. This budget is about Australians facing their future. And to have a stronger future, you need a strong economy, and our government has demonstrated the strong economic credentials to deliver.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, you just mentioned cost of living. Will any cost of living measures need to pass through Parliament before the election campaign?

PRIME MINISTER: The Budget, the key measures in the Budget will be moving swiftly to ensure they have support through the Parliament to ensure they are legislated before the election.

JOURNALIST: How much of a difference will your cost of living measures make if inflation and interest rates, soon rise?

PRIME MINISTER: I’m glad you raised the point of inflation because inflation in Australia is less than half what it is in the United States. It’s lower than what it is in Germany, the United Kingdom, many other advanced economies. One of the reasons for that is because of the way we’ve managed the budget. Inflationary pressures, what that means is what you pay for, how much more you pay. And in this economy and in this global economy, when there are so many pressures on countries all around the world which is forcing prices up, one of the things that ensures that you don’t do that is having a government that manages the finances responsibly. Now, just this last week, I announced over $5 billion to invest in one of the most important dam projects for Central Queensland. During the course of the pandemic, the Labor Party wanted to spend $6 billion to pay people to have a vaccine that they already had, and I think that speaks to the difference between the responsible, targeted, well thought through financial management of our government and the financial recklessness of what we’ve seen from Anthony Albanese. He wanted to pay people money, to people to do something they’d already done, and it was $6 billion. I mean, they would have spent $81 billion more during the pandemic than we had to spend – $81 billion. Now that sounds like a lot of money, but let me put it in perspective, that’s almost three times the annual cost of running Medicare. And he wanted to blow three times that by reckless spending and not being able to know when you start spending and when you stop, because when Labor starts spending, they never know how to stop and you end up paying for it.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister on the Home Guarantee Scheme. Where in Sydney can a first home buyer buy a home for $750,000?

PRIME MINISTER: The great thing about our Home Guarantee scheme and the Home Builders, Home Builders scheme, particularly, we’ve seen it out here in Western Sydney that was providing much needed grant support to help people with those costs they were considerable additions that we’re providing. But the Home Guarantee scheme, when we developed this scheme before the last election, we knew that the hardest thing to do when you’re buying your first home, I remember this when Jenny and I were buying our first time, it was, it was, it was hard back then, I believe it’s harder now, was the deposit you need to pull together, and that’s that was a 20 per cent deposit. And so by the government underwriting that deposit, you could bring it back to five per cent. And so that massively cut down what you had to save in order to get yourself into that first home. Now I’ve met, I’ve met young people in particular who been able to get into their first home sooner in this rising housing market, whether it’s here in Sydney or down in Melbourne or elsewhere. And they have got into their first home, they told me eight years sooner because of that change. That’s how we’ve helped people beat the rising housing market and get themselves into a first home. I mean, here we are seeing dreams turned into reality at this airport. But I can tell you what, there are 300,000 Australians we’ve help turn their dreams of a home into reality in just the last three years, and we’re going to keep doing it.

JOURNALIST: If the scheme was developed before the last election, should it have been adjusted now for the rising cost of how the housing market?

PRIME MINISTER: It’s being extended.

JOURNALIST: That’s the same as the last election. It’s been three years, the housing prices going up, how are these people going to get into a home in Sydney?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, let me point out the program to you again, 20 per cent down to five per cent. And if the prices are rising, it’s five per cent or 20 per cent of the increased price. So the ability to cut that down by 15 per cent makes all the difference. And one of the things I’m most proud of with that program is it has a specific section that deals with single parents. And the number of single parents that I’ve met with, often with kids in teenage years who have known nothing other across their lives, and they’ve often become single parents because of terrible domestic violence situations and had moved from house to house to house to house. And you can imagine the disruption that has had to their children’s education and it broke that single mum’s heart. Now I’ve met the single mums that we’ve put into their first house. I’ve got 300,000 Australians who can testify to our government’s ability to get people into their first homes, into their homes, in a rising housing market. The policy we developed and took to the last election has worked, and today we’re announcing that we’re expanding. Turning their dreams into reality. From 25 up to 50,000 each year and 10,000 of those places will be specifically for people in regional areas where the pressure on buying your home has become a lot greater over the last three years. We recognise that this program has been a great success and that’s why we’re going to back it in even further.

JOURNALIST: The Solomon Islands Opposition Leader says he warned Australia about China’s military presence in the country. He says we did nothing about it. Did you drop the ball on this?

PRIME MINISTER: Absolutely not. We’ve been aware of the risks right across the Pacific. This is why we doubled our development assistance into the Pacific. This is why we provided support to the to the major infrastructure projects across the region, including the Solomons. This is why we supported the Solomon Islands, particularly through RAMSI over all those years and we’re back there right now and we were the first country that Solomon Islands called to go and provide help to them to stabilise and give security to their country. Now the AFP are still there and they’re going to be there for a long time to come. The, the reports that we’ve seen, are not a surprise to us and are a reminder of the constant pressure and threats that present in our region to our own national security. And I’ll be speaking today with the Prime Ministers of Fiji and Papua New Guinea. Prime Minister Ardern and I have been in contact over the weekend as well. This is an issue of concern for the region, but it is, it has not come as a surprise. We have been long aware of these pressures. That’s why we had the Pacific step up. That’s why we doubled our effort. That’s why, and it started under Julie Bishop and I want to acknowledge Julie for her role and Marise Payne for her role, in what they did as they said, look, we need to get more focused on our region, and we completely recast our development assistance program, and we put its focus on the Pacific. So whether it was the measles epidemic in Samoa or whether it was the the eruption over in Tonga or whether it was the pandemic in Fiji, Australia were the first ones there to help with our Kiwi partners to ensure that we were looking after our family responsibilities in the region. And so we are trusted and we are respected as as the as the most significant provider of development aid support throughout the Pacific, and that has only increased under my government.

JOURNALIST: And now your own MP, John Alexander, says the government is addicted to buying votes with infrastructure spending. Is any of the money announced targeting marginal seats?

PRIME MINISTER: It’s targeting the strength of our economy because that’s what Australians need. The Budget tomorrow night, and I’ll finish with this, once again the Budget tomorrow night is about addressing the immediate pressures that Australians are facing right now with the cost of living pressures. Whether you’re buying that first home, dealing with the many costs they’ve seen go up as a result of what’s happening around world. People know that petrol prices have gone up because of the war in Ukraine. They understand that. And there’s nothing we can do other than what we have done, provide support to the people of Ukraine. What we can do in the Budget is provide a package of measures. It goes to addressing that real need. The Budget is also about continuing with our very successful economic plan that has made Australia one of the strongest economies in the world coming through this pandemic. It is about building infrastructure, just like this. It’s also about guaranteeing those essential services, Trikafta is a drug that is going to change the lives of people with cystic fibrosis, we announced that. Jenny as you know, told her story about her journey with endometriosis, $52 million to help women in dealing with, one in nine, dealing with the terrible pain and suffering that goes endometriosis. Then of course, there’s spinal muscular atrophy support and genetic testing to ensure that Australians in the future won’t have to live through that awful tragedy and pain that so many families do. And of course it is about our defence and security. This is what our Budget is about. As a government, we’ve delivered many Budgets. As a Prime Minister I’ve delivered, this will be my fourth, as a treasurer I delivered three. As a member of the Expenditure Review Committee, that was the first I was involved with. That’s eight Budgets. Anthony Albanese was in government for six years, wasn’t part of one. You know, when you’re dealing with the issues that Australia is dealing now with global uncertainty, both in the economy and our security, you don’t want someone who hasn’t had the experience of doing the job. Thanks very much, everyone.

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