Transcript - Joint Doorstop Interview with the Hon Sussan Ley MP, Penrith

Shadow Minister for Western Sydney Melissa McIntosh MP takes the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to visit Western Sydney manufacturers.

MELISSA MCINTOSH MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR ENERGY AFFORABILITY
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WESTERN SYDNEY
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR LINDSAY

 

THE HON SUSSAN LEY MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR SMALL AND FAMILY BUSINESS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDUSTRY, SKILLS, AND TRAINING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR FARRER

 

Friday, 17 May 2024

Subjects: Visit to Penrith steel manufacturers; Albanese Labor Government’s May 2024 Budget; Labor’s $325 energy rebate for small businesses; Western Sydney Airport; Labor’s cancelled infrastructure funding for Western Sydney roads

Location: Mascot Steel, Penrith.

 

Journalist 

The Labor Government’s Budget got handed down last week, what were your initial reactions to that?

Sussan Ley

Very disappointing. We all love the tagline ‘Made in Australia,’ but when you actually look at what is made in Australia, at amazing small businesses like this one, we’re not seeing things in the Budget that are important. I’m seeing wonderful manufacturing enterprises that are flexible, innovative and have invested a lot of money not getting support through anything in this government’s Budget. And that is why whenever I travel - and Melissa certainly in Western Sydney - we’re looking at energy, we’re looking at manufacturing, we’re understanding directly from business owners what their costs are, what their investments are. And then of course, we were so disappointed when we saw a Budget that doesn’t actually back businesses in.

Melissa McIntosh

I have to say, if it is $325 for a manufacturer in Western Sydney that relies on a lot of energy to make Aussie-Made, that doesn’t even scrape the surface. Like all manufacturers in Western Sydney, Mascot Steel has seen their energy costs go up to unacceptable levels. Mascot Steel are paying thirty to forty per cent more for their energy bills. $325 is not going to make any real difference to Western Sydney manufacturers who are facing extraordinarily high energy costs. These are small businesses that create and keep local jobs, making true Aussie Made products. The Albanese Labor Government has abandoned them in this Budget. Aussie Made is so much more than the Albanese Labor Government’s renewables-only manufacturing policy. Making things here is about Australia’s sovereign capability - to house us and to protect us. We need steel and we need gas. The $325 offered by the Albanese Government to small business for energy costs means very little when a small business in Penrith has an energy bill that has gone from $13,000 to $27,500.

Sussan Ley 

It’s insulting.

Melissa McIntosh

It is an absolute insult. This is where the true Aussie-Made is, this is what it is about, and the importance of keeping Australian industry. But it’s not only small businesses, it’s people on the ground. You only just need to walk up and down the High Street of Penrith to see that there’s people experiencing homelessness that have never experienced homelessness before. There’s a lack of housing out here, there’s a lack of infrastructure, and people are paying such high energy prices, so what the Albanese Labor Government delivered in this Budget, like Sussan said, is an insult.

Journalist

And what would you have liked to see in this Budget for your local community here in Western Sydney?

Melissa McIntosh 

Western Sydney, I think, is the heart of Australia. Firstly, I would have like the government not to have ripped the infrastructure funding out of Western Sydney. $2 Billion dollars in a time when we have an international airport due to open. They ripped it away, they stalled things, and then they repackaged it, and then sold it back to Western Sydney people trying to hoodwink us, like that they are investing in our community! But the key here is that they didn’t invest in some of those roads that are potholed roads, which are shortly going to be roads that have high traffic, freight roads supporting a major international airport. And as I always say, I think that not only is the Albanese Labor Government forgetting about Western Sydney, they just don’t care.

Sussan Ley 

And while we won’t stand in the way of one-off subsidies, pathetic though $325 is to a business like this, you can’t subsidise your way out of the current inflation crisis. Prices are rising, electricity prices are rising. Instead of giving people a small payment to off-set a portion of that rise, what we said, what Peter Dutton said, is that we would make energy cheaper, so the cost of electricity would go down, the cost of energy would go down.

[End]

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