Subject: Stretton Centre; Submarines; Urban Rail Projects


JAY WEATHERILL: [inaudible] and no better place and no better name to have such an ambition than the name of Hugh Stretton, a fantastic public intellectual who has really [inaudible] to understand the world of work, it’s connection to with how cities operate, and in this growing suburb of Playford Alive, it’s such an appropriate place for this new institution to be located.

JOURNALIST: How exactly will this centre help when Holden closes?

JAY WEATHERILL: It will be about identifying the jobs of the future and making sure that people have the skills necessary to get those jobs. It will also bring businesses together because we know that in modern economies the connections between businesses are the things that create new activity and new enterprises.  It will assist the workers that live in the northern suburbs to understand the opportunities that do exist in the growing sectors of the South Australian economy. Food manufacturing, the health and disability services sectors, construction industries, all of these are growing sectors of the South Australian economy that can provide jobs for workers in the northern suburbs. 

JOURNALIST: Speaking of defence jobs, obviously increasingly positive language coming from the government, Japan interested in building in Adelaide, you’d have to be feeling pretty confident yourself that the subs will be built here?

JAY WEATHERILL: We, of course, welcome the commitment of the Japanese to identify that they can build submarines here in South Australia. We want the Federal Government to, obviously, interrogate these bids very carefully to make sure that we maximise the amount of local employment that exists here in South Australia. We think that the critical issues that need to be explored by the Commonwealth are the capacity for each of the bidders to translate their technology in to the South Australian context and make sure the local supply chain, the local businesses that are here that have skills and capabilities can actually be part of participating in that submarine build. That’s the detailed work the Commonwealth now need to do and we, obviously, fully support the South Australian build of twelve new submarines which gives us a continuous shipbuilding industry.

JOURNALIST: Are you just about ready to put a bet on the fact that they will be built here?

JAY WEATHERILL: Look, it’s a matter for the Commonwealth. We, of course, are urging them to keep the commitment they made before the last election to build twelve new submarines here in Australia based in South Australia, but it remains a decision for the Commonwealth.

JOURNALIST: Minister, are we going to get the subs in Adelaide?

SIMON BIRMINGHAM: We have, in Malcolm Turnbull, a Prime Minister who is eager to see industries like advanced manufacturing and high technology sectors thrive and the submarine decision will be based on ensuring our navy gets the defence capability it needs, the Australian taxpayers get value for money, but also that we do optimise Australian industry involvement. With that desire and vision that the Turnbull Government has to create new advanced manufacturing industries, to drive new jobs in the future, there will, of course, be a very strong focus on how we really do optimise that Australian industry involvement when we come to that final decision around the submarines. I do welcome the confirmation from the Japanese that they, along with the French and the Germans, are confident they can build submarines in Adelaide, they are confident they can do the work in Australia and that they can play a role in maximising Australian industry involvement and that means that we can really look at this bid process now with confidence that all three bidders are in the race and that all three bidders are being assessed against those criteria of who can give the Australian navy the best submarine for the future , the taxpayers good value for money and maximise that Australian industry involvement.

JOURNALIST: The language has obviously changed since the new Prime Minister has come in to office, Mr Pyne and Mr Briggs obviously very positive, are you raising South Australian’s expectations for a local build? You know, you’re going to have to deliver aren’t you?

SIMON BIRMINGHAM: We want to make sure we get the best possible outcome and, as I’ve said, that is about getting submarines that our navy needs, good value for money and jobs in Australia to the maximum feasible level and that is absolutely how we will be assessing it, matrix against those criteria if you like and that will be what drives the final decision of the cabinet. 

JOURNALIST: Has anything changed under Mr Turnbull in terms of the odds of a South Australian build?

SIMON BIRMINGHAM: I think the important part about Malcolm Turnbull’s Prime Ministership is that absolute focus on how we transform our economy in to one that seizes and embraces opportunities created by new industries and a continuous shipbuilding strategy and work that may ensue on submarines can absolutely compliment that vision for Australia.

JOURNALIST: Obviously, the suggestion that was that the change was prompted by a backlash that you would have copped at the next federal election is the subs aren’t built here, can we read anything in to that, you know, we’ve had a change in Prime Minister, are we going to get the subs here? South Australians want to know if there has been a change in Prime Minister, has there been a change in attitude?

SIMON BIRMINGHAM: South Australians can be confident that Malcolm Turnbull will want to see as much work achieved in Australia as is feasible while still giving our navy what it needs and taxpayers value for money and that is the approach that Malcolm will have and I’m confident that that’s the approach the entire government has. 

JOURNALIST: There has been another change in policy, Premier, from Mr Turnbull about a keenness to invest in urban rail projects, you’d obviously be happy with that?

JAY WEATHERILL: Absolutely, we have an ambitious plan to reconstruct really the 1950s railroad and also tram network. The 1950s network of trams in South Australia was one that was quite extensive; we do want to rebuild that. We’ve published a series of plans to pursue that, we’ve already, of course, begun that work. It is great that we now have a willing Commonwealth partner to invest in our cities. Cities are absolutely critical economic drivers; we’ve been long saying that modern regions compete on the attractiveness of their capital cities. Capital cities are themselves economic assets, their effectiveness, the ability to move people around quickly and effectively, the attractiveness of those cities, the urban amenity is all part of the way in which modern economies operate so, it is wonderful we now have a willing Commonwealth partner and obviously, we have a range of projects we will put in front of the Commonwealth.

JOURNALIST: Any priorities in particular? Would we perhaps see the northern electrification sped up?

JAY WEATHERILL: We have, of course, the electrification of the tram network out to Gawler which is an important project, we have a series of projects that we foreshadowed, the tram network out to the east up to Prospect road down to Henley Beach and out to Unley, all of those remain projects that we’d like to discuss with the Commonwealth.