Source: Australian Labor Party (ALP)
THURSDAY, 5 JULY 2018
SUBJECTS: Labor’s plan to support grassroots footy in Tasmania; GST redistribution
JUSTINE KEAY, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR BRADDON: Thank you very much everyone for coming to the Wivenhoe Showgrounds and the home of the Burnie Football League here in Burnie. It’s great to have Bill Shorten here today. We’re making a fantastic announcement to really support grassroots football in Tasmania. I’ve been travelling around and visiting local footy clubs, they need extra money to help grow their sport, to really make it as vibrant as it used to be. They’re really integral parts of our community. I’d like to welcome Bill Shorten to Burnie, thank you for coming.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks Justine, and I just want to thank the presidents and volunteers of the local football clubs in north west Tasmania who have taken the time to talk about the future of Tassie football. Today I am pleased that in a large part due to Justine Keay’s advocacy, Labor’s going to set up a $ 5 million fund over the next five years to help save Tassie football.
Tasmania was one of the foundation states of Australian rules footy, but a lot of the local clubs are doing it really tough now. But whilst there’s always been a big debate about an AFL team for Tasmania, I believe that the future for Tassie football is in the grassroots. It’s in the volunteers and the junior teams. I think that the future of Tassie football relies uponrecognising that it’s the people who run the canteen, who stand behind the bar, who do the scoring on the score board, it’s the coaches of the junior teams. This is the heart of Tassie football. I’m a big supporter, I love the idea of a Tasmanian team in the AFL competition, but I actually think that if we want to save Tassie football, it starts at the grassroots.
I’m really pleased that Labor has listened to local community sporting clubs and we want to help, not with giant truckloads of money, but just some modest support to back in the modest efforts of great footy clubs with a great tradition. I want young boys and girls growing up in Tassie to want to play footy, and that starts with running around in the Auskick in the very junior teams, learning to enjoy the game. Maybe there’s some young Tasmanians now who will be future champions. I actually want all Tassie kids to be able to enjoy playing footy, to be in a sporting team environment, both boys and girls.
The best thing I think that’s happened to Australian rules in the last few years is AFL Women. And I want to make sure that young Tasmanian girls get the chance to enjoy footy just like their brothers have.
So today we’re proposing a $5 million save our local Tassie footy teams. And what we want to do with that is make some money available for upgrading the change rooms, maybe the drainage, we also want to help the local clubs and the volunteers who are the backbone of local footy, have some money to be able to spend on the junior teams. Kids deserve the new jumpers, they deserve that little bit of support. I’ve got no doubt, that this modest but sensible support can help fire up the grassroots. If we want to have footy in Tassie, a foundation state of Aussie rules, it starts at the grassroots. it always has, always will, and Labor’s got your back.
Happy to take any questions on this.
JOURNALIST: How will this money be distributed to all the clubs state-wide?
SHORTEN: What we’ll do is we’ll talk to Tassie footy clubs. There’s AFL Tasmania but not just AFL Tasmania. You know, the more you scratch the surface of this issue, I think everyone, if pressed, would say a team in the national comp is a great thing but that’s a long way off. So what we need to do is to get back to the grassroots, where footy was started. Suburban footy, country footy, that is the heart of football. The fact of the matter is, Tasmania has always had small towns, but they’ve been able to in the past support local football clubs. So I don’t buy the argument that just because these are country towns, that somehow they can’t have footy clubs. What I do accept is that the base is crumbling. When you see teams and towns with great traditions like Burnie and Devonport pulling out of the state league, what we’ve got to do is say, hey, as one football club president said not so long ago, the echo system of footy in Tasmania is under pressure. So if you want to shoot for the skies it all starts with good foundation.
I was speaking to one of the local club presidents, he was explaining to me very carefully, he’s a builder. He said you can have the best houses in the world but if you don’t have good foundations then it all matters for nothing. So what Justine and I and Labor, because we are the party of the grassroots, what we’re doing is we’re backing grassroots footy.
JOURNALIST: When you say that you think that the base is crumbling, do you think it’s because there’s no, you know, young kids don’t have a Tassie team to aspire to be in, do you think that could be an outcome, a Tassie AFL team?
SHORTEN: Listen as I say, I like the idea of a Tassie team. I mean, there’s no doubt that if you look at when Tasmania entered the Sheffield Shield in the late 70s, all of a sudden, you know up til then there had only been, I think, six Tasmanians as test players in the previous 100 years. But once Tasmania had a Sheffield Shield team, in the late 70s I think it was, all of a sudden I think there has been 14 test players from Tasmania. But you can’t run before you walk, it’s all about the grassroots. Sure there will be some kids running around playing footy now in country clubs in Tassie who one day will play in the AFL, that’s great.
But I want every kid who’s interested in footy to get a kick. I want every kid to have a chance to run onto the oval in their club colours and just have the pleasure of playing in a team. For me footy is not just about the AFL. For me footy is about kids learning to operate in a team, to get from behind the screens at home, get out into the air, put on a pair of boots and have a go. So I think that grassroots footy and what Labor is doing here – listen, this isn’t the biggest announcement you’re ever going to hear but it’s one I’m very proud of and Justine should take a bow for it. We want to back in grassroots footy.
JOURNALIST: On the GST –
SHORTEN: Sorry is there more questions on footy before we –
JOURNALIST: If the states and territories agree to the Turnbull Government’s plan, will you agree to it too?
SHORTEN: Well I haven’t read the report yet, the Government has just given it to the States late yesterday, so I’ll read the report, I think that’s what Australians would expect me to do. For me though, the devil is always in the detail. Liberals and GST, it’s always something you’ve got to be very careful about. If they’re not trying to change the distribution, they’re trying to increase the GST. I also just want to know, does this proposal – is it a distraction from the $17 billion of cuts in school funding? Is it a distraction from the $2.8 billion in hospital funding which should be there, which isn’t there?
So let’s be very clear here, we’ll study the detail, I think that’s what Australians would expect us to do. I want to make sure though, that states are left with certainty, that they don’t have to go cap in hand to Canberra whenever they want to fund a school or a hospital. I also would like the Government to explain, and not use this as camouflage, when are they going to put the money back into schools that they’ve cut, when are they going to put the money back into hospitals?
JOURNALIST: The changes will take place over the next couple of years, do you think that’s appropriate?
SHORTEN: Well again I haven’t read the report, I understand the profile of the changes is for a number of years. I mean this is a government who likes to ask for your vote in the short term and make promises in the long term, when they may well not be around to face the consequences of their decision. I think if this government wants to be taken seriously about its support for States, put the money back into the hospitals that you’ve cut, put the money back into schools. We’ll read the detail and of course we’ll talk to States and Territories.
JOURNALIST: On face value, do you think that the Government will use the proposal, the report, to shore up votes in WA?
SHORTEN: Well I accept that Western Australia has been receiving a hard deal and in fact, you know, and I congratulate Premier Mark McGowan, and I’m pleased that Western Australia, their arguments the arguments that the Premier has been making, the arguments I’ve been making, seem to finally be getting some traction as we approach an election. I think the Government, the Turnbull Government knows that in Western Australia they’ve dudded them for years. So I’m not going to be unhappy if we can see West Australia get some greater infrastructure support.
But what I want to make sure – and this is the last thing I’ll say on this at this stage because I haven’t read the report fully – the devil is in the detail. I want to make sure that this is a government who is not robbing Peter to pay Paul, and if they’re finding a whole lot of extra money, I want to know what they’re doing to put the money back into hospitals and schools.
JOURNALIST: Again on face value, it looks like Tassie might be doing well out of the proposal, do you think this is going to undermine your chances in Braddon?
SHORTEN: Well I’m glad you’ve read the whole report, I haven’t. No, I say that, you know perhaps slightly tongue in cheek, but I make the point, let’s read the detail. If there’s billions of dollars flowing, where is the money coming from?
Let’s just – you know, sometimes if something seems too good to be true – maybe it’s not? Anyway, let’s look at the detail, I’ll reserve judgment.