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ON JULY 3, 2016, the residents of Australia will head to the polls to vote in the country's next leader. 

Opposition leader Bill Shorten kicked off his election campaign this week touring regional Queensland including a visit to the Capricornia region today. 

The Morning Bulletin sat down for an exclusive one-on-one interview with the Labor Party leader at Degani Cafe in the Rockhampton CBD this afternoon to discuss what will be in store for Capricornia if the region's labor candidate Leisa Neaton and the Labor party come to power. 

Mr Shorten said and his team were in regional Queensland because the Labor party has the best policies for regional Australia and for country Australia. 

Here are some of the policies Mr Shorten discussed for CQ. 




"The biggest issue in my way of thinking in regional Queensland is jobs. We've seen a downturn in the mining boom," Mr Shorten said. 

"You don't need to be a Rhodes Scholar to work out that when you see the 'for lease' signs in the high street of the small business, when you know that there's banks repossessing houses, it is doing it hard. 

"So our approach on jobs is to make sure workers have the skills, the kids gets a quality education; that we swing back public TAFE and back that in; that we make it easier for people to be able to afford to go to university. 

"In addition we're seriously looking at what we do about about infrastructure, blue collar jobs.

"I reckon one of the big confidence building, job building revolutions waiting to happen is to give women equal-treatment.

"A lot of the start-up businesses these days are started disproportionately by women. If mum has good parental leave that means they don't suffer the income swings and it means they can start thinking about not only looking after bub but also using that time to think up their new business ideas.

"I think also, with all of our science courses and engineering courses, half of the new positions we're going to support and fund are going to go to women. Women are a bit of an un-tapped success story for Central Queensland."


"We have announced today backing in beef week, $3.1 million in 2018. Because we get that Rockhampton is arguably the beef capital of Australia," Mr Shorten said.

Click the link below for more information. 

>>WATCH: Bill Shorten promises millions to support Beef Week. 




"How we help create education services is providing schools with the extra resources which build a market for additional education services," Mr Shorten said.

"What I believe is rather than giving someone a fish, I'd like to teach them to fish.

"Today we announced $1.8 billion, we've already announced the overall package but we have extracted what it means for regional, non-capital city Australia. A child going to Rockhampton State High School, a child going to Frenchville, should get the same broad resources that a child in the eastern suburbs of Sydney or Melbourne get.

"I can't guarantee that every problem gets solved, but what I can say that is if you give extra resources to our primary schools, you've got the breakfast clubs, you've got the homework clubs, you've got bright kids being stretched and you've got the kids doing it hard getting individualised attention.

"We talked yesterday in Mackay about targeted teaching. That doesn't mean you can write a plan for every child, what you can do is create the resources in our schools at those early years so the vulnerable kids don't fall behind and they never catch up.

"Get the early years and the school right and the sky is the limit to what people can do if given the chance."

Click the links below for more information. 

>>Labor's $1.8 billion pledge to boost regional schools

>>Shorten disrupts classes for a chat with students

>>LISTEN: How will Capricornia schools be funded? 


"If you cut bulk billing incentives, sick people are going to defer going to the doctor because of prohibitive costs of walking through to get a blood test," Mr Shorten said.

"Pathology tests make up 70% of all decisions in the clinical treatment of sick people and the short-sighted nature of cutting bulk billing is a classic example of the working middle class versus the top end debate which Mr Turnbull seems intent on having.

"Sick people that defer going to the doctor get sicker so then you put pressure on your hospitals.

"The other thing important for Rockhampton in the debate, even about bulk-billing nationally, is once you don't have the bulk-billing and the pathologists, the diagnostic imaging, the x-rays, the PET scans, the people taking the pap-smears, they've got to charge more up front and you will see a retreat of services from regional Queensland.

"You need more PET scanners, you need more medical specialists.

"I do think there are smart things governments can do. How we create health jobs in this community is proper funding Medicare.

 "On education and healthcare services, if we can create a market so that the providers come here, you create confidence and what's even better, sick people get the patient care they need, the kids get the quality education they deserve."


"The Bruce Highway is constantly needing upgrading, I think the other is looking at the water security of the region, the weirs," Mr Shorten said.

"Rockwood Weir is a big priority for me." 


"You've got Yeppoon, it's one of the marvellous tourism opportunities of Australia," Mr Shorten said.

"You're also a good place to visit. Your botanic gardens I think are a truly underestimated gem within Australia's botanic gardens.

"We need confidence. We need people opening their wallets. I'll make this point before I get to the bigger picture because the bigger picture affects Capricornia. You've got a lot going. Even your Bougainvillea, it's all good here.


"So we get to the bigger picture, the Liberals, every time they are given a choice they make the wrong choice. In 2014, when they should have boosted confidence after the decline of the mining boom, their harsh cuts made the wallets and purses snap shut and we've never really got back on our feet nationally in terms of confidence since then," Mr Shorten said. 

"People perhaps thought that Turnbull would be something better than Abbott, but nothing has happened and in fact their budget this year, ANUs modelled the impact on households and this is a battling area, let's be clear, people are going backwards under this current budget.

"I do not understand for the life of me a view of the world which says if you look after the top 1% that somehow that view is that everything then trickles down to everyone else. I don't buy that logic.

"I think the way you build sustainable economic growth in the regions of Australia is to have a good safety net. That's your minimum wages and conditions, your minimum family payments more importantly, and then to build upon that for the middle class.

"You have infrastructure, you have NBN, you have a good school system, TAFE and universities and you have a good health care system."


"What we can do is a few things. One is, we're going to support tax cuts for business under $2 million. We don't think the budget situation is right to give large companies tax cuts," Mr Shorten said.

"We're interested in micro-finance arrangements which assist start-up business. I'm not just talking about the dot-com companies, the IT, I'm talking about the mum-preneurs; people who've got a good idea.

"We're going to make it easier for them to attract that early start-up finance as part of our start-up finance package.

"What we want to do is work with banks and government to provide a line of credit for small businesses."


"I think this place has good defence training opportunities," Mr Shorten said. 

"You are in the shadow of Shoalwater Bay, arguably one of the world's largest training grounds. 

"I see a greater function for this area to be one of the training grounds for Australia and also Singapore and elsewhere. 

"You have the big exercise with the Americans so I see that as a vibrant development. 

"That's why you need a strong local member. Let's be brutally frank, Michelle Landry is a nice lady but she is not Leisa Neaton. What you need is an MP here who will drive projects.

"I'm telling you that if we get elected and Leisa Neaton gets elected, we start the first week talking about how we can examine what the options are to improve the military training infrastructure."

"I'll tell you the advantages you've got. A skilled workforce, beautiful quality of life, good infrastructure, port, airport.


"Having negative gearing hasn't stopped the housing process has it? What negative gearing changes means, you can still negative gear if you want to build new housing, it's not retrospective so anyone who's currently negatively geared has no impact," Mr Shorten said.

"We would introduce if from July 1. What it does is puts $32 billion extra across the next 10 years to allow us to fund our schools and hospitals and prioritise regional Australia.

"But what it also does, is where markets have got very high housing prices, is it fair that a tax payer subsidising a property speculator to get money, to buy their house and first home buyers, well they're just going to mum and dad.

"The experience of the mining industry here and the downturn shows it's not negative gearing which keeps housing prices up, it's whether or not you've got a job. It's whether or not you're going through a divorce. Or what it means is in the markets where there's unfair competition, do we really think tax payer dollars payed to Canberra should be spent to reward somebody who already has enough money to offset their income against buying an investment property?

"Negative gearing has been around for a fair while but what you see more and more is that it has been disproportionately benefiting the top 10%.

"What will contribute to housing prices here will be a booming economy. What will contribute to housing prices here is a skills based economy and that's what we're doing.

"Did you know that we spend more in one year on negative gearing concessions than we do on childcare or universities in Australia? Do we want to be known as the nation who cares for our children or a nation that can't house our children? 

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