Joint press conference - Arundel, Queensland

MICHELLE ROWLAND, MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS: As Minister for Communications, I'm delighted to be here today on the Gold Coast at Australia Post’s new parcel processing facility. This is an investment in the Gold Coast. In the people of the Gold Coast. In the businesses of the Gold Coast and also in regional Queensland and Australia more generally.

We know that e-commerce continues to boom and, in this part of Queensland, in the last five years, e-commerce has actually increased by nearly 20%. Australia Post is determined to respond to the needs of Australian consumers and small businesses. This latest investment reflects the fact that this is now a hub for Australia Post. It means that more Australians, more businesses and more consumers will be able to access their parcels in quicker timeframes using state-of-the-art technology. I'll hand over to Rod Barnes from Australia Post to explain more.


Thank you, Minister. It’s been a long-time coming and it’s been great to open this facility. We are adding onto our air network. We're really proud to see that not only do we have a dedicated air service coming into the Gold Coast, but we also have a dedicated parcel facility with firepower to unlock the rest of Queensland. It’s great for the community, it’s also great for our team - they've worked hard in some pretty harsh conditions that Queensland throws at us. Thank you.

JOURNALIST: What kind of immediate impact will it have on the Gold Coast and rest of Queensland?

BARNES: When you think about the parcels per hour we can process here – nearly 8,000 parcels per hour – the man hours to do that and the time to do it, particularly in busy periods, is quite telling. It will enable us to process here more parcels, get them out quicker in the morning and deliver to customers.

JOURNALIST: How soon will the Gold Coast be able to see a noticeable change in delivery time?

BARNES: The Gold Coast should already be seeing an improvement in the air service. We operate the aircraft in here as soon as that curfew allows us to, at 6.05am. And that's coming through to the rest of the country.

JOURNALIST: We’ve heard some of those stats before, but can you just reiterate those - how many more parcels will be coming in at 6am?

BARNES: So, this facility will do between 75,000 to 90,000 parcels per day and we can crank that up over two years. We've seen parcel volumes grow here on 97% since 2019. And there is a flavour about the Gold Coast, there is a real trend here with entrepreneurs starting out businesses and seeing them grow. 

JOURNALIST: Regarding nuclear, do you think nuclear is a fantasy?

ROWLAND: It's very clear that Peter Dutton’s nuclear policy is very much short of being a policy. It is risky and it is expensive and he is proposing that Australian taxpayers bear that risk. As we have senior Queensland Cabinet Minister here, I'd also like to give Minister Watt the opportunity to comment.


For starters, thanks Minister Rowland and thanks to Australia Post. It's a great vote of confidence to have this facility opened on the Gold Coast. 

Peter Dutton’s proposal for nuclear power is a fantasy. It is the riskiest, the most expensive form of power and it won't be here for twenty years. Right now, the Albanese Government is delivering a $300 energy rebate relief package to all Australian households, instead Peter Dutton’s only plan for power prices is the most risky form of power possible. That's why the Queensland LNP is not supporting Mr. Dutton. We saw the Queensland LNP Convention over the weekend, held in Brisbane, David Crisafulli had every opportunity to stand up to Peter Dutton and say that he was going to stop it, he didn't do so. That makes it clear that David Crisafulli is supporting Peter Dutton in their plan to impose nuclear power on Queensland.

JOURNALIST: Nuclear energy law expert Helen Cook says it would be possible to have a reactor and the legal framework by 2035. You disagree?

WATT: My experience is that people in Queensland - and right across Australia - want relief from their power prices right now. They don't want to have to wait fifteen to twenty years for that relief to come under a risky, expensive proposal. Peter Dutton has no plan whatsoever to do anything about power prices in the short term. The only long-term plan he's got would jack up power prices eight times higher than what Labor is putting forward. This is a recipe for higher power prices and more blackouts and that's why it's a bad idea.

JOURNALIST: So, you do disagree that we could have one by 2035?

WATT: Whatever experts might have to say about when this power will be online, even they are saying that we wouldn't be seeing any relief and any new nuclear facilities built for fifteen to twenty years. Australians are looking for power price relief right now, they're getting that from the Albanese Government. And our reliable renewables plan is the way to ensure that we'll have cheaper power well into the future.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible) … Topic: Chinese state cyberattacks on an Australian entity. 

WATT: It’s a very concerning development that we see a Chinese state-sponsored entity undertaking cyberattacks in Australia. And that's why today we have called that out. The Albanese Government has always stood strong against malicious foreign actors who are interfering through cyber security breaches in Australia. When it happens, and when it's appropriate to do so, we will call it out. That's what we're doing today. We have always said, in terms of our relationship with China, that we will agree where we can, we will cooperate where we can, but we will disagree where we must. And we're sending a very clear signal to China that this is unacceptable behaviour and it needs to stop. 

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

WATT: On the cyber matter, this has obviously had to be handled very sensitively. And I want to commend the work of the Australian Signals Directorate, which has led this work in partnership with like-minded countries, including other Five Eyes countries. The reason it has been held up is that this has had to be treated sensitively. We needed to get consent of the entities who  had their cyber matters interfered with by China. Now is the appropriate time to put that on the table and to call it out for what it is.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

ROWLAND: It’s incumbent on all businesses to understand the systems that they are using - not only the vendors, but also the hardware that they are using as well. And one of the reasons why the Albanese Government is investing not only in cyber capabilities, but also in making sure that small and medium-sized enterprises understand these cyber risks is because we know that there can be single or multiple entry points where this can occur. 

We urge all businesses to understand what their systems are. The Australian Government is leading by example here to take an inventory of all of our departments’ hardware and software because we understand that these vulnerabilities are there. There are bad actors who seek to harm Australians through interfering with our systems. We've seen that happen at large scale over the past couple of years and the amount of data that is collected is one that really needs to be understood by all businesses in Australia.