Press conference with Sally Sitou and Andrew Charlton, Western Sydney

CHRIS BOWEN: Well, it's great to be here in the heart of Western Sydney with my friends Andrew Charlton and Sally Sitou. And of course, we are halfway through a sitting fortnight, a sitting fortnight where the Albanese Labor Government is making the case for tax cuts for working Australians. Tax cuts for working Australians right around Australia and particularly here in Western Sydney, where almost a million Australians will benefit from the Albanese Government's tax cuts.

In my own electorate of McMahon here, 69,000 Australians benefitting from a tax cut. Vital cost of living relief. 100,000 in the electorate of Reid. 90,000 in the electorate of Parramatta. People who need cost of living relief that the Albanese Government is delivering cost of living relief for.

And, of course, we saw during the week the humiliating backdown by Peter Dutton reluctantly supporting this cost of living relief after his deputy, Sussan Ley, said they would absolutely oppose and roll back the tax cuts. We saw Peter Dutton this week reluctantly dragged to support them. This isn't something that should be reluctantly supported. This is something that should be embraced by any serious party in parliament giving cost of living relief to Australians on low and middle incomes. So, of course, we've seen the legislation introduced this week. We'll see it make further progress this coming week and the Labor government will continue to proudly embrace the tax cuts, whereas Peter Dutton has been reluctantly dragged to support them.

The other cost of living relief that we are working on is, of course, better, cheaper to run, more efficient cars. And it's been very clear over the last 24 hours that Peter Dutton is not interested in supporting this cost of living relief. And he's been engaging in a pretty predictable, false, misleading, dishonest scare campaign.

The fact of the matter is that Australia and Russia are the only major countries without fuel efficiency standards. Peter Dutton actually yesterday even claimed on camera that Australia has strict fuel efficiency standards already. We don't. We don't have any fuel efficiency standards in Australia. 85 per cent of cars sold around the world have vehicle efficiency standards governing their sales. They've been in place in the United States since the 1970s. It is way beyond time that these were introduced. The previous government, Paul Fletcher and Josh Frydenberg had a go. It didn't last long. It was vetoed by the right wing of the liberal party. Well, this government is more determined. We will be introducing new vehicle efficiency standards because they're good for motorists, good for choice, good for emissions.

And particularly here in Western Sydney, we drive long distances and the more you drive, the more you pay and the more you'll save with fuel efficiency standards. Motorists filling up at the bowser, paying too much for petrol they shouldn't be paying for because vehicle efficiency standards will give them more choice. Going to hand over to Andrew and Sally and then I'll take questions.

SALLY SITOU: Thanks, Minister Bowen. More than 100,000 people in the electorate of Reid are going to receive a tax cut from the 1st of July, and four out of every five of those taxpayers will receive a bigger tax cut, thanks to the Albanese Labor Government.

And as I've been calling them, sharing the news with them, overwhelmingly, the response has been that they've welcomed these tax cuts because they know that it's going to be more money in their take home pay that's going to be helpful for their household budgets, help them pay the groceries, pay the bills, pay their mortgages.

So, I'm really proud to be part of a government that says to those hardworking families that we recognise it's difficult for you at the moment, and we're doing everything we can to make life a little easier through cheaper childcare, cheaper medicine, energy bill relief, and now these tax cuts, because this is what's going to make a material difference to the lives of those families.

ANDREW CHARLTON: Well, the number one issue facing families in my electorate of Parramatta is the cost of living. How am I going to pay the rent? How am I going to afford the groceries? And that's why the Albanese Government's tax cuts are so important.

In Parramatta, 87 per cent of people will now receive a larger tax cut and get an average tax cut of $1500. And the important thing about these tax cuts is that they don't put pressure on inflation. And this is a critical part of any measure to support people with the cost of living that we don't give with one hand and take with the other. These tax cuts enable us to take pressure off families without putting pressure onto inflation. And the Albanese Government has continued its work to reduce inflation, down from the quarterly rate that we inherited from the Liberals of 1.8 per cent, now down to 0.6 per cent on the most recent quarterly numbers. So, these are tax cuts that are good for Australian families and good for the Australian economy.

CHRIS BOWEN: Well, thanks, Sally and Andrew. Questions on the phone, I believe maybe. Lucy, do you want to go first?

JOURNALIST: Yes, thanks Minister. Just on your proposed emissions scheme, you say Peter Dutton is running a scare campaign, but it's also industry saying the scheme will rack up almost 40 billion in fines. Can you guarantee that won't happen?

CHRIS BOWEN: Yeah. And I see the industry walking away from that claim this morning. I see Tony Weber this morning saying it's not a prediction of what will happen, and admitting, quote his words, it's a very simple analysis. Now, the fact of the matter is we put out a complicated analysis, more than 80 pages of analysis we released last Sunday, which shows that that is just not the case.

And indeed, the FCAI had previously boasted about how many electric cars and fuel efficient cars they'd be bringing in to Australia in coming years. And now they're saying to back up that figure they put out yesterday, that, in fact, there'd be no increase in fuel efficient cars. Now, both those positions can't be right.

So, it is a scare campaign by Mr. Dutton. We've seen all sorts of false claims by Mr. Dutton, including over the last 24 hours, including in the media this morning. And look, this was predictable. I predicted this last Sunday when we released this. I said that there would be scare campaigns. There have been scare campaigns, but facts matter. Mr. Dutton is a fact free zone.

JOURNALIST: So, can you rule out that car buyers will pay more for new cars if these come into effect?

CHRIS BOWEN: Yes. There's no model available in Australia that would be more expensive after these efficiency standards are introduced. None. And, in fact, as we pointed out, Australians have the potential to save at the bowser with ongoing costs. They pay every week. They pay every week. More fuel efficiency means cost of living relief for Australians. Every single week they fill up at the bowser.

JOURNALIST: Minister, what are the savings that will be available?

CHRIS BOWEN: Well, obviously, it varies from motorist to motorist. It depends how much you drive. It depends on what car you get, and it depends on what car you currently drive. But on average, around $1,000 a year from 2028 onwards from having fuel efficiency standards in Australia. New vehicle efficiency standards which match the United States.

United States is a country similar to Australia in terms of the fact that people drive long distances, like big cars. They've had these standards since the 1970s. They have been tightening these standards over recent years by around 30 per cent and no increase in car prices and reductions in the amount of petrol people have to buy at the bowser.

JOURNALIST: So, you're saying that the analysis from Tony Weber isn't accurate because the car sales from 2023 won't be replicated again in coming years.

CHRIS BOWEN: Mr. Weber himself this morning has said it's not accurate. I mean, he's walked away from that claim. He said this morning in the media, we are not saying that sales from 2023 will be replicated. And he said, and I quote, "it's a very simple analysis." Well, car companies, and I acknowledge some have welcomed these reforms. I acknowledge Volkswagen, for example, has welcomed the fuel efficiency standards. I know others are looking at it in detail and will have more to say.

But the time for these sort of silly scare campaigns is over. And I say to the car industry, 85 per cent of cars sold around the world are sold under vehicle efficiency standards. It's time your Australian customers had the same rights. If these rights are good enough for customers and motorists in the United States, Canada and New Zealand, in Europe, in China, then they are right for Australian motorists as well. Australians deserve better choices of better cars, and car manufacturers will be obliged to provide those better choices under these reforms.

JOURNALIST: Mr. Bowen, you're saying that motors are going to be saving money each year and that the car industry is boasting they're going to be bringing in a lot of these fuel efficient cars anyway. If that's the case, what's the need for bringing in fines, introducing these standards, if it seems industry is on that pathway? And how much does the government expect to make in revenue from fines on manufacturers?

CHRIS BOWEN: We expect to make nothing because we expect the manufacturers to comply with the law and to bring in better efficient cars. And, of course, there is a trading scheme for people to trade credits. Some companies will be clearly in credit and will be able to trade their credits with companies that are catching up. Now, in terms of why we're doing this, one, because while car manufacturers say they're going to bring more fuel efficient cars to Australia, we want to see that being a reality, not just a promise. Not just a promise. We don't want to see greenwashing. We want to see clear obligations on car manufacturers to bring better, cheaper to run, more efficient cars to Australia. Many of the car companies say they're going to do it anyway. Great. Then they'll be able to comply with these new standards. Eliza, have you had a go?

JOURNALIST: Yeah, I've had my turn.

CHRIS BOWEN: Everybody good? All in? All done?

JOURNALIST: Yes, thank you.

CHRIS BOWEN: That's a wrap. Thank you. Cheers.