When politicians descended on Kennedy’s Timbers, it was more than just the reclaimed wood that shone.
Kennedy’s Timbers in north Brisbane is usually associated with beautiful reclaimed wood, used in some of the finest architectural applications around the country. But in late May, it briefly became a mini-Canberra as the business bustled with politicians announcing the millionth job created under the coalition government, a goal it has met in a shorter time frame than planned.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was joined by Luke Howarth, MP for the local seat of Petrie, and Senator Michaelia Cash, Minister for Jobs and Innovation. He speculated that Cherri, a new Kennedy’s employee, could have been the person who fulfilled the Coalition government’s promise to create one million jobs when she was hired in April.
Despite the fluctuations of polls and parliament, the PM was on firm ground when it came to timbers. As he invited journalists’ questions, he added, “And Michael [Kennedy] will field some questions on timber, the benefits of eastern and southern versus northern spotted gum.”
Not one to let a good line pass, Michael Kennedy jumped in with, “The northern spotted gum is a better one because it’s from Queensland.”
To which the PM replied, “This is Corymbia citriodora … as opposed to Eucalyptus maculata,” to the impressed amazement of the workers.
Kennedy’s was an inspired choice, as the company has grown over the last five years, benefiting from job targets and tax breaks put in place by the government. It’s a real family success story, and one the pollies were happy to claim a little credit for.
As the PM said, “This is a great example of a hardworking Australian family business, the type of business that benefits from the incentives that we provide with lower taxes for business, enabling a proprietor like Michael to invest more and to grow. And it’s a fascinating one – taking old timber out of old bridges, wharves and warehousing and giving it a new life.”
Local MP Luke Howarth has a connection to the team at Kennedy’s through their community work. He spoke of the company’s success: “They’re a local business. The sort of business that is employing Australians not just here in Petrie, but right across Australia. We’ve seen record jobs growth in businesses this size under $50 million turnover since the Government has cut company tax.
“And I want to personally thank all the team at Kennedy’s Timbers for the work that they do in this electorate. They employed a young man, Mark, who was unemployed for some time and he came to one of my job seeker bootcamps and Michael put him on and he’s now been working here for two and a half years. We’ve just had a great chat with him.”
For Michael Kennedy, the day was important not just in terms of praise and publicity. “This is a Prime Minister who is passionate about timber,” he told TTN. “We shouldn’t hold back in approaching him where the industry needs the government to step in. The PM and the federal government have a track record of strong support for the environmental and job creation credentials of Australia’s $8.5 billion timber industry.”