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Transcript 16848

Transcript of doorstop Launceston

Photo of Rudd, Kevin

Rudd, Kevin

Period of Service: 03/12/2007 to 24/06/2010

More information about Rudd, Kevin on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 12/10/2009

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 16848

PM: Firstly it's great to be back here with Jodie, and with Lara, and obviously Mark Butler the Parliamentary Secretary for Health. It's great to be back in Tasmania, it's great to be back in Launceston, and it's great to be back for my third visit to Launceston General Hospital.

We the Australian Government have been investing strongly in this Hospital and partnership with the State Government of Tasmania, because this is an area of real health need. Expanding this hospital as we are doing in accident and emergency and in other areas is a critical investment for the future. Also in this area, I'd like to announce that we'll be investing $732,000 to be provided to construct a renal satellite service at the Launceston community health centre in Kingsmeadows.

These funds come from our $15 million commitment to build an integrated care centre in the area and the new facility will operate six days a week and will provide 16 dedicated renal stations. Having just spent some time prior our forum here today talking to patients on dialysis this is a welcome investment, and they are looking forward immensely to this facility coming on stream toward the end of this year. The logic of course is to provide those who need dialysis with access to treatment outside the precincts of the hospital for those who have less acute conditions right now. That makes better use of the hospital facilities but actually increases the overall throughput for those who are in need of this particular service.

What we are seeking to do here in Launceston today more broadly is continue our round of consultations with health communities and hospital communities right around Australia. As Prime Minister, this is my thirteenth consultation together with the Health Minister and others, there have been something like 55 around the country, and again our objective is to road-test the recommendations of the Health and Hospital Reform Commission for the future. We've got to get health and hospitals right for the long term and that means looking carefully not just at the next 12 months but the next 25 years. How do we best prepare for that? And that's we're engaged here with the local community on specific recommendations for the future.

Australian families want to make sure that Governments are not wasting money on health and hospitals in terms of blame games and cost shifts between two levels of Government. We've got to make sure we're getting on with the business of long term health and hospital reform, we have a growing population, we have an ageing population. We've got to get these reforms right for the long term.

If I could just make one other set of remarks prior to taking your questions. If I could say something today about the significance of today's date, the 7th anniversary of the Bali bombings in 2002. 202 people were killed on that day, October the 12th 2002. 88 of those victims were Australians. This is a day which Australians won't forget. It's a day when the families of those who lost their lives, and those who we're injured won't forget either. This has meant that so many lives in Australia, so many families, have been fundamentally changed because of that act of brutal terrorism back then in 2002. So I confidently say that the thoughts, the reflections and prayers of the entire nation are with those who suffered such terrible loss back in the Bali bombings of 2002.

Over to you folks.

JOUNALIST: (Inaudible) forum, the Federal takeover of the health care system will see power centralised in Canberra and it would be a (Inaudible) what would you say to reassure those communities about that (Inaudible)?

PM: Well first of all, we the Australian Government have no specific policy conclusion yet on what we'll be doing for the future, on funding for health and hospitals on one hand health and delivery for health hospital services on the other. We've got a lot of work yet to get though with our State and Territory colleagues on that front. Second point though I'd say is, any future shape of the health and hospital system for Australia must have maximum local, community, and regional input into the decisions that are taken, on how the resources are allocated and how services are delivered most effectively in communities, like Launceston, like this part of Tasmania. It's really important that we get that balance right. As I said we've got some ways to got yet before we reach final policy outcomes, from the Commonwealth point of view and for the States and Territories as well.

JOUNALIST: Prime Minister, even though you say that there's quite some time before you'll reach a conclusion, it sounds as though you're fairly (inaudible) on what should happen-

PM: Tell me what they might be.

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible) is there a date on when we might have a conclusion, a decision?

PM: What I indicated in a presentation earlier today was that we will have focused discussion with the Sates and Territories on the recommendations of the Health and Hospital reform Commission by the end of the year. Our objective then is to road test those recommendations with Premiers and Chief Ministers. Then in the early part of 2010 we the Australian Government will form our conclusions for the future. Having consulted with the States and Territories and we would put that to the States and Territories. As I've said repeatedly around the country, our preference as the Australian Government is to cooperatively arrive at reform conclusions for the future for the health and hospital system for Tasmania and for Australia.

What I've equally said is that if we can't arrive there cooperatively. As Prime Minister of Australia I've said to the Australian people prior to the election we would go to the people and then seek a mandate. That's our approach, that's the time frame within which we're operating.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

PM: I think that what's been important here in Launceston has been the strong theme coming across about the need for maximum local community input into health decisions which are made here on the allocation of resources and on how services are delivered. Many of the comments today came from people for example engaged in primary health care and preventative health care. And preventative health care providers out there saying that their programs are working, and they would want any future reform to compliment that which they were doing well as opposed to substituting or coming in over the top. This is a theme which I picked up in many regional centres around Australia. Whether it's in northern New South Wales, Far North Queensland, or most recently in Geraldton in WA, it is the right emphasis, because these local communities deserve maximum local input into local decision making.

We've got to get the provision of national resources right for the health and hospital system out for the next 25 years. At the same time we've got to maximise local and regional input as to how those resources are best deployed. So here in Launy we've got that message loud and clear about maximising local input and that is a message that we would respect.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, have you also come today to give support to our local Member, Jodie, she's had troubles in the last little while (inaudible)

PM: I'd say two things, first is that I'm here in Launceston because it's time to come to Launceston General Hospital to conduct a forum with the health and hospital community on their response to the recommendations of the Bennett Commission on the future reforms of the system nationwide. This is an important community, it's an important centre in Tasmania. It's an important hospital, and it's important that I hear firsthand what the local community is saying about that.

Secondly, this local member, Jodie has my absolute and full support. She is a fantastic local member and through her interventions we have for example listened very carefully to the needs of this local community, including in the hospital in which we are standing. The fact that we are in a building now which has one of the largest ever capital makeovers which is about to occur in the hospitals history is of some significance. The local member has been in our ear, in our face about the needs of this hospital as an effective local member should do, and the fact there's a hundred million dollars worth of investment going on here, two thirds of which is from us, I think reflects on her strengths and qualities as a local member. Apart from that she's a fantastic person and I know her well. I regard her as a friend.

JOUNALIST: (Inaudible) $3bn black hole in the Coalitions modelling on the ETS why is it that Malcolm Turnbull is propping up (Inaudible)

PM: Let me just go back to the question of climate change. It's time for the Liberals and the Nationals to get serious about acting on climate change. We are living on the hottest and driest continent on earth, but we are not seeing fair dinkum leadership from the Liberals or the Nationals on dealing with the problem. We have this rolling set of excuses as to why they cannot act. Last time the debate was focused on this the Liberals and Nationals said that they hadn't had time to properly examine the government's legislation on climate change. Our legislation has been out there since March. By the time this legislation is voted on come years end it will have been around for nine months.

That is plenty of time for any serious political party with a serious commitment to climate change to have a considered set of amendments which are climate change credible, which are financially responsible to deliver the outcomes we need for Australia and for the planet. So, a month or two ago, in order to postpone the decisions which the Liberals had indicated then they would be making on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme legislation, they said they were going to drop this report, Frontier Economics- well the frontier economics was put out there.

It had holes all the way through it and as we've seen today with a very significant three billion dollar plus funding gap within it.

The bottom line is this. The Australian people expect Governments and major political parties to be fair dinkum on acting on climate change at home and abroad. We, the Government, have put forward our carbon pollution reduction scheme. We, the Government, have put forward our renewable energy target. We, the Government, have massive investments currently underway in the renewable energy sector as well as carbon capture and storage, we the government have an active negotiating profile with the Copenhagen negotiations on climate change for global action. That's what we're doing. That's our strategy. We're elected to act on climate change.

It's fundamentally important for Australia's national interest as the the hottest and driest country and continent on earth. Let me say that again- it's fundamentally important for Australia as the hottest and driest continent on earth that we act nationally and globally but what we see instead from the Liberals and Nationals is one excuse after the other about why they can't take a position. Can I just conclude on this one by saying, we have always said we'll engage in good faith negotiations with credible amendments, climate change credible amendments from the Liberals and Nationals but they have to be fair dinkum negotiations and we haven't seen that so far.

JOURNALIST: The Greens are saying-

PM: I'll follow up there and then straight to you.

JOURNALIST: The Greens on that point are saying, well, forget about the Libs come on over and negotiate with us- we've got 32 amendments we want to show you next week. What room is there to do a deal on that front?

PM: Well we've always said that we would work our way through in good faith negotiations, credible, climate change credible amendments, financially responsible amendments on the condition that we can produce and outcome on climate change for Australia and an outcome that Australia can then take to the councils of the world.

You see what we do nationally through the carbon pollution reduction scheme is really important. What we do internationally in helping to bring about and outcome for the planet or Government- each one is looking at each other waiting for who's going to move first on what. That's equally, and in fact, more important. What we need is national action on climate change. We need global action on climate change because we are on the hottest and driest continent on earth. We have a plan ourselves, but instead we have excuses for inaction from our opponents.

JOURNALIST: Just further on that, do you think there's any room for agreement on any of those amendments that the Greens are putting forward?

PM: To begin with I haven't seen them. And secondly, as I've said, and as the Minister Penny Wong has said she is open to good faith negotiations with all-comers, when it comes to climate change credible and financially responsible amendments which bring about action on climate change- not an excuse for inaction on climate change.

This is bearing down on Australia. This is a real problem for us and for our kid's future. We must act and we are prepared to negotiate in good faith, but they have to be fair dinkum negotiations.

JOURNALIST: There's a report out this morning that 42 Afghan asylum seekers who's boat exploded off the West Coast are all about to be granted residency in Australia. (Inaudible) does the Australian Government still chose who comes to Australia and under what conditions?

PM: Well first of all, what I'd say in relation to that particular quotation that you referred to, I draw you collective attention as to what happened to all those folk who were on the Tampa at the time when I seem to recall the then Prime Minister saying that none of these individuals would ever set foot on Australia or words to that effect. I think that about half the Tampa caseload ended up in Australia by one means or another and the rest as they say is history. The second point I'd make is that under this Australian government decisions concerning asylum seeker status are of course made independently by the Department of Immigration accessing each applicant on their merits. And can I say further on top of that, that anyone who is not found to be a legitimate asylum seeker will be sent home. It's very simple. That's the system that we have in place. We have independent decision makers who operate within our decision-making framework on that, it's the way it will be for the future.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, just a question on a different topic, Tasmanian dairy farmers are worried that they're being left out in the cold, they're saying, India and some European countries are stepping in to protect their dairy industry, and after spending millions on an economic stimulus package they're just wondering if the Australian government will offer some money there as well.

PM: Well first of all I'm not familiar with the given measures that they are referring to in China and India. Secondly, I'll have the agriculture minister examine that and to make further comment to you. Thirdly, I am a big supporter of the dairy industry. I am the son of a dairy farmer. I know far too much about dairy cattle and have grown up in that sort of farm environment. It is tough and competitive out there. For our farm sector and our rural sector the Agriculture Minister Tony Burke has a range of support programs out there for the Australian industry, but on the particular needs here in Tasmania the new competitive pressures they might be under facing, I'll leave it to the Minister to speak further on that.

Thanks folks, got to run.

Transcript 16848