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Transcript 18066

Transcript of doorstop interview, Albany

Photo of Gillard, Julia

Gillard, Julia

Period of Service: 24/06/2010 to 27/06/2013

More information about Gillard, Julia on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 11/08/2011

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 18066

PM: It's a great pleasure to be here in Albany today. I'm here with Tony Crook, the local member who invited me to visit his electorate. I started this morning in Esperance and had the opportunity there to meet with the local council and other local representatives and to tour the port as well as to look at the foreshore and discuss the potential redevelopment there.

I'm here today at this wonderful facility - ACTIV - which works with people with disabilities focusing on what they can do and keeping them actively involved in work.

I'll go from here to working with and spending some time with the Albany Alliance, which is focused on Gallipoli and focused on the 100-year commemorations, and of course the special connection of Albany with Gallipoli as ships set sail from here to take soldiers to Gallipoli, so it's great to be here today.

I did want to come to this facility because it's got such a great reputation. Yesterday with Minister Macklin and Minister Shorten I released the Productivity Commission report into disability, and what that report has found is that the current system for working with people with disabilities is underfunded and it's fragmented. It's not giving people the support that they need.

In particular, much of the support people gets depends really on a lottery, on the circumstances in which they acquired their disability. I think this is an issue of interest to all Australians, because whatever our family circumstances it's possible for us or a family member to have an accident, to have an illness which leaves them with a disability, or it's possible for a child to be born into our family circle or circle of friends with a disability. I believe our nation wants to do the right thing to make sure that anyone with a disability isn't robbed of the chance of a decent life.

That means that we do need reform. We do need to work towards a National Disability Insurance Scheme. This is a huge reform. In the same way that Medicare was a huge reform for our health system, this is a huge reform for to contemplate. We've made a down payment in getting the work done that would make us ready for this kind of reform, but it's great to be here today and to see what is being achieved when we focus on what people can do.

I grew up in South Australia. I grew up the daughter of a psychiatric nurse who worked in a major psychiatric facility, in Glenside Psychiatric Hospital, and it was routine in those days, in the days that I was growing up, for people with intellectual disabilities to live in a facility like Glenside Psychiatric Hospital for all of their lives - to not live in the community, to not be viewed as people who could work or make a contribution, but to live in that kind of institution.

Attitudes have changed. Now, we focus on the things that people can do, but we've got to keep changing, we've got to keep reforming to make sure that for everyone with a disability we are enabling them to get the services they need so that they've got the best possible supports in their life. So, it's been a great pleasure to be here today to meet with the very hard working staff, thank you very much for showing me around and thank you very much to everyone who stopped to say hello during the course of this visit.

I'm very happy to take questions.

JOURNALIST: Can we ask about Manus Island?

PM: Sure.

JOURNALIST: Do you believe that that's going to become a reality now? Are you concerned with the High Court injunction on Christmas Island that none of this can happen? What are your thoughts?

PM: As has been known for a very considerable period of time now, we've been pursuing discussions with the Government of Papua New Guinea on having a centre at Manus Island. Good progress is being made.

Of course, during this period of time PNG had to confront a major change for its nation. Sir Michael, a giant of politics in PNG, announced his resignation from being Prime Minister due to ill health. We now have a new Prime Minister, Prime Minister O'Neill, and we are working through with the Government of PNG.

So, this is something we've talked about for a considerable period of time. There was a number of weeks in which it wasn't appropriate for us to pursue discussions because PNG rightly had to focus on its own circumstances and the loss of Sir Michael as Prime Minister. Now we're in a situation where good progress is being made.

JOURNALIST: Are you concerned, though, about a High Court challenge effecting this as well, or is it a matter of waiting to see if the next few weeks-

PM: -As Minister Bowen has made clear, our legal case before the High Court, we believe, is sound.

JOURNALIST: Just on the latest job figures, an increase in unemployment - is this evidence that the economy is finally slowing down?

PM: I think when we look at these unemployment figures, so the rate for July has come out today and it's at 5.1 per cent, of course by the standards of the world this is a very low unemployment number. When we look to America it is almost double this rate. When we look around countries in Europe we see nations that are struggling with unemployment rates in 20 per cent ranges.

So, 5.1 per cent is further proof that our economy is strong, that we have low unemployment, we've got low debt, we've got sound public finances, we've got a strong banking system and we've got a huge pipeline of investment flowing into this country.

So yes, when we look at these results, a slight move up to 5.1 per cent, we do see some reduction in full-time jobs, but that comes against a very big increase the month before. What it means all up is we've seen 188,000 jobs created over the past 12 months. That brings the total of jobs created since we came to Government to 750,000.

JOURNALIST: Are you confident that you can reach surplus by 2012-13?

PM: As I've made clear and as the Treasurer has made clear, we are working to achieve surplus in 2012-13 and we expect to achieve surplus in 2012-13. Yes, the instability we've seen in markets in the United States and in part of Europe and the implications that has for global growth does make it more difficult, the circumstances are challenging but we expect to reach surplus in 2012-13.

And I know Australians have watched what's happened on stock markets here and around the world, but it is true to say Australia's economy is the envy of the world - we've got strong prospects for growth, a huge pipeline of investment, low unemployment and low debt. That puts us in a good position to keep building on our fundamental economic strengths. We should all take a lot of pride as a nation in the economy we've built together.

Yes?

JOURNALIST: In relation to the share market, is the Government making any plans in its budget to pay for people who'll be forced to go on a pension?

PM: Well, of course the pension is a demand-driven system, so if people become eligible for the pension then it will be paid to them. I know a lot of people who are in retirement and are self-funded retirees or who may be at an age that they are contemplating retirement have watched stock market movements with a great deal of concern. I'd certainly echo the advice that is coming from advocacy groups for self-funded retirees and from financial planners that people should get advice about their own situation rather than hurriedly react to market movements.

JOURNALIST: So, does the Government understand the anxiety of the retirees at this moment?

PM: I can understand when people watch markets and they see them go down and then of course we saw, over a day, we saw the market go down, the market go up. I'm not going to engage in running commentary on markets, but of course I do understand the concern for people who are reliant today for their income on the proceeds of their share investments or people who are contemplating retirement and looking to live on that income stream either in whole or in part. I do understand that anxiety, but I would say to people please get full professional advice before people make any decisions about their investments.

JOURNALIST: The carbon tax here in Western Australia - there's a lot of opposition to it. You talked about wearing out the shoe leather. Is that something you're going to be doing here and how are you going to convince Western Australians about the carbon tax?

PM: We'll continue to be out there explaining to everyone what putting a price on carbon means for our nation and means for our economy.

Put at its most simple, it means that we'll realise a clean energy future. We're here in Albany today getting bathed in beautiful sunshine outside and that's just one way of reminding ourselves that we live in a country with fantastic clean energy potentials. With the sun, with the wind, with tide, with geothermal, I want us to get those clean energy jobs of the future.

In order to do that, we need to put a price on carbon. The price will be paid by around 500 of our biggest polluters. The money used will be going to cut taxes, increase pensions and increase family payments, as well as ensuring we can fund a clean energy future through new investments and protecting Australian jobs.

JOURNALIST: In a mining state like Western Australia, though, we had the miners come out against the Mineral Resources Tax. Are you worried about a campaign gearing up against the carbon tax?

PM: People will have their own views and people will make their views clear.

I'm determined to do this because it's the right thing for our nation's future.

There is actually a national objective held by both sides of politics to cut carbon pollution by 5 per cent by 2020. So, if we're going to do that, the question becomes when should we start and how should we do it? Well, if we're going to cut pollution by 5 per cent by 2020 I think let's start soon, 1 July next year, and let's do it in the cheapest way possible, that's the way that economists have advised us to go, that's putting a price on carbon pollution.

JOURNALIST: Just one more on reaching the surplus by 2012-13. Tony Abbott's come out and said that reaching that would be dream. Is it a dream?

PM: We will work to reach the surplus and we expect to reach the surplus. As the Government has put its budgets together, including the last budget, we've shown a great deal of discipline in identifying savings - identifying savings so that we can fund the things that we believe are most important to Australians.

So, by identifying savings and working hard on the budget, we have already engaged on a lot of fiscal consolidation, as the economists would call it, fiscal consolidation working on the Government's budget, and we will continue to work on it to achieve surplus in 2012-13 and we expect to achieve that surplus.

JOURNALIST: Just going back to Manus Island, will unaccompanied minors be sent there?

PM: Well, we've made clear we're going to take this a step at a time. We've been in a circumstance where we haven't been able to have real discussions with the Papua New Guinea Government because they've rightly been focused on their internal work and on a new Prime Minister being selected. Now we're making good progress and when we get to a stage that we can announce details for people, then we will.

JOURNALIST: Just getting back local, you're about to witness the last landfall seen by the first ANZACs. What are you feelings on that?

PM: I'm really looking forward to seeing it myself and of course meeting with the people who are so passionate about making sure that this special site plays a big role in our nation's 100-year commemoration of Gallipoli. The Government's already made some resources available so that the plan that is being contemplated can be worked up to a greater level of detail, so I'm pleased that we've been able to make those initial resources available and I did want to come and see it for myself and talk to people directly.

Thank you

Transcript 18066