Transcript by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Transcript of Interview, ABC News Breakfast

MICHAEL ROWLAND: Minister good morning to you.

JENNY MACKLIN: Good morning, great to be here.

MICHAEL ROWLAND: Now Jenny Macklin, what are you hoping to achieve from these trials?

JENNY MACKLIN: This is all about the start of DisabilityCare in four launch sites in different parts of Australia. It’s such an exciting time here in Newcastle in the Hunter in New South Wales. This will be the biggest launch site for around 10,000 people with a disability, and it will mean for the first time people with a disability will get the care and support they need and they’ll have choice and control over what it is that they need and how they get it. It’s really an enormous credit to everyone with a disability and their carers who’ve campaigned so long and hard for this. It really is a great day.

MICHAEL ROWLAND: Now when you say choice and control Jenny Macklin, how will that manifest itself in practice?

JENNY MACKLIN: The way it will work is that people will be able to say which sort of support they want. So if they want to make sure they get some personal care at a particular time during the day, they’ll be able to nominate that instead of being told what they can have and when they can have it. They’ll be actually able to choose the sort of care that they want instead of being told what they can get by a system that previously really just said, this is the amount of money we’ve got to spend and you have to like it or lump it. That’s all in the past now and what we want to see is people with disability really in the box seat controlling the sort of care and support they want.

MICHAEL ROWLAND: Ten thousand people there in the Hunter region Minister, how many people are covered by the trial generally?

JENNY MACKLIN: Right across the different trial sites or launch sites as we call them, there’s around 26,000 people. So here in the Hunter, this is the biggest launch site. There’ll be around 5,000 people covered in Geelong, around 5,000 children in South Australia, so right across South Australia but starting with children. And in Tasmania, it will start with young people, adolescents and young adults, and that’ll cover around a 1,000 people. So right across these different launch sites, it’s a very exciting time. We’ve got of course staff on the ground in different parts of those parts of Australia. We’ve got people with disability coming in to start the whole new approach to getting care and support that they will be in charge of.

MICHAEL ROWLAND: Now one of the issues as you know Minister which keeps coming up, this a very ambitious goal, there are obviously lots of very excited people with disabilities and their family, but concerns are always expressed about the lack of adequate staff to meet the roll out of DisabilityCare. Are you concerned about that and how do you go about attracting the best possible staff to the scheme?

JENNY MACKLIN: That is a big issue and when you’re trying to meet the needs of people with disability that have never been met before, of course it’s going to take extra staff. We expect over the next seven years to see a doubling of the number of staff working in disability care and support. That’s one of the reasons that we’re taking the time we are to implement this big, big new reform. It will take us until the middle of 2019 and over that time of course we’ll be encouraging people to come into working in the disability care and support system. There are great opportunities for people. We’re of course working with Universities especially in the launch locations, like here in Newcastle, in Geelong, to make sure that we get more people trained up coming into what will be I think one of the most exciting places to work.

MICHAEL ROWLAND: Now let’s move on to the broader challenges facing the Government. You have that a promising Newspoll out this morning, a six point bump in Labor’s primary vote. Do you see that as one of the first dividends of the removal of the former Prime Minister Julia Gillard?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well as you know I’ve never been one to comment on the polls so I’m not going to change that today. But what I would say is that I am very, very pleased that Mr Rudd is here in Newcastle today. He, like the whole of the Government is committed to making sure that DisabilityCare Australia is successfully launched. It’s great that he’s going to be able to join very excited people here in Newcastle, who I have no doubt will be thrilled to see him as well.

MICHAEL ROWLAND: Polls aside, do you now believe the Government has got something of a fresh start after the events of late last week?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well as you know I’m always concentrating on the issues, concentrating on the things that will make a difference to people’s lives. That’s what DisabilityCare Australia is all about. It is about making sure that we deliver for people who have never, ever got the support that they need. As the Productivity Commission so famously said in their big report, disability care is fragmented, underfunded, it is at the moment a broken system. Well we’re about to fix that and I’m very pleased that Prime Minister Rudd is going to be here with us today celebrating with people who have a disability, celebrating with carers because we are bringing about this huge reform.

MICHAEL ROWLAND: Okay Jenny Macklin in the Hunter, thank you so much for your time this morning.