Transcript by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

DisabilityCare Australia, Indigenous funding – Doorstop, Melbourne

Jenny Macklin: Thanks very much everyone for joining us here today. The Prime Minister in her address to the Victorian State Conference has just indicated the importance to all Australians of DisabilityCare Australia, the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Our Federal Labor Government is so pleased to be implementing DisabilityCare Australia.

We’re very pleased that the New South Wales Premier, Premier O’Farrell has agreed to the full rollout of DisabilityCare across New South Wales and on Thursday Premier Weatherill agreed that this would happen in South Australia. The Australian Capital Territory has also agreed.

We’re now calling on the new Premier here in Victoria to step up and show some leadership and roll out the full implementation of DisabilityCare across Victoria.

Victorians are desperately needing the full rollout of DisabilityCare in this State and they shouldn’t have to wait any longer.

I also wanted to make some remarks about some comments made recently about Indigenous Affairs.

I’m very concerned to see reports that Tony Abbott intends to slash funding to Indigenous Affairs and I call on Tony Abbott today to guarantee that if he is successful at the coming election that he will not cut Indigenous Affairs funding.

You cannot close the gap without decent funding.

This Government has made Indigenous Affairs and closing the gap a priority and today I’m calling on Tony Abbott to make sure that he guarantees the funding of Indigenous Affairs so we can close the shameful gaps that exist between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Tony Abbott’s got form when it comes to cutting.

He’s already demonstrated that he’s going to abolish the Schoolkids Bonus, he’s going to cut funding to pensioners and now he’s saying he’s going to cut funding to Indigenous Affairs.

Well today’s his opportunity to say that that’s not going to be the case.

Journalist: Mr Roberts is not a politician, so what sort of proof do you have that Tony Abbott is cutting funding to Indigenous Affairs?

Jenny Macklin: Well there’s been reports that the Liberal Party intends to slash funding to Indigenous Affairs so I’m calling on Tony Abbott to come out today and guarantee that funding to Indigenous Affairs will not be cut.

Journalist: So DisabilityCare Australia starts on July 1, so New South Wales, South Australia and the ACT have signed up. It means the others haven’t?

Jenny Macklin: And what we’re calling on here at the Victorian State Conference today is for the Victorian Premier to do the right thing by Victorians, by Victorians with a disability, by families, by carers, people who desperately want the support that we want to deliver to people with disability.

The Federal Government is ready. We’ve got the funding available, we’ve made the offer to the Victorian Government, it’s time for them to sign up.

Journalist: But it’s not just Victoria is it? It’s Queensland, WA?

Jenny Macklin: That’s right and we’re still negotiating with Queensland and WA but we’re here in Victoria today.

Journalist: What about the headquarters of the NDIS? Victoria wants it to be down at Barwon, Geelong and around that area. Is that likely to happen? What’s happening with that?

Jenny Macklin: Well we’re hardly going to make a decision about that when Victoria won’t even sign up to the full rollout of the DisabilityCare scheme here in Victoria.

So I call on Premier Napthine to rollout the full implementation of DisabilityCare here in this State.

The issue of where the head office is going to be will be determined in good time but the number one priority is for us to get the commitment of the Victorian Government for the full rollout of DisabilityCare in this State.

Journalist: What’s the sticking point? Because the Premier says that his Government has been the champion of the NDIS, that’s he’s been a leader. Both governments are saying that they want it to happen so what’s the sticking point?

Jenny Macklin: Well we’ve got agreement with Premier O’Farrell, we’ve got agreement in South Australia and the ACT, we’ve made it plain to all of the other states including Victoria that the agreement with New South Wales is the foundation for the agreement everywhere else. That’s the offer that’s been made to Victoria.

If it’s good enough for New South Wales, it’s good enough for Victoria and it’s time the Premier here in Victoria signed up.

Journalist: So what is the sticking point?

Jenny Macklin: You’ll have to ask him. We’ve made the offer. I wrote to the Victorians back in December, I’ve written to them again recently. As far as we’re concerned the offer that Premier O’Farrell has agreed to applies here in Victoria. It’s time for the Victorians to sign up.

Journalist: What did you think of Daniel Andrews’ local preference jobs policy and should the Federal Government not adopt that policy?

Jenny Macklin: I thought Daniel Andrews’ speech to the conference today really hit it on the head when he said that jobs would be his biggest priority. I think he understands that for us here in Victoria we do want to make sure that we give Victorians every opportunity to get and hold a job. And he’s indicated that a future Labor Government here in this State would have procurement policies that will see more Victorians in secure jobs.

Journalist: What about the current Federal Government though adopting those policies?

Jenny Macklin: Well that’s way outside my portfolio so I’ll leave you to ask others those questions.

Journalist: Do you support the concept say of lowly paid Asian workers being cut out of government business on the grounds that quite clearly they don’t have superannuation and those sorts of things? Do you think that’s appropriate?

Jenny Macklin: Well of course we want to see all people in Australia have decent working conditions. That’s why we abolished WorkChoices, it’s why this Government has implemented a new, fairer system of Industrial Relations and once again we want to make sure that for people who get jobs in this country they not only get decent pay and conditions, they can keep them.

Journalist: But what about in other countries, say somebody who’s in the Philippines working in a call centre, they’ll lose their jobs because of this sort of policy, those sort of people, do you think that’s appropriate?

Jenny Macklin: Well what we want to see is people here in Australia get decent jobs with decent working conditions. That’s our priority.

Thank you.