Transcript by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Personal Helpers and Mentors program, welfare reform – Doorstop, Perth

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JOURNALIST: Minister, can you just explain what the Federal Government has announced today?

JENNY MACKLIN: We’ve got six new services for homeless people in various parts of Australia where we do know we’ve got concentrations of many many homeless people and we’re also adding dedicated workers to existing mental health services. Those dedicated workers will be available to work one on one with people who are homeless who also have mental health problems.

JOURNALIST: Just in regards to the Indigenous housing infrastructure program, the Opposition says the review into the program last year didn’t include the $100 million for the Alice Springs town camps. Why is that?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well Senator Scullion again is wrong. He was wrong yesterday, he’s wrong again today. He asked these questions in Senate Estimates just last week. He was told the facts by my Department. He was referred to the page in the review report that refers to the money being spent on the Alice Springs town camps. It’s high time that Senator Scullion kept up with what’s going on in this very very important program. We are determined to make sure that we build new houses and fix houses in the Alice Springs town camps. What Senator Scullion demonstrates is that he doesn’t care at all about the conditions that people are living in in the Alice Springs town camps. We know that the previous Liberal Government walked away from the people in the Alice Springs town camps. We want to work with people, get the houses built, and improve living conditions.

JOURNALIST: Just on welfare quarantining, are you determined to try and get this legislation through to broaden it out to the rest of the community, despite opposition?

JENNY MACKLIN: We understand just how important welfare quarantining income management is, especially to people who need that extra support. We have introduced the legislation into the Federal Parliament. It will be debated shortly and I look forward to the Opposition’s support.

JOURNALIST: Will you consider amendments to try and get the Greens or Family First on side?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well I certainly hope we will get support across the Parliament. We know that there are many many people who have benefited from income management, both in the Northern Territory and here in Western Australia. We know that there are people whose lives have been turned around by making sure that they can better manage their money and income management helps that.

JOURNALIST: Is that something you would consider though, any amendments?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well we’re of course talking with all of the parties in the Parliament. We want to get this legislation through. We think this is a very important reform and I hope we get their support.

JOURNALIST: But if you can’t get the legislation through the Senate will you still reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well I’m hoping we will get the legislation through.

JOURNALIST: But is that something you would consider?

JENNY MACKLIN: I’m hoping we’ll get the legislation through.