Transcript of doorstop interview, Ipswich
TUE 10 JULY 2012
Subject(s): New sandbagging machine for Ipswich SES; Queensland floods; Community Cabinet; Asylum seekers; DLA Piper report; Ipswich Motorway; Darrell Lea
PM: It’s great to be here today with some friends from the SES. I’m joined by Shayne Neumann, the Member for Blair, by Bernie Ripoll the Member for Oxley. I’ve got my ministerial colleague Joe Ludwig here who has played such a pivotal role for us in working with Queensland on flood recovery. I’d also like to acknowledge Cheryl Bromage who is here from the local council. I came here in January; we were here for commemorations of the Queensland floods.
We were here to talk about all of the things that the local SES had done to help people during those desperate days.
And one of the things we had a pretty big conversation about was the 11,000 sandbags that people had filled very, very quickly and by hand.
I’ve had the conversation with Jason today; he is here somewhere, who I think broke the record by filling 100 by hand himself in one hour.
That's putting the sand in and tying the bag - a pretty remarkable effort.
We talked about everything that people had been through and everything that they had lost in the days of the Queensland floods.
It was a great opportunity for me to catch up with people locally but I was left in no doubt that this local SES wanted a sandbag filling machine, so next time they were called upon to go out and help people from their community, that they would be there with a machine that could make that back breaking work easier.
During the months in between, I have been left in no doubt by Shayne and by Bernie that they wanted to see us get this machine here and make a difference for this community.
So I’m very pleased to be able to announce today that we are making available $46,000 so that a sandbag machine can be purchased.
It is not only going to make a difference for this local SES and this community but because our SES works together and shares resources right across the region, indeed right around the state, it’ll make a difference for the SES throughout and I’m very pleased to be able to say to people here today that we talked about it, you wanted it, I wanted to get it for you and we are able to honour that commitment today.
So thank you for everything you do. Thank you Jason, for the 100 bags in an hour, thank you for everything everybody did during the dark days.
Talking today, people have told me that they haven't had to go to too many call-outs in recent days but they’re still doing all the training work that they need to do to be ready and thank you for that.
We’ve also had the opportunity this morning to announce some good news for the local community and for the region, which is we will make available over $21 million to construct the Springfield Cancer Care Centre.
We are standing in a growing region, where more and more people come here to make this their home.
And at the moment, if people find themselves having to face a battle with cancer, in order to get the services they need, they need to travel into the south of Brisbane or sometimes people go all the way to Toowoomba.
Having a cancer centre here will mean when people face that very difficult time in their lives and they need to battle cancer that they’ll be able to get the services they need here locally.
And I’m looking forward this evening to Ipswich Community Cabinet. We will be gathering together at Redbank Plains Sate High School, local community members with my Cabinet team and colleagues, with ministers for people to raise issues with directly, and of course supported by the remarkable members that we have here who do such a great job for their local communities – Shayne Neumann as the Member for Blair, and Bernie Ripoll as the Member for Oxley.
I’m very happy to take people’s questions.
JOURNALIST: Ms Gillard, what kind of questions do you think you will field tonight here at Ipswich?
PM: Well look that remains to be seen. I’ve actually given up predicting Community Cabinet questions because I haven't been that good at predicting them.
I think people will raise a range of issues that are on their minds. At Community Cabinets people are very interested in health care and health services, education, for themselves and for their kids, the quality of local schools.
People are interested in the local environment; here in Queensland of course they talk about flood recovery and the way that the community has had to pull together.
People talk about the big issues of the day too, so I'm sure some will raise carbon pricing and the Minerals Resource Rent Tax, jobs and opportunity in our economy.
But the purpose of having Community Cabinet is people get to have their say, ask their question and we’ll give them the answers, you know, straight up – the best answers that is we can.
And we always hear too about new things that communities haven't raised with us in the past, there is always something to learn so I'm looking forward to it.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, Tony Abbott has refused to take part in the border protection committee. What do you make of that?
PM: Thank you for that question.
I am deeply disappointed that the Leader of the Opposition is not making an Opposition member available to participate in the reference group.
The reference group is there to support the work of Angus Houston and his expert team.
Angus Houston is a former Chief of the Defence Force, he’s supported by two other experts: Michael L'Estrange, an expert in foreign policy, and Paris Aristotle, an expert in asylum seeker and refugee issues.
Mr Abbott is always able to say no, but he's got no real solutions when it comes to border security. So he should stop playing politics, he should step up to addressing the national interest and he should reverse this decision, and participate in a body that will support Angus Houston and his team in their work. And I would like to note today particularly; the Leader of the Opposition has been going around the country thumping his chest about how if he was Prime Minister he would tow boats back to Indonesia. Well he’s happy to say that to Australians around the country, but he was too cowardly to say it to the President of Indonesia when he met with him in Darwin. And there’s a reason for that. That’s because Mr Abbott knows his policy won’t work. He should also know that this policy is dangerous for our Navy personnel, our Defence Force leaders have made that abundantly clear, and I’d ask Mr Abbott; how many lives of Navy officers is he prepared to risk? How many lives of Navy officers would he be prepared to lose if he was Prime Minister?
PM: I’m referring to the words of Chris Barrie, former CDF who’s made it abundantly clear that this kind of practice is dangerous to Navy personnel and to asylum seekers. He’s made it very clear that this policy would risk the lives of young Australians who are out there serving our Australian Defence Force.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, do you think the renewable energy target is driving up electricity prices, and has the Government considered changing that target?
PM: The renewable energy target is an important part of our policies to get to a clean energy future. It works alongside carbon pricing, and of course carbon pricing will be picking up a lot of the heavy weight to drive us to a clean energy future. We always committed to reviewing the renewable energy target and that will be undertaken by the Climate Change Authority.
JOURNALIST: On the Defence report that was released today, is it time there was a Royal Commission into these issues?
PM: The Minister for Defence has dealt with that matter a little bit earlier today. A report has been released, the DLA report that the Minister ordered into concerns about sexual abuse and practices in the Defence Force over time, so there was the Skype incident, which led to a number of other people coming forward saying they too had a story that they wanted to tell, and so we created this review to enable people to come forward and put before that review what had happened to them and how that had made them feel and what that had cost them in their own lives.
As the Minister said today, some of the material is deeply disturbing. The Minister is going to be making some determinations about what is the best way forward from here.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, will you be committing to funding the Ipswich Motorway from Darra to Rocklea?
PM: Well we’re here today making the announcements that you’ve seen. We of course have been big funders of the Ipswich Motorway, something that Shayne and Bernie raised with me, an incredibly important piece of infrastructure for this part of Queensland, and as a Federal Government we’ve stepped up to the infrastructure task in Queensland. We are providing more per head of population in infrastructure dollars than was ever provided by the former government. We know in this great community there are real infrastructure needs and that’s why we’ve been prepared to work as a Labor Government on the Ipswich Motorway.
JOURNALIST: Chocolate company Darrell Lea has collapsed today. (Inaudible)?
PM: I just heard that news and I’m really saddened by it. Darrell Lea is such an icon of a business, we all know Darrell Lea, we knows its products, we’ve all been into its shops, everybody’s probably eaten a lot of their Rocky Road over the course of their lives. I know I have eaten a lot of their Rocky Road, so this is sad news. As I understand it the business is in voluntary administration and is looking for a purchaser, so I certainly hope that we can see someone step forward and take this business over and keep that very famous Darrell Lea brand going for us. This is a very anxious time obviously for the people who work at Darrell Lea, and I’m sure we’d all be thinking of them – pretty tough news. And you know, many of them would be Australians who’ve got family and friends and next-door neighbours who are worrying about them now, so I’m certainly thinking of those working people, but I’m hoping their jobs can keep going under a new owner.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, you’re spending a lot of time north of the border, what are you learning?
PM: Look I am spending a lot of time north of the border. I’ve been here since Saturday and I’ll be going from Brisbane up further north. I’m enjoying my time here and very happy to be out and about in the community talking about local community needs. Very happy to be talking to people about whatever’s on their minds.