Press Conference - Australian Parliament House, ACT

Transcript
15 Jan 2020
Prime Minister

PRIME MINISTER: Just to provide a quick update before making a few additional announcements, we’ve, decisions the government has taken in providing additional support to fire-affected communities and I welcome Minister Ruston for that purpose.

The outlook at present continues to be more benign, as we said yesterday, and that's providing an important opportunity for the Rural Fire Services as well as emergency services, the defence force and others to be undertaking a lot of work around the country, which can prove-up our resilience in dealing with the ongoing fire threat as it presents over the next few months. We still do not have any suggestion of another peak day at this point, so there's a lot of activity going on. Of course, there are still fires that are affecting many communities around the country and I want to thank again all of those who are out there, whether they are proving containment lines or where they’re out there directly dealing with smouldering parts of the country or indeed fires themselves at a more active level. We also know that there is hazardous air quality across much of south-eastern Australia for today, and that is obviously raising I think awareness as well as anxiety in some parts of the community and we just advise people to follow their local health authorities’ instructions in dealing with any of those issues. In relation to the Defence Forces, there are now over 6,000 both full-time and reserve personnel who are out there as part of Operation Bushfire Assist, so both full-time as well as reservist forces, and those numbers of reservists are approaching 3,000, standing around that 2,700 as we speak now, and they are undertaking a range of activities, and I won't go into those today in any detail, that is done at the usual operational briefing by the ADF,  but as an example, firefighting foam was delivered to Kangaroo Island under the JDF activities there. The water clean-up and carry out repairs to the Middle River water treatment plant that has been undertaken and I also want to thank all of those forces particularly from New Zealand, Singapore, Papua New Guinea, Fiji who are out there supporting our engineers and the many other works that are undertaken around the country.

Can I also note that after discussions with both the South Australian and the Victorian governments, the Commonwealth has agreed to extend Category C and Category D assistance to a further 12 local government areas in Victoria and 5 local government areas in South Australia. Assistance in Victoria is now available in Ararat, Alpine, Ballarat, East Gippsland, Glenelg, Golden Plains, Indigo, Mansfield, Northern Grampians, Pyrenees, Southern Grampians, Towong, Wangaratta, Wellington and Wodonga local council area. Recovery grants of up to $75,000 dollars have been extended to farmers in all of these areas for those who are eligible, to help the community recover from the bushfires and we are working on assistance for small business, yesterday as you know I met with a small business roundtable and we are working today and the Treasurer is working today as we seek to bring a package forward tomorrow for further consideration.

I can also announce that another five programs have been rolled out and agreed for Victoria under Category C funding and they are worth $86 million, jointly funded with the Victorian government, for community recovery package. Now that includes additional mental health support for community emergency services health, $10 million that is in addition to the $76 million fully-funded commitment that I announced earlier this week. A community recovery hubs, of some $15 million, that’s one-stop shops for recovery services and programs including mobile hubs to help disperse communities to take services to remote areas, $6 million dollars to support community recovery planning and efforts, helping local councils and communities develop locally-driven recovery plans, which we then can support through our broader recovery efforts at both state and federal level. $35 million dollars for community recovery and resilience grants to support locally-led programs that will assist community connection, engagement and resilience and these programs will be run by the Victorian government and the immediate reconstruction and rebuilding program dedicating $20 million dollars under that level of assistance for temporary housing and repairing damage to water assets and infrastructure. That's $86 million dollars then between the Victorian and the Commonwealth governments and I want to thank Premier Andrews and all the team, Ken Lay, down in Victoria, who have been working closely with Coordinator Colvin to confirm those arrangements and we are moving quickly to support them in rolling those out.

In South Australia, in addition to the Adelaide Hills and Kangaroo Island local government areas, we have also agreed to activate Category C and D assistance in the remaining LGAs impacted by the fires, namely Mount Barker, Murray Bridge, Mid Murray, Yorke Peninsula and Kingston district. This also means that those recovery grants of up to $75,000 which I referred to yesterday will be extended to farmers in those areas and Category C grants of up to $10,000 will also be available to small businesses in these LGA 's, and we will have more to say about that. In relation to Category C assistance in Victoria, in all of those local government areas, I referred to for small business, that provides grants for up to $15,000 for those small businesses but we will be having more to say about small business assistance.

Moving on to the further decisions, a package of $50 million, $40 million from the Commonwealth, fully funded, will be provided to St Vincent De Paul's society and the Salvation Army to deliver more emergency relief to people living and working in bushfire affected areas and the Minister will run you through what that will be used for in a second. There's also $10 million being provided in financial counselling assistance to support in these communities. Right now it is all about focusing on the basics people need right now, and that is where our fiscal effort, our financial effort is being targeted and directed and where our focus as a government, together with the state governments, is so strong. What people need now is what people need now, and that's what we're focusing on right now. In addition to that, I would let you know that we are also going to provide an additional $400 dollars under the disaster recovery payments for every child who has already received that initial $400 in any family. So this, we are increasing the family assistance being provided under the disaster recovery payments. So those who have already received a $400 payment for each child in these areas will receive another $400 payment for each child in these areas where people are coming forward to access that payment, they will now receive $800 for each child, not $400 for each child. If you've already received $400, you don't need to apply again. Those payments of the additional $400 will start rolling out from Monday of next week as those processes are put in place by the agencies over the course of the next few days. So that's an additional payment for families to recognise that not only have they had to deal with this terrible disaster, but at this time of the year, particularly for those families with kids going back to school and the additional expenses and the anxieties and concerns around those issues, this will provide just that little bit of extra help to support them and in recognition of the needs that they have at this time of the year.

In addition to that, we have made some improvements to simplify the payment in a couple of other areas that we've had in place. The first of those relates to the volunteer firefighter payments and I've been working closely with the New South Wales government on that today to ensure that we can make this as simple as possible. What we'll be doing, as you may recall, is these payments are made to volunteer firefighters who have been out there for 10 days of volunteer service and it provided for payments of up to $300 a day in recognition of income loss for those firefighters who are either self-employed, so that includes farmers and primary producers, but it's also is extended to those who are working for small and medium-sized businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million. Now, you will know, that those who are receiving income support payments, Newstart or things of that nature, all of the mutual obligation arrangements that were set around those arrangements were suspended, so they will be continuing to receive those payments if they are out fighting fires. That will be unaffected, but for those particularly working for small businesses, and who are self-employed and are farmers, particularly in drought-affected areas, then that payment was done to recognise the tremendous strain that was being put on them, and particularly in rural and regional communities. What we have agreed to do is to speed this process up. There will be no substantiation requirement for payments of up to $200 per day. So if you're a farmer and you may not be earning any income at the moment because you're in a drought-affected area, we recognise that farmers earn their income over many seasons and at the moment they're going through some of their most difficult seasons. So those farmers in those areas, those primary producers, as well as all of the other eligible persons I've just mentioned, where they've been turning up for more than 10 days and the Rural Fire Service of New South Wales, this applies also in Queensland, Tasmania, and South Australia who have accessed these payments, they will be able to simply say they get back $200 dollars per day for each additional day of service and all they have to do is be self-employed or working for a business of that size and have performed that level of service. That should speed this up considerably and I think particularly give a good shot in the arm for those primary producers and farmers especially, who are already dealing with the fact they don't have an income at the moment and they are fighting that drought and they're also fighting the fires and the last thing I want them to do is be running around getting bits of paperwork. There is a maximum payment each day of up to $300, so any payment of over $200 dollars up to $300, well, it's a simple process of bringing your payslip or several years income tax returns or something like that to get the higher payment. The $6,000 limit stays in place, so those $200 dollars a day can go up to a maximum of $6,000.

The other change we've made today is in relation to the disaster recovery payment. For those who have sought to access that, whose residence may not have been affected by the fire but major assets on their property have and as a general guide, a major asset is considered something that has a replacement value of $20,000, and that is cumulative. So that could be fencing, it could be vehicles, it could be sheds, it could be water pumps, things of that nature. Now, much of this is going to be addressed in the payments that I mentioned yesterday of $75,000 but at a very simple level, because the disaster recovery payments are done very quickly and they've been rolled out extensively, as you know, that payment, it is not just restricted to you if you have had a property in which you live affected. It also goes to out-building and other assets. So where these issues come up, where issues are being presented, where there may be difficulties around payments, they are being elevated and they are moved quickly, and they've been elevated to the Minister who is making recommendations, we consult where necessary and then we make a decision, particularly on the payment for volunteer firefighters, I mean that was originally worked up very closely between myself and Commissioner Fitzsimmons in New South Wales and today we are working through that again today and I thank him for his assistance.

I’ll leave it to Minister Ruston to run through her announcements.

SENATOR THE HON. ANNE RUSTON, MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND SOCIAL SERVICES: Thank you very much, Prime Minister.

Well the $50 million that has been announced today is divided into two particular proposals, one is about increasing the amount of emergency relief that’s available in our bushfire affected areas, which is $40 million dollars and the second component is an additional $10 million dollars to go to support financial counselling in these areas. This is in addition to existing funding that is already available in the areas on an annual, ongoing basis. It is designed to have a dual impact. First of all, providing the basics to individuals to assist them as they rebuild their lives, rebuild their families, rebuild their houses and make sure they’ve got the basics of food on the table, clothes on their back and are able to access accommodation while they rebuild. But it’s also to assist in a more rapid recovery for our regions by making sure that we support the regional economies, by making sure this $50 million or the majority of it is spent within those regional communities.

Can I particularly thank the charities that are out on the ground at the moment who are doing an absolutely amazing job. The majority of the money that will be paid through the $40 million will be going through organisations such as St Vincent De Paul and the Salvation Army. Also other organisations and regional organisations that are providing emergency relief out on the ground in these bushfire affected areas. 

With emergency relief payments, the difference between existing emergency relief criteria and the new $40 million dollar payment is that people will be able to access a wider range of things with these payments. In the past, they have been largely restricted to vouchers for things like food and fuel, but what we'll be seeking to do is to allow these experts on the ground, these charities who are there every day, to determine the needs of individuals based on the level of impact that these disasters have had on the individual and the families. In addition to that, we will also be making sure that we speak to these organisations so that they are teaming up with community, with businesses within the community so that we can assist them with their rebuilding in the community.

When it comes to the financial counselling service additional $10 million dollars, we are very keen to provide additional support to the national debt helpline, so if anybody is seeking advice in relation to financial services, please ring 1800 007 007 and speak to somebody, we can either arrange for you to speak to them on the phone but in particular cases where you want face-to-face contact, we'll make sure that these counsellors are available in the bushfire affected communities so people can get the best possible independent advice so that they can make the best possible decisions about how they are going to proceed into the future. They'll also make sure that they are available in the recovery centres that are being set up in each of the bushfire affected areas so that we can make sure that we have got immediate access in that one-stop shop for people to get assistance to make good decisions. We also want to make sure that people have access to advocacy and making sure that they can have people who can speak to people that they may have debts to, so that we can work them through the financial issues that are going to come upon them over the coming days and we would encourage anybody in these bushfire affected areas to make sure you make contact with these experts because they are there to support you, and your families and your community so you can work through the difficult days ahead so we can get both individuals and families and the communities up and running as quickly as possible.

PRIME MINISTER: Thank you Anne, happy to take questions.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, the extra payments for families, how much is budgeted for that?

PRIME MINISTER: As much as it takes.

JOURNALIST: How much do you expect though?

PRIME MINISTER: Look, it really is as much as it takes, and I've said we will make the payments where we need to make the payments. And this is, I think, a very necessary level of support to families as they're going back into the new school year. It's for children of 16 years and under. If you're above 16, you actually get the adult payment, which is $1,000. So, this actually, I think, provides welcome support to families at this time.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, Blackrock has dumped thermal coal from its actively managed fund due to growing concerns about climate change, is the government concerned that the investment climate for coal is changing? Is it turning against coal?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, I don't plan to make a running commentary on that other than to say that our resources industry is incredibly important to Australia. The one you referred to is worth about $70 billion dollars in Australia and this is important to so many communities across the country and so what our government's plan is to meet and beat our emissions reductions targets, our plan is to ensure we do that without putting higher taxes on people, not putting up their electricity prices and not pulling the rug from regional communities that depend on our resources sector for their very livelihoods, and so we will continue to maintain a very focused and balanced approach to ensure that we do what is in Australia's interest.

JOURNALIST: We have seen polling today, that shows Australians are more concerned about climate change. Do you think since the fires, people's concerns about climate change have shifted and that now requires stronger action?

PRIME MINISTER: I think the requirement to take action on climate change has always been strong and that is why the government has been taking actions and putting the measures in place, that’s why we are meeting and beating our targets now and that’s why we remain part of the global effort to reduce emissions into the future and to meet and beat those targets, you respond to the science and the challenge and that is what the government is doing, and that science and challenge doesn't just mean reducing emissions, which the government is doing. What I have been seeking to stress, particularly in response to these most recent disasters, is there are a broader range of responses that go beyond just emissions reduction and that goes to climate resilience, and we are in for longer, hotter, drier summers. That is an acknowledged position. Always acknowledged by the Government, and so whether it's hazard reduction, whether it’s building dams, whether it is taking better lessons from Indigenous burning practices, all of these things actually now should be understood as they always should have been, as being a necessary response to the changing climate in which we are living and the adaptation measures is also a part of that important response. So all of these things are important and that’s why the government is doing all these things but I would stress, particularly the ones I have just been referring to, are going to have the most pronounced effect on ensuring that Australians are safer in the future in dealing with the changing climate that we have.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, on resilience, you mentioned hazard reduction as a form of climate resilience. We currently are seeing a debate about whether the states need to do more. We're seeing arguments about what that's going to cost. If you're talking about further action on climate change, would that include financial support to the states so that they can do more hazard reduction?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, on all of these things, David, I mean, this is one of, I mean, right now, I'm not spending all my time looking at inquiries and reviews. I've flagged a direction the Government will be taking there but right now, my focus is on what people need right now and they need cash in their pockets, they need recovery plans in place, they need support for farmers and primary producers and small businesses. There are a series of roundtables going on this week, which is looking very much at that. There'll be an important tourism industry one which is being held tomorrow. I've been speaking the Minister for Tourism and tourism trade operators about some of the things we can do there. So let's just be clear about where the focus is, but the key issues that are put to me in terms of the longer term, the key things that are of interest to the Government in terms of are any review that we would undertake is what is the trigger level, the threshold level, of Federal involvement in supporting the states and territories in what they do in responding to natural disasters. Now, of course, the Federal Government has always responded to requests in this area but as you've seen from our most unprecedented response, which required the authorisation of the Governor-General for the largest turnout we have seen in response to a national disaster of this nature in Australia. What are the rules around that in the future? How has that benefited? How can that amplify efforts in the states in the future? This is one of the key issues that you've put to me in recent times about when the Commonwealth should take action and they are reasonable questions and we have taken action, but as I said to you, the constitutional clarity on those authorities have been extended to their limits and I think in the national interest, it would not be helpful to have that ambiguity in the future, but the other issues, David, you rightly say, of what I’m very interested in, and that goes to the preparation, resilience and adaptation for the future and so I am interested to know, many of these things obviously fall within the jurisdiction of the states and may well be under good control and I would go into it with a positive outlook, but as a national initiative, we would, I think, want to have a high level of confidence that as a nation we are improving our resilience and our adaptation to respond to the reality of the environment in which we live  and so that is why I am open to those issues being looked at. The operational response to the fires and how they have been fought - that's a matter for the states. To the extent to which the federal-state interplay comes into all this, that's the question I'm looking at but whether this truck should have gone down that road or down that road, that's entirely a matter for the states and I just have nothing but admiration for the way that the fire services have responded, whether it's in Queensland, South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, Western Australia, all around the country and they'll undertake the necessary reviews there and that has always been my working assumption in my discussions with the Premiers.

JOURNALIST: Are you flagging there in your review that you're eventually going to announce it will be less focused on the operational response by the states, but perhaps more focused on their preparations going into fire seasons in the future and indeed this fire season?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, I put it more in these terms, John. I would want to have a level of comfort, and I think all Australians do, that across the country we can have confidence about our level of resilience and that means initiatives by states and the Commonwealth and we need to have a good stocktake of that and I think that's what Australians would want to know coming out of this bushfire season, ultimately, that the resilience efforts that are being made at all levels are meeting the need. I think that's a very reasonable question to ask and I have no doubt the states will be very cooperative and us all working together to ensure that where we're meeting that mark. That has always been where I've been seeking to go. On the operational, you know, should the truck have gone down this street or the other one or at what time and that sort of issue, that's not the basis of it but you do have to have an understanding of the overall level of emergency response capability that has sat there and has been demonstrated and has been proved during this recent crisis and how the Federal involvement has worked in with that, because they've been involved, our defence forces in particular, since September and at the heightened level of operations, how that is really amplified, I think, the state effort, which I believe it absolutely has. It's been of great assistance in its own right with the unprecedented action we've taken but it has also, I think, significantly amplified what the states have also been able to do.

JOURNALIST: The Science Minister says that it’s time to stop debating the science of climate change and start responding to it. What's your message to backbenchers who continue to publicly dispute the science?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, every member of Parliament who comes here has a right to speak their mind. Of course they do, and the Government makes decisions about what government policy is, and I think Karen has well set out what the Government's policy is.

JOURNALIST: Do you listen to the people in your Party that don't believe in climate change?

PRIME MINISTER: I listen to all Australians and I think we should, don’t you?

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, when the hole in the ozone layer was growing, governments didn't focus on adaptation and resilience. They reduced the use of the relevant pollutants to zero. Can you explain why your government takes a different approach to greenhouse gases?

PRIME MINISTER: I'm saying all these things are necessary. 

JOURNALIST: To reduce greenhouse gasses?

PRIME MINISTER: I'm saying that our policy is to reduce emissions, to build resilience and to focus on adaptation. All of these are the necessary responses to what's happening with our climate. They are not either or, they are not one instead of the other. They are all of the above because all of them are necessary and our Government is doing all of them.

JOURNALIST: When are you going to go beyond 26 per cent reduction to zero? To zero?

PRIME MINISTER: Our policy is to meet and beat our targets.

JOURNALIST: Bill Shorten has said he doesn’t want the bean counters to get in the way of getting aid to bushfire victims, said the Government's response has been slow. How do you respond to that?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, I think the obvious response is in the further announcements I've made today and on previous days in this very courtyard. Streamlining the delivery of payments. I mean, if the Labour Party want to snipe during a crisis, well, I'll leave that to them. I'm just focused on what people need now.

JOURNALIST: PM, on another matter, the submarine project. The auditor general has released a report very critical of it, concluding that it's a nine month delay, that the money spent on it hasn't been spent fully effectively. What do you say to that? Should we have confidence that the French company Naval Group is still the best partner for our future submarine?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, firstly, the first attack class submarine is scheduled for delivery to the Navy in 2032 and the ANAO report, which you're referring to, has confirmed there has been no change to the delivery timeframe or the budget. The ANAO has also found the beginning of construction activities in Australia and the delivery of future submarines have not been delayed and whilst the future submarine program is still in the early design phase, and there has been delays, it's essential to get the design of these vessels right and doing so will greatly reduce any costly changes down the track. Defence has advised the delays to design milestones will be recovered by the next major milestone on January 21. I think the ANAO report process is a good process and I think it informs where we're up to but what I'm saying to you is that is understood and Defence and the Government is working to ensure we keep the project on track as it is and with the milestones that I've just mentioned to you and we'll keep working to that end. I mean, our Government is the government that is bringing defence spending as a share of GDP back to 2 per cent and we're doing it one year ahead of before we said we would do it because we are committed to the defence capability of our nation. We have turned around defence investment in this country from the lowest levels we've seen since prior to the Second World War and so we're getting on with it. We're building lots of ships, were building lots of submarines, and we're doing all of this because we believe in a capable defence force. It's a big task. It's a hard task. It's a challenging task and we've got the best people working on it to get the job done. Sorry, we had one over here, to be fair.

JOURNALIST: In those fire hit towns, the timber towns, we've seen whole industries…

PRIME MINISTER: Sorry, I can't quite hear you.

JOURNALIST: In those timber towns hit by fires we've seen whole industries wiped out. As part of the business support packages would you consider restructuring industries in those areas to, say, have forests where we have carbon capture farms, that's an emerging industry throughout the world. Is that a more sustainable way than having these logging towns?

PRIME MINISTER: Right now what we're focusing on is the here and now of protecting forestry assets that are still under threat. And one of the big firebreaks that has been worked on, particularly by the Defence Force, is to protect one of the New South Wales biggest at most risk forestry assets presently. Equally, there's that processing capability. I spoke to the Eden Mill owner earlier in the week and encouraged by his outlook about where that's going, but his access to resource and that mill's access resource will be very important but I'm pleased about the recovery plan that they have in place. I'll have a bit more to say tomorrow about what we're doing around small business support and that was very much helped and informed by the excellent roundtable we had with small business representatives, not just from the peak groups, but we had people from all of these small communities all around the bushfire affected areas and it was great to hear what they say they needed on the ground. The other work that is being done by the Bushfire Recovery Agency, by Andrew Colvin's agency, is we're clearly mapping out the economic zones and regions in partnership with the states and getting a very deep understanding of what drives those local economies. Now, in many of those economies, particularly down the south coast of New South Wales, apart from, you know, agriculture and forestry assets and things of that nature, actually human services, health services, aged care services. These types of services are big employers in those regions and those services obviously will continue to be run and I take that as a positive sign that while some of the private enterprise business has been so affected, the fact that a lot of the government service delivery activity that occurs and a lot of these affected areas will continue to maintain wages and support in these communities, which will be of some assistance to these local areas. The other thing we spoke about yesterday is that the rebuilding effort, whether it's reconstructing roads or bridges or vital community facilities or the grants we provided yesterday to get fences rebuilt and sheds put up again and pumps back in place, that will bring in a lot of economic activity into these areas, which they might not be coming as tourists to do this, but they'll be coming along and providing that work which will then feed back in, I think, to the local recovery in the towns, but my point is this,  we want to build the recovery from the ground up. And that means in all of these areas and I mentioned before the initiative we spoke of with the Victorian government, supporting their locally-led economic recovery plans and the funding I’ve announced today. They know their towns, they know their economic futures and the sort of things you're talking about I don't think would be a stranger to their considerations. But we're going to take our lead from the local communities about how they want to rebuild. Ok, last one.

JOURNALIST: On Will Hodgman, do you have a brief response on his resignation?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, as I tweeted yesterday and put out a statement yesterday, Will Hodgman is a great mate of mine and Jenny and we are so grateful to his friendship and support personally but at a national level and at a state level and within the Liberal Party, Will Hodgman is an absolute legend. Will has been the architect and driving force behind the Tasmanian turnaround. When Will became Premier, people were leaving Tasmania and under Will, people have come back to Tasmania and they've seen their future in Tasmania. Will has captivated their imagination with his calm, common sense plans for the economy and for the future of his state. He should go down in Tasmanian history as one of the greats of all time. He will be a big loss from around the COAG table. He is the longest-serving Premier around that COAG table. He is a voice of great wisdom and on occasion great humour. He is a top bloke, but obviously we will continue to spend time with each other in a personal capacity. He has so much more, I know, to give and right now he's going to ensure that he's giving that to his family and we can always understand that those of us who serve in public life and in so many other areas. So my simple message to Will Hodgman is thank you, mate. Thank you so much and my message to Tasmanians is thank you for supporting Will in the way that you have. He has, has led you well and I know you'll celebrate his achievements and be as grateful.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, there have been reports of hundreds of Australians who have died waiting for an NDIS package. Do you think that's acceptable?

PRIME MINISTER: Those reports today referred to the difficulties that were being followed over 2016 to 2019 but let me tell you what we've done to address the very thing that you've highlighted in what you've just said to me today. To access those payments, to access the system now, we have got that down to four days. Four days. Now, that is a reduction down from some 28 days previously in the period that you were talking about and it now takes half the time, half the time, under the initiatives that I and Minister Robert put in place when we came into our roles to ensure that we addressed the very issue that has been highlighted in that report. Of course, we didn't think that was where it needed to be and that is, of course, why Minister Robert and I took decisions and took actions. I raised the portfolio to Cabinet level specifically in relation to the NDIS to ensure we had someone that was just so focussed on just busting through a lot of the obstacles and bureaucratic issues that were causing the exact problems you talk about. So my answer to that is yes, I think that was unacceptable. I should stress that during that time it was also during a very significant ramp up of the transition of people from state based services to Commonwealth services. The NDIS was going through a period of massive expansion but I think the work that Minister Robert has done, building on the work of his predecessors, has been to ensure that we've got those response times right down, which is the right response. So, yes, it was a problem. Yes, we recognised it long before the reports have appeared, and we've taken the action, as I stress, to get the time taken to get into the system from 28 days down to four and we've been able to halve the time it then takes to get the package underway. And I think that's, and we're going to keep going. We're going to do that even better. There's going to be more improvements. There's going to be better improvements because Minister Robert is all over this as he should be, because that's his job. Thank you very much.