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Focus. I'm Peta Burton and welcome to State Hello.

with a bit of everything. Today, the show is absolutely packed feeling a bit under the weather. What to ask your GP when you're helped write the book, "10 Questions Goulburn author Melissa Sweet has You Must Ask Your Doctor". "Urthboy" from The Herd joins us a Also, Canberra's Tim Levison or little later. Against Corruption" is giving the And, how the group "Wollongong

better future. next generation a chance to build a with the NRMA. But first, we're hitting the road morning to talk about the Princes President Alan Evans is with us this Highway and petrol prices. Alan thanks for coming in. My pleasure Peta. Princes Highway? Now how was it driving along the Not good. in New South Wales in the A.C.T. It I mean I drive a lot around roads has to be the worst these days. It is a highly dangerous road. inquiry into deaths on there and The coroners just completed an there. that's not all the deaths that were recommendations but it is one of He's made some significant getting more and more traffic on it the most shocking roads and it's which makes it even more dangerous. again on your own. Now listen you did this trip yet minister sitting in the passenger So when are we gonna have a roads seat next time? seat or perhaps even in the driver's course of the trip the New South Well not to far away, during the me on another matter and so I Wales roads and Eric Rosendor rang he agreed to. repeated my invitation to come and diaries so I can take Eric along So we now just coinciding our actually drive that road and sees that road and I'm sure that once he say about Ulladulla south where how badly there's particularly from it's really bad. we've got to put money in. Then he'll be on my side saying Government also to put money in. We've got to get the Federal the south coast. 'Cos it is a key economic link for those people, but to use the road. There is no option for most of in the driver's seat. Promise us though you will put him seat. Oh I'll put him in the driver's Might get a bit nervous, but.. @ That's good. (LAUGHS) Yeah. Listen, what are your findings? Tell us about where we are. What are our troubles spots. The costs. I mean is there any good to report. No and yes in a funny way. to be done. No, there's still enormous amount you know, still very bad spots in I mean Victorian dignitaries creek, the roads leading up to them. Round Tilba for example. you've never driven the road. Highly dangerous, particularly if going on there now. Conejo Mountain there is a bit going, There's some construction work that was another very bad spot. billion dollars is needed to bring But our estimate is there's a standard and that's not a duel the road up to a satisfactory carriage way. highway with all the safety Just to build a decent single lane road today. features we know we can put in a And that's important. How frustrated are you though? well. I mean you know this road extremely wet. You did most of the trip in in the that it's still in this condition? How frustrated or even angry are you You know years later? Australian motorists contribute 15 Oh look, I get really angry because fuel excise which is supposed to be billion dollars a year out of the for roads. the construction and maintenance of And the fuel excise was put on for the road. four years to get the money to put We've managed after a campaign for from one billion to three. back out of that fifteen billion short. But we've still got twelve billion we'd save seventeen billion dollars If we put that money into roads, health costs the road trauma. I'm sure from the road trauma, the year in Australia. That's how much a year it costs a Seventeen billion dollars a year. We'd have families not disrupted. example a billion dollars worth of We'd gain on the south coast for you know, how important that road economic activity because that's, is to it. because I know the politicians play So I get really, really angry there for roads. around with our money and it was Let's put it back into roads. of the people who have been affected. Do you have a chance to meet some I know you've had a chance. to say thanks very much for the job A lot of people pat you on the back forums that you had. that you do and with some of the of the people who have been affected Do you have any chance to meet some by accidents? Oh, absolutely. affects their life. When you sit down here, how it just, you know you feel for them, They're whole family, I mean, you happen. but you realise it didn't have to decent roads, safer roads and And if we'd had better roads, that's the key thing. know, life with their partners or Then they'd still be enjoying you their sons or their daughters. gets to you. And that's really something that Kings Highway. Listen, what about the Snowy and Yeah look there, look the Kings. of traffic. I mean you get some enormous amount King's at peak time 'cos I think I mean I avoid travelling on the road. it's also very a very dangerous through it, you're actually happy Well you've said when you get that you survived. Oh absolutely. either the Princes Highway, the I mean it's one of those things, Kings or the Snowy. mean on that trip we had at least When you arrive and you have, I two near misses, observed some others. which really were concerning and we made it to the end of this road. So you know, you think, boy I've I've survived. We haven't had a crash. relief. And you feel a great sense of But that should be the case. Not in 2008. highway like that and say, very We should be able to get on a major pleasant drive, enjoyed it. arrived safely. Had a chance to sort of make sure I Not thankful that you did. moment with high prices, taking What's your stance on petrol for a Listen.

areas compared to say city's. their time to decline in regional I mean, how do we improve that delay. Or even stop it. What are your thoughts. commission was a good appointment We've actually said the petrol to appoint someone as the petrol commissioner. They need to have powers. Regional areas are ones that really suffer. I mean you hear, the arguments from the old companies being one, the transport costs increase the prices in regional areas. And two, the lack of competition. But you know, the transport costs are not the level they charge us. I mean, you go to any regional centres, it's 2 to 3 cents a litre at most in transport costs. You'll see differentials of 10 and 12 and 15 cents between Sydney prices and regional centre price. And also there is competition pr One thing we do know, where they're is an independent, competing with the two supermarket chains should now really dominate the retail petrol market. You do get lower prices. Where they're in no independent, those two will charge exactly the same price for a litre of fuel no matter what happens and you think, that's no real competition. Not real. You can go to this supermarket and actually find different prices for different goods. But in petrol, exactly the same. @ So let's move on to electric cars. I mean, how far away? Realistically are we talking about something like that? And what's it cost to run an electric car. Look, we're not far away. We've actually had them and you know, G.M killed the electric car was a great movie because it did highlight how we were very close to having electric cars as part of the fabric of our society. They're there. We're getting better. There's inventions coming out of Australia for example which make electric cars more efficient, more powerful. You can actually get a good electric car and it's probably better in fact if we, particularly if we clean up the coal fired power stations to recharge an electric car off the main power then say, charging from an engine like we do on a hybrid. Hybrids are very good. They use less fuel. They regenerate energy @ They use The pure electric car, I think we're just around the corner from coming back in. Particularly in Urban areas. Really it's just ideal for urban areas and then we can look at other options for other cars in the regional areas. We commissioned a group of eminent scientists and researchers called the Jamison group. They release their report about 2 weeks ago and they had a 12 step plan for Australia reducing their reliance on fossil fuel by 50% by 2050. And I think the Government following that, we'll all be better off. We'll have cheaper motoring. We'll have more environmental sound motoring and we won't be at the vagaries of those international oil markets that go up and down, you know with the vagaries or the speculators for example. Can you see yourself buying one? Oh absolutely. Absolutely. I've driven some. I mean I think they're a great, I drive a diesel now because that's more fuel efficient. 'Cos I have heard you're a bit of a rev head as you've just come back from some rally driving in the west. (LAUGHS) You're a speed demon. I hobby is motor sports. But I confine my speed to the, to you know, controlled environments. Yeah I love motor sport. I love rallying. I love racing. And that's my hobby. Are you good at it? Oh look, at my age, the young guys beat me hands down, but I still enjoy it and that's the main thing. Look we'll have to leave it there. Thank you so much for joining us on the couch this morning. Great to have you with us. Thanks Peta. You're very welcome. Up next, fighting for a deeper, stronger democracy in Wollongong. But, right after the break, a new book by a Goulburn author on the 10 top questions to ask your doc. with the retirement of the wooden driver. They got it with Big Bertha, a driver that revolutionised the power game. In the big Aussie 6 game, it was the effortless power of Toyota's Aurion that caused a revolution, offering both 200 kilowatts and class-leading six-cylinder fuel economy. The game has changed. You're watching State Focus. There's a new book in stores at the moment that's well worth a read, titled "10 Questions You Must Ask Your Doctor". And, to give us a dose of what's inside and why it's good for us, Goulburn writer and co-author Melissa Sweet is with us now. Good morning to you Melissa. Good morning. Welcome to State Focus. Now you're feeling good. Well, as we were just joking before I'm actually suffering a little bit from the winter blues, so could do with a little dose of my own medicine here. Absolutely. Now the first question has got to be, why do some doctors get paid so much? Oh, okay. Is it in the book? Well, not exactly. But the book does look at how commercial influences affect the sort of healthcare we get. The whole point of the book is to encourage people to be more questioning about their healthcare, whether it comes from a doctor or a naturopath or a dentist or a psychologist, really giving some broad questions that people should consider when seeking health advice. cons Well that's my question. Don't people ask questions? Aren't people asking? It's your health. It is and it's so precious but it's surprising people often don't ask some of the very important questions. It could be because they expect that they'll be told what's the right thing to do and that's a dangerous assumption. Often we're not told of all the options available to us. Often we're not told of possible side affects or risks to treatment, so people definitely aren't asking as many questions as they could. It can be difficult for us to ask questions. I mean, I'm feeling pretty ordinary myself at the moment and when you are sick, it's probably the most difficult time to ask questions and to be a critical thinker, but it's also the most important time. Absolutely. Now we're gonna bring up the top 10 questions on the screen for people to have a look. Now while we're looking at these, are we covering all our bases with these minimal, what I think would be minimal ten questions. Yes well each chapter is based on a question but each chapter raises multiple questions around the main question, so really there's of ground covered in this book. It doesn't try to be an advice book in terms of saying you've got back pain and this is what you should do, it says, if you've got back pain these are some of the issues to consider, some of the questions to raise and one example of back pain for example is that the type of treatment you'd get will vary a lot according to who you go and see. So to understand how those dynamics can affect your healthcare and sort of advice you're given. Should we, is it about questioning modern medicine and what is modern medicine is your only option? Well it's about questioning more than just modern medicine because it's a sense of false distinction to draw between, you know, what we call western medicine and alternative or complementary medicines because at the end of the day, they're all a big business in a sense. They're all people who make their living out of promoting various products to us whether it's herbal supplements or whether it's pharmaceutical medicines. And so we should be equally skeptical and questioning whatever type of treatment was offered to us. Now listen is there a point where you just come become to concerned. Can you become overly concerned about it to the point of hypochondria. In fact this book does look at that. There is such a powerful industry that makes it's living out of making us anxious about our health. And you know, I know a lot of GPs throw their hands up you know, the problems and the so called worried well. People who are driven into their sugaries by the latest marketing campaign, so we do tackle that issue in here. It's a fine line to tread because some people do have real health concerns that need to be met, but sometimes we are being unneccessarily worried about our health and there's sort of an inverse relationship in a sense that the people who have the least to worry about their health in terms of those who are probably better off socioeconomically have lots of advantage. You know, they may end up being more worried about their health paradoxically then the poorer people say for example country areas who often have less access to health services and maybe more stoic in a sense unless sort of less of the worry well. And in fact to their detriment if they're not getting the care they need. What about yourself though. You've been reporting on health issues for 20 odd years... I'm getting old. ... and it said that it encourages a certain level of hypochondria, just to ask your husband, Yes that's true, he always jokes about what a perichondriac I am. (WHOOSH) It's been called a grassroots movement pioneered in Wollongong. The group, "Wollongong Against Corruption", is charting a new direction for the city. Their first meeting is coming up on Saturday and the group's secretary, Graham Larcombe, joins us now. Good morning to you Graham. Thanks for being with us. Good morning Peta. Now first up. How tough has Wollongong done it and how has it been a battle? Well firstly there's something rotten in the state of New South Wales. And I think people right across the state are very concerned about the relationships between developers and government in the state. But I think the scandals in Wollongong have particularly brought these to the floor because you've had a situation for really over a generation where there's been cosy relationships between developers elective representatives, the councils and indeed the state Government. And this is meant that the opportunities for the community to participate in decisions has been dramatically reduced and it means that favours have been done and it means we now have a council that has been sacked for systemic corruption. Now our view is that that is only the tip of the iceberg and that is why Wollongong against corruption and many other groups now are calling for a royal commission into corruption in terms of the relationship between developers and elective representatives. relati Okay, you talk about a lack of confidence, a lot of cynicism among people, so how do you get people, how do you encourage people to join you and to make sure that they believe that they can be heard, that they can actually make a difference to the community or the culture of their community rather. Well we've been working with a number of people in preparing a charter for ethics and good governance and the key elements of those to look, what are the rights of responsibilities of a community and how does a community become more engaged in the process of governance of the their city and also in relation to the big planning process. So we've had a situation here in Wollongong where the elected council was sacked because of systemic corruption but the New South Wales government has taken away our right to vote. Our democratic right to vote until 2012. We think that that is the wrong direction. We believe that we should be returning to democracy and in fact deepening democracy by engaging and empowering people in the processes of governing their city. @ empowe Is it hard to do that though? Especially the next generation, you know. It's their future, how do you get these young people to care about the next council. Or their future council. How are you doing that? Well we're getting more and more people involved in discussions in Wollongong and I'd have to say to you Peta that this crisis is bringing out the best of all ordinary people in Wollongong and else where, where people are assisting on having a say where as before they were happy to leave it to the elected representatives and turn up at the ballot box every four years and tick one box in that box. Now they're saying that we must have very vibrant community forums we must have strong neighbourhood committees, we must have input from those communities into what the total vision of what a city would look like in relation to major planning decisions that are made in the city. So the more that we involve people, the stronger democracy becomes. People have been disempowered, disengaged but I tell you they are very, very angry here in Wollongong at the moment. They've just about had enough. @ Thanks very much Graham, all the best for the first meeting. Thanks for joining us. Well thanks very much for asking us Peta. Well thanks very much for You're very welcome. Bye. @ Take care. Time for quick a break, but coming up Canberra's Tim "Urthboy" Levison from "The Herd" joins us next on State Focus. Hello. This is Tod. Tod has big dreams career-wise, but there are so many options. Luckily, Canberra's five tertiary institutions - UC, ACU, CIT, ADFA and ANU - are opening their doors for one day only.

There's course, campus and lifestyle information for school-leavers, mature-age students and graduates. So for all the information you need to make the right choice, join Tod at Tertiary Open Day, Saturday, August 30. Check out: Welcome back to State Focus. The band, "The Herd" is described as "unpredictable, fiery, politically charged and socially motivated. They're fourth album "Summerland" debuted at number 7 on the ARIA charts just a few months ago. And, one of the 8 members, Canberra's Tim Levinson, or as some of you may know him, "Urthboy", has taken a bit of a breather from the current tour to join us this morning. Good morning to you Tim, you're looking good. Oh good morning. Thank you very much, it's nice to be here. Great to have you with the whole band actually in the region. How have you all been? How's the tour been going. Are you all getting along? Still? Yeah, we've had about 10 years of performing together. So, now we sort of know each other's ins and outs and we can kind of give and take a little bit. But we've only done four shows, so I'll have to get back to you at the end of the tour. @ I'll have to g Okay. Well you know when you meet, when you know someone really well and your able to perhaps not push those buttons too much at about 8 o'clock in the morning after a very long evening. Well that's those kinds of things. Just where your able to give people a little bit of space and on tour, when your in Taragos and really confined spaces all the time, it's good having a bit of extra space. You're voice sounds a little rusty. (LAUGHS) Does it? Oh that's the Canberra air. (LAUGHS) Okay. It's Sunday morning, it can be. Now listen, let's talk about this terrific album. Some great reviews for Summerland. It's said - smart hip hop are some of the words to describe it. You actually said yourself that it's made goths cry. That's always a good indicator for an album then I imagine. That it's doing well. Smart hip-hop. A lot of people see that as an Oxymoron but actually that it's just an extension of our interests and when we said it makes goth's cry, we have every now and again people get back in touch with us and we've put this song out called 'The King is Dead' and we had one of our work colleagues come back to us and say, you know when they heard the song they had to pull over their car and you know, turn the engine off and they just cried at hearing the song. So we thought, oh well this guys gothic so we thought oh we could use that. But that's just a personal thing. What a reaction. Did you anticipate such a reaction from people. Especially from not only from this album but some of these rather strong politically undertoned songs on the the album 20/20, the King is Dead. I mean we've got the clip on the screen right now. Tell us about the king is dead. Was it easy to write for you? It seemed like there was a lot to unload in this song. Yeah it was pretty easy. It's something that has been a characteristic of a lot of the albums that we've put out so it seemed quite natural to us to not necessarily sum up things or to come up with something that was great. It was more just having our say on things and that's being what has driven us for the eight years that the herd's been around. So when Howard, you know was turfed last year and Rudd took over, well it just felt like a very natural thing for us to make our observations about. We didn't expect, we don't expect that these things are going to have a great impact but you try and write songs in a way that convey the sentiment and we weren't trying to get on a labour party ban wagon. We weren't trying to kick the liberal party while they were down and be that political. We just wanted to capture that mood that was just that filtered everywhere that night and the next day and that kind of mood of change. And I think that what, no matter what side of politics you are on it's something really healthy about change and not sort of being too stagnant and it felt really good because it'd been so long. I've got to ask you though, what's going on with that orange paint in that video clip? Yeah, I don't know. (LAUGHS) I love that. We have a, when you make a video, it's a really collaborative process and the guy who was doing a video has a lot of creative freedom in there and that's where I'm gonna leave it. Do you want to, I mean is there talk ever of a political career for yourself or one of the members of the band or... Oh no. There's far too much dirt on us (LAUGHS) They wouldn't have to do any research. It would just be a matter of looking on our website and I mean, it would just be, they'd have a whole list of criteria and they would just steadily knock us down each time. Now you spoke about not expecting a reaction to such a song but let's go back just a little to 77% and burn down the parliament. Two rather controversial songs which are I guess struck a chord with the audience, with their language and their message. Is that the key? 'Cos you're on a quest for the perfect song. Is that the perfect song, a controversial song? No necessarily. A controversial song can be something that cuts through a little bit more. And there's so much music out there and there's so much media out there, sometimes something controversial helps just get through to a second level but, the controversy is maybe something that was a bit more appealing in the past. Now I think that you have to use those tools carefully and they're not just say something just because it's going to shock people. It's not, it doesn't really, that's not necessarily affective. It might provoke a reaction but it doesn't necessarily do anything. So how does the reaction impact on the band and do you think that you guys would be where you are today if it wasn't for those two songs? Possibly not. It's hard to, it's like Jenga, you know, if you take one part out, how much does that affect the rest of the trajectory or the way that we've evolved. Things like burn down the parliament. I mean, that was a really, that was just a hugely dramatic time for us because it was 2003, our second album and we hadn't really done too much at that stage. album and we It was released during a pretty amazing week here for Canberra as well during the Canberra bushfires. It was the sort of thing as a young band, you know, we could never have anticipated it, but it just came out when those bushfires came through and devastated a lot of Canberra and we were so nervous because we thought, this isn't what we meant. And actually, if you look at the lyrics of that song we're not actually you know. We're not actually calling to arms, to people to burn down the parliament. It was really metaphorical. But yeah, we came just to down Canberra and we were sort of thinking, I wonder if people are gonna misinterpret? But we got here and people were really relieved and there was a real sense of joining us in the celebration and people got it and it wasn't something that people confused and really that was really just a very logical way to interpret that song because it had nothing to do with it and we actually have forged a really strong bond with a lot of the audiences over the years. It's wonderful speaking with you, thank you for sharing your time with us this morning and all the best for the remainder of the year. Tim 'Urthboy' Levinson. It's been a pleasure to speak with you. Thanks Peta. Cheers. You're very welcome. And, that's the show for this week. Thanks for watching today, and we'll see you next weekend for another State Focus. Look after yourselves. Bye for now. Live captions by Southern Cross Ten, Canberra.