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and welcome to State Focus. Good afternoon Great to have your company. for everyone this week, We've got a little something for the south coast, the marine park planned call for a tax increase the Australian Medical Association's on some wines. minister for education, We'll meet the new ACT industrial relations, sport, Minister for Cuts, Andrew Barr. in fact he's been called the about school closures. We'll talk to him hogged all the headlines this week, But first up the young man who's Matt Giteau. He's headed for Perth next season 14 rugby competition to play in the Super reportedly can earn him and a three year contract that dollars over three years. up to four and half million Matt Giteau, welcome to State Focus. Thankyou. if you could lend me some. I can't. I was wondering so much discussion. Listen, this has caused of people and they know that you I mean, I go around and meet a lot and I talk and they ask me all how much discussion this has caused? about - they say - do you understand - I suppose a little bit. Not really. I think I didn't realise beforehand. it's a pretty big deal. But now obviously I realise t he Brumbies are talking about it I think even the players - you know, a little bit. is that if I was 23 Common reaction I hear Matt, million dollars over three years, and I was offered four and a half I'd take the money and run. Was it that easy for you? No. It wasn't that easy. senior players at the Brumbies, Obviously spoke to a lot of everyone wished me the best spoke to my parents and you know, it's a great opportunity for me and they basically said, you know, and to take it basically. thinking about how tough a decision So I was just sitting there to put it obviously, very tough, it was and in the end, you know, but I'm glad that I made it. that came into it? What are the factors Well there was plenty. as the Brumbies are concerned, Obviously, you know, as far just feels so comfortable. this is where I'm from. Everything my friends are here and then, Obviously my families here, great opportunity, I suppose. obviously with Perth, you know, a opportunities over there. There's great commercial something different, something new, I suppose a different life style, something exciting. I think, you know, the Brumbies But, you know, having said that, Canberra's been so good to me, have been so good to me and made the decision so tough. so I think that's what you talk about in Perth, Those commercial opportunities some pressure on you too, that's going to place cause it's going to take some time. be the face of certain people You'll - if you're going to the time in as well. and you've got to put Yeah, exactly. going to be - like you said, I think it's, you know, a bit of pressure there, there 's going to be will enjoy, and you know, but I think it's something that I I'll hopefully grow into. over time it's something that like, you know, Laurie Fisher What about the comments from people they've sort of said, you know, people who you're really close to - and Steve Larkham,

right move for you rugby wise. not sure whether it's the people have said that, Yeah, I mean, a lot of for the people in Perth obviously. I think everyone's said it, except I think if I go over there But yeah, I'm not sure. know, the right frame of mind with the right work ethic and, you just play the best football I can. to go over there, work hard and a little bit over there Hopefully I can help the program as well as a rugby player. and personally I can develop the force this weekend, If you were playing for James and Scott Stanaforth you'd be playing between Brock Steven Larkham and Sterling Mortlock. - different to playing between he's another good player. Yeah, or Jean Fairbanks as well, at the moment. He's playing full half is a big difference there, But I mean, yeah there think after the World Cup, I mean a huge difference, but I different, um... you know, the Brumbies, might have a young, exciting young players might have also some new, coming through. taken that into account. Sure. I'm sure you've no Larkham in the Brumbies. You know, maybe no Gregan, the Brumbies have a great way Yeah. Well I have, but I think players through it. of developing new some young, new, exciting players So I think they're going to have know, I think Perth will be coming through 2008 and, you exactly the same. young players there. They've got some year in the competition, This is their first and you know, I'll give them so hopefully they'll develop year and the next few years. - help them I suppose, for the next Have they said to you, look Matt, good players around you, we're going have some the team we've got now? we're not going to have talked about for the Roosters. For instance, Ryan Cross is being they're looking at players. Yeah, well they've said a more competitive They're trying to get - well not more competitive, suppose, over there to, I suppose, but just more established players I help them be more competitive. They haven't won a game yet, so far draw on the weekend, - obviously a good few clubs, especially I think, but yeah, I think they spoke to a the Bulls. into the competition When they first came they weren't that successful, build into a successful but it's taken time for them to - you know, that they've got in the Super 14. I think the best South African side Yep. What about just leaving home? and your brother and sister. You've lived at home, mum and dad That's going to be tough. tough. Very tough. Yeah, that will be my life, never had to cook, Obviously I've at home all wash, never had to do anything. never had to clean, never had to you know, something different. So yeah, that'll be tough, but learn to cook first. Obviously you got to everything else should be all right. Soon as I learn to do that I think will try to get over there But I think, you know, my family Especially mum and dad. as much as they can. I think mum was even looking at places in Perth, you know, that she can get into. Girlfriend? Ah, yeah maybe. Maybe girlfriend might go over, we've just got to wait and see. Ok, because if she doesn't, you're going to be pretty popular with the women in Perth with a couple of bucks in your pocket. Oh, well, you know, I just like to hammer my mates more than anything. Matt, good luck with it and I know - I mean the common thing I'm hearing is, well, this guys done the right thing. I mean, this money might never be around for ever, so why not take it. Yeah, exactly. I think that the Canberra communities been great. I think the support that I've got has made this decision a little bit easier for me to sit with and to move on with. We're certainly going to miss you playing here, but still got a bit to come for the rest of this season though, with the Brumbies haven't we? Yeah, exactly. I think, you know, that's what I want to focus on. A lot of people are saying, you know, the next year, the next few years, but I think, what I want to focus on is playing the best I can for the Brumbies, and hopefully winning the Super 14. Ok mate, good luck with it and thanks for your time today. Thankyou. If you have any sort of interest in the sea or rivers between Batemans Bay and Narooma, stay with us. There are changes afoot and they affect you. But next up, we'll meet Andrew Barr, Canberra's newest politician. Last week ACT chief Minister, Jon Stanhope, reshuffled his cabinet in the wake of the retirement of the treasurer Ted Quinlan. Amongst the changes was the introduction of a new minister who has probably had the shortest backbench apprenticeship we've ever seen. Andrew Barr only came into the parliament a few weeks ago. But who is Andrew Barr? Well we can find out today. Welcome Andrew to State Focus. Good to be with you Phil. Thanks for joining us. Well who is Andrew Barr? Were you born and raised in Canberra? Educated in Canberra? I came to Canberra in 1977, as a four year old, went to Turner Primary, Linem High, College and then on to the ANU. So was educated in the city and have been here for nearly thirty years. Always been a political animal? Ah, probably since I was about fifteen. My family doesn't have a strong background in politics, but were certainly interested in political events. I think this town, it's hard to avoid politics and so... I think looking back on, you know, when I first joined the party - the labour party - it was just a few months after Paul Keating became Prime Minister in 1990 - well he became Prime Minister in '91 and I joined in 1992. Factionally, where do you sit in the Labour party? I'm a member of the centre coalition faction, which is a moderate right wing grouping within the party. Who are you fellow members in that particular... Well John Hargraeves and Mary Porter and it's the same grouping that Ted Quinlan came from. So it's a replacement of like with like, I suppose. Ok, ok. Now John Hargraeves, you were a staffer for John Hargraeves. I was, yes. I mentioned your apprenticeship. It's a pretty good one isn't it? Yeah, I was John's chief of staff for eighteen months, so, I've been, sort of, closely involved in matters within the ACT government at a reasonably high level for the last eighteen months. Ok. What about ambitions. You ambitious politically? Oh, I've come a long way in a very short space of time, so my ambitions at the moment are to get across the three new portfolio areas that I've taken on and to get out and be an effective local member for the people of Molonglo. I mean, would you like to be Chief Minister one day? Would you like to move into Federal politics? I mean... No, oh look, at this point in time, my career has accelerated at such a rate, that... no I'm very content in the positions I've got now and I've got a lot of hard work to do. Well I must admit I don't expect you to publicly declare that at the moment. But there are those that say that you should have those kinds of ambitions if you want to move on. Oh, look. I mean, I think these things are about taking small steps. I've taken a very big one at this point and so I - as I say - I'm quite content to get on with the jobs I've been given now. It's a really important role and a challenge I'm really looking forward to. Sure. Now you do have some big jobs, because, I mean, we've already touched on some of your portfolio areas. You've got education, industrial relations, sport and education - sport and recreation - so there's some big issues in there. Let's look at schools to begin with... Yes. ... and that's a big one because the chief minister has come out publicly in the last week or so and said, pretty much, we've got to have school cuts. It's not sustainable the way we're going. Do you see we're going to cut some schools? We're going to close some schools? We have eighteen thousand, well nearly eighteen thousand empty desks across the system. I think it is inevitable that we will have to look at school closures. Well we've got some on the screen now, we've got Rivett with 71 students, Lyons with 74, Narrabundah 78, Melrose 82, that's not sustainable is it? Those schools in themselves have some issues around enrolment, but the question is, really, how we fit across a system. It's a bit simplistic to say that simply because a school is small, it has to close. You have to look at the demographics of an area. You have to look at what other schools are in close proximity. My view in the end is that we need to engage in a thorough community consultation process. The education act requires a six month consultation process before any school would be closed. I think that the public will want all the facts on the table. I think it is undeniable that there are eighteen thousand empty desks across the system, so that we cannot continue the way we are. What I'd like to see is the limited amount of money that any government has to invest in education is concentrated into the system where we can deliver the best result. Are you prepared to take the heat that involved in cutting and closing schools? Oh, look , I think people will judge my performance on the basis of the quality of public education. What we can't get tied up in is an argument about assets. It really is about teachers and quality infrastructure and we can't get caught up in a facilities management debate about, you know... We're trying to spread our resources across such a large system. Speaking, quickly, of teachers though, you can get into a bit of a bun fight there because you've got to sort out this pay dispute area. Look, I think there's a lot of good will, on both - both from the education unit and from the government to see a resolution to this issue. Quality teachers and well paid teachers are an important part of our education system. We can't achieve the sorts of educational outcomes we want... Are they going to get the pay rise they're after? Look, we will be talking to the union. We're in a conciliation process at the moment. I think everyone is focused on trying to get the best outcome for students and parents across the system. Andrew thanks for your time today. We could talk for ages on this, but no doubt, you'll be sitting in this chair a little more often in the future. Thanks for coming in today. No worries, Phil. Good to be with you. The New South Wales government has announced a new 85,000 hectare multiple use marine park on the South Coast to protect important marine habitats, bolster fish stocks and increase tourism. Sounds like a good idea doesn't it? Well let me tell you that it's not being applauded universally, particularly by the fishermen. Joining me in the studio are Jack Tait, President of the Coastal Rights Association and Dr Philip Creagh, Chairman of the Narooma Port Committee. Welcome gentlemen. Thanks for joining us today. Thankyou for having us. Lets take a look first at where this marine park comes in now. It runs, I understand, from the Murramarang Coast, just north of Batemans Bay, down to the waters around Montague Island, so it takes in a fair stretch of water. Too much? Well I consider it way, way too much for the restrictions that possibly will come in, yes. How far out to sea, Philip, does it go? It extends three nautical miles, which is about five and a half kilometres out to sea - out to the limit of the New South Wales state borders. Now I mentioned it is to protect marine life and there is evidence that there's been over fishing going on and all that sort of thing. Isn't it a good thing? Well it's actually - the object of a marine park is to protect habitat and biodiversity. That is an alter ego version to say that that is in fact, protecting fish stocks. The level of fish stock that has been over fished in New South Wales waters, in New South Wales waters, is being very well looked after by the Department of Fisheries. There's absolutely no evidence of over fishing in New South Wales waters, Commonwealth waters are different. The Hunter Community Environment Centre, they came out with some figures that said it was the case, but a lot of them were anecdotal. There wasn't a lot of science behind it. That report that you're referring to, by Paul Winn, in fact we have not been able to locate it, it's unavailable. The report has basically shown a decline in the catch rate in tonnage caught by New South Wales fisherman. That is partly a factor of the - how much they're getting for fish and so on and natural attrition rate. I think it's dropped from 25,000 tonnes a year, down to about 9,000 tonnes a year. Jack, we're talking about commercial fishing here and commercial fisherman are going to be compensated for loss of earnings. You're a recreational fisherman? Yes. Yes. And a bit unfair, do you think, on the recreational fisherman? I think it is. The fact that a lot of people work hard to find that particular spot where they can actually go and catch their fish and for someone to come along and say, right, sorry pal, bad luck you've lost it. It's just taking our rights away, it's not fair. Now, I imagine the best fishing spots are the ones that are going to be looked after by this marine park? Well Cameron Westaway, who's the acting marine park manager, has told us that there is going to be some pain to make some gain, but we don't believe that at all. Isn't there a certain inevitability about this? I mean we've seen marine parks coming down the coast already. The New South Wales government has a policy of putting them in. You're faced with something of an inevitable situation here aren't you? Yeah, to a certain extent, but the way this has been done has just been totally wrong by the government to announce it, to gazette it, to zone it, to implementation in less than twelve months, to us just seems to be some other agenda behind it because every other marine parks taken between two and a half to four years to organise. But Philip, there's been a consultation process taking place, which is still taking place. So you've got some input into that I understand. Well the consultation process started off with a declaration of the marine park on April the 7th. So far, there's been one, what they call, focus group meeting where recreational fishermen and commercial fishermen and so on go along and draw lines on maps. who come from Canberra, Of course the fishermen from Wagga and so on the fishermen who come areas that you service, and your other regional because this started in January they've missed out on all this Christmas this year. and is going to finish before at these meetings, are you saying? So people aren't being listened to No they're being listened to, the government's agenda in this, but we're always very wary of so much miscommunication, because there seems to be a lot of obfuscation, there seems to be there's a lot of stone walling, let on what's going on. they don't want to meet with anyone down the coast. Minister Dibous has refused to promised to meet with the public He is - a couple of weeks ago he down on the south coast, out of that agenda now. he's apparently trying to crawl but what can people do? We're just about out of time Philip, to take some action What can fishermen do rights are protected? to make sure that their write to their local member, Well I think they should Minister for the Environment, they should write to the of the park on the South Coast. Mr Dibous is the one in control watch this situation Well gentlemen, we'll interest of course, with a great deal of people involved in this, because there's so many the fight that you're on but good luck with happens in the future. and we'll see what Thankyou. No worries, thankyou. Stay with us on State Focus. call for an increase in wine tax. We've got more to come, including a the medical profession. And it has come from waste is a tually recyclable, and we found that 80 percent of our and now w 're recycling... So we changed our garbage services an saving money. environm nt. So, it's good for business and the What have you done... Recycling - it's your business. broadband Internet. Now anyone can get from just $19.95 a month That's because Optus have plans an Optus Home Phone when combined with either or eligible mobile. Plus, it's easy to get started. you'll enjoy: Because for a limited time, Optus Broadband customer, And as a new you get a: isn't for you, So if you decide broadband there'll be no cancellation fee. So call Optus now on 1800 555 558. Yeah! that this next issue is not new. Now I've got to tell you Australian Medical Association But when a body like the something, we should take notice. is so persistent in pursuing increase tax on cheap cask wine I'm talking about a call to some of the problems arising in an attempt to stamp out from excess alcohol consumption. AMA and a winemaker Ken Helm. With me are the ACT president of the for joining me today. Welcome Gentlemen, thanks Thankyou. going on for quite some time, Dr Howse, this campaign has been unsuccessfully, think it's very, very important. but to keep it going, you must Well I think what it identifies which the wine equivilant tax is that the current taxing on wine, - is based on the value of wine, is in inequivilent with rather than the alcoholic content being cheaper to produce, and so the cask wine, this is a non-GST tax attracts a much lower tax, example that, that wine or and just to give you an - normal wine or semi-premium wine, tax of 22%, say beer, of about 33%, per standard drink, it attracts a standard drink only 7 cents, fifth of the value. so there's about a incentive to produce So this provides, you know, the cheaper wine which is consumed quanitiy, obviously. at a much larger know those figures well. Ken Helm, you obviously that very, very small tax What do you think when you see which I've been involved with Well it's one of the issues on the cheap wine.

since about 1992 is always concerned about tax and of couse the wine industry taxed as one of the highest taxed because at the moment we are that's producing, you know, wine countries in the world, taxed than any of our competitors. we are about 40-50% higher So that's always a worry. handling it alright too. But you seem to be domestic boutique wine area Well it's alright in the same long battle with the government, and people like outselves, after a from the wet tax which was one we actually got relief crippling the industry. that was litterally family winerys. Particularly for small on the cask wine, But certain sense, Ken, it just seems to be way out of whack. to that and that argument Yes. Well when it comes down was put to us when we were doing it. industry is, how do you do that? But one of the issues in the wine into the volumetric area, If you go and take it you start reducing the tax on what? increasing in on the cask area. On the boutique area and I can't see them reducing anything. No. They won't reduce it. had in the wine industry is that, But the argument that we've always will it make any difference? it would slow down the amount As you increase the amount, sure but the high risk areas, of wine that could be consumed, women and children will miss out there's always the concern that the on the neccessity for food... that the evidence is there. I thinks, Charles, though items like this, it does slow down That when you do increase the tax on the rate of consumption. wine is maybe half of what That's right, because the cask the total industry may produce showing that certainly cask, and it's really - there's evidence Australia that finished in 1998 in a certain studied in Western consumption of it was quite large showed that cask wine, the with the problems, and that really was associated or in car accidents either in violence or the health problems of alcohol. is that the tax on alcohol, So what we're calling for on the amount of alcohol not just wine, any alcohol is based within that - within the product. Aboriginal areas, I think, poining out problems are just enormous, where some of the health resulting from this. makers is, if this happens, Ken, I guess the call from wine in the tax on cheaper wine - if there is a large increase wine makers are saying it could wipe out a third of Australia's grape production. Well this is one of the problems we've got at the moment, particularly when we've got over production and we're fighting to go and move that product overseas etc and the consumption of wine, generally, accross Australia has levelled off, we drink about 18 litres per head. The other argument that has to be looked at is that when you do increase the price of something, like on cigarettes, has it really affected the amount of cigarettes that are being smoked? You know, like you increase the price, does it really take it away from the higher risk areas. I think that there are figures from the AMA that show that that actually occurs. Well if the AMA is that way, then that's fine. Therefore, do we turn around and tax and the AMA will ask for taxing on sugar drinks and also junk food to stop obsity. Is that the way we're going to go in the future? Is that we identify a problem, so immediately we say, lets increase the price by increasing taxation. We're looking at it and saying, wouldn't it be better to actually look at the problem and when you look at places like Europe and France and in Italy where the alcohol problems are no where near there and the restrictions and the taxations are very low and you can buy wine at th e corner store anywhere and so maybe we have to look at this problem of the high risk areas where people drink alcohol and look at it in a different way rather than just saying lets raise the price and that'll solve it and walk away. I don't believe we should be doing that. I guess what you see Dr Howse is, are the medical problems resulting from and the people coming through casualty wards as the result of the misuse of alcohol. Well that's right, there's the short term problems of alcohol, where someone acutely intoxicated and there's the driving accidents, violence, the association with other drugs. I'm just a going - what Ken was saying - we wouldn't anticipate this being the solution to alcohol abuse, it's just one area that is identifed that we believe would help in the problems of alcohol abuse. Are you hearing anything from the federal government in the lead up to the budget that these calls are being heard? Well not to my knowledge, cause we've actually been pushing this issue for a number of years now. I'm just, to go back on the Indigenous people, the studies have shown that as a group, Indigenous people don't drink any more than average of non-indigenous, but the ones who do drink, there's a 20% of them drink more - they drink within levels that are highly risky. Quite frightening. Gentlemen I'm afraid we could talk about this for quite some time, but we've run out of time today. Thanks for your time today. Thankyou. And we'll follow this with a great deal of interest. Thanks very much. That's our program for today, thanks for your company here on State Focus. Join us again at noon next Saturday. In the mean time enjoy the weekend. Live captions by Southern Cross Ten, Canberra. We apologise for the temporary loss of captions. Normal service will resume as soon as possible.