Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
7.30 Report -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

(generated from captions) What's the future, you know,

for our kids in the long-term?

We need to make something, we need to export

something. Tonight on the 7.30

Report - life in the slow lane, Tasmania's State of stagnation? Tasmania would

still be struggling even if the

We've lost so many businesses

here. I think the whole State

is going to be in a bit of dire

trouble. Sometimes I have to

turn the whole power off and

when it's try, I turn the power

on. The great Australian dream

turns sour in the Top End. You

can't have taxpayers

subsidising a housing program and not have any


Welcome to the program, I'm

shortly, but first, the Federal Heather Ewart. Those stories

Government today unveiled its

updated controversial My School

website, enabling parents to

compare funding levels for

individual schools. The revamp

has revived the old public

versus private school debate

with the Opposition claiming

it's designed to Government denies this, saying to non-Government schools. The

the update is about greater transparency and more

information for parents. But some schools complaining there are

inaccuracies in the data. A

short time ago, I recorded this

interview with the Minister for

School Education Peter Garrett,

in our Canberra studio.

Peter Garrett, you're promoting

the updated My School website

as giving parents more

information on schools funding

and how much is

each child, but how does that

give them what they really want

to know and that's whether the

quality of education is improving? Well, it gives them

that information, because it

enables them to get a sense of

the resources that are going

into a school and that are

available for the education of

students. But My School 2 has

got another really piece of

information too, of course, as

" student gain" and that's what's described on the site as

monitoring the improvement in

the testing on literacy and

numeracy in NAPLAN. For the

who did the NAPLAN in 2008, first time we've got the kids

again in 2010. We can chart

their progress, so not only are

people getting an insight into financial resources that go

into schools for the first time

ever, but also a sense of

school performance as well and

these two things really do represent a significant additional enhancement to My

has indeed already done is School. Well, what this revamp

reignite the fierce old debate about private versus about private versus public schools, in particular because this data this data shows that private

schools are doing very well out

of the Government. Is that

what you intended? Well, no,

not specifically. I mean we completely understand that this

is going to be a part of the

greater transparency agenda in

that we will have debates about

school funding, but My School

is about empowering parents.

information they've never had It's about providing them with

before about their kids'

a discussion to take place, schools and it's about enabling

particularly between parents and schools, and schools, about school

performance and student

performance and also a broader

discussion about where we're

heading with education. Now I

think it's a great opportunity

for us as a country not to go

down that road, which people

like Mr Pyne seem to want to go

down, of an arid debate about

one sort of school system versus another. We support

systems from the Commonwealth. funding to all education

So that's Government,

non-Government, the Catholic

sector, the small independents,

the large independents and the

ambition, our goal is to

provide the quality provide the quality education

we think all students need

regardless of where they live,

regardless of their parents'

income and we're supporting,

and we have funding to support

that already. Yes, we'll have a vigorous discussion about

to education and funding, we ought

we've got an independent review

that David Gonsky is

conducting. In the meantime,

parents have this information

and I think it will be of great use to them. Could this information and the review that

you've just mentioned be viewed

as laying the groundwork to cut

back support to non-Government schools down the track? Well, again, absolutely not.

Everybody today needs to understand that providing understand that providing this

financial information and this student performance information

on My School 2 is not only a

step up in transparency, but

it's something that all the State Education Ministers,

including Liberal Education Ministers,

Ministers, have strongly

supported and it's been welcomed by the school sectors

generally - the parents have

welcomed it, the principals

have welcomed it, the independent school sector is

out there welcoming us having this data up there, and that's this data

because it's valuable,

important information in

understanding how our schools

debates in the are working and also informing

minister, there are also

complaints coming in from

school principals both public

and private schools saying that

there are grave errors in some

of this data. For example, I

think the principal of Brisbane

Girls Grammar says that you've

overstated the school's net recurrent income by $1 million.

If that's the there be more mistakes in the

data? The data that's on the My

School 2 website has been validated

validated and checked through a

very vigorous process that's

been undertaken by the body

which is responsible - How

could that principal raise that

error and call it " a serious

mistake". Validated again by

Deloitte's on a methodology

agreed to be the best way of

reflecting that data. In this case, I'm

about individual cases, but in

this case my understanding is there's a disagreement about

methodology. That's something that can be worked I'm absolutely confident that that can be worked through, but

what you've claimed is not the

case. We have 9,500 schools in

Australia, we've got more data

coming onto this website than

we've ever seen before and

every bit of data that's come

on has been validated, checked

not only by ACARA by the department, but

Deloitte's as well. Is the next

step in this to show all of the

school's assets including areas

of trust funds

private schools to give a more

complete picture of what's

going on? I'm committed to further transparency and I've

asked that ACARA consider that

question and I'll go to the

next ministerial council and

see whether Education Ministers

will commission ACARA to do that work. I think it's

something we need to look at, whether there are additional resources that need displayed on the site. Let's

not forget that the site is operating operating to provide the

opportunity for parents to understand the context that their school operates

That's the most important thing

about it. There's a

conversation that parents have

with teachers and principals

which is a really essential

part of their learning and

engaging process when their

kids are at school. It's also

telling us how kids are

travelling on the NAPLAN

testing and we'll get more of

that information over time and

it's informing us as

got a specific commitment as a government to focusing on

literacy and numeracy, we've got additional support that

we're doing in terms of the national partnerships. We find

this a very useful tool for us

to have, as well. So it's

serving a lot of purposes in a school system that's quite

complex. It's not about our

arid debates that Mr Pyne has

had in the past. It's not

about us versus them, it's

about knowing how we can

provide the best education to

all students regardless

system they're in. And finally Peter Garrett, the Government's failed Home Insulation Scheme once came under once came under your old ministry. The Government this week announced that there had

been raids of suspected disreputable operators which

may lead to charges. Does that

whole debacle weigh heavily on your your mind still? Well, the

reporting that was done in relation to that matter pointed

out very clearly that properly. These matters that have been announced

subsequently are now clearly

the subject of operational

issues and I know Minister Combet hasn't provided any additional comment about it. Those issues should be resolved

in that way, and I won't

either. Peter Garrett, we'll

leave it there, thanks for your time tonight. Thanks. While Western Australia and

Queensland continue to reap the

benefits of the resources boom, there's growing concern that

Australia is becoming a economy. The country's

smallest State Tasmania is

already showing alarming signs

of an economic slowdown. Consumer spending is down Consumer spending is down and

forecasts of $1 billion black

hole in the State's finances

have new Premier Lara Giddings

warning of a horror budget.

Martin Cuddihy reports from

Hobart. The towns of

Scottsdale is scenic hills of north-east

Tasmania. For years, the

forest industry has provided

the economic lifeblood. the economic lifeblood. But

times are tough and

Scottsdale's 2,000 residents

are only too aware that pretty scenery doesn't pay the bills. What's the future, you

know, for our kids in the

long-term? We need to make

something. We need to export something. At its height, the

timber industry supported two major sawmills has since closed down and now

lies dormant. The other is

still running, but on borrowed

time. It's expected to close

at the end of at the end of March. Well,

anyone tied with the forest

industry, it's a worry. There's no major positive information coming forward

about that sector. We've lost

so many businesses here.

There's probably 10 businesses

gone out of this area and I

think Scottsdale, I think whole State is going to be in a bit of dire trouble, I believe. Just 4 years ago,

Kelly Gerke's logging and land-clearing business employed

130 staff and turned over $1

million a month. Now he's down

to just four employees and is

battling to avoid bankruptcy. Just retrenching

people and selling vehicles and just basically a matter of

survival at the moment. Is the

timber industry dying? I

believe it is. I think it's in

huge trouble. Tasmania

still be struggling even if the

forest industry was bottoming,

but the difficulties that the

forest industry is having and

is likely to have over the

years ahead are certainly

making the problem a bit worse.

It's symptomatic of a

deepening gulf between the so-called boom States and the

rest. Tasmania's average

weekly earning are nearly $300 behind those in Western Australia. That gap is expected to widen in the coming years. Tasmania has very little of the sectors that are

positively influenced by the

resources boom. There's a

little bit of iron ore, but

there's no coal and there's no gas. Do you think Tasmania at

the moment is at the slow end of the 2-speed economy? We're

certainly not in the past end

of the 2-speed economy. Tasmania's Premier and

Treasurer Lara Giddings has

been in the top job for just

over a month. She's inherited

an economy facing a bleak

future. We are heading to debt in about 18 months time.

That is why we're taking this

very seriously and why I have

announced some decisions today

that will not sit that will not sit well with the community. The latest financial report forecasts a $1 billion

hole in the State's coffers.

The Government is already

warning it will hand down a

horror budget in June. That

includes shedding the

equivalent of 2,300 full-time jobs from the public sector. If

you're getting rid of

equivalent of, it actually

works out to be 3,450 real

people when you take into

consideration part-time jobs.

We We don't want to see any wholesale redundancies of public servants,

public servants, but I would be

lying to say that we can't at

least have some targeted

redundancies in the tool kit

should that be required. Union

bosses are now planning their campaign against the job cuts.

The CPSU general secretary is

Tom Lynch. He believes the flow-on effects will kill off

10,000 jobs across the

State. The knee-jerk reaction

of sacking 3,500 workers is

certainly not the solution. I

believe it's likely to lead to

greater deficits as the economy

slows rather than being an

economic plan that has a future

for Tasmania. Adding to the

pain, consumer spending is

down, but unemployment is about 5.5%, and while other States are growing, Tasmania's

population is relatively

stagnant and it's ageing

rapidly. A quarter of the population will be older than

65 in 8 years, so observers

believe the State now needs to

consider privatising major

assets like Hydro Tasmania and

the State-owned power

company. Labor Governments in

Queensland and NSW have been

willing to contemplate and undertake sales business assets. There's no

reason why the Tasmanian

Government shouldn't be

prepared to contemplate that

with at least respect to some

of them. I'm not of them. I'm not going to rule

in or out anything. It's really important that we have

all options available. Back in Scottsdale, the town's

population is dwindling, along

with the jobs. It's a town

that could become the Tasmanian

template. Almost one in ten

homes are for sale. The family

behind me didn't want to appear on camera, but their story is

an all too familiar one here in

Scottsdale. The husband had a

contract with Gunns, but not

anymore and so all the family

is moving to Queensland in an effort to find work. There's brick places, brick Svenneer

for $155, affordability is not

the problem, and the issue is

that we've got to be able to attract people here with

jobs. Kelly Gerke won't be

leaving. He's staying to pick

up the pieces, but he's worried his

his home town will death. I don't know where it's

going to end up for Scottsdale

really, it's going to be pretty

sad here, because a lot of

people are going to have to

leave to find work. There's just no other alternative. That

report from Martin Cuddihy. It

was supposed to be the

Indigenous version of the great

Australian dream, a program that for the first time would

allow people to build their own

homes on Aboriginal land. But for some people to try it, the dream has

turned sour. They signed up to

contracts with a private

builder, but are battling to

get their homes finished and made safe. It's happened partly because of poor

Government oversight and a lack

of basic legal safeguards. Katrina Bolton reports from the

Top End. On the Tiwi Islands

north of Darwin, water is

flowing into Crystal Johnson's house. More than

she signed up under a Federal Government program called Home Ownership on Indigenous Land.

It provides start-up grants and

low interest loans to help Indigenous people build or

renovate their own home with

the builder of their

choice. When I got this home

loan I thought it was a good

thing. I felt good, I felt all

over the moon. I gave all my

furniture to people who didn't

have what I had. The Tiwi

Islands Islands are prone to cyclones,

but a structural engineer's report on Crystal Johnson's

renovations says key support

walls have been removed.

questions whether the roof will

stay on under heavy winds.

Crystal Johnson likes her

builders, but says at some

stage the water came through light filtings. At some stage,

I have to turn the lights off

when there's water it's dry I turn the lights on.

Jan Johnson's house never started - eventually he got out

of the contract, but lost his

$16,000 deposit. Let down,

betrayed. There's water marks

at the top. This couple wanted

a kit home, but almost two contract, they're paying a

mortgage on an unfinished house

that still doesn't have a

proper electricity supply. It's

a kit home and it's supposed to

go up in a month, not two

years. Do you want to grab the

sugar? They say they chose Sean

Mowbray because he said he

could build their home could build their home quickly and cheaply and would throw in a flat screen a flat screen TV. He'd promised

to put into the package a competition-size pool table and

I'm still waiting for that pool

table, yeah. There's blotches

everywhere, as you can see. The actual construction actual construction work has

been overseen by Sean Mowbray's

business associate Malcolm

Blair from Young in NSW. The

house is fraught with problems. There's a dispute over whether

electricals were included in

the contract. Electricity has

been coming from the builder's

camp via an extension cord

lying outside on the ground,

even in wet season rain. The

house has no gutters, house has no gutters, water flows straight onto the only stairs which have limited support rails and are already

rusting. The Tiwi Islands are

home to thousands of people,

but if someone's building them

a house, they're exempt from

meeting the minimum standards

required elsewhere in

Australia. That's because

remote communities are excluded from the Northern

Building Act and the building

code of Australia unless the

contract says otherwise. The

Federal Government says that's unacceptable. I intend

sure that right across remote

Australia we have these

regulations put in place so

that people are protected. The

issues on the Tiwi Islands went

deeper than bricks and mortar.

Some people who worked opt

houses struggled to get paid.

Guiseppe Tipiloura says he did about nine and while he eventually got

most of what he was owed, he

had to fight for it. One

morning where I had to walk to

the compound where Sean Mowbray

and all the workers were based

just to bring my kids in there

one morning and say "Look, I

don't even have anything for

breakfast to feed my kids to go to school". The builders declined to declined to be interviewed, but

Sean Mowbray says two other

homeowners are happy with his work and work is incomplete and

he will finish it. There has to be immediate investigation also with the builder, but to look

at how the families can be

supported through the process. Local politician

Marion Scrymgour has little

faith that things will be

resolved soon. She believes the Federal Government was negligent for encouraging

people to take on long-term loans without basic

safeguards. You can't have

taxpayers subsidising a housing

program and not have any accountability by the

governments on the builders and

people involved in this whole

process. Well, there's no

question that what's happened

is not acceptable, I want to

make that very clear. It is

not acceptable. What we now

have to do is make sure that

the individuals concerned are looked

are fixed and that we get the

rules right for the future. National Audit Office figures show the Federal

Government has paid more to

administer this scheme than the

houses cost to build. The Government says start-up costs

were immense. We can't have

those sorts of overheads, but

equally I think everyone needs

to understand just how serious,

how many issues there are that have to be Federal Opposition takes a

harsher view. It beggars belief

you can spend $10 million administering 15 loans worth $2.7 million. It is just a complete waste and complete

mismanagement. But we've got a

project manager looking at

it... Back on the islands, Greg

Orsto is facing taking out a

second loan to get another

builder to finish his house.

He wishes he'd never tried to

buy a home. I'd even put a tent

in the middle of the live there and say to people "I

haven't got a house". Katrina

Bolton with that report. As

more than a billion people

jostle for space and car

ownership soars, India has

become the road accident black

spot of the world. It now has

the highest road toll of any

country. One in five of those

injured in vehicle accidents

die in India because of a lack of Emergency public fear of going to the aid

of the victims. South Asia

correspondent Sally Sara

reports from New Delhi.

Ramrati Kumar is still nursing

the agony of losing her son.

The 30-year-old was killed in November,

November, knocked off his

motorbike and dragged

underneath a truck. TRANSLATION: I couldn't

bear it, I'm totally broken. I also died with him. Mrs Kum ar

not only lost a son, the

extended family lost its

breadwinner. The accident has left them in financial crisis,

barely able to afford the

basics of food, health care and

school fees. TRANSLATION: He

bore the entire family's

expenses. His sisters, parents

and younger brother. He looked

after the whole family. We are

sad and also worried about how we'll make ends we'll make ends meet. He left behind his widow and a

2-year-old son. In many

families a widow and child

would be chased away, because

they're extra mouths to but Mrs Kumar is determined to

keep the family together to

honour her son. TRANSLATION:

For me, he was everything, he

was my life. He was the best

amongst all my sons. More than

115,000 Indians lose their

lives in road accidents every year - more

on the planet. Most of the

tragedies are avoidable and

many of the injured are left to die on the roadside. We live

in a heartless society. Dr Amit Banerjee runs one of the

biggest public hospitals in

India. Many of the

here are occupied by road

accident victims. Dr Amit

Banerjee sees the tragic results of irresponsible

driving and lawlessness. driving and lawlessness. He

finds it hard to comprehend why

people don't take care on the

roads. There was a time I used

to feel really angry about

these people, but now I start pitying them, you know. With the newspapers, TV, radio,

there is no-one who is not

aware of what could happen and if happen to you and still you

feel you are immune to all

these kinds of things, there

never was a better driver than

you, then it is sheer

stupidity, that is how I would

describe it. This is what that stupidity looks like -

motorbike riders with their

helmets on their arms instead

of their heads. Whole families

risking their lives in the

traffic. 70% of the road

accident victims are men of

working age. Many die of avoidable head injuries. They have out and I always think that

look, if this guy had just

taken the precaution of just

putting on a helmet properly he

might have ended up only with a

broken bone or a broken liver

or spleen, which could be fixed

and he could be walking back

again, but he's brought in

dead. While the road toll is

going down in many developed countries, in India it's

climbing by almost 10% a climbing by almost 10% a year,

as more and more people fight Millions of pedestrians have for space on

become the victims of poor city planning and increasing

traffic. And this is why pedestrians are so much at

street is typical of what goes risk. What's happening in this

on in many parts of New Delhi.

There's no footpath here so

pedestrians are forced to share

the road with rickshaws, buses

and trucks as they go along.

But some Indians have had

enough. Piyish Tewari set up

the Save Life Foundation after

his cousin was killed on his 17th birthday. Losing him at that stage, without seeing him

grow into a young man, was very upsetting. The teenager was

knocked off his motorbike and

left to die on the road bystanders did nothing. There

was no emergency help. New

Delhi has only 35 ambulances

for a population of more than 12 million people. What

happened with him was pretty

much what happens with many victims across the country,

which is that he was lying on

the road for a very long time,

for about 45 minutes without any sort of without anyone attending to him

or taking him to the hospital.

This is part of the social

scourge that we really suffer

from. This is something about from. This is

which I sometimes weep. Often

people are too afraid of the

police to step in and help in

the aftermath of a road

accident. Others simply don't

know what to do. Sometimes

even the police officers will

leave a victim bleeding to death on the road and start

filling out an accident report,

instead of giving first is very common to see police

not really attending to

victims, but catering more to paperwork than helping the victim. While victim. While the victim's lying there? That's

right. Piyish Tewari's

foundation is training police

in basic first aid. More than

1300 officers have now passed

through the course. But the

biggest challenge is to change

the culture and encourage

people to help those injured on

the road. I saw the pain that my would not want any family to go

through that pain. It's like

somebody being snatched away.

You talk to somebody in the

morning and that person is gone, literally snatched away

from you and that pain is the

worst of you and that's

something I didn't want any

other family to bear and

understanding that so many

families go through it every

year was just... it's something

I just couldn't sit around for,

we had to do something about

it. But India's road toll is

expected to get worse before it many more families will endure

the grief and agony of the senseless loss of life. senseless loss of life. Sally

Sara with that report. That's

the program for the week, and that's it from me. Next week, a brand-new format - 7.30

Report with Leigh Sales and

Chris Uhlmann. Thanks for your

company over the past month. Have a great weekend.