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Transcript of doorstop interview: Flagstaff Hill, SA: 25 July 2013: Flagstaff Hill Primary School; Better Schools Plan; local investment in health; meeting with Premier Weatherill; Holden; asylum seekers

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25 JULY 2013


Subjects: Flagstaff Hill Primary School; Better Schools Plan; Local investment in health; Meeting with Premier Weatherill; Holden; Asylum seekers

PM: It is great to be here with Senator Don Farrell, Senator for South Australia and the Federal Minister for Sport and for those reasons Don is passionately committed to what we do with in school programs to boost our sporting capabilities, our physical fitness and all the sort of games you’ve been playing here today. And of course Annabel Digance who is our candidate for this Federal Seat of Boothby.

It’s great to be here with all the good folks at Flagstaff Hill Primary School. It’s a good school to be at this afternoon.

You have introduced me to how to play sharks and dead ants, is that right?

These are two traditional South Australian games which I’ve never heard of in my life but thank you for the cultural introduction.

One of the reasons we’re here is just to look at the sort of investments we’ve been able to make in wonderful Australian schools like the one here at Flagstaff Hill.

I have just been talking to the principal or told we’ve invested around $4 million in this school.

You can see what it does for the school community.

Number one: I was just told by the principal that in the 30-35 years that the school has been in existence they’ve never ever been able to have a whole of school assembly.

That means putting all the kids together, 400 or so, with mums and dads and grandparents in a single place and it’s really good for community life and school community life.

The other thing which is the big advantage and I see you’ve done it well here with your basketball courts and the rest is that when the weather is crook you can come inside and play and I know it’s always fine and sunny here in South Australia.

I’m told you had a bit of rain recently, it looks very green flying in, but that’s the other reason.

But the third is for out of school hours care.

The, what you call down here I think oshc, is that right?

In Queensland we call it OSHC but yours is easier, oshc.

The thing about this program is it’s literally hundreds of thousands of folks around Australia use out of school hours care programs.

It’s really good, provides flexibility for mums and dads and carers and grandparents before school and after school.

I think I was told here before that it’s available from about 7:30 in the morning, 7:15 until when school starts at 8:45 and then the afternoon from 3:15 until 6:15.

That gives mums and dads lots of flexibility but on top of that you’ve got all these great folks who are here for the active sports program which is funded by the Australian government in whole.

But we cooperate with states to make sure it works well within their various systems.

The whole idea is to make sure you have fun and enjoy physical fitness when you are here after school.

We’re very proud of the achievements that we’ve been able to deliver for the education system more broadly.

I was talking before to the principal about our Better Schools Plan and we’ve now agreed on this plan with the South Australian State Government, we’ve agreed on it with the Catholic education system and the independent schools.

What that means is that altogether we are now going to be investing some additional $660 million in extra funding over the next six years.

$430 million from the Australian Government, $230 million from the South Australian Government.

This makes a huge difference to the quality of our schools.

What’s it about? Better schools, better teaching and better education for you guys so that you have all the skills that you need for the future, for the jobs of the future, once

you finish high school and go off and go and do different things afterwards, that’s what it’s about.

Now what does it mean for your school here at Flagstaff Hill?

Well according to our numbers it’s about $1.5 million extra for this school over the next six years which is an increase of about 28 per cent per student.

So this is genuinely a Better Schools Plan for Australia.

Now right across the nation it’s about $15 billion extra investment in schools because we believe in education being the foundation stone for Australia’s future.

You kids are going to be a huge part of it.

Here in this particular community here in Boothby we’ve also been investing more broadly.

About $108 million altogether in 30 new classrooms across this community.

21 new school libraries, 20 new multipurpose facilities like this.

Two new science and language centres in the secondary schools and on top of that more than 7,000 computers have been installed in the secondary schools.

I’ve just visited a school in Devonport in Tasmania, Devonport State High at around lunchtime today and those kids - all 600 of them at that high school - for the first time they’ve all got laptops in their school.

This is really designed to make sure that every Australian kid gets a fair chance to participate in what we call the digital education revolution.

On top of that, in this area, we’ve also been investing in five new Trade Training Centres and what they are is when you get to high school and you decide you want to become a carpenter, become a bricklayer, become a mechanic or work on design and fashion and those sorts of things, Trade Training Centres are designed to help those kids; and we built five brand new ones benefiting six local high schools which is a good thing as well.

One or two other things I’d like to talk about in terms of our achievements here.

At the university we’ve also invested $6.5 million in capital funding Flinders University to build a lecture theatre complex.

On top of that we have a share of a $28 million investment in the Flinders Medical Centre for the establishment of new emergency department models of care and $40 million investment in a Repatriation General Hospital for the establishment of 20 new sub-acute beds.

So across education, across health and across a number of other areas, we have been very active in this community.

So the reason I’ve gone through those things is to say we believe in making a difference and so that you can look at befores and afters and before, none of the things that I’ve just talked about were here five or six years ago, they are now.

It’s all about making it better for you guys.

Whether it’s here at primary schools, where it’s here at out of school hours care with the Active Sports Program, whether it’s Trade Training Centres, universities or other key services as well.

So together with Annabel and Don we’re here to make a difference for this local community and for the good people of South Australia.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, will you be meeting with the Premier and…

PM: Sure, I’ll talk to Jay a bit later today.

I think the staff are all sorting out times so we’ll have a chat and as far as the future of Holden is concerned, for me this is a question of the national interest.

It is why the Australian government has already, I think in December last year made a co-investment agreement with GMH in excess of $200 million and we are in continued discussions through Industry Minister Kim Carr on how we ensure that Australia has a viable long term motor industry including GMH, including here in South Australia.

Because it’s part of Australia’s history and its future.

JOURNALIST: Will you be accepting any of his recommendations in terms of altering the FBT?

I think the key thing for the future of GMH is to have a long term investment.

Remember, we’re the Government that put together the $5.4 million new car plan which was to support and be partners with GMH and also with Toyota.

On top of that, we have these other agreements that we’ve signed as well.

What we’ve got to look to is not the next year or two. You’ve actually got to look out to the next 5, 10, 15 years.

As I’ve said before, I don’t want to be Prime Minister of a country that doesn’t make things anymore. And that means making sure we’ve got a viable, long term auto industry.

So we’ll chat all those things through with Jay later in the day, but I’m determined to see this auto industry survive into the future.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, you’ve said with the PNG solution that you expect there to be bumps in the road. How long do you expect those bumps to last?

PM: I actually talked about that a lot this morning when I was in Tasmania.

I repeat the fact that if you’re bringing in a major new policy which is important in dealing with the long term challenge of people smugglers, which is to say to them: if you expect to bring people to Australia by boat, people smugglers, then they will not be settled in Australia - implementing that policy is hard, tough business.

We intend to get on with the business and we are resolute in our course of action.

JOURNALIST: Do you have an aspirational time frame of when you’d like to see those bumps ironed out?

PM: What I said when we launched the policy - and I’m sure you read it last Friday - was that this is a policy for the months and years ahead.

It’s key that we establish a clear cut policy direction for the future, and to implement it.

There’s a difference between that on the one hand and three-word slogans on the other.

I get really worried, really worried, when I see certain people out there talking about Papua New Guinea, and talking about the Chief of the Defence Force in the way in which they’ve done in the last 24 to 48 hours.

We’ve seen some responses to that as well.

The point I make is this: if you’re going to deal with big challenges, like people smugglers, it means having a well thought through policy which will be implemented, recognising that there are going to be challenges on the way.

As opposed to simply pulling stuff out of the air and cobbling it together with a few three-word slogans.

On top of that, our policy’s been framed in partnership with our regional friends and partners in Asia and the Pacific.

We work very closely with them.

I draw your attention to statements which have been made by various regional governments about various alternate proposals in recent days - not to mention the statements today about the Opposition’s most recent three-word slogan.

JOURNALIST: On the Opposition’s plan for border protection, how is that different to what’s in place now and do you think theirs is a simpler version with their chain of command?

PM: Well I’m pretty interested in the reaction of various Defence professionals today and I think we should be very attentive about what they’ve had to say about this proposal.

What I’m concerned about is the big questions for Australia’s future, including border security, including making sure these kids have the best schools in the world, and to make sure we keep the economy - including its manufacturing sector - strong so that there are jobs for the future.