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Transcript of joint press conference: University of Melbourne: 14 October 2010: IBM research and development hub; Occupational health and safety laws; Murray Darling Basin Authority consultations; International education; Afghanistan; Military justice system; PM’s security

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14 October 2010

Transcript of joint press conference

University of Melbourne

Subject(s): IBM research and development hub; Occupational health and safety laws; Murray Darling Basin Authority consultations; International education; Afghanistan; Military justice system; PM’s security

PM: Thank you very much. Obviously I'm joined by the Premier of Victoria and my ministerial colleague, Senator Carr, and can I open by saying that today we've had the opportunity to participate in a fantastic announcement which is good news for Melbourne, good news for Australia, and that is that IBM, here at the University of Melbourne, will be creating a world-class research and development laboratory.

Now, IBM is a company known to Australians, known around the world, as a leader in innovation, and this laboratory will bring together 150 researchers, 38 PhD students, and that research effort will be directed at some of the biggest challenges that face our nation and face our world, including challenges like dealing with natural disaster management.

This is good news for Melbourne and good news for the nation. It comes on top of Melbourne being home to the National Broadband Network Company, and of course comes on top of the efforts that the Victorian Government, working in partnership with the Federal Government, to

make this city a leader in innovation.

I am really delighted to be here and able to participate in this announcement today. I think it really is a very important announcement for the nation's future.

Of course, this week I have talking about the things that will drive productivity and economic growth in the future - skills development and innovation - and today is a great day to celebrate this investment in innovation.

I'm proud we were able to support this investment as a Federal Government with $22 million of support, and I am also very pleased to be here with my Victorian colleague Premier Brumby, and I'll now turn to him for comments.

PREMIER BRUMBY: Terrific. Well, thank you, Prime Minister, and we're delighted. This is a great partnership, a partnership between our Government, the Federal Government, the University of Melbourne and IBM.

It's really about building a more liveable state. It's about building a more liveable Australia. It's about focussing on all of the big issues that affect urban living, and I think we've heard today the detail of this, the research: things like how we respond to natural disasters; things like how we respond to challenges in the transport system, building smarter, more intelligent transports systems; how we use smart grids and electricity to drive improvements and efficiencies and tackle climate change, and we're delighted, absolutely delighted that IBM has chosen Melbourne University

and Melbourne as the centre for this first global R&D facility.

There will be 150 researchers that are based here. It'll build on the great life sciences initiative that we were able to announce earlier this year with the super computer, the biggest life sciences super computer in the world - 800 teraflops - and all of the work that comes out of this will do good in terms of building a better society and a getter community: better in terms of things like cancer research; better in terms of things like smarter health systems, smarter transport systems, better use of water, better use of electricity, and better ways of managing things like bushfires and natural disasters.

We've made a substantial contribution to the project as a state. We're delighted to partner with the Federal Government and IBM and with Melbourne University on whom we've partnered with many projects, and I thank the Prime Minister for her leadership and support.

PM: Thank you to Melbourne University, Vice Chancellor over there.

Can I ask, first, if there are any questions on the IBM Research and Development Laboratory announcement today before we turn to issues of the day?

JOURNALIST: Do you think your federal legislation on R&D research which is before parliament at the moment is helping or hindering (inaudible)

PM: Well, I'll get our resident expert to comment on that.

MINSTER CARR: Thank you very much, Prime Minister.

The R&D legislation will be a major new incentive for research and development in Australia. It is a measure that will double the level of support for small business and increase the level of support for large business by one third.

We will be spending $1.6 billion per annum on support for business R&D.

That legislation is being opposed by the Liberal Party. It was opposed by the Liberal Party sight unseen.

We've had an extensive period of consultation involving over 700 companies. It has substantial support from the ICT sector, IBM, other leading companies of that type, from pharmaceuticals, from biotechnology sectors, from the leading-edge, cutting-edge high technology sectors.

That's the sort of support the Government can provide to enhance our international position in terms of attracting new investment for research and development, so, yes, it will improve our performance. Yes, it will provide additional incentive for new investments, and it is a pity that the Liberal Party has chosen to be so obstructionist about such an important initiative.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible) in the question. Would it actually help a place like this?

MINISTER CARR: Yes, it would help a place like this, but we are taking these measures immediately. Additional measures are required from time to time, particularly when we are working in an international environment where governments around the world are moving to support their particular economies, their particular innovation systems, and the additional support that we're able to provide through this particular measure has ensured that we get a global R&D centre here when it could have gone to many other places in the world.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister (inaudible) decrease in the number of foreign students (inaudible) and they directly attribute it back to attacks on Indian students in Australia and our image overseas. Are you concerned by that?

PM: Well, can we just see if there are any direct IBM questions, then we'll turn to those broader issues, and I did want to say something else before we do that. Yes?

JOURNALIST: In terms of this lab, IBM being a private company but this lab receiving government support, if they, say, develop solutions that could help during bushfires or traffic management or water management, do they then sell that information to profit from it or who owns the research?

PM: Well, this is a wonderful partnership between the university, IBM and two levels of government. I'll get Senator Carr to comment on the specific partnership arrangements.

MINISTER CARR: There is a combination of measures that are taken. Some issues are specifically, in terms of the IP arrangements, the property of IBM and some other measures, of course, are public benefit research measures, and so we would ensure that the public benefit provisions are protected and ensure that the public gets the benefit of those measures where required.

However, there is no doubt that there are commercial benefits for this part of investment. We take the view that it's important for our university systems to be more responsive to the communities that sustain them, both in terms of the broader public and also in terms of commercial opportunities, and we want to see new jobs created, new industries created and new opportunities taken that enhance our living standards in this country.

JOURNALIST: Premier, how much is the State Government putting in, all up?

PREMIER BRUMBY: Look, we're not disclosing that. We've had a long-standing practice of not disclosing what we contribute, but it's a substantial amount and the reason we don't contribute [sic] is because with projects like this we tend to compete against Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane and this was a global and a footloose investment internationally, but it could have gone anywhere in Australia. It came to Melbourne because of the skills and the infrastructure and the quality of the university and, of course, from the support we've provided, but if we

disclose that amount it bids up the price that we have to pay for projects in the future, so we've had a long-standing practice of not announcing those numbers, but it is substantial, and it is substantial because it's such a brilliant project, and it will tackle many of those big issues that we've

been talking about, the challenges of the future, building a more secure future, and it is a great partnership with the Federal Government and I think it's a great investment for our state and it consolidates our leadership in innovation and IT.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible) do you expect that they'll be Victorians getting those jobs, or recruited from interstate and overseas?

PREMIER BRUMBY: I think it's probably fair to say the bulk of those will probably come from our state, but IBM and Melbourne University, they're based here but they're global operations. They'll get the best people to do the work, so I think the bulk of them will come from here but you'll get some that will come from interstate and I'm sure there'll be some from overseas.

I think the key here is the flow-on effects, the direct and the indirect, that come from that, and we were so keen to get this and the Prime Minister and Senator Carr and I, it'd be two years ago or maybe a little more when we first discussed this. It's such an important hub to have to tackle the big challenges of our time and you think of Melbourne - you know, the last decade, we've never been out of the top three in terms of the world's most liveable cities. We've never been beaten by a city our size.

What people want is a good economy and a high quality of life, and it's this hub, this research and development facility, that's really going to focus on how we achieve both of those aims, so it's well worth the investment and the bulk of the jobs will come from Victoria.

JOURNALIST: Will, did IBM get any payroll tax deductions (inaudible)

PREMIER BRUMBY: No, we tend not to do that. We haven't done that for a long period of time, so any grants that we pay as a government - there are some in this case - tend to be build along KPIs and milestones, so as the project progresses, the number of people employed, the aggregate

investment made, so that's how we do that and as those milestones are made those funds are paid.

PM: Alright, before we turn to - and I will come back to your question - but before we turn to other issues of the day I'd just like to make a statement about an announcement by Premier Keneally in New South Wales relating to national uniform occupational health and safety legislation.

It has been a key demand of employers for than 30 years that there be uniform occupational health and safety laws. That is, for businesses that trade in more than one state, and of course many Australian businesses do, that they face the same occupational health and safety regulation.

The Council of Australian Governments committed themselves to this goal, and they committed themselves to this goal of uniformity whilst

ensuring high protections for working Australians. We want to keep people safe.

Now, there was an agreement entered into on 11th December 2009 by the Federal Government with all state and territory governments except Western Australia. That agreement was signed by New South Wales, to deliver on uniform occupational health and safety laws.

Now, that came after an extensive consultation process. This process started in July 2008, with the first COAG commitment. It was then followed by at least nine ministerial council meetings. The relevant authority, Safe Work Australia, met seven times. Its strategic issues group on OH&S met 20 times to progress the laws. There was a national review involving outreach to stakeholders. More than 240 submissions were received. Two reports were published. An exposure draft was circulated, receiving 480 submissions from interested stakeholders.

Now, after that extensive process New South Wales signed an agreement with the Federal Government to deliver these laws. Premier Keneally has now indicated she will not honour that agreement.

Well, my message today is very clear - a deal is a deal, and the Federal Government requires this deal to be honoured. I am currently taking advice from my department about what options are available to the Federal Government to ensure that the New South Wales Government honours this deal.

This is a key economic reform. It's a key economic reform that was agreed by New South Wales, and we will require it to be delivered.

JOURNALIST: How much will you (inaudible)

PM: Well, the message here is very simple - Commonwealth-state relations has to work on the basis that people sign agreements and honour them. We will be requiring that of New South Wales.

JOURNALIST: What are the options that you're canvassing (inaudible)

PM: Well, I'm going to take advice on the full range of options and at this stage I'm not ruling anything in or anything out.

JOURNALIST: Do you think that the Keneally Government should have come to the Federal Government privately, rather than in the public way that it has?

PM: No, I think the Keneally Government should honour the agreement it made. It had an extensive period of time to raise issues of concern - and indeed it did, through its Minister at the Workplace Relations Ministerial Council table. Issues were raised, issues were discussed. When you are reaching uniform laws, it is obvious that states and territories come with different perspectives. They've got their own laws. If no-one moves then you never get national uniformity.

So, yes, New South Wales raised issues along the way, but it accepted the outcomes and it signed the deal. We require the deal to be delivered.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible) harmonisation across the states, if that's not working, is one of your options to then move federally-

PM: -look, I'm not going to rule any options in or out at this stage. Obviously, this is a problem with New South Wales.

JOURNALIST: Is this a separate issue to the Barangaroo project?

PM: Yes, it is.

JOURNALIST: So what's your view on the exemption that the Keneally Government is asking for in Barangaroo, for example?

PM: Well, on that matter I believe Premier Keneally has been mis-advised and misinformed. Our building and construction guidelines only apply to projects that have Commonwealth funds involved.

JOURNALIST: So that doesn't include the Barangaroo project?

PM: As I'm advised, there are no Commonwealth Government funds involved, and so there is no implication from our guidelines for that project. The New South Wales Government is at liberty to work out its own workplace relations arrangements on that project - obviously, within the ambit of relevant law.

JOURNALIST: Have you spoken directly to Premier Keneally today on her announcement?

PM: My office received a letter from her yesterday on this occupational health and safety matter, and I'll be responding to that letter in writing.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

PM: No, well, I received it in writing so I'll respond in writing.

JOURNALIST: In terms of the meetings that have taken place around Australia on water buybacks for the Murray Darling Basin, do you think the Water Minister, Tony Burke, should be attending those?

PM: Well, I think, once again, we've got to be very clear about this, and I did address this issue yesterday.

This is an issue on which we want to hear people's views, absolutely, and we understand that whether you're a member of parliament like Tony Windsor, who's expressed a view, whether you're a farmer, whether you're someone who lives in a regional centre, whether you're someone who cares passionately about the river through personal interest rather than being necessarily drawing your lively hood from the river, I think Australians across the board are concerned about the future of the Murray Darling Basin and we want to hear all views.

Now, the Murray Darling Basin Authority has a process to do that. It is an independent authority. It's put out a guide which will, following consultation, inform a draft plan which will then be the subject of further consultation.

I said yesterday, and of course it's true, that Minister Burke himself, as an individual, is always very open to hearing people's views, but the consultation process of the Murray Darling Basin Authority is its consultation process, and the Murray Darling Basin Authority is independent.

JOURNALIST: There's a report today that as many as eight rural towns, including Mildura and Robinvale could be affected by this. Was that a surprise to you, that this could be a potential outcome?

PM: Well, of course there is a long process to go before we reach the decision-making stage. Where we are, if people in Mildura and in other centres are concerned, should become involved in the process and have their voices heard.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible) stopped that happening-

PM: Well there's a process and it would be wrong for me to prejudge that. I'm genuinely saying we want to listen to people and in those circumstances I'm not going to rule things in and rule things out, that's not fair to the people who want to have their voices heard. What's fair to the people who want to have their voices heard is for the Murray-Darling

Basin Authority process, its consultation process, to keep rolling through and obviously for government, including Minister Burke, to be open to hearing the voice of the community and we are.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible) what are the chances of getting an agreement from the Murray-Darling plan?

PM: Well a step at a time, we've got a guide, a period of consultation, draft plan, further period of consultation before a plan is arrived at. This is a process, we want people to engage in and have their voices heard and

whether it's a Member of Parliament, like Tony Windsor, or an interested community member everyone can have their voice heard in this process.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister is you decision not to fund (inaudible) the State Government's closure of Hazelwood make it more difficult for John Brumby to close the power plant?

PM: Well obviously there has been some discussions between Minister Combet and Premier Brumby on that question and those discussions were constructive ones so I haven't got anything further to add to that.

JOURNALST: (inaudible)

PM: Oh sorry, you're getting treated badly here aren't you?

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

PM: Look on international education there are a variety of factors here. Of course we've got fierce competition in our region and beyond for international students, we have a high Australian dollar and earlier in this week when I delivered a major economic speech in Brisbane I made the point that a high Australian dollar is good for some in our community, some industries and obviously it puts pressure on others, and a high

Australian dollar puts pressure on an export industry like international education. The Federal Government has, of course, made some moves to better regulation in international education, to lift quality, and they were appropriate moves and we've seen as well the Federal Government involved in major new funding sources for universities. So if we look across the board here there are a variety of factors. We have made some immigration changes about permanent migration but obviously we do want to see international students come and study here. So we'll keep working with the Victorian Government, with individual universities on international education, but there are a range of factors putting pressure on it at this time.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

PM: Well as a Federal Government we've worked in a good partnership with the Victorian Government and around the nation on promoting Australia as a destination for international students and promoting very

simple facts like when we interview international students after they've been here and ask them questions like would they recommend studying in Australia to a friend, they overwhelmingly say yes. So we'll continue to work together on that promotion of international education.

JOUNRNALIST: Those visa changes, they were aimed at the vocational end of the market, but here we're seeing consequences at the tertiary end of the market which is where the value is, is that an unintended consequence-

PM: I think we've got to be a bit clear, the visa changes were changes to our permanent migration arrangements which we did because we want who we select to come in the permanent migration scheme and the size of that scheme to be about immigration. So people coming here for education, we want that to be about getting a high quality education. People who seek to move to our country as permanent migrants we want to be dealt with properly through the migration stream. So that wasn't aimed at having a differential impact on different education sectors, it was about proper migration policy. For education, obviously we are seeing a mix of factors, obviously I did become concerned, the Government became concerned about some regulation and quality matters, particularly in the vocational education and training sector and we've been moving to address those.

JOURNALIST: Do you agree with Tony Windsor about alternatives outside the Murray-Darling Plan need to be looked at and would you support amendments to the Water Act to focus more on regional communities, the economic impact?

PM: Well it follows from what I've said. We've got a process here where we will hear people's views, we're very open to hearing the views of the community, that's why the independent Authority, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority is working its way through its own extensive consultation process and of course Government directly is interested in hearing people's views.

JOURNALIST: Should Bob Brown be travelling to Afghanistan ahead of the upcoming debate about the issue, I mean he's obviously quite strong in his position against diggers being in Afghanistan. Should he be travelling


PM: We will have a broad ranging debate in the Parliament on Afghanistan, it will be participated in by large numbers of people who have not had the opportunity to visit there. Obviously for all of the logistics and security issues which are obvious I think, opportunities to visit there are relatively limited, we can't have large numbers of people going over and visiting our troops, that would put too much pressure of security and logistics arrangements. So, you know, people will participate in this debate having informed themselves about what's happening in Afghanistan and what their own views are. Obviously Bob Brown has his stated opinion and I anticipate he will restate that in the Parliament.

JOURNALIST: As the leader of the Greens-

PM: Look I don't-

JOURNALIST: Should he be offered the opportunity?

PM: Well I don't think it's fair to conclude that somehow someone can't make a contribution in a Parliamentary debate because they haven't visited Afghanistan. If we had that rule very strictly, then I think there would be four or five, maybe six people in the whole Parliament who could participate in the debate. That's not how we want to do it, we want people to be able to put their views and have an open debate.

JOURNALIST: What do you think of the Opposition's (inaudible) soldiers who are going through the military tribunal need greater legal support?

PM: Well on that question can I say the following. Earlier this week Tony Abbott criticised our system of military justice and indeed used terminology about the Government stabbing soldiers in the back and criticised the Government for not making representations on behalf of soldiers. He made those harsh comments without having informed himself as to the facts and I am pleased today that the Shadow Minister for Defence has at least corrected the facts. The way this works is the system that was set up was originally legislated with bipartisan support under the Howard Government, the Director of Military Prosecutions was an appointment of the then Minister for Defence Brendan Nelson. The Government cannot make representations in this process, that is done by Defence. So I would simply say to the Opposition involved in this debate that there's an obligation, particularly in the area of national security, to inform yourself of the facts before you speak, and I would say about the Leader of the Opposition, we obviously are seeing constant changes of position on a range of very important questions, at an earlier point in time Mr Abbott appeared to be calling for more troops in Afghanistan, he has now walked about from that position. In July 2009 Mr Abbott was spruiking a carbon tax, he is now campaigning against that position. Mr

Abbott signed a Parliamentary Reform agreement to deliver political donations reform, it appears the Opposition is now walking away from that agreement, and I'd just say to Mr Abbott and the Opposition,

national leadership requires constancy of purpose, I would say to Mr Abbott it's not appropriate in so many important areas to just be looking for an opportunity to wreck or make reckless comments not informed by the facts.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister why do you say Barangaroo is outside (inaudible) a bit of a slap in the face to your IR laws?

PM: Look this is not the Fair Work laws, this is the building and construction code and a question of just the mechanics of the code, it applies to Commonwealth funded projects.

JOURNALIST: Premier, Jeff Kennett has just announced on 3AW this morning while he was in power he was shot at twice. What's your reaction to that, have you been shot at while you're in power?

BRUMBY: Serious comments? I haven't heard that and I wasn't aware of that, I've never had any security of police advice to that effect so I was not aware of that, and to my knowledge I've not been shot at.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible) obviously you don't have security around all the time, is your personal safety crawling in the back of your mind?

BRUMBY: Well it's not actually no, I find overwhelmingly across Victoria that people are respectful and often you'll meet people with a different view but generally they express it in a respectful way, not always but generally. So I think it's common for people in my position, in such a position, to have some security, but it's not at top of mind for me I'm more interested in meeting people and hearing what they say.

JOURNALIST: Does it concern you (inaudible)

BRUMBY: I'm surprised to hear it and I was not aware of it, as I said, and it's not, and I speak with him from time to time and it was not something that I was aware of, it's not something he's ever mentioned privately so I'm surprised about, I guess the good news in the story is that no harm occurred and we can be grateful for that.

JOURNALIST: In terms of this IBM lab (inaudible)

BRUMBY: It's here at Melbourne University, so-

JOURNALIST: In the law building?

BRUMBY: I don't think it's going to take the best space of the law students, is it Greg? And I don't think it's going to be in this room, which is great news, but it's here at Melbourne University.

JOURNALIST: Given that you-

BRUMBY: And I think Gwyn would be happy to give details either now or at a later time.

JOURNALIST: Given that you obviously spent quite a lot of money (inaudible) to assure (inaudible) in terms of what we see with Monash Uni- (inaudible)

BRUMBY: I think on the contrary, and in fact just last week I released our Victorian Government plan for India, to build stronger trade and investment and cultural relations. And you've got to put India up here in the context of what they call the (inaudible) economies: Brazil, India, Russia, China. China is already our largest trading partner and India is just rapidly escalating in terms of our trade and investment and engagement, and we've got a big Indian community here, we've got more than 200,000 Indians who have made Victoria their home and we're proud of their communities, so I think more visits from us to India and from Indian officials to Australia, more business delegations, more tourism, more students, all of these things are important to building a

strong and stable relationship into the future. But can I just about the higher education, we've got more overseas students studying today than virtually at any time in the last decade or 15 years, but there is a lot of competition, a lot of competition from the US, from the UK, increasingly from other parts of Asia. As the PM has said, the dollar is at record high levels and this makes a big difference to families, and then of course you have had, as the Prime Minister has said, the tightening of visa requirements. So all of these things have changed that student profile but I think looking forward our relationship with India is a strong relationship, it's a positive relationship and we would look to continue to build our student numbers in China, India, in the Middle-East and throughout the Asia-Pacific.

JOURNALIST: Premier are you concerned the Victorian public has lost confidence in the DPP after that saga goes on, Mr Lapke?

PM: Well look I think it's important to have that confidence in the DPP, as you know there was a meeting yesterday, I haven't been advised of the outcomes of that, as I said it was what is one of a number of regular meetings between the DPP and the Department of Justice and the

Victorian Solicitor, so I'd hope that these matters can now settle down and that the public can again enjoy confidence in the DPP.

JOURNALIST: Is it time for the Attorney-General to intervene personally and talk to Mr Lapke about the allegations that are out there?

BRUMBY: Look I don't believe so and I think those issues were addressed in the media, on radio, by Ratke earlier this week and he's made very clear his position about promotion, about allegations of improper relationships and he's emphatically rejected that.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible) that Liberal voters should think carefully about who they preference. Should Labor voters preference the Liberals or the Greens first?

BRUMBY: Well it's irrelevant, and it's irrelevant because those seats, the Labor candidate will polls the highest number of primary votes, so those preferences aren't distributed, so you can have-

JOURNALIST: (inaudible) put the Greens last?

BRUMBY: Well you can have a debate about these things but it's irrelevant-

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

BRUMBY: it's an irrelevant debate because our preferences are not distributed in those seats. So the point I'm making is an important point and if you go back a decade ago, it used to be Labor would come in first, the Liberal Party second, and the Greens third and most of the Green preferences go to the Labor Party, it's always been s and likely to be in

the future. But nowadays because the Liberal vote in those inner suburban seats has collapsed it's Labor one, Greens two and Liberal three and because we don't get an absolute majority of primary votes, it's the Liberal preference vote that determines the outcome and so Adam Bandt could not have been elected without Liberal Party preferences and I just make the point, I made it in the speech David, you were there in that speech, I think many Liberal voters would not perhaps appreciate that their second preference vote is determining that seat and I say that because a decade ago it wasn't the case, their vote wasn't distributed. But it is now because they're coming in third, so it is absolutely true and factual to say that it is Liberal Party preferences that will decide the outcome of the seats of Melbourne and Brunswick and Richmond, and I would only say to those Liberal Party voters to think about where they put their second preference and whether they want to vote for what's been a

stable and strong and secure Government for our State, that is our Government, a Labor Government, or whether they want to risk a Coalition with the Greens. And if they vote and give the second preference to the Greens, obviously they will put into question an absolute majority for our Government.

JOURNALIST: Premier are you concerned about a report that the Victoria Police turned a blind eye to bikies hooning on the roads and didn't arrest them?

BRUMBY: Well look it's an operational matter for Victoria Police so I don't interfere in their operational responses and how they do their day to day work, but I am advised, Victoria Police tells me that the claim that's made, that there was an instruction not to book or not to enforce is just

not true.

JOURNALIST: Premier do you have plans to give up the (inaudible) water trading cap (inaudible)

BRUMBY: I'd really reiterate today, I think, all of the things that the Prime Minister has said and that is this the very early days of what's going to be quite a vigorous and long debate, and long discussion about the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and I said earlier this week, you're going to see some very strongly held views from people on both sides of the debate and I think the final plan, which is still a year away, my own view is it'll end up looking quite different to this original draft plan, but we'll see what develops over the year, but there's a process to go through, I think, as the PM said, communities have to have the opportunity to put their views about what they think of the plan and the socio-economic implications of that and of course we're very concerned about that. Communities have the right and I would encourage them to put their views in a respectful and constructive way but, if I can put it this way, there's a lot of water

still to flow under the bridge before a final plan is agreed.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible) as an outcome of this draft plan?

BRUMBY: Well again I'd just reiterate the comments that I made earlier in the week and our Water Minister Tim Holding did, and that is that I think the process is really important here, that people have the opportunity to have a say, to focus on the broader implications, the socio-economic implications. We've said that I think there's a, there will be I think a better way to achieve environmental objectives and to ensure that we still have strong regional communities and we are talking to country communities about how we would achieve that, but again I'd just reinforce what the PM said, it's still early days, it's going to be a lot of

vigorous debate and I think it's not for the politicians to stifle that debate at an early stage.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister can I just ask you (inaudible) at the back of your mind?

PM: We both have other commitments to get to so we will have to make this the last one. My answer to that is no, and can I, I'll have to inform myself about Jeff Kennett's comments, obviously they've happened whilst we've been here at this event. But I will say overwhelmingly is this, we live in a wonderful, safe, peaceful country and when you get the opportunity as I have to go to places like the United States and to see the sorts of security that's around people like the Presidents of the United States, I think it is a wonderful Australian thing that I, that Premier Brumby, that other political leaders and figures get to move around our communities still in a very, very open way by world standards, and I constantly have people remark to me when I pop-up in a shop or in a street, and they just happen to be there and see me, that they're surprised but they think that it says something about Australia that the Prime Minister can just move around like that. So we overwhelmingly live in a wonderful, safe community and we should remember that.

JOURNLAIST: (inaudible) JFK-

PM: I'm not saying those measures are unreasonable for the President of the United States, given the product of history and the role of the United States in the world, obviously those security measures are well and truly

warranted for the President of the United States, but let's congratulate ourselves on the openness with which political leaders can move around giving the community good access to us, keeping our lives more normal that they otherwise would be and all I can say is may it last forever, may that always be the Australian way.


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