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Transcript of doorstop with Trevor Evans: Brisbane: 5 September 2018: Youngcare; NDIS; Retirement age; Sir Peter Cosgrove; Milk Levy

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The Hon. Scott Morrison MP Prime Minister




Subjects: Youngcare; NDIS; Retirement age; Sir Peter Cosgrove; Milk Levy

TREVOR EVANS: Good morning everyone and welcome to Wooloowin House run by Youngcare here in Wooloowin in the heart of Brisbane. It’s fantastic to have the Prime Minister here in Brisbane and I was saying to the Prime Minister just before that one of the very best things about being a Member of Parliament is that you get to travel around your community seeing all of the fantastic work done by some amazing community organisations, volunteers, service organisations and charities. It’s just so inspiring and such an endless source for optimism that the progress of what we’re doing here in Australia. One of the very best of those community organisations here in Brisbane is Youngcare, with their mission to provide suitable housing an independence for young people with disabilities. This community house here in Wooloowin in the heart of Brisbane is an excellent facility and it’s the sort that is needed in so many more streets and suburbs right across Australia. With the NDIS, Youngcare are on the cusp of delivering great things, to deliver even better outcomes for young Australians with disabilities. Just before I pass onto the Prime Minister, I will ask Anthony Ryan to join us here to say a few more words about what Youngcare’s mission is and why it is so important. But I’ll just leave you with this observation. There are few people in Australia that have done as much as Scott Morrison has to fully fund the NDIS and to make sure that it’s fit for purpose and able to deliver on all of the amazing things it’s going to deliver for future generations of Australians. Over to you Anthony.

ANTHONY RYAN: Thank you Trevor. Welcome to Youngcare Wooloowin. This is a home that we built a number of years ago to really drive independence, choice, and dignity for individuals with high-care physical disability right across Australia. This captures what we’ve been trying to do. What we see here is the very best of integration. We believe, as much as possible, that individuals should live where they want to live, how they want to live and who they want to live with. What we’re trying to do under the NDIS is gain greater traction right across Australia, not just in Queensland, to be able to build group homes, apartments and villas. To really ensure that people live with dignity, choice and independence. It’s exciting, we congratulate the Government with what they’re doing with the NDIS, we really believe in the values of the NDIS and we’re really excited over the next couple of years to see how this rolls out across the country. Thank you very much.

PRIME MINISTER: Thanks very much Anthony, and Paul and Trevor, but a particular thank you today to Nick [INAUDIBLE] it’s great to be in your house. Thank you for allowing us to come into what is your home. I have talked a lot about, in the last couple of weeks in particular, about Australia being the land of the

fair go for those who have a go, and every time I talk about that, I’ve often referred to the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Because that is what it is about. These wonderful Australians having a real go. Having a real go. They are getting a fair go here at Youngcare, they are getting a fair go under the NDIS and they are making a big effort. They are making choices about their lives just like any other Australian makes choices about their lives. You see that realised here, frankly, it is a bit overwhelming. A bit overwhelming. And these are values my Government and the Government I have been part of since we were elected in 2013, we feel passionately about. That is why we are here today, to assure all Australians of my Government's ongoing commitment and support for the NDIS. To ensure it is fully funded as it will be, under my Government. Also, to recognise some of the other challenges exist, which is ensuring that we can get investment and funds into supporting wonderful properties like this. We are already taking action. As Treasurer, I set up the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation and we’ve set up new schemes for managed investment trusts, to ensure they can access investment capital at discounted tax rates. It is my intention that these sorts of properties also will gain access to those exact same investment and taxation incentives. Anthony has already told me about the level of interest there is from large funds to come and invest in these types of properties all around the country, and I want to remove the obstacles that allow them to do that. At the end of the day, to fund all of this, this is why I’m so passionate about ensuring that Australia has a strong economy. If you don't have a strong economy, you can't fund the NDIS. We can make any number of promises you like, we can pass every law under the sun, but if you don't have a strong economy, then you can't support nation-changing projects like this. That is why a strong economy and the NDIS and the values of a fair go for those who have a go all sit together, and that marks our commitment here. Before I throw open to questions, and let's take those on Youngcare and what we are doing here first. There was another thing I announced today on the Today Show earlier this morning which was also about a fair go for those having a go, and that for senior Australians, the retirement age will stay at 67, it will not go to 70. In this year's Budget are made a series of announcements which was supporting older Australians to be able to live longer, healthier and more active into their senior years. If they want to keep working, they can, and things like the pension work bonus and programs like that will support them in that choice. But for those who aren’t in that position, then the pension will be there and the retirement age will remain at 67. It is all about recognising the effort they’ve put in and the choices that they want to make, because that’s the sort of Australia that I want to lead. Questions.

QUESTION: How much will that cost and how will you recoup those costs?

PRIME MINISTER: That's talk about Youngcare first and then I’m happy to talk about the other matters. Anything on NDIS, anything on specialist disability accommodation?

QUESTION: There’s a block of land next door, can you chip in some funds so you can build another one?

PRIME MINISTER: Why don’t you guys talk about how you see these programs?

ANTHONY RYAN: The block next door is going to be another facility for young people with high care needs. We are building a group home next door with three 2-bedroom apartments and it will be very much about supplying another wonderful home for young people in high care.

QUESTION: Is there Commonwealth money in that?

ANTHONY RYAN: There is support, the NDIS is supported by Australians… by the Australian Government.

PRIME MINISTER: What we are trying to do here, this is not just about grants. That is old-style policy. What we want is investment, we want mums and dads who negative gear properties to invest in properties like this. Under the policies I have already introduced for affordable housing, which I want properties like this to have access to, they will get larger capital gains tax discounts on investments they make in properties like this. Dealing with the challenges faced by Australians living with disabilities, it’s bigger than Government. It requires all the community, it requires investors, it requires how the financial institutions respond. I want to create the right climate for Australians to invest in homes like this all around the country. That is why those tax incentives I think are really important. There is also the way the subsidy support for individual care packages and others that also support the arrangement.

QUESTION: Mr Morrison, you previously said that raising the pension age to 70 was necessary to make sure the pension was sustainable and future generations could have it. Aren’t you just kicking the can down the road for a future Government to make that tough choice that you’ve squibbed?

PRIME MINISTER: No, what I have done is respected the policies that were put in place since that was first introduced in the 2014-15 Budget. I would encourage you to go back and look over the most recent Budget and look over the healthy lifestyles package for senior Australians that within that Budget which was actually promoting, encouraging and using the carrot, the incentive to encourage Australians to work longer, if that is what they choose to do, and support them in those choices. As a new Prime Minister, I believe that measure is no longer necessary. It will remain no longer necessary so long as we continue to keep the strong economic policies that sees the growth continue, that supports our Budget, which not only supports things like the aged pension, but it supports things like the National Disability Insurance Scheme. I am not kidding when I say that a strong economy is needed to guarantee the essentials like the roof over people’s heads here. That is what underwrites it. That is what underwrites it. Promises don’t. A strong economy does.

QUESTION: When did you change your mind, that 70 was the right age?

PRIME MINISTER: I have been contemplating this for some time.

QUESTION: And the cost?

PRIME MINISTER: There is no cost over the forward estimates, there is no cost over the forward estimates and the medium-term cost will be reconciled in the md-year statement.

QUESTION: So you disagreed with the former policy when you were the Treasurer? You thought 70 was the age…

PRIME MINISTER: That was in the 2014-15 budget. We have made a number of changes since the 2014-15 Budget and this is another one.

QUESTION: Now that you’ve scrapped the age of raising it to 70…

PRIME MINISTER: If we were not have any more questions on Youngcare, I’m going to excuse Paul and Anthony because they don’t necessarily have the answer the political questions. Thanks guys. It has been great to hear, go the Wallabies mate.

QUESTION: So now that you’ve scrapped the age of raising it to 70, are there any more unpopular policies that you’re going to dump?

PRIME MINISTER: I will continue to make announcements about what I think are the right priorities for Australia. I will do that in close consultation with my team and I work with them each and every day to ensure we have an even stronger Australia, that keeps our economy is strong, that keeps Australians safe and keeps Australians together.

QUESTION: Mr Morrison, you said you consulted on this policy, who have you consulted?

PRIME MINISTER: I have consulted with my Cabinet colleagues and as I said this morning, it will be ratified by Cabinet next week.

QUESTION: But have you consulted all of your Cabinet colleagues? Shouldn’t they have an opportunity to have a say?


QUESTION: Every last one?


QUESTION: When are we going to know about the Wentworth election date?

PRIME MINISTER: That’s a matter for the Speaker.

QUESTION: Now that Stuart Robert is back in the Ministry, how can you be sure that there’s no further conflicts of interest with his business dealings?

PRIME MINISTER: I’ve had those assurances.

QUESTION: Peter Cosgrove announced he’ll be retiring as Governor General, so when will [INAUDIBLE]

PRIME MINISTER: Sir Peter Cosgrove and Lady Cosgrove have been tremendous servants in that role and they’ve always seen themselves as servants of the Australian people in that role. At the end of next March, that’s when the current term ends, and these are matters for me to consider down the track. My focus for the moment, as Sir Peter understands, is getting electricity prices down, reaching out into rural and regional Australia where the drought is really impacting people, supporting small and medium-sized

businesses, giving assurances to the young people here about the future of the NDIS and ensuring our economy remains strong so we can guarantee those essential services. They’re my priorities. Those other issues are important and will be dealt with in due course, but right now, my focus is on bringing Australians together to focus on the challenges ahead.

QUESTION: Prime Minister there’s a push on for a milk levy, a 10 cent milk levy. It requires commitment from the two major supermarket retailers. Woolworths seem to be on board, but Coles are dragging the chain a little bit. What is your message to…

PRIME MINISTER: Well let's just see what happens there, let’s just see what happens. I will be waiting for proposals to come forward from David Littleproud, as the Agriculture Minister who has been working closely with the dairy sector. That is how you make decisions, you work them through, you have proposals, consider implications, work with stakeholders. That is what sensible, stable, strong Government does and that is what we are doing.

QUESTION: He’s put out a statement saying he supports it, he’s for it, he encourages it, he’s on board but Coles aren’t. What’s your message as Prime Minister?

PRIME MINISTER: That's fine. My message is let's just see what happens and let’s work the issue through. I don’t want to see people paying any more for milk and I don't want to see dairy farmers getting ripped off. So they’re the objectives, let's go and get them done.

QUESTION: Any thoughts on John Millman?

PRIME MINISTER: John Millman... how good is John Millman? I mean, how good. I was up in Townsville yesterday and I was getting texts from friends and colleagues. Sadly I couldn't watch it, but I said this morning, I remember when Pat Cash won Wimbledon as a young fella, and that is the great thing about sport, it reminds us of the champion spirit, and there are four champions over there just like John. Cheers.


Contacts: Prime Minister’s office - Andrew Carswell 0418 505 376, Kate Williams 0429 584 675 The Hon. Scott Morrison MP, Sydney