DOORSTOP: 9/11/21

November 09, 2021


MADONNA JARRETT, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR BRISBANE: I'm Madonna Jarrett, I'm Labor's candidate for the Federal seat of Brisbane.


PETER COSSAR, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR RYAN: I’m Peter Cossar, I'm Labor’s candidate for the seat of Ryan.


JARRETT: Peter and I invited Mark Butler here today to listen to the community service providers here at Communify, who are passionate and committed to looking after the people of Brisbane, people in need. Here at Communify they deliver services around NDIS, aged care, mental health services.


COSSAR: And as we’ve seen out of the aged care Royal Commission, this Federal Government is letting us down, especially around the issue of aged care and mental health services.


JARRETT: And part of that, I think, is driven by the fact that when you've got a system built around profits rather than people as the motivation, people get left behind and we heard about that today. We invited Mark here and Mark, over to you.


MARK BUTLER, SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND AGEING: Thanks, Madonna, thanks, Peter so much. We had a great session here with a whole bunch of people from the community. I particularly want to thank Communify for hosting us today, a wonderful community-led organisation that's been delivering great support services in Brisbane’s North for many, many years.


People talk to us about the loss of confidence they've had in the system after a Royal Commission that entitled their report Neglect, and it wasn't neglected of the extraordinary workforce that go to work every single day caring for older Australians, it was neglect from the Federal Government. A government who, when Scott Morrison was Treasurer, cut two and a half billion dollars out of the aged care sector, simply ripped it out of the aged care sector and put it somewhere else, pushing a sector that was already under real pressure into absolute crisis. So we saw stories like people sitting with open wounds, with maggots crawling in their wounds. People left sitting in their own faeces. Up to 70 per cent of aged care residents at risk of malnutrition.


Now, the Government put a lot of additional money into the aged care sector at the last Budget and that is to be welcomed, but they managed to avoid the critical issue in the aged care sector, and that was reinforced to us today, and that is the issue of workforce. For some reason, the Government decided not to accept a recommendation from the Royal Commission to put nurses back into nursing homes, to guarantee that there would be a registered nurse on shift 24/7 in every aged care facility across Australia. They didn't accept that recommendation and have never given an explanation as to why they did not.


In addition, we need better staffing levels. We need a better paid workforce with minimum staffing levels that deliver the care that older Australians who worked so hard for so many years, building this community, deserve.


And most importantly, perhaps, they didn't introduce accountability mechanisms that give people confidence that the additional money will actually end up in better care, rather than some of the shocking stories we've read about too often over recent years, like owners buying new Maseratis with taxpayer funds instead. At the end of the day, taxpayers and families can't be expected to continue ploughing money into aged care without a rock-solid commitment that that money will actually go to better care rather than to profits.


Happy to take questions.


JOURNALIST: Sorry, I know you guys have been talking about health, but we need to ask about the Government’s EV policy. In 2019 you were the Labor Shadow who launched that policy and you know coped quite a bit of heat on it. Today the Prime Minister has announced the Government’s policy on electric vehicles. How's your mental health this morning?


BUTLER: Well thank you very much for asking. I'm more interested though in the verdicts of the experts in this area, the Automobile Association representing drivers across Australia has described this policy as a missed opportunity and the industry itself that is at the forefront of this revolution across the globe has described a policy that was two years in the making but delivered such little actual substance as an absolute “fizzer”.


Yet again this is a Prime Minister who delivers too little, too late. How on Earth could Australians trust Scott Morrison, who made the ridiculous assertion that electric vehicles would end the Australian weekend, to deliver policy to make sure that Australians are paying less at the bowser and are part of this exciting revolution.


Under Scott Morrison you will be left behind and you'll continue to pay extraordinary costs at the bowser. The only way we end up with cheaper electric vehicles in Australia is to elect a Labor Government.


JOURNALIST: This policy, as you mentioned, the experts say it doesn't go far enough. How does Labor’s policy go further and do you plan on perhaps even adding on to that policy?


BUTLER: Chris Bowen is the Shadow Minister in this area and he said he'll have more to say about this area in due course over coming weeks and months leading into the election.


But we have already made a commitment to remove inefficient taxes on this area, on electric vehicles. Removing import tariffs, removing FBT on this, so that a $50,000 car currently will under Scott Morrison still cost $50,000 but under a Labor Government would cost $39,000.


You know this is real substance from the Labor Party and there will be more, I'm sure, that Chris Bowen has to say about this area in coming weeks and months.