The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Peter Costello

Peter Costello

Treasurer

11 March 1996 - 3 December 2007

Transcript of 24/10/2005

Doorstop Interview
Toorak Place Retirement Village
Melbourne

Monday, 24 October 2005
11.15 am

SUBJECTS: Breast cancer, ageing population, childcare, pharmaceutical services, death penalty

TREASURER:

…breast cancer day awareness, and it is great to support this wonderful charity, to raise money for it. Breast cancer, if it can be identified early enough it treatable, and so if we can raise awareness and help with research, then many Australian women will be able to get treatment against this terrible disease.

JOURNALIST:

You opened a retirement village, is our system sustainable with an ageing workforce and fewer people actually supporting it?

TREASURER:

People are living longer, and we are having less children, so that means that the proportion of older people to the proportion of workforce age people is growing all the time. Now if we are going to make this economically sustainable, we have got to get control on costs, we have got to have a productive economy, and we need to encourage older people to maintain a connection with the workforce, if not full-time, maybe in a part-time capacity longer than they currently do. With people living longer and in better health they have a capacity to maintain a connection with the workforce longer.

JOURNALIST:

And speaking of children, one of your colleagues has suggested that States reduce regulation regarding childcare so that people can open childcare centres in vacant spaces near workplaces. So that has left some people saying that that will lead to basement and backyard childcare centres. Your thoughts on that?

TREASURER:

I think we have got to have proper standards for childcare. Sure parents are looking for more childcare, but it has got to be childcare which is properly regulated, has proper standards - both from a safety point of view and from a stimulation point of view - and childcare standards are very important.

JOURNALIST:

Do you support plans to have taxpayers help subsidise the costs delivering pharmaceuticals services to the bush?

TREASURER:

Look the Government is negotiating an agreement at the moment with the Pharmacy Guild. What we want to do is we want to have an agreement which will ensure pharmaceuticals are widely available, including in regional and rural areas, but we also want to make sure the costs are kept as low as possible for the benefit of taxpayers. Now the negotiations are not yet finalised, so we will be proceeding to finalise negotiations along those lines, I hope.

JOURNALIST:

Now a Melbourne man is facing execution in Singapore, there is little that the Australian Government can do through diplomatic channels, but any personal pleas from yourself?

TREASURER:

Well the Australian Government has put its position to the Singaporean Government, and I believe the Government has done as much as could possibly have been done here in Australia. It is a matter for the Singaporean authorities now, and I hope they carefully consider the representations that the Australian Government has made.

JOURNALIST:

Any personal pleas from yourself?

TREASURER:

Well, the Government has put pleas on behalf of (inaudible) to the Singaporean Government, and we would ask the Singaporean Government to carefully consider them - all of the circumstances of the case - and to consider the way in which this man’s life hangs in the balance. Thanks.