The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Wayne Swan

Wayne Swan

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013

28 July 2012

Doorstop interview

Brisbane

SUBJECTS: Olympic Games, National Disability Insurance Scheme, Mr Newman's reckless comments about the Queensland economy, GetUp, LNP preselection for Lilley

TREASURER:

On behalf of all Australians I wish our athletes every success in London over the next few weeks. I'd like to congratulate Lauren Jackson on carrying the flag. I'm sure lots of Australians are going to have late nights and early mornings, but I'm sure that the team will do the country proud.

I also wanted to say a few things about the National Disability Insurance Scheme because we've now got five state leaders who have signed up for launch sites. This is a very significant reform for Australia because Australians with disabilities have waited far too long to get some justice. Too many Australians live in families where there is an Australian with disability and they do really need our support.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme is one way where we can deliver justice to Australians who are living with disabilities and their families. That's why it was so pleasing yesterday to see now five state leaders signing up for launch sites. Sadly, Queensland has not signed up.

I don't believe the Premier of Queensland, Mr Newman, has been serious or fair dinkum about the National Disability Insurance Scheme. The fact is that Mr Newman submitted a two page letter with no commitment to resources and no launch site and has not participated constructively in the discussions. I don't believe he's fair dinkum about doing something to assist Queenslanders with disabilities and Australians with disabilities.

I call on him to put away the politics and to get stuck into working constructively with the Federal Government to put in place a National Disability Insurance Scheme.

A launch site in Queensland with around 1,000 participants would cost the Queensland Government something like an additional $20 million. I believe Queenslanders with disabilities deserve the support of the State Government, just like we've had support from five other state leaders.

It is really disappointing for Queenslanders with disabilities to see Mr Newman and his new Government playing politics with disabilities in the way in which they have over the past few weeks.

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible)?

TREASURER:

We want Queensland to participate in the trial. But they've got to be fair dinkum and they haven't been fair dinkum. What we've seen is a two page letter submitted to the Federal Government. No mention of a site, no commitment to resources.

Five state leaders have come to the party, put aside the politics, worked their way through these issues. Mr Newman has turned his back on that process. I'd ask him to think again.

He's made quite a few mistakes over the past week. He made reckless statements about the Queensland economy which was simply untrue and very damaging. And I believe he's been cold hearted and callous about people with disabilities as well. He ought to get fair dinkum about making a contribution and participating in this vital, national reform for Australians with disabilities.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Swan, is an NDIS levy a good idea?

TREASURER:

No we're not arguing for an NDIS levy. Mr Newman raised the matter and has been repudiated by his state colleagues and also by the Leader of the Opposition.

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible)

TREASURER:

There's no commitment from Mr Newman to do anything with the NDIS. This is the problem. The launch sites are critical and it is very important there is a launch site in Queensland. After all, Queenslanders have got the lowest levels of support in the country for people with disabilities right now.

JOURNALIST:

If you had a disability in Queensland would you consider moving out of the state?

TREASURER:

I'm not advising people to do that. What I am saying is that it's about time this state government got fair dinkum and came to the table and participated in this important national reform.

It's about time they stopped playing politics. Not only with the economy but with people with disabilities. It's really, really disappointing to see what Mr Newman and his Government have been doing in this area. They're playing with people's lives, they ought to get serious. This is serious national reform, they ought to come on board and they ought to stop the politics.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Newman says that he's making the tough decisions now like cuts to the public service sector so that in around 2014-15 they'll be able to have enough money to fund these (inaudible) like the NDIS. Do you think cuts to the public service sector are a good idea if that's what it means for the long run?

TREASURER:

Firstly, Queensland's budget position is no different today than it was before the change of government. Yes you had an Audit Commission, but the Audit Commission found no change in levels of debt or the budget bottom line. It simply changed the definition.

What we've got from Mr Newman is a political campaign to hide his embarrassment at the fact that he's sacking up to 20,000 public servants when he said he wouldn't do that. That's what this campaign's all about. I think it's an embarrassment at repudiating his election commitments. The cuts he's putting in place in Queensland now are to fund his election commitments.

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible)?

TREASURER:

It was reckless and it was damaging to the economic standing not only of Queensland but Australia. Unemployment of Spain has been 25 per cent for a long time. It's not something that just happened recently. Queensland has an unemployment rate of 5.3 per cent and he compares it to a 25 per cent unemployment rate in Spain. That is reckless and damaging.

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible)

TREASURER:

I don't know what you're talking about.

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible)

TREASURER:

I have no idea what you're talking about.

JOURNALIST:

Just getting back to the NDIS. How confident are you to get the states to pay for the (inaudible)?

TREASURER:

First of all we have to get the launch phase operating. So first things first. And that's what the Prime Minister spoke to the state leaders about. That's what Mr Newman has refused to participate in. We'll deal with those issues as we go through the construction of the scheme. But we've got to get it started.

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible)

TREASURER:

These matters will be worked through with the New South Wales Government. But they've come to the table now. I'm sure we'll reach agreement about the finer details. Mr Newman is not sitting at the table and has indicated he will not be putting in additional resources. The fact is that he ought to do that and he ought to stop playing politics with this issue and get serious and do the right thing by people with a disability.

JOURNALIST:

GetUp's Simon Sheik said he's moving on. Do you have anything to say to him?

TREASURER:

Good luck.

JOURNALIST:

Rod McGarvie has just been preselected to run against you in this seat. Do you have a comment to that?

TREASURER:

Any candidate that runs here will be a candidate that's a member of the LNP and that's controlled by Clive Palmer. So any candidate that runs in Lilley will be Clive Palmer's candidate.