Transcript - Territory FM - Tuesday 13 August 2013 > Mitch Fifield, Liberal Senator for Victoria

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13-August-2013

Transcript - Territory FM - Tuesday 13 August 2013

Transcript - Territory FM - Tuesday 13 August 2013

104.1 Territory FM

With Daryl Manzie, Senator Mitch Fifield and Natasha Griggs MP
Darwin

13 August 2013

10:00am

E & OE

Subjects: GST, voluntary sector, NDIS

DARYL MANZIE:


You’re listening to Mornings on Territory FM and we’ve got in the studio, they’ve just joined us, they’re just going to kit themselves up and get themselves organised, he is the Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate, he’s Shadow Minister for Disabilities, Carers and the Voluntary Sector. That’s Senator Mitch Fifield. And Mitch, welcome to the show.

MITCH FIFIELD:

Terrific, great to be with you.

DARYL MANZIE:

And Natasha Griggs, of course the Member for Solomon. How are you Tash?

NATASHA GRIGGS:

Good morning, how are you Daryl?

DARYL MANZIE:

I’m alright. Now listen, I’m going to ask you something about GST because everyone’s saying no, no, no, it’s not going to be touched. And Julie Bishop’s on the air yesterday, saying that there’s going to be a decent look at redistribution. And I quote, on ABC Radio Miss Bishop said “the Coalition would welcome submissions from major states on a new distribution model”. Tony Abbott said he believe the state premiers in the major states should get together and come up with a formula they believe is fair, ensuring the other states don’t miss out. GST distribution was looked at by Greiner, of course, Brumby and Bruce Carter, a money man, and they came up with a final figure a couple of years ago saying, look, the formula has to stay the same, it’s the only fair way of distributing funds. Why have we got this continuing raising of the GST argument when Abbott and Pyne and others have been saying, no, it’s not going to be touched and yet Julie Bishop continually raises it? How can people feel that things are going to be left alone when this is going on? What’s the go?

MITCH FIFIELD:

Daryl there are two issues here, the first is the scare campaign that the Labor Party have been running, that the Federal Coalition have a secret plan to increase the rate of the GST or to apply it to things which are currently exempt. The answer to that is clear. No. No plan. We’re not going to change the GST. We’re not going to increase the rate. We’re not going to expand the range of things it applies to. So that’s just a Labor scare campaign. The second issue is one which states and territories have long debated which is what the appropriate apportionment of GST revenues is between the jurisdictions. Now, we don’t have a plan to change that. But, if the various jurisdictions got together, decided on a new division of the revenues and brought that to government, well obviously the government of the day would have a look at that. But essentially, it would have to be an agreed proposition of all of the jurisdictions. But I make it clear, no increase to rate, no increase to coverage.

DARYL MANZIE:

Ok. I guess it seems to be brought alive because we have people commenting in a way which can be interpreted as proposing a process already. And I think, I don’t know whether there’s been a misquote, someone has told me that there has been a misquote by the Labor Government in regards to what Julie Bishop said. I’ve just got that here now. And it’s a little note that Natasha’s given me from Julie Bishop, saying “the report in the Northern Territory News this morning is misleading, selectively quoting me. For I made clear there’d be no change to redistribution unless all agreed and no states miss out.” So there you go, no change to the GST. I mean, I just wonder why people can’t, senior pollies can’t just say no. I mean, speculating on this idea. We’ve always had New South Wales and Victoria jumping around saying no, no, no. Now we’ve got Western Australia added to the mix, even though they had a fantastic 80 years of getting more than they gave. Why can’t people just batten down the hatches?

NATASHA GRIGGS:

Daryl, can I tell you that this GST issue’s been raised with me around the areas where Labor have been doorknocking and scare mongering and I think Tony Abbott said a couple of days ago, we can expect a lie a day during this campaign from Labor. And this is a classic example of a lie that’s being put out there because Labor are so desperate to win this seat of Solomon that they are going to propagate these lies and mistruths. How much clearer can you get when the leader of our party says there is going to be no change to GST, if he’s fortunate enough to be in government. Christopher Pyne repeated last night. And I just showed you the text from Julie. Julie is very clear that she’s been misrepresented. There is going to be no changes, just more Labor lies, all scare mongering. No change to GST under a Coalition government.


DARYL MANZIE:

I mean, I guess the thing is, look, it continues to get a headline because people are, I guess, loose with some of the throwaway comments. It’s really something that causes me concern because I have a real, well my knowledge is that without that horizontal fiscal equalisation process, we, the smaller states, and that includes South Australia, Tasmania and Northern Territory and the ACT will get less money, if they change that rule, that’s all. I guess I know that and so I’m always concerned.

NATATHA GRIGGS:

People don’t understand either Daryl that in 1999 there was some legislation that was put into the parliament that said, and it was under a Labor government, that all jurisdictions need to agree if there’s going to be any change to the GST.

DARYL MANZIE:

Well I think Howard did that when introduced it.

NATASHA GRIGGS:

Oh yes, sorry, yep.

DARYL MANZIE:

That was the package. But of course, you know, I mean, everything from self-government down can be changed because it’s only put together by…

NATASHA GRIGGS:

That’s right, well, but the thing is I’ve said…

DARYL MANZIE:

Only things in the Constitution can’t be changed, so that’s a…

NATASHA GRIGGS:

Well I’ve spoken with Adam Giles, our Chief Minister, and he says to me there’s no discussions being had about GST. There are some false ads that are on your radio station about this GST, saying that there’s already a deal done. Well there’s no deal done. There’ll be no changes to GST. And I can assure you that Adam Giles, our Chief Minister, would not sign up to anything that’s going to hurt Territorians. That was demonstrated through the Gonski plan, we didn’t sign up for that because Territorians were going to lose money out of that plan as well. Under the Coalition’s plan, they’re not going to lose money.

DARYL MANZIE:

Ok, well let’s, you’ve certainly.

NATASHA GRIGGS:

Cleared it up?

DARYL MANZIE:

You’ve certainly corrected again what we’re reading about and hearing about, but I think there probably needs to be a better approach to the way this is done because in the smaller states this is something that is really taking traction.

NATASHA GRIGGS:

It’s the marginal seats that Labor are targeting about this rubbish.

DARYL MANZIE:

Well it’s got to be obviously something that you’ve got to work through as part of your election. Now let’s get on to why you’re here, because I know that disabilities, volunteering, things like that, all issues in the Territory. But volunteering first, the Territory operates because we’ve got so many people volunteer to do things, whether it’s looking after their rellies, whether it’s getting out and getting sports going and other activities. What can be done to, sort of, support those volunteers in that process.

MITCH FIFIELD:

I think the primary obligation of government when it comes to volunteers is firstly do no harm. Don’t get in the way. And sadly, we’ve seen successive governments, mean well, but put in place regulations which make it harder for volunteers to do what they do best. And, just an example, a few years back there was a proposition to have common occupational health and safety requirements nationwide. It was intended for business but it actually also applied to voluntary organisations. And that caused a lot of volunteers to be worried that they might be subject to new penalties, jail time and fines, if they breached their obligations. It’s that sort of approach that we’ve got to avoid at all costs.

DARYL MANZIE:

Ok. And I guess there’s also the dangers in terms of insurance processes and the cost of insurance for events that are organised or operated by volunteers. That’s a really, that’s a great fear and it’s something that has changed. In sport, once upon a time, mum could go down and coach the kids at soccer. She’s got to be a qualified coach now to do it and there the sort of things that make it very, very difficult.

MITCH FIFIELD:

We can put too many barriers in the way of people volunteering. And people want it to be easy. They see a need in the community, they just want to put their hand up and get on with job. And government’s got to stay out of the way.

DARYL MANZIE:

And what about disability support. I mean obviously the new scheme which doesn’t start, I think, for another 5 years, 4 or 5 years. What sort of things are in place to try and ensure that we do support those that need support without going over the top and spending more than we need to or overregulating the way we do things?

MITCH FIFIELD:

It’s an important point. At the moment if you have a significant and permanent disability in Australia, regardless of where you live, chances are you’ll be on a waiting list for something. It might be supported accommodation, aids and equipment, respite. There’s probably about half the investment in disability that there should be. And the essence of the NDIS is to double the amount of money that’s available, but also and more importantly to put the individual at the centre and in charge. If you like, to give them a voucher that they can take to the service provider of their choice. So there should be an end to the waiting lists, but also greater control in the hands of the individual.

DARYL MANZIE:

And I think we’ve all heard the horror stories of people being stuck in the corner and fed tablets and there sort of semi-zombies. They’ve got no idea what’s going on but they know they don’t like.

MITCH FIFIELD:

That’s right. And Natasha has been a terrific advocate for people with disabilities, has a long involvement and was very keen for me to come to Darwin, catch up with Carpentaria Community Services.

DARYL MANZIE:

That’s good. They do a good job out there. And what else is happening today? You got much else on the plate?

MITCH FIFIELD:

Yes, we’re having a round table lunch with a number of disability organisations, carers and people with disability. I’m very keen to hear from people in Darwin and the Territory about their thoughts on the National Disability Insurance Scheme and what needs to be taken into account when it’s rolled out. I’m very impressed that Chief Minister Adam Giles signed up to a launch site in the Barkly region, which is important because the whole purpose of launch sites is that you can learn lessons before the full national rollout. So that trial will go live in the middle of next year. And the scheme progressively rolled out nationwide through to 2019.

DARYL MANZIE:

Ok. Well there you go. Righto, look, we’re going to say good morning Mitch. I know that you’re busy. We really appreciate your time…

MITCH FIFIELD:

Thanks Daryl.

DARYL MANZIE:

And appreciate your comments on what’s happened with GST as well as some of the work you’re doing here with supporting the voluntary sector and the carers. Good luck with it all.

MITCH FIFIELD:

Thanks, good to chat.

DARYL MANZIE:

Talking there with Senator Mitch Fifield. And Natasha, thank you for coming in.

NATASHA GRIGGS:

No worries Daryl, can I just say one last thing?

DARYL MANZIE:

You can.

NATASHA GRIGGS:

The GST is not going to change under a Coalition government.

MITCH FIFIELD:

Amen.

DARYL MANZIE:

Ok thanks, I know. There you go, good. Natasha Griggs, Member for Solomon.


ENDS