TRANSCRIPT: ABC Central Coast, Tuesday 12 April 2016





SUBJECT/S: Tanya’s visit to the NSW Central Coast

SCOTT LEVI, PRESENTER: [Audio cuts in] the visit to the Central Coast. What's on the agenda?

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Well it's actually going to be a very full day, Scott. I've got a visit to a homeless shelter, a visit to a local pharmacy. But the first thing that we're doing, as you said, is, as your news bulletin said is we're announcing that Labor would fund a skate park in memory of Banjo Pilon in the Wamberal area. Your listeners would know that Banjo, very sadly, lost his life close to a year ago while skating in his local area on the foot path in the street that his house was on and I know that the local council and thousands of residents have been involved in a campaign with Anne Charlton, who's our Labor candidate, and most particularly Banjo's family obviously, arguing for a skate park so that kids instead of skating on the road or the footpath actually can go to a dedicated skate park area –

LEVI: I think that one's bipartisan too, so if Labor or Liberal are elected - you know, someone else might get in but, doubt it – then that probably will happen. So that's good to know that that will happen, really, won’t it?

PLIBERSEK: Well, we’re making clear that money is available today and I know that there are some great skate parks on the coast, at The Entrance and Umina Beach and other places as well. I think, given that there isn't one within 10km of Wamberal this would be a great addition to getting kids outside, keeping them active, making sure that they're safe when they are active. So we're spending the morning with Anne Charlton and then in the afternoon I'm going to Dobell. Our candidate there, as you know, is Emma McBride who obviously has worked until recently in the local hospital and we’re doing some health events with Emma. Health's a huge issue, along with education on the coast, I know, so we will be talking health and education, the skate park, the visit to the homeless service. It'll be a very full day and I'm looking forward to it very much.

LEVI: Now one issue that's become an issue in the seat of Dobell - and Karen McNamara the incumbent has been pushing - is this controversial new pay deal for truck drivers. Bill Shorten has expressed support for pushing back the implementation date, as well. What's wrong with truck drivers getting a better rate of pay? Why would that be an issue?

PLIBERSEK: Well, I'm mystified about why it is an issue. We all share the road with truck drivers, we know that truck drivers have very high rates of accidents when you compare across all workplaces and all injuries they’re about 11 times more likely to die at work than most other professions. But we all share the roads with them, so both for the safety of the truck drivers and the safety of all of us we don't want people to be working extraordinarily long hours because they're under the gun financially to keep their business afloat. So, we say that it is, of course, important to negotiate the timing of these increased rates of pay – we’re happy to be flexible about that - but the basic principle, that someone shouldn't have to be driving 14 hours at a stretch just to keep their business afloat is something that benefits all of us. And if you look across, it's not just this policy where we've got an independent umpire setting pay and conditions, there's the Government's attempt to go back to the Australian Building and Construction Commission. You have a government that wants to go after truckies and tradies on building sites, but when they see problems in big banks or multinational companies avoiding their tax, they’re not so keen to talk about it.

LEVI: One issue that the former Labor member for Dobell championed and when he was on the crossbenches as well, he was trying to stop an export license if the Liberal Government allowed a coal mine in the water catchment of the Central Coast. He was saying that that might be one way to quarantine that small catchment that provides so much water, I don't think your side voted with him, though, on that. Why not? 

PLIBERSEK: Well, it is a state issue rather than a federal issue, but I know that Emma McBride has been very vocal against the mine and it is something that by and large have to be decided as a state issue. I remember Barry O'Farrell before the last election said it was never going to happen, no way, not under his government. And then the Liberal Government at the state level quietly let that slide and the application process started anew without the Liberals at a state level trying to intervene in any way. I can't really answer for what's going on at a state level except to say that it's a bit rich for the Liberals to have said, if they made it into government that they would prevent this project going ahead, and then once they were in government really doing nothing to prevent it.

LEVI: Alright we’ve only got a minute before we have to throw to the news, but why is the Central Coast so important? Why are the first salvos in the upcoming election fired here?

PLIBERSEK: Well, every area is important to us and the seats of Robertson, Dobell and Shortland where I’ll be visiting today, of course, are important in our effort to form government. But more particularly when you look at Robertson and Dobell, especially, they are very fast growing areas. You've got some real challenges – higher unemployment than the national average, long commuting distances for many people. We want to make sure that the new families that are settling on the Central Coast, the people who have lived there for decades, have a great quality of life, keep the quality of life that they moved there for, but get the extra services they need. So when I was health minister, for example, we did things like invest in the cancer clinic at the Gosford hospital, the GP Super Clinic at West Gosford, The Entrance Medical Centre, and so on. That's because we know there is a growing population and we want that growing population to have the best quality services.

LEVI: Tanya Plibersek thanks for your time.

PLIBERSEK: It's a pleasure Scott, thank you for having me.