TRANSCRIPT: Doorstop, Wamberal, 12 April 2016





SUBJECT/S: Funding announcement for a skate park in Wamberal; Liberals' cuts to health and education on the Central Coast

JOURNALIST: [audio cuts in]..a funding announcement.

ANNE CHARLTON, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR ROBERTSON: Yes I'm so pleased to be joined today by the Deputy Leader of the Labor Party, Tanya Plibersek and Mic Pilon to announce that Labor is going to commit to a skate park for Wamberal as a memorial for young Banjo Pilon who tragically died around 12 months ago. It's a great announcement. As a member of the community locally in Wamberal, I’m just so proud of the people who have got in behind this; the community [inaudible]. It's an important piece of infrastructure that we need and I know that it will be a fitting memorial for Banjo. 

MIC PILON, FATHER OF THE LATE BANJO PILON: Look, I just want to say that really on behalf of, not just the family – Jilly, Fletcher and Gabbi - but [inaudible] the whole community, it's really, really wonderful when you get political parties and people like Anne and Tanya getting behind a facility that is so needed for this area. Obviously there's a lot of emotion attached to what’s happened and we want to thank the people of the community that actually started this [inaudible] and then of course Anne and Tanya and the Labor Party for this [inaudible].

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks Mic. I'll speak for a few minutes about the announcement today and then if you’ve got any questions about other issues I’m happy to take them at the end. It's wonderful to be here with Anne Charlton, our candidate for Robertson to make this announcement today of half a million dollars going towards the Banjo Pilon skate park. It's so terrific to have Mic and Jilly and Fletcher and Gabbi here today too because it must be a very emotional day for them. I think any parent can imagine just how emotional it must be. And so, at a time like this of great sadness for a community to be able to channel their energy into something that brings the community together, that properly commemorates a young life lost too quickly, I think can be part of the healing for this community as well. We know that people love the Central Coast as a place to live and one of the reasons they love it is the healthy outdoor lifestyle that their families and children can enjoy. And being able to enjoy that healthy, outdoor lifestyle in a way that’s safe - a skate park like this that will keep the kids off the roads and the footpaths is a really important contribution for the local community. We know that the nearest skate park is probably 10 km away and kids -  think about in school holidays in particular, after school - it's pretty hard to get around on their own to use facilities in other suburbs. So being able to provide a skate park like this in Wamberal means that the local children, and visitors to the area, will really be able to enjoy it. We know that the Central Coast has a lot of visitors, particularly in the summer months, and this will be a great contribution to them, for those tourists who enjoy their weekends and holidays on the Central Coast. I want to say how instrumental Anne has been in convincing federal Labor to make this contribution of half a million dollars. Anne from the very beginning when she saw this community campaign spring up has been talking to, we hope, her future colleagues in Canberra about what a contribution this would be for the local community. And, it's of a piece with the other things that she's been talking about and lobbying for as the Labor candidate for Robertson. Thanks, any questions? 

JOURNALIST: Well I guess I believe, Tanya Plibersek, you're about the seventh federal politician to make their way to the Central Coast in the past four or five weeks. How important is this region [inaudible]?

PLIBERSEK: Look, it's a delight to be here and I know that I'm not the first federal MP who has visited the area because it is a very important area. We believe that the seats of Robertson and Dobell are best represented by Labor, and you only need to look at the track record of Labor in government compared with the Coalition in government to see the proof of that. When I was the health minister and during our time of government we spent about $70 million on new health facilities in this area. I drove past the Gosford West Super Clinic as I was coming up here today. The Gosford Cancer Centre and a number of other beautiful new upgraded health facilities during our time in government compares with almost $800 million that will be cut from local health services under the Abbott Government. You can look at education as well: this area will lose $389 million over the next 10 years from its schools. That's the equivalent of almost 390 teachers over the next 10 years. We see across the country $2 billion of cuts to TAFE and vocational education. What that means for the Central Coast is 1300 apprenticeships lost in about the course of the last year - 1300 kids who won’t get a chance at an apprenticeship in an area where we know youth unemployment is a serious issue. So the reason I’m here is to support a fantastic candidate, but also to say that Labor cares about the Central Coast and you only need judge us on our record compared with the Liberals' record to show the truth of that.

JOURNALIST: You’ll be meeting with the community down in Woy Woy. The election hasn’t been called yet but is this all part and parcel of starting to woo the community before the election?

PLIBERSEK: Well, this is what being in touch with your community looks like. Anne has asked me to come to an afternoon tea with members of the local community to answer questions on any issue that they’re interested in raising with us. We’ll also be visiting a homelessness service. It’s a service that I’ve visited a couple of times before that benefited from the substantial investment during the Gillard Government years to upgrade its facilities. So you see across the board, we’re interested in talking to the people of the Central Coast and very happy also to look at our record of achievement when Labor was last in government delivering for the people of the Central Coast.

JOURNALIST: Do you think we’re going to the polls on July 2?

PLIBERSEK: I think if you’re a betting person, you’d say the 2nd of July is the most likely date for a double dissolution election. But everything the Government is doing at the moment surprises me, so it could be that they surprise me on the poll date as well.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

PLIBERSEK: Absolutely, I’m looking forward to seeing Emma later on in the day. Emma has obviously got a great background working in the health system and she’s, you know, grown up in the Dobell electorate, she knows it like the back of her hand. She particularly knows the health issues of that electorate and I’m looking forward to opening her campaign office this afternoon. But also, meeting with some pharmacists, and others who are involved in primary care. We know the best way to keep our hospital costs lower is to keep people healthy and out of hospital and Emma has been campaigning very hard to make sure we’ve got good primary health care facilities that the coast needs.

JOURNALIST: This is quite a marginal seat. Obviously the Liberals are taking it quite seriously with Julie Bishop in town last week. Do you hope we'll get the same message today that Labor is also taking the place seriously?

PLIBERSEK: Well we’ve always taken this region seriously. We know that it’s fast growing with a lot of young families, a lot of retirees and that’s the reason that we invested the way we did in $70 million of new and upgraded health facilities during our years in government. It’s the reason that we believe that the health and education cuts that this government is making – almost $400 million cut out of education and almost $800 million cut out of health over the next 10 years - will be devastating for this community. This community should have local representatives that stand up for the community, that fight hard for services in the community. They don’t have them at the moment. Thank you very much everyone.