Peter Costello

Media Transcripts

Arts funding, Iraq, childhood obesity, baby payment, road funding, Scoresby - Doorstop Interview, National Institute of Circus Arts

TRANSCRIPT OF
THE HON PETER COSTELLO MP
Treasurer

Doorstop Interview
National Institute of Circus Arts

Friday, 18 June 2004
11.45am

 

SUBJECTS: Arts funding, Iraq, childhood obesity, baby payment, road funding, Scoresby

TREASURER:

Let me say at the outset that the National Institute for Circus Arts is a premier training organisation which we want to make a centre for excellence in Australia and the Commonwealth has announced $6 million for building a new performance centre here in Prahran which I think will make this one of the great training institutions for circus arts in the world. And you have seen the enthusiasm of the students that are here, they’re great ambassadors for our country, they’re enthusiastic, they’re fit and they’re extremely talented so we wish them every success in their career.

JOURNALIST:

The Opposition is calling for Senator Hill to step down over the Abu Ghraib prisoners scandal. What are your thoughts on that?

TREASURER:

I think Senator Hill has made a full disclosure to the Senate as to what was known and when it was known and the important point to bear in mind in all of this, of course, is that no Australians were involved in any breaches whatsoever. None of the Australian troops were engaged and the Senator has explained the full facts and circumstances to the Senate and properly discharged his duty.

JOURNALIST:

Given it was know last June, shouldn’t that have happened earlier, do you think, the public should have known about it?

TREASURER:

Well, when it was known, the US which was responsible for the prison, immediately took corrective steps. That’s what had to happen. The people that were responsible for the prison had to take corrective steps. Australia wasn’t responsible for that prison, Australia didn’t have any troops and wasn’t responsible for managing it, wasn’t responsible for administering it.

JOURNALIST:

You mentioned obesity in there, why is your side of politics making so much fun of Mr Latham’s ideas to help kids?

TREASURER:

We fully support children being involved in sport and in fact we’re shortly going to announce a very major initiative in conjunction with National Sporting Leagues to encourage children to engage in sport. I think that’s absolutely important and fundamental and we’ll be doing practical things about it. But we don’t think that Mr Latham’s ideas are substantive ideas that will make a difference.

JOURNALIST:

Well, couldn’t something be done to get children to eat better food?

TREASURER:

Well I think a lot can be done to get children to eat better food and parents have a responsibility in particular to help their children with better food, but we don’t believe that the government should take over the responsibility for raising children. Every child needs parents. They need a family, they need a good example, and we’re not for a moment going to undermine parental responsibility in this area.

JOURNALIST:

There seems to be a bit of a problem with the baby bonus. People are holding back so they can qualify for $3,000. Is there something you can do? Can you bring it forward?

TREASURER:

Look, the payment is to recognise the costs of having children. But let me make it clear, nobody has children to get a payment. It’s a one-off payment which will help you with the cost of the child. But the child is there for 15 or 16 or 17 or in some cases 30 years and bear in mind that children are pretty expensive to bring up and rear and what they really need is love more than anything else. So people should bear in mind that this payment is a help. Obviously it is a help. But I don’t believe people have children just to get a payment from the Government.

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer, watching these budding circus performers here, do you feel you’ve missed your calling when you ran away to join the Parliament?

TREASURER:

The only juggling I’m good at is with figures. If I’d have had the talent that these kids have, I might have got an even better career in the circus.

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer there is some discontent about the timeframe for the Calder Freeway duplication. Several Victorian Councils want it brought forward. Is that likely to happen?

TREASURER:

The Calder Freeway is a Road of National Importance which is constructed 50/50 in partnership between the Commonwealth and the States. The Commonwealth has set aside the money for the next stages and the next stages have to be built with joint funding and it will be rolled out as they are completed, but these things are completed in stages. And the next stage is fully funded and will be done. Of more interest of course is whether or not the Victorian Government will keep its agreement of the Scoresby Freeway. Scoresby Freeway is precisely the same as the Calder Highway, 50/50 Road of National Importance. $420 million of Commonwealth money ready to flow into Victoria to build a Freeway. Mr Bracks made a promise for a Freeway. There is a signed agreement for a Freeway. Let’s get on and build it and I say to Mr Bracks and the Victorian Government, keep your word, honour the agreement. $420 million into the Victorian economy and the people of the Eastern suburbs get to use their roads without having to pay tolls.

JOURNALIST:

Would you admit though that 2012 is a long time for people to wait for a duplicated freeway to Bendigo?

TREASURER:

This is being built from Melbourne to Bendigo. It’s already been built substantially and continuing parts will be completed as, and when, the funding flows. Let me say, the Scoresby Freeway hasn’t even commenced, and $420 million of Commonwealth funding ready to commence a Freeway. As I often say to the Victorian Government, what part of the word ‘Free-way’ don’t they understand?

 

18 Jun 2004

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