Radio Interview- ABC Radio Adelaide
DAVID BEVAN, HOST: Good morning, Prime Minister.
ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: G’day, I landed early. So there must be good winds.
BEVAN: Excellent. Now do you bring gifts to Adelaide? Because we’ve just been speaking to our, our Premier, and he said, ‘Well, I won’t be able to meet with the Prime Minister today. But he knows I need more money for primary healthcare, as does every other Premier in the state.’ Or, indeed, are you here for another reason, Prime Minister?
PRIME MINISTER: Well, we certainly have brought good news from our Budget when it comes to primary healthcare. And I know that for Premier Malinauskas, this is an issue that he’s concerned about along with other state leaders, how do we take pressure off our public hospital system, and a key way to do that is through primary healthcare. And we had three and a half billion dollars of bringing forward an incentive by tripling the bulk-billing incentive. Now that will provide major benefit for South Australians, as will our other measures, including urgent care clinics. The last time I was here in Adelaide, we made announcements about that. And as well, of course, the funding that we’ve brought forward in timeframe, along with the South Australian Government, to upgrade the Flinders Hospital.
STACEY LEE, HOST: Prime Minister, are you looking at changing the rules so there can be GPs co-located on site in hospitals? Because I think that was one of the issues that the State Government had addressed, if we could have GP clinics onsite with hospitals, that might ease some of the ramping pressure and free up some room in EDs.
PRIME MINISTER: That’s one of the things we’re looking at with the provision of urgent care clinics. We’re also looking at changing scope so that pharmacists and nurses and paramedics can offer more services that they’re quite clearly capable of doing. Today, I’ll be with Matt Burnell and Mark Butler, the Minister, at the Elizabeth Medical and Dental Clinic, talking about how important it is that we strengthen primary health care and that we strengthen Medicare as the foundation stone of our health system. That increase, the tripling of the bulk-billing incentive, we believe will lead to a 30 per cent increase in the payments to a bulk-billing GP in Adelaide. Outside of capital cities that will mean a 50 per cent increase. So that will be a major benefit as well. We’re hoping that what that means is that three out of every five visits to a GP will be bulk-billed.
BEVAN: Now, Prime Minister, we’re going to very quickly come up to the nine o’clock news and you’ve just got off the plane, we appreciate you’re a busy man. If you’re able to hang on after nine o’clock because we don’t get an opportunity very often to talk to the PM. So if you can do that that would be great. But we understand if you can’t. You’ll be at Elizabeth, you’ll be at a dental clinic. Is that the focus of your visit today?
PRIME MINISTER: It is certainly, the focal point of our Budget was a tripling of bulk-billing incentives but also strengthening Medicare across the board. In addition to that, I’ll be visiting the North East Vocational College with Tony Zappia talking about our plan for skills and apprenticeships, the increased support that we have for skilling up Australia. We have a new plan that we’ll implement over five years with the states and territories. It will make an enormous difference to skill shortages that we know are out there. We put more than $65 million in a 12 month agreement with South Australia including the fee-free TAFE places that we put in place, some 13,000 in South Australia. But in the Budget last week we had an additional 300,000 fee-free TAFE places and we are putting in some $3.7 billion as part of a new national agreement, negotiated with states and territories, to begin next year. We think that is absolutely critical. As well as, of course, here specifically in Adelaide, an enormous benefit from AUKUS will be the additional 4,000 places for STEM graduates to support the AUKUS program. That will be really important for the infrastructure for the new submarine construction yard that will be built right here in Adelaide.
ABC NEWS BULLETIN
BEVAN: Prime Minister, Peter Malinauskas says, ‘Look, that’s great, thanks for your help on primary healthcare, but we need tens of thousands of more GPs’. How can you keep them? How can you keep the ones you’ve got, but attract more as well?
PRIME MINISTER: Well, that’s why we have 20,000 additional university places in areas of skill shortage, and that, of course, includes GPs. One of the things that we’re working with the sector on is how we ensure that an increased number of graduates actually go into general practice. And part of that is making it more attractive through measures like the tripling of the bulk-billing incentive, like the urgent care clinics and other areas as well. In addition to that, looking at how the migration system works. We know that doctors from overseas have played an important role and we know that this is a priority area. But you can’t solve what has been a long term decline overnight, but it is something that Mark Butler as Health Minister is very focused on and focused on working with state and territory governments, including the fantastic government run by Peter Malinauskas here.
BEVAN: What about making it cheaper for somebody to do a medical degree on the condition they enter general practice?
PRIME MINISTER: Well, those measures are things that were working through as well of how you provide that incentive. And there are a range of ways that you can. We’re working through cooperatively with the Royal College and I note that the Royal College of Australian General Practice came out and were very supportive of last week’s Budget, that it was a turnaround. We acknowledge that the key to taking pressure off our public hospital system is through providing support for GPs. And there are a range of innovative ways as well, in Tasmania we’ve got a pilot program that allows people effectively to be employed by the state, in this case the Tasmanian State Government, to be working in public hospitals and at the same time working as GPs in areas of shortage, particularly in regional Tasmania. And that’s part of a $100 million program we had in last October’s Budget, which is looking at how do we try and innovate for ways in which we can get practical outcomes
BEVAN: Prime Minister, just quickly, have you got any money for our Indigenous gallery?
PRIME MINISTER: Well, we continue to work with state and territory governments on infrastructure programs. We want to see business cases. We don’t have colour-coded spreadsheets like the former government. We actually take these issues seriously. And we’ll continue to work with the South Australian Government across a range of proposals.
BEVAN: Prime Minister, thanks for your time.