MEMBER FOR MACARTHUR:

Good afternoon everyone, it’s certainly a pleasure to be out here in Marsden Park in Campbelltown with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, to make a wonderful announcement in relation to CGM. It’s an issue that I’ve been really fighting for over the last six years in Parliament. It’s great that the Prime Minister listened to my concerns I’ve raised for local residents and families. The great hardworking Minister for Health has reacted to it as well. This is a wonderful announcement for the community I live in and represent. Prime Minister, thank you for coming out to Macarthur, the great region, you’re a friend, we welcome you here once again today and I’m looking forward to seeing you more in the future making great announcements like today. Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well thank you very much Russell, and thank you for the great advocacy that you’ve made on behalf of the more than 100 families in your electorate who have children with type 1 diabetes. We have seen just today with these young children and older ones, teens as well, how their lives have been changed for the better, by this technology. This is a great example of using the latest technology, connected to smartphones, to make sure that children can live normal lives.

Young Will, whose family live here in Macarthur, he is able to go to sleep - there he is Will, next to Sussan Ley - Will is able to go to sleep-overs now with all his friends. His mum Melanie doesn't have to lie up awake at night fretting about how he’s going, what his sugars are doing. The ability to restore normalcy for children's lives, young people’s lives, we heard from a young person here who has just done the HSC. She talked about the high stress levels that she has, we all understand that I think, and what that does to your sugar levels. Again, a continuous glucose monitor is able to, enables these young people, and their parents and their teachers to manage their health.

So this is a vital technology. This is one of the dividends that comes from managing the budget, managing our health expenditure, managing it well. Everything we commit to is fully funded. Yes we are living within our means. Yes we are bringing the budget back in to balance but we are also making sure that these life changing technologies, like this one, and latest drugs, are available to all Australians. This is the consequence of responsible economic management and compassionate management of health. So $54 million for these continuous glucose monitors. We expect, estimate that 4000 children or young people, aged up to 20 years of age will be taking advantage of this. It’s really life changing. I want to congratulate Russell for his advocacy and Sussan Ley for her leadership as the Health Minister. I invite Sussan to say more about the technology.

MINISTER FOR HEALTH:

Thank you very much Prime Minister and Russell. It is great to be in Macarthur. As Health Minister I get a lot of letters, but I get more letters about continuous glucose monitoring for type 1 diabetes than any other subject. And Russell is pretty close to the top of the list. So thank you for pushing so hard because there are, as you all know, many competing priorities in health. We are investing $54 million; more than I have to say I imagined when I saw the state of the budget when I was sworn in as Health Minister. But this is just too important not to do. This is long-term. We’ve done a lot of work leading up to this. We know the first target group of children and young adults with type 1 diabetes that we want to start making CGM available for, to relieve that pressure on their families.

But I see an Australia where every single child has access after that first appointment. We can't do that in one swoop but the technology is changing every day. We have had some conversations with device manufacturers. I am really excited by those, because I know they also want to be part of this partnership. Thank you JDRF. Thank you Diabetes Australia. Thank you to the young people who live every day with a condition that they cannot leave behind, wherever they go. And this technology for their families is life changing. You don't need to hear it from me, because the young people themselves are just such beautiful advocates. Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER:

Thank you Sussan, and thank you to JDRF, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Diabetes Australia. Their advocacy, you can see the way in which they represent these young boys and girls and young men and women has been very powerful. They have done a fantastic job so congratulations to them. Now do you have some questions?

JOURNALIST:

In the seat of Murphy, Labor’s candidate for Dunkley should she be disendorsed? And by the same test should Tim Wilson due to his criticism over national security legislation?

PRIME MINISTER:

Look that’s amatter for the Labor Party. Can I just say to you that assuring Australian security is the most important responsibility of Government. My Government will be, as it is today, utterly relentless in keeping Australians safe. We have no tolerance for terrorism, at home or abroad, and any party seeking to form a government, any alternative government, should take exactly the same approach. I can assure all Australians that we will continue to keep our borders secure. We will continue to keep Australians safe, and we will pursue terrorists and terrorism wherever they are, or it is.

JOURNALIST:

Is that the new standard required for both major parties that a candidate who has questioned a law previously becomes unfit for office?

PRIME MINISTER:

I'm not going to comment on the candidate, the Labor candidate.

JOURNALIST:

The Attorney-General said that Bill Shorten should disendorse her.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well can I just say to you what I said before. The most important priority for any government always is the safety of the people. That’s the supreme responsibility. We are relentless in ensuring that we keep Australians safe. Whether it is fighting terrorism overseas, only a few days ago the American President Barack Obama thanked me for what he described as the extraordinary contribution of Australians fighting Daesh in the Middle East. And equally we recognise there are real threats in Australia. You’ve seen the arrests just in the last few days. We must be constantly vigilant, and I want to praise and thank our police and our security services for the great work they do in keeping us safe.

JOURNALIST:

You have just been asked twice to repeat what George Brandis has said in terms of disendorsing a candidate. Are you not repeating that call?

PRIME MINISTER:

This is a matter for Mr Shorten. This is a test for Mr Shorten. The Attorney General has called on him to disendorse the candidate and it’s really a matter for Mr Shorten to make his decision on this matter. It is a matter for him to make his decision on that matter.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister you are heading to WA this week. There is a lot of white hot anger there over the GST distribution. The Liberal Treasurer Mike Nahan’s not only moved on from suggesting voting Labor would lead to a better deal, he’s actually suggested he wants Dio Wang from the Palmer United party to be re-elected because he has championed the issue of GST. What hope can you offer West Australians that you will fix the GST distribution formula?

PRIME MINISTER:

The GST distribution formula is obviously a matter between the States. You understand that, the Commonwealth collects the GST but the revenue goes to the States and Territories. We have made payments out of the Federal budget, on our account, the Federal Government’s account, $500 million in each of two years to ensure that Western Australians get a fairer deal, because they have the GST formula, as it has been administered, has resulted in them getting a very low percentage. But it will adjust, the formula will adjust over the next few years. But this is something that all governments have got to address together.

Can I just say, it is up to you what questions you ask, but we have just made an announcement which has changed the lives of these young people and I would be delighted to take some questions on that, and you have one?

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister on health. The AMA has launched its national campaign today obviously arguing against the decision to extend the Medicare rebate until 2020. Can you guarantee that the cost of going to a GP won’t rise as a result of this decision?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well the Health Minister can comment further on this but can I just say the freeze or the ceasing the indexation of the Medicare benefits schedule - that is the $37 that is paid to a doctor for a consultation, plus of course the $6 bulk billing payment, $9 outside of the big cities - hat has remained frozen. It hasn't been indexed any further since Labor made the decision to do that in 2013. And that has been part of our, we have kept that, because as Sussan Ley described, we need to control the way we spend the health dollar within the limited means we have to enable us to have the funding to put new drugs on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme, to extend new technologies like the one we are talking about today.

As it happens, the rate of bulk billing has increased. So the experience to date has been that more Australians, not less Australians, are paying no more when they go and see their GP. Sussan do you want to comment on that?

MINISTER FOR HEALTH:

The national accounts put health spending under stress in the same way they do all other areas of expenditure. What we haven't heard from Bill Shorten about what he wants to do in health policy. I don't think he has actually written it because he keeps saying it is coming, it is coming. Not one single idea in health.

The important thing is that we recognise that GPs are at the centre of patient care, and we respect and admire the work they do, and we are working closely with them.

Bulk billing rates are high, almost higher than they have ever been, and of course the Commonwealth invests in bulk billing by paying doctors an extra rebate every time they bulk bill a patient. Not only that, but the Prime Minister and I announced healthcare homes, a model that builds all of your care for chronic and complex disease around your GP , and absolutely puts him or her at the centre of that care, and delivers a new remuneration model to general practice in the process. So contrast the strong, progressive, reformist work we are doing with the absolute vacant space coming from Labor.

JOURNALIST:

Did you catch Tony Abbott's campaign launch this morning?

PRIME MINISTER:

No I didn't.

JOURNALIST:

Big flag, it was very good. Premier Mike Baird said that in years to come we will all reflect on his time Prime Minister as being very positive for the country do you agree with the Premier?

PRIME MINISTER:

Of course, I was a member of Tony Abbott’s Cabinet.

JOURNALIST:

Will you be campaigning with Mr Abbott at some time during this election in Warringah?

PRIME MINISTER:

I am looking forward to campaigning for him in Warringah, that would be delightful. I might paddle my kayak across the harbour to join him.

JOURNALIST:

You are in Western Sydney for the second time in a row. Polling at the weekend showed that you are on track to retain most of Western Sydney but perhaps not Macarthur. How important is Western Sydney to being re-elected?

PRIME MINISTER:

Western Sydney is the heart of the city, it is the heart of Sydney, it is where shortly half of the whole population of this great city will live. It is the future of Sydney. This is where the future growth is to be found and I can assure you that Western Sydney is at the very top of our priorities here for this city.

That is why we are making such a contribution to the airport. That is why we are spending $3.6 billion on transport and roads in Western Sydney. It is why we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure that rail access is at the airport at the time it opens. Western Sydney is the future. There is no question about that. That is an economic, a demographic fact. And I can assure you, we are passionately committed to Western Sydney and its people. Thank you.

E&OE