SUBJECTS: Prime Minister’s visit to US; Visit to the Central Coast; Medicare; Fee-free TAFE;
SCOTT LEVI, HOST: And the acting Prime Minister is coming to the Central Coast, if not already here. Richard Marles joins us on the line. Good morning.
ACTING PRIME MINISTER, RICHARD MARLES: Morning, Scott. How are you?
LEVI: Yeah, not too bad, thanks. Walking in the rain today. You can come back anytime if you bring rain. We’re really doing it tough with the drought.
MARLES: Well, I’m pleased to assistance. I don’t know whether I can really take credit for that, but happy to do so anyway. But it’s very nice to be here.
LEVI: Barnaby would have claimed it.
MARLES: Yes, he would have claimed it. Barnaby has more front than Myers and he’s much better at that than me. But it is good to see rain in this part of the world and it’s really good to be on the Central Coast.
LEVI: You’re just off the phone to the Prime Minister. Obviously, you’ve got a pretty important job at the moment. How are things going in America with the Prime Minister? And to quote the Americans, our First Lady, of course, who flies a flag for the Central Coast.
MARLES: Well, she does. Jody’s a very proud local of the Central Coast. Well, I felt like the Prime Minister was ringing me because when I’m acting, he lends me his car, so I’m pretty sure he was just checking in to make sure that we haven’t done any damage to it. But he’s good, he’s had a busy day in Washington. It’s at the end of their day now and they’re just getting ready for the state dinner, which is going to happen in the next hour or so at the White House. But it’s obviously a pretty remarkable experience to be there for a state visit when the Americans really turn all of that on. And Joe Biden is somebody who he’s actually got to know a lot over the course of the last 17 months, so it’s great for him to be able to renew that friendship as well.
LEVI: So, hopefully you’re not hooning around the Central Coast, but what are you doing on the Central Coast?
MARLES: Trying not to hoon too much, but still enjoying taking this car to the Central Coast. We’re going to the Erina Fair Medical Centre this morning with Gordon Reid, and that’s a medical centre which has received a strengthening Medicare General Practice grant, which is all about encouraging GP clinics to do more bulk billing. And we’re really highlighting that as of next Wednesday. So, the 1 November, the bulk billing incentive is going to triple, which will encourage a lot more general practices to give bulk billing to their patients. So, that’s a really important measure. And then later in the morning, I’ll be with Emma McBride and we’ll be at the Ourimbah TAFE- the week before last, I think I’ve lost track of time- but the National Skills Agreement was signed between the Commonwealth and the States, which is going to see the better part of $30 billion over the next five years go into our TAFE sector. And that’s going to open up a whole lot more free TAFE places, which is so important given what we need to do in terms of training Australians in what has been over the last few years, a skills crisis, but it’s obviously also a great opportunity for people to get a trade and to pursue a fantastic career.
LEVI: Mr Marles, thanks for joining us.
MARLES: A pleasure. Thanks for having me.