TV interview with Assistant Minister McBride and Jaynie Seal, Sky News Regional Breakfast – 20 June 2024

Read the transcript of Assistant Minister McBride's interview with Jaynie Seal on nuclear power and mental health funding.

The Hon Emma McBride MP
Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
Assistant Minister Rural and Regional Health

Media event date:
Date published:
Media type:
General public

JAYNIE SEAL, SKY NEWS: Seven nuclear power plants could be built across the country by 2050 if Peter Dutton wins the next federal election. Big questions remaining, including the price and how to win over Labor states. Well, joining me live is Emma McBride, Assistant Rural and Regional Health Minister. Thank you so much for joining us. What is your take on the nuclear policy?

EMMA MCBRIDE, ASSISTANT MINISTER: This is risky. Peter Dutton has a risky nuclear reactor plan, and he wants Australians to pay for it. Peter Dutton hasn't visited, since he's been leader, any of the sites nominated for nuclear reactors. This is affecting particularly regional people. I know Dan Repacholi, the Member for the Hunter, has called out Peter Dutton on this just yesterday. To not consult on major decisions that impact regional people. In contrast, we have a plan for renewables that will create cheaper energy faster. And from 1 July, every Australian household will have $300 energy bill relief because we know people are feeling the pinch.

JAYNIE SEAL: In terms of nuclear as an energy source, do you think that it's a safe option? Hearing from experts that many people are saying it is, but it's just not right for Australia at the moment. Well, for at least a decade.

EMMA MCBRIDE: We know that people need energy bill relief now, this plan from Peter Dutton is just kicking the can down the road. This type of nuclear energy, they've spoken about, small modular reactors, doesn't exist anywhere else in the world. To introduce technology like this would be decades. And in the meantime, people paying more for their energy, our renewable plan will create cheaper energy, jobs in the regions, and is much safer for our community and a safe transition.

JAYNIE SEAL: All right, let's turn to the New South Wales Budget, which was announced this week. Regarding regional, the Government is saying that the focus is on supporting the economic development and well-being of regional communities through new hospitals and preschools and bringing more frontline workers to the regions and increasing housing supply. How is this going to be achieved?

EMMA MCBRIDE: I think this is really welcome news. I met with Minister Rose Jackson, the New South Wales Mental Health Minister, just last week and spoke to Minister Ryan Park. The investments that they've made, particularly in supporting bulk billing, by not making retrospective payroll tax for general practise, and supporting practises that do bulk bill patients, will make a big difference in supporting our $3.5 billion investment in bulk billing. Their commitments around paramedics and having paramedics based in regional parts of New South Wales so more people have access to paramedics sooner, I believe will also make a significant difference. We're working very closely in strong collaboration with New South Wales, particularly in health, to make sure that every Australian, no matter where they live, has got timely access to quality care closer to home.

JAYNIE SEAL: What's the situation with GPs? You mentioned bulk billing and so forth. Speaking to many people in the region saying that a lot of people aren't even training to become a GP. They're choosing other medical specialities. Is there an urgency here?

EMMA MCBRIDE: We know that when we came into power after almost 10 years of neglect, it was never harder or more expensive to find a GP. We've made significant investments in the GP workforce, and now just under 20 per cent of medical graduates in Australia are choosing general practise as a speciality, with a strong interest in rural generalism. We're also introducing the single-employer model so doctors in training can move from their hospital-based training into primary care, into general practise, and have their benefits travel with them. We're also increasing the number of Commonwealth-supported places for regional kids to study at bush universities, knowing that the strongest pipeline of regional workforce, particularly health workforce, is local people training end to end in local universities, having good placements in those communities and seeing the future for them and their families, living and working and providing health care in that town or regions and suburbs like those.

JAYNIE SEAL: And finally, you're in Adelaide. Tell us what you're there for.

EMMA MCBRIDE: So pleased to be in Adelaide today, and with Minister Mark Butler, working in strong partnership with the South Australian Government to introduce another Medicare Mental Health Centre. We know that distress is increasing in the community and that people have found it really hard to be able to access mental health care and support. These 61 Medicare Mental Health Centres that we're rolling out across the country, including in the regions, will mean that people can walk in without needing to wait for a diagnosis or a referral, and get free access to mental health support and care. This will make such a big difference, and is already, to people, particularly in regional Australia. And a significant boost in the budget of close to $30 million to make sure that every one of these centres has access to a psychologist or a psychiatrist on call to make sure that people can get that specialist mental health support and care when they need it close to home, and now for free. 

JAYNIE SEAL: Assistant Minister Emma McBride, thank you so much for your time. Great to see you.

EMMA MCBRIDE: Good to be with you.

Help us improve

If you would like a response please use the enquiries form instead.