Date published: 
24 October 2018
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

JOURNALIST:

So can you tell us about, in terms of vaccination rates, what does the latest data show?

GREG HUNT:

So the new National Vaccination Rates for five year olds are very, very good news, up from 91.5 per cent when we came to office to 94.6 per cent now and that means more children are covered and more children in the community are protected and whether that's in terms of mumps or measles, rubella, whether it's in relation to pertussis or other conditions, it's ultimately about saving lives and protecting lives.

There's more to be done. There are pockets where the figures aren't as high but one of the very good pieces of news is that in Indigenous Australia the average is 96.6 per cent so well done and thank you to all of those Indigenous communities that are really pitching in with the message that vaccination saves lives.

JOURNALIST:

Where are we seeing those figures lacking and why do you think that is?

GREG HUNT:

So the figures, where they are lower, tend to be lower in some of the better-off areas. We know that the inner suburbs of Sydney whether it's on the North Shore or in Sydney City are lower. There are parts of Adelaide where it's lower. So the - as well as the Byron Bay region.

So it tends to be that some are better-off areas in terms of average income the figures are lower. So our message to parents is that vaccination is safe. It saves lives and it's fundamental and if you don't vaccinate your child, you are leaving your child at risk. That's not a sensible or safe thing to do.

JOURNALIST:

Do you have any data or any background on why the correlation between wages or wealth would translate to less vaccinations?

GREG HUNT:

Well it's certainly a fact in terms of the areas where we know that there are lower vaccination rates and sometimes what can happen is that there can be a view within a particular subsection of a community and that is the case statistically that it's in some of the better off areas.

Particularly in inner Sydney and also in parts of inner Adelaide where- as well as the Byron Bay area where the figures are lower and the message is very clear and we are targeting those areas whether it's through childcare centres or others that vaccination isn't just safe, it not only saves lives but it's fundamental to give your child the best chance at protecting them.

JOURNALIST:

Speaking of children and the health of children: on Monday 11 children were evacuated from Nauru due to the need for medical assistance. Will the Government work with Labor to settle refugees perhaps in New Zealand or what is your policy on that?

GREG HUNT:

Well our goal has always been to ensure that every child is safe and every child is protected. We stop the tragedies at sea and I remember sharing an office next to Scott Morrison’s when we were in opposition and he warned about and he foresaw the tragedy at sea and said that life would be lost and they were.

So the first thing is we stopped that. Secondly, there were 8000 children put it into detention under Labor and there were 2000 when we came in within Australia and all of those are out. Now you have a small number on Nauru and our goal has been to progressively ensure that they are both taken care of and resettled.

Labor has been standing in the way of important Senate legislation and the Prime Minister has said that. So it's not a case of us working with them, it's a case of them accepting and acknowledging the steps that the Government is taking to clear up the tragedy, the carnage, the chaos, that they caused on their watch and would cause again if they came in. Now is their chance, their moment, their opportunity to actually work with us for an outcome.

JOURNALIST:

It has been reported that the health of those on Nauru is deteriorating. As the Health Minister, are you concerned about that?

GREG HUNT:

So I think it is very important that we have the fundamental resources there. There are over 60 health professionals that are working on Nauru and 33 in particular are focusing on mental health. And so there is a very high focus and if any child needs to seek help elsewhere then we've facilitated that with over 200 transfers. So at the end of the day, here is the moment for the ALP if they are serious, having caused this chaos, having caused this carnage at sea, having lead 8000 children into detention in Australia to actually finally for the first time be part of the resolution to this challenge.

JOURNALIST:

Just lastly, on Malcolm Turnbull, reports that there is tension and that the relationship between Scott Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull has soured. How would you describe their relationship or his relationship with the Government?

GREG HUNT:

Actually I've been in touch with the Prime Minister's Office this morning and their view was that there's a very strong and healthy relationship between the Prime Minister and Mr Turnbull. In fact, the significant thing is that Scott Morrison invited Mr Turnbull to be his representative at an international Oceans Conference and that was a pretty strong symbol.

JOURNALIST:

And you’re happy for him to do that next week?

GREG HUNT:

Sure, he has amazing history in this space and I know having worked with Malcolm over more than a decade that we share a common passion for the oceans. It’s one of my deep personal passions and I know it's one of his deep personal passions and he'll bring something significant to this and he's respected internationally in this space for his commitment to the oceans.

JOURNALIST:

Thank you for your time.

GREG HUNT:

Thank you.

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