Date published: 
1 August 2018
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

1 August 2018



E&OE…



Topics: Strengthening Labor’s 2012 My Health Record legislation; business tax cuts



MICHAEL ROWLAND:

We're joined now live by the Health Minister Greg Hunt. Good morning to you.



GREG HUNT:

Good morning, Michael.



MICHAEL ROWLAND:

Why did the Government not know that there were serious flaws in the My Health Record that have prompted these changes?



GREG HUNT:

Well, we've responded by lifting the standard of Labor's 2012 legislation to the level of the practice. After six years, no records have been released to any legal body or law enforcement body, and the standard of the agency has been a court order, but the medical authority said it would be valuable if we could lift Labor's 2012 legislation to ensure that it would be enshrined in legislation and I think that was a sensible and reasonable response that they put forward, and we've dealt with that within two weeks.



The second thing is they've also asked if somebody wants to have their record cancelled, whether or not that could be deleted from the system permanently. Under Labor's 2012 legislation, it would have stayed for up to 130 years. We will now move to ensure that that is deleted permanently and both of those measures provide additional protection, additional privacy and additional reassurance.



MICHAEL ROWLAND:

How big where the loopholes in the scheme before today that would allow police and other agencies to gain access to patient’s personal medical information, Greg Hunt?



GREG HUNT:

Well, nobody has ever had their material released. Almost a quarter of Australians have a My Health Record and that's roughly six million Australians, so there have been no releases. There have been no privacy breaches, as the agency has confirmed, but this is, as we move to the next phase of a record that can save lives as the head of the AMA Tony Bartone has said, that can help people with chronic conditions, can help in emergency situations.



It provides the additional reassurance and the additional protection, and they were sensible and reasonable suggestions and requests from the medical authorities and I’ve been very happy to work with them. We’ve worked quickly. The requests have been made within the last two weeks, and we've resolved them within the last two weeks. And so that's an important part of providing that reassurance.



MICHAEL ROWLAND:

Will people have extra time to opt out of the system if they wanted to?



GREG HUNT:

Yes, we’ll extend at the request, again, of the authorities for an additional month, subject to a final discussion with state colleagues. But the important thing here is people can opt-out at any time. What this means though, is that over the coming period, no record will ever be created, but if they opt out after that, now the record will be permanently deleted, deleted forever.



And I think that's another thing which, as we move to the opt-out period, has been raised. The medical authorities have said that would provide additional reassurance, and I thought that was a sensible and reasonable request, and therefore we've moved quickly to work on their proposal.



MICHAEL ROWLAND:

Okay. Now, you're hoping this will obviously neutralise this as a political issue for the Government. Let's speak about another big issue – that’s the extension of those company tax cuts. Your Cabinet colleague Peter Dutton says - by all means, put the rest of the tax cuts to the Senate, but if the Senate knocks them down, the Government should drop them all together. Do you agree with his perspective?



GREG HUNT:

Look, the Government is proposing reducing the burden on business for a very simple reason - to create jobs. I support the proposals that we've got. If there were any other issues around the negotiations, I’ll leave that for the Treasurer and the Finance Minister. But we saw Mr Shorten reverse his position that was going to increase the tax on small and medium family businesses and that was because he realised that that higher tax burden would cost jobs and make it harder to create jobs.



So what are we doing here? We’re trying to give as many people as possible a chance to have employment, to have jobs created, to give people a better chance of a better lifestyle and being able to take care of themselves and their families. That's what reducing the burden on business is about.



MICHAEL ROWLAND:

You don't think offering tax cuts to the top end of town, particularly in the wake of the by-elections, is politically toxic?



GREG HUNT:

I'm sorry, the microphone… could you just repeat that?



MICHAEL ROWLAND:

I’ll ask the question again. You don't believe extending tax cuts to the most wealthiest of Australian businesses, the top end of town - in the wake of those by-elections, you don't think they are potentially politically toxic for the Government?



GREG HUNT:

Look, it's very important, I think, for us to make the point. These reductions in the cost of business are about helping ordinary Australians right across the country, in terms of creating jobs and creating employment.



That's why these things are being proposed. It’s also why Mr Shorten must have thought that he made a mistake when he reversed his own position of raising taxes for businesses in the small and medium family sector. If you can reduce the burden on business, you can increase the potential to create jobs. And it’s often those who are out of work or on part-time work who are going to be the biggest beneficiaries.



MICHAEL ROWLAND:

We'll leave it there. Greg Hunt, at Melbourne Airport, thank you very much for joining us on News Breakfast this morning.



GREG HUNT:

Thanks very much. Cheers Michael. Cheers Virginia.



(ENDS)


Authorised by Greg Hunt MP, Liberal Party of Australia, Hastings, Victoria.