Interview with Steve Martin ABC Melbourne
Transcript of Minister for Health, Greg Hunt's Interview with Steve Martin ABC Melbourne.
The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Minister for Health
14 December 2017
Topics: Surf Life Saving Australia’s 2017 National Coastal Safety Report
Minister, good morning to you.
Good morning, Steve.
This National Coastal Safety Report looks at drowning deaths around the coastline. Can you give us the sort of headline figures on this, Greg?
Sure, so the key finding is that in the last year we lost 116 people to coastal drownings. That’s down 12 on the year before but of course 116 is a massive number.
The surprising finding I suspect for most people is that less than 30 per cent of those were swimming or wading at the beach. So, the vast bulk were jet skiing, rock fishing, they were snorkelling or scuba diving or boating.
And so, the real message to come out of it is that if you’re doing something such as kayaking, boating, if you’re jet skiing, or in particular if you’re rock fishing, wear a life jacket, it literally, literally can save your life.
Rock fishing is notoriously dangerous and there’ve been all sorts of campaigns on that over the years. Do the figures show we’re not making any progress amongst the people who partake in that pastime?
It’s better, but it’s not as good as it could be and so, I represent the Mornington Peninsula and Bass Coast. We have fantastic rock fishing destinations, but I know that there are lots of people who go who don’t wear life jackets and the thing is a rogue wave can sweep up, it can take you and it is a brutal sea out there.
I was down at Point Nepean only a couple of days ago. We’re preparing for the 50th anniversary commemoration of Harold Holt’s loss and those seas on the south side of the peninsula, on the Bass Strait side, are very, very rough.
The other figure that stood for me, Greg Hunt, is 83 per cent of the people who drowned were male.
That’s true. And I think that’s a combination of frequency of use or participation in some of those activities, but also potentially a likelihood to do it without the lifesaving gear.
So, for blokes, that’s me, that’s you, that’s half the population, we need to pick up our game because we leave behind wives, we leave behind children or parents, or grieving siblings.
So, it’s not hard to wear a life jacket and it makes a massive difference to your chances of success if you inadvertently end up in the water, if you get knocked out, anything such as that.
Alright, Minister, very, very quickly, we’ve only got a tiny bit of time before the news, reshuffle is on, any major changes are you expecting?
Look I’ll leave that one to the Prime Minister. Our focus at the moment is the Bennelong by-election. He obviously has to fill a place because Fiona Nash has left the Parliament…
Do you want to retain health?
I love health. I actually love the combination of health and sport has been a real privilege and there’s a lot more work to do.
Minister, thanks for your time. That is Greg Hunt, Minister for Health, Minister for Sport.