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Monday, 24 November 2003
Page: 22479

Mr BRERETON (2:23 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Health and Ageing. I refer to his recent statement in the Sydney Morning Herald that:

... a family with two children on $50,000 a year, for example, would be entitled to ... expect to be bulk-billed ...

Minister, isn't it true that the government's package provides no additional incentives for doctors to bulk-bill either parent in a family on $50,000 or their dependent children if they are over the age of 16?

Mr ABBOTT (Minister for Health and Ageing) —I would make the point, in response to the member for KingsfordSmith, that bulk-billing is a function of two factors: first, financial incentives, and financial incentives to bulk-bill will be significantly improved under this package; and, second, the supply of doctors, and the supply of doctors will be dramatically improved under this package. In fact, the supply of general practitioners will go up by almost 10 per cent as a result of this package. Certainly, whatever difficulties there may be in some places, people living in the electorate of KingsfordSmith enjoy, under the policies of this government, a bulk-billing rate of 88.7 per cent.