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Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Page: 2304


Dr SOUTHCOTT (Boothby) (13:54): I rise to table a petition with 2,268 signatures from the people of Boothby calling on the government not to means test the private health insurance rebate.

The petition read as follows—

To the Honourable The Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives

This petition of concerned Australian citizens draws to the attention of the House the Government's intention to means test the private health insurance rebate. Means testing the rebate will see many people cancel or reduce their level of cover and place further pressure on an already stressed public hospital system.

We therefore ask the house to defeat the Fairer Private Health Insurance Incentives Bill 2011 and maintain the strong levels of private health cover in Australia.

from 2,268 citizens

Petition received.

Dr SOUTHCOTT: The changes to the private health insurance rebate regrettably passed the House during the last sitting week. The coalition has said that when we win government we will reverse these changes as soon as we can. These changes represent yet another broken promise from this dishonest Labor government. Every one of the signatures on this petition is a call to the government to honour its election promise.

The petition has been submitted to and approved by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Petitions. There are 96,728 people in Boothby covered by private health insurance. That is 72.3 per cent of everyone on the electoral roll. Some 63.3 per cent of voters in Boothby hold hospital treatment insurance and 71½ per cent hold general treatment insurance. The changes to the private health insurance rebate will have a bad impact on private hospitals, such as the Flinders Private Hospital in my electorate. It will put more pressure on public hospitals, such as the Flinders Medical Centre, and it will have an impact on all of those small businesses—dentists and other allied health professionals such as physios, speech therapists and podiatrists. So I table this petition with 2,268 signatures from the electorate of Boothby calling on the government to honour its election promise.