Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 23 June 2003
Page: 17161


Mr JENKINS (1:45 PM) —To enable the petitions I have to be presented before the winter recess, under standing order 117(b) I present three petitions—the first from 56 citizens, the second from 15 citizens and the third from 366 citizens. Whilst each of these petitions is different, inter alia they all request that the House takes urgent steps to restore bulk-billing by general practitioners. The last of those petitions was collected on a very wintry Saturday morning—last Saturday—in my electorate. It reflects the growing disquiet within the community about the plans that the present government has, the distrust the community has of those plans and the understanding that the community has that Labor values Medicare.

Whilst the bulk-billing rates in my electorate are above the national average, since the election of the Howard government, they have been continuously on the decline and are still declining. The other aspect of the present situation is that the local accident emergency centres at local hospitals are put under greater pressure because people feel the need to attend those centres when they could be better served by attending general practitioner services. They are the types of services that really need addressing. Labor has a plan to address this. Labor built Medicare. Labor believes in Medicare. Labor will save Medicare.

The petitions read as follows—

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled:

The petition of certain citizens of Australia draws to the attention of the House that:

Under the Howard Government the rate of bulk billing-has dropped and the cost of visiting a doctor has risen.

The Howard Government's proposed changes to Medicare will do nothing to improve this situation. Under the changes more families will not be able to access bulk billing and doctors will increase their fees.

We request that the House takes urgent steps to restore bulk billing by General Practitioners and reject John Howard's plan to end universal bulk billing.

from 366 citizens

To the Honourable Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives assembled in Parliament:

The petition of certain citizens of Australia draws to the attention of the House:

That under proposed changes to Medicare, families earning more than $32,300 a year will miss out on bulk billing, and doctors will increase their fees for visits that are no longer bulk billed;

That the rate of bulk billing by GPs has plummeted by 11% under John Howard;

That's more than 10 million fewer GP visits were bulk billed this year compared to when John Howard came to office;

That the average out-of-pocket cost to see a GP who does not bulk bill has gone up by 55% since 1996 to $12.78 today;

That public hospitals are now under greater pressure because people are finding it harder to see bulk billing doctors.

We therefore pray that the House takes urgent steps to restore bulk billing by general practitioners and reject John Howard's plan to end universal bulk billing so all Australians have access to the health care they need and deserve.

from 15 citizens

To the Honourable Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives assembled in Parliament:

The petition of certain citizens of Australia draws to the attention of the House:

That the rate of bulk billing by GPs has fallen by almost 10% since 1996 and is now in serious decline;

That this year, 7.7 million fewer GP visits were bulk billed than in 1996;

That the average out-of-pocket cost to see a GP who does not bulk bill has gone up by 51 % since 1996 to $12.57 today;

That public hospitals are now under greater pressure because people are finding it harder to see bulk billing doctors.

We therefore pray that the House takes urgent steps to restore bulk billing by general practitioners so that all Australians have access to the health care they need.

from 56 citizens