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Australians get the presents on Medicare's 12th birthday



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Dr Carmen Lawrence Minister for Human Services and Health Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women

CL45/96 1 February, 1996

AUSTRALIANS GET THE PRESENTS ON MEDICARE'S 12TH BIRTHDAY

Australia's acclaimed universal health system, Medicare, is celebrating its 12th birthday and to commemorate the occasion, the Federal Government today announced that Medicare offices with high demand would now open on Saturdays.

"Medicare enjoys and overwhelming level of public support and is recognised as a world leader," said the Federal Minister for Human Services and Health, Carmen Lawrence.

"However the Government does not rest on its laurels. We are continuing to introduce new initiatives to improve customer service.

"Last December, Labor introduced a system of formless cash claiming to improve customer convenience. For people in rural and remote areas, we are piloting a telephone claiming system.

"Today we are announcing another improvement - the extension of trading hours to Saturdays between the hours of 10.00 a.m. and 2.00 p.m. for 78 Medicare offices across all States and Territories.

"Labor recognises that Australians need greater flexibility to balance the increasing demands on their time. Opening Medicare offices on Saturdays will make this juggling act that little bit easier, especially for working families."

Dr Lawrence said the Government would fully discuss the implementation of the extended trading hours with the CPSU and Health Commission staff before the new opening hours began on October 1.

"12 years ago two million Australians had no health cover whatsoever. Now, every Australian has access to high quality affordable health care.

"This year alone, 12 million Australians will receive free general practice care and more than two million will be treated without charge in our public hospitals.

"This is an achievement worth celebrating, and worth defending."

Dr Lawrence said Labor's 12 years of Medicare contrasted sharply with the Opposition's 12 minutes of support.

"John Howard's policy commitment to Medicare will have a shelf life of just two weeks - from the Coalition campaign launch until the day after the election.

"Only a Labor Government could design and implement a system like Medicare and only a Labor Government can safeguard and continue to improve Medicare," Dr Lawrence said. Contact Brenda Conroy 0412 414781

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MEDICARE OFFICES North Ryde

EXTENDED SATURDAY TRADING HOURS

NEW SOUTH WALES (AND ACT*)

Albury

Bankstown

Belconnen*

Blacktown

Bondi

Brookvale

Burwoood

Campbelltown

Castle Hill

Charlestown

Chatswood

Civic, Canberra*

Dubbo

Eastwood

Hornsby

Hurstville

Kotara

Liverpool

Martin Place

Miranda

Penrith

Queen Victoria Building

Springwood

Tam worth

Tuggeranong*

Woden*

Wollongong

Wynyard

VICTORIA

Ballarat

Bendigo

Bourke St

Box Hill

Camberwell

Centrepoint

Chadstone

Dandenong

Doncaster

Frankston

Geelong

Glen Waverley

Greensborough

Newcastle

Keysborough

Prahran Rundle Mall

Ring wood

Shepparton

Southland

QUEENSLAND

Aitkenvale

Brisbane Inner City

Brookside

Bundaberg

Cairns

Chermside

Garden City

Indooroopilly

Mac Kay

Pacific Fair

Rockhampton

Southport

Toowooomba

Townsville

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Colonnades

Eastwood

West Lakes

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Booragoon

Bunbury

Morley

Perth Medibank House

Subiaco

TASMANIA

Eastlands

Hobart

Launceston

NORTHERN TERRITORY

Alice Springs

Casuarina

Darwin

Marion