Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Federal Government to provide $500 cash rebate for children's health

Download PDFDownload PDF



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


6 February, 1996



Nearly two million Australian families will receive a cash rebate of up to $500 a year towards the cost of their children's health bills under an initiative announced by the Federal Labor Government today.

The Federal Minister for Human Services and Health , Carmen Lawrence, said the new Family Health Rebate would help families to pay bills for health services not covered by Medicare.

"The Family Health Rebate will help three and a half million Australian children." Dr Lawrence said. "Every family that receives the existing Family Payment will qualify for this benefit."

Dr Lawrence said the rebate would also offer families peace of mind.

"Parents know how difficult it is to find the money for those costly services that children need such as dental and orthodontic treatment, occupational and speech therapy, physiotherapy and chiropractic services.

"Research has shown, for example, that up to 25 per cent of children may not see a dentist regularly because the family finds it difficult to pay a $100 dental bill

"The Family Health Rebate will relieve this pressure by rebating parents half the cost of each bill up to $350 a year for families with one child, and up to $500 a year for families with two children or more.

"Furthermore, if families claim less than their full entitlement per year, the rebate can be rolled over every year for seven years."

Dr Lawrence said families planning the birth of a child would also benefit from the Family Health Rebate as it will be available for antenatal and midwifery services

M > (


"Alternatively, if families don't want to use the rebate to assist in the direct purchase of these health services, they can choose to claim an annual cash rebate of $350 for their private health insurance premiums instead.

"The choice is each family's to make," Dr Lawrence said. "And all rebates will be claimable at Medicare offices simply by producing a receipt or a bill. Families won't have to wait for their tax return to get this benefit."

The Family Health Rebate package is worth $368 million in its first full year of operation.

The Treasurer has said our election promises will be fully funded. Access to Medicare and public hospitals will not be impeded by these changes. The Medicare levy will not rise.

Dr Lawrence said the Federal Government would also continue its proud record of reforming and improving sen/ices for older Australians.

"Since 1984/85, Labor has increased nursing home and hostel funding by 52 per cent in real terms, " said the Minister.

"Funding for Home and Community Care services such as Meals on Wheels and home nursing, has increased at an even greater rate, by 227 per cent in real terms.

"The Government has committed to further increasing funding for the Home and Community Care program by $150 million over the next four years."

Dr Lawrence said the Government would also increase funding for care in dementia specific hostels.

"Today I can announce an increase of $3.1 million for this financial year."

Dr Lawrence said health and human services had been transformed under Labor.

"Before Labor came to power, two million Australians had no health insurance at all. They received no assistance whatsoever if injury or illness struck them or their families.

"Today, Medicare provides all Australians with high quality medical and hospital care when they need it.

2 .


3 .

"Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme are a resounding success - internationally acclaimed and envied.

"This year alone more than 12 million Australians will receive free general practice care and more than two million will be treated free of charge in our public hospitals.

"These Government funded health services are worth an average $41 a week to Australian families - an increase of nearly 58 per cent since 1981-82.

"It was Labor that designed and implemented Medicare," Dr Lawrence said, "And only Labor can build on this success and safeguard its future for all Australians.

Media Contact: Brenda Conroy 0412 414 781