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Monday, 22 September 2014
Page: 9953

Ms CHESTERS (Bendigo) (13:48): On 12 September, locals gathered in Eaglehawk community park for a Save Medicare Community Action Day. People signed petitions and wrote their own messages to the government about why this government's attack on Medicare is unacceptable. Many of the locals talked about their need for the local community health service, Bendigo Community Health, which was one of the earliest community health facilities built in this country.

At the rally, we had the Bendigo Community Health Services acting CEO, Anne Somerville, address the crowd. She said that in the Bendigo community health network, GPs provided over 6,000 appointments in August alone. Now whack that with an extra $7 and that is big bucks that this government will take out of the pockets of patients in Bendigo—this is from one network alone in one month. This service bulk bills. It supports the most vulnerable in our communities, the lowest socioeconomic and at-risk communities, in regional areas like Eaglehawk. The government should be doing what they can to partner with community health, they should not be attacking them. That is why people in Bendigo and in Eaglehawk stand opposed to this government's attacks on Medicare and health funding.