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Wednesday, 12 February 2014
Page: 192

Mr DUTTON (DicksonMinister for Health and Minister for Sport) (12:23): I thank all of those members who have contributed to the debate on this bill. The Private Health Insurance Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 simplifies implementation arrangements of the previous government's base premium measure. The previous government's changes would have applied at a product level and would have effectively led to a different rebate for each policy type—cumbersome to administer and difficult for consumers to understand.

This bill amends the Private Health Insurance Act 2007 to create a single adjustment factor under a legislative instrument. The rebate will be adjusted uniformly across all insurance policies each 1 April by a factor to be determined in accordance with the private health insurance incentives rules. The adjustment factor will be a ratio representing the proportion of the increase in the consumer price index compared to the average private health insurance premium increase. Industry has advised that this bill will result in a significant administrative saving to the costs of implementing the previous government's base premium act. The bill also makes a minor amendment to clarify the definition of 'restricted access group'.

I note the shadow minister's concerns, late found as they may be, in relation to private health insurance and consumers. It is the case that when Labor were in power they attacked private health insurance at every turn, at every budget, and even promised before elections that they would not make adverse changes to private health insurance that would affect the almost 11 million Australians with private health insurance. But, true to form, as they did in the Hawke-Keating years, they did so again in the Rudd-Gillard years. People understand that Labor do not appreciate, support or see as part of the health future the private health insurance product, and for that they should be condemned. So we will not be supporting the shadow minister's second reading amendment, and I commend this bill to the House.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Vasta ): The original question was that this bill be now read a second time. To this the honourable member for Ballarat has moved as an amendment that all words after ‘That’ be omitted with a view to substituting other words. The question now is that the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the question.

Question negatived.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The question now is that the bill be now read a second time.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.