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Monday, 2 March 2015
Page: 1626

Health Care

Ms PLIBERSEK (SydneyDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:13): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to the statement by the Minister for Finance this morning: 'We will always focus on what is achievable over what is 100 per cent desirable.' Does the Prime Minister agree with his finance minister that the GP tax is still desirable?

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (14:14): I certainly agree that we want Medicare to be safe and secure for the long term. We absolutely want Medicare to be safe and secure for the long term, and that is exactly why the Minister for Health is having ongoing discussions with the profession, and that is why the government will have more to say in due course. But the simple fact that members opposite need to be aware of is that a decade ago Medicare was costing us $8 billion a year. Today it is costing us $20 billion a year and a decade hence it will cost us $34 billion a year. So we must always be taking sensible measures to ensure that Medicare is strong and sustainable. But it is very important that those measures protect bulk-billing for the vulnerable and that is always what you will get from this government.