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Monday, 3 March 2014
Page: 1479

Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (16:26): I rise today to share my deep concern about the proposed $6 GP tax that the coalition will not rule out. I ask the government to rule this GP tax out. This tax will have a significant impact on my electorate in Kingston, where 83 per cent of local residents are currently bulk-billed. If a $6 tax was added to that, it will cost my electorate $5 million plus. This is a significant impost. It will detract from people being able to see a doctor when they need to.

We have heard the member for Higgins say: 'This is not a tax, it is a price point; it is a price point in the market.' Yet the coalition has not demonstrated that GPs are actually over-servicing—saying it is a price point is actually an argument that it will bring servicing down. What evidence has the coalition shown that there is over-servicing by GPs? At a time when, for example, we are trying to encourage men to go and get their prostate checked by their GPs—something that they feel very uncomfortable about doing—we are going to put another barrier, a price point or tax, in the way of them going to get preventative health care which is so important. I call on the government to reassess this and to rule it out. This will hit families hard. Most importantly, it will destroy our universal health system. This is ill-thought through. It is a policy that will affect the rest of health policy and I ask the coalition to reconsider.