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Monday, 23 November 2009
Page: 8612

Senator SIEWERT (8:21 PM) —I will not speak for any longer than is absolutely necessary. The Greens will be supporting this amendment, for the same reason that we did last time: we think we need to, firstly, deal with this issue of when a schedule fee is disallowed; and, secondly, we do not think there has been enough effort put into actually fixing this issue around cataracts. I spoke at more length last time I addressed this issue, but there is still a stand-off in dealing with this issue of the schedule fees for cataracts. To my mind there has not been enough information presented about what the real costs are in terms of the rebates. There is dispute about how long operations take. I have heard some evidence regarding the number of patients who are going through a certain number of procedures per day, but I have also heard counterevidence to that as well. Yes, there was a meeting, and I understand that it was unsatisfactory—it takes two sides in such an issue to have a meeting. I must admit, we have not adequately heard the minister’s side; we have heard the ophthalmologist’s side. But the Greens have yet to be convinced that this issue has been adequately dealt with, so we will be supporting this amendment.

Question put:

That the amendments (Senator Cormann’s) be agreed to.