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Monday, 7 November 2011
Page: 8413

Senator WONG (South AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deregulation) (20:35): We will do what we can to assist you. In relation to your question on single residences, I am not sure that is a term that we are familiar with in this context. It may be a term that is in the Aged Care Act; I am not sure. But the advice I have is that providers will receive a proportion of the clean energy payment of each resident. I do not know if that assists, Senator.

In relation to the essential medical equipment payment, the government has made a decision to put in place a payment of $140. This is to cover the change in running costs due to a carbon price of a kidney dialysis machine, which is the highest energy use machine expected to be covered by the payment. It is paid in addition to any state or territory government rebate or subsidy for essential medical equipment or thermoregu­latory dysfunction. It has been designed to cover the additional cost impact of running medical equipment over and above the existing cost, which is subsidised through state schemes. The payment will be available for people with medical needs, or their carers, who are covered by an eligible concession card, require equipment or additional heating or cooling in their home as a result of a medical condition and hold, or contribute to the payment of, an energy account. It is not intended to provide assistance for the full operating costs of life-support machines. Rather, it is intended, as I said, to assist with increases in the running costs of life-support equipment due to the carbon price. It is also targeted at those who are most in need, hence those people covered by a concession card.

I am also advised that the list of equipment and medical conditions which will qualify a person for an EMEP are being developed in consultation with stakeholders. However, equipment eligible for a rebate or subsidy under a state or territory scheme as at 30 June 2011 will be included. I have a number of other points but I do not think they are relevant.

Again, I say—I see the senator rising—that the government would like to vote on the amendment before the chair. The government is quite happy to do so. I am very happy to continue answering questions, but the failure of the committee to vote on a single amendment, having sat all of the day plus four hours on Thursday, says something about the way in which the opposition are choosing to conduct this debate.