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Tuesday, 25 November 2003
Page: 22707

Ms GILLARD (2:22 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Health and Ageing and concerns eligibility for the government's new bandaid safety net. Minister, isn't it the case that, where one family has an irregular income or arranges its income in order to access family tax benefits and a similar family with the same income does not, the second family will not qualify for the $500 safety net, even though both families have the same yearly income? Minister, how fair is the so-called safety net?

Mr ABBOTT (Minister for Health and Ageing) —Let me make it very clear to the member for Lalor that the safety net has universal coverage.

The SPEAKER —The member for Lalor has asked her question.

Mr ABBOTT —Every single Australian is now eligible for the brand-new MedicarePlus safety net. Obviously some people are eligible for the $500 threshold and some people are eligible for the $1,000 threshold. Those who are eligible for the $500 threshold are those with concession cards or those who are receiving family tax benefit part A. That is very clear, but what is even more clear is that, thanks to the MedicarePlus package, all Australians have access to a brand-new safety net that they did not have access to before and that they will not have access to if members opposite have their way.