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Thursday, 24 June 2010
Page: 6680

Dr SOUTHCOTT (8:27 PM) —On behalf of the opposition, I wish to say that we agree that the unique individual healthcare identifier is an important of the architecture for e-health. We are supportive of e-health for the efficiencies, the improvements in safety and the avoidance of duplication in clinical practice that it will bring. As the minister said, there was a Senate inquiry into this legislation, the Healthcare Identifiers Bill 2010 and cognate bill, and there was a minority report. The opposition took up the concerns of the coalition senators raised in the minority report and drafted eight amendments. The concerns raised in six of those amendments were taken up by government amendments. There were two further amendments that addressed function creep but, following discussions with stakeholders, with NEHTA and also with Owen from the minister’s office, I am satisfied that those two amendments would not have been workable. The opposition determined in the Senate not to proceed with those amendments. We made the decision in the Senate to support the government amendments. We think that this is an important part of establishing the infrastructure for e-health. I also note that COAG has set aside $218 million for the adoption of a healthcare identifier service which runs until 30 June 2012. This money has already been allocated. Now the legislation is in place to let this go forward.

Question agreed to.