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Thursday, 11 March 2004
Page: 21367

Senator IAN CAMPBELL (Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads) (12:30 PM) —In answer to Senator McLucas's question, the guidelines for GP work force programs that are currently located in RRMAs 4 to 7 will be revised to allow funding to go to the areas where the RRMA classification system throws up clear anomalies in RRMAs 4 to 7. The program guidelines are being revised to do that, and that fits in with the approach that is outlined in the minister's letter that was tabled this morning.

In relation to Senator Allison's question about the enhanced primary care programs, she said correctly there are roughly 150,000 there. People who currently are in those sorts of programs and have that sort of care made available to them will now get the additional benefit of the $220 new rebate for services such as physio, podiatry, dieticians and so forth. On top of that, if they qualify for assistance for complex and chronic illnesses where dental care can be of assistance, then that can be added in as another $220 for up to three consultations with a dentist. We expect that the numbers will stay fairly steady. There will be some growth, of course, and the additional $220 for allied health professionals and $220 on top of that for dentists will make them more attractive, particularly to low income people.