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Tuesday, 7 December 2004
Page: 115

Senator IAN CAMPBELL (Minister for the Environment and Heritage) (8:35 PM) —I think the sentiments in the amendment are entirely admirable but I do not think it is appropriate to use the copyright bill to amend the Therapeutic Goods Act. I reassure the chamber that the government made it very clear that PBS pricing is not an FTA issue. We refused to talk about it in the FTA context and I think our actions during the federal election campaign in relation to the 12½ per cent indicate our strong commitment to the PBS within the health system of Australia. Contrary to Senator Nettle's view about the copayment policy, that is designed to ensure that the PBS is robustly financed as the Australian population ages and a larger proportion of it depends on the support of the PBS. We are strong supporters of that, and that is why I say that the sentiments in Senator Nettle's motions are agreeable. But, as quite often is the case, I agree with Senator Conroy in relation to this.