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Notice given 15 July 2002

459  Senator Bishop: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs—With reference to the ‘discussions’ between the department and the Australian Medical Association (AMA) relating to fees paid to doctors for treating veterans, the department stated in estimates hearings of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee on 4 June 2002 that it was ‘exploring some possible approaches’ and that ‘[t]he government has not yet decided what approach we should take in concluding those discussions’:

(1) Has the Government decided on an approach to take to conclude those discussions; if so, when did it make that decision; if not, when will it make that decision.

(2) When did these discussions begin.

(3) (a) On what dates have discussions occurred over the past 2 years; and (b) who has been present at these discussions.

(4) What correspondence has been exchanged between the department and the AMA in respect of these discussions.

(5) What progress has been made in these discussions.

(6) When will the discussions be concluded.

(7) Has the AMA made any formal offer to the department.

(8) Has the department made any formal offer to the AMA.

(9) Has the Government considered any formal proposals of offers.

(10) Are the discussions in relation to all Commonwealth Medical Benefit Schedule rates, including rates for general practitioners, or do they only relate to fees for specialists.

(11) (a) When are future meetings to continue or complete these discussions proposed; and (b) what is the agenda for those meetings.

(12) Can the following information be provided: the outcomes of previous 2-yearly discussions and the dates decisions have been made and announced.