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Monday, 22 February 2016
Page: 1753

Ms HALL (ShortlandOpposition Whip) (16:27): I rise to put on record yet again my absolute disgust and disappointment with this government's decision to close the Belmont Medicare office. This is a Medicare office that the Howard government closed and that Labor reopened when they were in government—and they opened it not only as a Medicare office but as a Medicare-Centrelink office. Belmont is an area where there are a lot of older people living. It is an area that looks after people that live to the south of it, and it takes them 20 minutes to drive there and over an hour to go by bus to Charlestown, the nearest office.

I would argue that this is really bloody-minded, and I would argue that the government is distorting figures. Every member in this House knows that this government is moving away from service delivery. It is refusing to provide services to the customers that go to Centrelink offices and to people that go to Medicare offices. People walk into those offices and are directed to a computer. I have seen 10 people standing up to use the computer because this government has instructed people that they are not allowed to approach the counter and that the staff cannot provide the service. This government stands condemned for its treatment of the people of Belmont and east Lake Macquarie.