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Thursday, 12 November 2015
Page: 8435


Senator SIEWERT (Western AustraliaAustralian Greens Whip) (12:25): I seek leave to make a short statement.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator SIEWERT: The Greens have publicly acknowledged the announcement by Minister Nash in terms of additional funding for Indigenous eye health. I made the point at the time that it was not the full commitment that the eye health community in particular was calling for but it was a good start. That money was invested on the basis of ongoing work in the community. The decrease in the rebate for optometry is directly affecting the ability of optometrists in particular to go into remote communities. So what has been happening is that groups of medicos have been going into remote communities with optometrists to deliver services. What is happening is that the rebate is making it economically unviable, so it undermines the effective of the investment the government has already made.

Question agreed to.