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Tuesday, 20 April 1971

Senator GREENWOOD (VICTORIA) (Minister for Health) - I am not able to give the honourable senator the assurance he seeks. I should indicate to him that the 6 per cent increase which was awarded in the national wage case is an increase which has in fact already been granted but, as far as the question of the projected increase in doctors' fees is concerned, the Australian Medical Association has only made an announcement - which, of course, it is within its rights to make - as to what the fees of doctors should be throughout Australia. The Commonwealth Government is interested because it has a national health scheme and the contributions which contributors to hospital and medical benefit funds make and the contributions which the Commonwealth Government makes by way of Commonwealth benefits are tied to the fees which doctors charge. Accordingly, the Commonwealth Government's interest is a very real one. I will be consulting with the executive of the Australian Medical Association at the earliest possible opportunity. I shall certainly bear in mind the purport and intent of the honourable senator's question.

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