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Tuesday, 27 February 2018
Page: 2054

Mr HART (Bass) (13:54): Tasmania's healthcare system is in crisis under an incompetent Liberal government. I know the pressure points within our public hospital system. In particular, I know just how difficult it is to address performance within our emergency departments and access to hospital—that is, public hospital—beds. The most recent performance data of our emergency departments nationwide make disturbing reading. On a state-by-state by basis, there has been no improvement in emergency department waiting times. Tasmanian ED waiting times are amongst the worst.

More needs to be done to remove the pressure from our emergency departments, encouraging people to seek medical attention sooner through their GP. This is cost effective and sensible. The Turnbull Liberal government promised to unfreeze the Medicare rebate to make it easier for people to access their GPs, but what they have done is to delay the unfreezing of the Medicare rebate so that only some, if any, visits to a GP can be bulk-billed. The member for Dawson yesterday suggested that, if a person could not afford to see a GP, they should see a doctor at the emergency departments. These Liberal state and federal governments are simply out of touch.

We should celebrate universal access to health care, but successive Liberal governments do everything they can to undermine Medicare. Only Labor—and in particular a Rebecca White Labor government in Tasmania and, of course, federal Labor—will properly resource health and protect Medicare.