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Senator for New South Wales

Chair of the Senate Select Committee for Health

Shadow Minister for Mental Health
Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness
Senator for Queensland


3 November 2014


The impact of the Abbott Governments health cuts on Tasmania will be investigated
by the Senate Select Committee on Health in Hobart and Launceston this week as
part of a national inquiry into health policy, administration and expenditure.

An earlier Senate Inquiry heard evidence the Abbott Governments $7 GP tax will
hurt Tasmanians more than people in other states.

We know that Tasmania has a higher burden of chronic disease, has higher
smoking rates, and we need to do more to encourage preventative health care and
chronic disease management. And thats why I think the co-payment will affect
Tasmanians more than it affects people in other jurisdictions, AMA President Brian
Owler told the Senate Inquiry into out-of-pocket costs in Australian healthcare.

The GP Tax will cost Tasmanians almost $20 million a year extra to see the doctor,
and drive many patients into already stretched emergency departments.

At the same time, the Abbott Government has cut $900 million from Tasmanian
hospitals over the next decade.

The Abbott Governments abolition of the Australian National Health Promotion
Agency (ANHPA) and Health Workforce Australia (HWA) and the tearing up of the
National Partnership Agreement on Preventative Health (NPAPH) mean that
vulnerable people in our community are even more at risk from the no cuts to
health Prime Minister Abbott, Senator ONeill said today.

Tony Abbott must commit to reduce the health inequities he is creating with the GP
Tax and abolition of Medicare Locals so that everyone has a fair opportunity to
obtain their full health potential, Senator McLucas said today.

Tasmanias Liberal MPs and Senators have gone silent when they should be
shouting from the roof tops against these cuts to health which are hurting the most
vulnerable in their community, Committee Chair, Senator ONeill said.

The committee will hold public hearings at Parliament House on Monday and at the
Hotel Grand Chancellor in Launceston on Tuesday to better understand and
document the issues facing health providers and families in Tasmania.

On Monday in Hobart the committee will hear from the Mental Health Council
Tasmania, The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), TasCOSS,
the Australian Medical Association (AMA) Tasmania and Aged & Community Services

In Tuesday in Launceston witnesses include The Tasmanian Medicare Local and The
Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation.

Tony Abbotts GP Tax is a hit on sick Australians and their families. As Labor
senators who support Medicare we will fight it every inch of the way, Senator
ONeill said today.

Labor is deeply concerned about the attack on universal health care, and the
prospect of a two tiered health system, Senator McLucas said.

Senator ONeill urged Tasmanians to have their voices heard and make a submission
to the inquiry.

The Select Committee on Health will provide the opportunity for local and national
health service providers, health organisations, consumers and community members
to have their say about the Abbott Government's attempt to wreck Medicare and
deny Australians access to universal health care.

For more information contact the Committee Secretariat on telephone: 02 6277 3079
or email:

Contact Anne Charlton 0400 433 743

Hearing Details:

Monday, 3 November 2014. PUBLIC HEARING Reception Room, Tasmanian
Parliament. Commences 8.30am, breaks at 10.30am and 12.45pm, adjournment at

Tuesday, 4 November 2014. PUBLIC HEARING Hotel Grand Chancellor, 29 Cameron
Street, Launceston. Commences 9.00am, breaks 10.25am and adjournment at