Federal Member for Greenway, Michelle Rowland, has told Parliament the people of Greenway are sick and tired of mistruths and backflips by the Turnbull Government regarding local health services.
“One issue that strikes more than any other for local residents, because it impacts on so many of them, is the government's decision to close the local Medicare office in Westpoint and move it to the Centrelink office on the other side of Blacktown.”
“There was no consultation about this whatsoever. The parking situation around that area is terrible. The number of people I have coming to my office or calling me and saying, ‘I simply cannot do business with the Medicare office any more’ is astounding.”
Ms Rowland said the government’s tactic is to force people to interact online rather than in person.
“This would be fine if we had access to a real broadband network across all of Blacktown. It would be fine if we had a situation where everyone was able to do these things. But we do not.”
Ms Rowland noted after the Federal Government privatised Medibank Private, its Blacktown branch closed down.
“Two local branches for health services no longer exist in Blacktown because of this Government. I wrote to the Minister for Finance to follow this up, asking why the Blacktown branch has closed while others have not. I received a statement about what the Medibank Private Sale Act was. There was nothing whatsoever to give any comfort to my local residents.”
Ms Rowland said these closures, combined with the Turnbull Government’s clear intention to implement co-payments for health services through the back door, were failing the people of Greenway.
“The Shadow Minister for Health has written about just how this will hit families. Talking about ovarian cancer screening and testing, she says that even after the Medicare rebate, patients will be left between $365 and $1,322 out of pocket. The last thing women need at times like these are more expenses and more worry”, she said.
“So we have a situation where we have health services impacting on the electorate of Greenway, on families, cutting bulk-billing incentives so that people who are sick are discouraged from seeking health care, and paying consultants and bureaucrats millions of dollars to work out how to best privatise the medical payments system.”
WEDNESDAY, 2 MARCH 2016
MEDIA CONTACT: HENRY SHERRELL 0423 315 250