Monday, 2 May 2016
Melbourne Electorate: cohealth
We have had a win in my community of Melbourne, which I want to share with the parliament. Melbourne is home to the country's only community pharmacy. It services low-income earners in the area of Melbourne, in particular in the housing commission flats that you see in the Yarra area. That pharmacy has been operating for decades. It operates at the moment on a subscription model where low-income earners can pay a small amount and as a result get back cheap medicine. One of the beauties of it is that it is co-located with doctors and other allied health professionals, so the pharmacist in prescribing can actually go in and talk to the others working with them.
The last Abbott government cut funding for it in the budget. The community came together and mounted a huge campaign. Residents and everyone who uses the pharmacy got together, rang the minister, wrote letters and got themselves on social media—which was a first, for many of them. Headed by Lyn Morgain, their chief, they mounted a huge effort to bring to the attention of the government and the community the necessity of continuing this community pharmacy. The best thing is that in the last few weeks we have had word from the minister that they will be allowed to continue. I want to place on record my thanks to the health minister, who behaved as a minister should. When confronted with this unique but very good situation, we found a solution which will enable cohealth community pharmacy to continue, this time as part of the PBS. It is a win-win for everyone, so congratulations to everyone in Melbourne for fighting, standing up and keeping it alive.