Thursday, 13 February 2020
Statements by Members
Health Care, Child Care
If the people of Brand needed any more examples of just how the Liberals don't care about them, they've got it in the ever-increasing cost to go and see the doctor and to put their children into child care. The health department have confirmed what many Australians already know: that the cost of health care has skyrocketed while the Liberals have been in government. The people of Brand are paying an average out-of-pocket fee of over $37 to see a GP. This is a record high, up nearly 30 per cent since the Liberals first came to government again in 2013.
The Liberals have reclassified the suburb of Baldivis from rural to metropolitan, which reduces the bulk-billing incentive by over 30 per cent. If the Liberals think arbitrarily changing the goalposts has no effect on the communities that are already struggling, they are absolutely wrong. Whether you agree or disagree with Baldivis being reclassified for Medicare bulk-billing incentives, from rural to metropolitan, the practical effect of this decision from the Liberal government is that the people of Baldivis will likely pay more to go to the doctor because this government will pay less to support GPs who work to keep this growing community healthy. This is a cold-hearted decision made here by a cold-hearted government thousands of kilometres away from Baldivis, with absolutely zero understanding of how many people in Baldivis are struggling with the high cost of living and the associated absolutely zero wages growth. It's an indiscriminate decision that shows that the Liberals simply don't care about the people of Baldivis and across the wider region of Brand.
On top of this, out-of-pocket fees to see a specialist are even worse, with people in Brand paying an average of over $85 to see a specialist—up a mindboggling 54 per cent under the Liberals. Many of these people are on either the age pension, the disability support pension or another form of government support payment. Slightly over 20 per cent of the people in Brand are always bulk-billed by specialists, so these costs are hitting thousands of locals across Rockingham and Kwinana every year. People are worried about getting another shift at work. They shouldn't have to worry about the cost of going to see a doctor or a specialist.
Then there is the rising cost of child care in Australia. Recent reports show that the cost of child care has skyrocketed by 34.6 per cent since the Liberals were elected in 2013. The federal government promised a new childcare system would put downward pressure on fees, but, as every parent in Rockingham and Kwinana knows, this is absolutely not the case. Instead, fees have climbed over five per cent nationally in 12 months and three per cent just over the last few months. Over the last year, childcare costs in Rockingham have risen over eight per cent and in Kwinana over 11 per cent. How on earth can the average parent or guardian keep up with those costs? It's absolutely inconceivable. Once again, the Liberals have shown they do not care about the people of Brand, Kwinana, Rockingham, Baldivis, Secret Harbour or Port Kennedy. They should change their mind and work— (Time expired)