House debates

Tuesday, 7 February 2023

Statements by Members


1:50 pm

Photo of Louise Miller-FrostLouise Miller-Frost (Boothby, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Having run primary health services for over 15 years, I know that primary health care is the linchpin of our health system. Primary health care is where illness prevention happens, as do early intervention and continuity of care. But I have heard from so many across Boothby that they struggle to get in to see their GP or it is too expensive, and they end up in hospital ED for something that isn't an emergency. I have heard from Boothby GPs that they are swamped. Medicare rates have been frozen over the last decade while the cost of running a practice has continued to increase.

Our health system is complex, and we need to get this right and make it fit for the future, so I'm pleased to see the report from the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce which recommends, among other things: increasing access to primary care, including a voluntary registration scheme to encourage continuity of care; encouraging multidisciplinary team based care, because the GP shortage won't be fixed overnight, so we need allied health professionals to be working to their full scope of practice; and modernising primary care, including digital systems. This government has committed $750 million to deliver the highest priority care, in line with the recommendations of the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce.

Strengthening Medicare won't be quick, it won't be easy, but Labor is the party of Medicare and we are now strengthening Medicare for the future.