Senate debates

Wednesday, 5 March 2014


National Health Amendment (Simplified Price Disclosure) Bill 2013; In Committee

10:16 am

Photo of Fiona NashFiona Nash (NSW, National Party, Assistant Minister for Health) Share this | Hansard source

I do understand the concerns out there in the community. Coming from a rural and regional area myself, I have been well aware of the concerns. I concur with others who have raised the issue around the lack of consultation under the previous government. That is not something that this government intend to mirror. Indeed, our approach will be entirely different. Senators have raised the fact that under the previous government this legislation was introduced just before we moved into caretaker mode, with almost no consultation. I understand the very real difficulties that were created under those arrangements.

In terms of the timing, though, Senator Xenophon, it has been very clearly known by those in the sector since last August that we were moving towards this legislation. I would also indicate to Senator Xenophon that the initial impact from this legislation will not occur until October this year. So, while I do understand the concerns, I would not like there to be a misconception that the impact of this legislation is going to be immediate. I am very cognisant of the concerns that have been raised by the community pharmacy sector, but I will point out that October will be the point in time when this legislation will have an impact on those pharmacies.

In relation to Senator Xenophon's question regarding savings, while there are savings for the government of $835 billion over the forward estimates, as we have discussed, I suspect the question was more on the impact on pharmacies through reduced income. My understanding is that the guild modelling suggests it will be around $30,000 per annum. My understanding is also that government modelling broadly reflects that. I think perhaps some of the confusion around the figures related to the funding for this is that some figures are for over the life of simplifying the price disclosure. But when you look at the impact just from this legislation, as I understand it, the guild says it will be around $30,000 a year.


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