On Tuesday 7 February 2023, I made a speech in Federal Parliament about the inadequate access to bulk-billing GPs. You can watch the speech here or read the full transcript below.
E WATSON-BROWN: Over the past few months, many locals in Ryan have been contacting my office really angry about the inadequacy of the current Medicare rebate, which has resulted in very few GPs bulk billing to the general public. This government is, in effect, continuing the previous government's funding freeze after an insultingly low increase last July of 1.6 per cent. I remind you that inflation is currently around 7.8 per cent. There was no increase at all in the October budget—the same budget that kept $254 billion in tax cuts for the wealthy and $42 billion in subsidies for fossil fuels.
This is unacceptable. We're in a cost-of-living crisis. Families shouldn't have to fork out an extra $30 or $40 for a GP visit. Many people just can't, which puts more pressure on our already overcrowded hospitals when they have to go to an emergency department for an issue that could have been dealt with by a GP. I'm sure Labor's mates in the private health industry, who've given them $7.9 million in donations over the last 10 years, don't mind that our universal healthcare system is being whittled away like this. After all, it means more profit for them as public health becomes harder to access.