Member for Throsby Stephen Jones and Member for Cunningham Sharon Bird say the Abbott Government’s plan to scrap the 61 community-based Medicare Locals in next month’s Budget will axe over 30 local frontline health jobs and cut services for regional patients who already struggle to get access to primary care.
“There is a dramatic difference in the health needs of patients living in metropolitan centre and those in rural and regional areas like the Illawarra and Southern Highlands”, said Stephen Jones.
“Dismantling the collaborative, locally-driven Medicare Local system and shifting patients back into a larger health network with centralised control is not the answer.”
“When Labor was in Government we established Medicare Locals to help navigate patients through preventative health care, take a load off the hospitals and address the specific health needs of their community.”
“The Illawarra Shoalhaven Medicare Local employs over 30 frontline health workers that provide services in the crucial areas of mental health and the management of chronic and lifestyle diseases.”
Sharon Bird says the Illawarra has a higher than national average incidence of a lot of chronic diseases like diabetes, with the instance of local sufferers at least one percent over the national average of 5.6 percent.
Sharon Bird, Federal Member for Cunningham, and Stephen Jones, Federal Member for Throsby, today condemned the decision by the Abbott Government to shut the Wollongong Veterans’ Access Network (VAN) office.
“In his media release the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Michael Ronaldson, has announced that the Wollongong VAN will close and a veteran information service will be provided by Department of Human Services service centre in Nowra,” Sharon Bird said.
The Abbott Government is gearing up to break its pre-election promise to thousands of local pensioners that there would be no cuts to their payment.
“Tony Abbott said time and time again before the election that he wouldn’t change the pension but today we learn that’s exactly what his Government is planning”, said Member for Cunningham Sharon Bird.
Before the election, Tony Abbott made a solemn promise to Australian pensioners:
ABBOTT: I can assure your listeners that there will be no cuts to health, no cuts to education, no changes to pensions, no change to the GST.
[Tony Abbott – 5 September – ABC AM]