Questions on Indigenous Health cuts

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (19:57): I have a couple of questions in relation to Indigenous health and Indigenous health cuts. The budget had half a billion dollars worth of cuts to the closing the gap programs, including $125 million in cuts to Indigenous health programs. That is surprising given the fact that we still have a terrible problem with the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health outcomes. This includes the facts that six per cent of the Indigenous population has diabetes and the gap in life expectancy still has not been sufficiently addressed. In fact, there are problems in just about every health indicator that you could look at. We heard the Aboriginal Medical Service raise complaints about the impact of the GP tax on them, on their viability and on Aboriginal health services.

My questions to the minister are these. What will the impact of the GP tax be on Aboriginal health services? What services will need to be cut? Can the minister guarantee that no service provided by an AMS will need to be cut or closed because of the GP tax? Does the minister expect the Aboriginal health services to absorb the cost of the $7 GP tax if they wish to see patients for free? Will the minister boost funding for AMS to compensate for payment of the GP tax? And does the minister acknowledge the GP tax will have a deleterious effect on Aboriginal health given it will put more obstacles in the way of them obtaining access to primary health services?