Illawarra MPs Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones have today joined Labor’s candidate for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips, in calling on the Turnbull Liberal government to end its attacks on Medicare.
The regional Save Medicare Day of Action featured street stalls across the three federal electorates with concerned citizens signing Save Medicare petitions.
Speaking outside the Centrelink-Medicare office in Shellharbour (Whitlam), Stephen Jones said that Australia’s health system was never safe under the Coalition.
“Just look at their recent record on child dental health. They’ve announced that they were scrapping the Child Dental Benefits Schedule and they are deliberately pushing thousands of more people onto public dental queues.
“We are going to see an explosion in waiting lists. Right now in New South Wales we have over 9,000 children and over 104,000 adults on the waiting list for public dental services. These lists are set to grow and grow.”
Sharon Bird, collecting signatures on a Save Medicare petition in Wollongong’s Crown Street Mall (Cunningham), warned that the Coalition’s attacks on dental care were just the latest example of Medicare cuts putting vulnerable patients at risk.
“In the last few years we have seen $57 billion cut from our hospitals and the freezing of Medicare rebates for GPs, which will force many doctors to charge their patients an additional co-payment or face going bust.
“Their plan to privatise parts of Medicare has been exposed by Labor. It will start with the back of house functions and the extend to the whole system.
“Now it’s children’s teeth in the sights of the Coalition. It wasn’t enough scrapping a scheme that helped one million kids access dental care.
“They want more people to pile into overstretched public clinics, a move that will have a huge impact on people living outside of our major cities.”
Fiona Phillips, who appeared at a Save Medicare Street Stall held at Jelly Bean Park in Nowra (Gilmore), said that local families would miss out on dental care.
“The decision to axe child dental support has affected over 10,000 families in Gilmore. The Government has cut $1 billion from dental health as part of their plan to push all people into already overcrowded public dental clinics.
“Thanks to Malcolm Turnbull more and more people in Gilmore will join this list and some will give up accessing a dentist altogether.
“Communities across Australia deserve better than a Government that wants to dismantle a world-class healthcare system.”