Community meeting protests GP Tax


More than 100 Central Coast residents turned out to a community meeting at the Erina Centre on Monday, June 30, to protest the Abbott Government’s changes to Medicare and the imposition of a $7 GP Tax. Central Coast Greens have commended Gosford Politics in the Pub for putting on a timely debate over Dying with Dignity at Dutton’s Hotel on Thursday, June 27.

The Shadow Minister for Health, Catherine King, addressed the meeting and highlighted that not only will hospitals be $50 billion worse off under the Abbott Government, but Coasties will be forced to pay $12 million a year in GP Taxes. Senator for NSW Deborah O’Neill invited Ms King to the Coast after receiving hundreds of messages from locals worried about how they would be able to afford to see a doctor when this tax is introduced. “This isn’t just a one off fee,” said Senator O’Neill.

“This is a $7 fee on every visit to your doctor, on every service from a specialist, on every blood test, and on every x-ray. “For families, or pensioners, this cost will soon get out of control with repeat visits and follow ups,” Senator O’Neill said. A number of issues were raised at the meeting, with locals highlighting the cost as the main concern, and how it would affect people with chronic disease who would require ongoing support.

A local GP highlighted his concerns that, while he had previously run a cashless surgery, only ever bulk billing patients, he would now have to hire additional staff and invest in new technology to allow him to properly manage receiving cash and credit payments. “These changes will mean a major shift in the way doctors’ surgeries operate in Australia,” Senator O’Neill said.

“We heard from a local GP that he will have to fork out money for new security measures as he would have to hold cash on the premises when this tax is introduced. “This is an unfair hit to our locals, to our GPs, and will be the beginning of the end for Medicare in Australia.”

Media release, 30 Jun 2014
Richard Mehrtens,
office of Deborah O’Neill