Liberal Senator Dean Smith today confirmed the Coalition Government’s plans to hit families with a new tax every time they go to the doctor.
In an article in today’s Australian Financial Review, Senator Smith said that:
“Australia is well overdue a debate on the merits of a medical co-payment….and the lack of scrutiny given to sacred calves such as the Australian National Preventative Health Agency.”
Senator Dean Smith – AFR – 15 January 2013
“Senator Smith has belled the cat on the Abbott Government’s plans to sneak in a GP tax,” Shadow Minister for Health, Catherine King said.
“The introduction of this tax will place additional pressure on an already struggling public hospital system and families across the nation.
“This new tax will be another broken promise from this government, and another kick in the guts for struggling families.
“The Prime Minister and Health Minister can no longer hide behind their Commission of Cuts. They must come clean on their plans to slug families with this new GP tax.”
Senator Smith’s comments also confirm that the Coalition is looking into axing the Australian National Preventative Health Agency (ANPHA).
The ANPHA was established in 2011 to drive preventative health policy and programs, particularly in areas such as tobacco use, obesity and alcohol use. It plays a critical role in preventing chronic disease and promoting healthy choices – important measures that save the taxpayer in the long term.
The Abbott Government’s attack on public health experts has already claimed the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council, which was axed in November last year after decades of policy and advocacy experience regarding alcohol and drug issues.
Ms King said any plans to abolish the ANPHA would have significant consequences, particularly as the agency oversees and implements the National Binge Drinking Strategy.
“It beggars belief that the Coalition would consider cutting the ANPHA,” Ms King said.
“At a time when Australians are having a debate about alcohol fuelled violence and its devastating effects on the community, it is important that we continue to support the work of the ANPHA in preventing binge drinking and antisocial behaviour.”