Joint Media Release: Butler Misleads Regional Australians on Cheaper Healthcare

At the same time as the Albanese Labor Government is out their spruiking cheaper medicines, there is a serious primary care crisis unfolding that is only making it harder and more expensive to access critical healthcare

Minister Butler has disingenuously bombarded media with data about the savings that have been achieved for prescription medicines, but he has failed to acknowledge the skyrocketing costs Australians face in order to access a script from their GP in the first place.

This government is overseeing the worst bulkbilling rate in over a decade – after it was at an all-time high of 88.8% under the Coalition - and an increasing average out-of-pocket cost for GP appointments that is expected to reach over $100.

We know this alarming trend are already having a serious impact on Australian’s ability access the healthcare they need, particularly in regional areas.

Shadow Minister for Health and Aged Care, Senator Anne Ruston said the Coalition absolutely supports cheaper medicines, but it is seriously concerned about the state of primary care under Labor.

"We know that over 1.2 million Australians have already avoided attending a GP over the last financial year due to cost concerns, but both the Minister and the Prime Minister are trying to mislead Australians on the affordability of healthcare.

"I’m out in regional South Australia this week hosting a health and aged care forum with local MPs Rowan Ramsey and Sam Telfer. The overwhelming feedback from local residents is that they are finding it increasingly difficult and unaffordable to see a doctor, even just to renew a script.

"Not only is this pushing up out-of-pocket expenses for families in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, but we also know that a weakened primary care system only increases the pressures on our over-burdened hospitals," Shadow Minister Ruston said.

Member for Grey, Rowan Ramsey MP said that there is nothing simple about fixing the doctor crisis, but it seems the current government is not even trying.

“We have a first grade crisis where just 13% of medical graduates want to be GPs and quite simply this is unsustainable.

“We are just not getting the workforce we need, particularly in regional areas like the Eyre Peninsula. We need action now,” Mr Ramsey said.

Member for Flinders, Sam Telfer MP said that accessible and affordable health care is crucial for the future of communities across the Eyre Peninsula, and it is governments role to adapt the system to suit the need.

“We are facing challenges with recruitment of medical staff and patient accessibility to services, but we are still seeing city-centric policy making from government,” Mr Telfer said.


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