Regional communities face being left without access to vital health services if the Andrews Labor Government does not withdraw its plan to impose a Health Tax on General Practitioners (GPs), and allied health practitioners.
The Nationals Member for Shepparton District, Kim O’Keeffe, said the region is already suffering from diminished access to medical care, particularly bulk billing clinics, and that with these changes, the region would be far worse off.
“Patients in regional areas already face barriers when it comes to seeing a GP, with many people being made to wait several months for an appointment,” said Ms O’Keeffe.
“Labor’s Health Tax would mean that backdated payroll tax is levied on local GP clinics, resulting in tax bills of up to hundreds of thousands of dollars and placing the continued viability of some clinics in jeopardy.
“The Victorian Liberals and Nationals recently hosted around 30 GPs and representatives from peak medical bodies to hear firsthand the harmful impact of Labor’s Health Tax.
“This new tax will ultimately lead to higher out-of-pocket costs for patients, fewer bulk billing clinics and more demand on hospitals and emergency services,” said Ms O’Keeffe.
“GP clinics already have huge wait lists, which mean many are unable to accept new patients, leading to worse health outcomes and extra pressure on our strained emergency services.”
The NSW Labor Government announced recently it would place a 12 month pause on payroll tax audits for GPs to allow ongoing consultation with medical professionals, while WA Labor Government has ruled out any expansion of payroll tax.
“Since 2014, Labor has introduced or increased nearly 50 taxes, and this latest desperate cash grab will have serious ramifications for our stretched health system and will only make it much harder to see a doctor,” said Ms O’Keeffe.
“GPs play a crucial role in providing health care to our community and in easing pressure on Victoria’s hospitals and emergency health services.
“Labor’s Health Tax will force local GP clinics to close, add considerably to out-of-pocket medical costs and reduce access to bulk billing across our community,” said Ms O’Keeffe.
A petition to stop this tax is available to sign at: https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/view-sign-e-petitions/details/12/527