The Abbott government's plan to undermine universal health care with Medicare and PBS co-payments will affect every Australian. But there is no doubt that this attack on universal healthcare will have the biggest impact on those who can least afford it; and in my electorate of Canberra that means the clients of the Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service. I have been presented with a petition signed by over 600 clients, staff and friends of Winnunga, who 'say no to the government's proposed changes to Medicare and the PBS', because these changes are 'unaffordable and unfair'.
Clients of Winnunga simply do not have $7 to pay each time they visit a doctor or $5 for each script. They often have complex health problems that require multiple scripts and visits to the doctor every month. Winnunga will have no choice but to absorb these costs on behalf of its clients, leaving them around $300,000 worse off each year. Winnunga is one of the only Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in South East New South Wales, and it services clients from Wollongong to Wodonga, from Wagga Wagga to Batemans Bay.
I hope the members for Eden-Monaro—and I am very happy that he is here today—Hume, Riverina, and Gilmore are listening, because it is your constituents who rely on the services of Winnunga and it is your constituents who have signed this petition. Winnunga is just down the road from us in Narrabundah, so I urge these MPs to visit this excellent community health service and hear firsthand what a terrible impact your co-payments will have on Aboriginal health in our region.