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24 April 2023

Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters is calling for improved access to bulk billing services in the Bendigo Electorate as new data is released.

Department of Health and Aged Care reporting into GP bulk billing access rates shows that in the year to June 2022, the Bendigo Electorate had one of the lowest rates of access to bulk billing GP services in Australia.

Cleanbill’s Health of the Nation report shows that the average rate of bulk billing in the Bendigo electorate is only 11.8% and that the average out of pocket expense for attending a GP appointment is $36.79.

The Department of Health and Aged Care is now regularly publishing the data on how many Australians have all their visits to the GP bulk billed. Being transparent with the public is the first step to fixing the problem.

The Morrison Government hid the shocking decline of bulk billing during its term of government by including Covid-19 vaccine items into its reporting of access. This artificially inflated the figures and that’s why the Albanese Government has released all the data so Australians can see for themselves.

After nine years of cuts and neglect to Medicare from the former Government it’s never been harder to see a doctor.

The Federal Labor Government has committed $750 million to deliver the highest priority investments in primary care in line with the recommendations of the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce and will bring forward its plan through this year’s May Budget. 

The full report can be accessed here: 

Quotes Attributable to Federal Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters:

“The former Government froze the Medicare rebate for six years, ripping billions of dollars out of primary care and causing gap fees to skyrocket. 

"The release of this report on bulk billing rates confirmed what locally we already know to be true. Very few local GP clinics are bulk-billing, and the majority have moved to a private billing model with high gap fees.

“Lack of access to bulk billing GP services is a huge issue. Some people who can’t find bulk billing services just don’t go to the doctor.

"Now the work begins to strengthen Medicare and fix the services that people need and rely on."