Media Releases


May 03, 2022

Under Scott Morrison it’s never been harder or more expensive to see a doctor, especially in rural and regional Australia. Access to GP services shouldn’t be reserved for those that live in our biggest cities. 
By freezing the Medicare rebate for six years, Scott Morrison ripped billions of dollars from General Practice, causing gap fees to skyrocket. 
The Morrison Government has repeatedly cut and undermined Medicare, including cutting rural and regional bulk billing incentives, and in 2019 Scott Morrison cut access of outer-metro and regional Australia to bonded and overseas trained doctors, making GP shortages much worse. 
On the eve of an election regional and rural Australians can’t trust Scott Morrison to deliver health care services for their community.   
Unlike Scott Morrison, Labor isn’t simply going to sit on our hands and let this crisis continue. We will take action to increase the number of doctors in communities that are desperate for more GPs. 
It was Labor who initiated the Senate Inquiry into GP shortages in our regions and it heard that after a decade of this Government’s cuts to Medicare, communities around the country are crying out for more doctors. 
Labor has already announced we would make it easier for regional Australia to recruit overseas trained doctors and doctors in the bonded medical program. 
Our Medicare Urgent Care Clinics will make it easier for regional Australians to see a doctor when they need it and take pressure off overwhelmed emergency departments. 
In regional and rural areas it can take months for someone to see a specialist or counsellor with wait lists blowing out across the country. 
That’s why Labor will restore affordable telehealth psychiatric consultations for people living in regional and rural Australia, reversing Scott Morrison’s damaging Medicare cut. 
Labor will also match the Government’s announcement of an additional $146 million for initiatives to deliver more doctors in rural and regional Australia.  
Only Labor can be trusted to protect and strengthen Medicare and deliver world class medical care regardless of where you live.