(Gilmore) (13:33): When will this government get serious about supporting more GPs in regional communities? In Sanctuary Point, on the New South Wales South Coast, we have one last doctor retiring and no-one to take up the reins. The Minister for Regional Health says our area is not a distribution priority area—but the minister wouldn't know two coddles worth about my area. We have an elderly and vulnerable population and we have no public transport. In fact, the minister was so galling as to say that there are many areas of Australia that are in far greater need of GPs. What will it take?
I know the minister wants the GPs to leave before the government begins to do anything. That's what his office said to a local GP in 2020. They said, 'Perhaps you will become a distribution priority area again in a year or two if the number of GPs drops.' How galling, obnoxious and out of date can the minister be? Where is the workforce planning over time backed up by good federal policy to ensure we have an adequate number of GPs? It's not good enough for the government to say, 'We'll just let the numbers drop and then maybe we might change the classification.' Meanwhile, people in my electorate are screaming out for the government to just do something. They want to be able to go to their local GP. Medicare should be for everyone. Practices are hurting. Our communities are suffering. It is beyond time for the government to step up and do its job. (Time expired)