GRACosway Weekly Policy Wrap Up
12 December 2014:
Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and Health Minister Peter Dutton, announced that the Government will no longer proceed with the $7 GP co-payment as outlined in the May 2014-15 Budget. Instead, the Government will cut the Medicare rebate paid to doctors for some consultations (pensioners and concession card holders will be exempt) by $5, and leave it to the treating doctor to decide whether to recoup the $5 from the patient via an optional co-payment. The move comes ahead of the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) to be handed down next week. See the media release outlining other changes to GP consulting times and the accompanying factsheets here.
In a speech this week, PM Abbott said he was committed to the bipartisan campaign for the constitutional recognition of indigenous Australians, hoping that a referendum can take place on the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum, May 27 2017.
Treasurer Joe Hockey released the final report of the Financial System Inquiry last Sunday. The Government will now consult on the recommendations until 31 March 2015 before responding. For all the details, see GRACosway’s briefing note here.
The Government has released two new issues papers – into health, and housing and homelessness – to inform the White Paper on the Reform of the Federation. See the Prime Minister’s media release here. The issues papers are available here.
The Governor-General has appointed John Lloyd as the Australian Public Service Commissioner for five years and after lengthy speculation, John Fraser was confirmed as the new Treasury Secretary, replacing the outgoing Martin Parkinson. See the Prime Minister’s media release here.
Long-serving ALP Senator John Faulkner announced that he will bring forward his resignation from the Senate to January 2015. Senator Faulkner had previously stated that he would serve out his term to 2017.
In NSW, former Liberal MP Craig Baumann has announced that he will withdraw as the Liberal candidate for Port Stephens. He is the third Hunter-based State MP to end his political career in the wake of the ICAC’s Spicer and Credo inquires.
No parliaments sit next week.