There is absolutely no doubt that people in my community and communities around the country at the moment are doing it tough, and that’s why the Albanese Labor government is working hard to make a difference and to deliver real cost-of-living relief for members of my community and those across the country.

I have been so pleased to hear in recent weeks and days from members of my community who are saving money because of our cheaper medicines plan. Many patients in my community now receive twice the medication for the cost of a single prescription. From September 2024, this applies to more than 300 medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, so patients with a 60-day prescription for a PBS listed medicine may save up to $180 a year per medicine if they are Medicare cardholders who do not have a concession card or $43 per medicine if they are concession cardholders. This is a real difference for people when they walk into the pharmacy.

From the start of this month, our government has increased Medicare bulk-billing incentive payments for concession cardholders and children under 16 years of age for a range of consultation items. I do know how important this change is going to be for my community, where we have struggled with people being able to see a bulk-billing doctor. This will ensure that more people in Jagajaga are able to see a doctor who bulk bills and will address some of those cost-of-living pressures.

At the last election, we promised to commit a Medicare urgent care clinic to Jagajaga, and I am pleased to say it is up and running in Heidelberg, helping to take pressure off the ED at the Austin Hospital, and is delivering for locals already. A local woman, Tanisha, has said this about her experience at the clinic:

My 3 year old daughter needed to be seen on a Sunday and we were able to see a doctor and have x-ray all in the one appointment. Thank you for providing such a wonderful service and for your prompt and caring attention.

This government was elected to strengthen Medicare and to ease cost-of-living pressures. We are delivering on that promise by delivering cheaper medicines, tripling the bulk billing incentive and rolling out this network of Medicare urgent care clinics, including this one in Heidelberg, as I said.

Our government has also delivered on our election commitment for cheaper child care, meaning 6,600 families in my community have been saving on childcare costs since July this year. Childcare costs are a huge whack of any family’s budget, and it is so important that we have made this change. I know these childcare subsidy increases do deliver real cost-of-living relief to local families. They support parents, particularly mums, to work more paid hours if they want to and they’re also good for children, who get more access to quality education. This is a win for our community, it’s a win for families and it is a win for the broader economy.

We’re not there yet. We know there is much more to do to ease cost-of-living pressures for Australian families, and that’s why I am proud to be part of a government that is working so hard for my community and for communities around this country at this difficult time.

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