I am pleased to be able to provide readers with a brief update on the Turnbull Government’s proposed changes to the Medicare safety nets.  The Government has announced it will not be proceeding with them at this point.

This is a win for patients and a decision Labor welcomes.

We know from all the evidence that was provided at the Senate inquiry into this Bill that it would have seen thousands of patients much worse off: especially those needing access to assisted reproductive technology services, people who are undergoing radiation oncology treatment, and a number of patients requiring ongoing access to psychiatrists.  The College of GPs amongst others also said the proposed changes would see patients with chronic illness facing increased out-of-pocket costs, and we know that would have only acted as a deterrent to many patients seeking the care they need.

Labor has all along said that the Medicare safety nets could be simplified to make them less complicated for patients, as well as reviewed to ensure that patients who most needed access to them have it.  Labor consistently said that the proposed changes would leave far too many patients much worse off, and the government never provided the evidence that this would not be the case.  So its decision to abandon these changes is vindication of this. 

I’m looking forward to attending Singleton Public School’s end of year school presentation this afternoon. It is always a pleasure to acknowledge the efforts and achievements of our local students and to congratulate them on their efforts.

Of course, students can’t achieve without good teaching staff and a strong school community and we are certainly blessed with plenty of both.

My very best wishes to all those who now embark on their final one or two years of schooling and all those who have chosen to enter the workforce or some other form of training.  Remember, you don’t have to be the best to achieve, few are.  Most of the time, simply your best will do.

Just a reminder, Certificates of Appreciation are available under the Australian Government’s Saluting Their Service Commemorations Program. They are a way of expressing the nation’s gratitude to those who served in the defence forces or on the home front in the Second World War or in wars, conflicts and peace operations overseas since the Second World War.

Application forms are available from my office or can be downloaded from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs website at  (click on Topics and select Certificate of Appreciation forms).

Time is running out to apply for a 2015 Volunteer Grant.

Grants between $1,000 and $5,000 are available to help not for profit community organisations support their volunteers through practical measures such as the purchase of small equipment items, reimbursement for volunteers’ fuel and transport costs, and contributions towards the cost of training and background screening checks. The grants provide a valuable opportunity for local organisations to support their volunteers.

The Volunteer Grants 2015 Application Pack is available from the Department of Social Services’ website at Alternatively, you can contact the Volunteer Grants 2015 Hotline on freecall 1800 183 374 or email

Applications for Volunteer Grants 2015 close at 2pm AEDT Wednesday, 9 December 2015.

As this will be my last column for 2015 I would like to publicly say thank you to a few people. First to this paper’s Editor, Rod Thompson and his team for the opportunity to deliver information about current government matters. Second to all those organisations who have worked with me to make our region an even better place.
Third to all those in our community who volunteered their time again throughout the year to help others less fortunate.  We are certainly blessed with a strong sense of community spirit. And finally to my hard working staff without whom I could not fulfil my obligations as a Member of Parliament.

Merry Christmas and very best wishes for a healthy, happy and successful 2016.


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