CANBERRA MATTERS | Bulk billing changes may have severe consequences

CONCERNS: Member for Paterson Meryl Swanson has started a petition against the Federal Government's changes to bulk billing.
CONCERNS: Member for Paterson Meryl Swanson has started a petition against the Federal Government's changes to bulk billing.

When you go to the doctors, the chances are you use bulk billing, have in the past or know someone who does.

Thousands of Australians rely on this service to access healthcare. Without it, a lot of people couldn't afford to go to the doctor.

From January this year, the Morrison Government have changed bulk billing in our community.

They've reviewed every electorate in Australia under the Department of Health's Rural, Remote and Metropolitan Area (RRMA) scale and as a result, areas like Kurri Kurri, Maitland and Raymond Terrace have gone from regional to metropolitan - the same category as the City of Sydney.

Like me, you're probably wondering how on earth somewhere like Weston is comparable to Pitt Street, but the Morrison Government stand by this change.

The new category means doctors and clinics could lose tens of thousands of dollars and has forced many practices to stop offering bulk billing altogether.

The electorate of Paterson is not metropolitan, and so many people in our community rely on bulk billing to access medical treatment.

These changes mean more people will present to the emergency department of local hospitals, putting more pressure on our doctors and nurses.

Please join me and thousands of others who are standing up against this and sign my petition.

I will take your messages to Canberra and tell the Prime Minister these changes will have severe consequences for the most vulnerable people in our community.

Grant opportunities open

Applications for the following grants programs are now open.

Local Sporting Champions: This program provides financial assistance to coaches, officials and competitors aged 12 to 18 participating in state, national or international championships. Successful applicants will receive between $500 and $700 to contribute to the cost of attending their championships.

Saluting Their Service Commemorative Grants Program: The program provides up to $150,000 in funding for projects and activities that highlight the service and sacrifice of Australia's service personnel in wars, conflicts and peace operations and preserve Australia's wartime heritage.

Be Connected Activation Grants: The 'Be Connected Network' offers free courses to help Australians become better connected from how to access the internet, using your device and keeping in touch with others online. Organisations that join the 'Be Connected Network' may be eligible for a $2,000 payment to get started.

Safe Places Emergency Accommodation: The objective of the grant opportunity is to deliver new emergency and crisis accommodation for women and children experiencing domestic and family violence. It could also fund purchasing, renovations and/or repurposing of buildings, that new emergency accommodation.

For more information about these grants or to apply, go to

Don't forget to sign up to 'Meryl's Monthly Grants Gazette' to receive a monthly grants e-newsletter.

  • Meryl Swanson is the Federal MP for Paterson. Contact her office on (02) 4983 2401 or via