26 October 2011 The Gillard Government and Health Minister Nicola Roxon stand condemned by today’s revelations that their callous cuts to the Medicare Safety Net had prevented Australian couples from starting a family through assisted reproductive treatments.
Shadow Health Minister Peter Dutton said the analysis of Medicare data by the University of New South Wales as reported in The Age was a damning assessment of Labor’s failures in health.
“The Coalition, doctors and groups that represent those seeking IVF treatment all warned this Government that their changes to the Extended Medicare Safety Net in 2009 would put the chances of having a child out of the financial reach of many couples.”
“Now this university analysis proves it,” Mr Dutton said.
“Thousands of Australian couples missing out on the chance of starting a family through IVF – a 13 per cent drop in the use of IVF technology in the year since Labor’s changes meaning that an estimated 15,000 babies were not conceived and born – these are a terrible indictment on Minister Roxon’s short-sighted actions.”
“Those actions yet again represent another breach of faith with Australians. Labor promised in 2007 it would not change the safety net, but two years later capped payments on IVF and obstetric treatments.”
“The Minister then guaranteed that those seeking IVF treatments would not be worse off under the changes she made – we now know that too was a lie.”
Mr Dutton said the changes had clearly forced thousands of Australians to abandon their hopes of having children because of the increased costs they would face amounting to thousands of dollars.
“What a cruel blow this Government has inflicted,” he said.
[An estimated 40,000 people seek IVF help to start a family each year in Australia]
Media contact – John Wiseman 07 3205 9977 – 0429 983 618