Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 7 Hansard (30 June) . . Page.. 2900..
MRS DUNNE: Minister, do the tables on page 347 of budget paper No 3 2010-11 and the tables on page 251 of budget paper No 3 2009-10 accurately reflect the expenditure in your portfolio?
MS BURCH: Given Mrs Dunne's propensity to actually verbal people and to misrepresent, I will take that one on notice.
ACT Ambulance Service—concessions
MS BRESNAN: My question is to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. It is about concessions for ambulance travel. It has come to my attention that in every jurisdiction except for Victoria and the ACT holders of the commonwealth seniors health card can access concessions for ambulance travel, be it for emergency or non-emergency situations. Minister, why doesn't the ACT government provide this concession?
MR CORBELL: The government provide concessions for a range of holders of certain benefits in the ACT, and there is also a range of concessions provided to certain commonwealth cardholders, in particular veterans, who receive certain benefits as part of their veterans disability benefit. The government have taken the view that it is not possible in all circumstances to provide for reciprocal recognition of other cards held by people from other places around the country, and we encourage all Canberrans to take out a simple low-cost health insurance plan that provides ambulance cover. The cost is in the order of about $30 a year—it was last time I was looking at the issue. It is a very low-cost and effective way of providing full cover for any unexpected trips that you may need to take by ambulance, and that remains the government's position.
MR SPEAKER: Ms Bresnan, a supplementary question?
MS BRESNAN: Yes, thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, on what basis does the government think it is appropriate to provide concessions for healthcare card holders and pensioners but not holders of the seniors health card, even though almost every other jurisdiction provides for all three?
MR CORBELL: I think the seniors health card at the commonwealth level is not means tested, whereas the other cards that Ms Bresnan refers to are means tested. The government, consistent with its social justice considerations, provides benefits to those on low incomes, not to those who receive cards that are not income tested. I will check the record on that, but that is my understanding of the commonwealth seniors card.
MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Ms Le Couteur?
MS LE COUTEUR: What types of costs do people with a commonwealth seniors health card face if they have to use an ambulance?
MR CORBELL: It would depend on the nature of the use of the ambulance. There is a billing regime that is applied consistently, depending on the circumstances of the