884. Hon ALISON XAMON to the parliamentary secretary representing the Minister for Health:
(1) Has the minister undertaken any work with his federal and state counterparts towards allowing prisoners to access Medicare?
(2) If no to (1), why not?
(3) If yes to (1)—
(a) what work has been undertaken;
(b) is access to Medicare for prisoners supported by other states; and
(c) does the Minister expect a positive outcome from this work?
(4) If yes to (3)(c), when?
(5) If no to (3)(c), why not?
Hon ALANNA CLOHESY replied:
I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question.
(1) Yes, noting that prison health services are under the governance of the Department of Justice and the Corrective Services Ministers’ Conference has taken the lead nationally on advocating for improved Medicare access for prisoners. The Corrective Services Administrators’ Council, comprising the heads of corrective services agencies, has established a national Medicare Working Group. In April 2018, the Minister for Corrective Services approached the Minister for Health to seek a Department of Health representative to participate in the working group. In May 2018, the Minister for Health approved the nomination of Dr James Williamson, assistant director general of the clinical excellence division in the Department of Health, to participate in the working group. The working group last met on 26 June 2018.
(2) Not applicable.
(3) (a) See the answer to part (1).
(b) Other states and territories have historically supported improved Medicare access for prisoners.
(c) Advice received by the minister from the Minister for Corrective Services is that he recently raised the matter at the Corrective Services Ministers’ Conference for the commonwealth and expressed his deep dissatisfaction with the current situation. The Minister for Corrective Services will continue to pursue these changes along with other state and territory corrective services ministers.
(4) The Minister for Health will continue to collaborate with the Minister for Corrective Services to advocate for improved Medicare access for prisoners.
(5) Not applicable.