Labor welcomes today’s announcement from the Morrison Government of the expansion of Medicare-subsidised telehealth services for all Australians and the provision of extra incentives to GPs and other health practitioners during the COVID-19 health emergency.

Labor has consistently advocated for telehealth services to be available for all Australians, to ensure the health and safety of patients and health professionals, as this emergency unfolds. We trust this announcement will also apply to any health care professional who needs to work from home, as Labor has consistently called for.

It is good that the Government has adopted these calls and Labor will review further details to ensure the expansion of this announcement is sufficient.

We also understand and appreciate the Government’s decision to incentivise practices to remain open for critical face to face consultations.

It is appropriate that this has been developed with peak bodies and health professionals.

The Government should always consult with peak bodies when they are making these serious decisions, and we would encourage them to have this approach in every aspect of the health response during this emergency.

We must be encouraging and incentivising anyone who is able to have their physical and mental health issues to be treated remotely and immediately to do so. We must alleviate pressure on our healthcare system.

Labor will support any decision to keep our health professionals and patients safe and to stop the spread of the disease.

The faster we can act to discourage the spread of this disease, the safer we are keeping Australians.