Medicare to open at last
By NADINE FISHER
THE long-awaited Medicare office for the southern Gold Coast is finally to be put into operation after years of petitioning in the local community. McPherson MP Margaret May made the announcement last week to a seniors' group at The Pines. Mrs May said she had a call from Health Minister Tony Abbott telling her the good news. "It's a great win for the community and we're hoping the office will be located in The Pines Shopping Centre somewhere," she said. "I've been able to keep the pressure on the Minister and finally the num- ber of claims from this area has reached the magical number to have the Health Insurance Commission (HIC) open an office here." Mrs May said the issue, which is based on demographics, had been ongoing for the past 10 to 12 years. "It will probably take six months to open the office but it means local residents won't have to travel so far to lodge their claims," she said. "It's a real recognition of growth in the area with eight offices being announced around Australia and only two of those in Queensland (the other on the Sunshine Coast). "A range of services will be offered including Medicare rebates, Family Assistance Office, PBS entitlements and the 30 per cent rebate on private health insurance." Mrs May said she had not expected the announcement to come during the lead-up to the Federal election. "The Medicare office is really needed and the timing is just good luck." Division 13 councillor Daphne McDonald said it was fabulous news and would be great for the community. "I'm thrilled Margaret May has been successful in getting a Medicare office on the southern Gold Coast ? it's a great outcome for the community," Cr McDonald said.