New figures released this week show just how much pressure Malcolm Turnbull’s Medicare freeze is putting on patients and GPs in the Illawarra.

In the first set of data to reflect what is happening after the July 2 election, the Government’s own figures show that bulk billing is dropping in NSW and nationally.

In the period July to September bulk billing rates for non-referred GP attendances tumbled by 0.4 per cent in NSW and up to 2.4 per cent nationally.

That’s 45,277 GP visits in NSW that weren’t bulk billed last quarter that would have been bulk billed previously – and over 167,000 GP visits nationally. And that’s according to the Government’s own cherry-picked statistics, which inflate the actual bulk billing rate – as the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and others have said previously.

Illawarra federal MPs Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones, said this is the evidence Malcolm Turnbull didn’t want revealed – bulk billing is dropping and he knows it.

“People in the Illawarra are already seeing the impact of his six-year Medicare freeze every time they go to the doctor with more and more patients having to pay out of their own pocket”, Ms Bird said.

“In Wollongong people already delay or avoid seeing a GP because of cost – and this will only get worse as Malcolm’s Medicare freeze forces bulk billing lower and out-of-pocket costs higher”, Ms Bird said. 

Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones are encouraging residents and GP’s to let them know about examples where bulk-billing has ceased. 

“On the day before the election Malcolm Turnbull promised that no Australian would pay more to visit the doctor – this was a complete and utter lie”, Mr Jones said.

“I encourage local residents and GP’s to contact me if they have been affected by Malcolm Turnbull’s extended Medicare Rebate freeze and any changes to bulk billing”, Mr Jones said. 

“It’s time for Malcolm Turnbull to pull his head out of the sand and admit that his Medicare freeze is hurting patients and GP’s”, Mr Jones concluded. 

Persons aged 18 and over who delayed medical consultation because they could not afford it (modelled estimates)

Wollongong LGA


Shellharbour LGA


Wingecarribee LGA


Cunningham and Whitlam Total


Source: Australian Social Health Atlas, 2016