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AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WA)
Australian Medical Association (WA) members should strongly back the campaign against the Federal Government’s $2000 cap on tax deductions for work-related self-education expenses, one of the most potentially damaging policies seen in many years and one that will affect the training and education of all medical professionals, President Dr Richard Choong said.
“The AMA is taking the lead on this important issue and all members should do whatever they can to point out the disastrous impact this planned impost will have on the health sector,” Dr Choong said.
“The AMA (WA) supports the call to arms issued by AMA Federal President Dr Steve Hambleton, who has called on both major political parties to reject the policy.
“The Government wants to take an axe to medical education, and the Coalition is going to sit back and let them do it,” Dr Hambleton said.
“We must put our case, and put it strongly and factually. It is your stories, your experiences and your quest for greater skills and knowledge to help your patients that will provide the evidence we need to turn this decision around.”
Doctors have been asked to complete a survey detailing how much they spend each year on self-education and training, and how the $2000 cap will affect their professional development. In a determined push to bring the issue home for every federal Member of Parliament before the 14 September election, the AMA has also launched a dedicated campaign website enabling doctors to directly email their local MPs highlighting their objections to the tax change.
Dr Choong urged all WA doctors and health professionals to take part in the survey.
“This pitiful move by the Government will ultimately hit both patients and health care professionals, and guarantees that Australia will have a weaker health service and less knowledgeable doctors,” Dr Choong said.
“I urge all the State’s health care professionals to take part in the Federal AMA’s survey, as this issue isn’t about receiving tax breaks, this is about the safety of our patients.”
More than 4500 doctors responded to the AMA’s initial survey on the issue, with 98 per cent expressing their strong objection to the change, and Dr Hambleton urged doctors to maintain their rage. “All politicians need to hear your stories, and they need to feel your anger,” he said.
“The strength of our membership can and will make a difference.”