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AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WA)
The Federal Government’s decision to delay the introduction of the proposed $2000 cap on work related self-education expenses a further year was an admission that it had made a major mistake.
“The politics of this situation is that the Federal Government now realises the proposed cap was an idiotic proposal, but it can’t be seen to back down completely just weeks before an election,” Dr Choong said.
“But our opposition to this idea will not let up. We owe it to education and to public health.”
Dr Choong said the prolonged campaign spearheaded by the Association and the Scrap the Cap Alliance against the proposed cap has been a huge success, and that this ill-advised move by the Government was on the brink of collapse.
The Alliance met in Canberra earlier this week and sent a strong message to the Treasurer’s advisers who attended.
Treasurer Chris Bowen announced the cap deferral as part of the Government’s Economic Statement earlier today, much to the relief of thousands of professionals who would suffer because of it.
“The proposed cap is now severely wounded, and while we’re pleased it is deferred, we won’t let up on lobbying on this foolish policy until it is dead and buried.
“It just goes to show that when professions from each corner of our society unite and lobby effectively against moronic decisions by the Government, it has no choice but to stop and heed our warnings.
“The cap would be a significant disincentive to doctors to continue their training and education throughout their careers, and the people who will be affected the most are their patients.
“Quality medical education is extremely expensive, and the $2000 cap is a far cry from the reality faced by doctors wanting to improve and broaden their skills.
“Rural doctors and doctors in training would be the worst affected, and now they can at least look forward to a couple of years of breathing room.
“While this is obviously a ploy for the Government to save face after the immense backlash it faced after announcing the cap, we won’t relent until it’s completely killed off,” Dr Choong said.
Dr Choong went on to say that they extension will give time for the Government to make an informed decision on a policy that could dramatically affect the quality of health care in Australia.