Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme increases leave Queenslanders high and dry
Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Deputy Leader and Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto states the 2023-2024 State Budget leaves patients high and dry following funding increases to the Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme (PTSS) rates.
The Palaszczuk Government claims that the 2023-2024 Budget delivered a record health budget with $70.3 million over four years being allocated to increase PTSS rates by $10 per person per night for accommodation and 4 cents per kilometre for mileage.
Prior to the State Budget being tabled, under the PTSS, patients could apply for a subsidy to assist with travel costs incurred accessing their medical treatment, with the rate amounting to 30 cents per kilometre for the use of a private vehicle and $60 per night for overnight accommodation.
The KAP have been calling for the PTSS rates to be doubled, increasing mileage to 60 cents per kilometre and the overnight accommodation subsidy increasing to $120.
The Hinchinbrook MP stated that his calls to double the PTSS rates have fallen on deaf ears demonstrating how out of touch the State Labor Government is with regional and rural Queenslanders.
“With an aging community and a hospital that is in desperate need of funding, many patients in Ingham are required to travel to Townsville or Brisbane for specialist medical care,” Mr Dametto said.
“The measly increase of 4 cents per kilometre is like breadcrumbs and hardly worth mentioning as a State Budget highlight to target the health care system’s pressures.
“The increases we see in the PTSS will do very little to cover the costs associated with traveling for medical care as costs have increased significantly for fuel, accommodation, food, vehicle maintenance.
“With the recent increases, the new PTSS rates will be 34 cents per kilometre for mileage and $70 per night for overnight accommodation.
“All the Health Minister needs to do is Google ‘Townsville accommodation’ and she will realise that $70 does not cover costs, with most caravan parks charging close to $100 per night for a one bedroom unit, and good luck trying to find accommodation in Brisbane at that price.
“North Queenslanders can all agree that the 2023-2024 State Budget delivers very little for those located outside of the South-East bubble,” Mr Dametto said.
The Hinchinbrook MP will continue to advocate for PTSS increases that are equitable and reflect the current costs associated with travelling for medical treatment.
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