Long road to Medicare
EVERY fortnight, 68-year-old Wendy Carlier makes the hour-long trip from Springsure to Emerald for a test that could save her life.
While in Emerald, she takes the opportunity to lodge her Medicare claim at Centrelink because the Federal Government closed the local Medicare access point months ago.
She can still drive so it’s not an impossible mission, but Mrs Carlier was concerned about the future when she will not be able to drive the distance.
“I’m still active, but what happens when I can’t drive?” she said.
“Do I have to get a lift into Emerald or give the forms to my daughter to take it in for me?
“I wouldn’t leave Springsure just because this has happened, but it makes it more inconvenient for older people because when I can’t do it anymore I’ll have to get someone else to do it.”
When the Medicare Locals closed two months ago, Springsure was one of 24 areas in the Flynn electorate to lose the important service.
Federal Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd said residents who relied on the service were told to either access Medicare information and send claims over the internet or travel to a larger town or city to conduct their business.
“It is unacceptable,” Mr O’Dowd said.
“Some people don’t have access to the internet and are not capable of travelling large distances to carry out such basic day-to-day functions.”
No progress has been made to reopen Medicare Locals but Mrs Carlier was determined to live an active and full life.
“We’ve really got no choice but I’m just worried about the inconvenience that will come in the future,” she said.