We’ve already done enough for pharmacy: government responds to call for pharmacy hazard allowance by asserting its previous support for the profession
The Federal Government has not offered any additional support to pharmacy in its official response to a petition which called for a hazard allowance or tax relief for pharmacists, and other health care workers.
Petition EN1509, presented to Parliament on 15 June, had called for the introduction of a hazard allowance and tax holiday for healthcare workers, particularly for pharmacists and pharmacy workers.
In a response, tabled in Parliament this week, Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar said “community pharmacies have played a central role in supporting their community during the recent bushfires and have kept their doors open to support patients during the COVID-19 pandemic”.
However, he offered no additional support, and reiterated the government’s previous support measures for businesses impacted by the pandemic, and listed the Seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement as a sign of their support for pharmacy.
“The Australian Government has acted decisively to support households and businesses and address the significant economic consequences of the Coronavirus,” Mr Sukkar said.
“The Government’s economic support package provides timely support to workers, households and businesses through a difficult time and has positioned the Australian economy to recover strongly”.
“In June 2020, the Government finalised the Seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement (7CPA), which is expected to provide $18.3 billion over five years and ensure Australians have access to more than 200 million subsidised prescriptions each year through their community pharmacy of choice”, Mr Sukkar said.
“The 7CPA demonstrates the Government’s ongoing support for patients and community pharmacy. It also acknowledges that Australia’s community pharmacies will continue to be crucial to the Government’s efforts to improve the health of all Australians.”
Pharmacists did receive a vote of thanks from NSW Liberal MP Jason Falinski who said in the House of Representatives last week:
“I thank all the frontline emergency service personnel and health workers who have endured many
challenges through this crisis.
I particularly want to thank pharmacists who, at the beginning of this crisis, were not able to move to telehealth and took on the role of dealing directly with the public, giving the public assurance around what they could do. Many of them were not able to get hold of PPE equipment.
Therefore, they were very brave in the way that they continued to assist their community during this period”.