Wanted: another pharmacy

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Outer suburbs petition Parliament to advise Minister on using location rule discretionary power

Federal Parliament has heard a petition from the citizens of some outer Sydney suburbs claiming pharmacy location rules are denying them adequate access to medicines.

The petition, on behalf of the suburbs of Minto, Minto Heights and Bow Bowing on the farthest south western extremities of Sydney, was introduced into the House of Representatives on Monday 2 December.   

The petition called on the House to request the Minister for Health exercise his Discretionary Power under subsection 90A(2) of the National Health Act 1953 to approve an existing pharmacy premises in Minto.

“The residents of the community of Minto, Minto Heights, Bow Bowing and surrounds draw the attention of the House to the fact this community is without reasonable access to the supply of Pharmaceutical Benefits by a pharmacist approved under Section 90 of the National Heath Act 1953,” the petition stated.

The area, home to more than 19,000 residents “has been denied reasonable access to the supply of Pharmaceutical Benefits due to an unintended consequence of the application of the Pharmacy Location Rules.”

The current level of three approved pharmacists “to supply Pharmaceutical Benefits to this community” did not provide the residents with “reasonable, timely nor adequate access to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS),” it said.

Meanwhile, Julian Leeser (Lib), MP for Berowra in the NSW Hawkesbury district, informed Parliament that Wisemans Ferry Pharmacy in the historic town of Wisemans Ferry in his electorate was one of a number of local businesses ” facing challenging times, as tourists and locals avoid the area due to the recent fires”.

Wisemans Ferry, along with the nearby villages of Canoelands and Maroota, had been threatened by the ongoing Gospers Mountain fire in dense National Park bushland in Sydney’s north west. 

“These communities, which date back to the earliest days of colonial Australia, represent the Australian spirit in so many ways,” Mr Leeser said, speaking to the House on 2 December.

“Can I say to the House: these communities are open for business and we should all do our bit to support them. The RFS crews are working around the clock to prevent the fire jumping the river. For now, it’s safe to visit, so come on up and support the local businesses on the Hawkesbury”.

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