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New Reciprocal Health Care Agreement With NZ

Media Release

Dr Michael Wooldridge

New Reciprocal Health Care Agreement With New Zealand

A new reciprocal health care Agreement will ensure that Australians and New Zealanders travelling between the two countries will receive the same access to health services and benefits.

The new Agreement, signed in Melbourne by Dr Wooldridge, Federal Minister for Health and Aged Care, and his New Zealand counterpart Mr Roger Sowry, replaces the old agreement now placing both countries on an equal footing.

In the past, Australia has provided travelling New Zealanders with additional benefits such as GP subsidies and subsidised diagnostic and laboratory tests. Australians travelling in New Zealand did not have access to these services.

Dr Wooldridge said that the new Agreement represents a saving to Australia's health system of $3million per year.

"It's important that people from both countries can receive the same access to health care and can feel protected and safe when travelling."

"Australians travelling in New Zealand will receive free public hospital care, but will pay for any private medical treatment, outpatients and prescription medicines," Dr Wooldridge said.

"New Zealanders visiting Australia will receive free public hospital care and subsidised prescription medicines, but will pay for any private medical treatment.

Dr Wooldridge said that New Zealanders already in Australia at 1 September 1999 will continue to receive benefits under the old Agreement while they remain in the country.

The new Agreement affirms Australia's strong relationship with New Zealand, which is characterised by extensive business and family ties between the countries.

"Australia has agreements with a number of countries which have similar health systems as a way of offering quality health care for Australians travelling overseas and foreigners visiting our country," Dr Wooldridge said.

"The new Agreement between Australia and our close neighbour is a more equitable, fair, and cost-effective option that continues both countries' strong commitment to quality patient care."

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