Health care

The Yarra Ranges doesn't have a single emergency department with an electorate that spans over 2,500 square kilometres. Picture: UNSPLASH

By Aaron Violi

All Australians deserve access to a strong, reliable, and affordable healthcare system that is close to home.

But here in the Yarra Ranges, with an electorate that spans over 2,500 square kilometres, we don’t have a single emergency department within our community.

For residents in remote parts of our electorate – whether it be Reefton, Warburton, Healesville, Powelltown or the towns in between, it can be over an hour’s drive to Maroondah Hospital or the Angliss in their time of need.

That’s why I believe it is time we had a Medicare Urgent Care Clinic here in the Yarra Ranges – a clinic that residents or family members can walk into and be bulk-billed for urgent care.

In the last Parliamentary sitting week, I called on the Federal Government to establish an Urgent Care Clinic in our community.

A clinic that is open early and closes late every day of the year, providing urgent care in a GP setting so you don’t have to travel the distance or experience the lengthy delays of the emergency department.

The reality is that it is getting harder and harder to find a GP appointment. Across the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges, we now have just seven fully bulk-billed clinics, with none in some of our largest towns including Lilydale, Healesville and Belgrave.

I recently met with Dr Dan’s Medical Clinic in Monbulk, Yarra Ranges Medical Centre in Wandin North, Belgrave Medical Clinic and representatives from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) who each expressed concerns over falling bulk billing rates and rising costs impacting GPs.

When residents can’t access or afford to visit their GP, there is a flow on effect to our emergency departments and wider healthcare system.

Disappointingly, of the eight Urgent Care Clinics in Victoria, seven are in Labor or Greens held seats.

What’s worse? Many of these clinics are within a few minutes drive from functioning emergency rooms.

It’s time Labor listened to the residents of the Yarra Ranges and funded a Medicare Urgent Care Clinic that is close to home.

I will continue calling on the government to improve bulk billing and invest in the healthcare our community deserves. You can add your voice to my fight by signing my petition at