NT News

No plans to push Medicare update

- JUDITH AISTHORPE

THE NT government has no plans to make a renewed push for Territoria­ns to update their Medicare addresses, despite a row breaking out between Chief Minister Michael Gunner and the commonweal­th over how Covid-19 doses are recorded.

It is not known how many people have registered their Medicare address in the NT.

The most recent figures, which are from 2019-2020, indicate 246,103 people in the NT had their Medicare details reflecting they reside in the Territory.

The NT government measures vaccine rates by counting the number of jabs given regardless of where you are from, while the commonweal­th used to follow the same methodolog­y but now records vaccine rates based on the address attached to a person’s Medicare.

The change meant the percentage of eligible people vaccinated in the NT dropped, with NT Health concerned doses given in the NT were counted interstate due to NT residents failing to update their Medicare details.

NT Health Minister Natasha Fyles said the government was rolling out its vaccinatio­n program as quickly as possible.

“We have delivered a first dose to 66 per cent of Territoria­ns and we are very close to hitting the 50 per cent mark for second doses in the Territory,” she said. In March 2020, the

NT government ran a campaign to get an estimated 4000 people living in the NT to update their details, with the government estimating it was missing out on $45m a year in GST payments.

The drive had a sweet deal, with three lucky people who updated their details winning $5000 each.

The success of the campaign led to 5000 Territoria­ns updating or confirming their details. However, on Friday, questions to the NT government on whether it would introduce the scheme again, were left unanswered.

The commonweal­th also did not answer questions as to how many Medicare accounts were registered to the NT.

The Australian Health Department in a statement said to date more than 217,000 Covid-19 doses had been given in the Territory while 20.3 million had been administer­ed Australia-wide. The statement also indicated the rollout in regional and remote areas would continue to be undertaken with the support of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

 ??  ?? Natasha Fyles.
Natasha Fyles.

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