ALP policy on alt-med rebates and wind farm syndrome

Health insurance cards

The ALP has announced its election policies on the private health insurance rebate for ‘natural therapies’ and on investigations into so-called wind farm syndrome.

As part of its “Budget repair strategy”, the ALP says that, should it win government, the Private Health Insurance Rebate will no longer be available for natural therapies from 1 July 2017.

“The Review of the Australian Government Rebate on Private Health Insurance for Natural Therapies, which was initiated by the former Labor government, found that there was no clear evidence that the natural therapies that were covered by the review were clinically effective.”

The ALP statement claims that this expenditure saving will improve the budget by $180.2 million over the forward estimates, and $704.7 million over the medium term.

At a press conference on Friday, June 10, Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen said there was nothing wrong with seeking natural therapies like aromatherapy, herbalism or iridology.

“I myself use them from time to time – my personal favourite is the Bowen treatment, I can recommend it to you. But in times of difficult budgetary situations, it is not appropriate for taxpayers to have to fund and subsidise private health insurance cover for these treatments.”

Wind farm syndrome

The ALP has also announced that it will abolish the National Wind Farm Commissioner and the Independent Scientific Commission on Wind Turbines.

“A Labor government will not continue with a position that is little more than a sop to reactionary views about renewable energy. The National Health and Medical Research Council has previously found there is no consistent evidence that a problem exists.”

This expenditure saving is claimed to improve the budget by $1.6 million over the forward estimates and the medium term.

The position of National Wind Farm Commissioner was established in October 2015 for an initial period of three years by the Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt.

The Commissioner’s role is to “receive, handle and refer complaints about wind farms from concerned residents to industry and/or state authorities, and help to ensure complaints are properly addressed”. At the time of its launch, it was said it would draw on the work of the Independent Scientific Committee on Wind Turbines established by the government on possible health and environmental impacts of wind farms.

6 thoughts on “ALP policy on alt-med rebates and wind farm syndrome”

  1. “At a press conference on Friday, June 10, Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen said there was nothing wrong with seeking natural therapies like aromatherapy, herbalism or iridology.

    “I myself use them from time to time – my personal favourite is the Bowen treatment, I can recommend it to you.”

    Oh dear. It was looking good until this little insight. This man wants to take control of the country’s finances, and he thinks there’s “nothing wrong” with pseudoscience?

    As for Bowen therapy, Wikipedia has this to say about its effectiveness:

    “In 2015 the Australian Government’s Department of Health published the results of a review of alternative therapies that sought to determine if any were suitable for being covered by health insurance; Bowen Technique was one of 17 therapies evaluated for which no clear evidence of effectiveness was found.[1] Quackwatch includes “NST (Bowen Therapy)” in its list of “questionable treatments.”[13]”

    And this is Chris Bowen’s “personal favourite”? Good move by the ALP to remove the rebate for natural therapies but I don’t want any government minister to be guided more by wishful thinking than clear evidence of effectiveness.

    1. hmm, I´m wondering if Mr. Bowen isn´t actually trying to be amusing here by recommending what he refers to as the “Bowen Treatment” as opposed to “Bowen Therapy”. Let´s be thankful for small mercies that he has, at least, committed to abolishing rebates on these “treatments”…

    2. I’m sure the reference to ‘Bowen treatment’ was meant as a joke, a play on the politicians name – Chris Bowan.

  2. I believe Chris Bowen was just trying to be amusing with his comment on “Bowen Treatment”, I hope so.

  3. He wasn’t just being funny. That’s clear when you watch the interview. The name was pure coincidence. And it is a worry that he’s diluting the decision and the logic behind it by trying to remain “open minded” and populist, clearly for ‘politicking’ reasons.

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