Federal Minister for Health and Family Services, Dr Michael Wooldridge, today signed an enhanced Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with New Zealand which reaffirms health care access for Australians travelling in New Zealand and New Zealanders travelling in Australia.
At a ceremony in Melbourne, Dr Wooldridge and the New Zealand Associate Minister of Health, the Hon Roger Sowry, signed the new agreement which will restore reciprocity in the level of health care access available to visitors travelling between the two countries.
Dr Wooldridge said changes to the existing agreement were an acknowledgement of Australia's strong business and family ties with New Zealand and also highlighted the strong relationship between the two countries.
"We sign agreements with countries who have similar health systems and high tourist and business trade as a method of extending the network of quality health care for Australians travelling overseas," Dr Wooldridge said.
"Australians visiting New Zealand will continue to have the same access as local residents to treatment in New Zealand's public health system for general and emergency medical requirements."
Dr Wooldridge said the agreement meant New Zealand visitors to Australia would have similar entitlements to Australia's public health system.
Australia currently has reciprocal health agreements with the United Kingdom, Malta, Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands and Finland. Discussions continue with other countries with high standard public health services.
"We have one of the best health systems in the world and these reciprocal arrangements mean Australians travelling overseas can rest assured that health care is reliable and accessible while they are away from home." Dr Wooldridge said.
The Agreement will come into force later in the year, after approval by both Governments.
Media Contact: Vanessa Monaghan, Dr Wooldridge's office (02) 6277 7220