Hendy Cowan

Hendy Cowan


    Telecentre makes Medicare claims easier (visual)

    23/08/2000 12:00 AM

    The Leonora Telecentre today became the first telecentre in the State to provide a self-service Medicare easyclaim facility for local residents.

    Regional Development Minister Hendy Cowan said similar facilities would now be rolled out to another 38 telecentres in small towns, providing a valuable new service for regional people.

    "This is an excellent initiative for people in smaller communities who presently have no local access point for lodging Medicare claims or accessing brochures and other assistance," Mr Cowan said.

    "It will also ensure that claims reach Medicare as quickly as possible, minimising delays in receiving refunds."

    In a joint venture with the Health Insurance Commission, the participating telecentres will provide self-service booths with instructional panels, one touch telephones (to an HIC operator), brochures, claims envelopes and a drop box for claim documents.

    Mr Cowan was in Leonora today for the commencement of the service, which coincided with a ceremony to mark the official opening of the Leonora Telecentre, which began operating in January this year.

    "Telecentres are becoming a catalyst for the delivery of numerous valuable services to small communities and the Medicare easyclaim booth in Leonora is yet another example of this," he said.

    "Across the State, there are now telecentres providing everything from in-store banking, access to university courses and even on-line legal services.

    "This is on top of traditional services such as access to state of the art computers, scanners, printers and other technologies, community education and training, desktop publishing, Internet access and bookkeeping and secretarial work.

    "All of these things are helping to overcome the tyranny of distance for people in regional areas."

    Mr Cowan paid tribute to the many organisations and individuals who had helped make the Leonora Telecentre a reality, including members of the original steering committee, the management committee, Telecentre staff and volunteers and the Shire of Leonora.

    "Telecentres have been one of the great success stories for regional areas and they will continue to be a priority for the State Government," he said.

    "There are presently 78 approved telecentres across the State and the Government hopes to have 90 established by June 2001."

    Mr Cowan said the launch in May this year of the State's first ever Regional Development Policy had set the groundwork for a new, stronger focus on regional development, and telecentres were an integral part of that commitment.

    "The Regional Development Policy provides a clear direction for Government agencies to follow to improve service delivery and specifically promotes activities aimed at helping communities to help themselves,” he said.

    "Telecentres fall squarely into that category, while also helping to progress the specific commitment to developing telecommunications in regional areas."

    Telecentres are jointly funded by the State Government's Telecommunications Initiative Fund and the Federal Government's Networking the Nation program, with the funds administered through the Department of Commerce and Trade.

    Media Contact: Peter Jackson 9222-9595

    The Leonora Telecentre.

    Federal MHR for Kalgoorlie, Barry Haase, Deputy Premier Hendy Cowan and Health Insurance Commission state manager Adrian Kelly at the Medicare Easyclaim booth.