First National Rural Health Commissioner to Champion Rural Health Reform

09 Feb 17

Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker, today welcomed introduction of legislation into the Parliament that will establish the role of National Rural Health Commissioner as part of important reforms to regional and rural health in Australia.

“The Health Insurance Amendment Bill 2017 will see Australia’s first National Rural Health Commissioner be appointed, as an independent and high-profile advocate for regional, rural and remote health,” said Mr Hartsuyker.

“The North Coast has an ageing population and a high number of its residents have a disability. We also have some of the worst rates of cardio-vascular disease in the country, so our health needs are high.

“The Coalition Government is determined that this be addressed – the role of the National Rural Health Commissioner is to be an independent advocate to provide frank advice on regional and rural health reform and represent the needs and rights of regional, rural and remote Australia.

“The Government is providing $4.4 million to establish the new Commissioner, who will work with communities, the health sector, universities, specialist training colleges and across all levels of government to improve rural health policies and champion the cause of rural practice.

“The very first task of the Commissioner will be to develop a National Rural Generalist Pathway to improve access to training for doctors in regional, rural and remote Australia. Appropriate remuneration for Rural Generalists, recognising their extra skills and longer working hours, will also be under consideration,”

“The Commissioner’s role will be quite broad and will also give consideration to the nursing, dental health, Indigenous health, mental health, midwifery and allied health needs in regional, rural and remote Australia.

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