New health commissioner positive thing for the west

National Rural Health Commissioner

The announcement this week that the first ever National Rural Health Commissioner will be appointed is very positive and welcome news for the electorate of Parkes.

My colleague in Parliament and the Assistant Minister for Health Dr David Gillespie introduced legislation into the House of Representatives to establish the role of the commissioner as part of important reforms to regional and rural health in Australia.

The Health Insurance Amendment Bill 2017 will establish Australia’s first ever National Rural Health Commissioner and fulfils an election commitment to appoint an independent and high-profile advocate for regional, rural and remote health.

The people of regional, rural and remote Australia are the heart and soul of our country, but their health outcomes are often diminished due to their remoteness and reduced access to health services.

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

The Coalition Government is providing $4.4 million to establish the new commissioner, who will work with communities, the health sector, universities, and specialist training colleges 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.

Decentralisation of Commonwealth agencies

The Nationals are calling on regional Australians to make their views clear on why areas outside big cities deserve jobs after a new inquiry into decentralisation of Commonwealth agencies passed with Coalition support in the Senate.

The Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee will be holding an inquiry into the operation, effectiveness and consequences of relocating corporate Commonwealth entities, as well as the economic, environmental and capability implications.

Every town that has ever wanted Centrelink or a tax office, every town that has ever wanted a Centre of Excellence, every town that has wanted an agency such as the Grains Research and Development Corporation or the Murray Darling Basin Authority, now is the time to make your bid. Every Council, Chamber of Commerce, CWA and community association in every regional town is invited to make a submission to this inquiry.