The Government has this week responded positively to the health issues raised by the NRHA on behalf of the people of rural and remote areas. The Coalition is yet to respond to the Alliance.
Lesley Barclay, NRHA Chair, said today how pleased country people will be to know that the ALP has committed to all 35 of the specific requests in the NRHA's Election Scorecard.
"We identified seven domains in which the next Government should act to reduce the current inequities in health and wellbeing that people in country areas experience," she said.
"For example, one such domain concerns the essential matter of rural health service planning and delivery being determined by local health needs. Another related to government's leadership on the development of fixed and mobile connectivity for country people."
In each of these seven domains, the Alliance has asked five specific questions of the major parties - some of which relate to matters of principle, with others going to specific programmatic initiatives that will help give country people access to services equivalent to what is available in the major cities.
"The ALP has indicated that, should it be re-elected to government, it will commit to all 35 of these specific issues," Prof Barclay said. "The Alliance will work closely with government to ensure that all such commitments are met."
What this would mean in practical terms for country people include such things as special consideration for mental health services for young rural people; program support for a better distribution of dental health professionals in rural and remote areas; requiring the new aged care agencies to allow for the circumstances of country Australia; and giving some priority in governmental leadership of fixed and mobile connectivity to the 7 per cent of households that have been difficult to connect.
The Greens have also indicated their understanding of the specific circumstances and needs of people in remote areas by committing to all 35 of the listed principles and initiatives.
The Alliance's Election Scorecard on which the 35 are explained is at www.ruralhealth.org.au
Lesley Barclay - Chair: 0412 282 801
Gordon Gregory - Executive Director: 02 6285 4660