ALP commits to improved rural and remote health

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Country people will be very pleased to know that the ALP has endorsed all 35 specific questions posed on their behalf by the NRHA in its Election Scorecard.

The Greens have also committed to all 35. The Coalition has yet to respond to the NRHA on the matter.

The NRHA 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. The seven domains are described in the Alliance's Election Charter.

One such domain concerns the essential matter of rural health service planning and delivery being determined by local health needs. Another relates 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 in its Election Scorecard. Some of these specific questions 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. 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 Election page of the Alliance's website is at ruralhealth.org.au/advocacy/election

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