It’s been an action packed few weeks here in Canberra having just wrapped up CouncilFest - our annual gathering of Council members. At this year’s event, which ran from 10 – 12 September around 45 delegates met to discuss the key health challenges facing people living in rural and remote Australia.
CouncilFest saw our Member Bodies reaffirm strong support for the urgent development of a bipartisan, cross-jurisdictional new National Rural Health Strategy. Consensus was also reached on the need for such a strategy to be supported by robust health access standards.
During CouncilFest, delegates affirmed the need for people in rural and remote Australia to have affordable, acceptable and appropriate access – not just to health services but to all the factors that underpin their effectiveness, such as reliable high-speed internet, affordable and nutritious food, and health promotion and wellness activities. The evidence is that about 30% of the health outcomes that country people experience is impacted by access to affordable, acceptable and appropriate health services.
There is no doubt that the biggest highlight of CouncilFest was an inaugural breakfast at Parliament House, hosted by the Parliamentary Friends of Rural and Remote Health. The event featured presentations from Martin Laverty (Royal Flying Doctor Service), Katherine Burchfield (Royal Far West) and Chris Moorhouse (Chair of Friends of the Alliance). The breakfast was very well attended by Members of Parliament from all sides of the political spectrum and was followed by a raft of receptive and productive meetings with key Parliamentarians, including the Minister for Health.
The Alliance would like to express its sincere thanks to all the Members of Parliament who took the time to meet with us and listen to our proposals for a renewed focus on rural health. Also, big thanks to our new Board and all delegates of the members of the Alliance who contributed to making CouncilFest 2017 so amazing and memorable.
Click here to download the Alliance's Communique on CouncilFest 2017.