Notwithstanding the unexpected excitement that spilled into the day, over 50 Parliamentarians met with delegations from the NRHA on Monday 14 September.
As well as outlining eight particular priority issues, the NRHA offered its networking and information services to Members and Senators in their work with and care for the wellbeing of people who live in remote and rural parts of Australia.
One or two of the scheduled meetings finished abruptly - although always politely - for reasons which only became obvious later in the day. It was clear that the NRHA is a trusted organisation where the provision of advice on rural and remote wellbeing is concerned.
We provided a Handout for Parliamentarians which listed and described quite an extensive list of topics on which they might want to seek further information from us.
In addition, and with due regard to the particular interests of individual members or Senators, we ran through the narrative describing priority issues which have been agreed by Council of the NRHA in the preceding two days. Building towards equal health deals briefly with some over-arching issues of concern, such as secure funding for health services and the distribution of the health workforce; as well as some specific issues such as mental health and the closure of maternity units in remote and rural areas.
The NRHA seeks to be involved with the re-negotiation apparently in train between Commonwealth and State/Territory Governments about oral health care. And a rebalancing is sought to have a greater proportion of NHMRC funds relating specifically to remote and rural health and health services.