Major rural health event starts tomorrow - but will resonate for years

23 May 2015

After months of planning, the eagerly anticipated 13th National Rural Health Conference starts tomorrow at the Darwin Convention Centre. More than 1100 delegates from across Australia will be there to demonstrate their commitment to better health and wellbeing for people who live in rural and remote communities.

Every one of the participants will come with some personal experience of the realities of remote and rural health. And every one of them will be heard, whether through contributed papers, recommendations or the informal contacts they make.

Because of the weight of evidence that will be gathered at it, the Conference has caught the ear of our political leaders and will be of interest to people everywhere who are concerned about the comparatively poor health of people in more remote areas.

The National Rural Health Conference is a unique event that fashions a powerful if temporary community of interest. If you want to understand more about the major health and lifestyle issues in country towns and the bush, there is no better way than to hear from those who live and work there.

“Delegates will hear an opening address from Fiona Nash, Assistant Federal Health Minister, and in the final session they will have a video message from the Prime Minister," said National Rural Health Alliance CEO, Gordon Gregory. "Tony Abbott understands the value of this event from his time as Minister for Health," he added.

Northern Territory Minister for Health, John Elferink, and Shadow Assistant Federal Minister for Health, Stephen Jones, will also address the Conference.

“It is always pleasing to see our political leaders, from across all jurisdictions and parties, taking a keen interest in the health of people in rural and remote Australia. The agreed set of recommendations we will send them at the end of Conference will provide real solutions to improve health outcomes in country areas,” Mr Gregory said.

“While this is an important outcome from the Conference, just as important are the personal stories of determination, innovation, bush ingenuity, teamwork, care and community that make rural and remote practice such a rewarding, and often, life-changing experience."

"All conferences allow people to sit in, listen and learn, but it is the celebration of rural life and working in rural health that brings people back time and time again, and makes this event so worthwhile.”

For information on what is happening at the Conference, including the program and streamed presentations, visit http://www.ruralhealth.org.au/13nrhc/

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Damien Hickman 0414 380892