The National Rural Health Alliance (the Alliance) welcomes the news of Prime Minister Albanese’s recommendation to the Governor-General that Mr Blair Comley PSM be appointed as the Secretary for the Department of Health and Aged Care.
“We are pleased to see that a person of Mr Comley’s calibre, with his strong economic qualifications and experience, will lead the health and aged care sector,” said Alliance Chief Executive Susi Tegen.
“We look forward to engaging with the Department of Health and Aged Care under Mr Comley’s leadership, to improve health outcomes for the more than 7 million people living in rural and remote Australia.
“The contribution of rural Australians, through varied industries, has helped keep Australia out of two global financial crises and reduced the economic impact of COVID-19. However, they are still the least serviced group when it comes to health care.
“Given the dire status of access to quality health care in rural Australia, the Alliance anticipates working closely with Mr Comley to increase preventive health care and further our vision of healthy and sustainable rural, regional and remote communities across Australia.
“We also recognise and appreciate the significant service of outgoing Secretary of the Department of Health and Aged Care, and former Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy AC.
“We especially thank him for his commitment during the COVID-19 pandemic to keeping Australians safe while grappling with such a major global challenge. We wish him all the best in his retirement.
“The Alliance hopes to collaborate with Mr Comley with the same vigour as we did with Professor Murphy and his staff, to ensure better healthcare access for rural Australians,” said Ms Tegen.