Market economics fails to deliver on rural health

01 May 2019

Australia’s peak body for rural health has urged aspiring members of the nation’s next Federal Government to abandon the assumption that market economics can be the main lever driving the delivery of health services in rural areas.

“We know that when it comes to rural health, market failure exists,” National Rural Health Alliance Chair Tanya Lehmann said.

“We have to come out of our silos that exist profession by profession and work collaboratively and innovatively to deliver services that might be commercially viable in cities but simply are not in rural areas,” Ms Lehmann said.

“We know there are other things we can do to make them work and it involves collaboration and government support. We want to see 3000 more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Practitioners and 3000 more Allied Health Professionals in our regions. We know we can grow them in the regions if we are supported to do that.”

Ms Lehmann was speaking in Canberra at the launch of the NRHA’s 2019 Federal Election Charter.

The Charter identifies four key priorities the Alliance is advocating for from the next Federal Government. (See

Regional Australia Institute Co-CEO Kim Houghton told the launch gathering that health would create jobs and drive economic growth in rural Australia.

The National Rural Health Alliance has 37 member organisations representing health workers and professionals working in rural, regional and remote Australia.

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