The National Rural Health Alliance – Australia’s umbrella rural health organisation – has called on the Federal Government to work with it to develop and implement “Phase 2” of a National Rural Health Strategy.
Alliance Chair, Tanya Lehmann, said the Alliance was best placed to provide expert advice across the rural health sector in the development of the new rural health strategy, as announced in the May Budget.
Ms Lehmann said the Alliance and its 37 members represented a “one stop shop” for the Government, and was able to provide direct access to service providers and consumers in the bush.
“Our members’ activity and services impact upon the lives of some 7 million Australians, who represent the economic heartland. And the rural health sector is a $16 billion-plus industry according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare,” Ms Lehmann said.
“The Government allocated $550 million towards a rural health strategy in the May Budget which is a fantastic start, and we stand ready to help extend the strategy to all areas of health delivery and service to the community.
“The strategy needs to be expanded to other professions and consumer organisations that deliver these vital health services across the country.
“The issues of rural health workforce, access to adequate health services, the poor state of Indigenous health and the need to ensure better connectivity in rural areas is crucial and we are best placed to provide the knowledge, expertise, data and networks to assist the development and roll out of the rural health strategy.
“And above all this, we strongly urge the re-appointment of a Minister for Rural Health to oversee this activity.
The Alliance wraps up its Annual General Meeting and CouncilFest activities today with a series of meetings with more than 30 Federal MPs from all parties to promote health initiatives that improve the lot of those living in remote and rural communities around Australia.
The visits are the culmination of the Alliance’s three-day CouncilFest activities which have included celebrating its 25th anniversary as the national advocate for rural health, the confirmation of its Reconciliation Action Plan and the election of its Board and Chairperson for the next 12 months.
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