Parliamentary Friends of Rural and Remote Health

Monday, 29 March 2021
Seven people in group photo at the event

Calls for an overarching National Rural Health Strategy were well received by politicians from all sides of politics at the recent Parliamentary Friends of Rural and Remote Health event at Parliament House in Canberra.

Alliance Chairperson Nicole O’Reilly welcomed a COVID-safe number of Members and Senators to the breakfast last Tuesday, including Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Minister for Regional Health Mark Coulton and Friends Co-chairs Warren Entsch and Warren Snowdon.

In welcoming guest speaker National Rural Health Commissioner Dr Ruth Stewart, Nicole acknowledged the work of the government towards building cohesion in rural health and said a national framework would ensure more effective evaluation of initiatives.

“A new National Rural Health Strategy would complement the strong contribution already made by Ruth as Commissioner, as well as the work underway on the Primary Health Care 10-Year Plan,” Nicole said.

The Rural Health Commissioner said local models of health care needed to be designed in, by, for and with communities, and continued her advocacy of the rural generalist pathway for doctors working in rural and remote areas.

“Because every single town and community has unique issues requiring different health solutions. It’s not a question of what do they need, it is what do they want?”

Alliance CEO Gabrielle O’Kane thanked outgoing Co-chair Warren Snowden for being a champion of rural and remote health since the group was established in 2017.

“The rural sector is very fortunate to have such strong support from across all parties in the Federal Parliament and this is certainly due to cooperative support of the two Warrens and their leadership of the Parliamentary Friends of Rural and Remote Health.

“We will very much miss the input and passion of Warren Snowden when he steps away from politics at the next election,” Gabrielle said.