09/02/2017

Australia’s first National Rural Health Commissioner – the champion of regional and rural health reform

Federal Member for Wide Bay, Llew O’Brien, today said Australia’s first National Rural Health Commissioner will be an independent and high-profile advocate for regional, rural and remote health.

“The Coalition Government is delivering on its election commitment to appoint Australia’s first ever National Rural Health Commissioner,” Mr O’Brien said.

“As I said in my maiden speech, we need to do more to deliver better health outcomes for people living in regional, rural and remote Australian communities.

“The Coalition Government is determined to address the issues of distance and remoteness to health services, by empowering the National Rural Health Commissioner to be an independent advocate, who will provide frank advice on regional and rural health reform and represent the needs and rights of people in regional, rural and remote Australia.”

“Regional, rural and remote health is built on the commitment, expertise and the courage of the rural health workforce.  Addressing the distribution of the health workforce in regional, rural and remote areas to improve health outcomes is a key priority for the Government.

The Coalition Government is providing $4.4 million to establish the new Commissioner, who will work with communities, the health sector, universities, specialist training colleges and all levels of government, to improve rural health policies and champion the cause of rural practice.

“The first task of the Commissioner will be to develop a National Rural Generalist Pathway, to improve access to training for doctors in regional, rural and remote Australia.

“The community relies on rural health professionals to have the skill-set to meet all kinds of challenges. They are at the frontline of health care in many communities, and the National Rural Health Commissioner will be their champion, and the champion of rural communities everywhere.” 

The Commissioner’s role will also give consideration to the nursing, dental health, Indigenous health, mental health, midwifery and allied health needs in regional, rural and remote Australia.