Coalition creates history with Australia's first National Rural Health Commissioner
New legislation has paved the way for the appointment of a new champion for rural health and the doctors, nurses and allied health workers who care for those living in these communities.
The Bill establishing the National Rural Health Commissioner’s role has been agreed to and the Assistant Minister for Health, Dr David Gillespie, welcomed the development and said the result would be better health for regional and rural Australians.
"Australia’s first National Rural Health Commissioner will be an independent and high-profile advocate for regional, rural and remote health,” Dr Gillespie said.
Passage of the Health Insurance Amendment (National Rural Health Commissioner) Bill 2017 is an important milestone that delivers on the Federal Coalition’s election commitment to address shortfalls in medical and health professionals in rural, regional and remote areas.
“The Commissioner will also consider the nursing, dental health, Indigenous health, mental health, midwifery and allied health needs in regional, rural and remote Australia,” Dr Gillespie said.
“The Commissioner’s work will be informed by rural health stakeholders, who will be part of the new Distribution Working Group, as well as the Rural Health Stakeholder Roundtable that I meet with regularly.
“I’m delighted with the passage of this legislation, which will deliver crucial outcomes not just in medical and allied health workforce issues, but also broader rural health reform.”
A national process to appoint the National Rural Health Commissioner will begin shortly.