Coalition makes rural and regional health a priority


The Coalition will be working to get more and better trained medical experts into rural and regional areas with its health policy announced today, Ross Vasta for Bonner said.

“We need more frontline services in Bonner, from highly skilled doctors, nurses and allied health professionals,” said Ross Vasta.

“This is a huge issue here and I particularly support the Coalition’s focus on helping busy professionals spend more time treating patients and financial assistance for students from rural and remote areas to further their studies.”

Unlike Labor which has run up enormous debt over the past six years and will have no alternative but to cut services if re-elected, the Coalition has a proven record on economic management and can deliver certainty of future investment.

The Coalition is committed to rebuilding general practice and assist them to expand their practices and provide space for teaching medical students. The Coalition will commit $52.5 million to provide at least 175 grants of up to $300,000 targeted to rural and regional areas.

The Coalition will also commit $13.4 million to provide 500 additional scholarships to a maximum of $30,000 per scholarship for nurses and allied health professionals in areas of need to undertake further study.

Another $40 million over four years will support up to 100 additional intern places in private hospitals, with priority given to positions and rotations outside major metro areas to bolster the medical workforce in rural and regional areas.

Importantly, a Federal Coalition government would work to cut administration and bureaucracy in favour of more frontline services, and work with States and Territories to support more local control of hospital services.

“I’ve always believed that hospitals can operate better at a community level than under the control of bureaucrats in Canberra,” said Ross Vasta.

The Coalition has a strong record on health. As health Minister, Tony Abbott increased funding for public hospitals from $7.49 billion in 2003 to over $9.5 billion in 2007. Just last year, the Federal Labor government cut $1.6 billion from State public hospitals.

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