THE HON WARREN SNOWDON MP
Minister for Indigenous Health, Rural and Regional Health and Regional Services Delivery
DARREN CHEESEMAN MP
Member for Corangamite
9 July 2010
Minister for Rural and Regional Health, Warren Snowdon has held a health roundtable in Colac and toured a number of the region’s health facilities to talk about health reform and health issues of importance to the area.
Mr Snowdon joined the Member for Corangamite, Darren Cheeseman to meet with community members and health professionals at the forum today at Colac Hospital.
During his two-day visit Mr Snowdon also visited Geelong Hospital, Deakin University’s Private Hospital, and held a men’s health forum in Geelong.
Mr Snowdon said the Gillard Government is committed to an ambitious reform agenda which will deliver better health services and better hospitals to regional and rural Australia, particularly the Barwon South West region.
“We recognise that many smaller rural hospitals like Colac face higher staffing and equipment costs, and cannot achieve the economies of scale that large hospitals can,” Mr Snowdon said.
“To ensure that rural hospitals with low patient flow can continue to deliver vital services, the Australian Government will fund them through block grants, where needed,” Mr Cheeseman said.
“No rural and regional hospital will be forced to close because of reforms being implemented as part of the Australian Government’s National Health and Hospitals Network,” Mr Snowdon added.
An independent umpire will determine the fair price for services, taking into account remoteness and the particular circumstances and health care needs of people living in rural Australia.
“For the first time, the Commonwealth Government will become the dominant funder of Australia’s public hospitals, funding 60 per cent of hospital activity, new and operational capital, and teaching, training and research costs,” Mr Cheeseman said.
The Australian Government has a commitment to deliver better hospitals and better health outcomes to all Australian families, regardless of where they live.
“With the establishment of the Deakin University Medical School and Health faculty, we are now producing many more GPs and nurses locally. This combined with the national health reform agenda, will strengthen health services provided in the region,” Mr Cheeseman said.
In addition, since the start of July, city doctors who move to Colac may now be eligible for $15,000 in rural relocation grant under the Australian Government’s General Practice Rural Incentives Program.
“Under this program, doctors who stay in Colac may now also be eligible for rural retention grants – which start at $2,500 after a year of practice in the area, and rise to $12,000 after five years,” Mr Snowdon said.
Alice Plate (Snowdon) 0400 045 999
Jo Taylor (Cheeseman) 0416 241 653