Nationals celebrate one year of ignoring regional health

Sick Australians living in rural and regional areas are being hit hardest by the Abbott Government’s unfair Budget because the National Party has comprehensively failed to stand up to the Liberals.

A so-called achievements document released today by the National Party failed to identify a single achievement that meets their pre-election promises, including to -

“… provide increased financial support for doctors who provide health services in regional and remote communities, through increased Medicare rebates and scheduled fees loaded on top of regular Medicare billings, which will increase according to remoteness.” 

 [Our Plan for Regional Australia, page 45] 

Labor’s Spokesperson for Rural and Regional Health, Stephen Jones says there is not one mention of how National members have stood up for patients in their electorates on a single general health policy.

“It’s obvious the National Party will keep rolling over for their Liberal Party colleagues when it comes to rural and regional health policy.”

“They’ve shown it time and time again, with their $1.4 billion tax on regional GP visits and the $370 million being ripped out of preventative health programs put in place by Labor to reduce chronic disease in regional Australia.

“Just last week it was revealed that patients in rural and regional electorates will be hardest hit by the Abbott Government’s $1.2 billion increase to medicines on the PBS and still, not a peep from the Nats.

The Nationals have broken their promise to –

“… give full time attention to regional health concerns, and win for regional health a high priority in general health policy.” 

[The National Party, Our Plan for Regional Australia, page 43]

“Before the election, Nationals members were running from town to town telling regional voters that their health needs would be top priority in Government”, said Jones.

“Just twelve months in and we can see this was nothing more than a hollow promise.

“The Minister in charge of Rural and Regional Health, Fiona Nash hasn’t just dropped the ball. She has comprehensively failed to picked it up from day one and patients in regional Australia are, quite literally, paying the price.”