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Monday, 29 March 2004
Page: 22100

Senator ALLISON (Victoria) (3.49 p.m.)—by leave—I move the motion as amended:

That the Senate—

(a) supports better health provision for rural communities;

(b) notes that rural communities have articulated in a report `Good health to rural communities', the following 10-point plan:

(i) small rural hospitals be utilised as centres for quality healthcare and training,

(ii) procedural rural medicine be sustained through the development of a national strategic approach,

(iii) the Medical Specialists Outreach Assistance Program and other initiatives be expanded to ensure integration with local healthcare services and support to sustain local healthcare capacity,

(iv) higher medical rebates be available to all Australians,

(v) the role of practice nurses be extended to allow them to provide other Medicare-funded services,

(vi) advanced nursing practice be supported in areas where access to healthcare is difficult,

(vii) a local government medical recruitment infrastructure fund be established for councils that have to acquire facilities,

(viii) high quality broadband services be provided for rural communities to give doctors and their patients access to on-line information,

(ix) bonded medical school places be made more attractive and effective by scholarships and other incentives, including higher education contribution scheme exemption, and

(x) overseas trained doctors be given access to suitable supervision, support mechanisms and mentoring, in order to remove unnecessary barriers to their contribution to rural health; and

(c) encourages the Government to adopt these recommendations, particularly those relating to grants for walk-in, walk-out clinics, noting that this was recommended by the Australian Democrats in 2003 as one way of overcoming the barriers to doctors practising in country areas.

Question agreed to.