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Coalition to boost local rural health infrastructure.



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Federal Member for Wannon

Hamilton Office 190 Gray St, HAMILTON VIC 3300 Warrnambool Office 73 Kepler St WARRNAMBOOL VIC 3280 Freecall 1300 131 692 E David.Hawker.MP@aph.gov.au W www.davidhawker.com.au

25 October 2007

COALITION TO BOOST LOCAL RURAL HEALTH INFRASTRUCTURE

A re-elected Coalition Government will boost health services in the region by improving the Rural Medical Infrastructure Fund (RMIF) which helps build walk-in walk-out medical facilities in local rural towns, Federal Member for Wannon, David Hawker, said today.

Mr Hawker said up to $5 million per year will be available to build new clinics and make rural practice more attractive for doctors and allied health professionals.

“Local communities in Western Victoria will benefit from these changes which will give them better access to funds to improve local health services,” he said.

“Ensuring doctors, dentists and allied health professionals have access to modern facilities is vital to improving primary health care in our region.

“The RMIF helps to ensure rural regions have the facilities needed for quality, affordable health care.”

Mr Hawker said the Coalition will reform the eligibility and assessment criteria for the RMIF to ensure the bricks and mortar are delivered where they are needed most.

“We will increase the cap of $400,000 per project to $1 million and remove the existing population rules restricting RMIF funding to towns of less than 10,000 people. All towns that fall within the Inner Regional, Outer Regional, Remote and Very Remote classifications used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics will now be eligible to apply,” he said.

“Of course, priority will still be given to the smaller and more remote communities in the region.

“We will allow local communities to apply for funds to build clinics in State owned infrastructure, and for private medical practices to apply for small grants of up to $75,000 in certain circumstances.

“Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Services will also become eligible to apply.

“In addition to these changes, the criteria for Regional Partnerships are being streamlined. Coupled with the changes announced above, this will make the RMIF more flexible, reduce assessment times for applications and cut red tape to get medical infrastructure on the ground where needed,” Mr Hawker said.

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Media contact: Jane Templeton (03) 5572 1100