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Wednesday, 28 September 2022
Page: 64

Dr WEBSTER (Mallee) (13:54): I was pleased to meet with the Assistant Minister for Rural and Regional Health, the member for Dobell, this week. I brought to her attention the desperate need for health workforce in the regions and the risks that face those who reside in Mallee, my electorate, due to the lack of doctors, especially GPs and other allied health workforce. This is not a new challenge for those of us who choose to live in the regions; in fact, there are nearly nine million Australians living in rural and regional settings who experience problems with health delivery.

The minister and I constructively discussed long-term solutions and short-term solutions to this knotty problem. I talked with her about the funding the coalition had promised during the election, for infrastructure to enable students from year 12 to complete the undergraduate biomedical science course at La Trobe University in Mildura so that they could go on and complete their medical postgraduate degree at Monash, also based in Mildura. We know that people who train in the regions stay in the regions. I urged her to fund the La Trobe wet lab infrastructure, as the coalition had promised. The short-term solutions are, of course, varied, and we discussed many of these.

As regional MPs, the member for Dobell and I understand the necessity of a specific approach to regional health delivery, and that one-size-fits-all for urban and regional electorates will never work.