COAG Health Services - Aligning Services in Rural and Remote Areas

Communities in rural Australia with populations of less that 7,000 people will benefit from a new Budget measure which better adapts health services to the specific needs of that region.

Page last updated: 09 May 2006

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Why is this important?

  • This initiative aims to improve access to health care services for people living in rural and remote Australia and to strengthen the capacity of existing health services. The initiative recognises that providing health care in rural settings is challenging in terms of recruitment and retention of staff and meeting the demands for services. The initiative will ensure that nominated rural health service delivery programmes are better targeted to meet the needs of local communities.

Who will benefit?

  • Communities in rural and remote Australia with populations of less than 7,000 will benefit from this initiative.

What funding is the Government committing to the initiative?

  • This funding forms part of the Government’s contribution to the COAG Health Services package, as announced on 10 February 2006.
  • Funding for existing health service delivery programmes included in the Rural Health Strategy will be committed to this initiative. The Commonwealth, and state and Northern Territory governments will each consolidate funding for specified rural health programmes. This separately consolidated funding will be provided to local auspicing bodies, which will have the flexibility to purchase those health services most needed by the respective community.

What has been done in the past?

  • The Government has made a significant investment in rural and remote health. In 2004-05 the Government committed $830.2 million over four years to the Rural Health Strategy which includes programmes such as the Medical Specialist Outreach Assistance Programme, the Rural Private Access Programme and Regional Health Services Programme (RHS).

When will the initiative conclude?

  • This initiative will be reviewed in the 2010-11 Budget.

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