Federal Assistant Minister for Health, the Hon Dr David Gillespie

Federal parliament has passed legislation for the appointment of a new National Rural Health Commissioner who will act as a “champion for rural health and the doctors, nurses and allied health workers who care for those living in these communities,” according to Port Macquarie MP and Assistant Minister for Health, Dr David Gillespie.

“Australia’s first National Rural Health Commissioner will be an independent and high-profile advocate for regional, rural and remote health,” Dr Gillespie said, calling it an “important milestone that delivers on the Federal Coalition’s election commitment to address shortfalls in medical and health professionals in rural, regional and remote areas.”

The Commissioner will also consider the nursing, dental health, Indigenous health, mental health, midwifery and allied health needs in regional, rural and remote Australia, he added.

“The Commissioner’s work will be informed by rural health stakeholders, who will be part of the new Distribution Working Group, as well as the Rural Health Stakeholder Roundtable that I meet with regularly.

“I’m delighted with the passage of this legislation, which will deliver crucial outcomes not just in medical and allied health workforce issues, but also broader rural health reform.”

A process to appoint the National Rural Health Commissioner will begin shortly.