Labor has secured positive changes to the role of the National Rural Health Commissioner, with the Government expected to introduce amendments to their own legislation in response to concerns raised by Labor.
Labor understands that the Government will be introducing amendments to the Health Insurance Amendment (National Rural Health Commissioner) Bill, in a concession that more needs to be done to ensure the role adequately supports Australians living in rural and remote areas.
Labor has listened to the sector and worked constructively with the Government to get these changes in response to concerns that were consistently raised about issues with the legislation.
Only last week, Labor foreshadowed amendments in the Senate that would:
· broaden the scope of the Commissioner’s role;
· review rather than cease the Commissioner’s role on 1 July 2020; and
· establish an unpaid advisory board to support the Commissioner.
Labor welcomes the Government’s amendments in line with these, and we acknowledge Assistant Minister Gillespie’s willingness to negotiate.
We believe the Government’s amendments address many of the issues with the Bill which Labor and a number of stakeholders had identified.
Labor looks forward to the National Rural Health Commissioner being appointed and commencing work as soon as possible.
MONDAY, 27 MARCH 2017