Election 2013

In the lead-up to the Federal Election 2013, the NRHA’s Election Charter provided background on some of the urgent issues in rural and remote health and the various topics ('domains') in which the new government should act to address them. Based on the Election Charter, the NRHA produced an Election Scorecard to provide a graphical overview of the extent to which the three major party groupings committed to program decisions and principles to help reduce rural health inequities.

The Scorecard (below) records the ranking of the major parties as at 6 September 2013. The scores for the ALP and the Greens were from responses specifically received from those two to the NRHA's 35 questions. The Coalition opted not to respond, with the score being allocated on the basis of public announcements made by the Coalition in the campaign period.

Election Scorecard

Overall Performance:


35/35

14/35

35/35

1. Local health needs must determine rural service planning and delivery.

2. There must be an integrated rural training pathway for rural and remote health professionals.

3. In aged and disability care, government should build on reform to enable rural people to live better.

4. There must be continued support and resourcing for the Close the Gap Campaign.

5. Funding must provide equitable education and health choices for rural people.

6. Government should lead development of fixed and mobile connectivity for rural prosperity and health.

7. Government should build the economic future of rural communities.

TOTAL 35/35 14/35 35/35





1. Local health needs must determine rural service planning and delivery.

Support for local health service planning (eg Medicare Locals)

Support for Aboriginal community controlled health service sector

Support for small rural hospitals and/or rebuilding of maternity services

Mental health services for rural areas

Mental health services for young rural people

TOTAL 5/5 4/5 5/5


2. There must be an integrated rural training pathway for rural and remote health professionals.

More focus on workforce distribution cf numbers

Greater use of integrated rural training pathways

Some greater focus on 'generalism' in all professions

Support for NPA on public dental health

Special efforts to effect a better distribution of dental professionals

TOTAL 5/5 3/5 5/5


3. In aged and disability care, government should build on reform to enable rural people to live better.

Requiring disability agencies to listen to and act on rural circumstances

Understanding of the role of allied health professionals in disability care

Investment in healthy ageing in rural and remote areas

The need for the new aged care measures to allow for the higher costs of running rural services and their particular workforce challenges

Requiring the new aged care agencies to accommodate rural circumstances

TOTAL 5/5 2/5 5/5


4. There must be continued support and resourcing for the Close the Gap Campaign.

Recognition that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people own 'Close the Gap'

Bi-partisan support for and investment in (governments') Closing the Gap

Increasing support for the community controlled (Indigenous) health sector

An integrated, holistic and culturally appropriate approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing

Continued support for the CGT chronic disease programs (eg for smoking and access to medicines)

TOTAL 5/5 2/5 5/5


5. Funding must provide equitable education and health choices for rural people.

A revised approach to rural schools funding to tie it more closely to educational need

Targets for improved rural secondary school completion rates

Research on how health promotion can be made more effective in rural and remote areas

Action to make health promotion more effective in rural and remote areas

Continued support for the Australian National Preventive Health Agency

TOTAL 5/5 0/5 5/5


6. Government should lead development of fixed and mobile connectivity for rural prosperity and health.

Providing high speed broadband for businesses and homes in rural and remote areas

Providing it to all households at the same price

Giving some priority in this work to 'the difficult 7 per cent'

Continued investment in and support for a national eHealth record

A continued expansion of telehealth capacity

TOTAL 5/5 2/5 5/5


7. Government should build the economic future of rural communities.

An understanding of the economic value of the health sector in rural and remote areas

Some new initiatives for the development of rural regions

New programs to ameliorate the effects of climate change on rural businesses and communities

Further support for industries based in rural and remote areas that will benefit from climate change (eg renewable energy, carbon sequestration)

Support for the health sector to prepare for the effects of climate change

TOTAL 5/5 1/5 5/5

Comments

Wow, so the narrative is that the Nationals are the party that supports our rural areas and the Greens are anti rural, farms communists etc.
Well the good news is there is a choice should people actually choose to be informed and vote accordingly. The bad news is polling seems to suggest that the next few years may be more than a little tough on our farmers.

Thanks for doing this; it is a great comparison.

Having been involved in health politics in New Zealand for many years I know it's easy for a party to give maximum points regarding priorities - but when one party flaunts its apparent lack of interest in so many of the points raised in the Alliance's questionnaire one can only fear for rural Australia if that party gets in. (I can't vote here so I have no party vested interest!).
NZ brought in corporate management of health in the early 1990s resulting in widespread closure of small rural hospitals (which had provided remarkable services on tiny budgets). The on-going corporate/centralisation mentality in NZ health management has largely eliminated the input of health professionals and local communities as to how health services should be run. As a twice elected health board member in NZ I have personally witnessed the contempt shown to the views of experienced health professionals by managers with little or no relevant qualifications and experience.
Queensland's experience since the last state elections should sound a warning to the whole rural sector.

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