New legislation has paved the way for the appointment of Australia’s first National Rural Health Commissioner. The position will assist rural health and the doctors, nurses and allied health workers who care for those living in rural communities.

“Australia’s first National Rural Health Commissioner will be an independent and high-profile advocate for regional, rural and remote health,” said Dr David Gillespie.

Gillespie said the result would mean better health for regional and rural Australians.

“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.”

Passage of the Health Insurance Amendment Bill 2017 will help ensure medical and health professionals in rural, regional, and remote areas have access to the tools and support they need.

“The Commissioner will consider the nursing, dental health, Indigenous health, mental health, midwifery and allied health needs in regional, rural, and remote Australia,” said Gillespie.”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.”

A national process for appointing the National Rural Health Commissioner will begin shortly.

See photos from Toowoomba’s annual health fair here.