New rural health agency must deliver: Oakeshott

Health Minister Nicola Roxon announced last week that the new agency, Rural and Regional Health Australia, would take over from the Office of Rural Health and act as an advocate within government to ensure regional Australia got its fair share of health funding.

Mr Oakeshott said the “whole point of the agency” was to deliver funding equity for rural Australia and “correct the imbalance of up to $2 billion a year being denied to… regional and remote communities”.

“This is at the heart of health reform nationally, so it better deliver otherwise our health system fails,” he told MO.

RDAA president Dr Paul Mara said Mr Oakeshott’s assessment was “spot on” and called on the agency to show its teeth in dealing with government.

“It needs to be a strong, independent advocate for rural health, it needs to go into the ring fighting for better funding for rural health