An almost A$100 million ($70.1 million) health services boost is headed the way of regional and rural NSW.
The funding package will secure support for frontline workers and is also part of a record infrastructure investment for the sector in the bush, says the premier of Australia’s most populous state Dominic Perrottet.
Three new initiatives will aim to attract more health workers beyond the state’s population centres and assist rural and regional patients who need to travel to access care.
They include A$45 million ($31.5 million) to deliver new professional accommodation close to health facilities in the Murrumbidgee, Southern, and Far West local districts.
Some A$30 million ($21 million) will go towards enticing and retaining healthcare workers, including new scholarships for young people.
And a further A$23 million ($16.1 million) will make it easier to access care, including support for rural and regional patients who need to travel longer distances and a new online tool to navigate local services.
Perrottet says the investment will help make sure people in the bush have access to the best care possible, no matter where they live.
“Health challenges can be tough enough without adding the burden of distance to a care plan and that’s why we’ve set aside an additional A$23 million to help address this,” he said in a statement on Sunday.
“The NSW government’s focus has always been ensuring rural and regional communities get their share of health upgrades—and this latest announcement builds on the A$900 million regional and rural health infrastructure spend in 2021-22.”
Deputy Premier Paul Toole says a key component of the boost will generate construction jobs as accommodation is built for essential regional workers.
Mental Health Minister Bronnie Taylor said the investment will provide a big boost of support for rural patients.
“As a registered nurse from the bush, I know firsthand how important it is that patients feel supported when having to travel away from home and their support networks for care,” she said.
“Living in rural and regional NSW shouldn’t affect the care you receive, and this package delivers on all fronts—ensuring we have the health workforce, infrastructure and support we need.”
The Epoch Times contributed to this report.