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Wednesday 23 May 2012   Joint Media Release  The Hon Peter Dutton MP, Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing and Dr Andrew Laming Mp, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Indigenous Health and Regional Health Services

Australia’s rural doctors are crying out for help but the Government continues to ignore their pleas. Another Gillard Government policy wreck, the Australian Standard Geographical Classification – Remoteness Areas (ASGC-RA) system is supposed to recruit and retain much-needed doctors in small rural towns but is actually making the problem worse.

The previous Coalition Government developed a very good classification system that Labor has now butchered. By contrast the former GPARIA system was developed and reviewed with stakeholder input.

The Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing, Peter Dutton has called for the Government to take responsibility for changes to the classification system. Mr Dutton pointed out that the Gillard Government has formed at least twelve new bureaucratic structures at a cost of about $250 million instead of acting to solve the problems that credible stakeholders like the Rural Doctors Association of Australia have highlighted.

“Labor changed the classification system. They know it has failed. The Minister can’t stick her head in the stand hoping this will go away. Instead of inventing new bureaucracies, she should urgently take action to avoid the collapse of our rural health system.” Mr Dutton said.

Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Health, Andrew Laming MP described the Labor Government as living in denial with their claims that their rural classification system for rural doctors was ‘working well.’

As noted by numerous doctor groups, the current classification system actually produces a significant disincentive to work in genuine areas of need.

Labor is intent on ignoring the concerns that doctors have raised time and time again as evidenced by their contribution to a Senate committee hearing looking into this issue.


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