Federal Member for Fairfax

Media release

Senator for Western Australia Zhenya ‘Dio’ Wang has joined crossbench senators and MPs to stand united in their support of calls for increased investment in rural and remote allied health services for the benefit of both the national health budget bottom line and public health.

Senator Wang this morning joined senators John Madigan and Jacquie Lambie and MPs Bob Katter and Andrew Wilkie at the launch in Parliament House of a report by Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health, which revealed allied health interventions save the national health budget hundreds of millions of dollars.

“Apart from the important economic benefits of these preventative health services to the nation’s health budget, the report also found they significantly reduced negative and costly health outcomes for patients, such as limb amputations or kidney failure for people suffering from common chronic disease such as diabetes,” he said.

Senator Wang said Australia’s remote and rural areas had long suffered a “health care deficit” – so the SARRAH report was a timely reminder for the Federal Government about the economic and social risks of further budget cuts to the sector, he cautioned.

“In my recent question to the Rural Health Minister about millions of dollars in cuts to allied health scholarships, she advised she was a great supporter of the work of SARRAH and that the Government was committed to delivering positive health results for rural and regional communities in an economically responsible way,” he said.

“So I was very disappointed this week to learn of further Government funding cuts to SARRAH, which could leave rural and remote Australians without their only peak body voice for allied health services. And while I am all for the efficient delivery of services by Government, this report released today by SARRAH clearly shows the economic and social need for continued investment in rural and remote allied health services.”