Senate committee pulls pin on rural GP and health services inquiry

A federal parliamentary committee inquiring into GP and health services in outer metro and regional areas will not be providing a final report “at this time”.

The Senate Community Affairs References Committee said last month that considering its substantive interim report tabled on 1 April and the subsequent proroguing of Parliament by the Governor-General “it has determined that is unable to provide a comprehensive final report at this point int time”.

“However, the committee considers there is merit for this inquiry to be re-referred to the committee in the new parliament,” chair Janet Rice said.

“The committee will consider the issues of this inquiry in the event that it is re-referred.”

The committee received 218 submissions and held six public hearings in Canberra, Erina, Launceston, Whyalla, Melbourne, and Emerald during its inquiry into “the provision of general practitioner and related primary health services to outer metropolitan, rural, and regional Australians”.

The Australia Local Government Association’s (ALGA) submission to the inquiry recommended increased preventative health funding at the local level, through a Local Government Place-Based Preventative Health and Activity Program of $100 million over four years.

“This will increase local government’s capacity and resources to improve preventative health outcomes at a local level and to develop stronger partnerships with other levels of government and private sector partners,” the submission said.