The House of Representatives election in the electorate of Parkes has been finalised by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) on 6 June 2019, which makes my election official as the Member for Parkes for the fifth time. I would again like to thank everyone who supported me and in particular, the fantastic team of volunteers who made a huge effort across the electorate - we could not have done it without such wonderful support. To voters - thank you for electing me again as your voice in the Australian Parliament. I am as excited and optimistic as ever about what lies ahead for us all, and I look forward to continuing to work hard as your local member into the future. All 2019 federal election results are available in the Virtual Tally Room on the AEC website at www.aec.gov.au
Rural health is a priority
The Liberal and Nationals Government has made substantial investments to improve access to quality healthcare for Australians living outside our capital cities. I'm proud of what we have achieved so far, and as the new Minister for Regional Services, I will be working closely with the Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, to ensure that the healthcare needs of rural and regional Australia remain front and centre.
We know that there are enough doctors being trained in Australia, but one of the challenges for me as the Minister for Regional Services is to ensure that they are working where they are most needed.
This is a priority I take very seriously and one I have been fighting for, for the past 11 years as the Member for Parkes. My extensive experience and key achievements as an advocate for the people of Western New South Wales stand me in good stead to deliver strong and successful rural health outcomes. We have made significant inroads, through initiatives such as the University of Sydney's School of Rural Health in Dubbo, which forms part of the Coalition Government's $95.4 million Murray Darling Medical Schools Network.
This Network sees more doctors trained and retained in our country areas. The evidence is clear - when medical students complete the majority of their training in the regions, they are more likely to live locally and practise rurally after graduation.
That is why the $550 million Stronger Rural Health Strategy announced in the 2018 Budget is one of the most transformative rural health workforce strategy in three decades. This strategy directly addresses the need to get more doctors and other medical professionals out into rural and regional Australia. An additional $62.2 million announced in the 2019 Budget will fast track the National Rural Generalist Pathway program.
One of my priority areas as Minister for Regional Services is to ensure people in country communities get the healthcare that they need and deserve, and I look forward to the job ahead.