The Future Drought Fund Consultative Committee will hold public consultations in my electorate this month, to help inform the Committee on the best ways for the Future Drought Fund to invest in drought resilience. They're interested in hearing from farmers, local communities and industry organisations, and I encourage those of you in my electorate to take part online and/or by attending a public consultation. Consultations will be held in Dubbo on 26 November and in Moree on 27 November.
It will provide $100 million each year from July 1 2020 for projects that enhance our preparations and responses to drought. Improved drought resilience could come from new tools, technologies or techniques that help farmers better manage their natural resources. It could come from better financial and business planning for lower income periods. Or from better, more localised weather data and improved climate forecasting. For online submissions and details visit www.haveyoursay.agriculture.gov.au/future-drought-fund
Investing in telehealth
Australians in some of the most remote parts of the country, including in the Parkes electorate, will soon have greater access to a doctor, with the Coalition investing $45.5 million in GP telehealth consultations. From this month, GPs will be able to conduct regular telehealth consultations with their patients in remote areas, with rebates available through the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS).
This expansion of Medicare rebates for telehealth will help improve the quality and continuity of care for patients in remote areas. It will also allow patients to maintain a strong relationship with their existing GP. These changes will be implemented through 12 new telehealth specific items being included on the MBS. A range of existing MBS telehealth arrangements are already in place, including extra telehealth support for people in drought-affected areas.
Growth through aviation
The Liberal and National Government will develop a comprehensive Regional Aviation Policy statement in partnership with airlines, regional airports, local council owners, state and territory governments and local communities. This statement is part of the Government's commitment to securing economic growth across remote and regional Australia through a strong aviation sector.
We know affordable and accessible air services are crucial to connecting regional and Australia in terms of tourism, travel, business, health and education. Regional centres in the Parkes electorate are the perfect example of how this underpins our economic development and delivery of critical services. It will look at strategies to ensure regional aviation remains competitive and viable into the future, and we will listen closely to the regional development and tourism organisations and business.