The Acting Prime Minister and Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce said teaching, training and retaining the next generation of health workers in rural, regional and remote Australia has been boosted by $13.1 million in infrastructure grants.
Mr Joyce said the Coalition Government has moved to streamline the former Rural and Regional Teaching Infrastructure Grants program to better respond to the needs of rural communities and support the work of rural general practices.
Assistant Minister for Rural Health, Dr David Gillespie, announced the Rural General Practice Grants (RGPG) program with more than $13m in funding for infrastructure grants for existing general practices in regional, rural and remote Australia.
“General practice in rural Australia faces unique challenges in healthcare including the ability to attract and retain a health workforce,” Dr Gillespie said.
“The RGPG program will enable existing health facilities to provide teaching and training opportunities for a range of health professionals within the practice and for practitioners to develop experience in training and supervising healthcare workers.”
“I believe that strong, accessible primary care in regional Australia helps alleviate pressure on the public hospital system and at the same time it also provides opportunities for earlier intervention and better patient outcomes.”
A more streamlined and simplified two-step application process will open on Monday, 21 November 2016 through the new Rural General Practice Grants Program.
“Grants may be used for a range of infrastructure projects, including construction, fit-out and/or renovation of an existing general practice building, supply and installation of information and communication technology equipment or medical equipment,” Mr Joyce said.
Grants of up to $300,000 will be provided to successful applicants in 2017. All successful applicants will be required to match the Commonwealth funding contribution.
“Our Government want Australians, no matter where they live, to have access to quality health services,” he said.
“We also want our health professionals who live and work in rural, regional and remote Australia to have access to teaching and training opportunities so they remain in general practice and in the communities that need them the most.”
Grant documentation will be available from the Department of Health’s Tenders and Grants page at www.health.gov.au/tenders