6. Improve rural and regional health services
Access to health services in rural, regional and remote areas remains a significant issue for councils and their communities.
While healthcare is a state and federal government responsibility, councils often find themselves with no choice but to take on additional responsibilities to support their communities.
As the peak body for local government in NSW, LGNSW has long recognised the need for urgent action from the NSW and Australian Governments to adequately and fairly fund the provision of healthcare across NSW.
LGNSW is calling on the NSW and Australian governments to:
- Advance, cultivate and invest in new models for rural and regional infrastructure, service delivery, health and mental health care.
- Introduce measures to attract more health professionals to rural and regional areas, including a local government rural and regional health reimbursement scheme where councils have funded these measures.
- Increase funding for specialised and appropriate youth and community wellbeing and mental health services to bolster resilience, particular following disaster.
- Increase drug and alcohol treatment and rehabilitation options in rural and regional areas.
- Implement the May 2022 recommendations of the inquiry into rural, regional and remote health , as well as the November 2020 recommendations of the inquiry into South-West Sydney health services.