Mark Coulton MP's weekly catch-up

Federal Member for Parkes and Minister for Regional Health, Mark Coulton, recently met with one of the Aboriginal Medical Services involved in Phase 1B of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
Federal Member for Parkes and Minister for Regional Health, Mark Coulton, recently met with one of the Aboriginal Medical Services involved in Phase 1B of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

GPs join COVID-19 rollout as Phase 1B begins

This week some of the most vulnerable people in the Parkes electorate will start to receive their first COVID-19 vaccination as Phase 1B begins.

Phase 1B includes anyone aged 70 years and over, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 55 years and over, and people with certain underlying medical conditions.

These residents will be able to receive their vaccine from their doctor, with more than 1000 general practices and 100 GP-led respiratory clinics across the country joining the COVID-19 vaccination program, including clinics in Broken Hill, Boggabri, Cobar, Coonabarabran, Condobolin, Dubbo, Gunnedah, Moree and Walgett.

More GP clinics will be added to the list in the coming weeks, so I ask everyone to be patient - every Australian who wants a vaccine will be able to be vaccinated. No-one will miss out.

Although we are fortunate to not have any coronavirus cases here in the Parkes electorate, as the country opens up and more people look to explore our regional areas, the risk of transmission increases.

I will be rolling up my sleeve when the time comes and I urge everyone to do the same to protect themselves, their family, and their community.

Australians eligible for Phase 1B will be able to find a vaccination provider through the new national vaccination information and location service, by visiting Australia.gov.au or by calling the National Coronavirus and COVID-19 Vaccination Helpline on 1800 020 080.

New training scheme to boost bush doctors

Solving doctor shortages in regional Australia is complex and requires a multifaceted approach, which is why I was pleased to announce last week a new Coalition Government scheme to boost GP numbers in the bush.

The Government's Rural Generalist Training Scheme will see up to 400 general practitioners train to work in regional Australia over the next four years.

By providing more rural training places, we will open more GPs' eyes to the significant benefits of being a rural generalist and living in a regional community

The end goal is for patients to have increased access to primary health services in rural and remote communities.

Rural and remote communities want safe and high-quality primary healthcare services delivered by well-trained GPs with training in an extended rural skill set.

The Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) will deliver the Government-funded $49.7 million program, with ACRRM providing up to 100 Rural Generalist GP training places each year.

Paying farmers for biodiversity

Farmers in the Central West will soon have the chance to diversify their farm income and improve their drought resilience as part of a new Australian Government trial launched recently.

The Carbon+Biodiversity pilot program, being delivered under the Government's Agricultural Stewardship Package, will see farmers being paid for the biodiversity benefits of mixed-species tree plantings on top of eligible carbon projects.

With a background in farming myself, I know many farmers have been doing biodiversity and carbon work for decades and it's time they were paid for it.

Our farmers produce some of the best food and fibre in the world and we want to reward them for delivering positive outcomes, while also improving the financial sustainability of their own farm business.