THE Nationals’ Riverina MP and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack says the Federal Government’s Murray-Darling Medical School Network could only happen under a strong economy.

Mr McCormack told Federal Parliament that good economic management allowed the Government to look after older Australians in rural and regional Australia.

Mr McCormack highlighted the importance of the establishment of rural medical schools for older Australians, mentioning regional orthopaedic surgeon Dr David Bell’s support for the schools.

Dr Bell has practices in Parkes and Forbes as well as Orange and Bathurst.

“Regional Australia is ageing faster than the capital cities, according to the Regional Australia Institute – that is the truth,” Mr McCormack said during Question Time last week.

“Getting the books in better shape means that we can, as the government, share the benefits in regional Australia and build the future our regions deserve, want and expect but most of all deserve.

“That's what we want to do for the 8.8 million Australians who live in regional Australia, who make their homes there and who want to retire there. We want to build a better future for them.”

Mr McCormack pointed to the Murray-Darling Medical School Network, announced in the May Budget, as an important investment for regional Australia.

“Dr David Bell is an orthopaedic and spinal surgeon from the Central West of New South Wales. He has practices in Orange, Bathurst, Parkes and Forbes,” Mr McCormack said.

“He said we need more people who not only want to train in the country but want to return to the country to live and practice.

“The Murray-Darling Rural Medical Schools Network will help change the perception that you have to train in the big hospitals in the city to be a good doctor.”

Shane Manning