Broken Hill health professionals have expressed optimism about the appointment of local MP Sussan Ley as Federal Health Minister.
The Member for Farrer has this week been elevated into Cabinet and would take up the Health and Sports portfolio as part of a major ministerial reshuffle.
Broken Hill pathologist Steve Flecknoe-Brown said it was a big win for the far west and the greater rural health sector.
“She probably more than anybody else realises the challenges we face,” he said.
“Yes, we’re one of the most challenged of the regional health areas but regional health is becoming a really important issue to address.
“It’s hard, it’s a challenge for all of us, and to have our local member who works for one of the most challenged areas in the country as the Minister for Health is a great development.
“In all of the interactions I’ve had with her talking about health she really has a good way of getting her head around the challenges.”
Roz Menzies was a director at the Broken Hill GP Super Clinic and also welcomed the appointment.
She said Ms Ley should prioritise addressing chronic disease in her new role as Health Minister.
“There’s no rocket science there. I think it’d be great if she can support us and everyone in the health industry in our region tackling chronic disease, because diabetes, obesity, arthritis, heart disease, they are costing the country an absolute fortune,” she said.
But Dr Menzies remained concerned about the Federal Government’s proposed changes to Medicare, and said she wanted Ms Ley to reconsider the policy.
“That is going to hurt us directly, so that’s going to be a really big challenge for her,” she said.
“I’m confident that we will be able to talk to her and voice our concerns.
“I think that she will be a good listener but she’s got a battle on her hands there.”