The NSW government will introduce public transportation for Medicare beneficiaries in the northern Hunter region, a senior health official has confirmed.
Dr John Nash, the health minister, made the announcement on Monday in a news conference with senior transport and health officials.
It comes as the state’s north and south are set to host major transport and transport policy events, including an emergency meeting of the state cabinet on Wednesday to discuss how to improve the state transport system.
The NSW government has long considered public transport to be critical for accessing public services, including health, education and social welfare.
But the introduction of a public transport network for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries could boost regional economies and boost regional employment.
The government has previously acknowledged it needs a “bigger picture” to plan for the introduction, but it has not yet identified any specific routes.
Dr Nash said there was a need to ensure there were enough roads, rail and other public transport services to support the need.
“It’s going to be an incredibly difficult task.
It’s going in stages, it’s going down a very different path, and it’s not just about getting the right number of kilometres of rail and road, it has to be in place to provide the level of services and the level, in a way, of accessibility that is needed to achieve the best outcomes for all the people in the community,” Dr Nash said.NSW Transport Minister Dr Phil Hogan said the plan was aimed at improving access to healthcare and other services for beneficiaries.”
This is the next stage in that, we’ve got to ensure that we get the right balance between public transport, health and education,” he said.
Mr Hogan said a “very ambitious” project had been underway for a year and would be the next step to develop a transport system for all beneficiaries.
But a spokesperson for the NSW Health Department said the project had not yet been formally approved.”NSW Health is committed to the development of a system that delivers the best quality of care and supports the needs of all NSW Health beneficiaries, including the elderly and people with disabilities,” the spokesperson said.
Topics:health,health-policy,health,mental-health,emergency-planning,healthcare-facilities,health-,diseases-and-disorders,australiaFirst posted February 19, 2020 13:42:39Contact Karen RipponMore stories from New South Wales