Labor wants to boost its rural credentials

DESPITE a thumping loss in regional areas of the country at the recent federal election, Labor is preparing to boost its rural credentials.

The Opposition in May began with a little-noticed "matter of public importance" debate on regional issues, but this week began sharpening their attacks.

On Wednesday, Labor's assistant health spokesman Stephen Jones hit out at what he called a "broken promise" to regional users of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

He said the Nationals had promised to "examine" the implications of changes to the PBS safety net, and despite the issue being discussed internally; he said the minor party was rolled.

Mr Jones said the Health Minister Peter Dutton's legislation, to expand the concessional safety net threshold to 10% a year (increasing the cost of prescriptions) was such an example.

"We know that rural and regional Australians have a higher rate of chronic disease than those in metropolitan areas, and often require multiple scripts each month," he said.

It comes as Guardian Australia reported that the Labor Party was planning to have internal country policy meetings at parliament, similar to the Nationals meetings before joint Coalition party room meetings, to talk about bush issues.



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