Battle for Wide Bay: Can candidates improve life expectancy?
WIDE Bay candidates today give their ideas on how they would fix the lower life expectancy of people who live in regional Australia (in the Gympie region a person born and raise here will live an average six years less than someone in a capital city).
Though all seven candidates were asked to respond to these issues, only four have done so, so far.
ALP candidate Lucy Stanton said the longevity discrepancy was "no surprise" and that the way to stop the cycle of disadvantage was through education.
"The higher your income and education, the healthier you are," she said.
"Labor is investing $180 million over 10 years in Wide Bay on needs-based funding for our schools.
"Education gives people choices. Businesses will receive $20,000 incentive to hire a mum returning to work, an older job seeker or someone under 25. A leg up rather than judgement is what people looking for work need. Protect Medicare: Labor will provide $72 million for regional suicide prevention projects. I will fight for our fair share. I will rattle as many cages as necessary to get more services for our region."
LNP candidate Llew O'Brien said the discrepancy was unacceptable.
"I support a comprehensive policy approach addressing local needs to improve access to programs, and better health education, to close the gap between city and regional services," he said.
"The best way to achieve this is to draw attention to the issue and if elected I will work for better targeted resources to deliver better outcomes for regional Australians.
"My children were born in the Gympie Hospital and raised in our town. There is no more important issue than this. We also need an added focus on our local indigenous communities such as Cherbourg where these statistics are worse again."
KAP candidate Barry Cook said "decentralised health care from the Brisbane based bureaucrats, giving regional hospitals the clear right to decide where their money goes and for what" was a way to improve the statistics.
"Almost half of our health care dollar goes to the bureaucrats to start with," he said.
"We should encourage medical, nursing and technical professionals to come to rural regions.
"This is a complex social issue as we do not have any passenger rail transport, roads that do not flood, internet speeds, educational concerns. Just a few issues that impact one's reason to ( not ) live in rural communities."
GLT candidate Jannean Dean said everybody's quality of life needed to be improved and that would increase life expectancy in the regions.
"If you have a disability or can't find a job, you can claim a disability support pension, senior pension or newstart allowance and contrary to what others say, they would have us believe these benefits are plenty of money to support a gambling habit, nicotine addiction and some pretty serious alcoholic tendencies, that's far from reality," she said.
"This cash certainly isn't enough to pay for things like medication, wheelchairs, disability aids, taxis to get to medical appointments or food to keep you nourished."