The report from the Greens-initiated Universal access to reproductive healthcare Senate inquiry confirmed that access to maternity and birth services remain a postcode lottery, particularly in regional and remote Queensland.
Ensuring that maternity care services, including birthing services are available and accessible for all, whether you live in a regional community or a capital city, is a key recommendation from the multipartisan Committee report.
Lines attributable to Greens leader in the Senate and spokesperson on Women, Senator Larissa Waters
“Around Australia, closures of maternity wards in regional hospitals have left many expectant parents with no choice but to drive for hours to give birth. It’s unacceptable, and we are pleased that the Committee has called for birthing services to be available in all regional hospitals.
“With the Gladstone Hospital maternity service on bypass, we've heard horror stories of women driving hundreds of kilometres in labour, to get to Rockhampton, and in some cases they've had to give birth on the side of the highway.
“Families in regional Queensland should have equal access to maternity care and we are glad to see the Committee call on the government to ensure that happens.
“Throughout the Senate inquiry we've heard clear evidence that expanding the role of nurses and midwives in maternity and reproductive healthcare will improve access for women and pregnant people, particularly in regional and remote parts of the country.
“The recommendations will allow nurses and midwives to perform more reproductive healthcare procedures and be funded to do so. They will also strengthen support for continuity of care and culturally-safe birthing models, giving women and pregnant people more options for maternity care that works for them.
“Consistent with the Committee’s findings, we will continue to call for reviews of Medicare rebates, insurance and training support to encourage more doctors and midwives to provide a full range of maternity services in regional areas.”
Lines attributable to Greens spokesperson on Industry, Transition and Regional Development, Gladstone-based Senator Penny Allman-Payne
"Private corporations extract billions of dollars from Gladstone and Central Queensland every year, and what does the community get in return? Substandard health services, underfunded schools and unaffordable housing.
"The lack of proper regional health services makes it harder to attract other critical workers, like teachers. And that in turn creates a huge disincentive for other workers who might be contemplating moving to the regions.
"Labor says it wants Central Queensland to become a renewable energy powerhouse, but there is no way businesses are going to be able to attract the workforce they need if workers can't be sure their families can access quality healthcare or their kids are going to get a decent education.
"In a country as wealthy as Australia, Queenslanders should expect access to world-class healthcare – whether they're in the south-east corner, the far north or anywhere in between."