Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Locally-Run Hospitals on Nationals Agenda

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Locally-Run Hospitals on Nationals Agenda

Article excerpt

Byline: TIM HOWARD sport@dailyexaminer.com.au

OUTSPOKEN National Party Senator Barnaby Joyce has ruled out standing for the Federal seat of Page at the next election.

Senator Joyce was in the region yesterday as part of a National Party leadership team selling its policies to electorates.

He said that Page was a 'beautiful seat' but had no immediate plans to leave the Upper House.

"I've always considered standing for a Lower House seat, but it doesn't mean I'm going to do it next week," he said.

"I like to use the analogy of asking a kid leaving school if they're going to get married. 'Yes', they'll say, 'but not now'.

"But you never rule anything out unless you find it uncategorically unattractive.

"My job is to be the leader of my party in the Senate and that's what I'll be doing for the foreseeable future."

Sen Joyce said one of the key policy planks for the Nationals was handing control of local hospitals back to the community.

"What we have on offer is a promise of local hospitals run by local people," he said.

"We believe that local hospital boards would have a much better idea than bureaucrats in Canberra or George Street in Sydney."

Sen Joyce said he was pleased to see the Federal Government spending money on health, but believed this was being undermined by job losses in health.

"On one hand you have the Federal Government spending money on health and then you hear that 400 health-related jobs are going because the State Government is going broke," he said.

"I have no problem with Federal Government appropriation. The authority should go to people who can get the best return and that is people in the community.

"It's National Party policy for decision making to go back to local government."

Sen Joyce is confident the NSW North Coast can once again be the jewel in the crown of his party. …

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