NORTHERN Rivers residents are set to benefit heavily from a $28 million injection into medical services in regional NSW, Ballina MP Don Page says.
The funding, announced this morning by NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner, will be used to increase funding to the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS).
Mr Page, who is also the Minister for the North Coast and thee Minister for Local Government, said the scheme was already relied on heavily by Northern Rivers residents.
The scheme is central to plans by Our House to set up a cancer accommodation centre opposite the Lismore Base Hospital at Hunter Street, with prices expected to match payments under the scheme.
Mr Page said funding for accommodation through the scheme would be increased from $33 to $43 per night for single rooms and from $46 to $60 per night for double rooms.
The extra money would be available to patients who travelled 100km or more for medical care and also included a 25% increase to the petrol subsidy included in the scheme, from 15 cents per kilometre to 19 cents.
People staying with friends or family while receiving specialist medical treatment would have their assistance increased from $30 per week to $140 per week.
"These large increases are due to the many years of neglect under the former NSW Labor Government, who failed to increase the accommodation subsidy for the past 11 years," Mr Page said.
"This is yet another election promise that we (the Liberal/Nationals coalition) have delivered."
"Rural and regional people who have been disadvantaged for so long are finally starting to see some positive outcomes.