Senator Ayres (New South Wales—Assistant Minister for Trade and Assistant Minister for Manufacturing) (13:32): In 2022, during the election campaign, I did a press conference with Labor's candidate for New England, Laura Hughes, and committed a new Labor government to an urgent care clinic for Tamworth. On 30 October this year, that very urgent care clinic is open for business. This is the difference the Albanese government is making in regional Australia—real commitments, real solutions, doing what we said we would do and making a real difference for the lives of regional Australians. The Tamworth Medicare Urgent Care Clinic is open for extended hours, seven days a week, and offers walk-in care that is bulk-billed every single time. That means that, if you have an urgent medical issue, you can confidently go there with your family member and get them the care that they need, fully bulk-filled. The urgent care clinic will take pressure off of Tamworth Hospital, where more than 60 per cent of presentations are for non-urgent or semi-urgent care. That is good for patients, good for families, good for health outcomes and good in terms of managing the costs of living. The Albanese government has committed to improving access to health care right across the country—in regional Australia, in particular. The Tamworth urgent care clinic joins more than seven clinics that are already operational across New South Wales, with a further six to be opened before the end of this year.
I want to congratulate Laura Hughes, not just for her campaign but for her determination to pursue this initiative during the campaign, and wish the people of Tamworth well for what is an important improvement to health care for the region.