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Australian Labor Party Pledges Support of National Broadband Network

In an effort to provide better health care in rural and remote Australia, the newly reelected Labor Party and Australian Prime Minster Julia Gillard have pledged their dedication to the establishment of better broadband infrastructure and Internet access. Highlights from the $43 billion (US$42 billion) National Broadband Network plan include Medicare rebates for about 495,000 online consultations over four years, financial incentives to general practitioners and specialists to deliver online services, video-conferencing to support and expand existing after-hours care general practitioner help lines, and training support for health professionals' use of online technologies. Prime Minister Gillard has stated that harnessing the benefits of modern technology will enable patients to be connected to health services that they would otherwise have to travel long distances to receive. The government plans to roll out the network starting in July 2011.


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