It's a such a pleasure to be here in the first chance that I've been able to be at APP since the last election and as part of the new Labor Government.
I also wanted to start by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land and to pay my respects to elder's past, present and emerging and extend that respect to any First Nations people here today. Yesterday, we saw the Prime Minister and many others of our First Nations communities and those who support them announced what the question on the referendum will be.
I just encourage everyone, that the Prime Minister has, to look at that really closely. From my perspective, as someone who's responsible for rural and regional health, until First Nations people have a say in the policies and the programs that impact them, I don't think we're going to see the real change that we all want to see. So I encourage everyone to have a close look at the question and think very deeply about their decision.
Really, it is my work as a pharmacist that led me to be in this place and it still surprises me that I'm only the eighth pharmacist in the federal parliament and the first woman pharmacist in the federal parliament. But, it was my experience, particularly working in a regional coastal hospital, where I saw capable dedicated health care practitioners working under enormous strain and, wanting to be able to see, how can we change this, how can we make sure that, and I have spoken a lot about postcode health care, that wherever you live in a country like Australia, that you have access to quality and timely health care close to home, and you are central to that.
Minister Butler has said publicly, and we're encouraged by the decisions of the Queensland Government and the commitments of both sides of politics in the New South Wales election and what's happening in Victoria, and as Minister Butler said, at a time of such growing demand and unmet need, we need every health care practitioner working to the top of their full scope of practice, in multidisciplinary teams, in genuine collaboration.
That was my experience working in mental health, with social workers, with psychologists, with occupational therapists, with psychiatrists and we know that multidisciplinary care is the right kind of care. And that's something that we are determined as a government to do working with you, working with doctors, working with nurses, with allied health professionals, and for me being responsible for rural and regional health, it can't be that if you live in the remote Australia, your life expectancy as a woman is 19 years less than if you live in a major city, and this is in a country like Australia today.
So thank you, thank you, on behalf of the Prime Minister and the Health Minister for all the work that you have done not just through the pandemic, but over decades. And we're here to work side by side with you in strong collaboration and we're really determined to see that change that we all want to be a part of.