On behalf of the Australian Government, I extend my deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Dr Harry Nespolon, who passed away on Sunday night.
As President of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners for the past two years, Dr Nespolon worked very closely with myself and the Government.
He was a passionate but also reasoned advocate for GPs and, above all, for their patients— the Australian people.
His tenure as president coincided with a period of reform and then, of emergency—both the bushfire emergency and more recently the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout these challenges, and his own personal battle with cancer over the past nine months, he remained tireless, eloquent and cogent in his leadership and drive for positive change.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, he played a crucial role working with the Government to devise general practice elements of the comprehensive $2.4 billion health package.
These included dozens of new telehealth measures under Medicare and incentives for GPs to keep their practices open for patients who required face to face consultations.
These measures allowed Australians to continue receiving vital health care, while keeping doctors and patients safe. They were a critical element in Australia’s very successful national response to the coronavirus threat.
Dr Nespolon will long be remembered by all who knew him for his intellect, passion, dedication and professionalism.
Above all, Harry was partner to Lindy, and a father to two beautiful young girls. They should be immensely proud of him. He will be irreplaceable.
His passing is a great loss to the RACGP, to general practice, and to all Australians.