Indigenous communities across Australia will benefit from a $1.4 billion investment in primary and preventable health care as part of the Abbott Government’s ongoing commitment to closing the gap.
Minister for Health Sussan Ley and Assistant Minister for Health Senator Fiona Nash announced today 112 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) would have their funding extended for another three years to ensure they could deliver important health care and treatment in local communities.
“Although there has been improvement, we all know there is much work to be done with Indigenous health outcomes,” Ms Ley said.
“This funding reaffirms the Abbott Government’s commitment to closing the gap and to meeting the Government’s priorities of getting Indigenous Australians into work, ensuring children go to school and making communities safer.
“I’m delighted to see, in my own electorate of Farrer, funding being provided to the Coomealla Health Aboriginal Corporation, Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service and Mungabareena Aboriginal Corporation.
“Overall this Government is investing $3.1 billion over the next four financial years on Indigenous health, an increase of over $500 million when compared with the previous four years.”
The target to halve the gap in mortality rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children does look achievable by 2018. However the target to close the gap in life expectancy within a generation is not on track to be met.
Senator Nash said the challenges included tackling the high health needs of individuals and communities that often live in challenging circumstances with chronic and complex conditions, the need for effective prevention and clinical intervention, and better delivering programmes and services.
“The Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations play a unique and vital role in our efforts to close the gap in health outcomes through working with communities to improve access for Indigenous families to primary or preventative health care,” Senator Nash said.
“We are committed to making long-term improvements in Indigenous health through continuing to support families and communities to improve their health and wellbeing.”
Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations enable the delivery of culturally appropriate services including support from multi-disciplinary teams involving nurses, Aboriginal Health Workers and allied health providers as well as General Practitioners.
National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations Chairperson Matthew Cooke said he looked forward to continuing to work with both Minister Ley and Minister Nash.
“Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services across the country will welcome the security of three-year funding agreements,” Mr Cooke said.
“This will enable our services to get on with the job of improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people.
“Our services are making the biggest inroads to close the health gap between Aboriginal and other Australians and it’s good news that this work has been recognised by the Federal Government today.”
The funding will be delivered over three years – from 2015-16 to 2017-18 – to ACCHOs to continue delivering essential primary health care to Indigenous communities.
The Department of Health will be contacting funded organisations in the near future with details.