Picture above ; Selwyn Button having a close shave with Warren Snowdon Minister of Indigenous Health (movember event)
The decision to cut funding grants to non-government health providers is a clear demonstration that the Queensland Government is seeking to shirk their responsibility to primary health care provision across the state, assuming that the Federal Health departments pick up the costs.
Selwyn Button, CEO, Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC), was blunt in his appraisal. “The State Government is looking to walk away from millions of dollars worth of investment to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders,”
Mr Button said. “This decision is nothing more than a cost cutting measure which will impact on the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders, including those with type 2 diabetes and chronic heart disease,”
Mr Button stated. “These chronic diseases are best supported by good nutrition programs, healthy lifestyle changes and participation in physical activities. “Unfortunately these are the programs and positions being subjected to the latest round of government budget cuts.
“The Minister questions Commonwealth support to preventative health programs, if this is an issue, then the most logical way to address this is to provide support to community controlled health services,” Mr Button said.
This can be achieved through greater access to Commonwealth programs such as Medical Benefits Scheme and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, which is limited in its expenditure on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“This would be a far more worthwhile strategy, and requires negotiations between Queensland Health and the community controlled sector, not just making rash decisions about what the State Government considered ineffective programs. “Many of these initiatives have become integral parts of the overall primary health care models, which is being delivered by community controlled services in Queensland every day.
“There is clear evidence to demonstrate improvements in accessing care, and this is just not being considered at this point, and we have to ask the important question, why are we not being consulted?” Mr Button said. “Additionally, the Minister has stated his commitment to honouring the previous National Partnership Agreements (NPA), and we see that there are existing commitments and initiatives outlined within the NPA on Indigenous Health that are yet to be implemented.”
Selwyn Button is CEO of Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC), which is the peak body representing the Community Controlled Health Sector in Queensland at both a state and national level.
Media Enquiries: Judi Jabour – Campaign Capital – 0412 402 946.