New approach starting to ‘close the gap’ in WA Aboriginal Health

This is a WA government press release FYI 16 October 2012

The State Government’s biggest single investment into Aboriginal health in Western Australian history had resulted in nearly 100 new services for Aboriginal people and more than 100 new Aboriginal health employees, Health Minister Kim Hames said today.

Under the Council of Australian Government’s (COAG) Closing the Gap National Partnership Agreement, which is now in its final year, the State Government has provided $117.43million to ‘close the gap’ between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal health.

Dr Hames said about $80 million to date had been directed into new programs and services to improve smoking rates, primary health care and a healthy transition to adulthood for Aboriginal people.

“One of the biggest achievements under the Closing the Gap initiative is the creation of more than 400 new positions – more than 60 per cent in regional and remote areas – to support 98 new Aboriginal services across the State,” he said.

The Minister said the initiative had also provided WA Health with an opportunity to change the way it developed and implemented health services for Aboriginal West Australians.

“The State Government has decentralised its approach and established nine metropolitan and regional Aboriginal Health Planning Forums to foster a genuine partnership between ourselves, non-government and Aboriginal communities at a local level,” he said.
 “We have moved away from the ‘one size fits all’ approach by recognising each region and its population is unique in its cultural diversity, and therefore requires a customised approach to planning and delivering services.

“At February 2012, the number of Aboriginal people employed in the WA health sector has risen by 111 to 314 employees.

   Fact File

  • WA Health developing business plan to potentially continue Closing the Gap initiative past the final year of the initial COAG agreement

Minister’s office – 08 6552 5300