The Australian Government has announced $777 million to fund its share of a renewed National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes for a further three years to 30 June 2016.
This funding will ensure indigenous Australians continue to benefit from improved health services and support our commitment to close the gap on indigenous disadvantage.
In particular, our health funding will help us achieve our commitment to close the gap in life expectancy between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians within a generation, and to halve the gap in mortality rates for indigenous children under five within a decade.
The Australian Government will ask the States and Territories to also continue their investment to renew the National Partnership Agreement.
Under the current National Partnership Agreement, due to expire on 30 June 2013, governments provided $1.58 billion over four years to improve access to health services for indigenous families and communities.
The Australian Government provided $805.5 million over four years for this initial agreement.
Our renewed funding of $777 million over three years is an increase over previous per annum expenditure.
The Australian Government will continue to work with indigenous people and health services as we implement the renewed agreement.
As a result of our investments in indigenous health, we are seeing improvements.
This year’s Closing the Gap report showed that local health services were helping to lead a comprehensive approach to chronic disease management, encouraging people to undergo health checks and follow ups.
In 2011-12, 65,501 health assessments were provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 and over, a 34 per cent increase from 2010-11.
There are also more primary care workers in indigenous and mainstream health services to help meet the increase the uptake of health services by indigenous people.
While this work is encouraging we know there is more to be done.
We need sustained investment and effort to continue the momentum and ensure continued progress.
The renewed NPA will complement the proposed National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan which has been the subject of extensive stakeholder consultations over the last several months.