“The plan accepts the evidence that Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations are central to improving the health of Aboriginal people in their communities and that participation by Aboriginal people in decisions relating to their health must be supported“
The release of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan and its commitment to support the Aboriginal community controlled health model is welcome and needs mutli-partisan support across all governments, state and federal, for effective implementation.
Justin Mohamed, (pictured above) Chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), the national authority in comprehensive Aboriginal primary health care, said the health plan for the first time incorporates the social determinants of health which the sector has long fought for.
“The Federal Government should be congratulated for delivering this plan which has been developed with the involvement of Aboriginal people and Aboriginal health authorities,” Mr Mohamed said.
“The plan accepts the evidence that Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations are central to improving the health of Aboriginal people in their communities and that participation by Aboriginal people in decisions relating to their health must be supported.
“Critically, the plan moves Aboriginal health from being viewed in a clinical and isolated way and instead adopts a more holistic approach – considering social and emotional wellbeing, mental health, the impacts of drug and alcohol and the importance of culture as all part of a broader health picture.
“It is also significant that the plan’s vision articulates a health system free of racism and inequality for the first time.
“As always though the test of the plan will be in the implementation and NACCHO looks forward to being involved in the next steps – setting performance indicators and targets to ensure the vision of the plan can be realised.”
Mr Mohamed said it was essential that the implementation of the health plan be placed above party politics.
“Aboriginal people and organisations like NACCHO have been integral to the development of this plan and have worked hard to ensure the final product can work in our communities.
“I would encourage all sides of politics to view the plan through the prism of what needs to be done to fix the shameful health and life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and not through the prism of a looming federal election.
“Too much work has been put in by the sector for it to fall at the last hurdle. We must see a multi-partisan approach to implementing the plan.
“State and territory governments are also an integral part of making this plan a reality yet only Victoria has recommitted to the recently expired National Partnership Agreement (NPA) in Indigenous Health Outcomes for a three year period and the WA government for 12 months.
“Critical health programs are at risk unless all state and territory governments urgently sign up to the NPA.”
Media contact: Olivia Greentree 0439 411 774, Colin Cowell 0401 331 251