THE Coalition has attacked the new 10-year indigenous health plan as nothing more than “business as usual” from the government, politicising the usually bipartisan policy.
Above picture: Schoolchildren dance during the launch of the National Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander Health Plan in Brisbane yesterday. Picture: AAP Source: AAP
From The Australian by: Patricia Karvelas
PLEASE NOTE: NACCHO provides comments from both sides of politics in the interest of our members. It should also be noted that our Chair Justin Mohamed and/or CEO Lisa Briggs/and other NACCHO staff attended every NATSIHP consultation throughout Australia and played a major role in the creation of this document through leadership groups.
The Coalition’s indigenous health spokesman, Andrew Laming, told The Australian it was disappointing indigenous health stakeholders were kept in the dark about the final plan until today, and more worrying that state and territory health ministers did not endorse the plan as was usual.
“The plan is supposed to outline the Australian government’s 10-year strategy to improve indigenous health outcomes, but instead it contains little detail and in fact appears to support the case for business as usual,” Dr Laming said. “The release of the plan appears to be yet another exercise in political spin, lacking any substance, and fails to say how we are going to get there.
“We have returned to the Kevin Rudd era of government by press release and big numbers.
“The plan as released by Labor contains considerably less detail than the previous national strategic framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health that it replaces.”
The criticism comes after the government yesterday announced an expansion of the health system to focus on indigenous children and to include broader issues of child development as the central plank of a 10-year Aboriginal health plan.
Indigenous Health Minister Warren Snowdon said the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan would be critical in meeting the closing the gap life expectancy target.
“It provides guidance for state and territory governments as to what we see as our priority,” he said yesterday. “It’ll make sure when we sign new partnership agreements with them, the material in this plan is considered.”
Mr Snowdon said about 50 per cent of indigenous people smoked. “Tobacco smoking is directly responsible for about 20 per cent of the burden of disease and 12 per cent of deaths,” he said.
He urged state and territory governments to sign up to the plan and commit funding.
Justin Mohamed, chairman of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, the national authority for comprehensive Aboriginal primary healthcare, said the plan for the first time incorporated the social determinants of health which the sector had 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,” he said.
“It is also significant that the plan’s vision articulates a health system free of racism and inequality for the first time.”
- NACCHO NATSIHP news: $12 billion Aboriginal health plan to be launched today (nacchocommunique.com)
- NACCHO download and updated press release: National Aboriginal heath plan will help close the gap (nacchocommunique.com)
- NACCHO MJA report: Partnership and leadership: key to improving health outcomes for Aboriginal people (nacchocommunique.com)
- NACCHO political alert:Call for government cooperation as NACCHO outlines ten point plan for enhancing Closing the Gap efforts (nacchocommunique.com)
- Congress NHLF response to NATSIHP Aboriginal Health Plan: culture, anti-racism and rights at the centre of wellbeing (nacchocommunique.com)