The peak Aboriginal health body today welcomed the announcement by the Federal Government of three-year funding agreements for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations.
National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Chairperson Matthew Cooke said the new agreements meant that crucial primary health care services would be sustained and that Aboriginal health services could now provide job security to their doctors, nurses and health workers who have the important role of improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal Australian.
“This announcement is great news for Aboriginal health,” Mr Cooke said.
“Our services are delivering the biggest gains against the closing the gap targets.
“Longer-term funding agreements are something we have consistently called for and it is pleasing that Ministers Ley and Nash have recognised the great work being done by our sector in this way.
“Improving the health of Aboriginal people is no quick fix. It is complex and requires a generational commitment.
“We are seeing incremental changes in life expectancy of Aboriginal people however much more work still needs to be done.”
Mr Cooke said he looked forward to continuing to work with the Federal Government to achieve this generational change.
He said funding security for other Aboriginal preventative health programs needed to be the next order of priority for the Federal Government.
“Funding for specific health programs under the Closing the Gap Indigenous Chronic Disease Package still remain uncertain with some set to cease at the end of March 2015.
“We look forward to hearing more from the government in the near future on these important initiatives.”
Mr Cooke added that Aboriginal health program funds currently within Medicare Locals, which are soon to be abolished, should now be transitioned to the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector under the new funding agreements.
“Aboriginal people respond best to primary health care provided by Aboriginal people.
“Any opportunity to expand the service delivery of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations will be rewarded by better health outcomes for Aboriginal people,” he said.