The peak Aboriginal health organisation welcomed Federal Labor’s commitment to invest in preventative health strategies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and measures to protect Medicare and bulk billing for low income Australians.
National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Chairperson Matthew Cooke said this was a good start but more was needed to tackle the huge gaps in health equality.
He said what was needed was a National Strategy, with multi-partisan support from every level of Government, that is adequately funded and works in partnership with elected Aboriginal leadership from grassroots communities and other key representatives to focus on redressing the Social Determinants of Health.
“We commend Labor for making Aboriginal health a priority in this election,” Mr Cooke said.
“We are pleased to see they have recognised the vital role of our Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector (ACCHOs) and their commitment to invest directly to our Services”
“In just 12 months ACCHOs provided 2.1 million episodes of care nationally and made the biggest gains against the targets to halve child mortality.
“But a decade after all parties signed on to Closing the Gap, we are still seeing Aboriginal people die more than 10 years younger than non Aboriginal Australians.
“If we’re serious as a nation about closing this gap, then we need all parties to provide an expansion of programs that work and that are run by Aboriginal people for Aboriginal people.”
Labor’s commitments will provide $5.5 million a year for the national roll out of the successful Deadly Choices health program, which aims to empower Aboriginal people to make their own healthy lifestyle choices around diet, quitting smoking and exercise.
It will also provide funding for a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Kidney Health Taskforce to address the crisis in kidney disease in Aboriginal communities; $10 million for indigenous eye health; and measures to protect Medicare and bulk billing.
Mr Cooke said he was looking forward to commitments by other political parties, which match and go further than the package released by Labor.