NACCHO Aboriginal Health #HealthBudget2017 : Peak Indigenous bodies and Opposition parties respond to #Budget2017

 ” Treasurer Scott Morrison says the 2017 Budget will show that the Government understands the frustrations of many Australians.

For Indigenous Australians, the greatest frustration is the slow pace of change in closing the gap in disadvantage, and the continuation of poor health and wellbeing.

The Australian Government must commit to a new relationship and genuine partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in decisions made about Indigenous Australians; decisions that address housing, health, education, justice, disability and representation.

If the Government is serious about closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage, it is essential that secure, long term funding be allocated to:

 1.Building the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical workforce;

 2.Resourcing the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 (NATSIHP); and

3. Tackling and abolishing racism in the Australian health system.”

Does the 2017 Budget show that the Government understands the frustrations of Indigenous Australians? Questions  the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association see article 2 below

 ” Peak Indigenous groups have responded to the federal budget, saying its new measures are out of touch and fail to reach real solutions for Indigenous Australians .

National Congress of Australia’s First People Co-Chair Rod Little says Indigenous people are invisible. “

From NITV The Point report Nakari Thorpe ( see article 1 Below )

In February of this year the Prime Minister reported that only one of the six targets that have been set for closing the gap is on track, and those targets don’t go near representing all of the social and economic issues that need addressing.”

The government is failing to adequately address the disadvantage experienced by the nation’s First Peoples, failing to inject any sense of urgency in turning around these issues, and failing to listen to, and work with First Peoples,

That government needs listen to, and work with, First Peoples to accelerate progress is unquestionable, but nowhere is the urgency to do that evident in this Budget.”

If the government can afford to build a dozen multi-billion dollar submarines, or give tax cuts to corporations, it can afford to address the wellbeing of just 3% of the population, and the First Peoples of the land,”

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights organisation ANTaR today expressed dismay at the lack of urgency and substance in the Federal Budget to address the ongoing disadvantage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. (see article 3 below )

“The 2017 budget fails to deliver for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians,” leader of the opposition Bill Shorten, Senator Patrick Dodson, Warren Snowden, Linda Burney and Senator Malarndirri McCarthy said in a joint statement.

While the budget includes piecemeal proposals for better employment and health outcomes, there is no comprehensive strategy to make progress on the stalled Closing the Gap targets, or to address other longstanding issues such as the incarceration crisis.

The budget also fails to secure the future of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples with proper funding. Congress is our independent, elected, national Indigenous representative body – it must be respected and resourced.

The government’s entire approach to Indigenous affairs is defined by savage cuts to services, a loss of local control, a failure to listen to Indigenous voices, and policy-making which is paternalistic and overly bureaucratic.”

 Leader of the opposition Bill Shorten, Senator Patrick Dodson, Warren Snowden, Linda Burney and Senator Malarndirri McCarthy said in a joint statement.

Download Full Press Release here Labor Budget 2017

“Whatever happened to Prime Minister Turnbull’s flagship health reform? This time last year Malcolm was out there spruiking his Health Care Homes initiative to revolutionise Medicare for chronic disease, yet last night we saw the funding for this initiative cut and kicked two years down the road while trial sites are delayed until October.

“Not only are they unpicking their own reform program designed to treat people with chronic illnesses, there is next to nothing for programs to help prevent Australians developing debilitating chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes and heart disease in the first place, particularly in children.

In case there was any doubt, this budget also confirms this Government has no commitment to Closing the Gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ health.”

Leader of the Australian Greens Dr Richard Di Natale

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues in the budget largely unaddressed: Greens

The Treasurer might have vaguely mentioned Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues in his budget speech, but the detail doesn’t back up the rhetoric, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“What you don’t see included in the budget papers can be just as concerning as what you do include.

This is definitely the case for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues in the 2017 Federal Budget.

“There is no commitment resources to the Redfern statement, this is despite it being a document backed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and peoples as essential to close the gap.

“The Redfern Statement is a strong blueprint to close the gap and finally reconciling our First Peoples but remains unaddressed by the Federal Government, who keep saying they will listen but then don’t.

“There is also no addition funding for National Congress of Australia’s First People. At the moment that team are under resourced, having had their funding cut in a previous budget, they need more funding desperately.

“The Abbott Government gutted half a billion from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander funding when they rolled out the Indigenous Advancement Strategy. Although there has been a marginal increase, it does not come close to topping that money back up to original levels.

“When key markers to Close the Gap continue to go backwards, and the Minister is scratching his head as to why, perhaps it is because they removed a lot of money and pushed many of the services to be mainstream rather than Aboriginal-led.

“The Government should actually listen to the host of Aboriginal voices who are offering solutions to reduce disadvantage and reconcile with our First Peoples. We need to be moving forwards, not backwards”.

Article 1 : From NITV The Point report Nakari Thorpe 

Indigenous peak bodies have converged on Canberra this week to respond to the federal budget, announced on Tuesday night by Treasurer Scott Morrison.

View NITV Interview Here

They say the Turnbull Government is out of touch and many of its measures affecting Indigenous Australians are not enough. They’re calling on the Coalition to work with First Nations peoples to reach real solutions.

National Congress of Australia’s First People Co-Chair Rod Little says Indigenous people are invisibile.

“We should be featuring more prominently in a national budget,” he said.

Congress Co-Chair Jackie Huggins agrees.

“We have been lumped in with a whole range of the people and really buried under those statistics,” she said.

The Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care CEO, Gerry Moore, says the budget fails Indigenous children.

“This isn’t anywhere near enough and the government need to think seriously about the children of our future, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children,” he said.

NATSILS CEO Cheryl Axleby says while she welcomes the coalition’s reversal of cuts to community legal centres, she warns against action stopping there.

“We’re calling for a justice target, in line with the Closing the Gap targets, we need to have a focus on justice if we really want to see solutions to addressing this issue in Australia,” she said.

Damien Griffis, from the First People’s Disability Network, says the Medicare price hike to fully fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme is not enough.

He says an Aboriginal-owned and operated disability service system is needed.

“That needs to happen urgently. It needed to happen yesterday frankly, so that we can get equal and fair access to the NDIS,” he said.

Labor MP Linda Burney says the Government’s economic blueprint neglects Indigenous Australians.

“It has no vision, it does not anticipate the real issues that are coming up for the Aboriginal space. It also is going to put more money into the pockets of bureaucracies and consultants not out there on the ground where it’s needed,” she told NITV News.

Article 2 Does the 2017 Budget show that the Government understands the frustrations of Indigenous Australians?

Download the AIDA Press Release Australian Indigenous Doctors Assoc Budget 2017

Treasurer Scott Morrison says the 2017 Budget will show that the Government understands the frustrations of many Australians. For Indigenous Australians, the greatest frustration is the slow pace of change in closing the gap in disadvantage, and the continuation of poor health and wellbeing.

The announcement to lift the freeze on Medicare rebates and increase the Medicare levy is encouraging for disadvantaged Australians. The lift allowing GP’s to charge more for their services, will hopefully see bulk-billing practices remain operational or increase in number, and the increase to the levy to provide long term secure funding for the NDIS is wanted.

AIDA welcomes the announcement of the Indigenous Research Fund but would have preferred more commitment to resourcing existing Indigenous health programs and service delivery. We also welcome the budget measures that are specifically aimed at closing the employment gap, but we more commitment around the other health targets in needed.

It has also been promising to see measures to enhance the delivery and relevance of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy. We note that it has already been reviewed by a Senate committee and the Australian National Audit Office and look forward to the implementation of the recommendations contained in those reports.

The Australian Government must commit to a new relationship and genuine partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in decisions made about Indigenous Australians; decisions that address housing, health, education, justice, disability and representation.

Article 3 ANTAR

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights organisation ANTaR  suggested what could be funded immediately to start to signal that government is taking the health and wellbeing of First Peoples seriously.

1. Restoring previous funding levels to the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples as the national representative body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

2. Funding the establishment of peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing and education organisations to provide a national voice for those issues

3. Provide sufficient funding for the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023

4. Fund the development of a long-term National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social and Cultural Determinants of Health Strategy

5. Fund a national Inquiry into institutional racism in the health system

6. Prioritise disability services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including through making disability a priority in the Indigenous Advancement Strategy and quarantine an equitable share entitlement of the NDIS according to need

7. Ensure adequate funding for Aboriginal Family Violence Protection Legal Services, including through allocating funding to ensure there is national coverage (regardless of geographic location) of FVPLS services.

8. Ensure funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) that is able to meet the level of need, including through implementing the Productivity Commission’s Recommendation from its Access to Justice Arrangements Inquiry Report to provide an additional $120 million of Commonwealth funding to the Legal Assistance sector.

 

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