NACCHO Aboriginal #AusVotesHealth and #Budget2019 3 of 5 : ACCHO Peaks and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community Stakeholders express disappointment in #Budget2019 @VACCHO_org @QAIHC_QLD @AMSANTaus @_PHAA_ @amapresident @LowitjaInstitut @congressmob @NationalFVPLS

1.QAIHC : Federal budget once again fails the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community

2. VACCHO :Federal Budget robbing Aboriginal people with disabilities to pay for tax cuts

3. AMSANT : The Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister has all but admitted today there is no major item in the Federal budget for First Nations people.

4 .PHAA : Not enough investment in disease prevention

5.AMA : Government’s Budget announcements have set up a genuine health policy competition for the upcoming election.

With NACCHO TV Interview

6. Lowitja Institute : “An investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing

7. HealthInfoNet : How the #Budget2019 impacts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

8 .Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention

9. The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples Australia’s Need More Than Promises.

10. Change the Record

11.National Peak Body for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services

12.Family Violence Prevention Legal Services

13. Reconciliation Australia : Greater vision and investment needed for First Nations as progress sidelined in federal budget

14. Indigenous groups denounce Australian budget as ‘punishing people in poverty

This weeks NACCHO Budget Coverage 

Post 1: NACCHO Intro #AusVotesHealth #Budget2019

Post 2: NACCHO Chair Press Release

Post 3:  Health Peak bodies Press Release summary

Post 4 : Government Press Releases

Post 5 : Opposition responses to Budget 2019 

Read all Budget 2019 Posts 

View NACCHO TV interview with NACCHO Chair HERE

1.QAIHC : Federal budget once again fails the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community

Josh Frydenberg’s budget has failed to fund Aboriginal and Islander Community Controlled Health Organisations (AICCHO) to enable them to continue their work towards Closing the Gap.

The burden of disease for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Queensland is unacceptable. 10% of our babies are born with low birthweight. Our children make up 49% of Queensland’s new and recurrent cases of acute rheumatic fever. Chronic diseases including diabetes continues to be on the rise. For our men aged 15-34 years, suicide rates are more than three times higher than non-Indigenous men.

Previous attempts by the Federal Government to achieve better health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through the Closing the Gap agenda, have failed. Chronically under-funded government programs in AICCHOs contribute to this. This budget has funded a selection of specific projects for collaboration with community-controlled organisations at a strategic level, however the benefits will take years to trickle down to real action on the ground. Inadequate primary health care is a burden on the tertiary care system, contributing to excessive public expenditure.

“From health promotion and health literacy through to diagnosis, treatment, management and end of life care, investment in the health system is essential now if health equity is to be achieved.” Neil Willmett, CEO of Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) said.

“The AICCHO Sector is already achieving ground-breaking results in health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Queensland. We are achieving more than ever before for less funding, but our Members are being expected to do even more because of the government’s continual failure to adequately resource the sector.”

QAIHC Chairperson, Gail Wason, explains “Community driven solutions are proven to be most effective. Our AICCHOs have been driving the solutions. Equitable to need, the sector receives 47% less Commonwealth funding than mainstream health services. This doesn’t equate to government supporting community led solutions. Government needs to prioritise greater investment in AICCHO’s, rather than just talking about Close the Gap.”

In Queensland there are 26 AICCHOs offering culturally appropriate comprehensive primary health care to over 180,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people make up 4.6% of Queenslanders, and that percentage is growing.

QAIHC is calling for political parties to respect and resource the Aboriginal and Islander Community Controlled Health Sector to achieve real results this election. You can follow the campaign via QAIHC’s social media platforms.

2. VACCHO :Federal Budget robbing Aboriginal people with disabilities to pay for tax cuts

Barriers to Aboriginal people accessing NDIS services are effectively funding tax cuts, according to Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) Acting CEO Trevor Pearce.

“While the Federal Government is claiming it will deliver a surplus and is offering pre-election tax cuts, part of that money is coming from the fact that two thirds of the funding allocated for Aboriginal people living with disabilities for NDIS services is unspent. It’s not unspent due to a lack of need but due to significant barriers preventing people from accessing the NDIS,” Mr Pearce said.

“How are we supposed to Close the Gap when there are 60,000 Aboriginal people living with disabilities who aren’t getting support, according to the First Peoples Disability Network?

“The fact that two thirds of all funds allocated to Aboriginal NDIS participants has been left unspent speaks volumes about the difficulties so many people in the community face in accessing the NDIS, especially in Aboriginal Communities.

“Knowing that pre-election tax cuts are being handed out while 60,000 Aboriginal people living with disabilities aren’t able to access services is nothing short of appalling.”

Mr Pearce said it was disappointing the Budget delivered nothing of substance for the working poor.

“We’re very concerned about the extension of the failed Cashless Debit Card trials and what that could mean for Victoria. Many of our Members are worried they could come here,” he said.

“It’s critical that the funding allocated to Aboriginal mental health and family violence issues not only be focused on delivery in remote areas. The majority of Aboriginal people live in urban and regional areas and live with similar levels of disadvantage, especially on these key issues.

“We know from data from our Members that the second highest prescribed medication in SOME clinics is antidepressants, just behind relievers commonly known as Ventolin. This tells us how prevalent mental health issues are in our Communities. An allocation of $5 million over four years nationally for youth suicide prevention is not going to make an impact on that significant a problem.

“We are also disappointed that dental health received no additional funding given spending in dental health actually saves money by preventing additional, more expensive health conditions.”

Mr Pearce said the Federal Budget did appear to have some highlights for Aboriginal people but the lack of clarity around much of the funding, and apparent lack of new money especially around Closing the Gap measures, meant it was difficult to be certain.

“The $10 million allocated to the Lowitja Institute is great, as funding Aboriginal-led and designed research is so important as part of self-determination,” Mr Pearce said.

“It’s good to see that the Medicare freeze has been lifted, and we hope that any GP practices that aren’t currently bulk billing Aboriginal people will start doing that given their increased funding.

“We look forward to further clarification on the Closing the Gap refresh spending and the realisation that self-determination and community control are fundamental to attaining this aim.”

3. AMSANT : The Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister has all but admitted today there is no major item in the Federal budget for First Nations people.

Indigenous leaders and lobby groups are outraged because there are several items they say are priorities for funding including money to help drive the reform of the Closing The Gap process.

Featured:

Nigel Scullion, Indigenous Affairs Minister
Dr Jackie Huggins, National Congress.
Peter Yu, Broome indigenous leader
Marion Scrymgour, Tiwi Islands Regional Council
Wayne Butcher, Lockhart River mayor
John Paterson, Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance

Listen HERE

4 .PHAA : Not enough investment in disease prevention

The 2019 federal Budget does too little to prevent Australia’s major illnesses, according to Public Health Association of Australia CEO Terry Slevin.

“Australia is one of the lowest investors in illness prevention of any OECD nation at less than 2% of our national health spending,” Mr Slevin said.

“Two of our biggest killers were conspicuous by their absence in the Budget – obesity and alcohol.”

“Nonetheless this Budget has some valuable and welcome investments:

  • Extension of the Child Dental Benefits Schedule ($1 Billion)
  • Mental health and suicide prevention commitments ($736M) – these are sorely needed
  • Research investment via the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) guarantees ($260M over 10 years) for preventive and public health research plus another $160M in Indigenous health research over 11 years
  • Global health research focused on antimicrobial resistance ($28M) is welcome
  • A tobacco control campaign at $20M over 4 years is a starting point, but smoking remains one of our biggest killers. We need to do much more to kick start serious tobacco control efforts.
  • Promoting social inclusion and being physically active via sports ($23.6M)
  • Take Home Naloxone Program ($7.2M) “Spending on good health care, effective drugs and research is important and essential.

But a continual downward spiral in real prevention is a trend we must seriously address.”

“We should have ambitious goals for real life-long health. To reach that point we need major action to contain the explosion of obesity and overweight in our community.”

“We need to do so much more to limit the harms of misuse of alcohol. And we have a massive gap to close regarding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.”

“But the long-term wellbeing of the community has not figured sufficiently in this budget,” said Mr Slevin.

“Like inaction on climate change, the budget does little to prevent a future illness tsunami.”

5.AMA : Government’s Budget announcements have set up a genuine health policy competition for the upcoming election.

AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, said this that the Government’s Budget announcements have set up a genuine health policy competition for the upcoming election.

“The Health Minister, Greg Hunt, has listened closely to the AMA and delivered a strong Health Budget, with a particular emphasis on primary care, led by general practice,” Dr Bartone said.

“Australia’s hardworking GPs will be happy to see a commitment of almost $1 billion to general practice. This includes matching Labor’s promise to bring forward by a year the lifting of the freeze on rebates for a range of Medicare GP items.

“Overall, the Government has delivered a much-needed significant investment to general practice – the driving force of quality primary health care in Australia.”

The GP package includes:

  • $448.5 million to improve continuity of care for patients over 70 with chronic conditions;
  • Quality Incentive Payments for general practices ($201.5 million);
  • $62.2 million for rural generalist training; and
  • $187.2 million for lifting of the freeze on GP items.

The AMA also welcomes:

  • Funding for new Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule (PBS) medicines;
  • Retention of the Aged Care Access Incentive (ACAI); and
  • A rural workforce program.

Dr Bartone said there are obvious gaps in mental health, prevention, Indigenous health, pathology, and public hospital funding to improve all hospitals.

“We expect to hear more on these key areas from all parties before the election,” Dr Bartone said.

“Health Minister Hunt has worked closely with the AMA, especially on the primary care element of this Budget.

“Overall, the Government has produced a good start for a quality health policy platform for the election.

“We look forward to the Opposition making health a real contest when they roll out all their policies.”

Dr Bartone said there is still unfinished business with the Private Health Insurance reforms as they are implemented from this month, and with the ongoing work of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review, which must return any savings to new and improved MBS items.

6. Lowitja Institute : “An investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing

The Lowitja Institute welcomes the funding announcement in the Budget delivered by the Treasurer the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP.

The Institute is Australia’s national institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research. We have a strong track record working with communities, researchers and policymakers. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community priorities and self-determination must be built into the national research agenda that informs state and federal policies and programs.

Our work embeds First Nations creativity, ingenuity and leadership in the decision making; this is critical to improving the health and wellbeing of Australia’s First Peoples.

We look forward to expanding our work in key research areas such as the cultural and social determinants of health, and health system improvements for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We also look forward to continuing to build the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research workforce, and growing our national and international networks. Our innovations in knowledge translation will ensure the ongoing positive impact of our research.

7. HealthInfoNet : How the #Budget2019 impacts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Find information on and read about how it impacts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander , here:

8 .Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention

Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention (CBPATSISP) Director Professor Pat Dudgeon and National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Mental Health (NATSILMH) Chair Mr Tom Brideson cautiously welcomed yesterday’s mental health and suicide prevention budget announcements but looked forward to more detail being released before committing to a response. Professor Dudgeon said:

I am especially pleased to see commitments to a National Suicide Information System. This is something that CBPATSISP and, prior to that, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP)called for. But it must operate in our communities and it’s not clear on the information provided whether it will. This is critical, such a system should help us get the people and resources to where they are needed faster, to help prevent suicide ‘clusters’, and better assist Indigenous families and communities after a suicide.

Professor Dudgeon also welcomed a $5 million commitment to an Indigenous leadership group to implement an Indigenous suicide prevention strategy; and similar funding for Indigenous youth leaders to respond to Indigenous youth suicide. She said:

A national Indigenous suicide prevention strategy was developed in 2013 and about $20 million implementation funding given to the Primary Health Networks (PHNs). While many PHNs are doing the best they can, the key ingredient – Indigenous governance and leadership in how that money is spent – has too often been lacking. It is my hope that the new Indigenous leadership group will not only lead a more effective and efficient national and regional response to Indigenous suicide, but also address these accountability problems. But again, we need more information about how these bodies will operate, and the leaders must be Indigenous and enjoy wide community support. 

Mr Brideson called for greater funding for Indigenous mental health and suicide prevention:

$15 million Indigenous specific funding in a $461 million youth mental health and suicide prevention package, within a $736 mental health package, is not enough to meet our needs. Indigenous people comprise 3% of the population and have about double the suicide prevention needs, and three times the mental health needs, of other Australians. In terms of equity, we estimate about 9% of the total package, about $70 million, should be dedicated Indigenous expenditure. While this may seem a significant amount, it should not be forgotten that the bulk of Indigenous mental ill-health is preventable with access to primary mental health care, and yet the social costs of untreated Indigenous mental health difficulties are likely to run into the billions.

In fact, a long called for reinvestment funding approach to our mental health, particularly justice reinvestment, should eventually enable the Australian Government to make savings in many areas as well as making a big contribution to ‘Closing the Gap’ and Indigenous wellbeing. This is particularly in relation to the enormous cost of imprisoning over 13,000 Indigenous people, many of whom are in prison because of untreated mental health and related issues.  

Professor Dudgeon and Mr Brideson closed by calling on Ministers Wyatt, Hunt and Scullion, their shadow ministry counterparts and the newly announced Suicide Prevention Coordinator to meet with them and other Indigenous mental health and suicide prevention leaders to discuss the detail of the package, and ensure that Indigenous peoples get their fair share of the mainstream elements of the mental health, suicide prevention, drug strategy and other budget initiatives:

We will be working with other Indigenous mental health and suicide prevention leaders to ensure our people, and young people in particular, benefit from all the budget measures according to their greater need. This includes the extra funding for headspace, the adult mental health centres and many other promising mainstream initiatives. CBPATSISP and NATSILMH want to see a partnership approach with the Australian Government to help ensure we get the detail right, and that the total $736 million package results in better mental health and suicide prevention outcomes for Indigenous Australians.

9. The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples Australia’s Need More Than Promises.

The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples welcomes the Australian Government’s commitment of additional funding to address key challenges; however, the budget lacks concrete measures in areas of high importance for First Peoples. More needs to be done to remedy the structural causes of the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians.

Read more

10. Change the Record

Change the Record has condemned the Federal Government’s Budget, demanding that the Government stays committed to self-determined legal services and stops punishing people struggling to make ends meet.

“Research shows that our people are locked up at such high rates because of the poverty we experience, especially for First Nations people with disability,” said Damian Griffis, co-chair of Change the Record.

“Instead of Budget providing a roof over our heads and meeting basic needs, this Government is punishing our people who are caught in the poverty trap. Sacrificing critical legal services and NDIS and punishing women through ParentsNext for budget surplus is inhumane – these are our lives they are playing with.

Read More Here

11.National Peak Body for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services

National Peak Body for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) released the following statementwarning abandoning the standalone Commonwealth Indigenous Legal Assistance Program after a 50 year long commitment threatens self-determination and cultural safety

NATSILS welcomes the overturning of the planned and ongoing cuts to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS), introduced in a 2013 ongoing savings measure.

However, Attorney-General Christian Porter is also walking away from the Commonwealth’s 50-year long commitment to ATSILS by disbanding the Indigenous Legal Assistance Program (ILAP), days after the Government’s Independent Review into the Indigenous Legal Assistance Program recommended retaining a standalone specific program.

12.Family Violence Prevention Legal Services

Also missing was core funding needed for the Family Violence Prevention Legal Services which released the following statement:

For the sixth year in a row, the Federal Budget brings no additional core funding for the crucial supports provided by Family Violence Prevention Legal Services (FVPLSs), with funding to end 30 June 2020. Antoinette Braybrook, Convenor of the National FVPLS Forum called on all parties to commit to ongoing funding and to keeping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women safe.

13. Reconciliation Australia : Greater vision and investment needed for First Nations as progress sidelined in federal budget

Reconciliation Australia has described the federal budget as “a disappointing missed opportunity to present a cohesive national narrative around closing the gap in social outcomes for First Nations people and addressing unfinished business of reconciliation.”

Chief executive, Karen Mundine, said the Prime Minister’s recent closing the gap report outlined the urgent need for further investment.

“Governmental support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services has not met the level of need of First Nation’s peoples,” said Ms Mundine.

“The frustration felt by First Nations people and other Australians with the results of the Closing the Gap Framework has been compounded with the lack of any national narrative in this federal budget,” she said.

Ms Mundine said this was illustrated by two significant funding decisions outlined in the budget; an insufficient $15 million investment into suicide prevention, despite the ongoing the crisis facing young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, and the decision to end the national stand-alone Indigenous Legal Assistance program and roll funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services into mainstream legal aid programs.

“The high level of suicide in First Nations communities and the growing rates of incarceration of First Nations women, men and children are two clear indicators of the need for greater investment but instead this budget has fallen short.”

“We urge the Government to reconsider, and increase investments in these two critical areas.”

Ms Mundine also said there was little in the budget to address the unfinished business of reconciliation and some of the foundational issues that require settlement.

“I also note this morning’s comments from the peak body representing the Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander health sector decrying the lack of funding in the budget for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services and the Aboriginal community-controlled health sector.”

“The connection between the material and cultural wellbeing of First Nations people and our national progress towards reconciliation are clear and we are concerned that the stalling of progress towards equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will not be remedied by this budget,” said Ms Mundine. “The lack of investment in services, further exacerbated by cuts to legal services, means that funding levels will not meet the clear needs of First Nations peoples.”

Ms Mundine said concerns about the budget were intensified by the optimism generated by last week’s signing of a partnership agreement between the Government and a Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peaks to progress closing the gap.

“Sadly, this optimism has not been supported by the budget with its lesson that ambitions for a surplus trump the needs of Australia’s First Nations peoples.”

Ms Mundine said the Australia is at a critical juncture in the reconciliation journey with constitutional reform and agreement-making stalled in Parliament notwithstanding strong public support.

“Despite our disappointment Reconciliation Australia hopes for greater bipartisan support for truth telling initiatives and progress constitutional reform and meeting the goals of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as expressed in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.”

“These hopes are buoyed by the strong support for such initiatives shown by the Australian public, most recently in the results of our Australian Reconciliation Barometer survey which found that 95% of Australians believe that ‘it is important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have a say in matters that affect them’ and 80% believe it is important to
‘undertake formal truth telling processes’”.

“The imminent election provides an opportunity for Government and Opposition to clearly spell out their respective visions for how we this nation can improve the lives of First Nations people and bring us closer to a just, equitable and reconciled Australia,” Ms Mundine said.

14. Indigenous groups denounce Australian budget as ‘punishing people in poverty

Key Aboriginal organisations have expressed anger and disappointment with the budget, criticising the $129m expansion of the controversial cashless welfare card and the lack of new funding for health and legal services.

The chief executive of the National Coalition of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, Donnella Mills, said she was frustrated none of its budget priorities had been included.

“We called for an increased base funding for our health organisations, and an increase in capital works and infrastructure. We need funds for housing, which is a vital key to good health, and we sought a strengthening of support for mental health,” Mills said.

The government set aside $461m for youth mental health but only $5m over four years is earmarked for addressing Indigenous youth suicide, recently described by suicide prevention campaigner Gerry Georgatos as a “moral and political abomination.”

Mills said: “We welcome $5m for suicide prevention. That amount is just a starting point, and we have no detail on how it will be allocated.

“How is that $5m going to get into communities? How is it going to address housing, family violence?

“The treasurer kept on about how we are geared towards surplus. I would hope there’d be room in [the] government’s thinking to address the unmet needs of the most vulnerable people in our communities.”

Read all Peak Comments 

 

 

 

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