NACCHO Press release Aboriginal health :Community led rural and remote roundtables to focus on clinician safety

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” Large numbers of Aboriginal health workers operate in rural and remote communities and conduct outreach services into some of the most remote locations in Australia.

“Ensuring our workers are safe as they go about their critical work must be a priority for us all,”

NACCHO Chairperson, Matthew Cooke :

Background  Over 5,800 staff work in our member services of which 3,200 are Indigenous : Picture above Gidgee Healing’s board and staff at ” Aboriginal Health In Aboriginal Hands ”  video shoot :Photographer Wayne Quilliam : Gidgee vision is to make a significant and growing contribution towards achieving equity in health outcomes for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across our geographic service area, including the Mount Isa, North West and Lower Gulf regions.

Download NACCHO Press release

Finding better ways to protect health workers in rural and remote communities will be a priority during a series of upcoming community-led roundtables being hosted by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO).

“The recent tragic death of a nurse in a remote area of South Australia’s Far North is a terrible reminder of some of the challenges faced by our workforce every day.

These doctors, nurses and health workers do incredible work, often attending to patients with very complex health needs, providing services in locations hundreds of kilometres from the nearest mainstream health service.

“As a nation, we must find ways to continue to provide quality health care to the people living in these remote locations while at the same time ensuring our workers remain free from harm.”

Mr Cooke said NACCHO remained committed to improving access to quality health care in rural and remote communities throughout Australia.

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Check out our NACCHO APP for our geo location search of our 150 Members

He commended Minister for Rural Health, Fiona Nash, for recently hosting a meeting of providers and representatives of remote health services and said NACCHO wanted to further engage with NACCHO members to inform next steps.

“This matter needs long term solutions to improve the safety of community and clinicians living and working in rural and remote communities.

“Last year NACCHO launched a series of roundtables of our 150 member Services operating in urban, rural and remote locations.

“It’s critical these grassroots organisations on the health front line are involved in finding solutions to the range of challenges common to those working in such environments.

“NACCHO intends to continue these roundtables with our member Services to canvas the issues of safety and security, discuss health issues and policy, share learnings with each other and plan together.

“The outcomes of these roundtables will be used to inform all levels of governments on the actions needed to ensure the safety of the rural and remote workforce.”

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Aboriginal Health In Aboriginal Hands :

Hear their stories : In 2015 NACCHO engaged a production team to record and edit interviews with Aboriginal health leaders and community members in approx. 20 urban, rural and remote member locations throughout all states and territories of Australia.

At each site NACCHO has interviewed  board members , CEO’s , medical, Aboriginal Health Workers, Health Promotion Teams and community members. VIEW HERE

Press Release Minister Fiona Nash :New goals to improve Indigenous health

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The Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme is investing $3.3 billion over four years to support the continued delivery of services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, particularly through Aboriginal community controlled health services,”

Minister for Rural Health Fiona Nash has launched an Implementation Plan to help Close the Gap by improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

VIEW DOWNLOAD REPORT HERE

The Implementation Plan is a ten-year road map: a strategy to better health for Indigenous children, Indigenous youth and Indigenous adults. It is further evidence of the Coalition Government’s commitment to Closing the Gap.

In the interests of continuity, the Coalition decided to adopt and build on the 10 year National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (2013-2023), delivered when Labor was in power. That document was a high level, strategic document – the Implementation Plan now details actions and achievable goals, putting meat on the bones.

“The release of this Implementation Plan is an important milestone in Indigenous health and is the result of deep cooperation between the Government and indigenous stakeholders,” Minister Nash said.

“The Implementation Plan includes 20 specific goals which will be used to measure outcomes in Indigenous health.

“It lays out goals in the areas of antenatal health, health checks, immunisation, smoking rates and diabetes. The Plan also lays down the changes needed to make the health system more comprehensive, culturally safe and effective for Indigenous Australians.

“The Indigenous health sector has made it clear this Plan was important to them and we have delivered it.”

The Plan commits the sector and the Government to increasing the percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0-4 who have at least one health check a year from 23 to 69 per cent by 2023.

It also aims to increase the percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth who have never smoked from 77 to 91 per cent by 2023; and the percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who are fully immunised by age 1 from 85 per cent to 88 per cent by 2023.

National Health Leadership Forum Chairman and Lowitja Institute Chief Executive Officer Romlie Mokak welcomed the Plan.

The Government, through Minister Nash, has worked in genuine partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to develop an effective plan for achieving better health outcomes for our people,” Mr Mokak said

“From here, we must all ensure implementation of the plan, including addressing the wider social and cultural determinants of health and wellbeing.”

Minister Nash said work has already begun to progress the Implementation Plan.

“We are investing $94 million to expand efforts to improve child and maternal health through Better Start to Life; and $36.2 million will expand the Healthy for Life programme into a further 32 Aboriginal community controlled health organisations to better manage chronic disease.

“We also encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have health checks and free vaccinations.”

Minister Nash thanked those who had been involved in preparing the Implementation Plan, including the National Health Leadership Forum which has partnered with the Australian Government and provided expertise in developing the Plan.

She acknowledged the work done in the Indigenous health space by former Indigenous Health Minister, Mr Warren Snowdon, Senator Rachel Siewert, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and individuals.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News : Media coverage and download AMA Aboriginal health report 2012-2013

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There are some incredible things happening out there in communities all around Australia. Our Report Card shines a bright light on what needs to be done to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in their important early years of life.

It also brings together some of the great work that is already happening to make a difference

Dr Steve Hambleton (see full launch speech below)

Picture above:  Romlie Mokak CEO  AIDA, Justin Mohamed NACCHO chair, Senator Fiona Nash and AMA CEO Dr Steve Hambleton

WATCH LAUNCH on NACCHOTV and  NITV

(Transcript from World News Australia Radio) Thea Cowie reports

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health report card highlights the impact early childhood experiences can have on genetic expression

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT HERE

Unfortunately there’s nothing new about inter-generational Indigenous disadvantage.

But Australian Medical Association national president Steve Hambleton says new developments in neuroscience, molecular biology and epigenetics provide a scientific explanation for the cycle of disadvantage.

“Now epigenetics, or the study of the way genes are switched on and off, we can now understand how those early life experiences become hard-wired into the body with lifelong effects on health and wellbeing. Early experiences can influence which of the person’s genes are activated and de-activated and consequently how the brain and body development occurs.”

The AMA report says repetitive stressful experiences early in life can cause changes in the function of genes that influence how well the body copes with adversity throughout life – including the development of emotional control, memory function and cognition.

The report cites research showing more than 20 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families with children under 16 experience seven or more life stress events in a year.

Chairman of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Justin Mohamed, admits it’s daunting to think about the impact early childhood events can have on a genetic level.

“It’s very scary to think that an individual event or a multitude of events, or the environment that you were raised in, can actually switch off your potential of what you could be. And on the other side of the thing I think it’s very encouraging to think that well there might just be some minor adjustments which actually can switch on so you can actually reach your potential.”

Mr Mohamed says in many ways the science backs up what’s long been known.

But he hopes the evidence will help focus efforts and investment on the early years – the years he says really change lives.

“They want evidence, they want to see where they can make the best investment to get the best return. So I think that this report will show that well here’s some evidence. We know that if the right investment is made, the right rollout to frontline services, Aboriginal community controlled health services, that we can have really good turn around with the results.”

The Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association chief executive officer, Romlie Mokak, says the report also highlights the importance of providing support to mothers- and fathers-to-be.

“Having all of that early education and support is really critical for fundamental things like having access pre-natally. When baby’s born the connect between having all of that clinical support and education, the right nutrition and supportive environments can improve birth weights. And it’s also about making sure that care continues once bub’s born.”

Recommendations from the AMA report include establishing a national plan for expanded maternal and child services including parenting and life skills education, expanding home visit services and building a strong sense of cultural identity and self-worth.

Mr Mokak acknowledges the report is just one of thousands written in an attempt to address Indigenous disadvantage.

But he hopes this one will receive the bipartisan support and funding needed to capitalise on its findings.

“The fact that the president of the AMA, Steve Hambleton, who’s so committed to this agenda, chairs the taskforce that produced the report says something. This is however many thousands of doctors in the country who are saying this is important business for the medical fraternity. The biggest call here I think is for us to think about a future beyond a political cycle. My hope would be that it fits in terms of aligning with government, the Opposition and the Greens and others to say this is an important agenda for us to keep supporting.”

The AMA Indigenous Health Report Card is one of the most significant pieces of work produced by the AMA. It gives us great pride. It matters. It makes a difference.

We have been producing these Report Cards for over a decade now, and each time we focus on a different aspect of Indigenous health – children’s health, primary care, funding, men’s health, or inequity of access.

We come at it from all angles.

We do not pretend to have all the solutions to the many health problems that confront Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders. But the AMA recognises and acknowledges the problems and we want to help fix them. Our Report Cards are a catalyst for thinking, and hopefully a catalyst for action.

This year we are focusing on the early years of life. It is the right of every Australian child to have the best start in life – but in Australia today not every child benefits from this right. In their early years, children need to be safe, have adequate opportunities for growth and development, and have access to adequate health, child development, and education services.

Many of our children are missing out, but none more so than Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

There have been some improvements in recent years with many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children making a successful transition to healthy adult life.

But there are still far too many who are being raised in community and family environments that are marked by severe early childhood adversity.

This adversity in early life can affect educational and social functioning in later life, and can increase the risk of chronic illness.

We are seeing improvements through government commitment and cooperation on closing the gap initiatives, but much more action is needed.

Epigenetics is all about how early life experiences become hard-wired into the body, with life-long effects on health and wellbeing.

Early experiences can influence which of a person’s genes are activated and de-activated and, consequently, how the brain and the body develop.

Building and providing stable and healthy life experiences in the early years can help break the cycle of adversity.

That is our task and our challenge.

Good nutrition, responsive care and psychosocial stimulation can have powerful protective benefits to improve longer-term health and wellbeing.

Strong culture and strong identity are also central to healthy early development.

The costs to individuals, families, and society of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children failing to reach their developmental potential continue to be substantial.

Robust and properly targeted and sustained investment in healthy early childhood development is one of the keys to breaking the cycle of ill health and premature death among Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders.

It is crucial for the momentum to be sustained by renewing the COAG National Partnership Agreements on Indigenous Health and on Indigenous Early Childhood Development for another five years.

The AMA makes several recommendations in the Report Card, including :

A national plan for expanded comprehensive maternal and child services;

The extension of the Australian Nurse Family Partnership Program of home visiting to more centres;

Support for families at risk with interventions to protect infants and young children from neglect, abuse and family violence;

Efforts to reduce the incarceration of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders; efforts to improve the access of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders to the benefits of the economy, especially employment and entrepreneurship;

Efforts to keep children at school;

Building a strong sense of cultural identity and self-worth; improving the living environment with better housing, clean water, sanitation facilities, and conditions that contribute to safe and healthy living; and better data, research and evaluation culturally appropriate measures of early childhood development and wellbeing.

We have also highlighted some examples of programs that are already being successful at improving the early years of Indigenous children.

There is the Darwin Midwifery Group Practice, the Aboriginal Family Birthing Program in South Australia, and the NSW Intensive Family Support Service are just a few.

Our governments – individually and through COAG – must examine these programs, learn from them, and replicate them where possible.

Our governments must also look at the Abecedarian approach to early childhood development.

This involves a suite of high quality teaching and learning strategies to improve later life outcomes for children from at-risk and under-resourced families.

It is being used to great effect at the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress in Alice Springs.

The AMA believes the Abecedarian approach has a strong track record of success and we urge all governments to have a closer look for possible widespread implementation.

There are some incredible things happening out there in communities all around Australia. Our Report Card shines a bright light on what needs to be done to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in their important early years of life.

It also brings together some of the great work that is already happening to make a difference.

Importantly, it defines a challenge for all of us – governments, the medical profession, the r health and education sectors, and the broader community – to give these kids and their families a healthier life.

I now ask the Assistant Minister for Health, Senator Fiona Nash, to say a few words and officially launch our Report Card. Background. Some key factors impacting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing in the early years:

Pregnancy and Birth

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have a higher birth rate compared with all women in Australia (2.6 babies compared to 1.9), and are more likely to have children at a younger age: 52 per cent of the Aboriginal women giving birth in 2010 were aged less than 25 years, and 20 per cent were less than 20 years, compared with 16 per cent and 3 per cent, respectively, for the broader community [AIHW, 2012];

Aboriginal women remain twice as likely to die in childbirth as non-Aboriginal mothers, and are significantly more likely to experience pregnancy complications and stressful life events and social problems during pregnancy, such as the death of a family member, housing problems, and family violence [Brown, 2011];around half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander mothers who gave birth in 2010 smoked during pregnancy, almost four times the rate of other Australian mothers; and while infant mortality continues to fall, low birth weight appears to be increasing.

Infancy and early years

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are twice as likely to die before the age of five than other Australian children of that age group. However, the Closing the Gap target to halve this gap in mortality rates by 2018 will be reached if current trends continue; between 2008 and 2010, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children less than five years of age were hospitalised at a rate 1.4 times greater than other children of the same age [AIHW 2013]; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children suffer from nutritional anaemia at 30 times the rate of other children [Bar-Zeev, et. al., 2013]; and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children between 2 and 4 years of age are almost twice as likely to be overweight or obese compared with all Australian children in that age range [Webster et. al., 2013].

Family Life

More than 20 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families with children younger than 16 years have experienced seven or more life stress events in a year [Zubrick et al, 2006]. The greater the number of family life stress events experienced in the previous 12 months, the higher the risk of children having clinically significant social and emotional difficulties [FaHCSIA, 2013]; for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, risk factors such as: a close family member having been arrested, or in jail or having problems with the police, being cared for by someone other than their regular carers for more than a week; being scared by other people’s behaviour had the greatest impact on a child’s social and emotional difficulty scores; especially if these factors were sustained over a number of years [FAHCSIA 2013]; between 2006 and 2010, the injury death rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children was three times higher than that for other children. In 2010–11, the rate of hospitalisation for injuries was almost 90 per cent higher for children from remote and very remote areas than for children in major cities. Overall, hospitalisation due to injury among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children was almost double that of other children, with the greatest disparity relating to assault [AIHW, 2012];

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were almost eight times as likely to be the subject of substantiated child abuse and neglect compared with other Australian children [AIHW 2012].

 

Early Childhood Education and Schooling

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were almost twice as likely to be developmentally vulnerable than other Australian children, and to require special assistance in making a successful transition into school learning; the Closing the Gap target for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander four-year-olds living in remote communities to have access to 15 hours of early childhood education per week was achieved in 2013; across the country, the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children achieving the national minimum standards decreases as remoteness increases. For example, in 2012, only 20.3 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander year 5 students in very remote areas achieved national minimum standards in reading, compared with 76 per cent in metropolitan areas;

Only modest progress has been made in achieving the Closing the Gap target to halve the gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in NAPLAN reading, writing and numeracy assessment scores by 2018    

 

 

 

 

NACCHO AMA Aboriginal health news : Action needed to give Aboriginal children a healthier start to life ; Download report

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AMA Indigenous Health Report Card 2012-13

“The Healthy Early Years – Getting the Right Start in Life”

The AMA Indigenous Health Report Card 2012-13, The Healthy Early Years – Getting the Right Start in Life, was released today by Assistant Minister for Health, Senator the Hon Fiona Nash, at Parliament House in Canberra.(see Senator Nash Press Release below )

DOWNLOAD THE AMA 2012-2013 REPORT CARD HERE

If you missed the NACCHO AIHW HEALTHY FOR LIFE REPORT CARD Download here

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said it is the right of every Australian child to have the best start in life but in Australia today not every child benefits from this right.

“In their early years, children need to be safe, have adequate opportunities for growth and development, and have access to adequate health, child development, and education services,” Dr Hambleton said.

“Many of our children are missing out, but none more so than Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

“There have been some improvements in recent years with many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children making a successful transition to healthy adult life, but there are still far too many who are being raised in community and family environments that are marked by severe early childhood adversity.

“This adversity in early life can affect educational and social functioning in later life, and can increase the risk of chronic illness.

“Without intervention, these problems can be transmitted from one generation to the next – and the cycle continues.

“Good nutrition, responsive care and psychosocial stimulation can have powerful protective benefits to improve longer-term health and wellbeing.

“Strong culture and strong identity are also central to healthy early development.

“The costs to individuals, families, and society of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children failing to reach their developmental potential continue to be substantial.

“Robust and properly targeted and sustained investment in healthy early childhood development is one of the keys to breaking the cycle of ill health and premature death among Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders.

“We are seeing improvements through government commitment and cooperation on closing the gap initiatives, but much more action is needed

“It is crucial for the momentum to be sustained by renewing the COAG National Partnership Agreements on Indigenous Health and on Indigenous Early Childhood Development for another five years,” Dr Hambleton said.

The AMA makes several recommendations in the Report Card to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in their early years, including:

a national plan for expanded comprehensive maternal and child services that covers a range of activities including antenatal services, childhood health monitoring and screening, access to specialists, parenting education and life skills, and services that target risk factors such as smoking, substance use, nutrition, and mental health and wellbeing;

  • the extension of the Australian Nurse Family Partnership Program of home visiting to more centres;
  • support for families at risk with interventions to protect infants and young children from neglect, abuse and family violence;
  • efforts to reduce the incarceration of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders;
  • efforts to improve the access of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders to the benefits of the economy, especially employment and entrepreneurship;
  • efforts to keep children at school;
  • building a strong sense of cultural identity and self-worth;
  • improving the living environment with better housing, clean water, sanitation facilities, and conditions that contribute to safe and healthy living; and better data, research and

Background – some key factors impacting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing in the early years:

Pregnancy and Birth

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have a higher birth rate compared with all women in Australia (2.6 babies compared to 1.9), and are more likely to have children at a younger age: 52 per cent of the Aboriginal women giving birth in 2010 were aged less than 25 years, and 20 per cent were less than 20 years, compared with 16 per cent and 3 per cent, respectively, for the broader community [AIHW, 2012];
  • Aboriginal women remain twice as likely to die in childbirth as non-Aboriginal mothers, and are significantly more likely to experience pregnancy complications and stressful life events and social problems during pregnancy, such as the death of a family member, housing problems, and family violence [Brown, 2011];
  • around half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander mothers who gave birth in 2010 smoked during pregnancy, almost four times the rate of other Australian mothers; and
  • while infant mortality continues to fall, low birth weight appears to be increasing.

Infancy and early years

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are twice as likely to die before the age of five than other Australian children of that age group. However, the Closing the Gap target to halve this gap in mortality rates by 2018 will be reached if current trends continue;
  • between 2008 and 2010, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children less than five years of age were hospitalised at a rate 1.4 times greater than other children of the same age [AIHW 2013];
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children suffer from nutritional anaemia at 30 times the rate of other children [Bar-Zeev, et. al., 2013]; and
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children between 2 and 4 years of age are almost twice as likely to be overweight or obese compared with all Australian children in that age range [Webster et. al., 2013].

Family Life

  • More than 20 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families with children younger than 16 years have experienced seven or more life stress events in a year [Zubrick et al, 2006]. The greater the number of family life stress events experienced in the previous 12 months, the higher the risk of children having clinically significant social and emotional difficulties [FaHCSIA, 2013];
  • for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, risk factors such as: a close family member having been arrested, or in jail or having problems with the police, being cared for by someone other than their regular carers for more than a week; being scared by other people’s behaviour had the greatest impact on a child’s social and emotional difficulty scores; especially if these factors were sustained over a number of years [FaHCSIA  2013];
  • between 2006 and 2010, the injury death rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children was three times higher than that for other children. In 2010–11, the rate of hospitalisation for injuries was almost 90 per cent higher for children from remote and very remote areas than for children in major cities. Overall, hospitalisation due to injury among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children was almost double that of other children, with the greatest disparity relating to assault [AIHW, 2012];
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were almost eight times as likely to be the subject of substantiated child abuse and neglect compared with other Australian children [AIHW 2012].

Early Childhood Education and Schooling

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were almost twice as likely to be developmentally vulnerable than other Australian children, and to require special assistance in making a successful transition into school learning;
  • the Closing the Gap target for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander four-year-olds living in remote communities to have access to 15 hours of early childhood education per week was achieved in 2013;
  • across the country, the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children achieving the national minimum standards decreases as remoteness increases. For example, in 2012, only 20.3 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander year 5 students in very remote areas achieved national minimum standards in reading, compared with 76 per cent in metropolitan areas;
  • only modest progress has been made in achieving the Closing the Gap target to halve the gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in NAPLAN reading, writing and numeracy assessment scores by 2018.

10 December 2013

CONTACT:        John Flannery                     02 6270 5477 / 0419 494 761

NACCHO Aboriginal health : Coalition’s focus on improving Aboriginal health service access for regional Australians

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“Our vision is for a sustainable system that delivers quality health outcomes for all Australians, including indigenous Australians whose health and well-being are a key priority for this government.”

Assistant Minister for Health, Senator Fiona Nash pictured above

THE largest rural medicine conference ever held in Australia has been told the federal government has a reform program in place to ensure better access to health services for people living in regional, rural and remote communities. 

Story Picture Brad Cooper

Assistant Minister for Health, Senator Fiona Nash (pictured) told 650 delegates in Cairns today that there would be more time and effort put into consulting local professionals and communities about their needs.

The centrepiece of Senator Nash’s address was a commitment to provide $40 million over the forward estimates to support up to 100 additional intern places each year in private hospitals and non-traditional settings, with priority given to positions and rotations in rural and regional areas.

She said the government would provide $13.4 million for an additional 500 scholarships for nurses and allied health professionals, and allow more rural allied health workers to take leave, on top of the 100 allied health locum placements provided each year.

“Further, the government will invest $119 million to double the Practice Incentive Program (PIP) Teaching Payment for GPs who provide teaching opportunities with an additional benefit paid to those in rural and remote areas,” Senator Nash said.

“GP practices can also apply for expansion grants for teaching infrastructure based on an equal financial commitment, starting next July.

“Training for existing doctors and nurses in rural areas is also vital to keep up their skill levels and allow them to develop as professionals.

“Our vision is for a sustainable system that delivers quality health outcomes for all Australians, including indigenous Australians whose health and well-being are a key priority for this government.”

Rural Doctors Association of Australia president Dr Sheilagh Cronin, Cloncurry, said more support for training students was one of the best ways of increasing doctor numbers in the bush.

“We know that students who spend time in rural communities to get their training and have a positive experience there are more likely to return as registrars before moving to become qualified general practitioners,” she said.

NACCHO Aboriginal health news alert: Confusion still surrounds future of Aboriginal health in new government structure

Balupalu-Yunup-Djuwalpi-and-Djawa-Yunupingu-Mills-Scullion

“A spokesman for Prime Minister Tony Abbott told AAP indigenous health would be the responsibility of Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion and indigenous health programs would fall under the department of PM&C.”

Lisa Martin AAP News  (full report below) Picture above Senator Nigel Scullion and Warren Mundine at the recent  Garma Festival

Confusion still surrounds the future department /minister responsible for Aboriginal health under the new Abbott government  sworn in yesterday (18 September 2013)

In an interview with NITV the new Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Senator Nigel Scullion responded to NITV concerns about the  Indigenous Health portfolio by confirming that Senator Fiona Nash will be responsible for Aboriginal Health as the new Minister for Rural Health under Peter Dutton the new Minister for Health.

But Senator Scullion told NITV National News he would work closely with Senator Fiona Nash – who has the assistant health portfolio.

There is a minister for rural health, or a deputy minister, an assistant minister for health and that’s Senator Fiona Nash. I’ll work very closely with Senator Nash.. she’s one of my colleagues in the Senate, she’s going to make an excellent minister.

“Clearly in terms of many of the demographics in need of health, in regional and remote areas, certainly in those areas will come under her commute, so it hasn’t been abandoned it’s just simply been placed in another area.

“…We are going to have a very very good focus and a fresh focus on Indigenous health.”

In the interview the Senator praised NACCHO member  Aboriginal community controlled health organisations as “Top of the BOX” second to none as well run organisations not only in the Aboriginal context but in the national context.

VIEW NITV Nigel Scullion Interview here on NACCHO TV

However AAP news service today is reporting (see full report below) that spokesman for Prime Minister Tony Abbott told AAP indigenous health would be the responsibility of Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion and indigenous health programs would fall under the department of PM&C.

In an interview with NITV last night the Chair of NACCHO Justin Mohamed welcomed the opportunity to work with all ministers and advisors in the new Abbott government to discuss investment in Healthy futures for generational change.

VIEW NITV interview with Justin Mohamed here on NACCHO TV

An official NACCHO response to the new ABBOTT government’s allocation of Indigenous Health will be available in the next few days when the position becomes clearer.

FULL AAP REPORT

AUSTRALIA’S former indigenous health minister is concerned Prime Minister Tony Abbott has not retained the position in his ministry and warned it may affect progress on closing the gap.

Northern Territory Labor MP Warren Snowdon, who was the first indigenous health minister from 2009 until Labor lost power, is concerned about whether Aboriginal health is actually a priority for the incoming government.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has flagged he will move indigenous affairs under the umbrella of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C).

But in administrative arrangements released on Wednesday there is no specific reference to indigenous health in either PM&C, the department of health or ministerial responsibilities.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Tony Abbott told AAP indigenous health would be the responsibility of Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion and indigenous health programs would fall under the department of PM&C.

Asked if the absence of a specific minister could negatively impact efforts to achieve the close the gap targets and improve life expectancy, Mr Snowdon told AAP: “I think it is a problem.”

The life expectancy gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians is 11.5 years for men and 9.7 years for women.

This year’s report card on it said efforts to close the gap on life expectancy by 2031 were falling behind.

Mr Snowdon, who released Australia’s first national indigenous health plan in July, says he is concerned about the Abbott government’s commitment to it.

The coalition dismissed it as an exercise in political spin and lacking substance when it was released.

Mr Snowdon is also worried about progress on negotiations for a new national partnership agreement between states and territories on indigenous health.

The previous agreement expired in June and had $1.57 billion in combined federal and state funding.

Labor committed $777 million until 2016 in the May budget towards the national partnership agreement, but so far only Victoria has offered money.

NACCHO political alert: Abbott abolishes Indigenous health ministry

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Photo above: The Australian

It was not only women who missed out when Tony Abbott’s new ministry was announced in Canberra yesterday.

The position of Minister for Indigenous previously held by Warren Snowdon and expected to be allocated to Andrew Laming  the Shadow Minister for Indigenous Health and the Regional Health Shadow has been abolished.

As yet there has not been  a formal announcement about the future on Indigenous health

Speaking from the sunshine coast Mr Laming said he had been honoured to work in the areas of Regional and Aboriginal health during the last term of Parliament and looked forward to other opportunities in the future.

The Hon Peter Dutton MP will be Minister for Health and Minister for Sport. Senator Fiona Nash will be Assistant Minister for Health. Responsibility for mental health will rest with Peter Dutton ensuring responsibility for this issue remains in Cabinet.

As promised, the administration of indigenous affairs will move into the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion will be Minister for Indigenous Affairs. (See press release in comments below)

INCOMING GOVERNMENT PRESS RELEASE

The incoming Coalition Government will restore strong, stable and accountable government to build a more prosperous Australia.

This is the team that will scrap the carbon tax, end the waste, stop the boats, build the roads of the twenty-first century and deliver the strong and dynamic economy that we need.

First term governments are best served by Cabinets with extensive ministerial experience. Fifteen members of the incoming Cabinet have previous ministerial experience. The four members of Cabinet without ministerial experience have made significant contributions to the Shadow Ministry.

The simplification of ministerial and departmental titles reflects my determination to run a “back to basics” government.

The Australian people expect a government that is upfront, speaks plainly and does the essentials well.

The Cabinet will be assisted by a strong team of ministers with proven capacity to implement the Government’s policies.

Parliamentary secretaries will assist senior ministers and be under their direction.

Good government requires a strong Coalition. As Deputy Prime Minister and as Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, the Hon Warren Truss MP will be responsible for ensuring the Government delivers on its major infrastructure commitments across Australia. Mr Jamie Briggs MP will be the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development with specific responsibility for roads and delivery of our election commitments across metropolitan and regional Australia.

The Hon Julie Bishop MP will serve as Minister for Foreign Affairs and will be a strong voice for Australia during a time when Australia is a member of the United Nations Security Council. Australia in addition will assume the Chair of the G20 on 1 December for a year. Senator the Hon Brett Mason will be Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

With the unemployment rate at its highest level in four years and with Treasury forecasting that the number of unemployed will rise to around 800,000 by the middle of next year, helping Australian businesses generate more jobs underpins our agenda to build a stronger economy.

Senator the Hon Eric Abetz as Minister for Employment, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Public Service and Leader of the Government in the Senate will be responsible for reducing impediments to employment growth. In keeping with our pre-election commitments, the Coalition Government will restore the Australian Building and Construction Commission, return the industrial relations pendulum to the sensible centre and re-invigorate Work for the Dole. Mr Luke Hartsuyker MP will be Assistant Minister for Employment and Deputy Leader of the House.

Senator the Hon George Brandis QC will be Attorney-General, Minister for the Arts and Vice President of the Executive Council and will be responsible for establishing a bipartisan process that will lead to a referendum and recognition of indigenous Australians in the Constitution. Mr Michael Keenan MP will be Minister for Justice.

Strengthening the economy, lifting productivity and turning around Australia’s competitive decline will be at the heart of the new Government. By strengthening the economy we can create more jobs and better afford the services that we all want.

As Treasurer, the Hon Joe Hockey MP will lead the Government’s work to restore the Budget position and grow a stronger economy. Senator Mathias Cormann, as Minister for Finance, will be responsible for delivering better value for taxpayers. Senator Arthur Sinodinos AO will be Assistant Treasurer. His lifetime of experience in the public sector will provide further strength to our economic team. Mr Steven Ciobo MP will be Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer and Mr Michael McCormack MP will be Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance.

Mr Barnaby Joyce MP will be the Minister for Agriculture and will be working to fulfil Australia’s potential as the food-bowl of Asia. The agricultural opportunities for Northern Australia in particular are immense. Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck will be Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture.

Labor’s decision to split education across multiple portfolios hindered the capacity of different parts of the system to work together to improve educational standards.

The Hon Christopher Pyne MP will be Minister for Education and Leader of the House and will work with the states and territories to deliver real improvements across all aspects of education. The Hon Sussan Ley MP as Assistant Minister for Education will continue her work with child care and early childhood education. Senator Scott Ryan will be Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education.

The Hon Ian Macfarlane MP returns as Minister for Industry having held this role during the last two terms of the Howard Government. Mr Macfarlane’s experience and record of success will be invaluable as we seek to build more competitive industries across Australia. The new Industry portfolio will include responsibility for energy and resources. The Hon Bob Baldwin MP will be Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry.

I regret the absence of Sophie Mirabella who was a champion for Australian industry, particularly manufacturers.

The Hon Kevin Andrews MP will be Minister for Social Services and be responsible for the largest area of expenditure and payments in the Budget. The new department will also be responsible for settlement services, multicultural affairs and the administration of aged care. Senator Mitch Fifield will be Assistant Minister for Social Services responsible for the development of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and aged care. Senator Marise Payne will be Minister for Human Services. Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells will be Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social Services with special responsibility for multicultural affairs and settlement services.

The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP as Minister for Communications will deliver a new business plan for the NBN so that we can deliver fast broadband sooner and at less cost. Mr Paul Fletcher MP will be Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications.

The Hon Peter Dutton MP will be Minister for Health and Minister for Sport. Senator Fiona Nash will be Assistant Minister for Health. Responsibility for mental health will rest with Peter Dutton ensuring responsibility for this issue remains in Cabinet.

Small business employs almost one in two Australians and its stand-alone presence in Cabinet acknowledges its role in job creation. The Hon Bruce Billson MP is an evangelist for small business and will drive the Government’s small business agenda.

The Hon Andrew Robb AO MP, serving as Minister for Trade and Investment, will be Australia’s ambassador for jobs by expanding Australia’s participation in free trade agreements.

Senator the Hon David Johnston will be Minister for Defence and will drive the development of the Defence White Paper as well as overseeing the Coalition’s defence procurement programme. Senator the Hon Michael Ronaldson will be the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Special Minister of State and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC. The Centenary of ANZAC will be a significant marker in our country’s history. Mr Stuart Robert MP will be Assistant Minister for Defence with responsibility for personnel matters. Mr Darren Chester MP will be Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence.

The Hon Greg Hunt MP as Minister for the Environment will have responsibility for the abolition of the carbon tax, implementation of the Coalition’s Direct Action plan, the establishment of the Green Army and the creation of a one-stop-shop for environmental approvals. Senator Simon Birmingham will be Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and have responsibility for water.

Mr Scott Morrison MP will be Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. Senator Michaelia Cash will be Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. This is a strong team to stop the boats.

Recognising its key role in border protection, Customs will be in this portfolio.

Senator Cash will also be appointed as Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women.

As promised, the administration of indigenous affairs will move into the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion will be Minister for Indigenous Affairs.

Recognising the value of deregulation to improving Australia’s productivity, responsibility for driving the Government’s deregulation agenda will shift to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Mr Josh Frydenberg MP and Mr Alan Tudge MP will be my Parliamentary Secretaries.

The Hon Bronwyn Bishop MP, with my support, is nominating for the role of Speaker.

The Hon Warren Entsch MP has agreed to chair a new Joint Parliamentary Committee on Northern Australia. Carefully developing our long-term plan for Northern Australia will be a priority of the new Coalition government.

The Hon Philip Ruddock MP has agreed to be Chief Government Whip. I can think of no better person in the House to guide the 30 or so new Coalition members in their duties. Ms Nola Marino MP and Mr Scott Buchholz MP have also agreed to be Whips. Mark Coulton is the Nationals’ Chief Whip.

The Senate Whips are elected by the Liberal and Nationals Senate Party Rooms. The current Senate Whips are Senator Helen Kroger (Chief Government Whip), Senator David Bushby (Deputy Government Whip), Senator Chris Back (Deputy Government Whip) and Senator John Williams (Nationals Whip).

This is an experienced and talented team. It will deliver results for the Australian people from day one.