Labor to focus on Aboriginal health

Labor leader Bill Shorten has pledged an additional $115.1 million towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health if he is elected on May 18.

This announcement comes after the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation asked politicians to prioritise Indigenous health ahead of the election.

Labor leader Bill Shorten said talking about Indigenous health could change Australia.

“We should be a country who ensures that our first Australians have the same health outcomes as other Australians,” he said.

The pledge will include:

  • $29.6 million for reducing Indigenous youth suicide
  • $33 million to address rheumatic heart disease
  • $13 million to close the gap in vision loss
  • $20 million for sexual health promotion
  • $16.5 million to roll out a national Deadly Choices campaign
  • $3 million to provide Health Justice Partnerships for at-risk communities
  • Reinstating the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Equality Council

NACCHO acting chair Donnella Mills said they welcomed the funding commitment made by the Labor Party.

“This level of funding shows an acknowledgment of the unequal burden Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities face when it comes to health outcomes,” she said.

“The current national health policy hasn’t addressed the urgent needs that Indigenous peak organisations and medical professionals have been advocating for.

“Our communities face a life expectancy gap of ten years less than non-Indigenous Australians and the death rate of Indigenous children is more than double the rate of non-Indigenous children.”

The youth suicide funding will support pediatricians, child psychologists, social workers, mental health nurses and Aboriginal health practitioners.

Ms Mills said prioritising Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations for additional funding was encouraging.

“An appropriately resourced Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector represents an evidence-based, cost-effective and efficient solution for closing the gap in health outcomes,” she said.

If you or anyone you know needs help call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800.

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