THE HON WARREN SNOWDON MP
Minister for Indigenous Health, Rural and Regional Health and Regional Services Delivery
12 May 2010
Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon, says this year’s budget continues the Rudd Government’s commitment to Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health outcomes.
The 2010-11 Federal Budget includes an increase of $168.7 million in annual funding since 2009-10 to improve Indigenous health outcomes.
This brings the total investment across the Health and Ageing portfolio to $1.16 billion in the 2010-11 Budget. The funding represents an 87 per cent increase since the Rudd Government came into power in 2007-08.
This is enhanced by additional funding through the National Health and Hospital Reform process and continuing investment and roll-out of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Indigenous Chronic Disease and Early Childhood Development packages (see detail below).
BUDGET: Indigenous Health
The $168.7 million of extra funding in 2010/11 includes:
• $38.5 million over the next four years to enhance the supply and uptake of Opal Fuel ($6.0 million in 2010-2011) to help reduce the incidence and impact of petrol sniffing in eleven regional and remote communities in NT, Queensland and Western Australia.
• $10.3 million over the next four years ($2.2 million in 2010-2011) through the Community Development Employment Projects Program Reform to give Torres Strait Islander people access to employment in aged care and sport and recreation positions in their own communities.
“The Australian Government has allocated $38.5 million over four years to expand the rollout of Opal fuel to other areas in Australia where petrol sniffing is occurring.
Eleven additional Indigenous communities, currently tackling significant petrol sniffing issues, will get access to Opal fuel through 39 new sites. This will increase the total number of sites distributing Opal fuel to 145.
“Around 8,850 people in the 11 communities will directly benefit through a reduction in the adverse impacts of petrol sniffing, including a drop in violence and crime, along with improved health outcomes, family functioning and community safety,” he said.
“$10.3 million through the Community Development Employment Projects Program Reform will provide permanent, part-time positions for Torres Strait Islander people in the aged care and sport and recreation sectors in the Torres Strait.”
BUDGET: Health reform funding
The Rudd Government’s health reforms will mean real, on-the-ground improvements in health and hospital care for Indigenous Australians.
Under the National Health and Hospital Network, the Commonwealth with have full funding and policy responsibility for all GP and related services, including Aboriginal Medical Services.
The country’s 170 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services can access the following:
• $355 million over three years to build around 23 Super GP Clinics and assist 425 metropolitan, regional and rural general practices, Aboriginal Medical Services, primary care and community health services, to deliver GP Super Clinic Style services.
• $390.3 million over four years to provide incentives for all accredited generalpractices (including eligible Aboriginal Medical services), to support a greater role for nurses to focus on prevention and management of chronic disease such as diabetes and cancer.
• $449.2 million over four years to provide more co-ordinated care for patients with diabetes, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
Other Indigenous Health funding in 2010-2011
In October 2008, the Rudd Government committed to Closing the Gap in Indigenous life expectancy and halving the rate of Indigenous child mortality.
The National Partnership Agreement for Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcome, which saw the Australian Government invest $805.5 million for a range of chronic disease prevention and management activities.
Since that announcement the Rudd Government has been working in partnership with key stakeholders in frontline health services to jointly plan and implement these measures, so that they are effective and well targeted.
Many of these initiatives (listed below) are now rolling out and will continue to do so in coming years.
• Recruitment of Regional Tobacco Action Coordinators, Tobacco Action Workers and Health Lifestyle Workers in first 20 regions across Australia
• 80 administrative traineeships in remote Indigenous communities.
• 34 Practice Managers and Other Allied Health staff in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations
• 200 sets of ear/hearing equipment will be purchased for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations and other primary health care services.
• Communication campaign to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander secondary school students to take up careers in health.
• Funding to provide additional Mothers and Babies services to increase access to child and maternal health services
• Funding to provide additional intensive home visiting services aimed at helping Indigenous women improve their own health while they are pregnant through the Australian Nurse Family Practice (ANFP) program.
What has the Government already achieved in Indigenous Health?
• Recruitment of 94 Indigenous Health Project officers and 83 Indigenous Outreach workers
• $2.4m funding for Well Being Centres in Coen, Aurukun, Cooktown, and Mossman Gorge in Cape York, Queensland
• Establishment of 18 innovative community projects to tackle smoking in Indigenous communities, through an $14.5 million initiative
• $6m for Strong Fathers Strong Families to promote the role of Indigenous men with their children and families lives
• 9 expanded and or new Mums and Bubs services – part of $90.3 million initiative, 57 services launched to date
• $1m to help setup two health hubs for the Urban Indigenous Health Institute in South East Queensland
• Two sessions of week-long eye surgical intensives in Alice Springs – providing about 50 surgical procedures.
• Total of 402 health professional placements into NT remote communities through the Remote Area Health Corps (RAHC), as part of the $191 million (over 3 years to 2011-12) to expand and reform the primary health care system in the Northern Territory.
• The appointment of Tom Calma, as the new national Co-ordinator to tackle Indigenous smoking
Media contact: Alice Plate 0400 045 999