THE HON NICOLA ROXON MP
Minister for Health and Ageing
THE HON WARREN SNOWDON MP
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Defence Science and Personnel and Indigenous Health
October 14 2010
There are more than 15,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with low vision and 3,300 who are blind.
“Indigenous people have much higher rates of eye disease than non-Indigenous Australians, with blindness rates 6.2 times higher than the mainstream population,” Ms Roxon said.
“While the high rates of eye disease are disturbing, we know that most of this vision loss amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians is preventable or treatable and early detection and treatment can make all the difference,” she said.
“My message for Indigenous Australians is therefore a simple one: Get your eyes checked – regularly,” Mr Snowdon said.
“The Gillard Labor Government is strongly committed to managing and treating eye disease and promoting eye health in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,” he said.
The Australian Government is investing $58.3 million to improve ear and eye health for Indigenous Australians, and has recently signed funding agreements for the control of the potentially blinding eye disease trachoma with WA ($1.7 million to June 2011) and the NT ($3.4 million to 31 December 2011).
“This will provide for the screening and treating of trachoma in 120 communities at least once a year, and provide community visits, follow up and health promotion activities.” Mr Snowdon said.
This is in addition to previous funding providing:
new or expanded services to 115 rural and remote Indigenous communities approved under a boost to the Visiting Optometrists Scheme
delivering an additional 465 eye surgery procedures through intensive eye surgery weeks in Alice Springs through the Central Australian and Barkly Integrated Eye Health Strategy
For all media inquiries, please contact Minister Roxon’s Office on 02 6277 7220