THE HON WARREN SNOWDON MP
Minister for Indigenous Health
23 March 2011
On the eve of the fifth anniversary of the National Close The Gap day, Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon, met with some of the 355 additional health staff funded across Australia to help close the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
At Parliament today Mr Snowdon congratulated the following health workers:
Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service (Canberra):
Chanel Web -Tobacco Action Worker
Ian Bateman – Healthy Lifestyle Worker
Tharawal Aboriginal Medical Service (Sydney)
Ms. Kerryanne White – Tobacco Control Officer
Sofia Malie – Dietician
Aboriginal Medical Service Western (Sydney)
Tania Davison – Indigenous Outreach Worker
“Together they form part of a tobacco and healthy lifestyle team who are work with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to raise awareness of the health impacts of tobacco smoking and chronic disease.
“These jobs have been provided under the Australian Government’s $805.5 million Indigenous Chronic Disease Package, which is the Commonwealth’s contribution to COAG’s $1.6 billion National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes agreed to in 2008,” Mr Snowdon said.
“Under this package we are employing 355 additional health staff across the nation and this includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Outreach Workers, Project Officers, Practice Managers, Care Coordinators as well as Regional Tobacco Action Coordinators, Tobacco Action Workers and Healthy Lifestyle Workers.
“The boost to our health workforce is an important part of the Australian Government’s commitment to closing the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians by 2031.”
Mr Snowdon said other key achievements include:
- a 26.1% increase in the uptake of Indigenous health checks, with 29,799 Indigenous health checks provided in 2009-10
- 52,704 eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders accessed more affordable PBS medicines, as at 28 February 2011,
- 3,564 Indigenous specific services were provided by Aboriginal Health Workers and Practice Nurses in 2009-10 an increase of 611% on 2008-09.
“We are providing better coordinated care, assistance with the cost of medicines, access to follow-up health care and an expanded workforce to provide high-quality and effective, culturally sensitive services,” Mr Snowdon said.
The second target agreed to under COAG was to halve the mortality rates for children under five within a decade (by 2018), and importantly, current trends indicate Indigenous child mortality rates are on track to fall within the range of that target by 2018.
The Australian Government has made Indigenous maternal and child health a priority, investing $564 million over six years in partnership with the States and Territories to address the needs of Indigenous children in their early years, through the National Partnership on Indigenous Early Childhood Development.
This year will also see the start of national and local campaigns focusing on tobacco and better health, to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s awareness and understanding of the risk factors that lead to chronic disease.
Mr Snowdon will speak at the National Close the Gap Day Parliamentary breakfast at Parliament House tomorrow.
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