Improving the health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is a central priority for Labor, with Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten, Shadow Minister for Health Catherine King, Shadow Minister for Indigenous Health Warren Snowdon, and Senator Patrick Dodson hosting an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Roundtable to define the next steps in progressing policy in this area.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities are integral to leading the design and delivery of health policy and services in partnership with government. Today’s round table highlighted the phenomenal leadership present in the sector as the driving force for change.
Only yesterday, the launch of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework Report 2017 reiterated the harsh reality of how far there is to go. The gap is widening in the rates of deaths related to chronic diseases, particularly in cancer and end-stage kidney disease, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide rates are at crisis point.
Labor acknowledges the association between racism and poor health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and we believe this systemic failing must be eliminated from the Australian health system as a precursor to closing the gap.
The communities that are doing best are those which have found ways to support their own initiatives despite failing Government approaches.
A Labor government will work to embed cultural safety within the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards to ensure equity in care of our First Australians.
Labor is committed to investing in tailored, culturally-appropriate, preventative health strategies to achieve sustainable long-term change in the health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Meaningful collaboration and coordination with the sector is essential.