COAG must continue funding for Aboriginal health reforms

Thursday 11th April, 2013

The Australian Nursing Federation (ANF), has called on the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), to continue to work together to “close the gap” in Aboriginal health, when it meets on April 19 in Canberra.

According to the ANF, the country’s largest health union, it is crucial State and Commonwealth Governments recommit to funding for the National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes, which delivers health services for Aboriginal people.

Funding for the current agreement expires at the end of the current financial year on June 30.

“The ANF is joining other key health stakeholders in calling on COAG to continue funding for initiatives which aim to close the gap in health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” ANF Federal Secretary, Lee Thomas, said today.

“We believe that a whole of government approach must be adopted to ensure that budget commitments like these must not only be continued but expanded for vital Aboriginal health services.”

Ms Thomas said funding must be directed toward addressing complex health challenges impacting Indigenous communities, including the prevention, detection and treatment of chronic diseases; poor oral health outcomes and dual diagnosis of issues such as mental health, alcohol and other drugs and emotional well-being.

“As a nation, we have started taking the first steps in closing the gap in Aboriginal health. But unfortunately, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders continue to suffer chronic diseases at a much higher rate than the non-Indigenous population,” Ms Thomas explained.

“That’s why governments at all levels must work together and recommit to this type of partnership funding if health equality is to be achieved.”

The ANF, with over 225,000 members, is the professional and industrial voice for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing in Australia.

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