Widespread hearing loss amongst Aboriginal kids in Northern Territory should be urgently resolved with increased funding that closes the gap in hearing health, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
“Unaddressed hearing loss in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is entrenching disadvantage and worsening life outcomes for those effected. This has been known for a long time yet Governments have failed to act, despite a Senate committee report in 2010 on the issue.
“Kids in detention being deemed non-compliant when in fact they cannot communicate properly because of hearing loss is a sad by-product of an avoidable problem. This also happens in adult detention.
”We know that hearing impairment contributed to social disadvantage that can land Aboriginal kids in the justice system in the first place, but also alienates them at school and can contribute to poor outcomes at school. It is time that this issue became a national priority.
“We need to close the gap in hearing health, I will be chasing this up in estimates this week.”