State, territory governments urged to join Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan

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The Australian Greens today welcomed the announcement of the National Health Leadership Forum and the Government’s National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan.

“All states and territories should participate in the process to ensure effective delivery of national health outcomes,” Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health said today.

“I believe that the National Health Leadership Forum will provide a strong opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island health organisations to work together to on improving health outcomes.

“The comments from the Government around action on life expectancy, chronic disease and infant mortality are certainly welcomed,” Senator Siewert said today.

“It is encouraging to see the development of a partnership between the Government, the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health organisations.

“I am especially pleased the Government has recognised the fact that action on health also involves acting on the underlying causes of community disadvantage.

“The most recent AMA Indigenous Health Report Card identified the failure of governments to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as full partners in the planning and implementation of primary health care services as a primary cause for the ongoing gap in life expectancy.

“Improved service delivery depends on ensuring strong community control, the success of which have been demonstrated by the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.

“I believe it is also important to implement a workforce development strategy which includes better access to training and career pathways for Aboriginal health workers.

“Today’s announcement will be judged on the basis of how effectively health measures and policies are designed in partnership with communities and then subsequently implemented and resourced. It will also require a strong, collaborative effort between the Federal, state and territory governments.“ Senator Siewert concluded.