Multi-million-dollar boost for indigenous health

By Morgan Dyer

The Greater Shepparton indigenous community can soon expect better health care as the government is set to inject $90 million to support culturally appropriate comprehensive health care.

During the next three years the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme will be boosted to provide a higher degree of care.

The government will also introduce a new way of funding Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in July next year to enhance primary health care under the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the new way of funding would deliver real benefits to indigenous Australians.

“Streamlined processes and three-year funding agreements will provide certainty around health workforce continuity and planning, and reduce the administrative burden on the sector,” Mr Hunt said.

“Importantly, no service will lose funding under the new funding model. Funding levels will be maintained in real terms.”

The aim is for the funding to be distributed more fairly, based on activity levels, the cost of services and the relative health needs of certain locations.

The government has partnered with National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and the Australian Medical Association to develop the revised funding model.

Mr Hunt said the partnership was an important component of the government's investment in closing the gap in indigenous health.

“There has been good progress across a range of health and social outcomes. For example, at the end of last year 97 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged five years were fully immunised,” he said.

The investment is part of the government's commitment to achieving health equity for all Australians.