Budget 2005-06 - A continuing commitment to improving the health of indigenous Australians

The Federal Health Minister, Tony Abbott, welcomed $170 million in new Indigenous health measures announced as part of the Government’s overall Indigenous policy.

Page last updated: 10 May 2005

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10 May 2005
ABB043/05

The Federal Health Minister, Tony Abbott, welcomed $170 million in new Indigenous health measures announced as part of the Government’s overall Indigenous policy.

The Government will provide an additional $40 million over the next four years to continue expanding the access of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to primary health care services through the Primary Health Care Access Program. This funding will enable the establishment of new primary health care clinics in communities where they are not currently available, and provide the primary health care professionals needed to staff them. It will also increase the capacity of established clinics to deliver health care in communities that are under serviced.

The new funding announced today will help establish four new clinics and provide more primary health care through existing clinics. The main focus of these additional resources will be to meet the current shortfall of health professionals working in rural and remote Indigenous communities by employing 50 more Aboriginal Health Workers, nurses, and GPs.

The Government will spend $102.4 million over four years on a new program to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers, babies and children and to reduce the impact of chronic diseases. The Healthy for Life program will enhance existing services by delivering targeted child and maternal health initiatives through Indigenous specific primary health care services.

To combat petrol sniffing, the Government will extend its successful Comgas Scheme to a further 23 communities at an additional cost of $9.6 million over four years. This is on top of the 37 indigenous communities the Scheme already assists.

The Government has provided $8 million over four years to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities deal with problems faced by drug and alcohol use. The funding will be provided in consultation with the Australian National Council on Drugs and the Ministerial Taskforce on Indigenous Affairs.

Additional funding of $10.1 million over four years will give Indigenous Australians greater access to Australian Government Hearing Services. For the first time, all Indigenous Australians 50 years and over and participants on the Community Development Employment Program will have access to subsidised hearing services.

To help Indigenous organisations keep professional staff, the FBT supplementation program has been extended for four years at a cost of $59.7 million. More than half of this – $32.8 million – will benefit Indigenous health organisations in remote areas.

With the continuation of the FBT supplementation program the total value of the Government’s decisions in this budget to address the health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is $203 million over four years.


Media contact: Kate Miranda, 0417 425 227 (Minister Abbott's Office)