A Better Start to Life to Help More Children Thrive

Thousands more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children will be given a better start to life through the further expansion of the Australian Government’s, New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services (New Directions) program.

Page last updated: 25 July 2018

PDF printable version of A Better Start to Life to Help More Children Thrive (PDF 328 KB)

25 July 2018

Thousands more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children will be given a better start to life through the further expansion of the Turnbull Government’s, New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services (New Directions) program—part of the $94 million A Better Start to Life initiative.

Twelve new sites across the nation are being added to the successful program, taking the total to 136.

“Since it was launched, this unique program has seen significant improvements in the health and wellbeing of participating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children,” said Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt AM.

“New Directions works across the early years of a child’s life, ensuring they are kept healthy and ready to learn when they start school.

“By wrapping services around families, locally focused programs like this are also important in helping guard against the development of chronic conditions in later life, such as rheumatic heart disease and kidney failure.”

The New Directions program targets five priority areas, including:

    • Care of mothers before and immediately after birth
    • Detailed information about baby care
    • Practical parenting, breast-feeding and nutrition assistance
    • Monitoring children’s development, immunisations and infections
    • Health checks and treatment referrals before children start school
An Australian Institute of Health and Welfare study in 2014 showed that families participating in the New Directions program registered improvements in seven out of the eight national Key Performance Indicators on maternal and child health.

“Mothers participating in Better Start to Life have fewer low birth weight babies, higher rates of breastfeeding and very high infant immunisation rates,” said Minister Wyatt.

“We are also seeing women accessing antenatal care earlier in their pregnancies.

“We know that the time from conception through the early years of a child’s life is absolutely critical for their future health and we want to ensure all of our children are given the best opportunities to flourish and thrive.”

Media contact: Nick Way, Media Adviser 0419 835 449

Authorised by Ken Wyatt AM, MP, Member for Hasluck.


The new sites are:
State
Organisation
Indigenous Area
NTAnyinginyi Health Aboriginal Corporation
Tennant Creek Town
Northern Territory Department of Health
Ali Curung
Northern Territory Department of Health
Alpurrurullam
(Lake Nash)
Northern Territory Department of Health
Atitjere (Harts Range) – Akarnenehe – Engawala (Alcoota)
Northern Territory Department of Health
Willowra, Yuendamu and Outstations, Yuelamu, Anmatjere
NSWBourke Aboriginal Health Service
Bourke
Pius-X Aboriginal Corporation
Moree Plains
Dubbo Aboriginal Corporation Health Service (trading as Coonamble Aboriginal Health Service)
Dubbo
QLDCarbal Medical Service
Goondiwindi- Stanthorpe and Southern Downs
Galangoor Duwalami Primary Health Care Service
Fraser Coast
SANganampa Health Council Incorporated (APY Lands, SA)
Anangu Pitjantjatjara
WACarnarvon Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation (CMSAC)
Shark Bay – Coral Bay – Upper Cascoyne
Top of Page