Discussion Paper for the Development of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan
Table of contents
PDF printable version of NATSIHP Discussion Paper (PDF 1376 KB)
The Australian Government is committed to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people so that they can enjoy long and healthy lives. That is why, together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, we are developing the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (the Health Plan). The Health Plan will help us to target areas of health that are in most need of improvement. The Health Plan will also recognise that for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people health is not just about the physical wellbeing of the individual, but also encompasses their social, emotional, spiritual and cultural wellbeing.
The Health Plan will build on the gains already being achieved through the $1.6 billion National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes. Significant progress has been made in implementing the Indigenous Chronic Disease Package, with new and increased health care services in many areas. Already we are seeing greater numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people using these services and over time this will lead to better health outcomes.
The many factors that affect health and wellbeing must be addressed for large improvements to the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to occur. The Australian Government recognises that if individuals have a sense of connection, through culture and through gainful employment, they are more likely to be mentally and physically healthy. We also recognise that other social issues such as school attendance, housing and environment, and the ongoing impact of the Stolen Generations affect the health of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
A successful Health Plan must address the many causes of health inequalities, seek to promote a shared responsibility and work in active partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Collaboration and partnership between all levels of government, the Aboriginal community controlled sector and non-government organisations across health, education, training and employment are also necessary to develop sustainable long-term health solutions. We recognise that it is important to engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people early, and often, in the process of developing the Health Plan for it to be effective in achieving health gains. We want to hear from people regarding what works well and where further effort can be channelled.
This Discussion Paper is an important part of the development process. I invite you to carefully consider and comment on the issues raised in this paper. I have asked my Department to take into account all the comments made and report to me following the consultations so that we can finalise the Health Plan as soon as possible.
It is my hope that shared development of the Health Plan will lead to improved health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in a holistic and meaningful manner.
The Hon. Warren Snowdon MP
Minister for Indigenous Health
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