The Morrison Government has opened a $25.5 million funding round for critical infrastructure projects at Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) to support these services to continue their critical work.
The Service Maintenance Program (SMP), which provides funding for repairs, maintenance and minor upgrades for ACCHS is part of a $1 billion national commitment to help achieve Closing the Gap (CTG) Outcomes, and part of the $254.4 million CTG health infrastructure measure announced by the Prime Minister in August 2021.
Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the funding round will give priority to projects related to ventilation and infection control.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said that ACCHS are a core part of the Australian health system, delivering comprehensive primary health care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“ACCHS set the benchmark for delivering holistic, culturally safe and responsive care and services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities and have played a major role in the Government’s response to COVID-19. This funding will improve their facilities so they can maintain the high level of care they offer their communities”, Minister Hunt said.
“These grants help ensure fit-for-purpose health infrastructure, which is integral to closing the gap in life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”
The SMP and the Major Capital Program make up the Closing the Gap health infrastructure measure. The opening of the Major Capital Program, which will fund the building and purchase of health clinics and staff housing, as well as major renovations, is due to be announced shortly.
Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, said the funding round announced today showed the Government was serious about closing the gap in health outcomes and life expectancy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“This investment in the ACCHS sector is a key component of the Government’s commitment to closing the gap through improved health infrastructure,” Minister Wyatt said.
“Key to making real progress, and one of the fundamental principles in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, is to work in true partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders.
“Accordingly, we worked in partnership with the ACCHS sector, through the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), to co-design these grant opportunities”.
Lead Convenor of the Coalition of Peaks and CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Ms Pat Turner, said, “NACCHO has advocated for a long time for increased funding for infrastructure for the health sector and this funding supports and recognises the critical role that ACCHS play in the Australian primary health care architecture”.
“I am pleased to see that this funding is being delivered in line with the Priority Reforms in the National Agreement, where programs and services are developed in partnership with our peoples and where funding is delivered through our community-controlled organisations”.
Information about the SMP grant opportunity can be found on GrantConnect.
The Morrison Government continues to prioritise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and ageing outcomes, providing $781.1 million in the 2021-22 Budget and ongoing funding through the Indigenous Australians Health Programme of more than $4 billion from 2021-22 to 2024-25 to deliver culturally appropriate initiatives to increase access to health care and improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.