1. Improve Indigenous health

The current health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are unacceptable. (65% of Indigenous people live in rural Australia.)

We seek a commitment from an incoming government to

  1. Endorse the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the Makarrata, ie establish a First Nations Voice in the Australian Constitution and establish a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history.
  2. Fund an additional 3000 Aboriginal Health Workers and practitioners. ($180m over 4 years; $180m per year ongoing)
  3. Increase base funding of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations.
  4. Eliminate Rheumatic Heart Disease. Get serious about meeting targets set under the END RHD program. ($170m over 4 years.)

Rationale

  1. More than 1,100 delegates from around Australia voted at the 15th National Rural Health Conference in March to seek government endorsement for the Uluru Statement from the Heart as a key priority. Poorer health outcomes in non-metropolitan Australia reflect the widening gap that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience in their health care compared with non-Indigenous people. It is only when we listen to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices that we will be able to deliver health solutions that will succeed.
  2. Aboriginal Health Workers and health practitioners are critical to achieving better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through culturally safe preventative health and treatment services. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have three-fold higher levels of preventable hospital admissions and deaths than other Australians and the burden of disease for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is 2.3 times higher. A significant driver behind these numbers is that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can often feel unsafe in accessing the health care they need. 2016 data from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association shows the number of Indigenous workers in health professions was 1347.A ratio of one for every 150 Indigenous people would require 4328 practitioners – this would mean putting 3000 more Aboriginal Health Workers and practitioners on the ground.
  3. Increasing the baseline funding for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations will remove funding insecurity that threatens their programs and services.
  4. Young Indigenous Australians are 55 times more likely to die of rheumatic heart disease than their non-Indigenous peers, yet it is preventable. Priorities have been established under the END RHD program - these need to be implemented immediately.

The Charter | Improve Indigenous health | Improve access to healthcare, especially by funding more allied health professionals into rural Australia | Expand the health research capacity of rural Australia | Create a new National Rural Health Strategy | National Rural Health Alliance - Member Body Organisations