Media release

New funding model for Aboriginal health services welcome

Today’s announcement of a new funding model for the Aboriginal community controlled health sector is a positive recognition of the critical role the sector plays in the wider health system, AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, said.

Health Minister Greg Hunt announced the new Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme (IAHP) funding model, and additional funding of $90 million over three years for Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Services (ACCHSs), at the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) conference in Darwin.

“The AMA welcomes Minister Hunt’s announcement. This funding will ensure that ACCHSs continue to receive the funding they need to provide quality, comprehensive, and culturally safe primary health care,” Dr Bartone said.

“Importantly, this funding also gives services certainty about their funding for the next three years, providing stability to the sector.

“It is positive to see the Government’s recognition of the critical role that the Aboriginal community controlled health sector plays in Australia’s health system.

“We know that Indigenous people have a greater chance of improved health outcomes when they are treated by Indigenous doctors and health professionals. They are more likely to make and keep appointments when they are confident that they will be treated by someone who understands their culture, their language, and their unique circumstances.

“The AMA has a strong commitment to achieving improved health and life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia, and has advocated for more Commonwealth investment in health services. This includes urging the Government to reverse the funding freeze for ACCHSs in the 2018-19 Federal Budget, and urging Governments to commit to a capacity-building fund of $100 million over four years to fill service gaps.

“Closing the disgraceful gap in life expectancy and health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians requires real action from all levels of Government, the private and corporate sectors, and all segments of our community.”

The IAHP model was developed in collaboration with the sector through the Comprehensive Primary Health Care Sustainability Advisory Committee, of which the AMA is a member.

6 November 2019

CONTACT:        Maria Hawthorne       02 6270 5478 / 0427 209 753

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