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Fwd: Health equality for Indigenous Australians a step closer: Close the Gap Coalition welcomes COAG funding [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

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  • karaka
    ... ****************************************** Health equality for Indigenous Australians a step closer: Close the Gap Coalition welcomes COAG funding
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2008
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      Health equality for Indigenous Australians a step closer: Close the Gap
      Coalition welcomes COAG funding
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      Sunday, 30 November 2008

      The Close The Gap coalition has congratulated the Council of Australian
      Governments on taking substantial steps towards making health equality for
      Indigenous Australians a reality.

      At this weekend's COAG meeting, the Federal government committed an
      additional $806 million over 4 years, with the states and territories also
      contributing matched funds of $772 million totalling $1.6 billion.

      The Federal and state governments' announcement constitutes the biggest
      single injection of new funding by a government to improve Indigenous health
      outcomes.

      Chair of the Close The Gap steering committee and Aboriginal and Torres
      Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma - whose 2005 Social
      Justice Report laid the groundwork for the Close The Gap campaign - said the
      funding for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer would more than dent
      the surface in the chronic disease crisis dogging Indigenous communities
      around the country.

      "This is a watershed moment in our efforts to close the life expectancy gap.
      Never have we seen such concentrated and determined effort from all
      governments working together. We applaud the emphasis from COAG on
      preventative health and access to primary care," Mr Calma said.

      "For some time the Indigenous led steering committee has been saying that
      all governments throughout Australia need to lay down the money so that
      their commitments can be achieved.

      "I hope that will be a galvanising moment where we can all come together to
      achieve our shared ambition to close the gap. We look forward to all State
      and territory governments now signing the Statement of Intent to Close The
      Gap which was signed by the Prime Minister on behalf of the Commonwealth
      earlier this year."

      "We need to consolidate this effort through new partnerships with Indigenous
      peoples, the health sector and governments to develop and implement a
      National Action Plan so that we can ensure equality in health status and
      life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and
      non-Indigenous Australians by 2030," Mr Calma said.

      Dr Mick Adams, chair of NACCHO, the peak body for Aboriginal Medical
      Services also welcomed the COAG initiatives.

      "The COAG package for Aboriginal health is a very significant step towards
      providing the services needed to close the gap on health inequality," he
      said.

      James Ensor, Oxfam Australia's Director of Policy, said the commitment was
      an encouraging sign that the Rudd Government is taking this issue seriously.

      "This is a great down-payment for an urgent nation-building effort in
      Closing the Gap in indigenous health, and further funding will be required
      in the coming years.

      "The priority should be supporting community controlled services which have
      been demonstrated to have the greatest impact.

      The National Director of Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation
      (ANTaR), David Cooper, said the COAG commitment was an essential step.

      "The COAG commitment to expand primary care, particularly around chronic
      disease management and prevention, is an essential and welcome step towards
      achieving the Close The Gap targets," Mr Cooper said.

      Mr Calma also welcomed an investment of this magnitude at this time of
      global economic uncertainty.

      "It is an investment in human dignity and in social justice," he said.

      Close The Gap is a coalition of Australia's leading health, human rights and
      Aboriginal organisations. The campaign was launched in April 2007.

      Louise McDermott - 0419 258 597 for Tom Calma
      Marc Purcell - 0409 131 009 for James Ensor
      David Cooper - 0418 486 310

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