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Labor commits to National Taskforce on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kidney disease



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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS & INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

THE HON WARREN SNOWDON MP SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS MEMBER FOR LINGIARI

LABOR COMMITS TO NATIONAL TASKFORCE ON ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER KIDNEY DISEASE

A Shorten Labor Government will convene a National Taskforce on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Kidney Disease to help improve prevention, early detection, and treatment.

The Taskforce will address the current complex, disjointed health and social supports for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients suffering from kidney disease.

The Taskforce will bring together Australia’s experts in Indigenous health, kidney disease, and general practice to provide detailed advice to government.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are twice as likely to suffer from chronic kidney disease compared to non-Indigenous Australians.

Approximately one in five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults display indicators of chronic kidney disease, yet for nine out of ten patients chronic kidney disease is under-detected.

The delay in detection and early intervention increases patients’ likelihood of long-term dialysis treatment.

The incidence of end-stage kidney disease resulting in hospitalisation or death is 20 times higher

for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote areas than for non-Indigenous Australians.

Commencing dialysis for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients means relocating to

treatment centres hundreds of kilometres from their family and community. Many patients face

challenges with accommodation, transport, living and treatment costs and maintaining employment.

In some cases, these factors can lead to a decision not to undergo life-saving treatment.

There is an urgent need to better develop, target, and co-ordinate support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are at risk of, or suffering from, kidney disease.

And that’s exactly what a National Taskforce will do.

It will:

 Provide advice on improving awareness and education in Indigenous communities.

 Engage health services around detection and early intervention to slow the progression of

chronic kidney disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

 Consider plans for existing dialysis infrastructure and workforce support in remote and

regional areas.

 Provide advice on patient support services including accommodation, public housing

supply, transport, and travel.

 Develop strategies to address the challenges in prevention, early identification, treatment, and transplantation.

The Taskforce is expected to convene for six months in 2017. A Shorten Labor Government will contribute approximately $295,000 for the development and implementation of the Taskforce.

Sadly, despite promising at the last election to maintain funding for Closing the Gap health initiatives, the Liberals have cut $121.8 million from Indigenous health programs.

Labor is dedicated to driving long-term health improvements for Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander people.