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Greens: indigenous health gap remains.

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Senator Rachel Siewert Australian Greens Senator for WA

Tuesday 24 th June 2008

Greens: Indigenous health Gap remains

The 17 year gap in life expectanc y between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians has long been an international embarrassment, and unfortunatel y has not got an y better according to figures released today, say the Australian Greens.

"The release toda y of Australia's Health 2008 b y the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has revealed there has been little to no change in the health gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australia. It's the same shocking Statistics of appalling

health outcomes for Indigenous Australians," said Senator Rachel Siewert.

"The staggering figures still stand. In comparison to non-Aboriginal Australia, Aborigina and Torres Strait Islanders are; three time more likely to suffer heart attacks; infant mortality rates are two and a half times higher; suicide rates are twice as high; and avoidable deaths are a huge four limes that of the non-Aboriginal population."

"It has also emerged that Indigenous Australians are 13 times more likely to self-discharge themselves from a hospital against medical advice. This should be a clear indicator that the medical Services being offered are not culturally appropriate to the Indigenous conlniLlnity, " she said.

"This is not an intractable problem. It is not a case of not knowing what to do, but is a matter of scale and political will. What is needed is a commitment to better health care on the basis of need, and dedicating more resources to close the gap."


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"The Greens are calling for an extra $460 million per annum to be spent on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary healthcare."

"To make a real difference on Tncligenous health we need to tackle the crucial social issues, particularly poverty and housing. and we need to increase Tndigenous involvement in the delivery of community health services," she concluded.

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