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Indigenous health: the new challenge for Australia Day.

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DEMOCRATS MEDIA 04/025 WEDNESDAY JANUARY 26 2005 SENATOR ADEN RIDGEWAY AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS SPOKESPERSON INDIGENOUS HEALTH: THE NEW CHALLENGE FOR AUSTRALIA DAY The Australian Democrats say the Howard Government could help celebrate what's great about Australia Day by committing itself to Indigenous health as a matter of urgency. Democrats Indigenous Affairs spokesperson, Senator Aden Ridgeway, said that in this time of record economic growth, many Indigenous Australians still experience a life expectancy 20 years lower than the rest of the population. "The Government has a $6.2 billion surplus yet it only offers only simplistic and ad hoc solutions - like mutual obligation - to the crisis in Indigenous health," Senator Ridgeway said. "The door of mutual obligation swings both ways and the Government can show it is serious on its part by making $450 million* available to bring Indigenous health up to par with the rest of the population. "This additional funding to help achieve equal health outcomes for Indigenous people amounts to less than 1% of our total health expenditure. “Whether you know today as Australia Day or Invasion Day, it is a day when we can reflect on the two perspectives of the same history - how the black experience differs from the white experience and how our common past lives on in the present. “Nowhere is this more obvious than in our health situation. “As a nation, we must ensure that the next generation of Indigenous people are given a fair go so that they may forge a new and better path for the future. “All over the country there will be celebrations of Indigenous peoples’ physical and cultural survival -eg: the Yabun concert in Redfern Park in Sydney. “I encourage all Australians to incorporate these types of events into their Australia Day celebrations and to also celebrate and remember the black history and culture of this country,” concluded Senator Ridgeway. *AMA/Access Economics estimates. Includes funding to both primary health care as well as additional health professionals, health workers and appropriate training. Media Contact - Liz Willis 0417 410 506 News releases can also be sent by email. Please advise us if you want to join the email distribution list.