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AMA calls for Royal Commission into remote aboriginal communities.



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Australian Medical Association Limited ABN 37 008 426 793

42 Macquarie Street, Barton ACT 2600: PO Box 6090, Kingston ACT 2604 Telephone: (02) 6270 5400 Facsimile (02) 6270 5499 Website : http://www.ama.com.au/

AMA CALLS FOR ROYAL COMMISSION INTO REMOTE ABORIGINAL COMMUNITIES

The AMA Federal Council, meeting in Adelaide, has today called on the Federal Government to establish a Royal Commission into the appalling state of some remote Aboriginal communities.

A resolution put by AMA Northern Territory President, Dr Paul Bauert, who works in some of the communities, and seconded by AMA Queensland President, Dr Steve Hambleton, an active Indigenous Health campaigner, was unanimously passed by the Council.

AMA President, Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, said a Royal Commission should be convened immediately to capitalise on the significant political and public focus on the plight of Indigenous Australians.

“This issue is so important in regard to Australia’s international reputation that nothing short of a Royal Commission is good enough to examine the tragic health, social and living conditions of the first Australians, especially those in remote areas.

“We need to explore the reasons for centuries of neglect and put forward practical and achievable solutions to assist Indigenous Australians to share in the health, housing, education and social benefits taken for granted by the rest of the population.

“The time for talking is over, it’s time for action,” Dr Haikerwal said.

Dr Haikerwal said the process of a Royal Commission should not delay immediate activity to address known shortfalls in services in the communities.

“And the Royal Commission must afford protection to witnesses to speak openly and honestly about their concerns.”

The formal resolution reads:

RESOLVED (Bauert/Hambleton) Carried That Federal Council request that the President calls for the Federal Government to establish a Royal Commission to examine the appalling state of some remote Aboriginal communities. Specifically, the Royal Commission should examine the reasons why after 39 years of self-determination some remote Aboriginal communities have not achieved the same level of health, education and opportunities for development enjoyed in other Australian communities despite the expenditure of large amounts of taxpayers’ funds.

26 May 2006

CONTACT: John Flannery 02 6270 5477 / 0419 494 761 Kylie Walker 02 6270 5471 / 0405 229 152