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Standing committee to examine Aboriginal health problems

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The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs

would examine the health problems of Aboriginals, the Minister for Aboriginal

Affairs, Mr Ian Uiner said today.

This was a reflection of the Government’s concern about the standard of

Aboriginal health throughout Australia, particularly in remote areas.

Mr Uiner said there had recently been considerable comment on Aboriginal

ill health and various reports had revealed shocking figures on the incidence in

particular communities of gastro-intestinal diseases, upper respiratory tract

infections, infant mortality, diabetes, trachoma, deafness and various diseases

associated with malnutrition and' poor living conditions.

He said the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal

Affairs had already accumulated a great' deal of relevant background information and

had established contact with Aboriginal communities during its present examination

of alcoholism among Aboriginals. The committee was a natural choice for the health

inquiry which it would be able to conduct concurrently with the alcoholism examination.

The inquiry would examine environmental, social and cultural factors assocĀ­

iated with the health condition of Aboriginals.

Terms of Reference for the committee are attached.


1 DECEMBER, 1976.


Examine the health problems of Aboriginals with particular attention toi -

(a) the prevalence of different types of disease suffered

by Aboriginals and Aboriginal communities;

. (b) the relationship between Aboriginal health and environmental,

social and cultural factors.

(c) the effectiveness of existing health care programs

for Aboriginals generally, and the adequacy of Western

European-type health services to cope with the health

problems of Aboriginals; and

(d) alternative methods of health care delivery that take

account of Aboriginals* life styles, including camp ’


2. Consider ways and means by which:-(a) persons with appropriate qualifications can be encouraged

to assist Aboriginals achieve a better standard of health; and

. (b) Aboriginals, including traditional healers, can participate

in the development and delivery of health care services to

their own communities, and in any modification of existing


3. Recommend possible courses of action.