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Thursday, 12 November 2015
Page: 8434

Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaManager of Government Business in the Senate, Minister for Communications, Minister for the Arts and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Digital Government) (12:24): I seek leave to make a short statement.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator FIFIELD: We recognise Senator Siewert's passion and commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their health and well being—in particular, her participation in and support of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Implementation Plan. However, we will not be supporting this motion on the basis that the Australian government is investing more than $42 million in Indigenous eye health over the forward estimates, increasing year on year through the Indigenous Australians Health Program. This includes increasing the locations providing optometry services. The government has also committed $16.5 million over four years to prevent, screen for and treat trachoma in Indigenous communities and an increasing number of other eye health outreach programs. This is a demonstration of the government's commitment to improving Indigenous health, including eye health.