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Investing in the health of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory



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M e d i a R e l e a s e

JENNY MACKLIN MP

Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Minister for Disability Reform

WARREN SNOWDON MP Minister for Indigenous Health Member for Lingiari

SENATOR TRISH CROSSIN Senator for the Northern Territory

Investing in the health of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory

Aboriginal Australians in the Northern Territory will continue to have better primary health care and improved access to dental and allied health services, with a $719 million funding investment as part of the Australian Government’s Stronger Futures package.

The Government is providing the investment over 10 years to improve the health and wellbeing of 65,000 Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory, including through new alcohol and drug treatment services.

Under a new program, alcohol and other drug treatment workers will provide support in 20 communities as part of local Alcohol Management plans that will be developed to reduce the harm caused by alcohol and drug abuse.

Aboriginal people have told the government that tackling the harm caused by alcohol misuse is key to building stronger futures.

They recognise that alcohol misuse is still devastating the lives of too many Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory.

The Australian Government will continue to fund Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations and the Northern Territory Government to deliver primary health care services, which involves more than 250 full-time staff delivering medical, nursing and allied health services in 80 primary health care clinics.

The Government is also providing funding for more than 2000 hearing checks and follow up services, including for children in remote communities, as well as a community education program to educate families about their children’s ear and hearing health.

More than 12,000 children will also have access to preventive oral health services through outreach services, to improve oral health practices, and reduce dental problems.

We are also continuing funding for the Remote Area Health Corps to help meet workforce shortages in remote areas, with about 450 health professional placements each year.

We will continue to fund the Mobile Outreach Plus Service, which conducts about 480 visits each year to provide counselling and education to children, their families and communities experiencing trauma from child abuse and neglect.

This service will help more than 200 Aboriginal families across the Territory, with many more to be reached through community education and information sessions that deal with child abuse and neglect.

The Government will also provide additional support to help address mental health issues among Aboriginal people.

This will include delivering four new community mental health services in the Northern Territory between 2012 and 2014. These will consist of two new Personal Helpers and Mentors Services and two new Family Mental Health Support Services.

These new services will provide an additional $2 million a year to help families better cope with mental illness and tackle the risk factors that lead to mental illness.

Healthier people and communities will be a critical part of building stronger futures in the Northern Territory.

Date: 29 March 2012

Media Contact: Kate Thwaites 0429 067 500