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Continuation of Indigenous health inquiry



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HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

STANDING COMMITTEE ON FAMILY AND COMMUNITY AFFAIRS

PRESS RELEASE

CONTINUATION OF INDIGENOUS HEALTH INQUIRY

PARLIAMENT HOUSE CANBERRA ACT 2600

TEL: (02) 6277 4566

FAX: (02) 6277 4844 EMAIL: fca.reps@ aph.gov.au

The Chairman of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Family and Community Affairs, Mr Barry Wakelin, MP, has announced the recommencement of the inquiry into Indigenous Health with a further public hearing in Canberra on Monday, 22 February 1999. The Committee's investigations are aimed at shaping improved Commonwealth policy in the area of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and to contribute to improved health outcomes for Australia's indigenous populations.

The inquiry, which was initially referred to the Committee by the Minister for Health and Family Services, the Hon Dr Michael Wooldridge, with the support of the Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Senator the Hon John Herron, on 24 June 1997, is looking at improved coordination, planning and delivery of indigenous health services. It is being conducted against the background that past structures for the delivery of health services to indigenous populations have not resulted in significant improvements

to the health status of these communities and that there still exist barriers to access to mainstream services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Mr Wakelin, the Liberal Party Member for the seat of Grey in South Australia, advised that "The inquiry will build on the experience of past attempts to assist in health care delivery to indigenous communities, in urban, rural, traditional and remote areas and examine factors which may have contributed to the poor health status currently experienced in indigenous communities throughout Australia which has not improved substantially since the last Parliamentary inquiry conducted 20 years ago".

"I would like to stress that the Committee will take on board the work of the Committee in the previous Parliament and is seeking to continue to conduct this inquiry in a spirit of collaboration and cooperation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people", Mr Wakelin said. "Obviously, it is important to consult communities directly and combine the collective experience of everyone who has worked in this area to arrive at the best possible practical strategies to improve the state of indigenous health". "It is also important to build on individual successes and to derive benefit from improvements achieved by communities

themselves".

" This hearing will enable Committee members to receive evidence on the issues being considered by the inquiry from major Commonwealth Government departments and authorities with responsibility for national policy coordination and leadership in the area of indigenous health. A copy of the program is attached and any organisations or members of the public who have an interest in this topic are invited to attend. The venue is

Committee Room 1R1, Parliament House, Canberra, commencing at 9.00am". Mr Wakelin concluded.

For further information, please contact the Secretary to the Committee, Mr Bjarne Nordin on (00) 277 4505. For comments from the Chairman. Mr Barry Wakelin, MP please telephone (08) 8045 4255.

17 February 1999