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Collaborative approach brings new health services to remote Queensland communities

The Federal and Queensland governments today reinforced their commitment to improving access to health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote areas.

The Federal Government will provide nearly $3.8 million to remote communities in Queensland to improve access to primary health care services. This funding is part of a $24 million Federal Budget initiative announced last year.

Announcing the areas that would benefit from the new funding, the Federal Minister for Health and Family Services, Dr Michael Wooldridge, and the Queensland Minister for Health, Mr Michael Horan said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Queensland would be among the first communities in Australia to receive funding.

"New health services will be provided to communities in Cunnamulla, Normanton and Doomadgee that were identified by the Queensland Government, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) and the Aboriginal community health sector under the Aboriginal health framework Agreement signed last July," Dr Wooldridge said.

"The new health services will allow us to make a start on addressing the appalling health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote and isolated communities who currently have little or no regular access to health care services."

Dr Wooldridge and Mr Horan also announced that the Cape York and Torres Strait Islands region would also receive new health services. The communities to receive funding in these areas will be announced soon.

"Our experience shows that if we are to achieve better health for indigenous people, we must all work together. It is very important that we jointly plan services to achieve the best use of scarce health resources. The way we have approached the task this time sets an example for the future," Mr Horan said.

"We will now work with the Commonwealth Department of Health and Family Services, the non government indigenous health services, ATSIC and the communities to further identify health service requirements and develop services appropriate to their needs."

Dr Wooldridge praised the Queensland Government and Mr Horan for taking such a strong role in working cooperatively with the Commonwealth, as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to improve health services for indigenous Australians.

Contact:

Vicky Anderson, Dr Wooldridge's Office, 06 277 7220

Robert Griew, Department of Health and Family Services, 06 289 531