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Tuesday, 1 November 1983
Page: 2164

Question No. 404

Mr Porter asked the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, upon notice, on 25 August 1983:

(1) Did he request a report to be prepared urgently by his Department on 18 April 1983 concerning reports of high mortality rates of Aborigines on Queensland reserves; if so, has he received this report and will he table it in the House.

(2) Did the Department of Health have any input into the preparation of this report; if so, what are the details.

(3) Has he acted on the report; if so, what are the details; if not, why not.

Mr Holding —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes. The report was prepared for me by my Department. I do not intend to publish it, but would be prepared to provide a copy for the honourable member's information.

(2) No.

(3) I am extremely concerned about the status of Aboriginal health on reserves which, despite the publicly-discussed shortcomings of the reports published in the Medical Journal of Australia, is similar to the situation outlined in the 1979 Report: 'Aboriginal Health' by the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs . Short-term measures, however, are not likely to achieve the substantial and continuing improvements we seek in this field. The former Queensland Minister for Health was left in no doubt as to the Government's commitment to Aboriginal control of and involvement in health care services, a policy shared by the former Government. Aboriginal Medical Services, as demonstrated by several recent funding decisions, are being encouraged to expand at a rate to match their growing capacities. I have expressed to the Queensland Minister for Health my concern at recent reports that Queensland Department of Health staff have been refused entry to Aboriginal reserves.