CLOSING THE GAP IN INDIGENOUS HEALTH
A Shorten Labor Government will make a major commitment to preventive health strategies for Indigenous Australians, helping to close the shameful gap in chronic disease and life expectancy with non-Indigenous Australians.
Despite improvements in some areas of Indigenous health, an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person born today can still expect to live an average of ten years less than other Australians. The burden of ill health among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is two-and-a-half times higher than that of other Australians.
In large part this is due to the higher incidence of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and kidney disease. Much of this is preventable.
This is not acceptable. It is a national shame – it is time to do more.
In addition to Labor’s investments in Medicare and affordable medicine for all Australians, Labor will invest in tailored, culturally-appropriate health programs aimed at preventing chronic disease for Indigenous people.
Empowering Indigenous Australians to make their own healthy lifestyle choices is the first and most important step to improving health outcomes.
Deadly Choices is an initiative of the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) that aims to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to improve their own and their families’ health by improving their diet, exercising regularly and quitting smoking. It has been running in South East Queensland since 2011 with great success.
A Shorten Labor government will provide $5.5 million a year per year to partner with the IUIH in rolling out Deadly Choices across the country.
Elements of the roll-out will include:
- National campaigns to promote positive health and lifestyle choices.
- Partnerships with sporting organisations and sporting ambassadors.
- Training and licensing for State and Territory affiliates.
- Local Deadly Choices coordinators.