Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 7 May 2009) . . Page.. 2083 ..
Brisbane Indigenous community the same level of service and quality of service as has been achieved by her as the general manager of Winnunga Nimmityjah.
I might refer in the context of this government’s commitment to Indigenous health to our commitment to the bush healing farm, the Indigenous-specific drug rehabilitation facility and an almost $11 million commitment to Indigenous health in this region. It is an Australian first where we worked in close consultation with the Indigenous community of the ACT to establish the facility, despite the continued opposition of the Liberal Party in this place. One really does wonder on what philosophical policy basis the Liberal Party or, indeed, anybody would seek to oppose or obstruct the establishment of what is essentially an Australian-leading dedicated therapeutic Indigenous rehabilitation facility such as we propose.
Ms Le Couteur, I will just confirm some of those details, but this government is as committed as any on Indigenous issues and Indigenous outcomes. There is still much work to do. There is an enormous gap to close, and we are determined to do everything we can to assist in closing it.
MR SPEAKER: Ms Le Couteur, a supplementary question?
MS LE COUTEUR: Minister, I suspect you may have already answered my supplementary. The question was: what steps has the government taken to improve Indigenous health? If there is more to come, I would be delighted to hear it.
MR STANHOPE: There are a whole raft of specific initiatives that we have pursued as a government. I will refer part of the responsibility for answering in detail your question to the Minister for Health who, perhaps, has a slightly more refined understanding and advice on some of the mainstream initiatives that we pursue in relation to Indigenous health but I would be happy to give you a detailed response on all of the initiatives that we have pursued, accepting of course that in relation to issues such as health, health status and health outcomes one does require, does need, to pursue a holistic response.
I met briefly with Professor Mick Dodson just a week ago and he discussed with me the need for a similar Indigenous-specific response in relation to education such as the closing the gap in health outcomes. The point that Professor Dodson made to me on that occasion was that, from his research with AIATSIS and at the Australian National University, health outcomes for Indigenous people are very directly related to the extent to which they have an education or education qualification. It is quite interesting that, in the discussion I had with Professor Dobson, one can measure health status and health outcomes for Indigenous people within that cohort on the basis of the level of educational attainment that they have achieved.
He actually said to me, which I think is quite interesting, that one of the most important determinants of health status for Indigenous people is, indeed, their capacity to access or have equal access or opportunity in relation to the attainment of an education. We are very conscious here in the ACT that issues such as access to quality education, access to good housing, access to good health, are all part of a continuum of responsibility we have in closing the gap generally across the board.