The Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) welcome the funding announcement made by the Palaszczuk Government on Tuesday.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced a $28 million fund to support non-Government organisation’s efforts in protecting Queensland’s communities.
Gail Wason, Chairperson of QAIHC is happy that Members are acknowledged for the additional work they have taken on to protect Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.
“The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Organisation sector is leading the way in supporting community throughout this crisis.”
“Our Members are not only providing critical primary care, they are a part of the community; delivering care packages, transporting critical medications and vaccinations to the homes of our vulnerable, sourcing appropriate isolation and quarantine accommodation and caring for the social and emotional wellbeing of our people,” she said.
In light of the specific issues facing Members in protecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, QAIHC has been collaborating with Queensland Government to work through some of the systems barriers and funding needs of communities.
The Queensland Government worked with QAIHC, the Queensland Mental Health Commission, Queensland Alliance for Mental Health and the Queensland Network of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies in developing this funding opportunity which demonstrates a mark of respect for community-controlled solutions.
“We are grateful for the respect that the Queensland Government has shown to our Sector in seeking our input in the development of this opportunity, it demonstrates that in a crisis, integrated solutions are vitally important,” said Ms Wason.
While the State Government has been proactive in providing this opportunity, QAIHC are still concerned about a number of issues creating barriers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples receiving quality care throughout this COVID-19 crisis.
One of these being access to appropriate isolation and quarantine accommodation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
“The best defense against community outbreak is stopping the spread. If our communities cannot self-isolate safely, then we have a real problem. Self-isolation could be an issue for a number of reasons; intergenerational caring responsibilities, large families living communally, homelessness, overcrowding and insufficient home hardware.”
Although the funding announcement presents a great opportunity, QAIHC continues to advocate for increased testing capability in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled health services, greater visibility of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific data, increased workforce support for QAIHC Members and Health Equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples accessing publicly available services.