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Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council
Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council

Making tracks towards Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equity

| Posted in: Media Releases

Making tracks towards Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equity feature image

(L to R): Matthew Cooke, Hon. Yvette D'Ath, Haylene Grogan and Dr John Wakefield

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath launched the Making Tracks towards health equity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples—working together to achieve life expectancy parity by 2031 Discussion paper: a shared conversation, at the joint Ministerial and Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) Roundtable, on Wednesday 17 March.

Minister D’Ath said the discussion paper solidifies the Queensland Government’s commitment to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to improve health outcomes, access, and experiences across the health system.

“This is the first jointly developed discussion paper by the Queensland Government in partnership with QAIHC,” Minister D’Ath said.

“That is why I am particularly proud to be launching this discussion paper about the future healthcare system we want to create in Queensland.

“The discussion paper outlines the progress made by Queensland Health since the release of the 2017 Health Equity Report.

“It also informs the development of the Framework to be released by July 2021 that will assist each Hospital and Health Service to co-develop, co-design and co-implement a Health Equity Strategy for their communities.

“This is part of a larger piece of work that will help drive health equity with First Nations peoples and achieve life expectancy parity by 2031.”

Chairperson of QAIHC, Matthew Cooke, says that the discussion paper exemplifies real and positive change in the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the Queensland Government – one which is based on mutual collaboration on policies and programs that impact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s lives, particularly surrounding health.

“What’s particularly exciting will be the opportunity to implement health equity strategies for each of our communities – providing culturally responsive, equitable and appropriate
primary health care services which can be embedded into our Members’ models of care”, Mr Cooke said.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations know first-hand the issues affecting their communities and what they need to thrive, which is why it’s been refreshing to be a part of the decision-making process and Roundtable.”

“What we are working on here is not just words, the discussion paper represents actions and a way forward to making a real difference to the lives of our people, our families and communities.”

“As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, having a voice and a real say when it comes to our health, our community and our models of care will be vital as we work for a brighter, healthier and equitable future for our mob.”

Minister D’Ath said the Queensland Government continues to be committed to addressing the social and economic inequities experienced by First Nations peoples across a range of initiatives and this discussion paper is the next step.

“It is so important that we work and partner with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, so they can lead the decision-making that affects their lives and communities.

“This is critical to Closing the Gap and is driving a ‘refresh’ of the national targets and a new partnership agreement released last year.

“The Queensland Government’s reframed relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples includes a new way of working in genuine partnership towards real outcomes and real change.”

The discussion paper is only the next step the Queensland Government’s commitment to closing the gap. 

“We are continuing to focus on prevention and treatment of chronic disease, improving access and the patient journey, and providing an integrative and effective health system.

“We are also investing $16 million into expanding the successful Deadly Choices program, which promotes healthy lifestyles, to more Queensland communities.

Minister D’Ath said the Health Equity Strategies that will be developed by each Hospital and Health Service, will be embedded in legislation, and proclaimed this year.