5th Mar 2015

Congress celebrates announcement of three-year funding for primary health care services

Today Congress celebrates the Federal Government’s announcement to recommit to three-year funding agreements for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.

“Longer-term investment by Australian Government Departments for evidence based services and programs to meet meaningful targets to address Aboriginal disadvantage is something we have consistently called for,” said Congress CEO, Donna Ah Chee.

“Three years of funding certainty allows for long term planning and more efficient business practices as well as continuity of essential preventative and curative care for the people accessing our services. It also makes it much easier to recruit and retain key professional staff, especially in remote areas.
“Congress is particularly grateful for the government’s longer term commitment in light of declining government revenue and reduced economic growth.

“Economic hardships are made worse by poor education and employment outcomes which are related to poor health and wellbeing outcomes. This cycle of intergenerational disadvantage begins in early childhood and this is why James Heckman won the Nobel Prize in Economics for showing how much a nation’s economic growth is dependent on investing in healthy development in early childhood.

In this regard, Congress is very disappointed that the opportunity to invest in Early Childhood has not been taken through the IAS process.

“The Congress submission for an Abecedarian Educational Day Care Centre for disadvantaged children was not successful and the award winning Pre-school Readiness Program appears to have been defunded. This program has been mentioned by Prime Ministers in two “Closing the Gap” speeches to Parliament in recent years.

Such programs meet all of the objectives in the IAS process so Congress is seeking an explanation as to why this service has not been maintained.

“Our services are delivering the biggest gains against the closing the gap targets but with a proper investment in evidence based early childhood programs, the gains will be even greater.

“We look forward to working more with government to maintain the provision of essential services and find ways to fund the essential early childhood programs that are needed,” Ms Ah Chee concluded.