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2002 AMA Indigenous Health Report Card - "No More Excuses"

This is the first AMA Report Card on Indigenous health, and focuses on the inequalities in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, and compares these with the situation in some other nations with comparable Indigenous populations. The AMA recommends improvements to primary care services and to living conditions and facilities, such as sanitation, clean water and electricity for all communities.

17 May 2002

The health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people remains poor compared to that of other Australians. Overall, little progress has been made compared to other countries such as Canada, the US and NZ in relation to their Indigenous peoples. This report card brings together much relevant information. It contains specific recommendations. The AMA acknowledges the improvements that have been made, but highlights the areas where these are insufficient. These areas include, in particular, the availability of primary health care services and facilities such as clean water, sanitation and electricity for all communities.

The report card includes issues such as the need to improve educational outcomes for Indigenous children and to make progress towards reconciliation. The report card contains many statistics, graphs and information but barely touches the reality of the situation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It is a situation that cannot be allowed to continue. It is unacceptable for Australia to lag behind the rest of the developed world.

What is required is a major increase in funding of effective primary health care services so that funding matches health need and services are available to all. I hope the report card will raise awareness of the reality of the situation. Progress in other countries and in some regional programs in Australia shows what is possible. The AMA is ready to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and governments to achieve real progress. It is a matter of urgency.

This report card was prepared by Dr Paul Bauert and the AMA Taskforce on Indigenous Health. AMA President Dr Kerryn Phelps chaired the Taskforce in 2002. Dr Phelps presented the Report Card to the AMA National Conference, May 2002. (Please note: the original document was printed on A3 and folded - each A3 page has the headings "Dimensions" "Overall Australian Statistics" " International and Regional Comparisons" and "Overall Comment").

AMA Media Release: Indigenous Health Public Report Card - 'No More Excuses'

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Published: 17 May 2002