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03 Dec 2019

The Federal Government is investing an additional $90 million over three years in the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme (IAHP), to further support the delivery of culturally appropriate, comprehensive primary health care.

A new way of funding primary health care has also been introduced for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS).

From July 1 next year, major changes to the way the Government distributes funding to ACCHS for primary health care under the IAHP will begin.

The Government has partnered with key stakeholders including the AMA and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) to develop a revised funding model.

AMA President Dr Tony Bartone described the new funding model as positive recognition for the critical role Aboriginal health services play in the nation’s overall health system.

“The AMA welcomes Minister Hunt’s announcement. This funding will ensure that ACCHSs continue to receive the funding they need to provide quality, comprehensive, and culturally safe primary health care,” Dr Bartone said.

“We know that Indigenous people have a greater chance of improved health outcomes when they are treated by Indigenous doctors and health professionals.

“They are more likely to make and keep appointments when they are confident that they will be treated by someone who understands their culture, their language, and their unique circumstances.”

Health Minister Greg Hunt welcomed the partnership and said the implementation of the funding model will deliver real benefits on several fronts. “Streamlined processes and three-year funding agreements will provide certainty around health workforce continuity and planning, and reduce the administrative burden on the sector,” Mr Hunt said.

“Importantly, no service will lose funding under the new funding model. Funding levels will be maintained in real terms.”

In addition, all services will receive annual wage indexation increases. Funding distribution will be based on activity levels, the cost of delivering services, and the relative health needs of locations.

“Finalising the model is a significant achievement that has been made possible as a result of our ongoing collaboration and shared commitment to Closing the Gap,” Mr Hunt said.
NACCHO Acting Chair Donnella Mills welcomed the announcement, saying it provided greater certainty over the next three years.

“The new funding arrangement will allow our community controlled health services to have certainty on their funding for the next three years,” Ms Mills said. “In particular we are pleased that an additional $90 million over three years will be provided to the sector and will support services. Of course, more funding is still needed and we will continue to work with Government in this regard.”

Published: 03 Dec 2019