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12 Jul 2013

The AMA is urging the Federal Government to make a healthy start in life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children a priority.

As NAIDOC Week celebrates the seminal role played by the Yirrkala Bark Petitions 50 years ago in highlighting the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to their lands, the AMA has called for increased efforts to improve the health of Indigenous children.

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said evidence showed the importance of a good start in life for future health, and improved early childhood development among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples needed to be a policy priority for the Federal Government.

“Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are growing up in circumstances that are no better than those experienced in Third World countries, rather than a wealthy nation such as ours,” Dr Hambleton said.

“This can set them up for a lifetime of poor health that costs them, their families and the broader community dearly.

“The Commonwealth needs to show foresight in heading these problems off before they develop by investing in a healthy start for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.”

Dr Hambleton said the Federal Government needed to develop a stronger and more sustained focus on early childhood development programs that had been shown to work.

He said the AMA was playing its role by sponsoring research to identify where the developmental needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were greatest, and recommend measures to achieve improvement.

The results of the research will be included in the 2013 AMA Report Card on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, Getting the Right Start in Life - Healthy Early Development for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children, to be released later this year.
 


12 July 2013

CONTACT:         John Flannery                       02 6270 5477 / 0419 494 761

                          Kirsty Waterford                    02 6270 5464 / 0427 209 753

 

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Published: 12 Jul 2013