At a quick glance, the Ministerial statement on Indigenous spending does not hold too many new announcements for health.
It says the Budget provides $526.6 million over the next five years focused on: investment to Close the Gap; increasing opportunities for economic participation; and building mutual understanding and respect.
The key Indigenous health headlines are:
• $113.4 million for 15 new or expanded Indigenous health clinics and 40 new renal dialysis chairs over 5 years from 2011-12. These funds come from the $1.8 billion for regional health infrastructure through Health and Hospitals Fund Regional Priority Rounds.
• The expansion of Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) ($205.9 million over five years from 2011-12 to 2015-16) includes $34.9 million in Indigenous-specific funding, to deliver services to around 18,000 Indigenous Australians.
• Continuation of funds for several existing programs, including efforts to support Indigenous health services to achieve clinical and organisational accreditation, for Bringing Them Home and Expanding Link Up Programs for the Stolen Generations, the Indigenous chronic disease package, expanded primary health care delivery in NT, and national smoking and healthy lifestyle teams.
• $8.5 million over four years from 2011-12 to 2014-15 to expand and reform the support available for women experiencing domestic violence. Aboriginal Health Workers and Practice Nurses will now be able to access training to help them feel more confident about recognising domestic violence and be more effective in referring women to support services. This reform is expected to particularly benefit women in rural and remote areas, who are less likely to have access to domestic violence support services.
• The Government is providing $74.4 million from 2011-12 to 2014-15 to trial a new approach to service delivery, known as ‘case coordination’. This will assist Indigenous and other people to access services appropriate to their personal circumstances.The assistance provided will range from simple referrals to more intensive support, such as multiple coordinated appointments with local community and non government services.
• Extension to airstrip upgrades under the Regional Aviation Access Program: extra funding of $28.0 million over two years from 2011-12 to 2012-13. The funding is for critical safety upgrades at remote and isolated airstrips across Australia, including in remote Indigenous communities.
Update: May 11
Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR) says the budget will have mixed impacts on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: some good news in health but the welfare reforms may make many lives harder.
Update: May 12
Close the Gap campaign co-chairs Mick Gooda and Tom Calma say they welcome the $1.5 billion in new money for mental health, including $34.9 million allocated specifically to Indigenous mental health, but call for the Government to ensure Indigenous Australians were able to benefit fully from these measures.