$100 million to improve First Nations health infrastructure

Monday, 08 July, 2024

$100 million to improve First Nations health infrastructure

The federal government has announced $100 million funding to support 33 Indigenous health infrastructure projects across the country.

The investment will go towards constructing new clinics, renovating existing clinics and building staff housing for workers. Existing ACCHS infrastructure is between 20 and 40 years old, with many clinics and buildings in desperate need of repair or replacement.

Improved clinics and safer housing will also make working in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) more attractive to health professionals. The grant opportunity was co-designed with the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) on behalf of the ACCHS sector.

This new funding is in addition to the $120 million for 52 projects announced in December 2022 and the $15 million for 10 projects announced in May last year.

Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney said, “Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services provide crucial medical care and are often the only health service available in rural and remote communities. The new and upgraded clinics will make it easier for First Nations people to access primary health care.

Assistant Minister for Indigenous Health, Senator the Hon Malarndirri McCarthy said, “We are committed to strengthening the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector so it can continue to provide quality health care to First Nations people.

“Roughly half of all First Nations people receive their medical care through an ACCHS, so it is essential that these clinics are fit for purpose.

“Ensuring health workers have access to accommodation will help Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to hire and keep staff, resulting in greater access to healthcare services for First Nations people.”

Pat Turner AM, CEO, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and Lead Convener, Coalition of Peaks, said, “I am pleased to see that this funding is being delivered in line with the Priority Reforms of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, where programs and services are developed in genuine partnerships with our people and funding is invested to build the Aboriginal community-controlled health sector.

“This funding supports the critical role that ACCHOs play and the contribution they make every day in improving health outcomes for our people. The infrastructure funding need in our sector remains a critical pressure-point and NACCHO will continue to advocate for increased funding for our sector.

“Deteriorating and inadequate infrastructure can compromise service delivery, pose safety risks for patients and staff, and inhibit efforts to attract workers. The government’s injection of $100 million is a welcome support for those services under funding pressures to better serve their communities.”

Image credit: iStock.com/lynnebeclu

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