Some commentators suggest that the poor health of Australia's Indigenous population is due to misguided ideology-driven policy that has forced people to live in remote communities, preventing them from benefiting from the mainstream economy.
The evidence shows that the poor health status of Indigenous people is found in all areas where they live and that, on some indicators, living in remote areas has health benefits.
Government policies aimed at relocating Indigenous people from their traditional lands are not supported by evidence, and may further entrench Indigenous disadvantage.
- 1. Johns G. Social stability and structural adjustment. Bennelong Society Sixth Annual Conference: Leaving Remote Communities; 2006 Sep 2; Melbourne. http://www.bennelong.com.au/conferences/pdf/Johns2006.pdf (accessed Apr 2007).
- 2. Hughes H, Warin J. A new deal for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in remote communities. Issue Analysis No. 54. Sydney: Centre for Independent Studies, 2005. http://www.cis.org.au/IssueAnalysis/ia54/IA54.pdf (accessed Apr 2007).
- 3. Vanstone A. Beyond conspicuous compassion: Indigenous Australians deserve more than good intentions [speech]. Australian and New Zealand School of Government, Australian National University; 2005 Dec 7; Canberra. http://www.atsia.gov.au/Media/former_minister/speeches/2005/07_12_2005_ANZSOG.aspx (accessed Apr 2007).
- 4. Brough M. Blueprint for action in Indigenous affairs [speech]. National Institute of Governance Indigenous Affairs Governance Series; 2006 Dec 5; Canberra. http://www.facsia.gov.au/internet/Minister3.nsf/content/051206.htm (accessed Apr 2007).
- 5. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner. Reforms to the Community Development Employment Program. Social Justice Report 2005. Fact Sheet 1. http://www.hreoc.gov.au/social_justice/sjreport05/media.html (accessed Apr 2007).
- 6. Rowse T. Obliged to be difficult: Nugget Coombs’ legacy in Indigenous affairs. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
- 7. Cunningham J. Comparing Indigenous health status across regions: a numerical example of uncertainty. Aust N Z J Public Health 2002; 26: 497-499.
- 8. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. National Advisory Group on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Information and Data: strategic plan 2006–2008. Canberra: AIHW, 2006. http://www.aihw.gov.au/publications/index.cfm/title/10373 (accessed Apr 2007).
- 9. Glover J, Tennant S, Page A. The impact of socioeconomic status and geographic location on Indigenous mortality in Australia 1997–99. Occasional paper series 1. Adelaide: Public Health Information Development Unit, 2004. http://www.publichealth.gov.au/component/option,com_sobi2/sobi2Task,sobi2Details/catid,0/sobi2Id,7/Itemid,44/ (accessed May 2007).
- 10. McDermott R, O’Dea K, Rowley K, et al. Beneficial impact of Homelands Movement on health outcomes in Central Australian Aborigines. Aust N Z J Public Health 1998; 22: 653-658.
- 11. Mackerras D, Reid A, Sayers S, et al. Growth and morbidity in children in the Aboriginal Birth Cohort Study: the urban–remote differential. Med J Aust 2003; 178: 56-60. <MJA full text>
- 12. Zubrick S, Lawrence D, Silburn SR, et al. The Western Australian Aboriginal Child Health Survey: the health of Aboriginal children and young people. Perth: Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, 2004. http://www2.ichr.uwa.edu.au/waachs/?q=/waachs/ (accessed Apr 2007).
- 13. Zubrick SR, Silburn SR, Lawrence DM, et al. The Western Australian Aboriginal Child Health Survey: the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal children and young people. Perth: Curtin University of Technology and Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, 2005. http://www2.ichr.uwa.edu.au/waachs/?q=/waachs/ (accessed Apr 2007).
- 14. Sibthorpe B, Anderson I, Cunningham J. Self-assessed health among Indigenous Australians: how valid is a global question? Am J Public Health 2001; 91: 1660-1663.
- 15. Australian Bureau of Statistics. National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, 2004–05. Canberra: ABS, 2006. (ABS Cat. No. 4715.0.)
- 16. Johns G. The gulf between Aboriginal policies and Aboriginal people in Australia. Libertad y Desarollo Institute; 2003 Jun 6; Santiago, Chile. http://www.bennelong.com.au/articles/chile/GaryJohnsChile.pdf (accessed Apr 2007).
- 17. Burgess P, Morrison J. Country. In: Carson B, Dunbar T, Chenhall R, Bailie R, editors. Social determinants of Indigenous health. Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2007; 177-202.
Publication of your online response is subject to the Medical Journal of Australia's editorial discretion. You will be notified by email within five working days should your response be accepted.