Investment in caring for country may help close the gaps in education, employment and health
Health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are expensive. The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation reported that government Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and hospital service expenditure per person in 2010–11 was $8190 nationally, and as high as $16 110 in the Northern Territory, compared with $4054 per non-Indigenous person.1 Increasing expenditure on health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is not closing the gap in health outcomes at the rate to which governments have committed.2
- 1. Alford K. Economic value of Aboriginal community controlled health services. Canberra: National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, 2014. http://apo.org.au/node/39333? (accessed May 2017).
- 2. Australian Government Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Closing the Gap: Prime Minister’s report 2017. Canberra: Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, 2017. http://closingthegap.dpmc.gov.au (accessed May 2017).
- 3. Houston S. We need transformative change in Aboriginal health. Med J Aust 2016; 205: 17-18. <MJA full text>
- 4. Australian Government Department of Health. National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia, 2013. http://www.health.gov.au/natsihp (accessed Aug 2016).
- 5. Kingsley J, Townsend M, Henderson-Wilson C, et al. Developing an exploratory framework linking Australian Aboriginal peoples’ connection to country and concepts of wellbeing. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2013; 10: 678-698.
- 6. Nguyen O, Cairney S. Literature review of the interplay between education, employment, health and wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote areas: working towards an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing framework. (CRC-REP Working Paper CW013). Alice Springs: Ninti One, 2013. http://www.crc-rep.com.au/resource/CW013_InterplayLiteratureReview_TowardsWellbeingFramework.pdf (accessed Aug 2016).
- 7. Hill R, Pert P, Davies J, et al. Indigenous land management in Australia: extent, scope, diversity, barriers and success factors. Cairns: CSIRO: Ecosystem Sciences, 2013. http://www.agriculture.gov.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/natural-resources/landcare/submissions/ilm-report.pdf (accessed Aug 2016).
- 8. Whitehead PJ, Purdon P, Russell-Smith J, et al. The management of climate change through prescribed savanna burning: emerging contributions of Indigenous people in northern Australia. Public Admin Dev 2008; 28: 374-385.
- 9. Davies J, Campbell D, Campbell M, et al. Attention to four key principles can promote health outcomes from desert Aboriginal land management. Rangeland J 2011; 33: 417-431.
- 10. Burgess C, Johnston F, Berry H, et al. Healthy country, healthy people: the relationship between Indigenous health status and “caring for country”. Med J Aust 2009; 109: 567-572. <MJA full text>
- 11. Gorman J, Vemuri S. Social implications of bridging the gap through ‘caring for country’ in remote Indigenous communities of the Northern Territory, Australia. Rangeland J 2012; 34: 63-73.
- 12. Campbell D, Burgess C, Garnett S, et al. Potential primary health care savings for chronic disease care associated with Australian Aboriginal involvement in land management. Health Policy 2011; 99: 83-89.
- 13. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. The health and welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 2015. Canberra: AIHW, 2015. http://www.aihw.gov.au/indigenous-observatory/reports/health-and-welfare-2015 (accessed Aug 2016).
- 14. Australian Government Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Indigenous Rangers — Working on Country. https://www.dpmc.gov.au/indigenous-affairs/environment/indigenous-rangers-working-country (accessed Aug 2016).
- 15. Australian Government Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Project funding — Indigenous land and sea management. Indigenous Advancement Strategy funding. https://www.dpmc.gov.au/indigenous-affairs/environment/project-funding-indigenous-land-and-sea-management (accessed May 2017).
- 16. Social Ventures Australia. Social return on investment — consolidated report on Indigenous protected areas. Sydney: Social Ventures Australia Consulting, 2016. https://www.dpmc.gov.au/resource-centre/indigenous-affairs/social-return-investment-%E2%80%93-consolidated-report-indigenous-protected-areas (accessed May 2017).
- 17. World Health Organization. Declaration of Alma-Ata. International conference on primary health care, Alma-Ata, USSR, 6–12 September 1978. http://www.who.int/publications/almaata_declaration_en.pdf (accessed May 2017).
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.