The Aboriginal Health Council of WA is hopeful the new Minister for Indigenous Health will make closing the gap a priority.
Ken Wyatt was the first Aboriginal Australian elected to the Lower House and has now made history by being the first Aboriginal person appointed to the Commonwealth ministry.
AHCWA Chairperson Michelle Nelson-Cox said the promotion of Mr Wyatt was a good sign that the government was prepared to take Aboriginal health seriously.
“Successive governments have made very slow progress in closing the gap, and the life expectancy for Aboriginal people is still 10 years lower than the general population,” she said.
“We are very confident that Mr Wyatt, as an Aboriginal person with a long history working in health before entering politics, will have a better understanding of the issues affecting Aboriginal people’s health and wellbeing.
“AHCWA and the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) in WA very much look forward to working with Mr Wyatt to ensure ACCHSs continue to
deliver culturally appropriate health services across WA.”
Ms Nelson-Cox said AHCWA would seek a meeting with Mr Wyatt to bring him up to date on the health needs of Aboriginal people in WA.
“We really hope that Mr Wyatt can make sure that the health of Aboriginal people is made a priority for the decision-makers in Canberra,” she said.
“We hope that this will be a new era of collaboration in the health sector and will result in better decisions and better outcomes for the health of Aboriginal people.”