House debates

Thursday, 30 October 2014


Brisbane electorate: Institute of Urban Indigenous Health

10:56 am

Photo of Teresa GambaroTeresa Gambaro (Brisbane, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I have the absolute pleasure this morning of recognising and bringing to the attention of the House the wonderful work that is being undertaken by the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health, which is based in Bowen Hills in my electorate of Brisbane. The institute was established in 2009 to unite and strengthen the four major Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled health services—Kalwun, Kambu, Yulu Barri Ba, and ATSICHS Brisbane in South-East Queensland.

The institute acts very much as a hub for the provision of health, employment and education services in the South-East Queensland corner. The House would be surprised to know that we have the largest and fastest-growing Indigenous population in Australia where an estimated 50,000 Indigenous Australians reside. Since its establishment, the institute has significantly increased access to culturally appropriate primary health care services for the region. Regular Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island patients have more than tripled to over 16,000 across the institute's network. The number of health checks delivered annually has also increased, jumping from 600 in 2008-09 to well over 8,000—an increase of more than 1,300 per cent. Care planning has also significantly increased. In essence, this means that all patients in South-East Queensland are getting a more comprehensive patient journey than ever before. And these activities are further supported by the institute's mobile care services which deliver eye, ear and dental services across the region.

Underpinning these efforts is the institute's model of care, which encourages the use of Indigenous-specific Medicare item numbers by GPs which maximises the generation of Medicare income. Not only does this support the comprehensive patient care but it is has also resulted in the establishment of eight new community controlled health care services during the last four years, taking the total one of clinics for the region to 16.

I would like to praise the placement of more than 800 students from a range of disciplines across the institute's network as of last year. This is of particular significance because these are the students of today who will continue to build and grow the primary care sector of tomorrow.

Another example of the institute's good work is the Deadly Choices campaign, which targets positive messages and images at individuals, families and communities to encourage the adoption of a healthier lifestyle choices. The campaign rewards individuals who make 'deadly healthy' choices by providing them with branded merchandise such as the lovely jersey I am wearing today. I have the great pleasure of promoting their services today. Another element of Deadly Choices is the education program that supports participants to be positive role models and mentors for their families, peer group and community in leading a healthy lifestyle. I am told that there are 73 primary and secondary schools that participated in the program last year, as well as nine community groups.

I understand that, in key areas such as renal failure, stroke and amputations, the institute is outperforming findings on the national reform agreement. Furthermore, I understand the national gap to non-Indigenous life expectancy has narrowed by nine months for men and over one month for women. In contrast, the institute has added another six months in life expectancy for all patients and nine months for diabetics, a truly amazing achievement and one really worth celebrating.

In this regard, I am very pleased to advise that the institute is one of the top eight Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations that have been selected from a pool of 113 nominees in the prestigious 2014 Indigenous Governance Awards, which are being held in Melbourne this evening. I would like to acknowledge and thank my parliamentary colleague the Assistant Minister for Health, Fiona Nash, who I know has been very, very supportive of this program. I want to congratulate the institute's board and the CEO, Adrian Carson, and I want to thank them for their wonderful achievements to date. Regardless of the outcome of tonight's awards, the institute is delivering groundbreaking work on Indigenous health, education and community services, and I believe that the institute has hit upon a game-changing model for the future. It has my support, and I encourage Indigenous communities around Australia to follow its lead.