Tuesday, 23 October 2018
Questions without Notice
Minister for Health, data just revealed showed that in the Cape York, Torres Strait and Gulf of Carpentaria region there were 72 deaths in four years attributable to diabetes. Since advanced diabetes cases moved to the coast and since malnutrition causes diabetes and other terminal illnesses, you would agree that each year 60 people are dying who simply don't have to die. Will you reverse government decisions that closed the mission market gardens, banned the Islanders' backyard fruit and vegetables and de facto abolished dinghy fishing?
I want to thank the member for Kennedy for his important and wide-ranging question. I was only today discussing the issue of Indigenous diabetes with his neighbour and my very good friend, the member for Leichhardt, who shares an equal passion on this topic and on this issue. We know that Indigenous diabetes incidence for over 18s is about 11 per cent, about triple the national average. For the 10- to 14-year-olds, it's at eight times the national average. The points that he makes are fundamentally correct and significant.
In terms of what we're doing, specifically for Indigenous communities, we're allocating about $207 million to the Integrated Team Care Program for Indigenous Australians, with a very specific focus on diabetes treatment and diagnosis and ensuring that people have the best long-term pathway. The other thing we have is a $67 million program for chronic disease within Indigenous communities, which has the capacity to do much more on country rather than, as the member says, just on the coast. There's a very significant pathway to expand and to extend that program onto Indigenous land and to the actual communities themselves.
In addition to that, at the broader national level, which can apply very specifically to Indigenous communities, the National Diabetes Services Scheme is an over $200 million program this year alone. We have also just extended continuous glucose monitoring by $54 million. All of those things come together. But I think we can do more for Indigenous diabetes in terms of both prevention and treatment. In terms of prevention, I want to invite the member to work with me, Indigenous communities and other members in this House who represent large Indigenous communities on that work.
In terms of the preventive agenda, part of that is what people eat. I note that the member mentions the mission gardens. My understanding is that it was a Queensland government decision to abolish those mission gardens. But I will write today to the Premier of Queensland to ask her to reverse that decision of the Queensland government; I will write today, and I will share a copy with the member.
In relation to other matters: we will work together to encourage more home-grown produce, and, as to any barriers, we will deal with those. I'm not aware that there was any federal government decision in relation to that, but I'm always happy to examine it.
In relation to dinghy fishing: again, I'm not aware of any ban. That would fall squarely within my colleague the Minister for Agriculture's area, and I will make a representation to him the moment I sit down next to him.