House debates

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Questions without Notice

Indigenous Health

2:15 pm

Photo of Linda BurneyLinda Burney (Barton, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister: There are Indigenous communities in remote Australia that don't have access to kidney dialysis because they don't have potable water. Prime Minister, I have been to these places. Will you commit to ensuring that all communities in Australia have clean water?

Photo of Scott MorrisonScott Morrison (Cook, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

I invite the Minister for Health to add to my answer on this very important matter. This was one of the important topics that I discussed with Pat Turner this morning. This is one of the critical things that need to be put in place to support the health and wellbeing of Indigenous peoples right across the country. As she reminded me this morning, that is made more difficult because of recent events around bushfires and drought, which has complicated water potability for Indigenous Australians in so many parts of the country. So I can agree with the member who has put this matter to us that this is absolutely an issue that requires attention, not just from Commonwealth governments but from state governments as well. It will be a matter that will be getting important attention through the process which I outlined in my answer to the earlier question, but it will also be getting attention going forward as we pursue our water policies across the country. I will ask the Minister for Health to add to the answer.

2:16 pm

Photo of Greg HuntGreg Hunt (Flinders, Liberal Party, Minister for Health) Share this | | Hansard source

Thanks to the Prime Minister and the member for Barton. In terms of potable water, the Prime Minister has set out the position, the commitment and the work that we're doing on that front. In terms of kidney dialysis, I had the privilege, with the Minister for Indigenous Australians, of visiting Purple House in Alice Springs, focusing on a $23 million announcement for kidney dialysis. We know that renal failure and renal damage are immensely important issues in Indigenous Australia. Along with eradicating avoidable Indigenous blindness, eradicating avoidable Indigenous deafness and eradicating rheumatic heart disease, we also want to make sure that we help to work towards eradicating avoidable kidney failure. The $23 million to Purple House is our commitment. We will always continue to work with them on their needs, but we know this is important. I have seen the cases. I have visited the site. I have worked with the Minister for Indigenous Australians, as well as with people on all sides. I have to say that Purple House is a great Australian initiative, supported by people on all sides of this House. It is about saving lives and protecting lives of Indigenous Australians.