Shadow Minister for Health, Catherine King and Parliamentary Secretary for Indigenous Affairs and for Northern Australia, Warren Snowdon today welcomed the release of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report ‘Birthweight of Babies Born to Indigenous Mothers’.
"The significant gains in indigenous baby birth weights over the decade to 2011 can mainly be attributed to a decrease in maternal smoking during pregnancy, as well as our focus on antenatal care," Mr Snowdon said.
"These gains point to preventative health measures and in particular point to the importance of maintaining anti-tobacco initiatives lead by Dr Tom Calma in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
“All of these gains are at risk if the Abbott Government continues to defund health programs that are clearly working.
"These gains also emphasise the urgency of implementing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan, a plan produced in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities," Mr Snowdon said.
Shadow Health Minister Catherine King says the report highlights the absolute folly of the Abbott Government’s cuts to health.
“Over $160 million has been cut from Indigenous health programs in the Abbott Government’s first Budget,” Ms King said.
“Dr Calma says his ‘Tackling Indigenous Smoking Program’ has suffered budget cuts of $130 million over five years making it near impossible to meet a key target of halving Indigenous smoking rates by 2018.
“Today’s AIHW report shows these programs were working, and the Budget cuts are backward step in closing the gap on Indigenous health.”
The AIHW report can be found here: http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=60129548202