Team encourages healthy lifestyle

MINISTER for Indigenous Health Warren Snowdon yesterday joined Labor Member for Flynn Chris Trevor to announce a new regional team to promote better healthier among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Gladstone region.

They said the Federal Government meant to close the gap in health standards between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

The Nhulundu Wooribah Indigenous Health Organisation, would receive more than $500,000 to deliver a regional tobacco co-ordinator and tobacco action worker, in addition to two new “Healthy Lifestyle” workers to help improve nutrition and physical activity in Gladstone, they said.

In addition, about $100,000 would be available annually to help regional anti-smoking campaign work.

Mr Trevor said the new team would help strengthen Gladstone’s health workforce and deliver better health to Gladstone’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

“We know that almost half of indigenous people smoke and one in five deaths are caused by smoking. That can’t be ignored,” he said.

“The new anti-tobacco workforce will be employed this month to tackle this smoking head on and help reach more indigenous people to run local smoking prevention and quit campaigns to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking, and support individuals to quit,” he said.

Mr Trevor said the new Healthy Lifestyle workers were vital to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people be more physically active and improve their eating habits.

“The new Healthy Lifestyle Workers will help tackle poor nutrition and lack of physical activity, which are major contributors to chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. These diseases are responsible for almost two-thirds of the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.”

Mr Snowdon said the Federal Government was looking forward to a strong partnership with Nhulundu Wooribah Indigenous Health organisation to deliver better health outcomes across the Gladstone region.

“By working with key Indigenous health organisations like Nhulundu Wooribah, we can halve the indigenous smoking rate over the next decade and give indigenous Australians more opportunity to live long and healthy lives.”

New teams were being established this month in 20 regions from Far North Queensland to Victoria’s Mallee, and from Northern New South Wales to the Western Australian Pilbara.

By 2012-13 there would be teams in 57 regions nationwide.

This announcement was funded from an existing allocation in the 2009-10 Budget.

The government was committed to closing the gap with indigenous health. .

More than $1.2 billion had been invested in Indigenous health in the 2010 to 2011 Budget.

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