Speaking at Mount Isa’s Close the Gap event today, the Member for Mount Isa, Rob Katter says the health statistics for Indigenous people are still dire.
“The mortality rate for Indigenous Australians has been compared to that of the world’s most impoverished nations.
“Indigenous Australians can expect to live 10 to 17 years less than other Australians and they experience higher rates of preventable illness such as heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes,” Mr Katter said.
He said cutting funds to primary health care, as the previous State government did, has not helped.
“We lost health educators, nutritionists and dieticians who were working on the front line with the most vulnerable.
“We had programs for weight loss and healthy living that have now been lost, and that is where the funding should be targeted – at the community level, with programs to educate and encourage people to make healthy choices for them and their children, so that we can see generational improvement.”
Mr Katter said the biggest health battle in the electorate was that of Type 2 diabetes.
“It’s almost completely preventable and this is where health funding should be targeted.
“More than 2015 people in this electorate are living with Type 2 diabetes with possibly 5,500 undiagnosed.
“That’s a huge financial burden for the State, but the disease can be reversed and it can be prevented.”
Mr Katter encouraged those attending to continue to spread the message of healthy eating and exercise to prevent Type 2 diabetes and said he would do everything he could to ensure health funding reached this corner of the state, especially funding for health education and disease prevention.