On 22 June 2021, the New South Wales Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet, delivered the 2021-22 State Budget. Under a commitment to enhance Aboriginal communities, the government has earmarked $995 million for Indigenous specific programs and services, including $43.7 million to support Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs), especially in Regional NSW. This is a major advancement for the sector, and much needed.
As the peak body for Aboriginal Health in NSW, the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW (AH&MRC) urges the Berejikilian Government to work alongside the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector to determine how the $43.7 million will be spent.
AH&MRC commends the NSW Government for its commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and in particular, the community-controlled health sector. This announcement is a step in the right direction; however, the government will need to work with ACCHOs to ensure that funds are allocated where they are most needed and support initiatives put forward by the sector. As the people on the ground, only the ACCHOs understand the direct needs of their communities.
AH&MRC would particularly like to see this money invested in the regional networks of the ACCHO sector to support the development of sustainable integrated models of care.
Under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, the NSW Government has pledged to work in full and genuine partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples on all policies and programs that impact their communities. It will be imperative that this, and all Aboriginal specific commitments outlined in the 2021-22 budget are delivered with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the centre of decision making.
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