MP slams funding cuts to indigenous health service van
FUNDING cuts for a mobile indigenous health service van has sparked a fiery outburst from Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett.
Mr Bennett in a speech in parliament last week called out the lack of answers from Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Minister for Health Steven Miles.
The Indigenous Diabetes Eyes and Screening (IDEAS) van made visits to IWC.
Mr Bennett said the cuts were placing local indigenous residents' health at risk.
"If Labor is committed to closing the gap it would restore funding to the IDEAS van and just get on with it,” Mr Bennett said.
"Since 2013 this van has ... helped save the eyesight of thousands of indigenous Queenslanders, but this work is being put at risk.
"The current Labor government has abandoned people in rural and regional Queensland in their time of need,” Mr Bennett said.
A Queensland Government spokesman said the $5-million grant over three years since 2013 was a one-off, and was not a commitment of ongoing funding.
"The continuation of the IDEAS Van is a decision for Diamond Jubilee Partnership Ltd,” the spokesman said.
The spokesperson said the state government had recently announced a $5-million funding boost for renal services in rural and remote Queensland.
"The Palaszczuk Government has also been restoring frontline services like doctors and nurses after they were cut by the LNP,” they said.
"WBHHS has just finished a very positive consultation phase on its draft Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Closing the Gap Health Plan, in which Elders across the region were closely engaged.
"We expect to launch the plan before the end of the year, and will continue to work with local Elders on providing responsive, high-quality services for our indigenous communities.”