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Latham defends Indigenous health care plans

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 6 October 2004

Federal Opposition Leader Mark Latham has defended Labor's commitment to addressing the health concerns of Indigenous Australians.

An Aboriginal community leader, Pat Dodson, has suggested Labor's plan to offer free hospital care to Australians aged 75 and over will not help Indigenous people because of their lower life expectancy.

But Mr Latham has told ABC program "Lateline" that Labor has a range of policies which will help improve the health of Indigenous people.

"Our $1 billion public hospital plan will be of a lot of use, so too our plan to improve the access to specialty treatments free of charge in public hospitals, so too our plan to restore the availability of bulk billing doctors, plus this Indigenous health plan," he said.

"If we can tackle Indigenous poverty in this country, we can make a lot of progress on many many fronts.

"I long for the day when Indigenous Australians will be accessing Medicare Gold in the same proportions as the rest of the population."

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