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Rural doctors unhappy with Indigenous health figures

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 12 December 2004

A new report into the performance of the national health sector shows there has been little improvement in Indigenous health outcomes over the past two decades.

The National Report on Health Sector Performance Indicators from 2003 found lower life expectancies in Indigenous Australians are due to higher rates of disease, suicide and accidents.

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia says the statistics have been heard too many times before.

President Doctor Sue Page says results have barely changed in the past 20 years, and the nation's Indigenous health figures have become the worst in the world.

"If we compare the Australian track record for our Indigenous peoples with countries like Canada and New Zealand, we were all doing it badly 20 years ago, but now really only Australia's doing badly," she said.

Dr Page says the Federal Government needs to urgently review funding to proven health and education programs.

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