On 15 July, 2014, the St Vincent de Paul Society was invited to make a submission to the Senate Select Committee on Health, which was to inquire and report on health policy, administration and expenditure. The Society made a submission, and on 25 November, 2014 was invited by the Committee to provide more information on Indigenous health issues. Following consultation with its members, the Society is pleased to present this submission.
The St Vincent de Paul Society recognises that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People face significant disadvantage in terms of their health in our society. The Society is committed to providing programs and services which address health concerns faced by the most vulnerable Australians, a group which is overrepresented by Indigenous Australians.
The health crisis faced by many Indigenous Australians in our community has been brought about by the treatment of the First Peoples at colonisation and through subsequent government policies. The Society believes that this treatment continues to be perpetuated by the disadvantage faced by Indigenous Australians in the social determinants of health, including poorer access to education, housing, employment, housing and health care services. Consequently, the Society calls for a renewed approach to Indigenous health, which focuses on understanding the causes of poor health for Indigenous Australians. We hope that, through this understanding, measures can be taken so that the First Australians are able to enjoy their rights to the resources necessary to realise self-determination in terms of their health.