03 April 2007

Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott has denied suggestions that the Menzies Report was released to lesson the severity of Oxfam’s findings on indigenous health.

Oxfam’s Executive Director Andrew Hewett said that findings from the Oxfam report are scandalous.

Australia is ranked at the bottom of wealthy nations for the health outcomes of its indigenous citizens.

The life expectancy of Aborigines is 20 years less than that of other Australians.

In New Zealand, Canada and the US the gap in life expectancy between indigenous and non-indigenous citizens is about 7 years.

Abbott said that he was encouraged by the Menzies report.

He highlighted findings that Aboriginal women are now living 14 years longer than they were in the 1960s and men are living eight years longer.

“It is not quite the situation of unremitting gloom which we tend to get,” Abbott said.

Indigenous health services are the focus of a national two-day conference beginning today.

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