Plan to lure health workers to Indigenous communities

Indigenous communities across NSW may be able to see a doctor more easily under a multimillion dollar funding injection for new clinics and housing for health workers.

The $33.7 million boost for 10 Indigenous health infrastructure projects was announced by federal and state Indigenous ministers and Coalition of the Peaks convener Pat Turner in Adelaide on Friday.

The plan, announced at a Joint Council on Closing the Gap meeting, will see new clinics built, existing ones renovated and the construction of housing for health workers across regional NSW.

The funding announcement comes ahead of NAIDOC Week, the annual celebration and recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and history.

Governments hope to lure more health workers to remote communities with improved clinics and safer housing.

Existing Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services buildings are between 20 and 40 years old, with many in need of repair or replacement.

The services provide Indigenous Australians with crucial medical care and are often the only ones available in rural and remote communities, federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Linda Burney said.

"The new and upgraded clinics will make it easier for First Nations people to access primary health care," she said.

NSW Aboriginal Affairs Minister David Harris said the significant boost will have a "ripple effect" to improve patient safety and attract healthcare workers.

The funding is part of a $100 million grant from the federal government for 33 Indigenous health infrastructure projects across Australia.

It builds on from the $120 million for 52 projects announced in December 2022 and $15 million for 10 projects announced in May 2023.