$1.4 million to close the gap for mums and bubs in South East Queensland

Queensland Government media release

Queensland is closing the gap on early childhood development under a $1.4m wellbeing program for Australia’s biggest and fastest growing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in the state’s south-east corner.

Today (Thursday) marks National Close the Gap Day as part of a national agreement to help support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families to enjoy longer, happier and healthier lives.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Minister Craig Crawford has announced funding for the IUIH — one of Queensland’s largest Indigenous-controlled health organisations — to establish a local Early Childhood Wellbeing Program.

The Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) has been funded $1.4 million over three years to connect mothers, fathers, infants and children with culturally appropriate care in the Moreton Bay region.

“Queensland’s Closing the Gap commitment includes targets focusing on life expectancy, healthy birthweight, early childhood education attendance and early development,’’ Mr Crawford said.

“This National Close the Gap Day, I’m proud of our commitment to back IUIH’s strong record in early childhood services.

“We support Indigenous-led and designed health care for the first three years of a child’s life to give young Queenslanders a great start.

“We are also listening to calls from generations of First Nations people to progress a Path to Treaty towards a more just and inclusive future for Queensland.”

IUIH Chief Executive Officer Adrian Carson said the funding will support families in South East Queensland, part of the largest and fastest growing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in Australia.

“It will build on the proven Birthing in Our Community (BiOC) model of care to continue supporting families through the early years,” Mr Carson said.

“We know that strong families require us to support our people right across the life course and that journey starts with supporting Mum and Dad during pregnancy. We are now able to continue to support the family through the early years and into early childhood education,’’ he said.

The Early Childhood Wellbeing Program will support positive health, social and wellbeing initiatives for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers and children up to three years of age, including through comprehensive primary health care, early learning activities, playgroups and intensive support for families in priority need.