- McGowan Government delivers on key election commitment to Aboriginal ear health in the Kimberley
- Earbus program set to expand thanks to $2.7 million commitment over three years
- Initiative brings a tailored service model to remote Aboriginal communities to ensure comprehensive ear screening
Kimberley MLA Josie Farrer represented Health Minister Roger Cook at the official launch of the Earbus program in Kununurra. The service will provide Aboriginal children in the Kimberley with increased access to ear health screening and treatment services, due to $2.7 million in funding to the region's Earbus program.
A key election commitment, the Earbus program offers mobile ear health clinics to Aboriginal children in schools, kindergartens and playgroups, and works with local primary healthcare services to connect the community with GPs, audiologists and ear, nose and throat specialists without duplication.
Seventy-three per cent of Aboriginal children suffer from otitis media, a serious ear infection, before reaching their first birthday. Untreated, this leads to long-term chronic ear disease and hearing loss that affects learning and social development.
By working with local services including primary healthcare clinics, schools, day care centres and kindergartens, the Earbus program offers a service model tailored to local needs and meets priority gaps without duplication.
Funded through Royalties for Regions, this initiative is part of the Government's commitment to work in partnership with Aboriginal communities and non-government organisations to ensure a continued improvement in Aboriginal health and wellbeing.
Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:
"The idea of the Earbus program is to take necessary services to Aboriginal people and boost local capacity.
"Instead of making parents bring kids along to clinics, having a mobile service model brings screening services directly to kids in local schools, kindergartens and playgroups. It's just another example of how the McGowan Government is putting patients first."
Comments attributed to Kimberley MLA Josie Farrer:
"The Earbus service model was designed by Aboriginal people, for Aboriginal people and has been operating in the regions since 2007.
"The program has seen success in other regional areas and with this additional funding, the McGowan Government is pleased the services will now expand into the East Kimberley."
Minister's office - 6552 6500