CALD communities to have say in Medicare reforms

Department of Health

Labor is meeting the health needs of people from culturally, ethnically and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CALD) through a $2.5 million investment to establish the Australian Multicultural Health Collaborative.

The funding will go to the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia (FECCA) over four years to engage CALD communities so they can have a direct say in the historic strengthening Medicare reforms. The investment will mean the voices of CALD communities are embedded in the policy, service design and implementation of the reforms.

A key focus will be to address systemic racism and health inequity, while also building greater trust and understanding between CALD communities and government.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the challenges some people from CALD backgrounds face in accessing health care and health information, including language and cultural barriers, low health literacy and digital literacy.

The Australian Multicultural Health Collaborative is co-chaired by Marina Chand, Director, World Wellness Group, and Mary-Ann Geronimo, Chief Executive Officer, FECCA. It already has more than 100 members.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, and Multicultural Affairs of Australia, Andrew Giles MP:

“The pandemic exposed barriers faced by many Australians has demonstrated the importance of communicating with CALD communities.

“The former Government consistently failed to support multicultural communities in the planning and decision making of health policy- the Albanese Labor Government is taking a different approach.

“No matter where you’re from, what language you speak or faith you practice, everyone deserves equal access to healthcare services, and the Multicultural Health Collaborative is a significant step forward towards achieving this goal.”

Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care

Ged Kearney MP:

“Labor built Medicare and now we’re strengthening it for all Australians, today and into the future.

“The Albanese Government is committed to ensuring the voices of all Australians including people from diverse backgrounds are centred in our work to build a stronger Medicare.

“COVID-19 showed us the health inequities and challenges in delivering healthcare to people from CALD communities.

“Labor’s funding to the Collaborative will mean improved accessibility and effectiveness of primary care policies and services for CALD communities. It will mean long-term improvements to the health and wellbeing of these communities”.

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