Native disadvantage

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

ABORIGINES in Australia live 15 to 20 years less than the white population, says a recently published report citing data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. They are 15 to 18 times more likely to die of infectious diseases and their babies are up to four times more likely to die at birth.

Health officials working with aboriginal communities say that the abuse of alcohol is the major cause of health difficulties. Robin Walker, a substance abuse officer in Coober Pedy, says that despite repeated requests, the state government of South Australia had failed to provide a cletoxification and rehabilitation centre in the area. Ttte situation has been made worse by marijuana, heroin, cigarettes, petrol sniffing and junk foods, says another health worker, Vicki McCormack.

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