Vision to close the gap sees boost in funding

Senator Fiona Nash announced additional funding to improve and expand eye care services to Indigenous Australians. Professor Hugh Taylor Chair of Indigenous Eye Health has been advocating to close the gap in eye health for decades.

""

Senator Nash made the announcement to the Victorian Senate for the provision of an additional $6.63 million over the next 4 years.

Much of this money will be for the coordination of eye services at the state and territory level and some of it is for the very important national oversight with data collection, analysis and reporting. In addition there is $800,000 a year for two years for the Indigenous Eye Health group at the School of Population and Global Health to implement a series of trachoma health promotion activities.

Professor Hugh Taylor, Harold Mitchell Chair of Indigenous Eye Health has been advocating for improved eye care for Indigenous Australians for decades. The Indigenous Eye Health group developed the Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision, an evidence-based plan that is transforming Indigenous eye care across Australia. The Roadmap addresses each of the four conditions and provides a template for integrating primary care with specialist services.

'Indigenous kids start off with much better vision than other kids, but by the age of 40 and above adults experience six times the rate of blindness,' says Professor Taylor. 'We must provide Indigenous Australians with the basic eye care that every other Australian needs and gets.'

'I am delighted to see Senator Nash's announcement. It will make a big impact.'

This commitment of new money goes a long way to implementing the recommendations made by the IEH in their Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision. We commend the Commonwealth for this commitment.