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Coalition Senator Nigel Scullion has called for the scrapping of the role of National Coordinator for the Tackling Indigenous smoking measure, a position occupied by Dr Tom Calma. The Senator claimed there has been no reduction in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smoking rates, when evidence shows smoking rates have already declined from 51 to 47 percent. Dr Calma heads the Federal Government's network of Regional Tackling Smoking and Healthy Lifestyle teams, with about 340 people to be employed across the country to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to reduce smoking rates and spread the quit message.
Minister for Indigenous Health Warren Snowdon has said that these comments prove again that the coalition will put the interests of big tobacco before the wellbeing of Australians. 'Scrapping Dr Tom Calma's position would set back efforts to close the gap and illustrates that when it comes to addressing the appalling rates of chronic disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities - the coalition has no plan. They will turn their back on the bush.
'It is also a clear example of the coalition again rolling over to the interests of the tobacco industry, with the Liberal Party continuing their policy of taking donations from international tobacco giants,' Mr Snowdon said.
Minister Warren Snowdon's office:
Ph: (02) 6277 7820
Dr Tom Calma
National co-ordinator for Tackling Indigenous smoking
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