The Fred Hollows Foundation has welcomed the appointment of Ken Wyatt AM MP as the first Indigenous Australian to be Assistant Health Minister.
Mr Wyatt was the first Indigenous person elected to the House of Representatives in 2010.
Before becoming an MP Mr Wyatt was Director of Aboriginal Health in Western Australia and NSW and he has co-chaired the COAG Indigenous Health Working Group and the Committee for Indigenous Recognition.
The Fred Hollows Foundation CEO Brian Doolan said Mr Wyatt's appointment was good news for all Australians and particularly Indigenous Australians.
"Many Indigenous Australians continue to suffer poorer health outcomes than the rest of the Australian community," Mr Doolan said.
"For example, although Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children generally have better vision than the rest of the population, Indigenous adults are six times more likely than other Australians to go blind.
"Refractive error, cataract, diabetic retinopathy and trachoma cause 94 per cent of vision loss among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults.
"Each of these conditions is preventable or treatable but 35 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults have never had an eye exam.
"Detecting these preventable and treatable eye issues is key to closing the eye health gap that exists between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and other Australians.
"Particularly pleasing is that Mr Wyatt is coming in at a time when we are on the cusp of eliminating blinding trachoma from Australia. He will be able to make sure we deliver on this historic opportunity.
"The Fred Hollows Foundation hopes that Mr Wyatt will play a role in addressing some of these disparities.
"Mr Wyatt has a strong background in the health area and is a very capable person. We congratulate him on this historic and well deserved appointment."
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