• Peter Dutton and Tanya Plibersek debate health policy at the Press Club. (AAP)
The two major parties debated health policy at the Press Club in Canberra today, but the Coalition wouldn't be drawn into specifics on the vexed question of Indigenous health.
Brooke Boney

27 Aug 2013 - 4:54 PM  UPDATED 27 Aug 2013 - 10:50 PM

Shadow Health Minister Peter Dutton told the National Press Club that the Coalition will take a holistic approach to Indigenous health issues.

Debating Health Minister Tanya Plibersek in Canberra, the Shadow minister said the Coalition will take a multi-pronged approach, but won’t release its health policy separately.

“You will have seen some of what Mr Abbott has had to say about Indigenous issues in general and his passion for the area and we will have a more coordinated approach with the assistance of the former ALP president and others,” Mr Dutton said.

Minister Plibersek says Labor is committed to narrowing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health issues and has announced five cancer care nurses for regional and remote Indigenous communities.

“Since coming to government we've invested substantial amounts of extra money so that in 2013-14 we'll spend about $1.2 billion instead of the half a billion dollars [we spent] in the year we came to government,” Ms Plibersek said.

The Minister admitted that Indigenous health is a difficult issue which requires a multi-portfolio approach from government and said Labor has increased their spending on the matter.