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Indigenous Children 'Worse Off'

THE suicide rate for Queensland's male indigenous teenagers is four times higher than the state's average for the age group, a new report shows.
The report, entitled A Snapshot: Children and Young People in Queensland 2005, shows the state suicide rate for males aged 15 to 19 is also higher than the national average.
Commissioner for Children and Young People and Child Guardian, Elizabeth Fraser, said the data also showed Queensland indigenous children were worse off in all their basic needs.
Ms Fraser said all levels of government needed to act to rectify the situation.
"Indigenous children suffer higher levels of abuse, mortality, morbidity and social disadvantage and lower levels of health and education than other children and young people in the state," Ms Fraser said.
The report showed the suicide rate for males aged 15 to 19 years old per 100,000 was 16.2 in Queensland during 2001 to 2003, compared to a national rate of 13.4.
The rate for indigenous people of the same age was four times higher.
The study also found 12 per cent of indigenous babies were born with a low birth weight, compared to the state average of 6.9 per cent in 2003.
But the report also showed marginal improvements in the areas of education and detention among indigenous young people.
In other areas of the study, Queensland children overall were suffering from ongoing high levels of childhood overweight and obesity, high rates of sexually transmitted diseases and high injury and death rates for young people in accidents involving transport.

AAP (22-9-2005)

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