Bill Glasson said that improvements to indigenous health and living standards would follow from the creation of a core funding authority through which communities could access the money and resources they need.

“We need some sort of federal representative structure to make sure we do represent the broader indigenous divisions across this country. But essentially the delivery of the service and most decision-making needs to be made at a community level,” Dr Glasson said.

A government report last week revealed indigenous Australians continue to be worse off than the rest of the population.

Endemic health problems, particularly as a result of diabetes, smoking and obesity, mean indigenous men and women are dying on average 18 and 21 years sooner than other Australians.

Indigenous households are earning 56 percent of the average weekly family income and are five times as likely to live in overcrowded housing.

Dr Glasson said funds should be pooled and allocated on a needs basis according to each community’s individual profile, with the involvement of local leaders.

“If we can do that properly then we can ensure we get improved health outcomes – it’s education, it’s jobs, it’s housing,” he said.

“I see a lot of great things happening at a local level, great initiatives being developed by social entrepreneurs… who identify what the communities need.”

“(But) we hear over and over again about how you’ve got to go to 16 different buckets to get the money to keep your little programme going, and that’s not good enough,” Dr Glasson said.

The comments come after Dr Glasson called on the federal government to make a $400 million dollar injection into indigenous health funding on January 27.

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