Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Thursday promised new efforts to spring Aborigines from the squalor in which thousands live by providing them with new housing and specialist medical treatment.
The announcement came a year after Rudd made a historic apology to Australia's indigenous people for more than 200 years of injustice. The apology came with a vow to close the 17-year gap between the life expectancies of Aborigines and other Australians.
Rudd told Parliament on Thursday that his government will build 4,200 houses for Aborigines in the remote, sparsely settled Outback where many live and repair another 4,800 homes.
The government also will spend 58 million Australian dollars ($34 million) to send medical teams into remote areas over four years to treat the blinding infectious eye disease trachoma and deafening ear disorders.
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