Credit: Diabetes Australia

The Rudd Government's $436 million diabetes package is welcomed by the Close the Gap campaign for Indigenous health equality.

The Indigenous people are three times more likely to acquire diabetes than the rest of the population, said the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Tom Calma, campaign co-chairman said there have been other initiatives for Indigenous health in the past, but it is about time something was done about chronic disease including diabetes.

It's long overdue, so this initiative is really building on what's happened in the past but to make a difference, he said.

We need to really invest significantly into chronic disease areas such as diabetes and just by maintaining the status quo is not going to make a difference.

So it's down to looking at preventative health, primary health care (and) access to some secondary health care like dialysis machines.

However, the Rural Doctors Association of Australia said the diabetes services might actually become worse under the plan.

The government plans to provide GPs about $1,200 a year for each diabetes case they manage.

Nola Maxfield, the president of the association said that may not be high enough to provide adequate care for some diabetes patients.

The government, Dr Maxfield said, has developed the policy without consulting the rural doctors' groups.

It may well provide worse care for people with diabetes, she said.

The government should actually sit down with the GP groups make sure they develop appropriate policy.

A spokeswoman for the Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, said a doctor can apply to a contingency fund if a patient requires more than $1,200 in treatment a year.