There are well-documented health inequalities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, with the aboriginal population suffering significantly higher incidence of disease and morbidity, as well as lower life expectancy. Similar issues challenge Indigenous communities in other parts of the world. Unsurprisingly, the Indigenous population also experiences higher rates of bacterial infections than the wider community. The world’s highest recorded rates of chronic suppuratives lung disease including bronchiectasis unrelated to cystic fibrosis have been reported in Indigenous Australian children, and the first reports of community-associated methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus were observed in Aboriginal communities in remote Western Australia in the early 1990s. Factors within the Indigenous population that contribute to these alarming statistics include domestic crowding, poor hygiene, poor diet and inappropriate antibiotic use. Strong political leadership is required to address this unacceptable situation. Here medical research can play a key role in formulating evidence driven policy.