Press release 3 April 2012-“Thumbs up” to Jimmy Little AO, a national treasure

Mr Justin Mohamed, Chair of the NACCHO’s representing approx 150 Aboriginal community controlled health services throughout Australia today joined Aboriginal and community leaders and specifically the Aboriginal health sector paying tribute to the life’s work of Dr Jimmy Little AO in music, Aboriginal issues and improving the health of Aboriginal people

 Whilst most Australians would know Jimmy as a music pioneer and consummate entertainer remaining a star for over 50 years, Mr Mohamed explained it was Jimmy himself who said, “I just want people to remember me as a nice person who was fair-minded and had a bit of  talent that put it to good use.”

“And Jimmy Little sure did put it to good use creating the Jimmy Little Foundation to improve renal health across Aboriginal communities in regional and remote Australia” Mr Mohamed said

“Uncle Jimmy also developed the Thumbs Up to Healthy Tucker program that promoted an awareness of healthier food options in Aboriginal communities. The Program specifically focused on Aboriginal Australians, particularly children, to improve health through an increased awareness of healthy food choices.

Jimmy said in a recent interview “They (Aboriginal people) have been just dismissed for so long. This was a shock and it made me angry to think that it got to that stage. So, if I can turn my anger into positive action, along with like-minded people, then, if I can save somebody a day or a week or a month or a year, I’m doing something from my own experience”

Following a successful kidney transplant in February 2004, Jimmy travelled Australia
attending community events, health seminars and music festivals.

He was the patron of The Indigenous Doctors Association of Australia, an ambassador for The Fred Hollows Foundation and Kidney Health Australia. Mr Little was also an ambassador for literacy and numeracy with the Federal Department of Education Science and Training, reinforcing positive messages to schoolchildren across Australia.

He was awarded an AO (Order of Australia) for his continued work with Indigenous Health and Education programs and in 2004 a public vote named him “a living Australian treasure”.

On behalf of all our NACCHO Members and staff, may I pass our condolences to his family and the hundreds of thousands of friends he made through his music and his commitment to Aboriginal health.” Mr. Mohamed said

NACCHO Media Contact: Colin Cowell 0401 331 251