NACCHO news alert: National Aboriginal Cultural Safety Symposium unites voices of health workers

The Minister for Indigenous Health, the Hon Warren Snowdon opened the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association – Aboriginal Cultural Safety Symposium in Alice Springs on the 25th March 2013.


Jenny Poelina, Dr. Rose Roberts, Clark Scott, Diane Wepa

The Symposium has brought together key personnel from around the country including state department executives, the federal health executives, health professionals, academic leaders and Medicare Locals to discuss the development of an Aboriginal Cultural Safety Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers.

The aims the Symposium are to start the conversations around some of the Health Workforce Australia’s recommendations for the ‘Growing Our Future’ final report including:

  • increase the social and institutional awareness of the delivery of health services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities;
  • increase the level of awareness, participation, partnerships and provide enlightenment in regards to a Culturally Safe health service delivery;
  • ensuring an increase in respect of the delivery of Culturally Safe health services by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers; and
  • the need to driving the change at a health service level.

International guests, Dr Rose Roberts (Canada) and Dianne Wepa (New Zealand) will be sharing their stories from an Indigenous perspective of the development and implementation of Culturally Safe principles and programs which are delivered locally.

Minister Snowdon acknowledge the Chair, Chief Executives and board of  for their involvement in conducting the Symposium and praised the role that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers provide in delivering Culturally Safe health services.

Minister Snowdon stated that in order for any change to occur, one must come to deeply understand the unique characteristics of the community in which one works, to sit with people and listen to their stories, and only then can the process of developing workable strategies be developed, which are respectful, all encompassing, directed and therefore culturally safe. The design of a Culturally Safe Framework will not only have great implications for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities of Australia, but contribute towards safety for any minority group.

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