NACCHO Aboriginal Health Priorities : 1st Anniversary of the #RedfernStatement

 

” One year ago today, Aboriginal leaders marked the Redfern Speech by launching the Redfern Statement, which asked governments to re-engage with Australia’s first peoples in a meaningful and constructive way to deal with the appalling health and social conditions experienced by far too many of Australia’s First Peoples.

The Redfern Statement was initially created as an election manifesto but our determination now is for it to become a roadmap for positive and effective engagement between Aboriginal peoples and Governments.”

The co-chairs of the National Congress of Austraia’s First Peoples, Dr Jackie Huggins and Mr Rod Little pictured above with NACCHO CEO Pat Turner June 9 2016 ( See First Peoples Health Priorities below )

The Redfern Statement

Download the 18 Page document here

Redfern Statement June 2016 Elections 18 Pages

First Peoples call for urgent action to tackle home-grown poverty

This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the Redfern Speech by Prime Minister Paul Keating, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders from peak representative organisations are calling on Australian governments at all levels to redouble their efforts to address the unacceptable poverty and disadvantage experienced by Australia’s First Peoples.

The co-chairs of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, Dr Jackie Huggins and Mr Rod Little, said mounting evidence suggests that Australia is failing to meet the ‘Close the Gap’ targets. Despite this, governments are still unwilling to make the necessary commitments to bring about positive change.

“We are after an improved relationship with Federal, State and Territory Governments. We acknowledge the work that has been done to date however we can no longer afford to wait a generation for the change that is necessary now for our people”.

“Far too many First Peoples attend funerals of young and middle-aged people. This is because the Government’s Closing the Gap targets are failing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as shown by the latest 2017 report,” the co-chairs said.

“We are seeking a new relationship with the Federal, State and Territory Governments through COAG, to bring about a paradigm shift that stops the policy drift and amnesia which has impacted negatively on Australia’s First People.”

“We want to engage with Federal, State and Territory Governments in a positive way to develop an enduring framework which would feed into the 2018 Federal Budget and the COAG Closing the Gap Policy”.

The Redfern Statement outlined how the many reports released since 1992 called for real reconciliation based on facing the truths of the past and creating a just and mature relationship between the non-Indigenous Australian community and the First Peoples. But today, First Peoples face the same struggles as they did in 1992.

55 leaders met  9th of June 2016, in Redfern where in 1992 Prime Minister Paul Keating spoke truth about this nation – that the disadvantage faced by First Peoples affects and is the responsibility of all Australians.

An urgent call for a more just approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs

“When we drafted the Redfern Statement we wanted to remind the nation of Prime Minister Keating’s historic Redfern Speech in 1992, which spoke so many truths about our history and the reality we face today,” the co-chairs said.

“The Federal Government and each of the State and Territory Governments, share responsibility to right this nation’s past injustices. The current Government has an unprecedented nation-building opportunity to meaningfully address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage. They have the mandate to act”

First Peoples Health Priorities

Closing the Gap in health equality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians is an agreed national priority. The recognised necessity and urgency to close the gap must be backed by meaningful action.

All parties contesting the 2016 Federal Election must place Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs at the heart of their election platforms, recognising the health equality as our national priority.

Despite the regular upheaval of major policy changes, significant budget cuts and changes to Government in the short election cycles at all levels, we have still managed to see some encouraging improvements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes. But much remains to be achieved and as we move into the next phase of Closing the Gap, enhanced program and funding support will be required.

We appeal to all political parties to recommit to Closing the Gap and to concentrate efforts in the priority areas in order to meet our goal of achieving health equality in this generation.

We call on the next Federal Government to commit to:

  1. Restoration of funding

The 2014 Federal Budget was a disaster for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This is not an area where austerity measures will help alleviate the disparity in health outcomes for Australia’s First Peoples.

The current funding for Aboriginal health services is inequitable. Funding must be related to population or health need, indexed for growth in service demand or inflation, and needs to be put on a rational, equitable basis to support the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (2013–2023).

  1. Fund the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (2013–2023)

Future Budgets must adequately resource the Implementation Plan’s application and operation. As a multi-partisan supported program, the Implementation Plan is essential for driving progress towards the provision of the best possible outcomes from investment in health and related services.

  1. Make Aboriginal Community Controlled Services (ACCHS) the preferred providers

ACCHS should be considered the ‘preferred providers’ for health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Where there is no existing ACCHS in place, capacity should be built within existing ACCHS to extend their services to the identified areas of need. This could include training and capacity development of existing services to consider the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health strategy to self-fund new services. Where it is appropriate for mainstream providers to deliver a service, they should be looking to partner with ACCHS to better reach the communities in need.

  1. Create guidelines for Primary Health Networks

The next Federal Government should ensure that the Primary Health Networks (PHNs) engage with ACCHS and Indigenous health experts to ensure the best primary health care is delivered in a culturally safe manner. There should be mandated formal agreements between PHNs and ACCHS to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership.

  1. Resume indexation of the Medicare rebate, to relieve profound pressure on ACCHS

The pausing of the Medicare rebate has adversely and disproportionately affected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their ability to afford and access the required medical care. The incoming Federal Government should immediately resume indexation of Medicare to relieve the profound pressure on ACCHS.

  1. Reform of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy

The issues with the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) are well known. The recent Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee Report into the tendering processes highlighted significant problems with the IAS programme from application and tendering to grant selection and rollout.

The next Federal Government must fix the IAS as an immediate priority and restore the funding that has been stripped from key services through the flawed tendering process.

  1. Fund an Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy encompasses Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ holistic view of mental health, as well as physical, cultural and spiritual health, and has an early intervention focus that works to build strong communities through more community-focused and integrated approaches to suicide prevention.

The Strategy requires a considered Implementation Plan with Government support to genuinely engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, their organisations and representative bodies to develop local, culturally appropriate strategies to identify and respond to those most at risk within our communities.

  1. Develop a long-term National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Determinants of Health Strategy

The siloed approach to strategy and planning for the issues that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people face is a barrier to improvement. Whilst absolutely critical to closing the gap, the social determinants of health and wellbeing – from housing, education, employment and community support – are not adequately or comprehensively addressed.

The next Federal Government must prioritise the development of a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Determinants of Health Strategy that takes a broader, holistic look at the elements to health and wellbeing for Australia’s First Peoples. The Strategy must be developed in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through their peak organisations.

Please note the balance of document can be read here

Redfern Statement June 2016 Elections 18 Pages

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