“ Not only will this give First Peoples a sense of empowerment, control and indeed sovereignty, as the case studies in this report show, this approach will also help to address the systemic disadvantage that is a consequence of Australian history.
Sadly, Australia’s current approach lags well behind similar countries in closing the health and well-being gaps endured by First Peoples around the world.
Oxfam Australia is calling on State and Federal governments to empower and fund local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations to allow them to build on traditional knowledge and culture when delivering services,”
National Manager for Oxfam’s First Peoples’ Program, Ngarra Murray, said preferencing Aboriginal organisations was essential in working towards a future underpinned by the principles of self-determination, community-control and effective service delivery to the First Peoples of Australia.
Download the Report HERE
“We walk and work in two worlds . We have a far better grasp of the issues faced by these communities. We shouldn’t be overlooked because we are an Aboriginal medical service.”
Acting Chief Executive Jo Grant says in the report that Katungul ACCHO staff had a much deeper understanding of the issues facing the Aboriginal people of the region
Government policies that empower local Aboriginal communities and build on traditional knowledge and culture to deliver services generally produce better results and should become the policy norm in Australia, according to a landmark report released today by Oxfam Australia.
The report, In Good Hands, shows how programs that embrace the principle of self-determination have been rolled out extensively in the United States and other countries with similar historical settings, with better outcomes for Indigenous people than those achieved in Australia.
However, the report also demonstrates that successive Australian governments have instead taken a top- down approach and ignored advice from their own experts on how to effectively tackle the systemic disadvantage and poverty that afflicts too many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
The Oxfam report captures numerous case studies that demonstrate why community-based services are best placed to respond to the complex needs of First Peoples.
The unique network of more than 145 Aboriginal medical services is a prime example of how trusted organisations that are grounded in community and culture deliver results that improve health outcomes – and at the same time can reduce the demand on the hospital system.
The report cites new data showing an impressive 30 per cent reduction in preventable hospitalisations in the region where Katungul Aboriginal Medical Service operates on New South Wales’ south coast in the six years to 2016-17, compared with a rise of 20 per cent for the entire NSW population.
In Western Australia, the Ngalla Maya employment service has placed more than 300 ex-prisoners into jobs by taking an approach that is grounded in traditional culture.
Former prisoner and now Chief Executive Mervyn Eades explained: “The cultural stuff, mentoring, that is the heart of our project.
We talk a lot about culture. A lot of the young ones don’t have identity in heritage and the self-worth in being part of the oldest culture in the world; they haven’t been taught and told, the stories haven’t been handed down to empower them.”
The report highlights that despite these results, many Aboriginal organisations are forced to navigate a never- ending treadmill of grant applications and changing funding streams to keep their lights on and staff paid.
“Oxfam Australia is calling on State and Federal governments to empower and fund local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations to allow them to build on traditional knowledge and culture when delivering services,” Ms Murray said.
‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people know what works best for us.
We need to make sure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth voices are reflected and expertise is recognised in every way at every step on efforts to close the gap in life outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.’
‘The Coalition of Peaks is leading the face to face discussions, not governments.
The Peaks are asking Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth to tell us what should be included in a new Closing the Gap agreement and we will take this to the negotiating table.’
There is a discussion booklet that has background information on Closing the Gap and sets out what will be talked about in the survey.
The survey will take a little bit of time to complete. It would be great if you can answer all the questions, but you can also just focus on the issues that you care about most.
To help you prepare your answers, you can look at a full copy here
The survey is open to everyone and can be accessed here: