- NACCHO responds to the 2021–22 Federal Budget: Plenty of good news for Aboriginal health, but plenty of questions remain
- Coalition of Peaks responds to the 2021–22 Federal Budget: Positive start but First Nations must wait and see for promised Closing the Gap investment
- Family Matters National Week of Action Sun 9 – Sat 15 May 2021 #OurMobsMatter
NACCHO responds to the 2021-22 Federal Budget
The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) welcomes the Budget initiatives targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. These include funding for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, point-of-care testing, rheumatic fever strategy, bowel cancer screening, workplace training packages for health professionals in rural and remote areas, changes to the Midwife Professional Indemnity Scheme and changes to the Practice Incentives Program (Indigenous Health Incentive). These all seem to be very positive announcements. Also pleasing is the focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the substantial aged care and mental health packages.
While these announcements are most welcome, there needs to be more clarity concerning implementation. It is important that Aboriginal community-controlled organisations are closely involved in the new initiatives to ensure success.
In Cairns this morning, Donnella Mills, the NACCHO Chair, said ‘These Budget measures are very welcome, but we will need to work through the detail before we can be sure that what is proposed will work.’
‘It is pleasing to see that the NACCHO members are referred to in the Budget Papers in relation to a new role in the aged care sector and other areas. Certainly, the measures announced in the Budget won’t work unless Aboriginal people and organisations are fully involved in the design and delivery.’
The pandemic has proved the success of the model. The network of Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations in combatting COVID-19 shows what happens when local people are empowered to take local action.
Ms Mills said ‘We have shown the world what can be done to keep First Nations peoples safe during a global pandemic. In the USA, the Navajo had the highest death rate of any ethnic population. In Australia, not one Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person has died.’
NACCHO welcomes the aged care package. The identification of $630m to improve aged care access largely for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is a significant investment (about 3.6 per cent of the overall package). However, more will need to follow for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to receive their fair share of aged care (estimated at 7 per cent on population and eligibility).
Ms Mills said ‘All Australians welcome the overdue investment in aged care. We all want our elders to be loved and cared for with dignity and respect. But Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders would like to see the specific details about how the measures will be tailored to our people and our communities and what role our services can play in all of this. We are keen to work with governments to ensure that the new funding is effectively invested. Governments need to start talking to us now, so that these good intentions deliver solid results on the ground for our elders.’
To read the full media release click here.
Coalition of Peaks responds to the 2021-22 Federal Budget
Positive start but First Nations must wait and see for promised Closing the Gap investment
Significant Budget measures announced by the Commonwealth Government provide a foundation for investing in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap. As expected, detailed funding relating to Closing the Gap was not announced in the Budget last night, so the full scope of funding commitments remains to be seen.
“I’m pleased to see the funding laid out in this Budget contains promising investments in crucial areas that affect our people,” said Patricia Turner AM, Lead Convener of the Coalition of Peaks.
“We are encouraged to see significant funding in areas of aged care, Indigenous skills and jobs, mental health and women’s safety; but this is very much a ‘wait and see’ budget as the majority of funding directed towards Closing the Gap won’t be announced until later in the year,” she said.
The federal government will announce more specific funding on Closing the Gap after Cabinet considers the Commonwealth’s Jurisdictional Implementation Plan mid-year.
“Our main concern with every Commonwealth Budget is how the funding will trickle down and benefit our people on the ground. Too often, our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations, which are responsible for delivering many of the services in our communities, have been left with inadequate funding to service our people. My hope is that our community-controlled organisations are not just left with the crumbs from the Budget table.”
“Given the massive new investments seen in this Budget, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a legitimate expectation that there will be a significant boost in funding in all areas of Closing the Gap — including implementation of the Priority Reforms in the National Agreement that we believe will accelerate the closing of gaps,” Ms Turner said.
“We look forward to an announcement of funding in the Closing the Gap measures to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in the Justice Policy Partnership in particular and all policy and place-based partnerships to be established under the National Agreement”.
“It is also vital that meaningful proportions of the new funding initiatives in the Budget for the broader population that are critical for closing the gaps, such as in childcare and preschool, are allocated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, particularly community-controlled organisations”.
“This is a commitment made by the Commonwealth in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, but it is still uncertain and risky whether our community-controlled sector will receive the funding it needs to deliver much better services to our people,” Ms Turner said.
Finally, the Government’s new investment into our Family Violence Prevention Legal Services to address the severe problem of family violence is welcomed but more funding is needed to keep our women and children safe.
To read the full media release click here.
Family Matters National Week of Action Sun 9 – Sat 15 May 2021 #OurMobsMatter
Next week join the Family Matters National Week of Action, SNAICC’s campaign to create awareness of the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care. Build your skills and knowledge and be part of our work to ensure all our children and young people grow up strong and safe in their families, cultures, and communities.
You can also register your own events, and access our resources page so you can download our Family Matters National Week of Action digital resources (including social media tiles, an email signature, and customisable posters for your own events) to help you promote the Family Matters campaign next week. Please share content including the Family Matters handle and using the hashtag #OurMobsMatter
The Family Matters leaders would like to remind non-Aboriginal organisations to support the campaign through your annual sponsorships – please check sponsorship information here and email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an invoice as soon as possible.
Wednesday 12 May (12-1.30pm AEST) – National commissioner call to action
Join SNAICC CEO Catherine Liddle and Family Matters Co-Chair Dr Paul Gray as they lead a discussion by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s commissioners and deputy commissioners around the continent as we continue to call for the creation of dedicated, independent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s commissioners in each state and territory and at the national level.
Speakers include: April Lawrie, Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People (South Australia); Justin Mohamed, Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People (Victoria); Natalie Lewis, Commissioner for the Queensland Family and Child Commission; Richard Weston, Deputy Children’s Guardian for Aboriginal Children and Young People (New South Wales), and Nicole Hucks, Assistant Children’s Commissioner, Office of the Children’s Commissioner (Northern Territory).
Join this key call for accountability and in defence of the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families.
Thursday 13 May (12-2pm AEDT) – Ways to connect children back to their family, culture and community
This conversation will be led by Family Matters Co-Chair Sue-Anne Hunter.
Speakers include: Jo-Anne Kelly, Project Manager Community Initiatives with Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation; Jacynta Krakouer, Family Matters National Leadership Group and University of Melbourne; and Jennifer Parsons, QATSCIPP Sector Development Officer.
Engage and learn from this fascinating discussion among four expert Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander practitioners in child and family services. Build your practice skills and learning through Aboriginal-led engagement, awareness, and ideas for skill development.
Friday 14 May (12-2pm AEST) – Ensuring our babies get the safest start
Learn about how birth is a key point of removal from their families for too many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies, and what we can do to stop this entry point from happening. Hear about how we can work to keep babies with their parents and families. This conversation will be led by Family Matters Co-Chair Sue-Anne Hunter.
Speakers include: Professor Megan Davis, Emma Buxton-Namisnyk and Dr Althea Gibson (all UNSW); Associate Professor Catherine Chamberlain (La Trobe University, Healing the Past); Birri O’Dea (Molly Wardaguga Research Centre, Charles Darwin University); Alison Elliott, The Bouverie Centre; and Debra Bennet (Executive Lead Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Engagement and Cultural Advisor, Relationships Australia Queensland).
The Family Matters Report 2020 was launched in November 2020. It reveals that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children continue to be removed from family and kin at disproportionate rates – disrupting their connection to community and culture. The report identified a concerning trend towards permanency and adoption that is driving separation of children from family, community, and culture.
Keep an eye out for the Family Matters National Leadership Group members on @IndigenousX on Twitter, from Thursday 6 May to Thursday 13 May.