NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: NACCHO is Reconciliation in Action #NationalSorryDay2021#NRW2021 #MoreThanAWord #ReconciliationTakesAction

NACCHO is Reconciliation in Action 

National Reconciliation Week 2021: More than a word, Reconciliation Takes Action

NACCHO encourages all Australians to take time to reflect and talk to each other on the ways we can support Reconciliation in Australia.

NACCHO Chair Donnella Mills, says the extraordinary response by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and other Australians, during COVID to keep communities and Elders safe is Reconciliation in action.

“We have shown during these tough times that we can all do our part to protect our communities and the results speak for themselves. If we can work together as a nation to address the disparity across different areas, we can deliver on reconciliation outcomes and start Closing the Gap.

“We must put Aboriginal health in Aboriginal hands! Until Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are fully engaged and have control over their health and wellbeing, any ‘refresh’ will be marginal at best and certainly won’t close the gap.”

Ms Mills further added, “Better outcomes for the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is Reconciliation in Action!  Our 143 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, working hand-in-hand with other health services, governments, organisations and communities, to care for people and improve health outcomes, is reconciliation in action.”

NACCHO CEO Pat Turner is joining a panel discussion with Professor Sue Green for the Australian Association of Social Workers National Reconciliation Week webinar on Friday, 26 May.

Pat Turner stated, “This year’s theme is particularly important and aligns with how we can build on the momentum from the new National Agreement on Closing the gap negotiated and agreed between all Australian governments and a Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community-Controlled Peak Organisations to achieve reconciliation.

“The priority reforms in the National Agreement needs to be implemented and be part of the everyday workings of governments if they are to be effective – otherwise they will be just targets, something that governments continue to point to but don’t move the needle for our peoples.”

Ms Turner further added, “Whilst I remain hopeful for a reconciled nation and I acknowledge the journey to date, we still have a long way to go in Australia. Reconciliation requires action from each of us. Reconciliation is a practice, a daily practice.”

This year’s National Reconciliation Week theme, ‘More than a word, Reconciliation takes action’, encourages Australians, governments, and institutions to take continued action and commitment towards reconciliation.

National Sorry Day 2021 – Wednesday 26 May 2021

Observed annually on 26 May, National Sorry Day remembers and acknowledges the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were forcibly removed from their families and communities, which we now know as ‘The Stolen Generations’.

National Sorry Day is a day to acknowledge the strength of Stolen Generations Survivors and reflect on how we can all play a part in the healing process for our people and nation. While this date carries great significance for the Stolen Generations and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, it is also commemorated by Australians right around the country.

The first National Sorry Day was held on 26 May 1998,  one year after the Bringing Them Home report was tabled in Parliament. The Bringing Them Home report is a result of a Government Inquiry into the past policies which caused children to be removed from their families and communities in the 20th century.

Following this, in 2000, there was one issue that was high on the agenda at the Sydney Harbour Bridge walk for reconciliation – an apology to the Stolen Generations.

Kirrily Jordan, Executive Officer of the Stolen Generations Council of NSW & ACT, said, “It is crucial for members of the Stolen Generations, that have endured so much pain, to be supported in their process of healing. The impact of these past government policies has started a vicious cycle of intergenerational trauma that requires extensive support and assistance.”

On supporting members of the Stolen Generations, AbSec CEO John Leha said, “As the peak organisation for Aboriginal children and families, it is the responsibility of AbSec to not only protect current generations of Aboriginal children from suffering but also supporting past members of the Stolen Generations and their families. The work of the Stolen Generations Council is invaluable to the community, and we will continue to support them in their healing work.”

Read the media release by AbSec the peak organisation for Aboriginal children and families in NSW here.

What’s your role in healing this National Sorry Day? Read the media release by the Healing Foundation here.

Read an article on National Sorry Day in The Conversation here.

Image source: AbSec is the peak organisation for Aboriginal children and families in NSW

COVID-19 vaccination only pathway to more normal life

Joint statement – AMA & Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges

The AMA and CPMC also reminded Australians the vaccination program had been extended to include all people aged 50 years and over. People in this age group are assessed as being at higher risk of severe COVID-19 and death.

AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid said Australia had an “outstanding record on vaccination, with some of the highest rates of vaccine take-up in the world”, protecting the community from a wide range of serious illness. He said Australians could approach vaccination for COVID-19 with the “same confidence”.

“To date, there have been over 160 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 world-wide and a death toll exceeding 3.3 million people. It is not sustainable for Australia to rely on international border closures, restrictions, and potential lockdowns to protect the community from COVID-19.

“The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is being used in 139 countries and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in 90 countries. The evidence from the hundreds of millions of doses delivered in these countries is that both are protecting people from serious illness and hospitalisation and helping to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Dr Khorshid said.

Read the full media statement here.

Binjari man Christopher Frith, 62 (red black white grey polo shirt, long grey beard & hair on balding head) get's covid-19 vaccine at Katherine's Wurli Wurlinjang Health Service, looks worriedly to the side as the vaccine is injected

Binjari man Christopher Frith, 62 gets the shot at Katherine’s Wurli Wurlinjang Health Service, Photo: Rhett Wyman. Image source: Brisbane Times.

Improving SEWB – Mental Health services for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Social and emotional wellbeing service experiences of Aboriginal young people in New South Wales, Australia: listening to voices, respecting experiences, improving outcomes.

View the abstracts and thesis in the Australian Indigenous Health Bulletin.

young Aboriginal man sitting against wall with head down, arms folded, blue hoodie & jeans

Image source:

Indigenous deaths in custody reporting time to be reduced

The Australian Institute of Criminology, an independent government research centre, told senators on Tuesday evening it was working to reduce its reporting period from annually to less than six months in order to offer more up-to-date figures.

“We have had a number of Aboriginal people die in custody this year alone. It’s just not good enough that these deaths won’t be reported in official statistics for up to two years,” Senator Thorpe told The Canberra Times.

Read the full article here.

Greens senator Lidia Thorpe wants the government to do better when it comes to a national response to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths in custody. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Pfizer vaccine to be rolled out in Kimberley remote areas starting in early June

Census in August – info on job opportunities and resources available

The Census is happening this August and I want to introduce you to our growing network of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and share some key information on job opportunities and resources available.

The Census counts every person and home in Australia. It helps plan for community needs and is used to make decisions about schools and early learning, health clinics, housing, aged care, jobs, roads, language centres and community programs. That’s why it’s important that we count all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


As we get closer to the Census on 10 August, we’ll be sharing information and resources to support communities to get Census-ready that is copied below that you can share with your networks and communities:

Jobs available

The Australian Bureau of Statistics are hiring staff across Australia to help us conduct the Census. Having local, trusted people involved in Census engagement is important. Jobs are flexible and temporary.

Visit or reach out to your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Census contacts copied here:

New South Wales and ACT – NSW and ACT

Northern Territory – Arnhem Land, Groote Eylandt, Top End and Tiwi Islands – Central Australia

Queensland – Far North Queensland, Gulf and Torres Strait – South Queensland

South Australia

Victoria and Tasmania

Western Australia

RACGP welcomes $1.8b primary care funding in budget

The $1.8 billion outlay on primary healthcare contained in the Federal Budget includes funding to support the continued role of general practice in administering COVID-19 vaccinations, as well as the newly-announced provision of Pfizer vaccines through GP respiratory clinics.

However, while RACGP President Dr Karen Price welcomed many of the primary care budget measures, she said the need for greater investment to support broader general practice reform remains.

‘In December last year, Health Minister Greg Hunt promised that 2021 would be the year of the GP,’ she said.

‘If we want to make that a reality, we need to give general practice a much-needed shot in the arm. The $1.8 billion figure is welcome; however, it is unclear how much of this will flow through to frontline GP patient services.

‘However, some Medicare items for longer telephone consultations will be scrapped from 1 July this year, including for chronic disease management plans, health assessments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, and some mental health items.

‘I also strongly support the allocation of $22.6 million to redesign the Practice Incentives Program – Indigenous Health Incentive. We will not close the gap and improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes without measures such as this.

‘Many of the measures announced tonight amount to a solid beginning for the support of vulnerable patient groups in Australia. It is very welcome after such a tough 12 months for many general practices and patients nationwide.’

National Suicide Prevention Adviser’s Final Advice

In July 2019, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the commitment of the Australian Government to working ‘towards zero suicides’ and the appointment of the First National Suicide Prevention Adviser. Over 18 months, the Adviser and the National Suicide Prevention Taskforce engaged with different levels of government and portfolios, organisations working in suicide prevention, researchers, leaders in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention, community members and, most importantly, many people who have lived experience of suicide.

This broad engagement focused on better understanding the needs of people who experience suicidal distress, and identifying how Australia’s services, systems and government structures at all levels could change to compassionately meet their needs and avoid a suicide trajectory. This Final Advice consists of three complementary reports building on the Initial Findings submitted in November 2019 and the Interim Advice submitted in August 2020.

The Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman, released earlier this week the National Suicide Prevention Adviser’s final advice. The final advice was released this afternoon during a speech at the Suicide Prevention Australia symposium.

To read the full report click here.

National Suicide Prevention Adviser’s Final Advice

The Fred Hollows Foundation – Reflecting on Cultural Understanding and Responsiveness

The Fred Hollows Foundation would like to invite you to ‘Reflecting on Cultural Understanding and Responsiveness’, a panel discussion with The Foundation’s executive team.

Hosted by The Foundation’s Director for Social Justice and Regional Engagement, Jaki Adams, the panel will be an opportunity for our executive to discuss their cultural understanding and journey to date through Indigenous Allied Health Australia’s Cultural Responsiveness Training.

Details as follows:
Date: Thursday 3 June – 10:00am-10:45am
Meeting ID: 933 8182 7269
Join link: