NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: Community calls to drop proposed beer tax cut

feature tile text 'NACCHO CEO one of 80 signatories to open letter asking government to abandon beer tax cut

Calls to dump proposed beer tax cut

More than 80 community leaders and organisations have asked the Government to abandon reported plans for a beer tax cut in the upcoming budget. NACCHO CEO Pat Turner is one of the signatories, and has warned the price reduction would cause serious harm to Indigenous communities. Ms Turner said “Alcohol already has a huge impact on the health of our communities from family violence, injuries, road accidents, to cancer and chronic diseases, and this has been compounded by COVID-19 where we have seen increased use of alcohol among our people. So we are very concerned that making alcohol a lot cheaper and more readily available for people will increase consumption and therefore the ongoing harm that alchol causes our people and we can ill-afford to do that.”

You can view the open letter to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg here and listen to Pat Turner’s nine minute interview on ABC RN Breakfast with Patricia Karvelas here.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) and the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) have joined more than 80 community leaders and organisations in signing an open letter calling on the Morrison Government to abandon its irresponsible plan to make alcohol more accessible.  The letter urges the Government to prioritise the health, wellbeing and safety of families and communities given the significant increase in alcohol sales during the pandemic. Alcohol misuse in Australia costs a staggering $36 billion per year, touching every part of our community, economy, and health system. In 2019-2020, alcohol-induced deaths increased by 8.3 per cent and calls to the national alcohol hotline have doubled since 2019. Alcohol retail sales have grown substantially over the course of the pandemic – with alcohol companies raking in an additional $3.6 billion in 2021, compared to 2019.

To view the ADF’s media release in full click here and the FARE media release here.

How COVID-19 is affecting mob

Some of Australia’s most vulnerable people are in the midst of dealing with a widespread outbreak of COVID-19, as the virus spreads in the Northern Territory. Soon WA, where there are 200 remote Aboriginal communities, will open its border. So, two years since the start of the pandemic, how have Indigenous Australians been impacted? And how are communities coping with Omicron?

Donna Ah Chee, CEO, Central Australian Aboriginal Congress and Jason Agostino, GP and epidemiologist, ANU Medical School, medical advisor to NACCHO spoke with Hilary Harper on ABC On Life Matters earlier this morning. You can listen to the 19 minute interview here.

SAWCAN runs booster campaign

Over the next three months South Australian West Coast ACCHO Network (SAWCAN) will launch a series of TV adverts to be run across the Eyre and West Coast. Childhood vaccination (5–11 years) adverts (English and Pitjantjatjara versions below) will be running from February to April. Booster adverts will be launched in March and run on local TV until May. Finally, the ‘my why’ campaign showcasing Aboriginal people across communities sharing the reason they chose to get the vaccine will be launched in April and run on local TV until June.

First Nations’ proactive pandemic response

The Australian Journal of General Practice (AJGP) has published an article with the title Aboriginal communities need to be at the forefront of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign. The authors of the article say the COVID-19 pandemic and its potential devastating impact on First Nations people has been extensively contemplated and the potential devastating impacts on First Nations people due to health and social justice issues widely postulated. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and health organisations in Australia were proactive in trying to plan for the pandemic and mitigate any adverse outcomes.

The results of this foresight and preparedness were that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities were spared any significant impact during the first wave of the pandemic in 2020. A significant reason for the success of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in warding off the impacts of COVID-19 was that each community and often the ACCHO understood how to effectively communicate health information and health risks to community members in a manner that was meaningful.

To view the full Australian Journal of General Practice click here.

health professional in PPE administering covid-19 vax to Aboriginal man Katherine clinic

A COVID-19 clinic in Katherine, NT. Photo: Katherine Morrow, AAP. Image source: The Guardian.

Disability research agenda for Australia

Researchers from Ninti One are working with researchers from the University of Sydney to develop a disability research agenda for Australia for the next 10 years. The Ninti One team is seeking the views of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to help Ninti One develop the agenda.

Ninti One is inviting you to participate in a survey which aims to understand your thoughts and priorities in relation to disability research in Australia. Ninti ONe would like to hear from as many people as possible from a very broad range of backgrounds so they can understand the areas that people think are important for research. This research has been developed in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability.

Please share this email with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people you know who might be interested in participating. Click here to access the survey and the project participant information sheet.

wheels of wheelchair of Rex Mumumgurr on uneven ground

Rex Munungurr, Garrthalala, East Arnhem Land. The wheels of Rex’s wheelchair are unsuitable for uneven ground. Photo: Tamara Howie. Image source: The Guardian.

RACGP-endorsed otitis media guidelines

Each year, the RACGP approves and endorses a range of clinical resources and guidelines that are produced to National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines standard. Approved resources are regarded as a distinguished mark of approval by the Australian health professional community. These guidelines provide best-practice recommendations for the diagnosis and management of otitis media in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

With rates of ear disease among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children declared a ‘public health emergency’ the guidelines aim to guide prevention of the life-long impacts that undetected otitis media and hearing loss have on these high-risk children. Developed by Menzies Health, the guidelines follow the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach.

To view the newsGP article in full click here.

Aboriginal girl having ears checked by health professional

Image source: Office of the Auditor General.

Support for parents experiencing trauma

A webinar developed by Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) and Emerging Minds draws on the voices, experiences and knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander practitioners to explore how services can work through the perinatal period to support the social and emotional wellbeing of infants and their families.

The webinar will support practitioners to:

  • extend their awareness of the historical and contextual factors impacting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
  • increase their understanding of intergenerational trauma on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
  • understand the important role of service providers during the perinatal period for parents experiencing complex trauma
  • outline key principles and practice approaches for fostering safety in perinatal care.

This FREE online webinar being held from 1:00–2:00PM Wednesday 9 March 2022 will be of interest to professionals working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and children in health, education, social and community service settings.

For more information about the webinar and to register click here.

Aboriginal mum and toddler sitting in red sand of outback

Image source: Australian Institute of Family Studies website.

New process for job advertising

NACCHO have introduced a new system for the advertising of job adverts via the NACCHO website and you can find the sector job listings here.

Click here to go to the NACCHO website where you can complete a form with job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.

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