NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: Calls for Child Health Taskforce

feature tile text 'AMA joins leading Australian health & welfare groups' call for Child Health Taskforce' *& image of Aboriginal girl and 3 boys on outdoor play equipment

Image in feature tile from SNAICC website. Photo credit: Terry Trewin, AAP.

Calls for Child Health Taskforce

The AMA has joined with leading Australian health and welfare groups to call for both the current government and the opposition to commit to forming a Child Health Taskforce if successful at this year’s federal election. AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid said the Child Health Taskforce would be asked to initially report to the new government within six-months on priority initiatives to improve the social determinants of child health, that is, non-medical factors which influence health outcomes. Dr Khorshid said these included: (1) Poverty, (2) Housing, (3) Nutrition, food security and sugary drinks, and (4) Climate change.

Dr Khorshid said additionally the AMA was seeking a commitment from the major parties to fund and implement the recommendations in the recently released National Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy if elected. The AMA, along with the other organisations have released a joint statement noting the period during the COVID-19 pandemic when income support payments were raised, had been hugely beneficial to children and their families, reducing anxiety and suicides. Dr Khorshid said the pandemic had also highlighted how crowded and sub-standard housing had contributed to the spread of COVID-19. “We say access to good housing is a fundamental human right and essential for children to be able to grow up in a health and nurturing environment,” Dr Khorshid said.

Dr Khorshid said the statement noted the pandemic response had shown both the benefits of good policy and reinforced the damaging and lasting impacts on children of poverty, poor housing, and social isolation. “A commitment to equity must underpin fiscal, social and health policy. This particularly applies to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children,” Dr Khorshid said.

To view the AMA media release in full click here and to view a joint statement from the AMA, ACOSS, Academcy of Child and Adolescent Health, ARACY, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, and the RACP click here. You can view a video on the National Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy below.

Gilgandra Local AMS opens

Last Tuesday, 22 February 2022, marked the official opening of the Gilgandra Local Aboriginal Medical Service (GLAMS) building. GLAMS is a branch of the Coonamble Aboriginal Medical Service, and the opening of Gilgandra’s new centre has been a long time coming, according to CEO Phil Naden. “For me it’s been a long time waiting for us to establish this Aboriginal medical service in Gilgandra, and obviously that comes through a lot of consultation,” said Mr Naden.

“The outcome is having GLAMS here now, working in partnership not only with the current health providers in Gilgandra, but also the local health district to provide a culturally appropriate service where people feel that can come to. It’s a space where you can have those cultural yarns, and deal with people who are specifically trained around what it is they’re here for.”

Part of Station Street where GLAMS stands, was closed for a few hours in the morning while official proceedings took place. Beginning with a Welcome to Country by Uncle Ralph Naden; CEO of Bila Muuji Aboriginal Corporation Health Service, Carl Grant, spoke from a regional perspective on GLAMS importance. Mr Naden said that “as well as Carl, Brendan Cutmore who is the executive director of Aboriginal health with the NSW health district, got up and also talked about his perspective on partnerships with NSW health, the local health districts, and the Aboriginal community-controlled sector”.

Member for Parkes Mark Coulton, acknowledged the work that GLAMS has done over the past few months, and confirmed the grant that was announced. “With Mr Coulton officially opening the building for us, it was a really good day,” said Mr Naden.

“The opening is the talk of the town, with community members buzzing about the new prospects GLAMS offers. The feedback is so positive. “It is still continuing up until today and people are chomping at the bit to want to know the next steps of when the opening time is,” said Mr Naden. Mr Naden explained that not only locals and health service representatives attended the opening, but people all across the region.

To view The Gilgandra Weekly news item in full click here.

5 male Aboriginal dancers at opening of Gilgandra Local AMS 22.2.22

Opening of Gilgandra Local Aboriginal Medical Service on Tuesday 22 February 2022.

Stolen Generations Redress Scheme opens

Stolen Generations survivors who were removed as children from their families and communities in the NT, the ACT, and Jervis Bay can now apply for redress from the Australian Government. In addition, $6.55 million will be provided through Link-Up services and The Healing Foundation to support applicants, coupled with free financial and legal services announced on 14 February 2022.

Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP, said the $378.6 million financial and wellbeing Redress Scheme will make payments in recognition of the harm caused. “The Stolen Generations lost their childhoods, their connections to family, country and culture, and while we cannot give back lost childhoods, we are contributing to healing through the Territories Stolen Generations Redress Scheme,” Minister Wyatt said.

To view Minister Wyatt’s media release in full click here.

Ngambri-Ngunnawal elder Matilda House in fur shawl against Aboriginal mural

Ngambri-Ngunnawal elder Matilda House has welcomed the new compensation scheme for Stolen Generation survivors. Photo: Karleen Minney. Image source: Canberra Times.

Closing the communication gap in healthcare

The Australian Physiotherapy Association has published an article about the importance of communication and the need for providing culturally secure and safe healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The article includes comments the researchers behind ‘clinical yarning’, a conversational approach to communication between healthcare providers and their patients, and about a study investigating the benefits of implementing clinical yarning. Also, the article looks at physiotherapists at a unique practice in Far North Queensland that takes physiotherapy out on Country and talks about what makes the model so special.

Clinical yarning is a form of informal conversation that is increasingly being used by clinicians working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to facilitate better communication with patients and clients. Yarning is a form of ‘conversation with purpose’ in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. Based on storytelling, it is an informal way to give and receive information that revolves around establishing a relationship between the participants and creating a culturally safe space. And it’s increasingly finding a place in clinics that work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

To view the full Australian Physiotherapy Association article click here.

2 images: physio Simon Morris treating Aboriginal man Aurukun & with a client on Country in Cairns

Physiotherapist Simon Morris treats one of his patients outside on Country in Aurukun and working with a client on Country in Cairns. Images source: Australian Physiotherapy Association website.

Indigenous Art Competition – cast your vote

The caring@home Indigenous Art Competitionaims to raise awareness about palliative care. All submitted artworks are being displayed on the caring@home website until 30 June 2023 and the winning artworks will be used to illustrate resources being developed by caring@home for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. Entries to the competition have now closed and official judging is now underway.

The 54 entries illustrate powerful, moving, visually stunning stories about a ‘Journey to Dreaming at Home’. This theme highlights an important aspect of palliative care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – a preference for care during the end-of-life journey to be provided at home or on Country.

The judging panel members are The Hon Ken Wyatt, AM MP – Minister for Indigenous Australians, Karl Briscoe – CEO, National Association of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Practitioners (NAATSIHWP) and Fiona Cornforth – CEO, The Healing Foundation.

Members of the public may also take part by submitting an online vote for the People’s Choice Award. Voting closes at 11:59PM (AEST) on Sunday 13 March 2022. Winners will be announced on National Close the Gap Day, Wednesday 17 March 2022.

For more information about the Competition or to submit a People’s Choice Award vote click here.

Strength & Positivity artwork by Ashleigh Elle

Strength and Positivity by Ashleigh Elle. One of the 54 entries in the caring@home Indigenous Art Competition.

New Online Safety Laws

The Australian Government introduced the Online Safety Act 2021 on 23 January 2022. This means there are new laws in place to protect all Australians from serious online abuse. The new laws give eSafety stronger mechanisms to address serious online abuse, if the abuse meets the high threshold of being ‘seriously harmful’ to an individual.

To find out more detailed information on the new laws, what is covered and information on reporting, you can download this booklet: Online Safety Laws: What is means for you, your family and community and other information for First Nations Communities here.

Tile: Leila Gurruwiwi at table with laptop, text 'keep yourself, your family & community safe online & report serious online abuse' Aust Govt logo, eSafety Commissioner logo

VIC prisoner self-harm jumps 50%

Social worker and Wiradjuri and Noongar woman Lee-Anne Carter is seeing it more and more: Victorian Aboriginal people being arrested when suffering from serious mental distress. More ambulances called by police, more Aboriginal people spending longer in prison, and more self-harm. “We started noticing an increase in people coming into the cells self-harming, indicating they’re really unwell … we were noticing Ambulance Victoria attending police stations more,” Ms Carter said.

New Justice Department statistics have revealed that even though the population of incarcerated Aboriginal Victorians decreased, the number of incidents involving self-harm among Indigenous prisoners increased more than 50% in the past year. Ms Carter, the leader of Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service’s (VALS) justice programs, was not surprised by the data.

To view The Age article in full click here.

Social woker Lee-anne Carter with black t-shirt with fingerprint in Aboriginal flag colours & text 'It's in my DNA'

Lee-Anne Carter says more support is needed to help Indigenous prisoners. Photo: Chris Hopkins. Image source: The Age.

Allied health student training in Katherine

Flinders University NT will receive the funding for the program to provide around 260 weeks of new placement opportunities for 36 students each year, three additional allied health clinicians and employ an Aboriginal allied health assistant. Dr Gillespie said the program would help to improve the recruitment and retention of local allied health professionals. “There is growing evidence that students who have a positive and rewarding extended training experience in a rural or remote area are more likely to take up rural practice upon graduation, which is what this site will help to provide for students,” Dr Gillespie said.

“A focus of the new allied health placement program will be to increase placement numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students undertaking their training in Katherine.” Dr Gillespie said the project had strong local support, partnering with Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA) and two Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) – Wurli-Wurlinjang and the Katherine West Health Board (KWHB). Dr Gillespie said the partnership with Wurli-Wurlinjang would enable the employment of speech pathology and occupational therapy supervisors to support allied health students at its clinics.

To view the Katherine Times news article in full click here.

 Wurli-Wurlinjang outreach officers Nick Elliott & Eli Sherman & Katherine West public health manager David McGinness

Wurli-Wurlinjang outreach officers Nick Elliott and Eli Sherman. Photo: Michael Franch, ABC News and Katherine West public health manager David McGinness. Photo: Hamish Harty, ABC News.

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.

Developing and communicating your employer brand

As part of the A Life Changing Life campaign, the Australian Government has partnered with SEEK to deliver a series of webinars providing insights and tools for care and support sector employers to better engage with and appeal to today’s candidates.

The first webinar in this series Developing and communicating your employer brand is being held from 11:00–12:00PM on Tuesday 8 March 2022. This webinar will assist organisation leaders in developing and communicating their employer value proposition, and you will hear from an employer in the care and support sector who has recently refreshed their approach.

You can register for the webinar here.

5 staff around table discussing resources, Aboriginal flag on wall

Image source: Your Community Health website.

Deadly Heart feature film launch

The Take Heart: Deadly Heart feature film will be released across Australian from National Close the Gap Day on Thursday 17 March 2022, in partnership with Close the Gap and ANTaR. You can view a trailer of the film below.

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