NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: Have your say on diabetes in Australia

The NACCHO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health News is platform we use to showcase the important work being done in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, focusing on the work of NACCHO, NACCHO members and NACCHO affiliates.

We also share a curated selection of news stories that are of likely interest to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector, broadly.

Have your say on diabetes in Australia

NACCHO is making a submission to the parliamentary committee inquiry into diabetes in Australia and wants to hear from member services. Across three webinars (Monday 7 August, Tuesday 8 August, and Friday 11 August) NACCHO members are invited to have their say on how they work with local community around diabetes diagnosis, support, and management; Including what works for their communities, and what resources are needed to better support Community.

The inquiry follows a referral on May 24 from the Minister for Health and Aged Care, Mark Butler and is investigating the cause of diabetes in Australia, risk factors, prevention, diagnosis, management, and the effectiveness of current Australian Government policies and programs surrounding the disease.

Written submissions closing on Thursday 31 August.

There are three opportunities to contribute. Registration links are below:

Pat Turner to speak on Closing the Gap at University of Canberra

NACCHO CEO, Pat Turner will speak at the University of Canberra (UC) Thursday August 10 on Closing the Gap, in a series of public lectures on the Voice to Parliament. It comes as UC launches a Virtual Freedom Ride paying tribute to 1965 student activism in the lead up to the 1967 referendum. Ahead of the 2023 referendum the university has created its own Freedom Ride in digital form. Pro Vice-Chancellor of Indigenous Leadership, Professor Maree Meredith said it’s a platform for students and staff to access important information about the Voice to Parliament.

The Virtual Freedom Ride honours the work that was done back in the ‘60s and it was those students that were really critical to build that awareness. This is why we are making sure that the students have a role,” said Professor Meredith.

Professor Meredith said the lectures and the Virtual Freedom Ride would help counter misinformation surrounding the Voice.

“As a civic institution, that’s our role. It’s to promote the debate but with facts and with evidence. That’s the role of universities,” she said.

Find the Virtual Freedom Ride here and the full Canberra Times article here.

The freedom ride bus outside Hotel Boggabilla in 1965. Image source: The Canberra Times.

Calls to ignore scare campaign over 60-day prescribing reforms

NACCHO, CHF, RACGP and the AMA have joined together to call on the Opposition and the Greens to support 60-day scripts to save patients money and time, and free up GPs for other patients. The 60 Day Dispensing reform is due to commence on 1 September, however, a “scare campaign” over the past several months to stop the changes has triggered concerns that the Opposition and The Greens will try to block the reform in the Senate with a disallowance motion.

RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins said, “I’m calling on Opposition Leader Peter Dutton and The Greens to put Australians first and rule out a disallowance. 60-day dispensing is in patients’ best interests – it will save around 6 million people money and time, and free up GP consults for other patients.”

Health Minister, Mark Butler also urged the Coalition to reconsider its opposition to the introduction of 60-day scripts. The Minister said 30-day scripts makes “no sense for people who are on the same medicine, year in year out, decade in decade out, sometime for the rest of their lives.”

Read NACCHO’s June media release here and the RACGP media release here.

You can also read the Croakey Health Media article in full here.

Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara youth speak up for each other

Friday 4 August marks National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day. Ahead of the day to celebrate and stand up for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, a group of young people from Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPYLands met with the National Children’s Commissioner last week to discuss the needs of young people “to keep them out of trouble.”

NPY Women’s Council said the group spoke with the Commissioner about the underlying factors causing young people to “muck up”, which included social media fueling negative stereotypes, racism, negative relationships with law enforcement, and difficult home lives.

Making suggestions on what’s needed to better support the young Community, they discussed the importance of meaningful and purposeful engagement. One young person said, “getting to keep language and culture and learn at school – having both – makes people happy,”

Another talked about the importance of family and culture, “Family can help show us the right way… Nana’s, older cousins, Elders…family is comforting.”

The Children’s Commissioner will be travelling around Australia to talk to young people and will create a report to government.

Read more here.

Image source: NPY Women’s Council.

Making decisions about a child in care

WA’s Department of Communities has created a decision-making guide to support foster and family carers. Who can say OK in WA was developed in consultation with ACCHOs and community service organisations to support decision-making about children in care. It will be a resource for foster and family carers who are frequently presented with everyday decisions that all families make about children and young people. It is designed to make carers feel confident about which decisions they can make, so that childhood experiences for children in care are as normalised as possible.

It includes guidance on identity and culture, helping carers honour, respect, and maintain the child’s birth family’s culture. As well as advice on decisions for household rules and discipline, education, physical and mental health, sexuality and gender diversity.

Learn more here.

Who can say OK in WA resource

Deadly start to providing culturally safe care

A new school-based traineeship program is helping build Townsville University Hospital’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce. The Deadly Start program provides year 11 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students with 12-months workplace experience within the hospital and a Certificate III in Health Service Assistance or Allied Health Assistance. Pimlico High School student Bevan Kepa said the course helped him find a path to a career in healthcare.

“It’s been really helpful because I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do after school…”

“It’s important for me to go down this path so we can have more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation in the health industry,” he said.

The program comes alongside the University Hospital’s Reconciliation Action Plan, to have greater Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workplace representation, which reflects the region’s population. Workforce programs co-ordinator, Alisha Kyle said programs like Deadly Start help to improve cultural safety, “by having a workforce that represents our First Nations consumers, we are improving access to healthcare for our mob, and ultimately improving their health outcomes.”

Read more here.

Pimlico High School student Bevan Kepa. Image source: Townsville Bulletin.

Sector Jobs

Sector Jobs – you can see sector job listings on the NACCHO website here.

Advertising Jobs – to advertise a job vacancy click here to go to the NACCHO website current job listings webpage. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find a Post A Job form. You can complete this form with your job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.

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