NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: Don’t miss out – HUGE PRIZES to be won

feature tile text 'HUGE PRIZES to be won - DON'T MISS OUT on the COVID-19 Vaccination Promotion Competition'

The red and yellow dots in the feature tile are from the National NAIDOC Secretariat website.

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.

Don’t miss out – HUGE PRIZES to be won

Enter the COVID-19 Vaccination promotion competition by submitting a deadly video advertisement/promotion that represents the theme: Getting a COVID-19 vaccination is looking after yourself, for your chance to win! Entries will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Relevance to the theme: Getting a COIVD-19vaccination is looking after yourself
  • Composition
  • Creativity
  • Originality
  • Appropriateness for the target age group: Category 1 – kids 5–12 years (in the ACCHO community), Category 2 – teens and adults 13–49 years (in the ACCHO community), Category 3 – older adults 50+ (in the ACCHO community).

There are 3 amazing prizes up for grabs:

Category 1

  • First Prize includes return flights, accommodation, and tickets to NACCHO’s 2023 Conference in Perth for 3 staff members
  • Second Prize includes return flights, accommodation, and tickets to NACCHO’s 2023 Conference in Perth for 2 staff members

Category 2

  • First Prize includes return flights, accommodation, and tickets to NACCHO’s 2023 Conference in Perth for 3 staff members
  • Second Prize includes return flights, accommodation, and tickets to NACCHO’s 2023 Conference in Perth for 2 staff members

Category 3

  • First Prize includes return flights, accommodation, and tickets to NACCHO’s 2023 Conference in Perth for 3 staff members
  • Second Prize includes return flights, accommodation, and tickets to NACCHO’s 2023 Conference in Perth for 2 staff members

This is an opportunity for you to really show who and what your community is like, and the best ways to communicate with them.

We encourage teams to be creative with the theme. Is the best way to get your mob interested, through humour? Being strong and serious? Telling a story? Addressing negative stereotypes?

Be open to the possibilities of what ‘self-care’ looks like. Self-care could be 30-year-olds discussing the importance of getting the vaccination; or 70-year-olds spinning around the basketball courts because they’re fit and healthy and vaccinated; or tie your promotion to building community strength and vitality.

The more original and community-oriented, the better.

You can access a competition Entry Form here. All entries must be submitted by Thursday 28 September 2023.

The Terms and Conditions for the competition are available here.

NACCHO tile text 'NACCHO Members' Conference 2023 - 23-26 October, Noongar Boodjar (Perth) MAY THE BEST ACCHOs WIN... - Return Flights; Tickets to NACCHO's Conference for 3 staff members; Accommodation; images of plane, city of Perth at night & motel bedroom

Elders say aged care system needs to change

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety recognised the aged care system has failed to provide culturally safe care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as they age. It recommended major reforms, including active partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The Australian government has also committed more funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander aged care services, with a focus on boosting the role of ACCOs.

So what do older Aboriginal people need to age well? And how can aged care funding and systems enable that? This was at the centre of a study, led by the Dharriwaa Elders Group in its long-term partnership with the University of NSW, known as Yuwaya Ngarra-li. The study involved speaking with 22 Elders in the remote NSW town of Walgett about what ageing well means to them.

Aboriginal Elders play an important role as community leaders and protectors of cultural heritage. This involves passing down knowledge and stories, leadership, care-giving and safeguarding family, community and intergenerational wellbeing. Supporting this aspect of ageing well is crucial. As one Elder explained: “Talking about our stories and storylines, and telling those stories […] It’s Aboriginal culture – it’s an oral system of educating people and giving people information. It’s part and parcel of Aboriginal life […] you know your stories, you know where you come from. For Elders who have worked away from Walgett in various careers, this means a kind of “active retirement” – returning to Country to bring back knowledge and continue a legacy for future generations.

To view The Conversation article The aged care system has failed Aboriginal people. Here’s what Elders say needs to change in full click here. You can also access information about NACCHO’s Elder Care Support Program here.

Dharriwaa Elders Group members sitting at table in staff room - 1 woman, 3 men

Dharriwaa Elders Group. Image source: The Conversation.

Noongar mob encouraged to reach out

Content warning: This article contains reference to suicide. Please refer to the services at the bottom of this article for support.

This year’s theme of World Suicide Prevention Day (Sunday 10 September 2023) was “Creating hope through action” and South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) chairperson Megan Krakouer, who has worked for a decade in suicide postvention and prevention, is leading a push to raise awareness in Indigenous communities.

Suicide is the leading cause of death of First Nations people under 40 and almost all First Nation deaths by suicide involve individuals who were living below the poverty line. SWALSC encourages the Noongar community, and all First Nations people, to reach out to those around us and offer love and support to people who are struggling.

Ms Krakouer, who is also the Director of the National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project, said suicide is “the most pressing issue that affects our people. This needs to be prioritised by this nation, by every government in this country, before all other issues,” she said. According to the Indigenous mental health and suicide prevention website, available here, data from 2017–2021 shows the rate for suicide among Indigenous Australians is twice the rate of non-Indigenous Australians.

An important step towards suicide prevention and mental wellbeing is connection to community and it’s one of the seven domains of social and emotional wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Social and emotional wellbeing is a holistic way of looking at relationships between individuals, family, kin and community in the context of land, culture, spirituality and ancestry.

To read the National Indigenous Times article SWALSC encourages Noongar community to reach out on World Suicide Prevention Day in full click here. You can also access information about a recent documentary, Keeping Hope, presented and co-produced by actor and proud Nyikina man Mark Coles Smith (below) here.

Mark Coles Smith at Hovercraft Bay, Broome, WA

Presenter and Co-producer of documentary Keeping Hope, Mark Coles Smith at Hovercraft Bay, Broome, WA. Photo: Torstein Dyrting. Image source: SBS.

If this article brought up anything for you or someone you love, please reach out to, call or visit the online resources listed below for support:

13YARN – 13 92 76,

Lifeline – 13 11 14,

Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636,

MensLine – 1300 789 978

National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project, click here

Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800

Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467

Voice is a chance to close economic gap

The Liberal MP Julian Leeser, esigned in April as the shadow attorney general and shadow minister for Indigenous Australians after the Coalition decided to oppose an Indigenous voice in the constitution, says a voice to parliament is not about “special treatment or privileges” but about getting Indigenous Australians “to the same starting line that other Australians are at”. Amid rising partisan rancour in the referendum debate, with his own side leading the charge for the no campaign, Leeser told parliament he supported the voice because it was a manifestation of “deeply Liberal and conservative ideas”.

Leeser said he is supporting the voice to parliament because “my concern, as a Liberal, is that Indigenous Australians are not sharing in this country’s opportunities”. Leeser said establishing a constitutionally enshrined advisory body was about “Indigenous children, their lives and their future; and trying to create the conditions so that Indigenous children can walk confidently in two worlds”. It was also about “empowerment, respect and the strengthening of Indigenous civic infrastructure, all within our democratic system”. He said the disconnect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia was “the root cause of the economic disconnection in Indigenous communities and lives”.

“In our country, the Indigenous employment rate is around 49% – this compares with 75% for non-Indigenous Australians,” he said. “In terms of household income, the latest data of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has found that 43% of Indigenous adults receive a total weekly pre-tax income of $500 a week or less. The poverty line in Australia is $489 a week for a single person. Almost one in two Indigenous adults live on the poverty line.” He said closing the gap meant creating opportunity. It meant “jobs, not welfare. It’s about universities not prisons.” Leeser invited “all Australians to lift up their eyes, and despite their own challenges, to see the gap that does not close.”

To view The Guardian article Voice can close economic gap for Indigenous Australians, says Julian Leeser in full click here.

Liberal MP Julian Leeser holding papers, facing press

Julian Leeser says closing the gap is about ‘jobs, not welfare. It’s about universities not prisons.’ Photo: Bianca de Marchi, AAP. Image source: The Guardian.

Prenatal program helps mums and bubs thrive

When Natalie Page went into labour suddenly with her first baby she was quite frightened. Ms Page’s mother drove her to the nearest hospital to give birth to her oldest daughter Emariah. “I was so scared, my mother had a very traumatic time giving birth and I kept thinking, ‘What if this is me? What if I don’t make it?’,” Ms Page said. But by the time she had her third daughter Unarra at the Mater Mothers’ Hospital she benefited from having a midwife by her side who made her feel at ease. Birthing in Our Community (BiOC) is a partnership program between Mater Hospital, the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service Brisbane (ATSICHS).

The prenatal health care program, now in its 10th year, is promoting a self-determination model that prioritises Indigenous mums’ physical and mental wellbeing. Ms Page said she benefited and wished she had been able to access the BiOC program with her first pregnancy. “They have provided so many services, including transport to medical appointments and have been there to provide milk and bread if needed,” she said.

ATSICHS Brisbane CEO Renee Blackman said the success of the birthing program showed what could be achieved when partners worked together with a shared vision and commitment to Aboriginal-led models of care and IUIH CEO Adrian Carson said improved outcomes demonstrated the success of ACCHOs leading reform with mainstream maternity services, such as Mater Mothers’ Hospital. “The ACCHS sector has long advocated that models of care specifically designed for First Nations people and delivered by ACCHSs can achieve better outcomes for our people and be more cost-effective,” Mr Carson said.

To view The West Australian article Prenatal program helps Indigenous mums and bubs thrive in full click here.

Natalie Page sitting on beach with children: baby, toddler & older girl

Natalie Page and her children were helped by a birthing program for Indigenous mums and babies. Photo: from PR handout, AAP. Image source: The West Australian.

Mornington Island store engages Outback Stores

Mornington Island’s only grocery store and takeaway outlet are under new management. Gununamanda Limited Deputy Chairperson Roxanne Thomas says Outback Stores had been awarded a three-year management agreement to manage the store and lift standards after a select tender process was conducted. “We have undertaken a major restructure in the last 12 months, and Outback Stores have agreed to work with the directors to improve our store and we welcome them to Mornington Island,” Ms Thomas said.

The store is in the town of Gununa on Mornington Island, the largest of the North Wellesley Islands in the Gulf of Carpentaria, 125kms north-west of Burke and 444 kms from Mt Isa. The community of about 1,000, about 80% are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders, is serviced by five weekly flights from Mount Isa and Cairns and a weekly barge freight service. “Outback Stores was selected as the successful tenderer due to its retail expertise and successful track record over the last 15 years in assisting remote communities,” Ms Thomas said. “They operate as a not‑for-profit, provide a range of support services and return all profits to the community.”

CEO Michael Borg says Outback Stores was founded in 2006 to improve the health of Indigenous Australians living in remote Australia by addressing nutrition-related health problems, unreliable food supplies and poor management practices associated with many remote stores. The company operates 52 stores in the NT, SA, WA, NSW and now QLD. “Our priority will be to get the Mornington Island store back on its feet, ensure people have access to healthy food and provide a good range of produce at affordable prices. In particular, we will look at reducing prices on staples such as milk, bread, potatoes and carrots,” he said.

To read the RetailWorld article Mornington Island store engages Outback Stores in full click here.

Gununamanda Limited Deputy Chairperson Roxanne Thomas with Store Manager Tyler Sandercock

Gununamanda Limited Deputy Chairperson Roxanne Thomas with Store Manager Tyler Sandercock. Image source: RetailWorld.

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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