NACCHO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander #FASD Health #visiblehealthwarning: @NACCHOChair Australia’s leading health & advocacy organisations are calling on our nation’s leaders to listen to the community & put the health and safety of our children and families first.

Open Letter: It’s time for a clear, visible health warning label

Dear Food Forum Ministers meeting 17 July  2020

For families, the most important thing in life is the health and wellbeing of our children.

That’s why it matters to all of us that our families have access to clear information about the health and safety of the products they buy – especially products that may harm our children.

Alcohol can cause brain damage in unborn babies when consumed during pregnancy – a condition known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

Alcohol can also lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, low birth weight and developmental problems.

Yet these products have never before been legally required to carry a health warning.

Thankfully, that’s about to change.

We are all in agreement that we need a mandatory label. Now our independent food authority has developed a clear and visible label that, with your support, will soon appear on all alcohol products sold in Australia and New Zealand.

This will replace the ineffective and confusing label applied inconsistently by some alcohol producers to date.

You will soon be meeting to decide whether to support this carefully designed label. As you do so, we ask that you put the health and wellbeing of Australian children first by supporting the evidence-based design in full.

Watering down the label through changes to its colour, size or wording, would be risking the health and wellbeing of thousands of Australians for years to come.

As a community, we want Aussie kids to have the best start in life.

Help our community give them that by supporting this new label without further delay.

Read all Aboriginal Health and FASD articles published by NACCHO over 8 years 

Yours , thousands of community members and 150 organisations

See all signatures HERE ( 40 Pages )

200715 open letter pregnancy warning labels

Show your support at visiblehealthwarning.org

NACCHO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health News Alert : NACCHO Chair Donnella Mills says rescheduling of #NAIDOCWeek2020 protects what is most precious

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Chair Donnella Mills says postponing NAIDOC Week 2020 from July to November this year was a small price to pay for protecting our people and safeguarding our culture.

“What is happening in Brazil amongst their Indigenous populations is devastating to see and it could have happened to our people.

Our COVID-19 sector response, ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are treated as a priority has resulted in remarkably low occurrences of COVID-19,” said Ms Mills.

“This year’s NAIDOC theme – ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’, is particularly apt and relevant in this unprecedented time and the rescheduling is aimed at protecting our Elders and those in our communities with chronic health issues from the disastrous impacts of COVID-19.

“We would like to recognise and acknowledge the work of our affiliates and our 143 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) have put in during this pandemic to protect our communities and ensure our culture will live on.”

NACCHO is insisting that we follow social distancing rules to reduce the chances of a ‘second wave’. “We are concerned about the increased COVID-19 infections numbers in Victoria and implore people to be sensible and follow the government’s health advice guidelines.

“We are not only protecting ourselves but are keeping our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture alive,” said Ms Mills.

 

Our @NACCHOChair Donnella Mills congratulates Chansey Paech and Ms Ngaire AhKit on their election as Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively, in the NT Parliament. The first time that two Aboriginal people have held these senior positions in an Australian Parliament.

The NACCHO Chair Donnella Mills today congratulated both Chansey Paech, MLA Member for Namatjira and Ms Ngaire AhKit, Member for Karama on their election as Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively, in the NT Parliament.

Pictured above with Craig Muir the Sergeant of arms holding the mace

“It is a proud moment in our nation’s history as it is the first time that two Aboriginal people have held these senior positions in an Australian Parliament.

“Mr Paech has Eastern Arrernte and Gurindji links and Ms AhKit has both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander as well as Chinese heritage.

“As Mr Paech said in accepting the role, this would inspire young Aboriginal kids growing up in remote communities across the NT to believe in themselves and follow their dreams as there are options for them in the future.

“I wish them both every success in their new roles,” said Donnella Mills.

From ABC Media

Mr Paech, 33, was previously Deputy Speaker — a role he took on in 2016 when elected to Parliament to represent Namatjira in Central Australia.

In his maiden speech in 2016 he declared: “I am the nation’s first openly gay, Indigenous parliamentarian.

“I am eternally proud of who I am and where I come from, I own and wear it with pride.”

Mr Paech said it was an honour to now be elected to the Speaker position — the NT’s most senior parliamentary role — and he hoped it would inspire young Aboriginal kids growing up in remote communities across the NT to chase their dreams.

“It sends a strong  message for our young kids, growing up, you have to believe in yourself and know that these are options for you in the future,” Mr Paech said.

Member for the Darwin seat of Karama, Ngaree Ah Kit, was also elected as the NT’s new deputy speaker on Tuesday — the first time in history two Aboriginal people have held the positions in an Australian Parliament.

Ms Ah Kit was born and bred in the Territory, and has Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander as well as Chinese heritage.

“We’d love to see other Aboriginal representatives heading up to Parliament,” the 39-year-old Deputy Speaker said.

 

NACCHO #MensHealthWeek Media Release : @NACCHOChair and Dr Mark Wenitong  “ Closing the Gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander male health : Plus case study Ingkintja Male Health Service at Congress ACCHO in Alice Springs

The commitment of our Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) is to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males to live longer, healthier lives by providing a wide range of preventative men’s programs that address critical social and emotional issues that our men face.

The overall aim is reduce the rate of hospitalisations, which is almost three times higher than for other Australian men and to reduce the number of Aboriginal men in prison who are imprisoned at 11 times the rate of the general male population.”

I would urge our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men to focus on their overall health after these two-three months of isolation and get a comprehensive annual 715 health check at their nearest ACCHO.  Annual health checks are crucial in picking up little things before they become worse, give peace of mind, and they are free.”

On the occasion of National Men’s Health Week, NACCHO Chair Donnella Mills

Download the NACCHO press release HERE

NACCHO Media Statement – Men’s Health Week v2.1 15 June

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) has long recognised the importance of addressing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander male health as part of the Close the Gap initiatives.

Read over 400 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Men’s Health articles published by NACCHO over 8 Years

Read this article above 

The history of NACCHO OCHRE Day events 2013- 2019

Ingkintja: Wurra apa artwuka pmara Male Health Service at Congress ACCHO has for many years been a national leader in Aboriginal health, not only through its male-only comprehensive primary health care service providing a full suite of medical care complemented by social support services, but through the emphasis that the service places on preventative health with annual 715 health check and weekly engagements, servicing over 1,000 men every year.

See case study part 1 below : Photo above : Left right Terry Braun , John Liddle Manager , David Galvin , Wayne Campbell , Ken Lichleitner

 

The Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO), Apunipima Cape York Health Council’s Public Health Medical Officer, Dr Mark Wenitong, has worked with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men to improve their overall health and mental health.

His expertise and experience have led to his involvement in health reform with the Cape York Aboriginal communities with a dedicated team of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander male workers, who are getting great traction with their community men.

“The strength-based men’s programs delivered by Apunipima continue to see rise in participation rates and better outcomes for Cape York men. Though we still have a long way to go, more of the men are taking control and utilising our programs to support improving their mental health and overall wellbeing,” said Dr Wenitong.

Dr Mark Wenitong on what works in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men’s health

Part 1 Case Study Ingkintja Male Health Service at Congress ACCHO in Alice Springs 

Ingkintja: Wurra apa artwuka pmara is an Aboriginal Male Health Service at the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress that takes the lead in providing cultural activities and social and emotional wellbeing services for male health for many years.

The ACCHO delivers a full suite of medical care complemented by social support services with emphasis on preventative health with annual 715 health check, servicing over 1,000 men every year.

Ingkintja takes the lead in supporting men in cultural activities across central Australia by providing equipment and medical support when requested by community leaders.

Incorporated into the male-only service are washing facilities (showers and laundry facilities), a gym and ‘Men’s Shed’.

Congress’ decentralisation of social and emotional well-being services meant that a psychologist and Aboriginal care management worker are available through Ingkintja, allowing therapeutic care (counselling, violence interventions), brief interventions, cultural and social support to men.

Ingkintja has a history of hosting national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Male Heath events

male_health_summit_jun09

Ingkintja also delivers the Jaila Wanti prison to work program, which provides support to Aboriginal prisoners 90 days prior to release and also post release to reintegrate back into community through the coordination of health, wellbeing and social support services.

Male prison transitional care coordinators work with clients on health and wellbeing, and facilitate linkages with employment and training provider. Through the program, Ingkintja deliver regular visits to Aboriginal prisoners in the Alice Springs Correctional facility; conducting sessions with Aboriginal prisoners on their holistic health and wellbeing including health promotions with a focus on staying off the smokes and grog.

Sessions also focus on cultural roots and family connections to rebuild cultural identify and self-worth, and to reinforce positive behaviours while also reflecting on the consequences of impulsivity and violent behaviours.

The team establish trust and respect and assist in reconnecting the men with family and culture and to reintegrate into community.  Corrections staff have provided encouraging feedback on the positive impact that these visits have on the Aboriginal prisoners, noting changed attitudes and behaviours as the men reflect on the impact of their actions and ask for the next Ingkintja session.

The Inkintja men’s wash facilities were recently upgraded and continue to be a vital and highly accessed service, especially for men living rough. The facility gives men the obvious benefit of being able to wash and gain self-worth, and provides a critical engagement opportunity for the team to perform health checks, medical follow-up and other necessary referrals to services to improve their health and wellbeing.

The Ingkintja men’s shed and gym has regular sessions that enable males, both young and old, to come together and access valuable skills, such fitness, comradery and practical life skills.

Ingkintja have also been equipped with a men’s health truck, currently being fitted out with three consult rooms, which will increase the reach of the service’s holistic approach further to remote communities in a culturally responsive – and mobile – way.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #ReconciliationWeek : @RecAustralia #NRW2020 Virtual events this week speakers include : @NACCHOChair Donnella Mills CEO Pat Turner @KenWyattMP @LindaBurneyMP @mdavisqlder @SummerMayFinlay Pat Anderson Karen Mundine Dean Parkin Fiona McLeod Larissa Behrendt

1. National Sorry Day Tuesday 26 May

2. Photos from the Uluru Convention: Special Online Event! 26 May .

3. Reconciliation SA presents Patricia Turner AM, CEO NACCHO to provide a keynote session : May 27

4.National Reconciliation Week 2020 #NRW2020 ” Conversations from The Heart ” #UluruStatement May 27

5. NRW launch: National Acknowledgement of Country 12pm* 27 May 

6. 20 years on: Crossing Bridges for Reconciliation : 12pm – 1pm* Thursday 28 May 

7.For resources CLICK on this banner 

1.National Sorry Day Tuesday 26 May

Today is National Sorry Day and it marks 23 years since the tabling of the Bringing Them Home report.

Listen to the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and children and find resources and toolkits from HERE 

2.”Photos from the Uluru Convention” Special Online Event! 26 May .

“Photos from the Uluru Convention” Special Online Event! 26 May 2020 5:30-6:30 pm.

Wayne Bergmann in conversation with Pat Anderson AO, @mdavisqlder, @Gabrielle_J_A, @SallyScales & Jimmy Widders Hunt. #UluruStatement #auslaw #IndigenousX

Register at:

3. Reconciliation SA is excited to have Patricia Turner AM, CEO NACCHO to provide a keynote session : May 27 Tickets close today May 26 at midday 

Uncle Bunna Lawrie to provide some musical inspiration at this years Reconciliation SA Virtual Breakfast.

Tickets on sale now and will close on midday 26 May 2020.

4.National Reconciliation Week 2020 #NRW2020 ” Conversations from The Heart ” #UluruStatement featuring Professor Megan Davis, Dean Parkin, Donnella Mills & Fiona McLeod AO SC

We will delve into what constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples might look like, the mechanics of constitutional reform, what reconciliation means for all Australians and the progress made, as well as what the justice system looks like on the frontline for First Australians.

Please join us for what will be an engaging, thought-provoking and memorable conversation.

Wednesday 27 May 2020
12.30pm to 1.30pm AEST

Webinar
Details to be sent the day prior to acceptances only

Please note to register replace the ” Donnella Mills ” info on the form with your own info 

REGISTER HERE

5.NRW launch: National Acknowledgement of Country 12pm* Wednesday 27 May 2020 

To launch NRW 2020 we are asking everyone to take to social media to acknowledge Country. We can’t be physically together to show respect but we can show respect to Country where we are.

On the first day of NRW, take the time to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the Land that you are on, wherever you are.

Choose your social media platform – or the privacy of your own space – to pay your respects.

Consult the AIATSIS Map of Indigenous Australia for a guide to the Traditional Owners of the Land you are on, and tag the Traditional Owners and/or your own mob plus #InThisTogether2020 #NRW2020

 6.20 years on: Crossing Bridges for Reconciliation : 12pm – 1pm* Thursday 28 May 2020 

20 years on is a panel discussion hosted by ABC Speaking Out’s Larissa Behrendt. Panel members will reflect on the bridge walks of 2000 and the role of reconciliation since that historic moment.

Featuring Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, The Hon Linda Burney MP, Reconciliation Australia CEO Karen Mundine and University of Wollongong Lecturer, Summer May Finlay.

Facebook Livestream on Reconciliation Australia and ABC Australia Facebook pages. The panel will be broadcast on Speaking Out, which can be heard on Radio National (Fridays at 8pm), ABC local Radio (Sundays at 9pm) and the ABC listen app.

7. In Concert Together 9pm -10pm* Friday 29 May 2020 ||

Reconciliation Australia and ABC bring you Busby Marou, Alice Skye and more in concert, hosted by Christine Anu on her National Evenings show on ABC Radio.

Tune into ABC Radio or the ABC listen app or watch on the Facebook Livestream on Reconciliation Australia, ABC Sydney or ABC Australia Facebook pages.

*All times are Australian Eastern Standard time.

For more event info and updates, check-out the National Reconciliation Week 2020 website. 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #ReconciliationWeek News Alert : #NRW2020 Messages from Minister @KenWyattPM and our @NACCHOChair Donnella Mills : Let’s stand as one and continue being strong. We are all #InThisTogether2020 !’

“ This year’s #NRW2020 theme is ‘In this Together’ – reminds us whether in a crisis or reconciliation we are all #InThisTogether2020.

We have shown during these tough times that we can all do our part to stop the spread of a deadly disease and the results speak for themselves.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to be impacted by the legacy of colonisation but what continues is our resilience amidst the adversity we face. When we face adversity together, we see stronger outcomes.

If we all can work together and support the journey of reconciliation, every step forward removes disadvantage and creates a more solid foundation for our country towards a better future for all Australians.”

Read and download full NACCHO Chair Donnella Mills Press Release HERE

Plus details of our Chairs and CEO NRW2020 speaking engagements 27 May

“National Reconciliation Week draws our attention each year to the ongoing efforts to walk together with a shared purpose, and to build a stronger future for all Australians.

This year’s theme, In This Together, resonates in new ways in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic and reminds us we all share this land and rely on each other to build a better future.”

Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP, has asked Australians to think about what reconciliation means to them and what practical steps they can take to build trust, mutual respect and opportunities for Indigenous Australians. Pictured above with NACCHO CEO Pat Turner 

“The week commences 27 May marking the anniversary of the 1967 Referendum and concludes with the anniversary of the High Court’s Mabo decision on 3 June – both significant milestones in our shared history that had profound impacts on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

“These moments in our reconciliation journey remind us of the tireless campaigners who sought to bring us closer and the success that can be achieved when Australians come together as one.”

“This year also marks 20 years since Corroboree 2000 and the memorable Walk for Reconciliation across Sydney Harbour Bridge where close to a quarter of a million people demonstrated their commitment to reconciliation. The images from that day are still striking and it’s important we do not lose that enthusiasm.”

“While we are unfortunately not able to celebrate with gatherings this year due to COVID-19, there are many events happening online that people can get involved with.”

“From film screenings and book recommendations to panel discussions and streamed concerts, there are opportunities for people to learn about our history, engage with Indigenous culture and reflect on what it means to be in this together.”

“I also encourage all Australians to take part in the National Acknowledgement of Country. At midday on Wednesday 27th May, join Indigenous Australians across the nation by posting a video of an acknowledgement of the country you are on with the hashtags #InThisTogether2020 and #NRW2020.”

Visit https://aiatsis.gov.au/explore/articles/aiatsis-map-indigenous-australia for a guide to the Traditional Owners of the land you are on.

Visit reconciliation.org.au or indigenous.gov.au to find out more.

Aboriginal Health #CoronaVirus News and Resources Alert No 64 : May 18 #KeepOurMobSafe #OurJobProtectOurMob : With many #COVID19 restrictions lifted will it be bumpy ride on our road to recovery. Plus @June_Oscar ACCHO’s Gold Star response.

1. June Oscar says our NACCHO/ACCHO  COVID-19 response campaign will be remembered as a gold standard for public health messaging.

2. In the Kimberley it became clear that ACCHO’s were ahead of the mainstream health sector responding to COVID-19.

3. NACCHO PHD Dr Jason Agostino says the Queensland Government is putting remote communities at risk stalling rapid Coronavirus testing machines.

4.Minister Greg Hunt funds ATSI mental health with $3.5 million extra funds.

5.Our CEO Pat Turner appearance at the DRUM ABC TV.

6.Voices from the Bush – How the lock down affects remote NT Indigenous communities differently.

7.How will COVID-19 restrictions be eased back in all States and Territories ?

8.NACCHO Chair Donnella Mills leads by example having her flu injection at Wuchopperen ACCHO Cairns.

9. John Paterson CEO AMSANT interview on how NT remote communities prepare to open after restrictions.

10.Federal Government information for remote communities to support the extension of biosecurity measures.

1.June Oscar says our NACCHO/ACCHO  COVID-19 response campaign will be remembered as a gold standard for public health messaging.

” Thanks to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations such as Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services, Danila Dilba Health Service and many others, our people have returned to communities and to camps on country, quickly and en masse.

This has been a huge peacetime coordination effort, and we have mobilised quietly and efficiently to move thousands of people out of harm’s way.

Indigenous health services and peak bodies like the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation have done an incredible job of getting COVID-19- related messages to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, in multiple locations and different community languages.

In years ahead, I am certain that Australia will view these campaigns as the gold star standard for public health messaging. “

June Oscar is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner and Co-Chair of the Close the Gap Campaign.

Read more HERE

2. In the Kimberley it became clear that ACCHO’s were ahead of the mainstream health sector responding to COVID-19.

It became clear early in the pandemic that Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) were ahead of the mainstream health sector in responding to communities’ concerns with relevant local messaging and an urgency motivated by a lived and historic knowledge of the impact of infectious diseases.

In the remote Western Australian town of Broome, Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services (KAMS) has developed a reputation as a source of reliable information for all local residents, according to chief operating officer Rob McPhee. The Kimberley has had 18 Covid-19 cases, all of whom have recovered, he adds.” 

Read more HERE

3. NACCHO PHO Dr Jason Agostino says the Queensland Government is putting remote communities at risk stalling rapid Coronavirus testing machines.

GP and epidemiologist Jason Agostino, the medical adviser for the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, said not allowing the testing machines in Queensland was a “step backwards” that put communities at risk.

“The Public Health Laboratory Network, which is the main organisation in Australia which oversees safety, says if people have received the appropriate training and have personal protective equipment, the machines are safe to use,” he said.

“That’s the position that every other jurisdiction has taken.”

Dr Agostino said the potential for a health professional operating the machine to contract COVID-19 was minimal, compared to the risk posed by an infected person towards the community while they awaited results.

Read more HERE

4. Minister Greg Hunt funds ATSI mental health with $3.5 million extra funds

Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander communities, especially those in remote areas, experienced complete lockdown and have been impacted by reduced access to mental health and wellbeing services, education and employment opportunities. $3.5 million will be provided to PHNs to work with local communities to bolster existing services as restrictions are lifted.

Read more HERE

NATIONAL MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING PANDEMIC RESPONSE PLAN (FED)

5. Our CEO Pat Turner appearance at the DRUM ABC TV.

 

6.Voices from the Bush – How the lock down affects remote NT Indigenous communities differently.

What does self-isolation mean when you live in one of Australia’s most remote Aboriginal communities? What does social distancing mean when the average household holds 12-15 people? How do you think through viral vulnerability when people in your community already die too young and too frequently?

These are just a few of the questions that might be asked of Aboriginal people living in remote parts of Australia as the COVID-19 pandemic swirls around them and other Aboriginal communities across the nation.

Read more HERE

7.How will COVID-19 restrictions be eased back in all States and Territories ?

Part 2

8. NACCHO Chair Donnella Mills leads by example having her flu injection at Wuchopperen ACCHO Cairns.

9. John Paterson CEO AMSANT interview on how NT remote communities prepare to open after restrictions.

Listen to interview HERE

10. Federal Government information for remote communities to support the extension of biosecurity measures.

Key messages:

·      Coronavirus has spread across the world and made many people sick.

·      It’s made some of our mob in the cities sick too.

·      The good news is we have been successful keeping the virus out of our remote communities.

·      We’re doing a good job protecting our mob, our Elders and our culture from this virus.

·      But we need to keep going.

·      Some communities are part of the designated areas which limit people from entering communities without self-isolating. This was done to stop people including tourists from bringing the virus into communities, and so far this has worked.

·      The government and health leaders have designed a framework to help governments and communities make decisions about when to lift these restrictions, in a way that will keep people, families and communities safe. 

·      If coronavirus gets into our remote communities, it will be hard to get rid of. It will hurt our people and could make our Elders very sick.

·      That’s why we need to stay strong and deadly and keep following the rules. to keep beating this virus and keep our mob safe.

·      The restrictions will now stay in place until September, unless communities and governments agree to lift them earlier. Some communities are working with the government on how to lift the restrictions while keeping communities safe.

·      The rules are different in each state and territory. Make sure you stay up to date with the latest announcements at Australia.gov.au which also has links to state and territory websites. niaa.gov.au has further information about the biosecurity restrictions in place.

·      Even though the new changes are difficult, we have to stay strong and keep doing what’s right, protecting the health of all our mob. 

·      Together, we can keep our mob and communities COVIDSafe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NACCHO #SaveADate 27 May @kwmlaw Virtual event / webinar : National Reconciliation Week 2020 #NRW2020 ” Conversations from The Heart ” #UluruStatement featuring Professor Megan Davis, Dean Parkin, Donnella Mills & Fiona McLeod AO SC

 ” The theme for National Reconciliation Week 2020 (#NRW2020) – In This Together – is now resonating in ways which could not have been foreseen when it was announced last year, but certainly reminds us that whether in a crisis or in reconciliation, we are all #InThisTogether.

In this special edition of Field Notes, KWM Community Impact’s webinar series, we are honoured to welcome Professor Megan Davis, Dean Parkin, Donnella Mills and Fiona McLeod AO SC for Conversations From The Heart. See Bio below “

In May 2017, the Uluru Statement from the Heart arose from a constitutional convention of 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander delegates achieving a consensus on Indigenous recognition. The Uluru Statement was an invitation to walk with and alongside Indigenous Australia.

KWM is pleased to facilitate a further conversation for our clients and our people, to coincide with #NRW2020, to explore the Uluru Statement, the concept of reconciliation and the empowerment of First Nations peoples.

See previous 40 + NACCHO Aboriginal health and Uluru statements posts

We will delve into what constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples might look like, the mechanics of constitutional reform, what reconciliation means for all Australians and the progress made, as well as what the justice system looks like on the frontline for First Australians.

Please join us for what will be an engaging, thought-provoking and memorable conversation.

Wednesday 27 May 2020
12.30pm to 1.30pm AEST

Webinar
Details to be sent the day prior to acceptances only

Please note to register replace the ” Donnella Mills ” info on the form with your own info 

REGISTER HERE

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from some of Australia’s leading voices and acclaimed experts on Indigenous affairs, justice and reconciliation, as we gather for #NRW2020.

Our Panellists & Friends of KWM

Professor Megan Davis is Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous UNSW and a Professor of Law, UNSW Law. Professor Davis was elected by the UN Human Rights Council to UNEMRIP in 2017. Professor Davis currently serves as a United Nations expert with the UN Human Rights Council’s Expert Mechanism on the rights of Indigenous peoples based in UN Geneva. Megan is an Acting Commissioner of the NSW Land and Environment Court. Professor Davis is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences. She is a member of the NSW Sentencing Council and an Australian Rugby League Commissioner. Professor Davis was Director of the Indigenous Law Centre, UNSW Law from 2006-2016. Professor Davis is an expert consultant to KWM.

Dean Parkin is from the Quandamooka peoples from Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) in Queensland. He was involved in the negotiations leading to a Native Title determination in 2011 and continues to work with his community on this journey. Dean has a Bachelor of Arts (Politics and Journalism) from the University of Queensland. An experienced independent management consultant, Dean has worked across the public, corporate, not-for-profit and political sectors. He has advised a range of clients on strategy, engagement and co-design, including the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Palladium, Coles, the Referendum Council and Jawun. In addition to extensive experience in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs, he has commercial experience both in Australia and the UK. Mr Parkin is also an expert consultant to KWM.

Donnella Mills is a proud Torres Strait Islander woman with ancestral and family links to Masig and Nagir. Donnella is a member of James Cook University Council, Director of Wuchopperen Health Service and Chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation – NACCHO.  She is a Cairns-based lawyer with LawRight, a Community Legal Centre which coordinates the provision of pro-bono civil legal services to disadvantaged and vulnerable members of the community.  Donnella is currently the project lawyer for the Wuchopperen Health Justice Partnership. This innovative HJP is an exciting model of care providing access to justice in a community controlled setting, where lawyers and health professionals collaborate to achieve improved health, social, emotional and spiritual well-being outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

 

Our Moderator

 

Fiona McLeod AO SC is a Senior Counsel practising in the areas of commercial and public law matters. Fiona is a leader of the national and international legal profession having led the Law Council of Australia, Australian Bar Association, Victorian Bar and Australian Women Lawyers. In 2017 she devised and, with the support of a Steering Committee, led the Justice Project, a landmark research project undertaken by the Law Council into access to justice impacts on vulnerable groups in Australia launched in 2018. She was appointed to the Victorian Honour Roll of Women in 2014, was awarded the AWL Woman Lawyer of the Year in 2018 and she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2020.

Aboriginal #CoronaVirus News Alert No 40 : April 17 #KeepOurMobSafe : #OurJobProtectOurMob : Contributions from @NACCHOChair and ACCHO’s @DeadlyChoices @IUIH_ @Apunipima #SouthWest #Yerin #KatherineWest #Nhulundu #Illawarra #Mulungu and @LowitjaInstitut

COVID-19 and ACCHO Intro video : NACCHO Chair Donnella Mills. 

1.Deadly Choices : Australia’s First Urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander COVID-19 Testing Clinic opens in Brisbane .

2.Apunipima ACCHO Cape York welcomes Minister Ken Wyatt’s assurances for securing food and other essentials for remote communities.

3.South West Aboriginal Medical Services ACCHO WA keeping our mob safe.

4.Yerin Eleanor Duncan Aboriginal Health Centre ACCHO rapid response to COVID-19.

5.Katherine West Health Board ACCHO NT creates innovative COVID-19 resources.

6. Nhulundu Health Services Gladstone QLD. opens new Drive-Thru Flu Clinic.

7. Illawarra Aboriginal health worker creates rap video to spread COVID-19 message .

8. Check out this deadly COVID-19 rap from Mulungu ACCHO.

9. Lowitja Chair Pat Anderson and CEO Janine Mohamed introduce ” Survivor  COVID19 the musical “.

10.Gallery of COVID-19 on social media images to share. 

See how NACCHO protects our mob Corona Virus Home Page

Read all 40 NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Coronas Virus Alerts HERE

COVID-19 and ACCHO Intro video : NACCHO Chair Donnella Mills 

 

1.Deadly Choices : Australia’s First Urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander COVID-19 Testing Clinic

Queensland Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Hon Steven Miles was joined by Member for Longman Terry Young and Deadly Choices Ambassador Steve Renouf at the opening of Australia’s first Commonwealth funded COVID-19 respiratory testing clinic

Pictured above Adrian Carson CEO IUIH ( See TV coverage below ) 

The clinic, funded by the Commonwealth Government, will provide COIVD-19 testing for up to 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members per day, supporting Moreton Bay region’s Indigenous population.

 The Caboolture site was chosen to support the large Indigenous population in the Moreton Bay region, where an estimated 24,000 Indigenous live.

This forms part of IUIH’s wider South East Queensland catchment which is the fastest growing and largest Indigenous region in Australia. South East Queensland is estimated to have close to 100,000 Indigenous people – representing 38% of the entire Queensland and 11% of Australia’s Indigenous population. 

The Respiratory clinic will be run by the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) adjacent to its existing Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service in Caboolture.  IUIH’s existing Caboolture clinic is one of five clinics operated by IUIH in the Moreton Bay region and one of 20 clinics throughout its South East Queensland IUIH Network.

 This COVID-19 testing clinic is the first of four clinics that will be established across South East Queensland by the IUIH Network, with a second Clinic to commence operations in Woodridge later this week, and Clinics to be established at Booval (West Moreton) and Nerang (Gold Coast).  

 The Caboolture Respiratory clinic will be dedicated to supporting Indigenous clients and marks a significant milestone in the fight against COVID-19 –  being the first Commonwealth funded Indigenous Respiratory clinic of its kind in Australia to support one of the most vulnerable population groups at risk of this pandemic. 

 With Indigenous people significantly overrepresented in the high risk categories for COVID-19 – including through a much higher burden of respiratory and other chronic diseases – it is critical that services such as this Respiratory Clinic are easily accessible to ensure safe and culturally supportive screening and holistic wrap-around support and follow-up care management.

This is particularly important as many Indigenous people are also at elevated risk of social isolation and basic supports at this time, including if requiring quarantine measures.

The Caboolture Respiratory Clinic has been set up to directly support the government’s priority focus on testing all people with a fever or acute respiratory symptoms in this region. This will not only provide an important early intervention response to affected clients, but help to build a much more comprehensive understanding of COVID-19 prevalence in the community.

IUIH has been working closely with Queensland Health and supported by training from Aspen Medical to ensure that everything about the clinic design and practice adheres to the most stringent medical guidelines and protocols, with staff and client safety of paramount concern.

WATCH TV COVERAGE OF OPENING HERE

2.Apunipima ACCHO Cape York welcomes Minister Ken Wyatt’s assurances for securing food and other essentials for remote communities.

Apunipima Cape York Health Council welcomes Hon. Ken Wyatt’s assurances last week that ensuring a reliable supply of essential goods, groceries, pharmaceuticals and other critical supplies to remote communities during the current COVID-19 pandemic is a high priority for the Australian government.

Across Australia, we’ve been asked not to stockpile so that everyone is looked after and that those who are most disadvantaged such as people on low incomes, elderly people, and people with disabilities don’t miss out.

Equally, we need to ensure that stores in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and other remote areas will still have fair access to wholesale supplies so that people living in these locations don’t miss out.

Read More Here

3.South West Aboriginal Medical Services ACCHO WA keeping our mob safe .

 

4.Yerin Eleanor Duncan Aboriginal Health Centre ACCHO rapid response to COVID-19

For mob in NSW, the role of local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) has been crucial.

From the centre of Sydney to remote corners of the state, Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS) have been working tirelessly to ensure the safety, protection and education of their local communities.

In the Central Coast region of northern NSW, sitting in the town of Wyong is the Yerin Eleanor Duncan Aboriginal Health Centre (Yerin).

Being the only ACCHO in the region, the centre runs over 30 programs in community.

Serving around 5,000 people, Yerin AMS has 3,000 active patients.

CEO of Yerin, Belinda Field, said the organisation had to streamline non-essential services into telehealth very quickly to service their large client base.

“We have been able to encourage many of our Elders or anyone over 50 that have a pre-existing health condition to stay home wherever possible. Even if they do have access to private transport, we still ask them to stay home,” Field said.

“A huge part of our culture is socialising together, and we have lots of support groups we run across youth, Elders, women and men, our cancer support groups, and we are [still] doing it now … all by way of phone.”

Read More Here

5.Katherine West Health Board ACCHO NT creates innovative COVID-19 resources.

 

6. Nhulundu Health Services Gladstone QLD. opens new Drive-Thru Flu Clinic.

The Drive-Thru Flu Clinic is located here in Goondoon Street car park and runs daily from 9.30am through to 3.00pm
Clients with an appointment booking can simply drive into the car park, reverse into a designated car space where our friendly registered nurses will give you a consent form to complete and ask you a few medical related questions.
The nurses will administer the flu vaccination in the comfort of your vehicle to you and/or other passengers.
We would then ask that you hang around for just 15 minutes before you’re on your way. It’s that easy!
Feel free to call reception staff on 4979 0992 to check your eligibility, make your booking and discuss some additional drive-thu info

 

7. Illawarra Aboriginal health worker creates rap video to spread COVID-19 message .

It’s a fun format for a serious message – with the threat of COVID-19 high in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, who have a lower life expectancy and a higher burden of disease than non-indigenous Australians.

And the idea for the video came about after Mr Wright had a conversation with his uncle in northern NSW.

“My uncle in Walgett has a lot of co-morbidities – diabetes, heart disease,” he said.

“And he was saying that there was plenty of youth still partying, not taking the COVID pandemic seriously.

“So I thought, what can I do to get the message out there in a way that’s fun, but still strong – and that’s when I came up with the idea of a rap video.

Read full report HERE

8. Check out this deadly COVID-19 rap from Mulungu ACCHO

 

9. Lowitja Chair Pat Anderson and CEO Janine Mohamed introduce ” Survivor  COVID19 the musical “

10.Gallery of COVID-19 on social media images to share. 

NACCHO has developed some COVID-19 specific graphics to help promote healthy messaging to help STOP the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in our communities.

If you would like to use any NACCHO graphics relating to COVID-19, please ensure NACCHO is tagged/mentioned and images are not cropped or altered from its original.

NACCHO will work to ensure that there are accurate links to relevant graphics created by our members and affiliates for public use. If you would like to add your graphics to this page, please contact our team.

10.Gallery of COVID-19 on social media images to share. 

10.Gallery of COVID-19 on social media images to share. 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #InternationalWomensDay #EachforEqual #IWD2020 : Our tribute to our 10 Women NACCHO Board of Directors and 71 #ACCHO CEO’s of our majority female workforce

1.National : Donnella Mills – Chair NACCHO and Wuchopperen Health Service   

2.NT: Donna Ah Chee Central Australian Aboriginal Congress

3.NSW: LaVerne Bellear Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service

4.TAS: Raylene Foster Tasmanian Aboriginal Corporation

5.NT: Olga Havnen Danila Dilba Health Service

6.VIC: Karen Heap Ballarat & District Aboriginal Co-operative

7.SA: Willhelmine Lieberwirth South Australia

8.WA: Lesley Nelson South West Aboriginal Medical Service

9.ACT: Julie Tongs Winnunga Nimmityjah Health and Community Service

10. QLD: Gail Wason Mulungu Primary Health Care Service

International Women’s Day 2020 campaign theme is #EachforEqual

An equal world is an enabled world.

Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.

We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements.

Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender equal world.

Let’s all be #EachforEqual.

Aboriginal women are the best advocates and leaders for health and wellbeing in their own families and in the broader community.

They are proving to be effective role models, mentors and influencers for the next generation of Aboriginal female leaders.

Recently NACCHO CEO Pat Turner told a women’s leadership summit (Pictured above in centre )

As mothers, aunts, grandmothers, sisters and daughters, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have culturally and historically always played a pivotal role in supporting and caring for families in our communities so working in the health sector was a natural progression.

For over 47 years Indigenous health activists like Dr Naomi Mayers, Coleen Shirley (Mum Shirl) Smith AM MBE, Jill Gallagher AO, Vicki O’Donnell, Pamela Mam, and the late Mary Buckskin have been just some of our leaders who have successfully advocated for community controlled, culturally respectful, needs based approach to improving the health and wellbeing outcomes of our people.

See previous NACCHO #IWD Tribute HERE 

As a result of their leadership and years of commitment as role models they have now paved the way for 10 women to be on the NACCHO board, 71 Indigenous women promoted to CEO’s out of 145 Organisations who employ over 6,000 staff with a majority being Indigenous woman

Our ACCHO network has successfully provided a critical and practical pathway for the education, training and employment for many Indigenous women.But much more needs to be done to develop viable career pathways to graduate more Indigenous women doctors, nurses and allied health professionals.

Last year NACCHO, RANZCOG and other medical college Presidents met with the Minister for Indigenous Health and other ministers in Canberra who are all determined to do everything possible to Close the Gap in health outcomes.

Creating career pathways for Indigenous women in our workforce will be a good starting point to continue supporting the theme ” More powerful together ”

1.National : Donnella Mills – Chair NACCHO and Wuchopperen Health Service QLD 

Donnella is a Torres Strait Islander woman with ancestral and family links to Masig and Nagir in the Torres Strait.

She is a Cairns–based lawyer with LawRight, a Community Legal Centre which coordinates the provision of pro-bono civil legal services to disadvantaged and vulnerable members of the community. Donnella is currently the project lawyer for the Wuchopperen Health Justice Partnership through a partnership with LawRight. This innovative Health Justice Partnership is an exciting model of providing access to justice, where lawyers and health professionals collaborate to provide better health outcomes and access to justice for patients with legal issues.

Donnella said she was “very excited about the opportunity to contribute to working the new Chairperson, the new board and the NACCHO Executive to drive the national health debate, develop community led solution, and to champion why Community-Controlled is the pinnacle model in achieving greater autonomy and self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Utilising a legal lens in which to view health, social justice, human rights, and access to justice, my commitment is to deliver expanded and enhanced innovative health services that are community driven and community led, addressing core systemic social determinant issues that have a direct impact on our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

2.NT: Donna Ah Chee CEO Central Australian Aboriginal Congress

Ms Ah Chee is the Chief Executive Officer of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress Aboriginal Corporation, the Aboriginal community controlled primary health care service in Alice Springs.

Ms Ah Chee is a Bundgalung woman from the far north coast of New South Wales and has lived in Alice Springs for over 25 years.

She has been actively involved in Aboriginal affairs for many years, especially in the area of Aboriginal adult education and Aboriginal health. In June 2011, Ms Ah Chee moved to Canberra to take up the position of Chief Executive Officer of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation before returning to Congress in July 2012.

Ms Ah Chee convened the Workforce Working Party under the Northern Territory Aboriginal Health Forum, was Chairperson of the Central Australian Regional Indigenous Health Planning Committee, a member of the Northern Territory Child Protection External Monitoring Committee and jointly headed up the Northern Territory Government’s Alcohol Framework Project Team.

She currently sits on the National Drug and Alcohol Committee and at a local level, represents the Congress on the People’s Alcohol Action Coalition.

3.NSW: LaVerne Bellear CEO Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service

LaVerne Bellear a descendant from the Nunukle Tribe of south-eastern Queensland, grew up in the northern part of the Bundjalung Nation (north coast New South Wales).

LaVerne strongly believes that empowering Aboriginal people will create opportunity to make better informed decisions and choices regarding personal management of health care, ultimately resulting in better health outcomes. LaVerne has extensive experience in Aboriginal health, having worked in community health, Aboriginal controlled health services and as the Director, Aboriginal Health, Northern Sydney Local Health District.

Recently, LaVerne has taken up the position of CEO, Aboriginal Medical Service Cooperative at Redfern, New South Wales.

She has been a state representative on a number of working parties and committees concerning Aboriginal health. LaVerne has a Bachelor of Business, a Professional Certificate in Indigenous Research in Training and Practices and is studying a Master of Public Health at The University of New South Wales.

4.TAS: Raylene Foster Tasmanian Aboriginal Corporation

Raylene Foster is a palawa women from the Cygnet area. She commenced her career in hospitality, becoming a chef, and then moved into adult teaching within the TAFE institute.

Raylene took on a six-month secondment to Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre in 1995 and stayed; she has now been with the TAC for over 20 years

She’s had varying roles within the TAC, including the Director of the Aboriginal Community School, Workforce Development Officer, Emotional and Social Wellbeing Coordinator and over the past 15 years the Manager of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre in the South, which includes the Aboriginal Health Service.

Raylene has a Graduate Certificate in Administration and an Advanced Diploma in Human Resources, as well as Diploma of Alcohol and Other Drugs and Mental Health and a facilitator in the SMART Recovery program. Raylene is passionate about children’s wellbeing and keeping families connected to break the cycle of institutionalisation, separations and trauma-related illnesses.

Raylene’s Abstract For This Months Rural Health Conference in Hobart 

See Website 

The Aboriginal cultural camp was an initiative that commenced in 2016 for Tasmanian registrars, GPs and members of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community. We wanted to go beyond the basic requirements of attendance at cultural training, to offer an immersion in to Aboriginal culture, on Aboriginal country, with mutual benefit for the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities.

The camp is held annually at trawtha makuminya, Aboriginal-owned land in the Central Highlands of Tasmania, from a Friday afternoon until a Sunday afternoon. Registrars, General Practitioners, Practice Staff and General Practice Training Tasmania staff and family members attend, in addition to the TAC staff Camp Organisers and Caterers, Cultural and Land Educators, Elders and community members.

The weekend involves an official welcome speech, dance and music, yarning around the campfire, guided walks with discussion about Aboriginal history, the land and stone tools, kayaking, basket weaving, hand stencilling, clap stick making, and a session of “You Can’t Ask That”. There is a medical education session and participants hear from an Aboriginal Health Worker and Aboriginal Enrolled Nurse about the services offered by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre.

There is a lot of informal discussion about culture and life stories shared by both the adults and the children.

The feedback given to date, both informally and through the evaluation forms, is overwhelmingly positive. Participants value the beautiful location, the opportunity to spend time with community members outside the clinical setting, the obvious connection to country displayed by the Aboriginal community and the sharing of stories in a cultural exchange.

5.NT: Olga Havnen CEO Danila Dilba Health Service Darwin 

Olga is of Western Arrente descent and grew up in Tennant Creek. Her great-grandfather was Ah Hong, a Chinese cook who worked on the Overland Telegraph Line[2] whose partner was an Aboriginal woman in Alice Springs.

Their daughter Gloria, Havnen’s grandmother, was the first Aboriginal woman to own a house in Alice Springs. Havnen’s father was a Norwegian sailor who jumped ship in Adelaide and her mother, Pegg lived in Tennant Creek. Havnen went to boarding school in TownsvilleQueensland.[3]

Olga Havnen has held positions as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Programs Co-ordinator for the Australian Red Cross, Senior Policy Officer in the Northern Territory Government’s Indigenous Policy Unit, Indigenous Programs Director with the Fred Hollows Foundation, and Executive Officer with the National Indigenous Working Group.

And was the Coordinator General of Remote Service Provision from 2011 until October 2012, when the Northern Territory Government controversially abolished the position.[4]

She released one report which detailed deficiencies in Northern Territory and Commonwealth Government’s service provision to remote communities in the Northern Territory.[5]

She is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Danila Dilba Health Service in Darwin, an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service.[1]

Havnen gave evidence at the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory critical of the outcomes and delivery of the Northern Territory National Emergency Response, commonly referred to as the Intervention stating “the experience of the Intervention was such a debacle you’d never want that repeated, but I do think that there is a role for the federal government in here in the Northern Territory”,

6.VIC: Karen Heap Ballarat & District Aboriginal Co-operative : Chair VACCHO 

Karen Heap, a Yorta Yorta woman, has been the CEO of Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative for 12 years and brings with her a vast amount of knowledge and skillsets procured from extensive experience within the Aboriginal Service Sector.

Karen Heap was recently the winner of the Walda Blow Award ( pictured above )

This award was established by DHHS in partnership with the Victorian Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People, in memory of Aunty Walda Blow – a proud Yorta

Yorta and Wemba Wemba Elder who lived her life in the pursuit of equality.

Aunty Walda was an early founder of the Dandenong and District Aboriginal Cooperative and worked for over 40 years improving the lives of the Aboriginal community. This award recognises contributions of an Aboriginal person in Victoria to the safety and wellbeing of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children and young people.

Karen ensures the safety and wellbeing of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children and young people are always front and centre.

Karen has personally committed her support to the Ballarat Community through establishing and continuously advocating for innovative prevention, intervention and reunification programs.

As the inaugural Chairperson of the Alliance, Karen contributions to establishing the identity and achieving multiple outcomes in the Alliance Strategic Plan is celebrated by her peers and recognised by the community service sector and DHHS.

Karen’s leadership in community but particularly for BADAC, has seen new ways of delivering cultural models of care to Aboriginal children, carers and their families, ensuring a holistic service is provided to best meet the needs of each individual and in turn benefit the community.

7.SA: Willhelmine Lieberwirth South Australia 

 

A Kokatha and Antakirinja woman, Wilhelmine honours her rich family ancestry. She has worked in human services roles, most recently as an Aboriginal Cultural Consultant with Child and Family Health Services and has been instrumental in the Safely Sleeping Aboriginal Babies in South Australia.

Wilhelmine and her family have lived in Whyalla for generations and have been active participants advocating on local health matters, including supporting the local ACCHO Nunyara Aboriginal Health Service Inc.

8.WA: Lesley Nelson CEO South West Aboriginal Medical Service

SWAMS are united by the drive and passion to provide culturally safe, accessible and holistic health care to the Aboriginal people of the South West. WA

As an organisation, they continue to attract and employ culturally appropriate and professional staff members. SWAMS employs over 70 staff members including specialist Aboriginal Health Practitioners, Dietitians, Nurses, Midwives, Mental Health workers and Social Workers and because of this, we are able to provide a large and diverse range of services to the community.

In addition to this, they strive to create Aboriginal career pathways and opportunities across the sector and maintain a positive percentage of ATSI employees

Last year as preparations got underway for the South West Aboriginal Medical Service’s 20th anniversary, centre chief executive officer Lesley Nelson has reflected on how far indigenous health has advanced in the South West in that time.

Ms Nelson said the centre started small with a handful of staff and a desire to improve Aboriginal health outcomes in the region.

Over the next 20 years, it expanded with clinics in Bunbury, Busselton, Manjimup, Collie and Brunswick.

“We started after local elders held discussions with a number of key groups about developing a culturally appropriate service to address the health-related issues of the South West’s Indigenous population,” she said.

“Since then we’ve gone from strength-to-strength, offering a number of employment opportunities in the sector, training programs and improved health outcomes.”

Ms Nelson said the local service played an important role in the community.

“Being based in a number of country towns ensured locals can access our services conveniently, especially if they lack transport options to the bigger cities,” she said.

“We offer an important service because we intervene and manage issues early on and slowly we are improving the health of the South West Noongar people.

“We are also standing out nationally when it comes to maternal and child health.”

Moving forward, SWAMS are keen to continue growing, participating in more research studies and working collaboratively with other similar services to offer a whole of community approach to improved health.

9.ACT: Julie Tongs Winnunga Nimmityjah Health and Community Service

Julie Tongs OAM has been the Chief Executive Officer of Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services since 1998.  Julie has more than 30 years experience working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs and in particular has extensive experience in advising, formulating, implementing and evaluating public health initiatives, programs and policy at a local, regional and national level.

Julie has been a national leader and strong advocate of quality improvement initiatives within the Aboriginal Community Controlled sector.

Julie is the recipient of a number of awards, including the ACT Governor General’s Centenary Medal and the ACT Indigenous Person of the Year. In 2011 Julie received the ACT Local Hero Award within the Australian of the Year Awards 2012, and in 2012 Julie was honoured with the Medal of the Order of Australia.

Julie’s vision is that Winnunga continues to build on its reputation as a national leader in the provision of holistic primary health care services delivered in a culturally appropriate environment that achieves improved health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Julie is committed to ensuring that Winnunga offers services that are delivered consistent with best practice standards.

10 .QLD: Gail Wason Mulungu Primary Health Care Service

We see the best way to build capacity and capability within our corporation is by encouraging strong leaders, maintaining effective governance, ensuring strong systems, and keeping focused on accountable performance management.

Mulungu help our clients to make informed decisions. We work in health but we also work across education and job opportunities. Our model supports individuals who want to do the best for themselves, their family and their community.’

CEO Gail Wason.

Gail is the Chief Executive Officer of Mulungu Primary Health Care Service in Mareeba. She has over 25 years’ experience in Aboriginal affairs and health, and an unwavering commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of her community.

Gail strives to ensure that the community has access to the full range of high quality, culturally appropriate primary health care services that empowers clients to fully participate in the management of their own health.

She has served as QAIHC’s Far North Queensland Director and Chairperson of QAIHC’s Finance Committee and has worked closely with the Board for many years.

Mulungu Aboriginal Corporation Medical Centre is an Aboriginal community-controlled health organisation working to improve the lives of Indigenous people in and around Mareeba.

The centre was established in 1991 and incorporated under the CATSI Act in 1993.

The rural town of Mareeba—a word from local Aboriginal language meaning ‘meeting of the waters’—is located on the Atherton Tablelands where the Barron River meets Granite Creek. Traditionally Muluridji people inhabited this land.

‘Although the bright lights of Cairns are only 65 kilometres away we feel like a stand-alone, small country town,’ says chair of the Mulungu board of directors (and valued volunteer) Alan Wason. ‘We have a population of 10,000 and our own identity separate from Cairns.’

The town of Mareeba may be a little tucked away but it has much to offer, including Mulungu Aboriginal Corporation Medical Centre—a bright, open, modern building—which employs a large professional staff who work as a team and support each other. Everyone is passionate about providing top quality holistic health care to the community through Mulungu’s programs and services.

Mulungu’s mission is to provide comprehensive primary health care to the community in culturally, socially and emotionally appropriate ways. It’s about handing back power to the people to manage their own health, wellbeing and spiritual needs. So as well as providing clinical health care services Mulungu ‘auspices’ other important primary health care programs, including the Mareeba Children and Families Centre (CFC), Mareeba Parent and Community Engagement (PaCE) Program, and the Mareeba Young and Awesome Project (MY&A).

The MY&A Project tackles the problem of binge drinking in the community. Its aim is to motivate young people (aged 12 to 25) to get involved in constructive activities that they might enjoy—and to get them away from drinking alcohol. This two-year project is funded by the Australian Government.

‘We help our clients to make informed decisions,’ says Gail Wason. ‘We work in health but we also work across education and job opportunities. Our model supports individuals who want to do the best for themselves, their family and their community.’

It’s all about changing and improving lives.

To learn more about Mulungu Aboriginal Corporation Medical Service visit http://mulungu.org.au.