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.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Media Alerts : 1.Today 18 Nov watch @HealthJusticeAu Webinar features our @NACCHOChair Donnella Mills 2. Listen to our CEO Pat Turner 2019 review interview @abcspeakingout 3.Watch Rachel Perkins deliver the first 2019 Boyer Lecture

 

1.Health Justice Partnerships webinar today 18 November features our NACCHO Chair Donnella Mills 

Monday 18 November – 2:30pm – 4:00pm AEDT 

A quiet revolution is taking place across Australia and it’s transforming the way some of the most vulnerable in our community access legal services. In a practitioner-led movement, community lawyers have been moving out of their offices and into the most unlikely of places – hospitals and community health settings – to collaborate with health services and their patients to address unmet, health-harming legal need.

Known as health justice partnerships (HJPs), these collaborations work by embedding legal help into healthcare services and teams.

Health Justice Partnerships will explore the growing body of evidence that shows there are groups of people who are vulnerable to intersecting legal and health problems, but who are unlikely to turn to legal services for solutions.

Facilitated by Jason Rostant, a panel examines what takes a HJP partnership beyond ‘status quo’ services in terms of purpose, structure, activity and resourcing.

Panellists include:

  • Donnella Mills, Lawyer, Lawright and Chair, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (NACCHO
  • Tessa Boyd Caine, CEO, Health Justice Australia
  • Jane Cipants, Director Client Service, Legal Aid
  • Sandra Gates, Director Allied Health and Clinical Support, The Royal Women’s Hospital

*Panelists subject to change

Get to know

  • Legal problems that affect health
  • The definition of a health justice partnership
  • Evidence supporting the HJP model
  • Create partnerships with existing local social resource providers and expand capacity to address social needs
  • The development and sustainability of the community service sector

Register here to watch the Webinar 

2.Our CEO Pat Turner interviewed by  Larissa Behrendt on Speaking Out 16 Nov

 

Pat Turners 2019 Year in Review Features include

1.Closing the gap / Have Your Say consultations

2. Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt has urged the senior advisory group co-designing an Indigenous Voice to Government to take hold of the “moment in time” before them to change the lives of Indigenous Australians.

3. Yuendumu police shooting: Indigenous groups demand action

4.New $90 Million funding for our ACCHO’s

Listen here to Interview

3. Leading filmmaker Rachel Perkins echoes the Uluru Statement from the Heart in the first of her ABC Boyer Lectures:

Watch on IView

I am reminded of the distinguished poet and stateswoman, Oodgeroo Noonuccal, when she wrote:

“Let no-one say the past is dead.

“The past is all about us and within.”

Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this article contains images of people who have died.

Watch the full speech see link below

Watch Rachel Perkins deliver the first 2019 Boyer Lecture on ABC iview

For Indigenous people have not lost from our minds the history of our nation, not only its deep past of thousands of years, but also the events on April 29, 250 years ago, when James Cook ordered his men to fire upon the two men on the shore.

It is likely they were Gweagal warriors, who stood before him in defence of their family behind them on the beach. Cook’s action signalled the Crown’s intentions; the transfer of a continent, from one people to another, by force if necessary, a phenomenon we politely call colonisation.

Our generation wasn’t standing on the deck of the Endeavour or on the shores of Kamay Botany Bay in 1770, just as we weren’t present during the massacres as the colonial frontier progressed from south to north.

However, as my father Charles Perkins, the Indigenous leader who came to prominence in the 1960s for leading the Freedom Ride, said:

“We cannot live in the past, but the past lives in us.”

The past has made us. We are its inheritors, for better or worse, and this is now our time.

How we move forward from this moment will set the course of relationships between Indigenous people and their fellow Australians into the future.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-16/boyer-lecture-rachel-perkins-echoes-uluru-statement/11696504

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #NACCHOAgm19 #NACCHOYouth19 : Transcript of doorstop media interview with Minister Greg Hunt NACCHO and Chair Donnella Mills at the NACCHO Conference in Darwin

” It’s just a privilege to be here at the NACCHO Conference with Donnella, with Pat, with Senator Sam McMahon.

We’ve made an announcement today of a new funding model agreed by and with NACCHO and Indigenous Australia.

They’ve had deep input. They went through an early draft and had a huge involvement in redrafting, redesigning.

And I’m delighted that we’ll be adding an additional $90 million to help produce better Indigenous health outcomes. That will be supporting our Aboriginal community controlled health organisations, our Aboriginal medical services, 145 of them around the country.

And in particular, it will help as we pursue the goals of ending avoidable Indigenous blindness, avoidable Indigenous deafness and ending rheumatic heart disease and making a difference (inaudible) Donnella, you want to say a couple of words and then?

Introduction at media event from Health Minister Greg Hunt at NACCHO Members Conference Darwin

DONNELLA MILLS:

Yes. Just as- as the Acting Chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, we really welcome this announcement.

And I just want to make particular mention with Minister Hunt that we’ve really moved forward on building a genuine partnership.

What we know as Aboriginal and Torres Islander peoples, we are the experts in delivering comprehensive primary health care to our people.

So I look forward to continuing to work with the Australian Government. And again, we welcome this announcement. Pat?

GREG HUNT:

Great. Happy to take any questions.

JOURNALIST:

Minister, can you talk us through the major enhancements to the way the funding is distributed? What are the changes that the organisations will see?

GREG HUNT:

So firstly, it’s a three-year funding. Secondly, there’s a guarantee that every organisation will maintain its existing funding and then that additional funding will be based on a combination of need, cost, and complexity.

And so it’s been designed by and with the Aboriginal community controlled health organisations and services.

And thirdly, the other element that’s there, which is really important, is the indexation of wages. And it’s a fair point to ask whether that should or shouldn’t have been built in previously, but it will be now.

JOURNALIST:

Labor has brought up, I suppose, questions about the timing of these Ministerial visits the past few days, because there’s a public inquiry on- or a Senate inquiry on in Darwin. Was it timed to match with that?

GREG HUNT:

No. This conference was established by NACCHO, their time, their watch.

And I, in fact, adjusted my diary to be here for their conference. And so sort of a little bit embarrassing, I think, for them to be trying to downplay a really important health breakthrough. And as Donnella said, a health partnership.

The timing was set, as it should have been, by Indigenous Australia for Indigenous Australia. And I was privileged to join them on their time, on their watch as part of their conference.

JOURNALIST:

How committed is the Coalition Government to developing Northern Australia? I mean it was- it’s been, you know, years since they- Tony Abbott first announced the White Paper into Developing Northern Australia.

The rhetoric gets brought up election after election, but really is there- is there much of a difference being made on the ground in regional and especially north Australia?

GREG HUNT:

Look, I think the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund has very real possibilities. One of the things which is available under that- we might well be able to support some of the very services that we outlined today.

So the physical infrastructure for Aboriginal community controlled health services does qualify under the NAIF, and that could make a real difference.

Sam, you’ve been very involved in northern development, your thoughts?

SAM MCMAHON:

Yeah. I mean, look, it has been slower to be rolled out and it has been slower in uptake than we would have liked. And you possibly heard Minister Canavan say that yesterday.

But he and the Coalition Government and myself are very committed to making sure that that gets rolled out.

And not only the NAIF, but some other infrastructure, other things such as health infrastructure. We are very committed to making sure that that northern Australia is taken care of.

GREG HUNT:

Okay. Thank you. So look, ultimately, today is about saving lives and protecting lives in Indigenous Australia, and a partnership that we hope will last the next 20 years. Thank you.

JOURNALIST:

Minister, what are you doing- what’s the Government doing to address the sickness outbreak that has now seen more than three-hundred to three-thousand people affected from Queensland right the way through to Western Australia?

GREG HUNT:

So the Chief Medical Officer has led discussions and led talks with states on- and the territories on precisely that issue.

So we’ve been investing additional funds. The Chief Medical Officer is leading a coordinated national plan with the states and territories on that issue.

And then the third element of course is the AMS, the Aboriginal Medical Services, and their capacity to make that impact on the ground.

JOURNALIST:

Does there need to be a national centre for disease control, do you think?

GREG HUNT:

Well I think what we do have, which is run out of the Health Department, is precisely that.

We have a national approach to disease coordination and emergency management, which comes from the Federal Health Department, it’s actually embedded within.

JOURNALIST:

Was the Government too slow to act on this issue given that that outbreak started in Queensland I think right back in 2014, perhaps even earlier?

GREG HUNT:

Look, we’ve stepped in because some of the states and territories have not done their work. So primarily, the population health control responsibilities rests with the states and territories.

But where there is an issue, which comes because in some cases they may not have stepped up, then it’s our time and our turn and our watch, and we’ll deal with that.

JOURNALIST:

Any state and territory in particular that dropped the ball on this one?

GREG HUNT:         

Oh, I think this was most significantly the issue in Queensland. They were notified, they were warned, and they were very slow to act. Okay, thank you very much.

NACCHO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce : Donnella Mills @NACCHOChair Keynote Address at #CATSINaM19 Building a workforce and embedding #CulturalSafety : Connecting care through culture

” I’m keen to hear your ideas on how we can cooperate across the sector to develop a better workforce with cultural safety embedded throughout the hundreds of clinics and hospitals across the country.

I was impressed by the theme you chose for your conference: ‘connecting care through culture’. That simple phrase captures so much of what we do in our sector each and every day.

Cultural safety, I believe, is what makes us unique and what represents our greatest strength.

In the Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations – the ACCHOs – you have this reinforced through the operating model.

Community control’ is not just a term – it is a 48-year-old model – forged at Redern in 1971 – and now exercised in 144 local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across the country.” 

Donnella Mills Acting Chair, NACCHO Keynote address at the CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference Sydney 26 September 

I would like to acknowledge that this conference is being held on Aboriginal land. I recognise the strength, resilience and capacity of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation who are the traditional custodians of this place we now call Sydney. I pay my respects to their elders.

For those of you who don’t know me, I am a Torres Strait Islander woman with ancestral and family links to Masig and Nagir. I am the Acting Chair of NACCHO, which stands for the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation.

I thank the CATSINaM Board for inviting me to deliver this address. It is a privilege to be talking with you today and a special pleasure to be among so many hard-working and dedicated healthcare professionals.

Without you, the Health gap would be so much wider than it is now. Without you, there would be little cultural safety in our hospitals and medical services. I have seen how important your work is on the ground at Wuchopperen and in the other services I have visited. You are the backbone of Aboriginal health.

I plan to speak for about 25 minutes. That will leave us about 20 minutes for yarning at the end. I’m keen to hear your ideas on how we can cooperate across the sector to develop a better workforce with cultural safety embedded throughout the hundreds of clinics and hospitals across the country.

Community control

Our people trust us with their health. We build ongoing relationships to give continuity of care so that chronic conditions are managed and preventative health care is effectively targeted.

Studies have shown that Aboriginal controlled health services are 23% better at attracting and retaining Aboriginal clients than mainstream providers.

Through local engagement and a proven service delivery model, our clients ‘stick’. The cultural safety in which we provide our services is a key factor of our success. In this way, ACCHOs are already ‘leading the way’.

We also build partnerships that make things work. Leadership is not all about the strength to stand up on your own, it is about being smart enough to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with one another. It is about galvanising support on the ground. It is about forging alliances in the sector and building strategic partnerships at the national level.

Employment

Another strength – one that we tend to overlook – is the sheer size of our sector. Let’s have a look at the ACCHO part of it alone. It is not widely known, but the 144 ACCHOs, collectively, are the single largest employer of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia. That means that one in every 44 Indigenous jobs in Australia is at one of our health services.

If we add the Aboriginal health workers in the mainstream and the rest of the sector, these numbers become all the more impressive.

Our sector is doing more to close the employment gap than any of the employment measures dreamed up by Government agencies.

If the Government really wants to get people off welfare, don’t punish vulnerable people with cashless welfare cards, robo-debts or by sending them off to meaningless Work for the Dole activities.

Work with our sector and grow the Aboriginal workforce together. We have real jobs located in real communities. That is where the investment needs to go.

We should remind our politicians of this when they visit us.

They may see a small clinic somewhere with a few staff, but if they understood that we are part of a huge national network of Aboriginal professionals, they might take more notice of us and realise what we have to offer.

Comprehensive primary health care

Another challenge for us is continuing the development of a comprehensive primary health care model. I think we have been hearing this since the release of the National Aboriginal Health Strategy way back in 1989.

Twenty-one years later, a study concluded that ACCHOs are one of a very few settings where ‘comprehensive primary health care’ is delivered. If we keep offering a comprehensive approach for primary health care across the nation, our people will be much less likely to fall between the cracks.

We can do this through colocation of services or forming partnerships at the local level. This can include clinical care, immunisation and environmental health programs, on-site pharmaceutical dispensing and partnerships with family violence, child protection counselling and legal services.

We can also develop links with sports programs, homelessness services, dental services, aged care and disability support. None of these elements can fully succeed when they stand alone. The voluminous literature on the social determinants of health tell us that. But more importantly, it is what we all know from our own personal experiences.

You don’t need an academic to tell you that comprehensive primary health care is the best approach. We all know this intuitively and from our experiences on the ground.

I am not saying that we should all diversify or ‘dilute’ what we are doing. What I am saying is that while we focus on our core activities, we should also be taking every opportunity we can to link up with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services and programs in complementary areas.

From my own experience ….

When you think about it, it should not be hard to promote ourselves; to sell ourselves to a new Government. After all, we provide value for money. ACCHOs result in greater health benefits per dollar spent; measured at a value of $1.19 for every $1 spent.

Studies have also shown that the lifetime health impact of interventions delivered by ACCHOs is 50% greater than if these same interventions were delivered by mainstream health services. This is primarily due to improved Aboriginal access and outcomes.

I don’t need to tell you that we also have some pretty significant challenges ahead of us. And I’d like to address these now, one by one.

Remuneration

If we are serious about workforce development, then we cannot ignore the issue of wages. Correct me if I am wrong, but from what I have heard, remuneration is a big issue for nurses and midwives. The ALP, as part of its election platform in May of this year had much to say about improving wages and conditions in the childcare sector, and justifiably so. Childcare is another industry in which women dominate, but are underpaid.

We need the Commonwealth and State Governments to take a similar approach to nurses and midwives. As you all know, women make up almost 90% of all employed nurses and midwives. Representative bodies like NACCHO and CATSINaM need to work together to drive this message home to Governments across the country. Remuneration is an important aspect in attracting and retaining staff.

Vocational development

I think we need to keep improving the career development opportunities and skills acquisition not just for nurses and midwives, but for all Aboriginal health workers. Currently, there is an imbalance in the medical services in which we see more Aboriginal people on the lower levels and amongst the non-clinical staff.

The graph in my presentation shows the situation for ACCHOs. We need more Aboriginal non-clinical staff but we need even more Aboriginal clinical staff.

Recruitment

I see that CATSINaM has a proud record in increasing its membership in recent years. I think you had a record number in your 2018 Annual Report – 1,366 members – representing a jump of 35%. Clearly, you are doing something right to have recruited so many new members.

You must have won the trust of your members to have such a healthy and expanding membership base. With almost half of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwifes in Australia as your members, CATSINaM is the key organisation in addressing many of the workforce development issues in our sector.

Certainly, much more needs to be done to develop career pathways to secure more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwifes as well as more doctors and allied health professionals.

Across Australia in 2015 the AIHW reported that there were only about 180 medical practitioners, 750 allied health professionals, and 3,200 nurses (including 230 midwives) who identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people. For nurses, this represents just over 1% of all employed nurses and midwives Australia-wide.

The Northern Territory (2.4%) and Tasmania (2.2%) had the highest proportion of Aboriginal nurses and midwives, while Victoria had the lowest (0.5%). Compare these figures to our proportion of working-age Australians – close to 3.%. We should have 3% of all nurses and midwives, not 1%.

As I have already said, our sector is the largest employer of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the country.

Now, if the ACCHOs as a group employ about 6,000 staff, of which 56 per cent are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders, then we still have another 2,500 jobs in our own sector which could be filled by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

We have a significant opportunity here. Think of what we could do for our people if we filled such a large number of jobs.

Retention

A big challenge that we confront every day – particularly in the bush – is retention. Stress and burnout is a real problem as Fran Baum’s research has shown. Turnover of staff is high and vacancies remain unfilled for longer than we would like.

With so many vacancies, particularly in remote clinics, a concerted effort could also have a significant positive impact on the size and health of our workforce. It is troubling to hear of the high reported vacancy rate of 6% (i.e. about 380 vacancies at any point in time).

Nevertheless, ACCHOs are doing pretty well in comparison with mainstream and non-Aboriginal organisations. The proportion of health vacancies was 6% compared with 9% for other organisations. My guess is that it is cultural safety that explains the advantage here.

So, if we have a good model and we have sector already working hard for Aboriginal health, then how are we going?

Life expectancy target not met

If we look at just one of the ‘Closing the Gap’ targets – life expectancy – you can see how stark the differences are. According to ABS data, which probably overestimate Aboriginal life expectancy, non-Aboriginal Australians can expect to live to about the age of 82. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are lucky to make it to 72. T

hat’s a ten-year difference. We would be better off living in other countries where the life expectancy is higher. Countries – believe it or not – like Bangladesh or Azerbaijan. Life expectancy is longer in some Third World countries than it is for our people.

Funding for Aboriginal health has fallen

Despite all the words we have heard from Commonwealth and State Governments over the years about ‘Closing the Gap’, instead of increasing expenditure, Governments have actually decreased expenditure on Aboriginal health over the past decade.

Governments need to spend two to three times more on Aboriginal health if we are to have a level of funding commensurate with the actual cost of the burden of disease. This is a huge sum – about $1.4 billion per year – on one estimate.

In real terms health expenditure (excluding hospital expenditure) for Aboriginal people fell 2% from $3,840 per person in 2008 to $3,780 per person in 2016. Over the same period, expenditure on non-Aboriginal people rose by 10%. How can you expect to close the gap when you are reducing funding for our people and increasing it for the non-Aboriginal population?

If we act as one, we can turn things around.

Look at the way that the Aboriginal peaks, like NACCHO and CATSINaM, stood together to force the nine Australian governments to restart the Closing the Gap process. Before we came together and complained to them, the consultation process was expensive lip service.

Before we stood together with one voice, our separate voices were ignored. Now they are listening. Now things are back on track.

Funds are tighter than ever to procure, but, over the years, we have built a world class model of health care and there is too much at stake for us now to start drifting backwards now.

The timing is critical, especially now that we have a re-elected Government and the new arrangements in the administration of Aboriginal programs. It is great to see Ken Wyatt as the first Aboriginal Cabinet member as the Minister for Indigenous Australians.

But we need to engage as closely as we can with him and with Minister Hunt. We also need to keep the dialogue open with Senator Dodson, Senator McCarthy and the Member for Barton in NSW, Linda Burney.

There are also plenty of good Aboriginal leaders in the State and Territory Governments and I urge you to keep talking to them. It is important to have our voice heard.

Especially when we face a mainstream system that continues to overlook us; especially when we have a mainstream system that continues to patronise us. If we don’t act now and keep the pressure up, we will lose some of our recent hard-won gains.

The future

Despite the appalling funding neglect for programs and the low wages paid to our health workers, you have shone in adversity. You are resilient. You survive despite whatever circumstances you find yourselves in.

It’s self-determination and the need to control our own health programs that led to the ACCHO model of care in the first place. It is a lesson for our sector.

If the system was working now, we would have zero preventable hospital admissions. The evidence is not just here, it is overseas as well.

In Canada it has been shown that First Nations communities that transitioned from government-control to community-control of health services experienced a 30% reduction in hospitalisation rates compared with communities where government control was maintained.

In a perfect world our model of primary care through community control would also be complete. We would have full coverage across the land.

We would also have an Aboriginal NDIS workforce in fully-funded models for disability services rolled out, Australia-wide.

And of course, all this hinges on a more accountable public health system and an uncapped needs-based funding model. Who knows, if we had all these things, we may even seriously imagine a future in which we have actually closed the health gap.

With Aboriginal health in Aboriginal hands I know that we can get there eventually.

NACCHO and CATSINaM can continue to work together and to set the way forward for Aboriginal health.

But we can also show the non-Aboriginal population what is possible. It is this future that I imagine for my daughter and my own family.

I am sure that it is a vision that we all share.

Leading the way for all of Australia through cultural safety and respect.

Have your say about what is needed to make real change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people #HaveYourSay about #closingthegap

There is a discussion booklet that has background information on Closing the Gap and sets out what will be talked about in the survey.

The survey will take a little bit of time to complete. It would be great if you can answer all the questions, but you can also just focus on the issues that you care about most.

To help you prepare your answers, you can look at a full copy here

The survey is open to everyone and can be accessed here:

https://www.naccho.org.au/programmes/coalition-of-peaks/have-your-say/

 

NACCHO Health and #austph2019 Read full speech HERE : Acting @NACCHOChair Donnella Mills #Humanrights Panel – 48 years of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Control’

 ” I believe that the development of collaborative, integrated service models can provide innovative and effective solutions for addressing not only the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the justice system, but also the indefensible health gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.

Justice health partnerships provide a model of integrated service delivery that goes to the heart of the social determinants of health, key causal factors contributing to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ over-exposure to the justice and health systems. In this way we are also focussing on the rights of our people.

Address the legal issues, and you will have better health outcomes.

In the health and justice areas the message is simple. Community-control works, cultural safety works and collaborative partnerships work.

With Aboriginal community control at the front and centre of service design, we can deliver both preventive law and preventive health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. ”

Donnella Mills, Acting Chair NACCHO

Speaking at the Australian Public Health Conference, Adelaide Panel Plenary session titled ‘Human Rights’

I would like to acknowledge that the land on which we are meeting today is the traditional land of the Kaurna Nation. I respect the continuing culture of the Kaurna people and the contribution they make to the life of this important city.

You may wish to say ‘hello, how are you’ in the Kaurna language. If so, say:

“I understand that the traditional greeting in the Kaurna language is ‘Ninna Marni’.”

I am the Acting Chair of NACCHO, which stands for the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation. For those of you who don’t know me, I am a Torres Strait Islander woman with ancestral and family links to Masig and Nagir islands.

You may also want to add ‘welcome’ in Meriam Mir. If so, “In the language of Masig Island, ‘Maiem’.”

Thanks are due to the Public Health Association of Australia for welcoming me here to speak today. I am delighted to be able to share ideas with you on a topic that is close to my heart. I am also honoured to be part of a panel with such two inspiring colleagues: Barri Phatarfod (Founder, Doctors for Refugees) and Mohammad Al-Khafaji (CEO, FECCA).

In this presentation I will look at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice issues and the role of NACCHO’s member organisations: the 144 Aboriginal Community-controlled health organisations (our ‘ACCHOs’).

It is always tempting to focus on problems. I could talk about the fact that our life expectancy is at the level of a Third-World nation: about ten years lower than the non-Aboriginal population.

I could talk about the unconscionably high rates of incarceration for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and our over-representation in state and territory gaols and institutions across the country. I could ask why nothing has changed since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody was initiated in 1988. But most of you are already very familiar with these topics and frustrations.

What I will focus on instead is the ACCHO model of health care, how it started and how it has evolved. Why? Because I think that our model of community control is a way forward. It gives Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people control. It gives our people the framework in which we can deliver our own health outcomes and develop our own solutions and are able to form genuine partnerships.

So, before we look forward, let’s look backwards for a moment, so that we can appreciate the context in which this model was forged.

NACCHO and the model of Aboriginal community control

 

The Public Health Association is celebrating 50 years since its foundation in 1969. Two years after that, in 1971, the first Aboriginal medical service was established at Redfern. It was a response to the urgent need to provide decent, accessible health services for the largely medically uninsured Aboriginal population of Redfern.

The mainstream was not working. So it was, that forty-eight years ago, Aboriginal people took control and designed and delivered our own model of health care.

Similar Aboriginal medical services quickly sprung up around the country. In 1974, a national peak organisation was formed to represent them at the national level. All this predated the huge Medibank reforms of 1975.

The ACCHO sector has been growing bigger and stronger every year since 1971. NACCHO – the national peak – now represents 144 ACCHOs across the country. Our members provide about three million episodes of care per year for about 350,000 people – that’s over half the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.

Collectively, we employ about 6,000 staff (the majority of whom are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people), which makes us the single largest employer of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people in the country.

It also shows the flow on effect of what we have been doing. In this case, that our health organisations are doing more to Close the Gap in Aboriginal employment than any government program or scheme.

There is a dangerous myth that Aboriginal and Torres Strait people receive ample funding. The Government’s own numbers show that, in real terms, health expenditure (excluding hospital expenditure) for Aboriginal people fell 2% from $3,840 per person in 2008 to $3,780 per person in 2016.

Over the same period, expenditure on non-Aboriginal people rose by 10%. How can Governments seriously expect to Close the Gap in health if funding is decreasing? The burden of disease for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island population is 2.3 times higher than for the rest of the population. The burden of disease can be six-times higher in remote areas.

Despite the funding shortfall, our ACCHOs continue to deliver excellent results.

The primary health care approach developed by Redfern and other early ACCHOs was innovative. It mirrored international aspirations at the time for accessible, effective and comprehensive health care with a focus on prevention and social justice. It even foreshadowed the WHO Alma Ata Declaration on Primary Health Care in 1978.

Just like we did in the 1970s, NACCHO has continued to play a leadership role. Some of you may be aware that, recently, NACCHO and almost 40 other peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander bodies forced the nine Australian governments to get the Closing the Gap process back on track.

This is community control at the national level. It is the first time that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peaks have come together in this way, to work collectively and as full partners with the nine Australian governments.

We need this sort of radical shift to the way governments work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at all levels of policy design and implementation. We need a seat at the table and responsibility for making decisions about what governments do in our communities.

Another priority reform area is placing Aboriginal community-controlled services in all sectors – not just health – at the heart of delivering programs and services to our people. When we are in control and lead the design and implementation of services in our communities the outcomes are so much better.

We have also had some staunch allies along the way. ACOSS and the AMA, for example, continue to be a key friends in our sector. For example, the 2018 AMA Report Card was launched in November of last year. It highlighted research showing that the mortality gaps between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians are widening. NACCHO called for the immediate adoption of its recommendations.

Closing the gap on justice outcomes

Now that I have referred back to the history of the community-controlled model and where it is today, let me now switch the focus onto human rights and justice outcomes.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) sees the “highest attainable standard of health as a fundamental human right”. I agree with this statement.

Most of you here today know the shocking statistics. I have already mentioned that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have ten-years less in life expectancy than other Australians.

We must take a rights-based approach in addressing health inequities, if we are ever going to close the gap. This means that we need to address the social determinants of health, such as: education, housing, and other social and economic factors. This, of course, is a huge topic, so let’s just focus on justice outcomes.

Earlier this year it was reported that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men are imprisoned at a rate almost 15-times greater than non-Aboriginal men, and for women the rate is even higher, 21-times worse than non-Aboriginal women.

Our women represent the fastest growing population group in prisons; their imprisonment rate is up 148% since 1991. Locking up our women affects the whole community. Children may be removed and placed in out-of-home care. Research has found there are links between detainees’ children being placed into out-of-home care and their subsequent progression into youth detention centres and adult correctional facilities. Communities suffer, and the cycle of intergenerational trauma and disadvantage is perpetuated.

Figures on the incarceration of our children and young people in detention facilities also reveal alarmingly high trends of overrepresentation. Our young people aged 10–17 are 26-times as likely as non-Aboriginal young people to be in detention on any given night. How can this be justified?

Governments’ inertia and lack of commitment to genuinely addressing the issues have contributed to a worsening situation. The National Indigenous Law and Justice Framework 2009-2015 was never funded, attracted no buy in from state and territory governments, and the review findings of the Framework were never made public.

It is encouraging to note that in its 2016 report of the inquiry into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experience of law enforcement and justice services, the Senate committee recommended that the Commonwealth Government support Aboriginal-led justice reinvestment projects. In December 2017, the Australian Law Reform Commission recommended that Commonwealth, state and territory governments should provide support for:

  • the establishment of an independent justice reinvestment body; and
  • justice reinvestment trials initiated in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Emerging out of these inquiries is a growing understanding that an improvement in justice outcomes must begin with a commitment to self-determination, community control, and cultural safety. These are three of the most critical elements of the community-controlled model itself.

Appropriately resourced community controlled services are essential for addressing these barriers. Best-practice solutions to preventable problems of our peoples’ exposure to the justice system must begin with enabling their access to trusted services that are governed by these three principles.

But let’s see some traction on the ground with these statements. The intentions are there, but now is the time to act.

Case study – Law Yarn

As a lawyer myself and the ex-Chair of the Cairns-based Wuchopperen Health Service, I have become aware of the need to provide better legal supports for my community. In conversations with local Elders and LawRight, Wuchopperen entered into a justice health partnership in 2016.

LawRight is an independent, not-for-profit, community-based legal organisation which coordinates the provision of pro bono legal services for individuals and community groups. The aim of the partnership was to improve health outcomes by enhancing access to legal rights and early intervention. Initially, it was decided that, as community member and lawyer employed by LawRight, I would provide the free legal services at Wuchopperen’s premises.

One of the challenges of health justice partnerships is ongoing funding, and in 2017 we were forced to close our doors for several months. We knew the partnership was addressing a real need in our community, so we submitted a funding proposal to the Queensland Government, and received funding of $55,000 to trial ‘Law Yarn’.

Law Yarn is a unique resource that supports good health outcomes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It helps health workers to yarn with members of remote, regional and urban communities about their legal problems and connect them to legal help.

Representatives from LawRight, Wuchopperen Health Service, Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service and the Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Legal Services came together and created a range of culturally safe resources based on LawRight’s successful Legal Health Check resources. A handy how-to guide includes conversation prompts and advice on how to capture the person’s family, financial, tenancy or criminal law legal needs as well as discussing and recording their progress.

Legal and health services throughout Australia have expressed interest in this holistic approach to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. And we are hopeful that the evaluation findings will support the rollout of our model to ACCHOs across Australia.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I believe that the development of collaborative, integrated service models can provide innovative and effective solutions for addressing not only the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the justice system, but also the indefensible health gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.

Justice health partnerships provide a model of integrated service delivery that goes to the heart of the social determinants of health, key causal factors contributing to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ over-exposure to the justice and health systems. In this way we are also focussing on the rights of our people. Address the legal issues, and you will have better health outcomes.

If the Government really wants to help vulnerable populations, don’t punish them with cashless welfare cards, with robo-debts or by sending them off to meaningless Work for the Dole activities. Work with us, not against us.

In the health and justice areas the message is simple. Community-control works, cultural safety works and collaborative partnerships work.

With Aboriginal community control at the front and centre of service design, we can deliver both preventive law and preventive health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Thank you.

 

Aboriginal Health and Justice #LawYarn : @NACCHOChair Donnella Mills speech at #NILCIHJC2019 #NILC2019 Justice health partnerships provide a model of integrated service delivery

Legal and health services throughout Australia have expressed interest in this holistic approach to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

And we are hopeful that the evaluation findings will support the rollout of our model to ACCHOs across Australia.

I believe that the development of collaborative, integrated service models such as Law Yarn can provide innovative and effective solutions for addressing not only the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the justice system, but also the health gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.

Address the legal problems, and you will have better health outcomes. Justice health partnerships provide a model of integrated service delivery that go to the heart of the social determinants of health, key causal factors contributing to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ over-exposure to the justice system.[i]

With Aboriginal community control at the front and centre of service design, these partnerships can deliver both preventive law and preventive health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.” 

Acting NACCHO Chair Donnella Mills speaking at the Indigenous Health Justice Darwin August 13

Picture above : Barb Shaw Chair AMSANT , Donnella , Priscilla Atkins and MC Christine Ross 

I would like to acknowledge that the land on which we are meeting today is the traditional land of the Larrakia Nation. I wish to acknowledge and respect the continuing culture of the Larrakia people and the contribution they make to the life of this important region.

I thank the convenors of the Indigenous Health Justice Conference for welcoming me so warmly. I am delighted to be here to share ideas with you on a topic that is close to my heart. For those who don’t know me, I am a Torres Strait Islander woman with ancestral and family links to Masig and Nagir. I am the Acting Chair of NACCHO, which stands for the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation.

It was tempting to focus today on the problem rather than a solution. I could have talked about the unconscionably high rates of incarceration for our people and their over-representation in the gaols and institutions across the country. I could have asked why nothing has changed since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody was initiated in 1988. But most of you are already very familiar with these topics and frustrations.

What I would like to focus on instead is the Aboriginal community-controlled model of health care, how it started, how it evolved over time and where it is going. Why? Because I think that the model of community control is the future, not just in health, but in justice and other areas.

It gives us control. It gives us a way forward in which we assume control of our own health and justice outcomes and develop our own solutions and genuine partnerships.

I want to talk to you about how the principles, values and beliefs underpinning the Aboriginal community-controlled model provide a sensible foundation for preventing and reducing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ exposure to the justice system.

But before we look forward, let’s look backwards for a moment, so that we can appreciate the context in which this model was forged.

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health since 1971

The first Aboriginal medical service was established at Redfern in 1971 as a response to the urgent need to provide decent, accessible health services for the largely medically uninsured Aboriginal population of Redfern. The mainstream was not working. So it was, that forty-eight years ago, Aboriginal people took control and designed and delivered their own model of health care.

Similar Aboriginal medical services quickly sprung up around the country. In 1974, NAIHO (the National Aboriginal and Islander Health Organisation) was formed to represent them at the national level. All this predated Medibank in 1975. NAIHO became NACCHO in 1992 and the ACCHO sector has been growing bigger and stronger every year.

We now represent 144 ACCHOs across the country. Our members provide about three million episodes of care per year for about 350,000 people. Collectively, we employ about 6,000 staff (56 per cent whom are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders), which makes us the single largest employer of Aboriginal or Torres Strait people in the country.

The primary health care approach developed by Redfern and other early ACCHOs was innovative. It mirrored international aspirations at the time for accessible, effective and comprehensive health care with a focus on prevention and social justice. It even foreshadowed the WHO Alma-Ata Declaration on Primary Health Care in 1978.

NACCHO has often played a leadership role in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. Some of you may be aware that, recently, NACCHO and almost 40 other peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander bodies have worked hard to force the nine Australian governments to get the Closing the Gap process back on track.

Closing the Gap

As the ‘refreshed’ strategy was being prepared for sign off by the Australian Governments, our frustration with the process galvanised a small group of community-controlled organisations to come together to write to the Prime Minister, Premiers and Chief Ministers asking that it not be agreed. NACCHO led the bringing together of organisations for this purpose.

Along with NACCHO, APONT, Central Land Council, and Northern Land Council here in the Northern Territory were four of the first fourteen organisations that signed up to this letter to the Prime Minister. I would like to acknowledge the great work that John Paterson and other Territorians have done in this respect.

Governments could see that we weren’t going away. There were three important messages that we wanted them to hear. These were:

  1. Include us in the design and delivery of services that impact on us and the outcomes will be far better.
  2. We need to be at the centre of Closing the Gap policy as the gap won’t close without our full involvement.
  3. COAG cannot expect us to work constructively with them to improve outcomes if we are excluded from the decision making.

By staying strong and unified, our voice could not be ignored. On 6 December 2018, the Prime Minister met with us and acknowledged that the current targets were ‘government targets’ not ‘shared targets’, and that for Closing the Gap to be realised we had to be able to take formal responsibility for the outcomes through shared-decision making.

Six days later, the nine Australian Governments publicly committed to developing a genuine partnership with us through which a new Closing the Gap policy would be agreed.

The initial fourteen organisations have since grown to almost forty, as we brought together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peaks bodies across the country to form a Coalition of Peaks to negotiate a new Closing the Gap framework with Australian Governments.

This is community control at the national level. It is the first time that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peaks have come together in this way, to work collectively and as full partners with Australian Governments. It’s also the first time that there has been formal decision making with our peoples and the Australian Governments in this way.

We need this sort of radical shift to the way governments work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at all levels of policy design and implementation. We need a seat at the table and responsibility for making decisions about what governments do in our communities. Another priority reform area is placing Aboriginal community-controlled services in all sectors – not just health – at the heart of delivering programs and services to our people. When we are in control and lead services for our communities the outcomes are so much better.

Throughout our negotiations with government, we learned the importance of staying strong and presenting a unified voice. Our membership may be large and reflective of very diverse organisations. But this diversity is also a strength, as long as we are willing to stay true to our common cause.

Let me now focus more closely on health and justice.

All of you here today know the shocking statistics. Earlier this year it was reported that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men are imprisoned at a rate almost 15-times greater than non-Aboriginal men, and for women the rate is even higher, 21-times worse than non-Aboriginal women.[1]

Our women represent the fastest growing population group in prisons; their imprisonment rate is up 148% since 1991.[2] Locking up our women affects the whole community. Children may be removed and placed in out-of-home care. Research has found there are links between detainees’ children being placed into out-of-home care and their subsequent progression into youth detention centres and adult correctional facilities.[3] Communities suffer, and the cycle of intergenerational trauma and disadvantage is perpetuated.

Figures on the incarceration of our children and young people in detention facilities also reveal alarmingly high trends of overrepresentation. Our young people aged 10–17 are 26-times as likely as non-Aboriginal young people to be in detention on any given night.[4] How can this be justified?

Governments’ inertia and lack of commitment to genuinely addressing the issues have contributed to a worsening situation. The National Indigenous Law and Justice Framework 2009-2015 was never funded, attracted no buy in from state and territory governments, and the review findings of the Framework were never made public. We need to come together – like we have done in the Closing the Gap process – to force governments to work with us to fix this.

Emerging out of these inquiries is a growing understanding that Closing the Gap on justice outcomes must begin with a commitment to self-determination, community control, and cultural safety. These are three of the most critical elements of the community-controlled model itself.

Appropriately resourced community controlled services are essential for addressing these barriers. Best practice solutions to preventable problems of our peoples’ exposure to the justice system must begin with enabling their access to trusted services that are governed by the principles and practices of self-determination, community control, and cultural safety.[5]

Increasing funding for the corrective service sector will not (and does not) address the issue of our peoples’ exposure to the justice system. As Allison and Cunneen note, ‘the solutions to offending are found within communities, not prisons.’[6] Their research is referring to what we call ‘justice reinvestment’, a strategy and an approach, whereby a portion of correctional funds – a portion of money for prisons – are diverted back into disadvantaged communities.

Reinvesting the money into community-identified and community-led solutions not only addresses causation; it also strengthens communities. Depending on the project itself, justice reinvestment may not only help to reduce people’s exposure to the justice system; it may also improve education, health, and employment outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Analysis of justice reinvestment projects in Northern Australia shows how the underpinning principles of this approach reaffirm self-determination and strengthen cultural authority and identity.[7]

It is encouraging to note that in its 2016 report of the inquiry into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experience of law enforcement and justice services, the Senate committee recommended that the Commonwealth Government support Aboriginal led justice reinvestment projects.[8] In December 2017, the Australian Law Reform Commission recommended that Commonwealth, state and territory governments should provide support for:

  • the establishment of an independent justice reinvestment body; and
  • justice reinvestment trials initiated in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.[9]

Health justice partnerships on the ground

Given ACCHOs’ commitment to providing services based on community-identified needs, it is not surprising, then, to learn that we are starting to address justice inequities by developing innovative partnerships with legal services.

Health justice partnerships are similar to justice reinvestment in that they target disadvantaged population groups and are community-led. They differ in that funding is not explicitly linked to correctional budgets and secondly, the primary population groups targeted through these partnerships are those people at risk of poor health.[10]

Health justice partnerships in the ACCHO context address people’s fears and distrust about the justice system, by providing a culturally safe setting in which to have conversations about legal matters. In testimony given to a Senate Inquiry, a NSW ACCHO representative described how:

We form relationships with the health services and actually provide a legal service, for example, within the Aboriginal medical service. We have a lawyer embedded in the Aboriginal medical service in Mount Druitt so that when the doctor sees the person and they mention they have a housing issue – ‘I’m about to get kicked out of my place’ – they can say, ‘Go and see the lawyer that is in the office next door.’[11]

ACCHOs are increasingly recognising the benefits of working with legal services to develop options that enable services to be delivered seamlessly, safely, and appropriately for their communities. Lawyers may be trained to work as part of a health care team or alternatively, health care workers may be upskilled to start a non-threatening, informal conversation about legal matters with the clients, which results in referrals to pro bono legal services.

 Case study: Law Yarn

 

As a lawyer myself and the ex-Chair of the Cairns-based Wuchopperen Health Service, I have become aware of the need to provide better legal supports for my community. In conversations with local Elders and LawRight, Wuchopperen entered into a justice health partnership in 2016.

LawRight is an independent, not-for-profit, community-based legal organisation which coordinates the provision of pro bono legal services for individuals and community groups. The aim of the partnership was to improve health outcomes by enhancing access to legal rights and early intervention. Initially, it was decided that, as community member and lawyer employed by LawRight, I would provide the free legal services at Wuchopperen’s premises.

One of the challenges of health justice partnerships is ongoing funding, and in 2017 we were forced to close our doors for several months. We knew the partnership was addressing a real need in our community, so we submitted a funding proposal to the Queensland Government, and received funding of $55,000 to trial ‘Law Yarn’.

Law Yarn is a unique resource that supports good health outcomes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It helps health workers to yarn with members of remote, regional and urban communities about their legal problems and connect them to legal help.

Representatives from LawRight, Wuchopperen Health Service, Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service and the Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Legal Services came together and created a range of culturally safe resources based on LawRight’s successful Legal Health Check resources.

A handy how-to guide includes conversation prompts and advice on how to capture the person’s family, financial, tenancy or criminal law legal needs as well as discussing and recording their progress.

Four aspects of Law

These symbols have been created to help identify and represent the four aspects of law that have been identified as the most concerning for individuals when presenting with any legal issues. If these four aspects can be discussed, both the Health worker and Lawyer can establish what the individual concerns are and effectively action a response.

Each symbol is surrounded by a series of 10 dots; these dots can be coloured in on both the artwork and the referral form by the Health worker to help establish what areas of law their clients have concerns with.

Building trust and relationship

Questions for engaging with clients about legal problems.

Launch of Law Yarn

Law Yarn was officially launched at Wuchopperen Health Service, Cairns, in May 2018 by the Queensland Attorney General as a Reconciliation Week Event.

Read NACCHO Coverage

Legal and health services throughout Australia have expressed interest in this holistic approach to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. And we are hopeful that the evaluation findings will support the rollout of our model to ACCHOs across Australia.

In conclusion, I believe that the development of collaborative, integrated service models such as Law Yarn can provide innovative and effective solutions for addressing not only the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the justice system, but also the health gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.

Address the legal problems, and you will have better health outcomes. Justice health partnerships provide a model of integrated service delivery that go to the heart of the social determinants of health, key causal factors contributing to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ over-exposure to the justice system.[12]

With Aboriginal community control at the front and centre of service design, these partnerships can deliver both preventive law and preventive health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

[1] https://www.lawcouncil.asn.au/media/media-releases/recommendations-to-reduce-disproportionate-indigenous-incarceration-must-not-be-ignored

[2] Law Council of Australia. 2018. The Justice Project, Final Report – Part 1. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.

[3]. Law Council of Australia. 2018. The Justice Project, Final Report – Part 1. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.

[4] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. 2018. Youth detention population in Australia. AIHW Bulletin 145.

[5] Thorburn, Kathryn and Melissa Marshall. 2017. The Yiriman Project in the West Kimberley: an example of justice reinvestment? Indigenous Justice Clearinghouse, Current Initiatives Paper 5; McCausland, Ruth, Elizabeth McEntyre, Eileen Baldry. 2017. Indigenous People, Mental Health, Cognitive Disability and the Criminal Justice System. Indigenous Justice Clearinghouse. Brief 22; AMA Report Card on Indigenous Health 2015. Treating the high rates of imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as a symptom of the health gap: an integrated approach to both; Richards, Kelly, Lisa Rosevear and Robyn Gilbert. 2011. Promising interventions for reducing Indigenous juvenile offending Ibid. Indigenous Justice Clearinghouse, Brief 10.

[6] Allison, Fiona and Chris Cunneen. 2018. Justice Reinvestment in Northern Australia. The Cairns Institute Policy Paper Series, p. 5.

[7] Allison, Fiona and Chris Cunneen. 2018. Justice Reinvestment in Northern Australia. The Cairns Institute Policy Paper Series, p. 8.

[8] Finance and Public Administration References Committee. 2016. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experience of law enforcement and justice services. The Senate: Australian Parliament House.

[9] Australian Law Reform Commission. 2017. Pathways to Justice—An Inquiry into the Incarceration Rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Final Report No 133, p. 17.

[10] Health Justice Australia. 2017. Integrating services; partnering with community. Submission to national consultation on Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023.

[11] Finance and Public Administration References Committee. 2016. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experience of law enforcement and justice services. The Senate: Australian Parliament House, p. 31. Testimony from Ms Hitter, Legal Aid NSW, Committee Hansard, 23 September 2015, p.28

[12] Ibid., p. 4; Chris Speldewinde and Ian Parsons. 2015. Medical-legal partnerships: connecting services for people living with mental health concerns. 13th National Rural Health Conference, Darwin; Barry Zuckerman, Megan Sandel, Ellen Lawton, Samantha Morton. Medical-legal partnerships: transforming health care. 2008. The Lancet, Vol 372.

NACCHO and ACCHO Members Deadly Good News Stories : National @NACCHOChair #NSW @Walgett_AMS #VIC @VACCHO_org #QLD @QAIHC_QLD @Apunipima #WA South West #SA PLAHS #NT @CAACongress @DanilaDilba #Tas Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre

1.1 National : NACCHO Chair meets Productivity Commissioner to discuss current evaluation of Indigenous government policies and programs

1.2 AMA President in National Press Club address supports Uluru Statement from the Heart

1.3 National Chair of AMSANT and CEO of of Anyinginyi Aboriginal Health Corporation Barbara Shaw will deliver the opening plenary for the Indigenous Health Justice Conference in Darwin

2. NSW : The Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service and the Dharriwaa Elders Group have both expressed concerns about saltwater solution for drought and the potential effect on community health.

3. VIC : VACCHO partners with other peak health organisations to develop and support 8 actions for a A Healthier Start for Victorians Strategy

4.1  QAIHC will hold Youth Health Summit in September

4. 2 Qld : The Apunipima ACCHO TIS Team launches smoke-free signage at Charkil Om in Napranum Cape York 

5. WA : South West Aboriginal Medical Service in partnership to upgrade youth centre

6. SA : PLAHS ACCHO and Port Lincoln community come together for this year’s NAIDOC Week events .

7.1 NT : Congress CEO, Donna Ah Chee delivering the powerful history of the Australian Nurse-Family Partnership Program 

7.2 NT : Danila Dilba ACCHO Darwin mobile clinic provides back to school health checks for Palmerston Indigenous Village

8. TAS : Two seats should be set aside for Tasmanian Aboriginal MHAs to be chosen by Aboriginal people in an enlarged State Parliament, traditional owners say.

How to submit in 2019 a NACCHO Affiliate  or Members Good News Story ?

Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media 

Mobile 0401 331 251 

Wednesday by 4.30 pm for publication Thursday /Friday

1.1 National : NACCHO Chair meets Productivity Commissioner to discuss  current evaluation of Indigenous government policies and programs

Donnella Mills Acting Chair of NACCHO this week met in Cairns with Romlie Mokak Productivity Commissioner to discuss the current Indigenous evaluation strategy : pictured above Left to Right Donnella , Romlie , Wuchopperen Chair  Sandra Levers and CEO Dania Ahwang

The Australian Government has asked the Productivity Commission to develop a whole-of-government evaluation strategy for policies and programs affecting Indigenous Australians, to be used by all Australian Government agencies. The Commission will also review the performance of agencies against the strategy over time.

They will consult widely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities and organisations, and with all levels of government. We will also consult with non-Indigenous organisations and individuals responsible for administering and delivering relevant policies and programs.

The Commission released an issues paper to guide people in preparing a submission. It sets out some of the issues and questions the Commission has identified as relevant at the early stage of the project. Participants should provide evidence to support their views, including data and specific examples where possible.

The paper was released on 26 June 2019.

Initial submissions are due by Friday 23 August 2019.

More info Submissions HERE

1.2 AMA President in National Press Club address supports Uluru Statement from the Heart

 “The ongoing failure to address Indigenous health is also unforgivable and unacceptable. There are immediate things we can do to turn things around.

The AMA supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart. The Australian Parliament must make this a national priority.

Giving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people a say in the decisions that affect their lives would allow for healing through recognition of past and current injustices. It would underpin all Government endeavours to close the health and life expectancy gap.

We need to also look at and address the broader social determinants. This requires cooperation and unity of purpose from all relevant Ministers and portfolios.

We must take out the politics and fearmongering. We must do the right thing by the First Australians. The AMA welcomed the stated intent of the Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, to hold a referendum on Constitutional recognition for Indigenous peoples.

It is time for unity. Let’s build on that. ”

AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, who addressed the National Press Club as part of Family Doctor Week, 

Download full speech HERE

AMA President Press Club Address

1.3 National Chair of AMSANT and CEO of of Anyinginyi Aboriginal Health Corporation Barbara Shaw will deliver the opening plenary for the Indigenous Health Justice Conference in Darwin

Also speaking will be Donella Mills (Chair) Lawyer and A/Chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), Donella is leading the development of Health Justice Partnerships in North Queensland and is recognised nationally as a leader in this field in the Indigenous context.

 Indigenous Health Justice Conference, 13 & 14 August 2019. #NILC2019 #IHJC2019

Download the full program HERE 

2. NSW : The Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service and the Dharriwaa Elders Group have both expressed concerns about saltwater solution for drought and the potential effect on community health.

Key points:

  • Residents and some experts are concerned about the health implications of bore water high in sodium
  • It may taste bad, but there are no regulated health-based limits on sodium levels in drinking water
  • A process of reverse osmosis is used to take sodium out of drinking water, but councils are worried about the cost

Chairman of the Elders Group Clem Dodd said the bore water was not healthy.

“You got to have water. I don’t care who you are — animal or person, you can’t go without water,” he said.

“But too much salt in it [is not good] … you got to get good water.”

The salt in the Bourke and Walgett bore water meets the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines but it exceeds the aesthetic (taste) limit.

There is no health-based sodium limit in those guidelines.

Health authorities contacted local doctors about potential health implications for patients with kidney disease, high blood pressure, heart failure, or who are pregnant.

‘Too much salt’

Jacqui Webster, a salt reduction expert from the George Institute for Global Health, has been working with the Walgett community on improving health outcomes there.

She said, while most salt in the average diet came from food, high salt levels in drinking water was a genuine health concern in these communities.

“Too much salt in the diet increases blood pressure, and increased blood pressure is one of the key contributors to premature death from heart disease and stroke in Australia,” Dr Webster said.

“You’ve got a high proportion of the community who are Aboriginal people, and we know Aboriginal communities already suffer disproportionately from high rates of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and kidney disease.

“It’s really important that poor diets — including the high sodium content of the water — are addressed.”

Dr Webster said sodium could also make the drinking water taste unpleasant and people may turn to sugary drinks instead, which could compound health issues.

 Read full report HERE 

3. VIC : VACCHO partners with other peak health organisations to develop and support 8 actions for a A Healthier Start for Victorians Strategy

This consensus statement outlines practical recommendations to the Victorian Government to turn the tide on obesity. The focus is on children and young people to give them the best chance for a healthier start to life.

Download: A Healthier Start for Victorians – Summary (PDF, 701 KB)

Download: A Healthier Start for Victorians – Full Report (PDF, 2 MB)

A Healthier Start for Victorians has been developed by the Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) Roundtable and is supported by a broad base of health and wellbeing organisations.

 

Over the past two decades, Victorian adult obesity rates have increased by 40 per cent and today two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese. Almost one in four Victorian children are overweight or obese.

The combined impact of poor diet and being overweight or obese is one of Victoria’s greatest health challenges.

Overweight and obesity, unhealthy diets and physical inactivity are avoidable risks for chronic health conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and several cancers.

A Healthier Start for Victorians lists eight practical recommendations to the Victorian Government to turn the tide on obesity.

These recommendations focus on children and young people to give them the best chance for a healthier start to life. They are as follows.

Action to prevent obesity in Victoria

1.Engage and support local communities to develop and lead their own healthy eating and physical activity initiatives

These should be community-based and focus on local areas or population groups with the highest rates of overweight and obesity.

2.Protect children from unhealthy food and drink marketing

This includes prohibiting advertising, promotion and sponsorship in publicly owned and managed places. Priority should be given to areas around schools, children’s sporting events and activities, and public transport.

3.Implement a statewide public education campaign to encourage healthy eating

This should focus on population groups with the highest rates of overweight and obesity.

4.Implement initiatives to improve family diets, particularly in children’s early years

This should focus on increasing food literacy and prioritising specific population groups including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

5.Support schools to increase students’ physical activity and physical literacy

This should take a whole-of-school approach, be reflected in the curriculum and be supported by training and professional development.

6.Increase the scope of and strengthen compliance with the existing School Canteens and Other School Food Services Policy

This should take a whole-of-school approach, be reflected in the curriculum and be backed by a monitoring and enforcement framework.

7.Develop a whole-of-government policy that requires healthy food procurement

This should incorporate the Healthy Choices guidelines and apply to all publicly owned and managed facilities and settings.

8.Develop and implement a strategy to get Victorians walking more

This should emphasise the need for walking infrastructure and urban design to make it safer and easier for people to walk to local destinations like shops, public transport, and schools.

Recommendations should be supported by an overarching Victorian obesity prevention plan that is overseen by a ministerial taskforce. This will ensure a whole-of-government approach to addressing obesity prevention as a Victorian health priority.

4.1  QAIHC will hold Youth Health Summit in September

Addressing disparity amongst our youth, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Organisation (ATSICCHO) Model of Care is designed to be responsive to the needs of the communities that we serve.

According to the 2016 ABS Census data, one third of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders are aged between 15–34 years. As such, it is vital that we monitor the health of this cohort to support a stronger First Nations culture in Australia’s future.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people are overrepresented in youth justice, and alcohol and other drugs are at harmful levels of use. Childhood obesity, rheumatic heart disease, social and emotional distress, and trauma are also present at high rates. To support our young people to thrive, physically and mentally, QAIHC and its Member Services are developing a Youth Health Strategy 2019–2022.

Central to the development of the Strategy is the QAIHC Youth Health Summit 2019. The Summit will be held in Brisbane on 12 September and is intended to be an open conversation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people (ages 18-25) about their current state of wellbeing.

The Summit will be focussing on Calm Minds, Strong Bodies, Resilient Spirit addressing a range of topics including:

  • Exercise
  • Nutrition
  • Healthy relationships
  • Support networks
  • Mental health
  • Sexual health
  • LGBTQI needs
  • Chronic disease.

Sessions will be facilitated in an environment of cultural safety to promote honest and free discussions between delegates.

If you’re an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person aged 18-25 living in Queensland and want to express an interest in attending, go to

Website 

4.2 Qld : The Apunipima ACCHO TIS Team launches smoke-free signage at Charkil Om in Napranum Cape York 

The TIS Team launched smoke-free signage at Charkil Om in Napranum. Professor Tom Calma, National Coordinator for the Tackling Indigenous Smoking program unveiled the signage alongside HAT member Roy Chavathun and Sonia Schuh PHC Manager.

TIS staff Dallas McKeown, Neil Kaigey, Darlene Roberts and Lorna Bosen hosted the launch and provided health information to those present.

5. WA : South West Aboriginal Medical Service in partnership to upgrade youth centre

The Bunbury PCYC unveiled its newly renovated youth space on Monday, July 15, designed to foster positive social and emotional development for local youth.

The upgrade is the product of a partnership between the youth centre, South West Aboriginal Medical Service, Breakaway Aboriginal Corporation and the Red Cross, with financial support from the City of Bunbury.

Originally published HERE

The upgrade included new interiors, a pool table, an air hockey table, a games console, a TV and lounges to complement the existing sporting facilities available at the Bunbury PCYC, which is used by more than 100 people weekly.

The Bunbury PCYC is one of 19 community youth centres in WA and provides a number of activities and accredited training programs for youth people of all ages.

South West Aboriginal Medical Service chief executive officer Lesley Nelson said the space was bound to have a positive impact on both the social and emotional development of local youth.

“The environment in which young people spend their time has been found to decisively impact on a young person’s health and development,” she said.

“We currently host a very active and engaged youth program at the Bunbury PCYC so we have been able to involve them directly in the planning of this space.

“With their help, we have been able to design an area that has a really positive energy, a space that encourages social development and active participation.”

Breakaway Aboriginal Corporation chair Renee Pitt echoed Ms Nelson’s sentiments and said the nature of the all inclusive programs allowed youth to come together in a positive environment.

“Breakaway and their partners are creating a safe environment where the kid’s involvement has given them ownership of the space, care and responsibility,” she said.

“The programs and activities that are being offered is emphasising the uniqueness of coming together that has not been available previously until now.

6. SA : PLAHS ACCHO and Port Lincoln community come together for this year’s NAIDOC Week events .

NAIDOC Week in 2019 had the theme of ‘Voice, Treaty, Truth’ with Port Lincoln celebrations beginning with the community march along Tasman Terrace on July 5.

Aboriginal Family Support Services hosted a dress up disco for children at the Mallee Park Clubrooms on July 9 before the annual Community Cookout was held at the Mallee Park Wombat Pit the following day, hosted by Port Lincoln Aboriginal Health Service.

The annual event involved PLAHS preparing foods including kangaroo stew and wombat while Centacare Port Lincoln provided a barbecue and a morning tea area was organised by Port Lincoln Red Cross.

PLAHS health promotions officer and NAIDOC Week Committee member Morgan Hirschausen said the weather was not ideal but the event was well supported.

Port Lincoln Aboriginal Community Council, with support from Gidja Club held the Elders Lunch at the Grand Tasman Hotel on Thursday, which was attended by about 30 elders.

The council’s indigenous community links manager Heather Hirschausen-Cox said they were happy with the turnout and the event continued to be an important part of NAIDOC Week.

7.1 NT : Congress CEO, Donna Ah Chee delivering the powerful history of the Australian Nurse-Family Partnership Program 

Congress CEO, Donna Ah Chee delivering the powerful history of the Australian Nurse-Family Partnership Program (ANFPP) at the tenth annual conference. ANFPP is a nurse-led home visiting program that supports families pregnant with an Aboriginal child to help them become the best parents possible.

ANFPP Team Congress! Pictured here with CEO, Donna Ah Chee; General Manager Health Services, Tracey Brand and Chief Medical Officer Public Health, Dr John Boffa

7.2 NT : Danila Dilba ACCHO Darwin mobile clinic provides back to school health checks for Palmerston Indigenous Village

This week the Mobile Clinic spent time with the Palmerston Indigenous Village to provide back to school health checks for kids. They put on a BBQ lunch, face painting and a jumping castle! Children participating in the health check received a back pack to prepare them for their return to school.

8. TAS : Two seats should be set aside for Tasmanian Aboriginal MHAs to be chosen by Aboriginal people in an enlarged State Parliament, traditional owners say.

“If successful, Tasmania will be the first State to guarantee an Aboriginal voice in the parliament,” 

New Zealand has done it for 150 years. The State of Maine in the US has 3 seats for Indians. It’s time for Tasmania to catch up and lead the rest of Australia.

The change would enable Aborigines to speak for the dispossessed and powerless and participate in governing Tasmania.”

Tasmanian Land Council spokseman Michael Mansell said the move would be an Australian first

See Full Report 

Under the proposal, a separate electoral roll would be created to elect indigenous representatives from a single electorate encompassing the entire state.

The proposal has been put forward jointly by the Elders Council of Tasmania Aboriginal Corporation, Cape Barren Island Aboriginal Association, Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre and the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania, and will be presented on Monday to a parliamentary committee conducting an inquiry into the number of seats in the lower house.

Download the Submission HERE

No. 13 Joint Submission Aboriginal Organisations_Redacted

Their submission likens the idea to parliaments in the US state of Maine, and in New Zealand, where designated seats have been set aside for Maori representatives since 1867.

The groups said their proposal was “about improving representative democracy in Tasmania” .

“Providing for political representation of a people denied such access for over 200 years is overdue,” it said.

“It can be argued the political system in Tasmania has been racially prejudiced against Aboriginal representation . The system is geared against Aboriginal people effectively participating in parliamentary democracy.”

While it acknowledges the concept would give more value to a single vote in an Aboriginal electorate than a vote in one of the five existing lower house seats, it said dispossession and discrimination had left Aboriginal people “without a sound land and economic base, and a modicum of justice” .

“Political representation is more crucial for the survival and welfare of Aboriginal people than it is for any other sector in Tasmania,” the submission read.

The groups said the state’s constitution should be amended to create the Aboriginal electoral roll and designated seats in parliament, even if the push to increase the number of MHAs was rejected.

Twenty submissions have been lodged with the inquiry, which held its first public hearing in Launceston last month.

Premier Will Hodgman told the committee that a 35-seat House of Assembly would require an estimated $7.9 million to set up and about $7.2 million in extra ongoing costs each year.

 

NACCHO and ACCHO Members #NAIDOC2019 Good News Stories : 5 of 5@NACCHOChair #NSW @Galambila @ahmrc #Vic @VACCHO_org @VAHS1972 #QLD @QAIHC_QLD @Apunipima #SA @AHCSA_ #WA @TheAHCWA #NT @DanilaDilba @CAACongress #Tas

1.1 National : NACCHO supports the pledge this week by the Coalition Government to hold a national referendum on constitutional change to recognise Indigenous voices in the constitution.

1.2 National : Our Acting NACCHO Chair Donnella Mills this week was on the panel at the NAIDOC Corporate breakfast in Cairns talking #VoiceTreatyTruth

1.3 National : The new National Indigenous Australians Agency was launched on 1 July 2019

2.1 NSW : The team at AH&MRC celebrate NAIDOC week

2.2 NSW : Huge NAIDOC Week turnout at Galamibila ACCHO and Ready Mob Picnic in the Coffs Harbour sunshine

2.3 NSW: Greater Western ( Sydney ) AMS Thanks the South Sydney Rabbitohs for a sharing NAIDOC Week

3.1 VIC : Parliamentary Secretary for Health (VIC) shares a NAIDOC morning team with Team VACCHO

3.2 VIC: Deadly day at the annual NAIDOC March in Melbourne that started at VAHS ACCHO 

4.1 QLD : Apunipima ACCHO Cape York coverage of Cairns NAIDOC celebrations

4.2 QLD : The QAIHC AOD Our Way 2 Project aims to address the use and harms of crystal methamphetamine (Ice) and other substances.

5. WA : Midland NAIDOC is AHCWA’s main event for the week, where all of our staff were on hand to help out for the day.

6. SA : Good news story about AMIC Mums and Bubs trainee Cherie Burnett who is currently doing her studies at AHCSA.

7.1 NT : The Danila Dilba ACCHO Darwin Mobile team went down to Mindil Beach with the Mobile Clinic for Larrakia Nation’s Road Safety Barbeque.

7.2 NT : Congress Alice Springs NAIDOC Sports and Family Fun Day

8.TAS : It’s NAIDOC Week, so here’s nipaluna (Hobart’s) weather in palawa kani

How to submit in 2019 a NACCHO Affiliate  or Members Good News Story ?

Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media 

Mobile 0401 331 251 

Wednesday by 4.30 pm for publication Thursday /Friday

1.1 National : NACCHO supports the pledge this week by the Coalition Government to hold a national referendum on constitutional change to recognise Indigenous voices in the constitution.

We welcome Minister Wyatt’s call to all Australians to join him on the journey to constitutional recognition of Australia’s First Nations peoples and support the creation of a voice for Indigenous Australians to influence the Australian Parliament.

NACCHO stands ready to do our part in achieving the best possible outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples throughout Australia, and we will continue to take a leadership role in the Coalition of Peaks Partnership with the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) on Closing the Gap.”

NACCHO Chief Executive Officer, Ms Patricia Turner AM said after the Ministers speech. Pictured above Left to Right with Pat : Tom Calma Co Chair Reconciliation Karen Mundine CEO Reconciliation and Donnella Mills Acting NACCHO Chair 

” Truth-telling about Indigenous Australians’ experience of colonisation is not a new idea, says Pat Turner, who heads the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO).

“I think our people have been engaged in truth-telling in many different forums over many decades,” she said. “It’s a question of whether there is a willingness in the greater Australian population to come to terms with the history of Indigenous people since colonisation.”

Ms Turner , who along with Mr Wyatt is co-chair of the joint council on Closing the Gap questioned the Minister’s seeming failure to commit to an Indigenous “Voice” of the kind envisaged in the landmark 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart.

“People want more clarity on what the Minister means when he refers to hearing the ‘voices’ of individuals, families, communities and organisations.

What does that mean? The Uluru statement was very clear on having a more formal voice at a national level”, she said.

Additional text Pat Turner interview with SMH 10 July READ In FULL HERE

Pat will be a panellist on the ABC The Drumshow on Friday 12 July at 6pm.

Download full PDF Copy of NACCHO Press Release HERE

Read the Minister’s full National Press Club speech HERE

Or watch replay on ABC TV I View HERE

The NACCHO executive team attended the National Press Club conference by Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, Minister for Indigenous Australians for NAIDOC Week 2019.

1.2 National : Our Acting NACCHO Chair Donnella Mills this week was on the panel at the NAIDOC Corporate breakfast in Cairns talking #VoiceTreatyTruth

Pictured below from Left to Right Founder of IndigenousX LukeLPearson , Donnella Mills ,Joann Schmider CQ Uni and Former NACCHO Chair 2001-03 Pat Anderson ( now Chair Lowitja Institute )

1.3 National : The new National Indigenous Australians Agency was launched on 1 July 2019

2.1 NSW : The team at AH&MRC celebrate NAIDOC week

2.2 NSW : Huge NAIDOC Week turnout at Galamibila ACCHO and Ready Mob Picnic in the Coffs Harbour sunshine

CEO Reuben Robinson ( Left ) with team Galambila member 

Watch Channel 9 interview with Reuben HERE

NAIDOC CELEBRATES WITH A HEALTHY MESSAGE

2.3 NSW: Greater Western ( Sydney ) AMS Thanks the South Sydney Rabbitohs for a sharing NAIDOC Week

SEE MORE PHOTO’s HERE

3.1 VIC : Parliamentary Secretary for Health (VIC) shares a NAIDOC morning team with Team VACCHO

VACCHO Exec were joined by Karen Heap VACCHO Chair and CEO of Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-operative ( And NACCHO Board Member) , Anthony Carbines Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Tiana Koehrer and Allara Pearce

3.2 VIC: Deadly day at the annual NAIDOC March in Melbourne that started at VAHS ACCHO 

4.1 QLD : Apunipima ACCHO Cape York coverage of Cairns NAIDOC celebrations 

 

4.2 QLD : The QAIHC AOD Our Way 2 Project aims to address the use and harms of crystal methamphetamine (Ice) and other substances.

Phase 1 of the project involved training 480 frontline workers, mostly from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Organisations in 22 communities across Queensland, to better support clients and families impacted by problematic Ice and other substance use.

Phase 2 of the project is currently in the planning stage. Jermane Herbohn and Rita Francis have recently started at QAIHC as AOD Project Officers joining Eddie Fewings, AOD Manager. More information about the QAIHC AOD Our Way 2 Project will be released shortly.

#QAIHCdelivers #IndigenousHealth

5. WA : Midland NAIDOC is AHCWA’s main event for the week, where all of our staff were on hand to help out for the day.

Hundreds of our mob visited Midland Oval and joined us celebrating the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The event was free and combines cultural activities, live entertainment, youth zone, family friendly attractions and FREE food.#NAIDOC2019

6. SA : Good news story about AMIC Mums and Bubs trainee Cherie Burnett who is currently doing her studies at AHCSA.

7. NT : The Danila Dilba ACCHO Darwin Mobile team went down to Mindil Beach with the Mobile Clinic for Larrakia Nation’s Road Safety Barbeque.

Larrakia Nation put on a breakfast and their Arts in the Grass program, NT Remote Alcohol and Other Drugs provided community education, Orange Sky was there with their free laundry and shower service van and OneDisease came along to engage with the community. It was fantastic to see all of these services coming together to provide support and to see the community members enjoying this fresh dry season morning!

7.2 NT : Congress Alice Springs NAIDOC Sports and Family Fun Day

See more pics Here

8.TAS : It’s NAIDOC Week, so here’s nipaluna (Hobart’s) weather in palawa kani

Listen Hear 

NACCHO Our Members #Aboriginal Health Deadly Good News Stories : Features National @NACCHOChair #LowitjaConf2019 @Apunipima #715HealthChecks #QLD @QAIHC_QLD #CEOSleepout $ #NT @KenWyattMP visits @AMSANTaus #NSW Katungul #Vic MDAS #WA South West AMS #SA #ACT

Feature article this week 715 Health Checks 

1.1 National : Relationships key to better Indigenous Health – and the 715 health check is paving the way says Dr Mark Wenitong

1.2 National : Donnella Mills Acting @NACCHOChair broadcast interview at Lowitja Conference in Darwin

1.3 National : Donnella Mills Acting @NACCHOChair and John Paterson CEO AMSANT presents at Lowitja  the Coalition of ACCO Peaks on #ClosingtheGap

1.4 National : Michaela Coleborne the new NACCHO Director of Policy visits Lowitja Conference Darwin meeting many of our stakeholders like End RHD

2. NSW : Katungul ACCHO newly appointed CEO for the next 12 months, Joanne Grant talks about what motivates her to get out of bed every day

3. Vic MDAS Family and Community Services team supports our clients as they strive to achieve their own goals in life.

4. QLD :QAIHC CEO sleeps out to raise vital funds for homelessness : Please Donate HERE

5.1 WA : The South West Aboriginal Medical Service and City of Bunbury have been working together to deliver a $28 million multi-faceted facility for those living in the region. 

5.2 WA : AHCWA Starts new course in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Primary Health Care Practice

6. SA : AHCSA_ Study redefines gender policy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 

7. NT : Minister Ken Wyatt visits AMSANT office in Darwin after opening Day 2 Lowitja Conference ( See Video )

8.ACT : Winnunga ACCHO adviser says reports expose ACT disinterest in Aboriginal care

How to submit in 2019 a NACCHO Affiliate  or Members Good News Story ?

Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media 

Mobile 0401 331 251 

Wednesday by 4.30 pm for publication Thursday /Friday

Feature article this week

1.1 National : Relationships key to better Indigenous Health – and the 715 health check is paving the way says Dr Mark Wenitong

“You really have to engage with the local Aboriginal community, so they feel comfortable to come in and get their 715.

 You need to understand cultural sensitivities to get a proper medical history – you can’t diagnose if you don’t know what’s really going on with a patient, so building that trust is really critical.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the worst health outcomes of any community in Australia.

We have a responsibility as health professionals to take care of this community, the same way that we take care of any part of our community. 

 Our people can actually take care of themselves if they have the education and the information in their hands.”

Dr Mark Wenitong Apunipima Health Service

Mark is one of a kind. Descending from the Kabi Kabi tribal group of South Queensland, Mark is one of the first Aboriginal men to graduate as a Doctor and is now a powerful advocate for improving Indigenous health outcomes.

Mark says he was inspired to become a Doctor by his mother who was one of the first Aboriginal Health Workers to be trained in Queensland. Her work with the Cape York community, in particular tackling the surge of sexually transmitted diseases in the region at the time, inspired a passion for better health within the family.

“Mum’s legacy was what really made me want to become a Doctor. I wanted to be able to help our mob to look after their own health, to provide a cultural lens. For me, that’s why it’s so important that Aboriginal Doctors are part of our service system, we can translate research, evidence and even program work into real practice” says Mark.

“With more Aboriginal Doctors, we can relate to our people, overcome barriers and build cultural resonance.”

After studying and graduating from the University of Newcastle in 1995, Mark is now based in Cairns at Apunipima Health Service, working with the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities up north, both in the clinic and out in communities.

Mark says, the annual health check for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, item 715 under the Medicare Benefits Schedule, provides enormous opportunities for GPs to engage with Indigenous communities about their health needs.

View the video case study herehttps://youtu.be/lUgJsjtiItA

“The importance of 715s can’t be overstated – it’s one of the most important innovations that Medicare, and the Government, has brought in. We needed to do it, because we needed to get an understanding of what people’s health profile was before they were unwell. Why wait until patients come to us with a chronic disease? Let’s start screening early,” says Mark.

With Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 2.3 times more likely to suffer a chronic condition, the annual health check is designed to provide early detection and prevention. Mark says the assessment is critically important in improving Indigenous health outcomes.

“There’s a couple of aspects to a 715 that are really important. The first is the screening – there are lots of people that are asymptomatic – meaning they aren’t showing symptoms yet –  that could have early disease like diabetes, hypertension. These patients may not come in until they get symptoms because people still think they have to be sick to come to a clinic. It’s an important way to engage the community, so they know they can come to a clinic whenever they need do,” says Mark.

“The other important aspect is that it’s a comprehensive assessment – a complete head to toe. By screening a broad array of physical, social and emotional factors, we get a really good picture of individual and community level health. Because we can identify problems early, we can also start early treatment.

“At a community level, we get really great data from undertaking the 715. We work with the local Elders groups to deliver 715 health check days out in the community, and screen people that otherwise wouldn’t come to the clinic. It gives us an idea of what the issues are at a really local level. We can then look at broader issues that affect the whole community, like immunisation, dementia, mental health and social wellbeing and can work to develop appropriate programs that tackle the specific issue a community might be experiencing.”

The annual health check is available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of all ages, however nationally less than 30 per cent of patients are accessing the check.

Mark says it’s important to engage young patients with getting a 715 early as part of educating people about how to stay healthy.

“I see young people come in for their 715 and they’re very well. But I talk to them about health maintenance, talk to them about what they could end up like. Their uncle whose overweight, with no teeth and smoking outside. Our young people want to look deadly and fit, so we can help them with information and tips to stay in good health.

But with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Doctors representing less than 1% of the general practitioner workforce it’s important that all GPs understand the benefits of a 715 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

Mark says the key to improving mainstream health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients is to encourage practices to engage with their local community to build cultural competency.

“If Aboriginal people walk into a service and don’t feel welcome, they won’t come back. Access is a big issue – creating a safe space for people to feel welcome is important,” says Mark.

“You really have to engage with the local Aboriginal community, so they feel comfortable to come in and get their715. You need to understand cultural sensitivities to get a proper medical history – you can’t diagnose if you don’t know what’s really going on with a patient, so building that trust is really critical.

“Most GPs can do this fairly well with most people, so it’s just a matter of then learning a little bit more about Aboriginal social and cultural issues to be able to relate to these patients in the right way. If you do, you’ll make a big difference.

“Some mainstream practices I’ve worked with have done really simple things, like putting Aboriginal health posters up in the waiting room or hiring and Aboriginal Health Worker or Aboriginal receptionist to help people feel welcome.”

Mark’s message to health professionals is simple – help your Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients in the same way you help any others.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the worst health outcomes of any community in Australia. We have a responsibility as health professionals to take care of this community, the same way that we take care of any part of our community.  Our people can actually take care of themselves if they have the education and the information in their hands.”

The 715 health check is available annually to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of all ages. Further information, including resources for patients and health practitioners is available at www.health.gov.au/715-health-check.

1.2 National : Donnella Mills Acting @NACCHOChair broadcast interview at Lowitja Conference in Darwin

1.3 National : Donnella Mills Acting @NACCHOChair and John Paterson CEO AMSANT presents at Lowitja  the Coalition of ACCO Peaks on #ClosingtheGap

Read Full Speech Here

1.4 National : Michaela Coleborne the new NACCHO Director of Policy visits Lowitja Conference Darwin meeting many of our stakeholders like End RHD

NACCHO are a founding member of the RHD alliance, leading work to across Australia. ( with Vicki Wade on right )

Read NACCHO and RHD HERE

2. NSW : Katungul ACCHO newly appointed CEO for the next 12 months, Joanne Grant talks about what motivates her to get out of bed every day

What motivates you to get out of bed every day to come and work at Katungul and why?
I firstly want to pay my respects to the Walbunja peoples, some of whom are family, of the Yuin nation and I am really honoured to be able to work on their land and with the local Aboriginal Communities along the far South Coast of NSW.
There is well documented evidence of the disparity faced by Aboriginal people in Australia and still today our people are denied their basic human rights. The opportunity to make a change for our people is what really motivates me.

Working in the health sector has been an eye opening experience for me as we see daily the ‘real’ effects of colonisation and trans-generational trauma which presents in many forms, for our mob eg AOD, mental health, chronic disease, family breakdown to name a few. To be able to work in an organisation like Katungul, that can provide services and programs directly to our communities, and who value cultural safety is what I believe will make a genuine difference.

What are you most excited about taking on in the next 12 months?

I am keen for the challenge that lies ahead of me. Whilst I have been apart of the executive team at Katungul for nearly 4 years, to take the reins of our organisation requires a whole new level of responsibility, way of thinking and commitment.
I see my role as an opportunity to build on our successes and have us recognised for the work we do.

It disappoints me at times that our Government still does not fully value the significant role of an Aboriginal community controlled organisation, which is evident when you look at the funding options that bypass us. I believe, we hold the vital keys and answers to our solutions!  I am keen to take the lead and have us write our own narrative of change as we move forward.

What can you personally bring to you role?

MMM.. talking myself up is not a big strength of mine, but when I look at my employment history I believe I can bring 30 plus years of demonstrated experience and commitment of working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples with me.

When I left year 12 my first real job was with the Human Rights Commission, handling complaints of racial discrimination around Australia. This was a not just a job but a real life lesson for me, at that young age.It really opened my eyes up to the injustices my people faced. These stories have stayed with me throughout my employment journey and always motivates me to champion change.

What do you think will be your biggest challenges?

Working in any Aboriginal organisation is a hard ask, as we face many political challenges, at all levels including by our own communities. There seems to be a perception out there that we, Aboriginal organisations, receive a plethora of funding and are able to address ALL issues faced by our communities.

Unfortunately this is not the case, and we need to be clear and concise about what we can and cannot do and exceed where we are able to.  Living in regional Australia itself is a challenge as local resources are limited which means we have to access support and services for our clients out of area. This is clearly evident in the AOD space with all clients requiring residential treatment/care having to leave the area and  their family and Kinship networks which at times can be problematic.

What can the community expect to see from you in this role?

They can expect to see an Aboriginal woman lead with integrity, take on the challenges as they arise and to put the needs of the communities we serve  at the centre of our business.

3. Vic MDAS Family and Community Services team supports our clients as they strive to achieve their own goals in life.

We have specialist teams focussing on the different needs within our community:

• Aged and Disability
• Children’s Placement Services
• Family Services
• Youth Services
• Homelessness and Housing Services

Our staff work from a “Best-Interest Case Practice Model” – that means we support clients to achieve their goals and maintain their connections to their community, their families and, importantly, their culture.

Website

4. QLD :QAIHC CEO sleeps out to raise vital funds for homelessness : Please Donate HERE

Last night ( Thursday 20 June ) the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) CEO, Neil Willmett, slept out on the cold, hard concrete of Brisbane’s Powerhouse as part of the Vinnies CEO Sleepout.

The annual event raises much needed funds and awareness to address homelessness in Australia. For the CEOs involved it is one night of discomfort, but for more than 116,427 Australians, including more than 22,000 Queenslanders, homelessness is a constant reality.

This is the third year that Mr Willmett has participated in the CEO Sleepout, a cause close to his heart.

“It is well known that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are over-represented in the homeless population. Across Australia, approximately 25% of people who access specialist homelessness services identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander,” said Mr Willmett.

Mr Willmett is striving to raise a minimum of $5,000 to help the St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland (Vinnies) provide support to people in crisis.

“I am proud to participate in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout. As the CEO of QAIHC, I lead an organisation whose membership has a positive impact on the most vulnerable. Across the whole of Queensland, the homeless population is in the thousands. Homelessness can have profound and ongoing effects on people and their health and wellbeing,” Mr Willmett said.

Funds raised at the Vinnies CEO Sleepout enables Vinnies to provide vital services to people experiencing homelessness. Vinnies provides emergency accommodation, advocacy support, budgeting services, living skills programs, emergency relief, transitional housing and access to programs that help rebuild the lives of Australians living in poverty.

To donate, visit www.ceosleepout.org.au/fundraisers/neilwillmett/brisbane

5.1 WA : The South West Aboriginal Medical Service and City of Bunbury have been working together to deliver a $28 million multi-faceted facility for those living in the region. 

Plans for the construction of an all-encompassing Indigenous health hub are progressing despite the project not yet receiving state or federal funding.

Last week council agreed to transfer city-owned land to SWAMS to develop the health campus.

Originally published HERE

Lot 4669 Forrest Avenue, Carey Park which is known as Jaycee Park will be transferred to SWAMS with the city agreeing to waive the development application fee of $34,196.

City of Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan said the health hub would be a welcomed addition to the region.

“We are pleased to be able to provide the land to SWAMS for their health precinct and council would like to acknowledge all the hard work they do as well as the excellent service they provide to the community,” he said.

“By expanding their practice they will be able to do even more for their clients and make health care available and more accessible to those who need it.”

SWAMS chief executive Lesley Nelson thanked council for prioritising Indegenous health.

“This is about looking at a one-stop health hub to bring all of our programs and services under the one roof, in the one location,” she said.

“Strong local commitment and continuity are required to close the gap and that is why this purpose built, local facility is so important.”

During planning for the new purpose-built hub, SWAMS has partnered with University of Technology Sydney, to ensure an innovative, cutting edge design which will deliver positive outcomes for clients.

The build will include clinical and research facilities, administrative offices, dedicated maternal and child health facility and an outdoor Indigenous park in the one location.

There will also be a fenced-off children’s playground, landscaped gardens and new toilet facilities all open to the public.

Ms Nelson said they were still looking for funding partners and had sent the health hub plans out to a number of ministers.

“The total project will be around $28 million but if there is opportunities to undertake work at different stages that’s what we’ll do,” she said.

“We’re positive that it will happen, the first stage we’ll be looking at is building the health and wellbeing community centre and the landscaping and the park.

“That will get us started and showcase to the local community that something is happening on the site that is exciting.

“We know it’s important and this is part of trying to close the gap at a local level from the community – in terms of driving what they want to see here.”

SWAMS will now submit the development application to the City for assessment.

Once it has been approved, construction is expected to be completed within 12 months.

For more information visit www.swams.com.au.

5.2 WA : AHCWA Starts new course in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Primary Health Care Practice

NEW COURSE STARTING THURSDAY JULY 25th 2019

If you are interested in completing the Certificate IV in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Primary Health Care Practice” course or would like more information please email shirley.newell@ahcwa.org. or phone 92771631.

6. SA : AHCSA_ Study redefines gender policy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 

Read and /Or Download Report HERE

7. NT : Minister Ken Wyatt Visits AMSANT office in Darwin after opening Day 2 Lowitja Conference 

8.ACT : Winnunga ACCHO adviser says reports expose ACT disinterest in Aboriginal care

 ” THE release in late 2018 of two reports – “The Family Matters Report 2018”, which concerns  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care or in touch with the child protection system, and the Bureau of Statistics report “Prisoners in Australia 2018″– are a wake-up call for Canberra.” 

Jon Stanhope is employed as an adviser at Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Service

Originally Published HERE 30 Jan 2019

Jon Stanhope
Jon Stanhope.

“The Family Matters Report 2018”, which measures the trends in over-representation of Aboriginal children in out-of-home-care is as depressing as it is distressing. The report includes a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction report card on the implementation of best practice in child protection as represented by the Aboriginal Child Placement Principles and the four building blocks of the Family Matters Roadmap. “The Family Matters Report” is a collaborative effort of SNAICC-National Voice for our Children, the University of Melbourne and Griffith University. In other words, it is rigorous and credible.

In summary, the report reveals (and not for the first time) that the ACT is among the worst-performing jurisdictions in Australia and, on a number of specific and major measures, the worst-performing jurisdiction in Australia when it comes to the care of Aboriginal children in contact with the child-protection system.

In relation to the Aboriginal Child Placement Principles, recognised nationally as of fundamental importance to the management and care of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care, the ACT is identified as the only jurisdiction in Australia that has refused to include in its child-protection legislation any of the recognised elements of self-determination or a human-rights-based framework for participation in child protection decision making such as consulting Aboriginal community controlled organisations and involving them in decisions about the placement or care of Aboriginal children.

In light of the ACT government’s practice of excluding Aboriginal participation in child protection it is no surprise that the ACT has the highest rate of Aboriginal children in touch with the care and protection system in Australia and the third highest rate of removal of Aboriginal children from their families in Australia. An Aboriginal child in the ACT is 14 times more likely than a non-Aboriginal child to be in out-of-home care.

Stunningly, despite these quite shameful outcomes the ACT has the lowest level of funding in Australia for intensive family support and the second lowest level of family support generally.

Unsurprisingly, there are clear linkages between children who have been removed from their family by care and protection services and poverty, disadvantage and ultimately contact with the criminal justice system. The ABS report – “Prisoners in Australia 2018” – to the extent that it exposes and details the over-representation of Aboriginal men and women in prison in the ACT, confirms the depth of the failure of the ACT government and justice system to address either the causes of or appropriate response to Aboriginal offending.

The headline finding in the ABS report is that the ACT has the highest ratio of Aboriginal people in jail in Australia. An Aboriginal person in Canberra is 17.5 times more likely than a non-Aboriginal person to be sent to prison. The next highest is WA with a ratio of 16 followed by the NT where the ratio is 12. The ACT also stands out as the jurisdiction with the highest increase in relative imprisonment of Aboriginal people between 2008 and 2018, with an increase over the 10 years of a massive 100 per cent. In that same period WA and SA reduced the relative imprisonment rate by 9 per cent and 1 per cent respectively.

There is perhaps no single better illustration of the extent of inequality in Canberra than that the city with the highest median household income, the highest rates of home ownership and private health insurance, the fastest growing median house price and the highest mean income in the nation also has the highest rate of indigenous incarceration.

There is a range of other data reported by the ABS that is as equally shocking as the raw rate of indigenous incarceration. For instance the rate of prior imprisonment (or recidivism rate) of Aboriginal prisoners currently in the AMC is a mind blowing 90 per cent, the highest in Australia. Of the 109 Aboriginal detainees in the AMC on June 30 a staggering 99 of them were recidivists.

Equally alarming is the rate of increase in the ACT in the crude imprisonment rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Between 2017 and 2018 the rate in the ACT increased by 12 per cent to produce an increase over the six-year period from 2012 to 2018 of 89 per cent against a national average of 24 per cent. By way of comparison the growth in incarceration, over the same six years, in the NT, WA and SA was 8 per cent, 15 per cent and 18 per cent respectively.

That the rate of increase in the incarceration of Aboriginal people in the ACT, over the last six years, is 65 per cent higher than the national average and that the rate of relative imprisonment has doubled in the last 10 years is deeply alarming and surely demands immediate and independent investigation and an urgent response. However, for that to occur there needs to be someone in government who actually cares.

My fear is that the ACT government has sensed that the Canberra community doesn’t really care that much about the level of indigenous disadvantage and poverty in Canberra and has accordingly decided that there is no need for it to either.

Jon Stanhope is employed as an adviser at Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Service.

NACCHO Our Members #Aboriginal Health Deadly Good News Stories : Features National @NACCHOChair @KenWyattMP #NSW @ahmrc #RedfernAMS #KatungulACCHO#VIC @VACCHO_org #QLD @QAIHC_QLD @DeadlyChoices #WA @TheAHCWA #WirrakaMayaACCHO #NT @CAACongress

1.1 National : Minister’s ongoing talks about the Closing the Gap refresh

1.2 National : CEO Pat Turner presents at international Conference in New Zealand about developing a  ” Roadmap to end RHD “

1.3 National : Our Deputy CEO Dawn Casey co chair Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care Systems Evaluation: Health Sector Co-design Group (HSCG) Download Communiqué for February 2019

2.1 NACCHO joins Redfern AMS congratulating Aunty Dulcie Flower OAM  on receiving an Order of Australia Medal (OAM)

2.2 NSW : Download the 75 Page AH&MRC report om World No Tobacco Day and the work being done by Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) in tobacco control.

2.3 NSW : Katungul ACCHO Fathers and Sons video launched

3.VIC : VACCHO SEWB Gathering for members , training ,celebrating culture and spending time together.

4.1 QLD : QAIHC  Mobile health scoping study to address cardiovascular disease risk factors

4.2 QLD : The Deadly Choices Maroons health campaign being implemented by Community Controlled Health Services throughout Queensland kicks in over coming weeks

5.1 WA : AHCWA recently delivered our Aboriginal Health Worker Immunisation Course at the Bega Garnbirringu Health Service in Kalgoorlie.

5.2 WA : Alfred Barker Chairperson of Wirraka Maya working to educate and support men about the role they can play in preventing FASD

6.NT : Congress ACCHO Alice Springs Medical Director on Queens Birthday Honour List

How to submit in 2019 a NACCHO Affiliate  or Members Good News Story ?

Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media 

Mobile 0401 331 251 

Wednesday by 4.30 pm for publication Thursday /Friday

 

1.1 National : Minister’s ongoing talks about the Closing the Gap refresh

Our Acting NACCHO Chair Donnella Mills and representatives of the Coalition of Peaks met in Canberra this week with Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt for constructive and positive ongoing talks about the Closing the Gap refresh and the Partnership Agreement with the Coalition of Peaks.

1.2 National : CEO Pat Turner presents at international Conference in New Zealand about developing a  ” Roadmap to end RHD “

Our CEO Pat Turner presenting powerful case studies at Indigenous Cardiovascular Health Conference in NEW Zealand this – keeping governments accountable to community priorities in health

Developing a new Roadmap to end RHD Pat talked about the partnership of NACCHO with the RHD coalition

1.3 National : Our Deputy CEO Dawn Casey co chair Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care Systems Evaluation: Health Sector Co-design Group (HSCG) Download Communiqué for February 2019

The Department of Health commissioned a national evaluation of the Australian Government’s investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care, which occurs primarily through the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme.

This evaluation is occurring over four years from 2019-2022 and includes the evaluation team working closely with a Health Sector Co-Design Group (HSCG).

The HSCG’s third meeting in February was the first meeting in the implementation phase of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care Systems Evaluation.

After an Acknowledgement of Country and a welcome by the acting co-chairs – Dr Casey and Ms Young – members were invited to discuss what was ‘top of mind’ coming into the meeting.

Download Communique HSCG Meeting No.3 Communique – 2019_05_31

2.1 NACCHO joins Redfern AMS congratulating Aunty Dulcie Flower OAM  on receiving an Order of Australia Medal (OAM)

On behalf of the Aboriginal Medical Service Board, Staff and Community we wish Aunty Dulcie Flower congratulations on receiving an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) on the weekend.

Aunty Dulcie is an AMS founding member, volunteer, a staff member and continues today as a long standing board member.

Dulcie was instrumental in the development of the Aboriginal Health Worker Program, which ensures our communities are advocated and cared for by appropriately skilled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce staff.

Read Dolcie’s interview about Indigenous rights activism HERE

Dulcie has had distinguished career as a Registered Nurse and Lecturer, an activist and mentor, but above all a friend to many.

Congratulations Aunty Dulcie!

2.2 NSW : Download the 75 Page AH&MRC report om World No Tobacco Day and the work being done by Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) in tobacco control.

Around the world last month, activities for World No Tobacco Day 2019 put the spotlight on “tobacco and lung health”, aiming to increase awareness of tobacco’s impact on people’s lung health and the fundamental role lungs play for the health and well-being of all people.

The campaign also served as a call to action, advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption and engaging stakeholders across multiple sectors in the fight for tobacco control.

In Australia, the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW (AH&MRC) sponsored an innovative Twitter Festival, hosted by Croakey Professional Services, to profile the work being done by Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) in tobacco control.

Download the report from Here

NoTobaccoDay_Report_Final

Or from Croakey

https://croakey.org/read-all-about-it-download-the-communitycontrol-twitter-festival-report/

NACCHO social media contribution page 11 -15

2.3 NSW : Katungul ACCHO Fathers and Sons video launched

Katungul Koori Connections Officer Wally Stewart talking about last years Father & Sons Camp; a fantastic program that brings people back to country, helping to keep culture alive and encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Music created by participants of the Katungul Music/Dance program run by Sean Kinchela & Wally Stewart.

Video courtesy of Afterglow. We’d like to thank them for their generosity & partnership – www.afterglow.net.au S

 

3.1 VIC : VACCHO SEWB Gathering for members , training ,celebrating culture and spending time together.

VACCHO’s Whitney Solomon, ETU Program Coordinator SEWB, delivering Ice Prevention training to Victoria’s awesome SEWB Aboriginal Health Workers at VACCHO’s SEWB Gathering


Proud Waywurru woman Sam Paxton from Djimba (in red), guides SEWB Aboriginal Health workers through a yarning circle at our SEWB Gathering

Proud Wagiman man Nathan Patterson from Iluka Art & Design [-o-] leads a painting workshop while proud Gunditjmara woman Laura Thompson from The Koorie Circle teaches SEWB Aboriginal health workers to create contemporary Aboriginal designed and inspired jewellery made from sustainably sourced timber.

So it’s not all work at our SEWB Gatherings, it’s also about celebrating culture and spending time together.

4.1 QLD : QAIHC  Mobile health scoping study to address cardiovascular disease risk factors

“This type of m-health innovation has the potential to provide culturally responsive and appropriate primary health care that can be embedded in our models of care.

Preliminary data suggest m-health technology can increase engagement and ownership throughout the patient journey and facilitate sustainable positive heath behaviour changes.

As cardiovascular disease remains a leading cause of disease for First Nations Peoples, we are committed to exploring options that empower individuals to improve the management of their health, as well as improve access to health services.”

Chief Executive Officer of QAIHC, Neil Willmett, is excited about the potential the app has to improve health care access and health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with hypertension.

The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples taking antihypertensive medication has increased, indicating a rise in the number of people at risk of cardiovascular disease.

The Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have partnered on a mobile health (m-health) scoping study for the screening and management of cardiovascular disease.

CSIRO have developed an app that can be customised for blood pressure monitoring and are interested in learning how it could work within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Organisation (ATSICCHO) sector’s models of care. Specifically, CSIRO and QAIHC are seeking input from the sector about how m-health could help manage risk factors for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with cardiovascular disease.

An m-health based model of care could facilitate blood pressure and medication management in people who have been diagnosed with hypertension, reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Additionally, the scoping study will assess how a m-health based model of care could be adapted or enhanced to support preventative health interventions addressing cardiovascular disease risk factors such as increasing physical activity, improving dietary intake, and reducing smoking rates.

Between April and June 2019, QAIHC and CSIRO are conducting consultations to seek input from regional, remote, and urban ATSICCHOs on the use of m-health for the management of risk factors for people with cardiovascular disease. This feedback will be used to inform development of the hypertension m-health app.

Outcomes of the scoping study will be shared with the ATSICCHO Sector in the coming months.

4.2 QLD : The Deadly Choices Maroons health campaign being implemented by Community Controlled Health Services throughout Queensland kicks in over coming weeks

Two legends of QRL, supporting our state-wide Deadly Maroons campaign.
Book in now for your health check, at a participating AMS and score one of these deadly shirts.

“ The Deadly Maroons health campaign is being implemented by Community Controlled Health Services throughout Queensland and further strengthens delivery of our Deadly Choices messages which aim to empower our people to take control of their health – to stop smoking, to eat healthier and exercise more,”

Institute for Urban Indigenous Health CEO Adrian Carson

The Deadly Choices – Deadly Maroons State-wide preventative health campaign moves full throttle over coming weeks, with a host of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women featuring for Queensland in the annual State of Origin match on Friday June 21 in Sydney, before the men do battle in Perth on Sunday June 23.

Fans will have the opportunity to mix and mingle with all the NRLW superstars this weekend during the QRL’s traditional pre-Origin Fan Day on Sunday at South Pine Sporting Complex at Brendale, where the Deadly Maroons team will also be out in force.

NRLW forward mainstay Tallisha Harden, who was a standout in the Indigenous All Stars match earlier in the year, has made a speedy recovery from ankle surgery to earn her place in the side and is hoping to turn the tables on the Blues this year.

Former Jillaroo and World Cup winner, Jenni-Sue Hoepper returns to the representative scene following an extended maternity break, while livewire centre Amber Pilley caps off a stellar 12 months, earning her first Queensland cap after an NRLW Premiership-winning season with the Brisbane Broncos.

There’s been considerable talk surrounding the injection of Stephanie Mooka, who was a standout at the recent NRLW National Championships and is likely to form a formidable centre pairing with Pilley.

All four proud, Indigenous women advocate the importance of healthy living and are supportive of the Deadly Maroons program, which helps promote healthy lifestyle choices among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“The Deadly Maroons campaign is an amazing partnership initiative between the Queensland Rugby League and the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health’s Deadly Choices preventative health program,” confirmed Harden.

“As a speech pathologist with the Institute, a representative of the Deadly Maroons and a Deadly Choices Ambassador, I’ve seen first-hand how these programs make a positive difference in the lives of so many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“Winning next Friday is what we’re all about when we go into camp this weekend, but I also know all the girls are aware of the Deadly Maroons campaign and are looking forward to supporting this deadly promotion.”

The support of the women is matched by an unwavering commitment among the men’s team who have already generated immense interest right across Queensland.

“The Deadly Maroons health campaign is being implemented by Community Controlled Health Services throughout Queensland and further strengthens delivery of our Deadly Choices messages which aim to empower our people to take control of their health – to stop smoking, to eat healthier and exercise more,” added Institute for Urban Indigenous Health CEO Adrian Carson.

“Football is so much more than a game – it is a vehicle to drive important health messages for our people and to encourage our people to access their local Community Controlled Health Services for support to make deadly choices, including completing a regular Health Check.

“Our Deadly Choices shirts have played a key role in driving demand for preventative health care, contributing to an incredible 4000% increase in Health Checks in South East Queensland and leading to the expansion of Deadly Choices across Queensland, with support from Queensland and Australian Governments.”

“Through Deadly Choices, we’re making a real difference in closing the health and life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and with the support and commitment of the QRL, and ongoing support from Queensland and Australian Governments, momentum will be enhanced over coming years.”

5.WA : AHCWA recently delivered our Aboriginal Health Worker Immunisation Course at the Bega Garnbirringu Health Service in Kalgoorlie.

The training is run in conjunction with the Communicable Disease Control Directorate Department of Health and is a nationally accredited immunisation course that provides Aboriginal Health Practitioners with the knowledge and skills to promote and safely immunise clients across all ages.

For more information on the course, contact our Immunisation Coordinator, Stacee Burrows at stacee.burrows@ahcwa.org

5.2 WA : Alfred Barker Chairperson of Wirraka Maya working to educate and support men about the role they can play in preventing FASD

Meet Alfred Barker. He’s a Traditional Owner and the Chairperson of Wirraka Maya, where he works to educate and support men about the role they can play in preventing FASD, through supporting their partners not to drink during pregnancy. “‘Grog before, during and after pregnancy is no good for Dad, Mum and bub’.

6.NT : Congress ACCHO Alice Springs Medical Director on Queens Birthday Honour List

“Congress is very proud to have Dr Sam’s outstanding contribution recognised on the 2019 Queens Birthday Honours list with an OAM” 

Congress Chief Executive Officer, Donna Ah Chee.

Congress Medical Director, Dr Sam Heard has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal in the Queen’s Birthday honours, for his contribution to Medicine. Dr Heard was recognised for his work as a GP across the Northern Territory and his tireless commitment to the education of doctors and other medical staff for over 20 years, particularly through extensive training of GP registrars.

He served 9 years as Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Regional Director and 10 years as Chair of Northern Territory General Practice Education.

As Congress’ Medical Director, Dr Heard is applying his wealth of knowledge and experience to assist Congress in the vital work we are doing in Aboriginal health especially in the recruitment, retention and training of our current and future medical workforce.

 Dr Heard provides clinical leadership to Congress’ 14 clinics in Alice Springs and across six remote Central Australian communities.