NACCHO Aboriginal Health #FASDay #FASDprevention News : @NOFASDAustralia and @TheRACP call for mandatory warning labels and a national #FASD Prevention Campaign. An alcohol free pregnancy is everyone’s responsibility.

“ At NOFASD, across Australia, and around the world people took a minute today to pause and reflect on the struggles which individuals , families and communities face when they are living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

At 9:09 on the 9th day of the 9th month we came together to raise awareness about the risks of alcohol and the importance of alcohol-free pregnancies.”

See NO FASD Press Release Part 2 Below

Read over 30 Aboriginal Health and #FASD articles published by NACCHO

“ Before the extra years were added to his sentence and before the trouble that led to them, authorities were warned that a teenage boy with severe cognitive impairments was deteriorating in Darwin’s Don Dale youth detention centre and needed help.

Key points:

  • A 17-year-old boy was recently sentenced to an additional four years’ jail over a riot in Don Dale in July 2018
  • The ABC has seen letters sent to authorities weeks before the riot, requesting urgent intervention
  • A Supreme Court judge accepted that conditions in the prison contributed to the boy’s offending

Legal letters seen by the ABC formally requesting urgent intervention in then-16-year-old Corey’s* “outrageous” treatment in the condemned facility were sent to the head of the Territory Families department and the NT Children’s Commissioner in June last year.

Legal Aid lawyers told authorities that the teenager — who has foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and a history of trauma starting from abandonment in hospital at birth — had been kept in effective isolation, with little fresh air, sunlight and schooling, and had been threatened and assaulted by other boys inside Don Dale.

A spokesperson said Aboriginal health organisation Danila Dilba was taking over primary health care in the centre, support services had been “significantly” increased and an FASD component was added to staff induction training.

Olga Havnen, who is the chief executive of Danila Dilba, said Corey had been set up to fail in a system that couldn’t help him.

She said the teenager’s conviction for property damage to Don Dale was ironic, asking: “Who pays for the damage caused to this young person?”

Extracts from ABC Report : Read in full here

Part 1 RACP Press Release

Doctors from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) are calling for the Australian Government to introduce mandatory pregnancy warning labels on alcohol products.

“Drinking alcohol while pregnant can lead to birth defects and lifelong neurodevelopmental problems associated with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders (FASD),” said Professor Paul Colditz, President of Paediatrics and Child Health at the RACP and an alcohol policy expert.

“FASD is the most common and preventable cause of serious brain injury in children in Australia. There is no cure for FASD, so prevention is everything. This is why clear and unambiguous messaging on the harms of drinking while pregnant is important and why such messaging should be mandatory across all alcohol product labels.

“With less than half of alcohol manufacturers currently using pregnancy warning labels we can’t look to the industry to self-regulate.

“There is also an inherent conflict of interest under the current approach where consumers are ultimately directed towards industry websites for warning information and may be exposed to contradictory messages.”

In its submission to the Food Regulation Standing Committee, the RACP makes a number of evidence-based recommendations about how to implement mandatory pregnancy warning labels.

The RACP recommends that behaviour change experts develop new text for warning labels. Graphics should feature on the label to convey the harms of alcohol to an unborn baby.

Consistency of messaging is important so warning labels should be standardised across the industry. Prominence of the labelling is also important.

“We know that pregnancy warning labels alone are not enough to prevent FASD, but we think it’s a step in the right direction for raising public awareness about the dangers of prenatal alcohol exposure,” Professor Colditz said.

The National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2016 found only 56 per cent of pregnant women said they abstained from drinking during pregnancy.

Part 2 NO FASD Press Release Continued

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) reports that 50% of Australian women experience an unplanned pregnancy.

The first few weeks of these unknown pregnancies are a major risk for prenatal alcohol exposure. Approximately 59% of Australian women drink alcohol at some time during their pregnancy, and estimates indicate that 1 in every 13 women who consume alcohol will have a child with FASD.

These numbers are staggering. The AMA states that “few accurate data on the prevalence of FASD in Australia is available but it is estimated that FASD affects roughly between 2% and 5% of the population in the United States”.

FASD is the most common preventable disability, and preventing FASD is a whole-of-community responsibility. Mothers never intentionally put their children at risk. Increasing awareness about the risks of drinking when you could be pregnant, and supporting women who are pregnant to abstain throughout their nine months, is essential for preventing alcohol-exposed pregnancies.

If you are pregnant, don’t drink alcohol. If you drink alcohol, don’t get pregnant.

Friends and partners can play a major role in supporting mothers to be alcohol free. For example it is much easier for a woman to say no to alcohol if her partner stops drinking too. We can support expectant mothers by organising fun alcohol-free activities, serving non-alcoholic drinks, and reducing or ceasing our own drinking.

If you, or anyone you know, is pregnant, planning or could be, NO ALCOHOL is the safest option

NACCHO Aboriginal Children’s Health #ClosingTheGap : @SNAICC Chair @MbamblettMuriel Over 1200 #SNAICC2019 delegates support a call for a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s strategy

” While many other reforms are needed to support the best futures for our children, getting these things right will set us on the path to Closing the Gap in outcomes, and giving all of our children access to their fundamental rights.

We need your action now” 

SNAICC Chair Muriel Bamblett

With more than 1200 delegates meeting on the land of the Kaurna people in Adelaide, the past three days have been a truly exhilarating experience for us. We have been able to share our knowledge and experiences in raising happy, healthy and confident children in our cultures and communities.

Dusty Feet Mob performed on Day 2 of the 8th SNAICC National Conference, 2-5 Sept. 2019. From Port Augusta, S.A. Dusty Feet Mob are an Aboriginal dance group that builds a connection to culture, language, community and country through dance.

We have heard from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and practitioners who are proving that they are leading change. Where state and territory governments have invested in and committed to self-determination for our communities, we see greater outcomes for our children and families.

Our challenge going forward will be to address the disparities in funding between states, territories and the Commonwealth and varying levels of commitment.

As one voice, we call for urgent action to be taken to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have every opportunity to grow up safe and cared for in their family, community, and culture, and on country.

Our agreement on the Closing the Gap Refresh is to support the Coalition of Peaks, and pursue the three reform priorities for action to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and children in the areas of child protection and in the early years.

Our key calls for action are:

1. The establishment of a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Commissioner

We have been inspired by the brilliance and leadership of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, June Oscar AO and South Australian Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People, April Lawrie.

Commissioner Oscar’s commitment to focusing on early intervention and wellbeing was highlighted yesterday. She said,

Just 17% of funding for child protection went to child and family support and prevention services while 83% has been invested in child protection services. This needs to change.”

A National Commissioner for our children must be independent, properly resourced, and have strong powers to investigate the systems that are failing our children.

2. A comprehensive National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Strategy that includes generational targets to eliminate the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care

The National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children ends next year and has failed to improve outcomes for our children. The soaring rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care are a national crisis. We must start work now so that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can co-design with governments a dedicated strategy that focuses on prevention and targets the drivers of child protection intervention.

We heard strong calls from Victoria Tauli-Corpuz’s, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, that Australia must adhere to international standards. The strategy must give effect to the internationally recognised human rights of our children. It must be based on our knowledge of what will work to change outcomes and seek to achieve the four building blocks of the Family Matters Campaign.

3. A dedicated funding program for integrated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early years services, and an exemption to the child care ‘Activity Test’ for our families

We need a long term program to invest in integrated community-controlled early education, maternal and child health and family support services, with clear targets to increase coverage in areas of high Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, and high levels of disadvantage.

There should be an exemption to the Activity Test in the New Child Care Package, because that test limits participation for children in early education and undermines their fundamental rights. This will seriously impact the futures of our children.

4. An end to legal orders for permanent care and adoption for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, replaced by a focus on supporting the permanence of their identity in connection with their kin and culture

We need to stop focusing on permanent legal orders, and invest in programs that support reunification and cultural connection for children in care. Our children need continuity and to know where they are from, and their place in relation to family, mob, community, land and culture.

This too is a significant human rights issue.

While many other reforms are needed to support the best futures for our children, getting these things right will set us on the path to Closing the Gap in outcomes, and giving all of our children access to their fundamental rights. We need your action now

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Research News : Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre gives the team a real identity says @kathleenclapham and @DrMLongbottom

” It will give us an identity. Rather than being the team that works in the corner of AHSRI, we are the Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre.

Identity has finally been won and Indigenous health Professor Kathleen Clapham couldn’t be happier.

“Ngarruwan is the sea, the salt water over a long distance, it connects our communities down the coast, it connects us with our international partners.

Ngadju is fresh water, Kath [Prof Clapham] is a fresh-water woman. The name represents all of our team, it’s also about the sustenance that water provides us; water is life.

To start to explore the conundrum of the inequalities which exist, let’s look at the root causes of those.

Let’s not try to blame individuals, let’s look honestly at the history of Australia and our region, let’s look at the structures that sustain the inequalities.”

Researcher Dr Marlene Longbottom said the name Ngarruwan Ngadju had special meaning for all team members

NEW HOME: Dr Marlene Longbottom and Professor Kathleen Clapham at the Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre launch at the UOW Innovation Campus. Picture: Robert Peet

Press Release : Identity has finally been won and Indigenous health Professor Kathleen Clapham couldn’t be happier.

So too are her fellow University of Wollongong researchers involved in the Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre.

On Friday the team of eight finally had a place to call home.

Previously they had been working at the Australian Health Services Research Institute (AH SRI) at the Innovation Campus.

The centre’s new digs are in the same building but importantly the researchers have their own dedicated space.

The team’s research focuses on the health and wellbeing of South Coast Indigenous communities.

They aim to identify what’s working well, and bring evidence to light in the broader community.

Researcher Layne Brown has been evaluating a program run by the Coomaditchie United Aboriginal Corporation at Kemblawarra.

The program works with kids at risk of being suspended or leaving education. It supports cultural teaching and provides academic, living and social skills. It connects young people with their family and their community.

The team also addresses issues of inequality, such as Indigenous life expectancy and suicide rates.

Launch of Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Research Centre and the launch of Active & Safe: Preventing Unintentional Injury to Aboriginal Children and Young People guidelines.

Working in partnership with Aboriginal communities is the only way to tackle the high rates of injury for Aboriginal children reportActive and Safe‘ finds

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are still dying from unintentional injuries at the same rate as 15 years ago, a new report has highlighted. Yet death rates for non-Aboriginal children have halved in the same period.

The report – Active and Safe – by The George Institute, The Australian Health Services Research Institute, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, Kidsafe NSW and the Australasian Injury Prevention Network calls for injury prevention in Aboriginal communities to be made a priority.

The report provides a set of NSW Health funded guidelines developed from research undertaken in 2016.

Australian and NSW data show rates of injury to Aboriginal children to be consistently higher than for non-Aboriginal children, with the mortality rates for Australian children from injury-related causes almost five times higher and hospitalisation rates two times higher than the rate for non-Aboriginal children.

The guidelines are intended to assist a number of stakeholder groups working in Aboriginal child injury prevention including: Aboriginal community controlled organisations, non-government organisations; researchers and government policy makers.

“We need the government to work alongside and be guided by Aboriginal communities to build on community strengths and promote the resilience of Aboriginal children, families and communities in injury prevention,”

said Keziah Bennett-Brook, Manager of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Program at The George Institute.

“The new guidelines have a strong focus on practical implementation and will be a valuable tool for policy makers, researchers and practitioners,” she said.

The guidelines were also developed and designed to complement the Australia edition of the Child Safety Good Practice Guide which provides practitioners, decision-makers, and legislators with an evidence-focused resource on which they can base their work, funding and recommendations.

The Active and Safe guidelines are being released today to coincide with the launch of the Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre located within the Australian Health Services Research Institute at the University of Wollongong and led by Professor Kathleen Clapham.

Download the full report ‘Active & Safe: Preventing unintentional injury to Aboriginal children and young people in NSW’(PDF 2.4 MB)




NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #SocialMedia #MentalHealth #SuicidePrevention : Is your mob safe online ? New Report: Urges parents and communities to seek support with children’s online safety

Kids are growing up in two worlds, the real world and an online world. Just like we protect kids from dangers in the real world, it’s important to protect their safety in their online world too.

Many of our mob are unsure how to help keep their kids safe online. These resources are designed to educate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents and carers of children aged 5 – 18 about the importance of starting the chat with young people around online safety.

Visit Be Deadly Online to find out more about the big issues online, like bullying, reputation and respect for others “

Download StarttheChatandStaySafeOnlinepdf

Start the Chat

Download Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Resources Here

“eSafety has built engaging and award-winning educational content to help adults understand the issues and trends so they can have informed conversations with young people about what they are doing and experiencing online.

There is no substitute for being as engaged in our kids’ online lives the way we are in their everyday lives.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to parenting in the digital-age. Our materials seek to accommodate these differing parenting styles and are tailored to be used in accordance with your child’s age, maturity and level of resilience,” 

eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant

Download the Report eSafetyResearchParentingDigitalAge

Parents are the first port of call for most young people affected by negative experiences online but less than half of parents feel confident to manage the situation, according to new research issued yesterday.

The report, Parenting in the digital age, conducted by the eSafety Commissioner (eSafety) explores the experience of parents and carers raising children in a fast-paced connected world.

eSafety found only 46% of Australian parents feel confident in dealing with online risks their children might face, with only one third (36%) actively seeking information on how to best manage situations like cyberbullying, unwanted contact or ‘sexting’ and ‘sending nudes’.

According to the eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, the findings reinforced the importance of providing resources to support parents and carers in managing conversations about online safety.

“We know dealing with online issues can be challenging for many parents. The issues are complex, nuanced and ever-changing and are different from what we experienced growing up,” says Inman Grant.

“The research shows 94% of parents want more information about online safety. This is why it is critical to equip parents and carers with up to date resources and advice on how to keep our children safer online. Australian parents need to know they are not alone in navigating this brave new online world and that there is constructive guidance to help them start the chat.”

Starting the chat, an important part of growing up safe online

“Everyone has a role to play in further safeguarding our children online and we are seeking the help of all parents, carers, educators, counsellors and anyone else that has a connection to a child or young person to answer this call.”


Starting the chat with teens, key to online safety (Stars Foundation)

The report also uncovered the varied parenting styles used to help manage online safety in the home. Parents with older children were more likely to favour an open parenting style, providing guidance and advice, while parents with younger children were more likely to adopt a restrictive approach by controlling online access and setting rules around internet-use.

“There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to parenting in the digital-age. Our materials seek to accommodate these differing parenting styles and are tailored to be used in accordance with your child’s age, maturity and level of resilience,” adds Inman Grant.

Now is the time to start the chat.

Visit for a free copy of the report, as well as tools, tips and advice for parents, carers and educators to help manage these conversations, including tailored information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as well as resources in various translated languages.

Aboriginal Health and #ChronicDisease 1 of 2 #SaveADates Submissions Close 15 July for Reviewing the Practice Incentives Program Indigenous Health Incentive (PIP IHI). Register for Workshops 17 June to 3 July #NSW #QLD #VIC #SA #WA #NT#ACT

Aboriginal Health Hero’s @ashbar96 #BartyParty : NACCHO pays tribute to our two French Opens winners #EvonneGoolagong 1971 and now #AshBarty 2019 #Dream #Believe #Learn #Achieve


“ I think the pathways and progress we’ve made for Indigenous youth in Australia has been incredible.

I think there have been more opportunities, there’s more publicity, people are actually aware that there is a pathway for Indigenous youth, not only in tennis but in all sports.

But tennis is now becoming a nationwide sport for Indigenous youth.

It’s incredible to know what Evonne has done and how passionate she is about it. If I can have any small part in that, that would be incredible.”

Ash Barty speaking after winning the 2019 French Open 8 June

Her win will inspire a generation of Australian girls to play tennis and as an Indigenous Australian, just like the 1971 champion, Evonne Goolagong Cawley ( 13-time major champion ) See Part 2 and 3 below 

” Goolagong grew up in the wheat town of Barrellan in New South Wales, one of eight children. Her mother Melinda was a homemaker and father Kenny a sheepshearer.

Their simple one-story home was a tin shack with dirt floors and no electricity. But moreover, Goolagong was born into Aboriginal heritage, the only family of its kind in town, and as light-skinned members of the Wiradjuri tribe, the Goolagong kids faced prejudice, and faced a cloudy and uncertain future.

The Australian government’s policy at the time was to forcibly remove Aboriginal children from their families and relocate them to camps where they could be properly educated and integrated into white society.   

“Every time there was a shiny car, my mum must have worried if was the welfare people coming for her kids,” Goolagong has explained in many media interviews when the topic of her Aboriginal roots was questioned.

We had no idea. We thought the welfare man was there to take us away.”

Evonne pictured this week with Tackling Tobacco Team – Nunkuwarrin Yunti ACCHO Adelaide

Since 2005, she has run the Goolagong National Development Camp for Indigenous girls and boys, which uses tennis as a vehicle to promote better health, education and employment. See Part 4 below

See Evonne Goolagong Foundation Website 

Extracts from the Guardian

Everything you need to know about Ash Barty was summed up in the immediate aftermath of her first grand slam success. Within minutes, the 23-year-old, a teenage prodigy turned cricketer and turned back into a tennis player again, was busy trying to share the glory with those she feels have helped her along the way.

From her family – her parents and her two sisters – to her team, and coach Craig Tyzzer, Barty almost always speaks of “we” when it comes to describing her exploits.

She may be a grand slam champion for the first time, but as far as she is concerned, it has been a team effort.

“I’m extremely lucky to have a team around me that love me for Ash Barty the person, not the tennis player,” she said, sitting with the Coupe de Suzanne Lenglen within reach, just an hour or so after her 6-1, 6-3 triumph over the Czech teenager Markéta Vondroušová.

“I’m extremely lucky to have an amazing family, a truly amazing family that no matter, win lose or draw, the text messages and the facetiming is the same. It’s just a really good group of people around me that make the tennis very easy.”

If it wasn’t already clear, Barty is a hugely popular player, as evidenced by the outpouring of congratulations on social media, and directly to Barty via texts and instant messages.

From Petra Kvitová to Nick Kyrgios and from numerous players and coaches on both the ATP and WTA Tours, Barty’s achievement was hailed by her peers. “It’s incredibly kind, especially from your peers, I suppose,” said Barty, who shared a handshake and hug with Rod Laver after the match.

“And people that you see every single week and most weeks of the year, it’s very kind of them to compliment [me], my game.

But I think it’s also a compliment to my team. It’s just been an incredible journey, the way we have tried to work and develop and grow this game that I have and this game style and kind of Ash Barty brand of tennis, I suppose. It’s amazing. I haven’t seen any of it yet. It’s just been nice to take a minute or two with my team and celebrate what we have achieved.”

There have been some tough days for first-time finalists here at Roland Garros over the years, from Natasha Zvereva being double-bagelled by Steffi Graf in 1988 to Elena Dementieva’s 6-2, 6-2 defeat by Anastasia Myskina in 2004. Barty and Vondroušová were both appearing in their first grand slam final but while the Czech failed to produce her best, Barty was close to perfect in her execution of her game.

And hers is a game to bring a smile to the face of anyone who loves to see variety on the court.

Compete, enjoy and try to do the best you can – that’s her mantra – and the way she plays, with slice, power, angles, drop shots, volleys, kick serves, everything you can imagine, is a joy to watch. As Kirsten Flipkens, the Belgian player, tweeted on Saturday evening: “Just love to watch her play (with a gamestyle similar to mine, just 20 times better. Slice for life! Impressive, Kiddo”.

Three years after she returned from an almost two-year hiatus from the Tour, Barty has a grand slam title to her name, a surprise only in the fact that the first one should come at Roland Garros, rather than, say, Wimbledon, where her style of play would seem to be perfectly suited.

It was at Wimbledon where she won as a junior, aged 15, but her ability to hit every shot, as encouraged by her first coach, Jim Joyce, means she is a threat on every surface.

September 2018 #USOpen Doubles Title

Barty will rise to world No 2 on Monday, only a handful of points behind Naomi Osaka, and she admitted that reaching top spot was a goal.

Barty will celebrate with her family when she heads to the UK for the grass-court season, building to Wimbledon, where she will be a big threat for the title. It’s entirely possible she will be the world No 1 before the summer is out, but whatever success she has, she will ensure her family and team share the credit.

Part 2. Evonne discovers spiritual centre court 1993 

When she competed on the world professional tennis circuit Evonne Cawley would always look forward to the traditional dancing that tournament organisers would put on to welcome international players.

But she always wondered why, at the Australian events, no equivalent celebration of Indigenous culture ever took place.

“In almost every other country, I went to the native people would put on a dance,” Cawley recalled this week. “I used to think, “why doesn’t this happen at home ?. It always made me feel a little sad.”

For Cawley, the sporting heroine who as “our girl” Evonne Goolagong rose from the obscurity of small town life in NSW to capture her first Wimbledon crown as a teenager in 1971, such memories are becoming increasingly relevant as she seeks to unravel the mysteries of her own aboriginality.

It is a journey of self-discovery which this week took her, for the first time, to Australia’s red centre, to a dinner with 120 Aboriginal women in Alice Springs and to the awesome grandeur of Uluru, symbolic sentry to 40 000 years of Indigenous Australian culture.

“ I ve reached a stage in my life where I need to find out about where I come from – about everything to do with being an Aboriginal person,”said Cawley.

In the ancient Pitjantjatjara language of the Anangu custodians of Uluru the process is written “ara mulapa ngaranyi pulkara kulintjaku”- the proper thing is to really listen.

As she follows this new road Cawley has found a great source of strength in the old Aboriginal women she has met  along way , women she described as the most interesting people I have ever met.”

At dinner in Alice Springs she sat down with traditional Aboriginal women who have never seen a big city, hardly ever left the desert. Gushing with joy, she explained how they held hands together and sang old favourite mission songs like “One Day at a Time”.

“ The dinner was a really special time for me, “Cawley said. “ I had never been to anything like it before and I felt a great sense of unity with the women. I really felt there was a lot of bonding there.”

Cawley’s search for her Aboriginal identity reveals the little-known downside of her life in the jet-set world of professional tennis.

Thrust into the limelight as a teenager by the sheer natural artistry and grace of her sporting talent she inevitably became an international celebrity, feted from nation to nation by the sport’s floating gallery of movie stars, money moguls and royalty.

Front Page The Australian September 11-12 1993

Part 3 Evonne Goolagong 13-time major champion

Evonne Goolagong was not born into tennis royalty with a gold plated racquet, fancy outfits, and private lessons at a posh country club.

From the Tennis Hall of Fame 

Furthermore, she didn’t matriculate her game with a used wooden racquet on public courts.

Her introduction to tennis has perhaps the most humble origins in tennis history, yet she overcame major stumbling blocks to become the No. 1 player in the world, won 13 majors and ranked 12th all-time in championship wins.

Goolagong’s first racquet as a youngster was made from a wood fruit box that resembled a paddle – it was absent of any strings. For hours on end she would hit a ball against any flat surface she could find.

A young Evonne was spotted peering through a fence at Barellan War Memorial Tennis Club by club president Bill Kurtzman, who asked her if she’d like to join in. Had Kurtzman not made the gracious and human offer, it’s likely her road to the Hall of Fame, let alone a revered place in history as a two-time Wimbledon Ladies Singles champion (1971, 1980) and keeper of four straight Australian Open Singles titles (1974-77) would not have materialized.

Word obviously traveled fast, as renowned Sydney-based tennis coach Vic Edwards was tipped off to the prodigy and made a 400 mile trip west to the wheat-farming country to see what all the fuss was about.

Even as a developing player, Goolagong had the grace and movement on court that would be a staple of her splendid career. Edwards was enamored with Goolagong, whose name is Aboriginal. He persuaded her parents to let him take the 14-year-old to Sydney for schooling at Willoughby Girls School (where she completed her School Certificate in 1968), coaching, and boarding.

She became part of his family in 1965, with Edwards protecting her from racial slurs, as she competed in big city tournaments, teaching her to believe in herself and talents. Edwards instilled confidence in Goolagong and prepared to her to become the first non-white to play in apartheid South African in a tournament in 1972. At age 15, Goolagong won the New South Wales Championship and in 1967 competed in her first Australian Nationals.

Goolagong would compile an illustrious resume, appearing in 26 major finals (18 singles, six women’s doubles and two mixed doubles), capturing seven singles, five doubles and one mixed double championship.

Overall, she earned 72 singles, 45 doubles and three mixed doubles tour championships and compiled a 704-165 (81 percent) singles record. During the 1970s, Goolagong was a household name and face – attractive, carefree, and admittedly prone to lapses in concentration that caused folks to say “Evonne’s gone walkabout.”

Goolagong was graceful, almost poetic in how beautifully she played the game. Not only did tennis fans marvel in her smooth and effortless movements, but her opponents could also get caught in the ballet that was on the other side of the net.

“She was like a panther compared to me,” said Billie Jean King after losing to Goolagong in the semifinals of the 1974 Virginia Slims Championship at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. “She had more mobility and she played beautifully. I started watching her, and then I’d remember all of a sudden that I had to hit the ball.”

In 2005, Martina Navratilova told Sports Illustrated, “She was such a pretty player. She didn’t serve-and-volley, she would sort of saunter-and-volley.”

Goolagong preferred a baseline game that observers said was reminiscent of Ken Rosewall‘s – her backhand was classically stroked liked Rosewall’s with slice and accuracy. Her groundstrokes were precise and fluid, balls struck hard each time.

“She can be down love-40, apparently beaten, and she’s still trying to hit winners,” Margaret Court told the New York Times. “She won’t play safe tennis, and her shots are quite unpredictable. They’re likely to come back in any direction. The harder you hit the ball to her, the more she likes it. It’s best to slow the game up, rather than try to outbelt her … and she loves a wide ball … she’ll have a crack at anything.”

At the 1971 Australian Open, Goolagong lost to her idol Court in three well-played sets, 2-6, 7-6, 7-5.

At the French Open, the No. 3 seeded Goolagong won her first major singles championship, defeating fellow Aussie and unseeded surprise finalist Helen Gourlay, 6-3, 7-5.

It helped that No. 1 seed Court and No. 2 seed Virginia Wade were eliminated in the third and first rounds respectively. Goolagong didn’t face a seeded player until the quarterfinals, No. 6 Françoise Dürr, and squashed the native favorite, 6-3, 6-0.

A few months later, her tennis dream came true when she decisively defeated Court to win Wimbledon, 6-4, 6-1. “To beat Margaret Court … I was over the moon about winning,” Goolagong said. Outside of defeating the defending champion Court, Goolagong needed a huge semifinal, 6-4, 6-4 victory over King to advance. She nearly became a repeat champion in 1972, but King evened matters with a decisive 6-3, 6-3 victory in the final.

“It was the age of nine that I dreamed about winning Wimbledon,” Goolagong said, appearing as a guest on the television news program Where They Are Now Australia in 2007. “I read this cartoon magazine story called Princess Magazine, about a young girl who was found, trained and taken to this place called Wimbledon, where she played on this magical center court and eventually won. Every time I went to hit against a wall I used to pretend I was there, and every time I went to sleep I would dream about playing on that magical court”

Goolagong made her Wimbledon debut in 1970, and at the time, just stepping inside the hallowed All England Club may have seemed like heaven for the Aussie, but she had unfinished business ahead.

“I remember a cocktail party the night before Wimbledon started and the head of Dunlop (Goolagong’s racquet sponsor) took me out on court when there was no net, just deep silence,” Goolagong recalled. “I said, ‘Wow, I am here … my dream has come true, I am really here.’ I remember playing a girl named Peaches Bartkowitz – what a name – an American top player who beat me pretty convincingly (6-4, 6-0).

When I got off the court my coach said, ‘maybe I better enter you into the “plate” event for second and third round losers, that way you’ll get used to the atmosphere, the crowds, the court. I played in that and ended up winning it.”

The following year, the fairy tale came true with the cherished victory in London and Goolagong ended the 1971 touring season as the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year.

Wimbledon had a love affair with Goolagong, who dubbed her “Sunshine Supergirl” and she long maintained that the crowning moment in her career came at Wimbledon in 1980, when she defeated Chris Evert in the final to become the first mother since Dorothea Lambert Chambersto accomplish that feat in 1914.

The nine years between championships matched Bill Tilden for the longest gap between titles in history. “After I defeated Margaret Court at Wimbledon in 1971, I found out later she was pregnant and I thought, ‘so that’s why she played so badly,’” Goolagong joked. “Of course I was pregnant in 1980 and was so thrilled to have won again.”

Goolagong captured the Australian Open four times and three consecutively (1974-76), defeating Evert (7-6, 4-6, 6-0); Navratilova (6-3, 6-2) and Czech Renata Tomanova (6-2, 6-2).

The three-peat at Melbourne has only been accomplished by Court, Steffi GrafMonica Seles, and Martina Hingis. Goolagong also appeared in six consecutive finals (1971-77), a record shared with Hingis and stands alone in total finals (7), achieved from 1971-76. Three of her wins (1975-77) came without losing a set, a remarkable mark shared only with Graf. The only asterisk on her championship-filled career was the U.S. Open, where she was a finalist four consecutive times (1973-76), and unable to claim a championship, though the 1973, 1974, and 1975 defeats all came in tightly-contested three set matches against Court, King, and Evert.

Goolagong was nearly perfect in doubles, winning seven major tournaments; 1971 Australian with Court, 1974 Australian and Wimbledon alongside American Peggy Michell; 1975 Australian with Michell; 1976 and 1977 Australian with compatriot Helen Gourlay. She won the 1972 French Open Mixed Doubles Championship with Aussie partner Kim Warwick.

Goolagong made history in October, 1974. As a 23-year-old, she won the third annual and season-ending Virginia Slims Championship played at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. She upset King in the semifinals, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 and then upset Chris Evert in the final, 6-3, 6-4. She earned $32,000, equal to the top cash prize in the history of women’s tennis. Goolagong also won the season-ending Slims in 1976, again defeating Evert. She was a finalist in 1978, losing to Martina Navratilova. She ranked in the Top 10 for nine years. She married Roger Cawley in 1975 and added the surname while still on tour.

Nagging injuries forced her into retirement in 1983. She moved to South Carolina, where she became the touring professional at the Hilton Head Racquet Club. The family purchased 70 acres and built a 20-court tennis center. She began working with Tennis Australia and launched the Evonne Goolagong Getting Started program for young girls.

For her service to tennis, Goolagong was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1972 and Officer of the Order of Australia in 1982.  Home! The Evonne Goolagong Story was published in 1993. Since 2005, she has run the Goolagong National Development Camp for Indigenous girls and boys, which uses tennis as a vehicle to promote better health, education and employment.

Part 4 



Under the auspices of the Evonne Goolagong Foundation, the Goolagong National Development Camp targets Indigenous young people between the ages of 12 and 21 for four main purposes:

  1. Use tennis as a vehicle to promote and help provide high quality education and teach better health through diet and exercise.
  2. Increase the number of young Indigenous people playing tennis both competitively and socially
  3. Support young Indigenous people who have the potential to play at the elite level and make a career in tennis either as a player, coach or administrator.
  4. Develop in all young people who come through the camps the ability to lead, plan and organise so they can contribute these skills in their own Communities when they return as well as work effectively with non-Indigenous individuals and organisations.

See Evonne Goolagong Foundation Website 

Since 2012, in partnership with the Australian Government the Dream, Believe, Learn, Achieve programme each year has run ‘Come and Try’ days across each State and Territory with some participants chosen to receive assisted coaching.

Progression to a Goolagong State Development Camp (GSDC) can follow with the aim of selection to the Goolagong National Development Camp (GNDC) held each January in Melbourne during the first week of the Australian Open.

Mentored school scholarships are awarded from the GNDC. To date, almost 4900 youngsters have entered the programme and in 2017 thirty youngsters have progressed to the GNDC 2018.


NACCHO Aboriginal Health Conferences and Events #SaveADate : This weeks feature : @fam_matters_au #BecauseOfThemWeMust #FamilyMatters Plus #NRW2019 and #FPDN #community#humanrights

This weeks featured NACCHO SAVE A DATE events

20 – 26 May Family Matters Week of Action 

29th  – 30th  August 2019 NACCHO OCHRE DAY

4 November NACCHO Youth Conference -Darwin NT

5 – 7 November NACCHO Conference and AGM  -Darwin NT

Download the 2019 Health Awareness Days Calendar 

2May First Peoples Disability Network, Is hosting a Human Rights Literacy forum

24 May National Sorry Day Bridge Walk Canberra

24-26 May AMA NATIONAL CONFERENCE – #amanatcon

25 May The Long Walk Melbourne

27 May to 5 June National Reconciliation Week #NRW2019

18 -20 June Lowitja Health Conference Darwin

2019 Dr Tracey Westerman’s Workshops 

5 July NAIDOC week Symposium

6 July National NAIDOC Awards Canberra

7 -14 July 2019 National NAIDOC Grant funding round opens

2-5 August Garma Festival 

29th  – 30th  August 2019 NACCHO OCHRE DAY

23 -25 September IAHA Conference Darwin

24 -26 September 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference

9-10 October 2019 NATSIHWA 10 Year Anniversary Conference

16 October Melbourne Uni: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Wellbeing Conference

4 November NACCHO Youth Conference -Darwin NT

5 – 7 November NACCHO Conference and AGM  -Darwin NT

5-8 November The Lime Network Conference New Zealand 

Featured Save a dates date

20-26 May 2019 Family Matters Week of Action

SNAICC congratulates the returning Coalition Government, and is ready to work alongside a new Indigenous Affairs Minister and Social Services Minister to prioritise better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

We believe that this most urgently requires a national strategy, with generational targets, to eliminate over-representation of our children in out-of home care and address the causes of child removal, as well as ensure all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have adequate access to quality education in the early years of their lives.

The complexity and depth of the issue – spanning both federal and state government powers – requires a holistic national strategy if we are to make any real dents. The incoming Federal Government has a responsibility to demonstrate commitment and leadership by starting this process, premised on the principles of self-determination and partnership agreed under the Closing the Gap refresh process.”

Muriel Bamblett, SNAICC Chairperson

Download the Full Press Release

Family Matters Press Release

We need to see better commitment from our federal leaders to break the cycle of trauma for our children and families, and support evidence-based, community-led solutions.

So many Aboriginal children aren’t able to access early years education, which is such a crucial time in their education journey. It’s clearly an area that Australia should and must be doing better.

There are over 17,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-ofhome care at this very minute, having been removed from their families; there’s no denying that’s a national crisis. Through the Closing the Gap refresh, the government has shown a clear desire to work with communities to address this crisis, and we’re hopeful that a strong relationship with a new minister can produce some real change for our children and families.

Muriel Bamblett, SNAICC Chairperson

This week SNAICC is leading the Family Matters campaign National Week of Action, to raise awareness of the causes and solutions to the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the out-ofhome care system.


Throughout the National Week of Action, from 20-26 May, child welfare organisations and individual supporters from across the country are encouraged to play their part in raising awareness about the escalating number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being removed from family.


“Family Matters seeks to foster an environment where there is wellbeing, safety and stability for all children. For Aboriginal children this means fostering a greater sense of belonging by growing up in family and community, and in a society that respects and values who they are as Aboriginal people.”


  • Muriel Bamblett, SNAICC Chairperson

During this week, we highlight the fundamental issues that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Most importantly, we’re working to shine a light on the disconnection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from community, culture and country.

Take action!

Together, we’ll:

  • inform service providers, policy decision makers, and the Australian public of the national crisis in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander over-representation in out-of home care
  • garner support to ensure that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people grow up safe and cared for within family, community and culture
  • ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, communities and organisations are empowered to exercise their responsibilities for the safety and wellbeing of their children

Find out more about what you can do and use our resources below to take action

What you can do

As a Family Matters supporter, we are calling on your organisation to further support Family Matters by hosting an event and promoting the National Week of Action via your organisation’s website, social media and other communications channels.

Our policy asks

Learn more about the policy changes we’re asking for

Join us in demanding for political action.


Hold an event in your workplace, engage your supporters, members and staff in discussions about the escalating number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being removed from their family, and the power you have to influence change.


Take a photo of you and your mob holding our campaign sign and share it on social media.

Use our resources to promote on social media.

Social media

Share our election priorities on social media.

Share this video: Let’s Start the Conversation

And copy and paste the following messaging to use on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


Check back soon for a Facebook frame so you can change your profile to show your support for the campaign.


On Twitter, use the hashtag #BecauseOfThemWeMust

[I / We / your organisation] believe/s that #FamilyMatters. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are 11x more likely to be removed from their families than other Australian children. Our children deserve better. #BecauseOfThemWeMust

Without real change now, the story remains the same. It’s time for a new approach. Together, we can break the cycle of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child removal.

Download the NACCHO 2019 Calendar Health Awareness Days

For many years ACCHO organisations have said they wished they had a list of the many Indigenous “ Days “ and Aboriginal health or awareness days/weeks/events.

With thanks to our friends at ZockMelon here they both are!

It even has a handy list of the hashtags for the event.

Download the 53 Page 2019 Health days and events calendar HERE

naccho zockmelon 2019 health days and events calendar

We hope that this document helps you with your planning for the year ahead.

Every Tuesday we will update these listings with new events and What’s on for the week ahead

To submit your events or update your info

Contact: Colin Cowell

NACCHO Social Media Editor Tel 0401 331 251

Email :

21 May First Peoples Disability Network, Is hosting a Human Rights Literacy forum. #FPDN #community#humanrights #Indigenous #culture

All welcome, Catering will be provided.
Location: Aboriginal Advancement League
THORNBURY, Tuesday 21 May 2019


24 May National Sorry Day Bridge Walk Canberra

24-26 May AMA NATIONAL CONFERENCE – #amanatcon

25 May The Long Walk Melbourne

Reconciliation Australia is proud to sponsor  again in 2019. Head down to  in Melbourne on 25 May for food, activities, and musical performances by , and more. Learn more: 

27 May to 5 June National Reconciliation Week #NRW2019 

At the heart of reconciliation is the relationship between the broader Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. To foster positive race relations, our relationship must be grounded in a foundation of truth.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have long called for a comprehensive process of truth-telling about Australia’s colonial history. Our nation’s past is reflected in the present, and will continue to play out in future unless we heal historical wounds.

Today, 80 per cent of Australians believe it is important to undertake formal truth telling processes, according to the 2018 Australian Reconciliation Barometer. Australians are ready to come to terms with our history as a crucial step towards a unified future, in which we understand, value and respect each other.

Whether you’re engaging in challenging conversations or unlearning and relearning what you know, this journey requires all of us to walk together with courage. This National Reconciliation Week, we invite Australians from all backgrounds to contribute to our national movement towards a unified future.

What is National Reconciliation Week?

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

The dates for NRW remain the same each year; 27 May to 3 June. These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey— the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision respectively.

Reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds and actions of all Australians as we move forward, creating a nation strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider Australian community, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Resources HERE

18 -20 June Lowitja Health Conference Darwin

At the Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2019 delegates from around the world will discuss the role of First Nations in leading change and will showcase Indigenous solutions.

The conference program will highlight ways of thinking, speaking and being for the benefit of Indigenous peoples everywhere.

Join Indigenous leaders, researchers, health professionals, decision makers, community representatives, and our non-Indigenous colleagues in this important conversation.

More Info 

2019 Dr Tracey Westerman’s Workshops 

More info and dates

5 July NAIDOC week Symposium

Symposium: Our Voice, Our Truth
Kick off NAIDOC week in Canberra with a Symposium event with keynote speakers and expert panel on the topic of good governance through strong leadership. A daylong event, fully catered with morning and afternoon tea, lunch and post-event drinks and canapes with entertainment to conclude.
This is an exclusive ticketed event in a stunning lakeside venue with limited seats available. Save the date – July 5 – and follow on Facebook to be the first in line to book tickets
6 July National NAIDOC Awards Canberra

7 -14 July 2019 National NAIDOC Grant funding round opens


We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.

The Indigenous voice of this country is over 65,000 plus years old.

They are the first words spoken on this continent. Languages that passed down lore, culture and knowledge for over millennia. They are precious to our nation.

It’s that Indigenous voice that include know-how, practices, skills and innovations – found in a wide variety of contexts, such as agricultural, scientific, technical, ecological and medicinal fields, as well as biodiversity-related knowledge.  They are words connecting us to country, an understanding of country and of a people who are the oldest continuing culture on the planet.

And with 2019 being celebrated as the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages, it’s time for our knowledge to be heard through our voice.

For generations, we have sought recognition of our unique place in Australian history and society today. We need to be the architects of our lives and futures.

For generations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have looked for significant and lasting change.

Voice. Treaty. Truth. were three key elements to the reforms set out in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. These reforms represent the unified position of First Nations Australians.

However, the Uluru Statement built on generations of consultation and discussions among Indigenous people on a range of issues and grievances. Consultations about the further reforms necessary to secure and underpin our rights and to ensure they can be exercised and enjoyed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

It specifically sequenced a set of reforms: first, a First Nations Voice to Parliament enshrined in the Constitution and second, a Makarrata Commission to supervise treaty processes and truth-telling.

(Makarrata is a word from the language of the Yolngu people in Arnhem Land. The Yolngu concept of Makarrata captures the idea of two parties coming together after a struggle, healing the divisions of the past. It is about acknowledging that something has been done wrong, and it seeks to make things right.)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people want their voice to be heard. First Nations were excluded from the Constitutional convention debates of the 1800’s when the Australian Constitution came into force.  Indigenous people were excluded from the bargaining table.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have always wanted an enhanced role in decision-making in Australia’s democracy.

In the European settlement of Australia, there were no treaties, no formal settlements, no compacts. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people therefore did not cede sovereignty to our land. It was taken away from us. That will remain a continuing source of dispute.

Our sovereignty has never been ceded – not in 1788, not in 1967, not with the Native Title Act, not with the Uluru Statement from the Heart. It coexists with the sovereignty of the Crown and should never be extinguished.

Australia is one of the few liberal democracies around the world which still does not have a treaty or treaties or some other kind of formal acknowledgement or arrangement with its Indigenous minorities.

A substantive treaty has always been the primary aspiration of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander movement.

Critically, treaties are inseparable from Truth.

Lasting and effective agreement cannot be achieved unless we have a shared, truthful understanding of the nature of the dispute, of the history, of how we got to where we stand.

The true story of colonisation must be told, must be heard, must be acknowledged.

But hearing this history is necessary before we can come to some true reconciliation, some genuine healing for both sides.

And of course, this is not just the history of our First Peoples – it is the history of all of us, of all of Australia, and we need to own it.

Then we can move forward together.

Let’s work together for a shared future.

Download the National NAIDOC Logo and other social media resources.

2-5 August Garma Festival 

Garma Website

29th  – 30th  Aug 2019 NACCHO OCHRE DAY

Venue: Pullman Hotel – 192 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne Vic 3000

Website to be launched soon

23 -25 September IAHA Conference Darwin

24 September

A night of celebrating excellence and action – the Gala Dinner is the premier national networking event in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health.

The purpose of the IAHA National Indigenous Allied Health Awards is to recognise the contribution of IAHA members to their profession and/or improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The IAHA National Indigenous Allied Health Awards showcase the outstanding achievements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health and provides identifiable allied health role models to inspire all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to consider and pursue a career in allied health.

The awards this year will be known as “10 for 10” to honour the 10 Year Anniversary of IAHA. We will be announcing 4 new awards in addition to the 6 existing below.

Read about the categories HERE.

24 -26 September 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference



The 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference will be held in Sydney, 24th – 26th September 2019. Make sure you save the dates in your calendar.

Further information to follow soon.

Date: Tuesday the 24th to Thursday the 26th September 2019

Location: Sydney, Australia

Organiser: Chloe Peters

Phone: 02 6262 5761


9-10 October 2019 NATSIHWA 10 Year Anniversary Conference

SAVE THE DATE for the 2019 NATSIHWA 10 Year Anniversary Conference!!!

We’re so excited to announce the date of our 10 Year Anniversary Conference –
A Decade of Footprints, Driving Recognition!!! 

NATSIHWA recognises that importance of members sharing and learning from each other, and our key partners within the Health Sector. We hold a biennial conference for all NATSIHWA members to attend. The conference content focusses on the professional support and development of the Health Workers and Health Practitioners, with key side events to support networking among attendees.  We seek feedback from our Membership to make the conferences relevant to their professional needs and expectations and ensure that they are offered in accessible formats and/or locations.The conference is a time to celebrate the important contribution of Health Workers and Health Practitioners, and the Services that support this important profession.

We hold the NATSIHWA Legends Award night at the conference Gala Dinner. Award categories include: Young Warrior, Health Worker Legend, Health Service Legend and Individual Champion.

Watch this space for the release of more dates for registrations, award nominations etc.

16 October Melbourne Uni: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Wellbeing Conference

The University of Melbourne, Department of Rural Health are pleased to advise that abstract
submissions are now being invited that address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and

The Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Conference is an opportunity for sharing information and connecting people that are committed to reforming the practice and research of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander health and celebrates Aboriginal knowledge systems and strength-based approaches to improving the health outcomes of Aboriginal communities.

This is an opportunity to present evidence-based approaches, Aboriginal methods and models of
practice, Aboriginal perspectives and contribution to health or community led solutions, underpinned by cultural theories to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.
In 2018 the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Conference attracted over 180 delegates from across the community and state.

We welcome submissions from collaborators whose expertise and interests are embedded in Aboriginal health and wellbeing, and particularly presented or co-presented by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and community members.

If you are interested in presenting, please complete the speaker registration link

closing date for abstract submission is Friday 3 rd May 2019.
As per speaker registration link request please email your professional photo for our program or any conference enquiries to E.

Kind regards
Leah Lindrea-Morrison
Aboriginal Partnerships and Community Engagement Officer
Department of Rural Health, University of Melbourne T. 03 5823 4554 E.

4 November NACCHO Youth Conference -Darwin NT

Darwin Convention Centre

Website to be launched soon

Conference Co-Coordinator Ben Mitchell 02 6246 9309

5 – 7 November NACCHO Conference and AGM  -Darwin NT

Darwin Convention Centre

Website to be launched soon

Conference Co-Coordinator Ben Mitchell 02 6246 9309

5-8 November The Lime Network Conference New Zealand 

This years  whakatauki (theme for the conference) was developed by the Scientific Committee, along with Māori elder, Te Marino Lenihan & Tania Huria from .

To read about the conference & theme, check out the  website. 

NACCHO #ClosetheGap in Aboriginal Dental /Oral Health @AIHW Report #WOHD19 #rethinksugarydrink : It’s #WorldOralHealthDay @Live_Lighter Sugary drinks are the leading cause of tooth decay : We’re urging our mob to use this info as motivation to cut back on sugary drinks

” Indigenous Australians are more likely than other Australians to have multiple caries and untreated dental disease, and less likely to have received preventive dental care (AHMAC 2017). The oral health status of Indigenous Australians, like all Australians, is influenced by many factors (see What contributes to poor oral health?) and a tendency towards unfavourable dental visiting patterns, broadly associated with accessibility, cost and a lack of cultural awareness by some service providers (COAG 2015; NACDH 2012).” 

See Part 1 below AIHW Report

See full AIHW Web Report HERE 

Read over 35 NACCHO Aboriginal Oral Dental Health articles HERE 

” With new figures revealing almost half of Australian children aged 5-10 experience tooth decay in their baby teeth [1], the Rethink Sugary Drink alliance is urging Aussies to give their teeth a break from sugary drinks and make the switch to water in a bid to protect their oral health.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare figures released today also reveal this trend continues into adulthood with Australians aged 15 and over having an average of nearly 13 decayed, missing or filled teeth.

Sugary drinks, such as soft drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks, are a major contributor of added sugar in Australian children’s diets and the leading cause of tooth decay.’ ,

From Re Think Sugary Drinks Website See in Full Part 2 Below

Part 1 AIHW Report Oral health and dental care in Australia

Good oral health is fundamental to overall health and wellbeing (COAG 2015). Without it, a person’s general quality of life and the ability to eat, speak and socialise is compromised, resulting in pain, discomfort and embarrassment.

Oral health refers to the condition of a person’s teeth and gums, as well as the health of the muscles and bones in their mouth (AHMAC 2017). Poor oral health—mainly tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss—affects many Australian children and adults, and contributed 4.4% of all the burden that non-fatal burden diseases placed on the community in 2011. Oral health generally deteriorates over a person’s lifetime

What contributes to poor oral health?

Many factors contribute to poor oral health (NACDH 2012), including:

  • consumption of sugar, tobacco and alcohol
  • a lack of good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups
  • a lack of fluoridation in some water supplies
  • access and availability of services, including:
    • affordability of private dental care
    • long waiting periods for public dental care.

What is the impact of poor oral health?

The most common oral diseases affect the teeth (tooth decay, called ‘caries’) and gums (periodontal disease). Oral disease can destroy the tissues in the mouth, leading to lasting physical and psychological disability (NACDH 2012). Tooth loss can reduce the functionality of the mouth, making chewing and swallowing more challenging, which in turn can compromise nutrition. Poor nutrition can impair general health and exacerbate existing health conditions (NACDH 2012). Poor oral health is also associated with a number of chronic diseases, including stroke and cardiovascular disease (DHSV 2011) (Figure 1).

Figure 1 demonstrates the links between poor oral health and chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, lung conditions, oral cancers, adverse pregnancy outcomes, stroke and diabetes.

Poor oral health can also affect a person’s wellbeing. Dental disease can impair a person’s appearance and speech, eroding their self-esteem, which in turn can lead to restricted participation at school, the workplace, home and other social settings (NACDH 2012).

Some groups are at greater risk of poor oral health

The National Oral Health Plan identifies four priority population groups that have poorer oral health than the general population and also experience barriers to accessing oral health care—either in the private or public sector. State and territory governments are the current providers of most public dental services, and access is largely targeted towards people on low incomes or holders of concession cards. Eligibility requirements can vary between states and territories (AIHW 2018).

The four priority population groups identified in the plan are:

People who are socially disadvantaged or on low incomes: This group has historically been identified as those on a low income and/or receiving some form of government income assistance, but now extends to include people experiencing other forms of disadvantage including refugees, homeless people, some people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and people in institutions or correctional facilities (COAG 2015). Poorer oral health results from infrequent dental care. Barriers include cost, appropriateness of service delivery and lower levels of health literacy, including oral health (COAG 2015).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander AustraliansIndigenous Australians are more likely than other Australians to have multiple caries and untreated dental disease, and less likely to have received preventive dental care (AHMAC 2017). The oral health status of Indigenous Australians, like all Australians, is influenced by many factors (see What contributes to poor oral health?) and a tendency towards unfavourable dental visiting patterns, broadly associated with accessibility, cost and a lack of cultural awareness by some service providers (COAG 2015; NACDH 2012).

People living in regional and remote areasOverall, this group has poorer oral health than those in Major cities (COAG 2015), and oral health status generally declines as remoteness increases. Rural Australians have access to fewer dental practitioners than their city counterparts, which, coupled with longer travel times and limited transport options to services, affects the oral health care that they can receive (COAG 2015; Bishop & Laverty 2015). People living in Remote and Very remote areas are also more likely to smoke and drink at risky levels. They have reduced access to fluoridated drinking water and face increased costs of healthy food choices and oral hygiene products. These risk factors contribute to this population’s overall poorer oral health (COAG 2015).

People with additional and/or specialised health care needsThis group includes people living with mental illness, people with physical, intellectual and developmental disabilities, people with complex medical needs and frail older people. These people can be vulnerable to oral disease; for example, some medications for chronic diseases can cause a dry mouth, which increases the risk of tooth decay (Queensland Health 2008). A number of factors make accessing dental care more difficult for this group, including:

  • a shortage of dental health professionals with skills in special-needs dentistry
  • difficulties in physically accessing appropriate dental treatment facilities
  • the cost of treatment. People with additional and/or specialised health care needs often have their earning capacity eroded by ill health (COAG 2015).

Why does oral health vary across Australia?

People in some states and territories have generally poorer oral health than others. For example, the National Child Oral Health Study found that the prevalence of caries in the deciduous teeth of children was significantly higher in Northern Territory and Queensland than in all other states and territories (Do & Spencer 2016). Oral health status is influenced by a complex interaction of factors, as outlined above. These factors should be considered when looking at results by state and territory. For example:

  • all people living in the Northern Territory were located in Outer regionalRemote or Very remote areas, whereas the majority of the Victorian population were located in Major cities in 2016 (ABS 2018a)
  • the Northern Territory has Australia’s highest proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (26% of its population) which is much higher than the next highest state, Tasmania (4.6% of its population) (ABS 2017)
  • Tasmania has the highest proportion of people living in the lowest socioeconomic areas (37%) (refer to Technical notes for explanation of SEIFA) (ABS 2018b).

The variations observed in oral health status between state and territory populations may also be partly explained by differences in individual state and territory oral health care funding, service models and eligibility requirements, which can result in varied patterns of dental visiting among residents (AIHW 2018). Oral health campaigns and policies can also make an impact. For example, water fluoridation coverage in Queensland has reduced since the Queensland Government transferred the decision whether to fluoridate water supplies from state to local governments in 2008, despite evidence that access to fluoridated drinking water has been shown to reduce tooth decay (Queensland Health 2015; NHMRC 2017).

Part 2 Australians’ love affair with sugary drinks rots the smiles of children as young as five

Leading health bodies call for people to rethink sugary drink this World Oral Health Day.

With new figures revealing almost half of Australian children aged 5-10 experience tooth decay in their baby teeth [1], the Rethink Sugary Drink alliance is urging Aussies to give their teeth a break from sugary drinks and make the switch to water in a bid to protect their oral health.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare figures released today also reveal this trend continues into adulthood with Australians aged 15 and over having an average of nearly 13 decayed, missing or filled teeth.

Sugary drinks, such as soft drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks, are a major contributor of added sugar in Australian children’s diets and the leading cause of tooth decay.

On World Oral Health Day today, Craig Sinclair, Head of Prevention at Cancer Council Victoria, a partner of Rethink Sugary Drink, is urging Australians to see this information as motivation to cut back on sugary drinks.

While regular sugary drink consumption leaves a lasting effect on Australians’ oral health, Mr Sinclair said the risks extend beyond just teeth.

“These super sugary drinks don’t stop at ruining Aussie smiles. In the long run they can lead to unhealthy weight gain, increasing the risk of serious health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart and kidney disease, stroke and 13 types of cancer.”

“It’s sadly no surprise that tooth decay is hitting Australian kids hard, given the overwhelming availability of sugary drinks. Not only are there significantly more sugary drink choices available today, they are everywhere our kids look. Ironically they’re even in venues designed to help our kids be healthy, such as sports centres, sporting clubs, as well as places they visit regularly like train stations, festivals and events,” Mr Sinclair said.

“Big beverage brands don’t just stop there – they also sweet talk our kids into guzzling high-sugar drinks through social media, and outdoor and online advertising. We need government to invest in public education campaigns to cut through the marketing spin and expose the health impacts of sugary drinks.”

A/Prof Matthew Hopcraft, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch, a Rethink Sugary Drink partner, has seen the devastating impact sugary drinks has on children’s teeth and wants Australians to consider the consequences of drinking too many.

“I’ve seen firsthand the devastating impact tooth decay has on the health, nutrition, social and emotional wellbeing of these kids and their families. There are extreme cases where dentists are extracting all 20 baby teeth from kids as young as 3 – it’s not pretty.” A/Prof Hopcraft said.

“Some people may not realise every time they take a sip from a sugary drink they expose their teeth to an acid attack, dissolving the outer surface of our tooth enamel. This regular loss of enamel can lead to cavities and exposure of the inner layers of the tooth that may leave them feeling very sensitive and painful.

“Healthy teeth are an integral part of good oral health, enabling us to eat, speak and socialise without pain, discomfort or embarrassment. It’s disheartening to know 27% of Aussie kids feel uncomfortable about the appearance of their teeth. No kid should look back on their childhood and remember the distress and pain that came as a result of drinking too many sugary drinks.”

A/Prof Hopcraft said World Oral Health Day serves the perfect chance for Australians to rethink their choice of drink.

“We know less than 10 per cent of Australian adults have managed to avoid tooth decay. There is no reason why we can’t turn these numbers around. If Australians can simply cut back on sugary drinks or remove them entirely from their diet, their teeth will be much stronger and healthier for it,” A/Prof Hopcraft said

“We recommend taking a look at how much sugar is in these drinks – people may be shocked to know some have as many as 16 teaspoons of sugar. Water is always the best choice and your teeth will thank you in the long run.”

In support of World Oral Health Day the Rethink Sugary Drink alliance are calling for the following actions in addition to the restriction of unhealthy drink marketing to address the issue of sugary drink overconsumption:

A public education campaign supported by Australian governments to highlight the health impacts of regular sugary

[1] AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) 2019. Oral health and dental care in Australia, 2014-15 and 2016-17

About Rethink Sugary Drink: Rethink Sugary Drink is a partnership between the Apunipima Cape York Health Council, Australian Dental Association, Australian Dental and Oral Health Therapists’ Association, Cancer Council Australia, Dental Health Services Victoria, Dental Hygienists Association of Australia, Diabetes Australia, Healthier Workplace WA, Kidney Health Australia, LiveLighter, The Mai Wiru Sugar Challenge Foundation, Nutrition Australia, Obesity Policy Coalition, Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons, Stroke Foundation, Parents’ Voice, the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and the YMCA to raise awareness of the amount of sugar in sugar-sweetened beverages and encourage Australians to reduce their consumption.

Visit for more information.

NACCHO Aboriginal Youth Health #ClosingTheGap #Mentalheath : @SandraEades Connection to our country, culture and family can be profoundly healing. #OurHealthOurChoiceOurVoice Addressing the health deficits that young Aboriginal people face

For Aboriginal people, connection to our country, culture and family can be profoundly healing. But in the many decades we’ve spent working to improve the health of Australia’s first peoples, it’s a strength that has too often been ignored and squandered.

We need to change that, especially when it comes to addressing the health deficits that young Aboriginal people face, the great burden of which is their mental health.

And in their case, the strengths we need to build on includes the young people themselves.” 

PROFESSOR SANDRA EADES Associate Dean (Indigenous), Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne

This article was first published on Pursuit. Read the original article.

” Culturally-appropriate care and safety has a vast role to play in improving the health and wellbeing of our people.

In this respect, I want to make special mention of the proven record of the Aboriginal Community Health Organisations in increasing the health and wellbeing of First Peoples by delivering culturally competent care.

I’m pleased to be here at this conference, which aims to make a difference with a simple but sentinel theme of investing in what works, surely a guiding principle for all that we do

Providing strong pointers for this is a new youth report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Equipped with this information, we can connect the dots – what is working well and where we need to focus our energies, invest our expertise, so our young people can reap the benefits of better health and wellbeing “

Minister Ken Wyatt launching AIHW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Adolescent and Youth Health and Wellbeing 2018 report at NACCHO Conference 31 October attended by over 500 ACCHO delegates including 75 ACCHO Youth delegates

Read Download Report HERE

NACCHO Youth Conference 2018

Consider this: Over 75 per cent of Aboriginal young people aged 15 to 24 report being happy all or most of the time.

That is according to last year’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adolescent and youth health and wellbeing report, by the advisory group I chaired.

The report also found that over 60 per cent of Aboriginal young people recognise their traditional homelands, and over half identify with their clan or language group.

And they are increasingly finishing school and saying no to smoking. In the ten years to 2016, the proportion of Aboriginal young people completing Year 12 rose from 47 per cent to 65 per cent. Among 15 to 24-year-olds, some 56 per cent now report never having smoked compared with just 44 per cent in 2002.

In terms of alcohol consumption among Aboriginal aged 18 to 24 years old, some 65 per cent report that in the last two weeks they either hadn’t had a drink or hadn’t exceeded alcohol risk guidelines. That compares with just 33 per cent of non-Aboriginal 18 to 24-year-olds.

And what do they say when we ask them what they stress about most? Getting a job.

Aboriginal young people know the trajectory they want to take. They want to complete school, go to TAFE or University, and most of all get into work.

This tells us that we have a real opportunity to help them. Like all young people, it’s about helping them achieve small wins that can then build into bigger victories.

If you were to say to someone of British heritage that to be really Australian they had to leave Britain behind, forget their connection to their heritage and integrate, you would be laughed at.

But that is the message that has long been given to Aboriginal people even though we have over 50,000 years of connection to this country.

So, it should be no surprise we don’t feel we have to let go of our culture or let go of the strengths that go with being Aboriginal.

It is these unique strengths that we need to get better at integrating into how we deliver healthcare if we are to address the health gap. And the health gap is real.

Aboriginal young people have higher rates of mortality, self-harm and psychological distress.

Youth is a period of our lives when we are supposed to experiment and take risks. But if you are from a disadvantaged group, and being Aboriginal is the most disadvantaged group in the Australia, the issues of living with this disadvantage and intergenerational trauma, can tip the balance towards unhealthy risk taking.

The mental balance can tip towards hopelessness and despair.

But the overwhelming message from this report is that these health deficits are preventable conditions, and that a large part of the problem is gaps in services and support.

Young people aren’t easy to reach. In my career I’ve researched Aboriginal mothers, babies, young children and older people, and they are all much easier to engage with in health settings – but young people don’t tend to hang out at health clinics.

Engaging with young people isn’t an impossible challenge. In our NextGen research, in which we are surveying face-to-face over 2,000 Aboriginal young people about sensitive health topics, we have had to work differently to connect with them. Where we have had success is in the home and in community neighbourhood centres.

In many respects it is obvious. In our preliminary data, of the young people who tell us they have mental health issues, some 70 per cent say their parent and families are the first people they talk to about their problems.

It tells you that if you want to engage with Aboriginal young people you need to be engaging with their families. We need to rethink how services are delivered if we are to make them more effective in engaging with young people.

Since the 1970s, when the first Aboriginal health service opened in Sydney’s Redfern, a whole network has emerged and they are terrific. But they are largely geared toward maternal and child health, and the treatment of chronic conditions that affect mostly older people.

We need to think about how services can be made more accessible to young people specifically, and look at different delivery models. It might be that we need to extend existing services or we might need to look at creating dedicated services, in the same way that the Headspace mental health services are targeted at youth.

Whatever we do it will require more investment at a time when Aboriginal health services have been under severe funding pressure ever since the 2014 Federal government budget cuts.

But improving the health of young Aboriginals goes well beyond the health sector.

According to the report, among Aboriginal 15 to 24-year-olds, a third reported being unfairly treated because of their indigeneity in the last 12 months. And the most frequent setting for unfair treatment was school, in a training course, or at university.

This underlines the importance of educational institutions in embracing Aboriginal culture.

When I went to university in the 1980s the expectation was that we would have to leave our culture at the door. That is now changing thanks to the hard work of many people and universities have created dedicated centres of Aboriginal culture, like Murrup Barak at the University of Melbourne. This work needs to continue.

We need to allow Aboriginal young people to be who they are, and that means helping them to draw on the strengths in themselves and the strengths in the culture and community they rely on.

This article was first published on Pursuit. Read the original article.


NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #COAG Health Ministers Council Communique : Peak bodies welcome Roadmaps to address high priority health issues #RenalHealth  #EyeHealth #RHD #RheumaticHeartDisease #Hearing Health and #Housing

We welcome the COAG Health Council’s commitment to the RHD Roadmap today.

The RHD Roadmap was developed by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) on behalf of END RHD.

We look forward to supporting the AHMAC review of the RHD Roadmap, and ask that the National RHD Steering Committee – which underpins governance of the RHD Roadmap – be convened as a matter of priority to oversee development of the implementation plan. ” 

END RHD Press Release see 2.30 below for full release 

“ The need to close the gap for vision and achieve a world class system of eye health and vision care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is a critically important objective and rightly belongs on the national agenda.”

The fact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are still three times more likely to experience blindness than non-Indigenous Australians illustrates the need for action.

We welcome the leadership shown by Minister Wyatt in bringing this issue to the COAG Health Council, and strongly encourage all governments and all sides of politics to join together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, their organisations and Vision 2020 Australia members to close the gap for vision.”

Vision 2020 Australia CEO Judith Abbott:

The Federal, state and territory Health Ministers met in Adelaide last Friday at the COAG Health Council to discuss a range of national health issues.

The meeting was chaired by the Hon Roger Cook MLA, Western Australian Minister for Health and Mental Health.

Major items discussed by Health Ministers today included:

1.National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Medical Workforce Plan

2. Roadmaps to address high priority health issues for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

2.1 Renal Health 

2.2 Eye Health 

2.3 Rheumatic Heart Disease 

2.4 Hearing Health

3.Diseases of housing overcrowding and poverty in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

1.National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Medical Workforce Plan 

At the August 2018 Indigenous Roundtable Health Ministers agreed to develop a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Health and Medical Workforce Plan that provides a career path, national scope of practice and attracts more Indigenous people into health professions.

Ministers discussed the approach to develop the Plan noting that the Commonwealth will provide resources to lead its drafting, in full consultation with states and territories and other key stakeholders.

Ministers noted that in the course of developing the Plan, there may be value in engaging with other relevant COAG councils with workforce and skills responsibilities to realise meaningful, sustainable outcomes.

A draft Plan will be submitted to the next CHC Indigenous Roundtable in July 2019.

Roadmaps to address high priority health issues for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

At the July 2018 COAG Health Council meeting, Health Ministers discussed the potentially preventable burden of disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities caused by a number of health conditions. They discussed work to date to address these health conditions and opportunities to build on these efforts within the context of the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013–2023.

Today Health Ministers discussed four roadmaps to be a framework to deliver collaborative policies and programs to address this key health challenge. Ministers committed to working jointly to ending rheumatic heart disease and avoidable blindness and deafness.

Ministers referred the roadmaps to the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council for review and reporting back in November 2019.

2.1 Renal Health 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience a disproportionate burden of renal disease. Research shows non-Indigenous patients are nearly four times more likely to receive kidney transplants, and Indigenous people are nine times as likely to rely on dialysis.

Ministers noted the Renal Health Roadmap, developed by the Commonwealth in conjunction with key stakeholders, as a framework to deliver collaborative policies and programs.

2.2 Eye Health 

The rate of vision impairment and blindness in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is three times higher than non-Indigenous Australians. The leading causes of vision loss and blindness in Indigenous adults are uncorrected refractive error, cataract and diabetic retinopathy. Ministers noted the Eye Health Roadmap as a framework to deliver collaborative policies and programs.

Vision 2020 Press Release

Vision 2020 Australia welcomes the leadership shown by the Minister for Indigenous Health Ken Wyatt AM, along with his state and territory counterparts, in discussing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye health and vision at today’s COAG Health Council Meeting.

Too many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people still experience avoidable vision loss and blindness, and those who have lost vision often find it difficult to access the support and services they need.

Our members are working hard to improve eye care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and the plan discussed today is a product of their extensive input and expertise.

We encourage all governments, all sides of politics, and the many others involved in this area to work closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and their organisations to achieve and sustain real improvements in eye health and vision for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across our nation.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s eye health – key facts

  • Cataract is the leading cause of blindness for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults and is 12 times more common than for non-Indigenous Australians.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people wait on average 63% longer for cataract surgery than non-Indigenous Australians.
  • Almost two-thirds of vision impairment among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is due to uncorrected refractive error – often treatable with a pair of glasses.
  • One in 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults has Diabetic Retinopathy, which can lead to irreversible vision loss.
  • Australia is the only developed country to still have Trachoma, found predominately in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

2.3 Rheumatic Heart Disease 

Rheumatic heart disease is a disease of disadvantage that affects primarily Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It is caused by an episode or recurrent episodes of acute rheumatic fever where the heart valves remain stretched or scarred, interrupting normal bloodflow. The Roadmap has used the best available evidence to identify priority actions for the next 10 years.

RHD Press Release

We welcome the COAG Health Council’s commitment to the RHD Roadmap today. The RHD Roadmap was developed by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) on behalf of END RHD.

We look forward to supporting the AHMAC review of the RHD Roadmap, and ask that the National RHD Steering Committee – which underpins governance of the RHD Roadmap – be convened as a matter of priority to oversee development of the implementation plan.

We look forward to working with the Commonwealth and jurisdictional governments, implementing organisations, and communities, to ensure the RHD Roadmap is implemented in a timely, consultative manner, in line with the COAG Implementation Principles as informed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities.

We thank Ministers Wyatt and Hunt for commissioning and championing the RHD Roadmap. We thank all our partners who contributed their experience, wisdom, and energies in preliminary consultation.

Our goal is to end rheumatic heart disease in Australia. This RHD Roadmap provides a critical opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to lead the way to achieve that shared vision.

2.4 Hearing Health

Hearing loss is a complex issue that affects millions of Australians. It is often considered a hidden or invisible issue as, despite the high prevalence of hearing loss, there is limited awareness in the broader community. There is a disproportionate impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people due to ear disease that profoundly affects their life experiences through childhood and into adulthood. This has a significant impact on community engagement, education, employment and engagement with the criminal justice system. The Roadmap sets out the short, medium and long-term actions to address the key hearing health issues that have been identified.

3. Diseases of housing overcrowding and poverty in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

Health Ministers discussed the conditions that make up the health gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and are associated with a range of social and environmental determinants. Communicable diseases in particular share the same environmental risk factors of poor cleanliness and hygiene, the impacts of which are exacerbated by overcrowded living conditions. Acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) are two examples of diseases resulting from overcrowding and poverty in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Other Issues 

National Health Reform Agreement – Resolving reconciliation and back casting

Health Ministers discussed differing approaches to the application of back casting in the Activity Based Funding model for Commonwealth funding to states and territories under the National Health Reform Agreement.

State and Territory Ministers will develop a joint set of policy principles and directions on a clear methodology for the calculation of hospital funding for use by the national funding bodies, which will be presented to COAG by June 2019.

Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy: 2019 and Beyond

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) global nutrition target is to increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months up to at least 50 percent by 2025. Low breastfeeding rates and the use of infant formula within the first year of life are linked to obesity and other chronic diseases in later life.

In 2016, Health Ministers agreed to develop an enduring breastfeeding strategy following the conclusion of the Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy 2010-2015. The latest National Health Survey data shows that only around 25% of babies are exclusively breastfed to around six months.

The Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy: 2019 and Beyond seeks to achieve the World Health Organization target of 50% of babies exclusively breastfed to around six months by 2025, including a particular focus on those from priority populations and vulnerable groups. To achieve this objective, actions are proposed across three priority areas: structural enablers; settings that enable breastfeeding; and individual enablers.

Ministers discussed the Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy: 2019 and Beyond and committed to provide a supportive and enabling environment for breastfeeding mothers, infants and families. Ministers were of the view that investing in breastfeeding is an investment in chronic disease prevention and better health.

The Commonwealth Department of Health will lead national policy coordination, monitoring and evaluation and report annually on implementation progress to the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council.

Professional Indemnity Insurance for Privately Practicing Midwives

In 2010, the introduction of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009 saw the requirement for registered health practitioners to have appropriate professional indemnity insurance in place. Despite exhaustive national and international investigations, no available or affordable commercial product in Australia covers Privately Practicing Midwives for homebirth.

Health Ministers considered the issue of professional indemnity insurance for privately practicing midwives. Health Ministers emphasised that the safety of mothers and their babies is paramount.

Health Ministers recognised that the availability of a suitable professional indemnity insurance product covering private home births would be preferable, as it would allow privately practicing midwives to remain registered under the National Law without the need for an exemption, continue to provide choice to women and take into account the rights of women and children.

In the absence of a suitable professional indemnity insurance product for privately practicing midwives, Health Ministers requested that AHMAC would complete additional work to inform the decision of Ministers in relation to the way forward by June 2020.

Health Ministers agreed for the current exemption under the National Law to be extended until December 2021 to allow time for options to be explored further.

Update on ageing and aged care matters including the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety

All Australian Health Ministers are committed to the highest quality care for older Australians.

The Minister for Indigenous Health and Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care, the Hon Ken Wyatt MP, provided an update on recent ageing and aged care initiatives, announcements and the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

The Royal Commission has a broad scope to inquire into all forms of Commonwealth-funded aged care services, regardless of the setting in which those services are delivered. It will look at the aged care sector as a whole, including younger people with disabilities living in residential age care.

Ministers also discussed a range of issues relating to safe and quality care for older Australians, for example, the provision of primary and community care services to aged care consumers, access to acute care and rehabilitation services, timely movement of consumers from hospital to aged care services and engagement on the implementation of effective mechanisms to regulate restraint in aged care.

Update on National Missions under the Medical Research Future Fund 

National Medical Research Future Fund Missions are large programs of work with ambitious objectives to address complex and sizeable health issues that are only possible through significant investment, leadership and collaboration. They bring together key researchers, health professionals, stakeholders, industry partners, patients and governments to tackle significant health challenges, for example brain cancer and dementia.

Today Health Ministers received an update from the Commonwealth Minister for Health on the five national Missions and the Indigenous Health Futures announced to date and increased opportunities for contestable grant rounds to support health and medical research.

The five missions are

  1. Australian Brain Cancer Mission
  2. Genomics Health Futures Mission
  3. Million Minds Mental Health Research Mission
  4. Dementia, Ageing and Aged Care Research Mission
  5. Mission for Cardiovascular Health

The research work also includes the Indigenous Health Futures for which $160 million from the MRFF has been committed over ten years for a national research initiative to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Health Ministers supported the work of the research Missions and the Indigenous Health Futures, agreeing to work together towards achieving their aims.

Resolving outstanding National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) implementation issues

Health Ministers acknowledged the significant efforts being made by all jurisdictions to resolve issues that arise from the interface between the NDIS and health systems.

Mental Health Services

States and territories expressed concerns about access to necessary primary care mental health services. States, territories and the Commonwealth will work constructively so that access to primary mental health services is improved particularly for consumers outside the NDIS.

Regulation of misleading public health information

The Queensland Health Minister provided an update on regulation of misleading public health information in relation to misleading or inaccurate information regarding vaccines or vaccination programs.

Ministers welcomed the prompt action and leadership of the Outdoor Media Association to apply the intent of the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code (No.2) 2018, so that advertising connected to therapeutic goods ‘must not be inconsistent with current public health campaigns.’

Tobacco industry issues

Australia has been a world leader in legislation restricting the promotion and advertising of tobacco-related products through sport, and in taking a precautionary approach to the control of smoke-free products such as e-cigarettes.

The tobacco industry is investing heavily in smoke-free products and has established associated sports sponsorships launched at the start of the 2019 F1 and MotoGP championship seasons, presenting a challenge to tobacco control legislation.

Victoria raised the issue that e-liquids for use in e-cigarettes are not in child safe packaging, do not contain sufficient warnings and may be dangerous or fatal for young children.

Health Ministers today discussed a national approach to the prohibition of smoke-free,  e-cigarette and related sponsorship and advertising in sport, based on existing tobacco control principles and legislation. This approach will have the capacity to respond to emerging products and forms of marketing.

Health Ministers also noted that the Clinical Principal Committee will develop options to better regulate e-cigarettes and related products including consideration of the need to introduce child proof lids and plain packaging, with options to be provided to the COAG Health Council for consideration.

National Medical Workforce Strategy

A National Medical Workforce Strategy is necessary to guide long-term, collaborative medical workforce planning across Australia.

The Strategy will match the supply of general practitioners, medical specialists and consultant physicians to predicted medical service needs and will involve consultation with a range of stakeholders. Health Ministers will fund the development of a National Medical Workforce Strategy. This will include sharing of data across Commonwealth and other jurisdictions to support the strategy.

It is expected that the Strategy will address several system-level issues including:

  • the number and distribution of specialist training positions and how these might be better aligned to community needs
  • access to the full range of medical services, including maternity services, in regional, rural and remote areas
  • the current reliance on overseas trained doctors to fill specific workforce shortages and how Australia can improve self-sufficiency in medical workforce development
  • integration of medical care between settings and professions
  • improving workplace culture and doctor wellbeing
  • the under-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors in the medical workforce.

A Steering Committee has been established under the National Medical Training Advisory Network to guide this work.

Options for a nationally consistent approach to the regulation of spinal manipulation on children 

Health Ministers noted community concerns about the unsafe spinal manipulation on children performed by chiropractors and agreed that public protection was paramount in resolving this issue.

Ministers welcomed the advice that Victoria will commission an independent review of the practice of spinal manipulation on children under 12 years, and the findings will be reported to the COAG Health Council, including the need for changes to the National Law.

Ministers supported the examination of an increase in penalties for advertising offences, such as false, misleading or deceptive advertising, under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, to bring these into line with community expectations and penalties for other offences under the National Law. This decision was informed by recent consultation about potential reforms to the National Law in 2018.

Ministers will consider the outcomes of the independent review and determine any further changes needed to protect the public.