NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alert : After 8 and half years editing this communique and managing NACCHO social media , @ColinCowell is retiring

” Every workday morning for the past 8 and half years I have been in the office at 6.30 am to produce and publish this Aboriginal Health News Alert.

But tomorrow 31 July 2020 will be my last day as I have just announced my retirement from NACCHO to take up a role of mentor . (see part 2 below )

Since 1970 when I started advertising at Channel 10 I have had over 50 years extensive national and international media experience specifically in the last thirty years in Indigenous communication.

This includes Torres News (Editor), ICC Torres Strait (PR), Arrernte Council Alice Springs (media advisor), Congress ACCHO / CAAMA (radio production), KOORI MAIL (contributor) , PMC Canberra (Indigenous communication), Department of Health Canberra (Indigenous communication), NITV (NACCHO TV series).

With this background I was honoured to develop a wide range of internet based communication platforms over the past 8 years to ensure the positive work of NACCHO and its members to Close the Gap was better recognised and supported by all sides of politics and the broader community.

I thank you for your support over years.”

Colin Cowell Social Media Editor NACCHO 2012-2020

Contact email

Follow on Twitter @ColinCowell

Or Contact 0401 331 251 

History of NACCHO Social media 2012-2020

Back in March 2012 the NACCHO CEO at the time Donna Ah Chee and the board had a need to improve the understanding and communication with the main groups involved  in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy process: government, politicians, academics, stakeholders, the media and the community sector.

As part of NACCHO’s 2012 Strategic plan social media was identified as an effective means of communicating key corporate objectives to connect, engage and inform members, their communities and stakeholders into the future.

NACCHO wanted to use social media to keep a focus on the battle to  ” Close the Gap within a generation”  and to ensure governments at all levels addressed the wide range of social issues faced by many Aboriginal Australians.

NACCHO’s social media communications strategy then supported these objectives:

  • Promoting, developing and expanding the provision of health and wellbeing services through local Aboriginal Community controlled Health services.
  • Liaison with organisations and governments within both the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community on health and wellbeing policy and planning issues.
  • Representation and advocacy relating to health service delivery, health information, research, public health, health financing and health programs.
  • Fostering cooperative partnerships and working relationships with agencies that respect Aboriginal community control and holistic concepts of health and wellbeing.

The depth and complexity of our Aboriginal controlled health services provided to our communities and the professionalism of the staff across all member services is inspirational and it is that message NACCHO went on to share with the broader non-Aboriginal community in the social media space now totaling approx. 65,000 followers on all our social media platforms

Highlights of my NACCHO contributions 2012-2020

1.New NACCHO website: In 2012 and 2014 designed and edited a new corporate website that was full of Aboriginal health content, history and about NACCHO’s role as the national authority to reform, promote and research.

2.New Daily Aboriginal Health News Alert site: Since established in 2012 I have I published 3,053 communiques shared daily with 5,822  readers / subscribers and in addition had over 1,159,000 views

Example : Since January 2020 we have published over 90 COVID-19 Aboriginal Health Alerts 

3.Integration : All content at the time was integrated with the NACCHO website by subject and had the ability to be shared in all social media platforms.

4.Established new NACCHO Branding: Designed a new corporate branding for all communications

5.Established new NACCHO Twitter account: Developed one of the most influential Indigenous health accounts with 96,500 tweets to 35,900 followers.

Record breaking tweet : Our Aboriginal communities should take health advice from the fast food industry’ campaign eventually  went global, reaching more than  20 million Twitter followers worldwide

6.Established new NACCHO Facebook account : Developed 20,000 followers with record breaking 185,000 engagements per month .

7.Established NACCHO Instagram Account : Now with over 3,000 followers

8. Established NACCHO newspaper: In conjunction with the Koori Mail introduced and published 2013-15 Australia’s first printed Aboriginal Health newspaper that was available also online as a download.

Read Download Here 

9.NACCHO TV: Created in YouTube to share NACCHO videos.

11.NACCHO APP 2013-15 : Designed Aboriginal health app with geo location system and access online to support networks for issues such as depression, suicide, alcohol, smoking, healthy lifestyles etc

12 .NACCHO Ochre Day : Working with Mark Saunders founded the concept of Ochre Day and wrote the strategy to promote Aboriginal Men’s Health

 Part 2 : My future role as a mentor

Mervyn Fernando is the Founding Director of Claystone Marketing.

As a proud Indigenous man with a career beginning with years of study across a broad range of qualifications.

In 2017, he completed his Bachelor of Business with Latrobe University and have since studied a Master of Marketing.

Through his work as a Consultant, he has been responsible for planning and delivering high level marketing strategies across small to large travel management companies, renewable energy providers, commercial cleaning companies, insurance, tech and a range of other commercial entities.

He has a strong passion for marketing and what he loves most about his career in the field of marketing is working with unique stories.

  • Social Media Marketing
  • Websites
  • Graphic Design
  • Workshops
  • Video Production
  • Email Marketing
  • Small Business Mentoring
  • Marketing Consultancy

Contact Merv via website 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Resources Alert : @HealthInfoNet New #Wellmob website focuses on culturally relevant online resources to support the social and emotional #wellbeing for our mob

 ” The inspiration for the WellMob website came from frontline health and wellbeing workers, who said they needed a one-stop-shop to easily access culturally relevant resources to use with their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients.

WellMob brings together over 200 videos, apps, podcasts and other websites in the one place and is free to access ” 

The new WellMob website is now available at

The website was developed by eMHPrac (e-mental health in practice) in partnership with the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet.

The easy to use visual format will support those who work in mental health, family support, education and youth services.

David Edwards, a Worimi man who project managed the website for eMHPrac, said ”Input from around the country has ensured WellMob was created for and by our mob. Reference groups of Indigenous health workers were set up in Larrakia (Darwin), Kaurna (Adelaide) and Bundjalung (Lismore NSW) country.

They guided website development every step of the way”.

Pictured: The WellMob Reference Group based in Lismore NSW.

Other groups in Adelaide and Darwin guided the development of the new website. Image includes members of the HealthInfoNet and eMHPrac collaboration.

HealthInfoNet Director, Professor Neil Drew, said of the collaboration “It has resulted in a holistic website which will support mental as well as physical, cultural and spiritual health. It will allow health and community workers to confidently share useful online resources with their clients and communities”.

The new WellMob website is now available at

Aboriginal #MentalHealth #CoronaVirus News and Resources Alert No 67 : May 21 #KeepOurMobSafe #OurJobProtectOurMob Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders call for Indigenous mental health and suicide prevention helpline

” Responding  to the National Cabinet announcement of $48.1m to support a National Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan including an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ mental health and social and emotional wellbeing pandemic response plan to be developed and implemented through Indigenous leadership.

Indigenous leaders look forward to positive changes.

Indigenous mental health and suicide prevention leaders specifically have called for an Indigenous phone help line, operated under Indigenous leadership and with Indigenous counsellors and mental health practitioners available 24/7.

The time to close the Indigenous helpline gap is now. Indigenous people have long been challenged by mental health difficulties at higher rates than the general population. And the current COVID – 19 pandemic has only identified increasing needs in our Indigenous communities.”

Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association (AIPA) Press Release

Read over 260 Aboriginal Mental Health articles published by NACCHO over past 8 years HERE

Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association (AIPA) Chair Ms Tania Dalton said:

Many people think an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) phone helpline already exists, but in fact it’s a major gap in the mental health space.

AIPA have identified and long called for such a helpline and want this gap to close, as there has never been a more acute need than now.

Even though social isolation is easing, tens of thousands Indigenous people including Elders and those who are vulnerable to the virus due to chronic disease are still having to live with social distancing and – with the threat of second and third waves – the prospect of returning to isolation.

For them, anxiety, loneliness, cumulative trauma, and depression have never been a greater challenge. To be able to access culturally safe Indigenous mental health support  by calling  a helpline and speaking to an Indigenous person has never been more important.

In 2014, AIPA began working on helpline proposals that were released in 2016 as ‘Call a Cuz’.

AIPA call on Australian Governments to reconsider the proposal, or one like it, and work with AIPA and other Indigenous mental health and suicide prevention leaders to develop an Indigenous helpline as a matter of urgency.

Australian governments need  to work with AIPA, Centre for Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention (CBPATSISP), Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia and other Indigenous stakeholders,  in the wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention space to develop a helpline as soon as possible.

This may require a workforce training plan and other elements, and collectively we are more than capable of rising to these challenges with adequate funding.

UWA Centre for Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention (CBPATSISP) National Director, Professor Pat Dudgeon commented:

Listen to interview with Pat Dudgeon on CAAMA Radio

In these times of Coronavirus isolation and lockdown measures our community members in remote, rural and urban settings are very vulnerable and have limited access to professional support yet have elevated levels of anxiety, depression and cumulative trauma. Mental health experts are predicting that suicide rates will raise by 50%.

Like AIPA, CBPATSISP have long advocated for an indigenous phone help line as part of a wider response to Indigenous suicide.

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, we were working productively with Lifeline to that end, and produced a report

“Wellbeing and Healing Through Connection and Culture” that Identified the need for a dedicated Indigenous tele-counselling help line /service to support our people when they require culturally safe mental and emotional wellbeing support.

NACCHO website upgrade feedback survey – closes 27 April 2020

Hello from NACCHO!

We’re currently working on developing a new and improved NACCHO website.

Before completing the survey you can view and review the NACCHO website HERE

To help us better understand what you think the new NACCHO website should offer, please take a few minutes to complete a short survey by clicking here.

Please provide your responses by 27 April 2020.

We appreciate your valuable input and thank you for your participation!


NACCHO Aboriginal Health Novel #coronavirusaustralia Alert for Primary and Community Health Workers: @healthgovau Brendan Murphy Chief Medical Officer seeks your ongoing support in identifying additional cases that may be in Australia

 ” By now you will be aware that there have been four confirmed cases in Australia of the novel Coronavirus infection, three in NSW and one in Melbourne.

I would like to update you on the latest information and seek your ongoing support in identifying additional cases that may be in Australia or come to Australia in coming weeks.

The critical thing for Australia is early detection to enable diagnosis, isolation and appropriate contact tracing.

We need to ensure that there is no human to human transmission in this country.

To achieve this, I am seeking your ongoing support.

If you see someone with relevant symptoms who has come from China (particularly the Hubei province/Wuhan city) in the last 14 days, or who has come into contact with a confirmed case, please contact your State/Territory Public Health Unit/Communicable Disease Branch.

The Australian health system is very well prepared to manage these situations and I appreciate your ongoing support and direct contribution to the collective response.

Thank you so much for your help. Professor Brendan Murphy Chief Medical Officer

Download Novel Coronavirus Information Sheet for Primary and Community Health Workers

Novel Coronavirus Information Sheet for Primary and Community Health Workers Version 2

Further information on this emerging situation can be found HERE

What is the current situation?

Information on this virus is changing rapidly. It is clear that it is a significant outbreak in the City of Wuhan and surrounds in China.

Reported cases are now over 2000, but all modelling suggests that the total case numbers are likely to be much higher than that.

The majority of cases are in the Hubei Province, where the city of Wuhan is, but relatively small numbers of cases have been reported in many other provinces of China. There have now been more than 40 exported cases outside of China, in Australia, France, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, the USA, Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan, Nepal and Macau. Nearly all of these cases have reported travel to Hubei Province. Sustained human to human transmission (including to healthcare workers) has clearly been demonstrated in Hubei/Wuhan but not proven in locations outside China where cases have been reported.

There have been 56 confirmed deaths, 52 in the epicentre in Hubei province and four elsewhere in China. A number, but not all, of the deaths appear to have had comorbidities.

What are the clinical features?

Clinically nearly all cases have fever, associated with other respiratory symptoms including cough and shortness of breath.

Current estimates suggest that about 25% of cases have severe disease with significant pulmonary involvement.

There appear to be a number of mild cases, some of whom have completely recovered. Fortunately, all of the four cases in Australia are currently stable, even though one has been unwell for 10 days.

The incubation period is not well defined but appears to be an average of around seven days with an upper limit of 14 days. It is not known how infective people are before symptoms develop, but we do know that the related SARS and MERS coronaviruses were not infectious until symptoms developed.

Phone: (02) 6289 8408  Email:

Scarborough House, Level 14, Atlantic Street, Woden ACT 2606 – GPO Box 9848 Canberra ACT 2601 –

What is the risk of further cases arriving in Australia?

Up until last Thursday there were significant numbers of people coming from the Hubei province of China to Australia, including three direct flights a week from Wuhan. Last Thursday, the Chinese authorities effectively locked down Hubei province and surrounds, preventing people from leaving. This should dramatically reduce the risk of people coming to Australia from the epicentre in Hubei province.

There are, however, a large number of flights to Australia from other cities in China; some residents from Hubei may have left before Thursday and will travel to Australia and there are small pockets of infection elsewhere in China.

We are, therefore, providing information to all passengers on flights from China asking them to seek medical attention if they develop relevant symptoms, particularly if they have been in Hubei province or in contact with an infected person in China.

The greater risk, however, is likely to be people who arrived in China before last Thursday, when the travel restrictions were put in place in China. Given the incubation period, these people could develop symptomatic infection any time over the next 10 days or so.

What do clinicians need to do?

The critical thing for Australia is early detection to enable diagnosis, isolation and appropriate contact tracing.

We need to ensure that there is no human to human transmission in this country.

To achieve this, I am seeking your ongoing support.

If you see someone with relevant symptoms who has come from China (particularly the Hubei province/Wuhan city) in the last 14 days, or who has come into contact with a confirmed case, please contact your State/Territory Public Health Unit/Communicable Disease Branch.

The patient should be isolated and managed in contact/droplet precautions:

  • Place a single-use surgical mask on the patient
  • Isolate the patient in a single room with door closed
  • Any person entering the room should use appropriate droplet and contact precautions personal protective equipment (single-use surgical face mask, eye protection, gown and gloves).

If you are referring the patient to an Emergency Department for assessment and testing (tests are currently available in public health laboratories only) please inform them of the travel history and suspected diagnosis before the patient arrives.

Please do ask and take seriously any relevant travel history. It is likely that most people tested will be negative (it is flu season in China at present) but we must be vigilant in our efforts to identify and isolate the small number of patients who may already be in Australia with this virus or who may come in coming weeks.

At this stage, we know that human to human transmission can occur, and some of the early cases have been severe. We do not yet know how transmissible this infection is, nor how many people get mild infection.

Because of this uncertainty, we are taking a cautious approach and seek your vigilance in detecting and isolating any cases that may present over the coming weeks to protect Australians. By early detection and quarantine we can ensure that it does not become a major public health threat here.

So please don’t forget TRAVEL HISTORY is crucial in someone with respiratory/febrile illness who could have come from China.

Further information on this emerging situation can be found on

The Australian health system is very well prepared to manage these situations and I appreciate your ongoing support and direct contribution to the collective response.

Thank you so much for your help. Kind regards

Professor Brendan Murphy Chief Medical Officer

26 January 2020

NACCHO Communique: We require your valuable input and it will take just a few minutes.

Hello from NACCHO!

Our NACCHO Communique has been a great success, and we thank you for being a part of our online community!

We’re in the process of making some changes to the Communique to better provide you with information, and would appreciate your valuable input.

Please take a few minutes to complete the survey to help us launch the new and improved NACCHO Communique.

Click here to start the survey.

Closing date 30 September.

Thank you for your participation!

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Alcohol Research : New ADAC APP a will be ‘game changer’ to gauge realistic drinking habits says @ScottADAC

“Obviously there’s people who want the research done to help their community.

Once we get this app going, it’ll become very clear very quickly where the money should be spent.

That doesn’t mean you’ve just got to chuck money at them, but having Aboriginal-controlled issues and understanding which way they want to go.”

Jimmy Perry, a Ngarrindjerri/Arrernte man and an Aboriginal health worker involved in the project, said communities had a positive response.

 Read over over 200 Aboriginal Health Alcohol and Other Drugs articles published by NACCHO over the past 7 years 

Download the APP Research


Originally published HERE 

Researchers say a new app has the potential to more accurately reflect the nation’s drinking habits.

The ADAC and app researchers hoped the app would be available to download by the end of the year.

Key points : 

  • App developers say it will get a more accurate drinking history than a face-to-face interview with a trained health professional
  • The Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council says the app could replace the National Drug Strategy Household Survey
  • Researchers say alcohol consumption among Aboriginal women is under-represented by up to 700 per cent in national surveys

The Grog App was designed for use by Indigenous Australians but could be used by anyone.

Dr Kylie Lee, a senior research fellow at the Centre of Research Excellence in Indigenous Health and Alcohol who was also involved in the app’s development, said the new technology would create a more accurate database.

“Aboriginal women, their drinking is under-represented in the national surveys by up to 700 per cent and 200 per cent in men.

“Undeniably we need to do better … this app offers a great opportunity to do that.”

Researchers believe the app would elicit greater detail than the National Drug Strategy Household Survey which has been used for more than 30 years.

Dr Lee said the prospect of collating improved data collection on the difficult topic of drug and alcohol consumption was “exciting”.

“I think it really could be a game changer because it’s giving an opportunity for a safe place where they can just tell their story in terms of what they use or what they drink,” she said.

How it works

Take a Virtual Tour HERE

Participants answer a range of broad and specific questions on the app about alcohol and based on that information, they are allocated into a category on a sliding scale from ‘non-drinker’ to ‘high risk’.

Dr Lee said immediate feedback was very helpful.

She said the app could alleviate issues in the way alcohol data was typically collected, for example participants were more likely to be asked about standard drinks but not non-standard containers.

“Like a soft drink bottle, a juice bottle, a sports bottle et cetera so the app has facilities to show how much you put in the bottle,” Dr Lee said.

“It’s very exciting the level of detail you’re going to get.”

Professor Kate Conigrave, the app’s chief investigator and an addiction specialist at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, agreed the new technology could provide greater clarity.

“I’m aware of the traps,” she said.

“One patient I saw had been recorded by a doctor as drinking three standard drinks a day but when I took a drinking history I said, ‘what do you drink them out of?’, and he showed me a sports bottle,” Professor Conigrave said.

“He was drinking three full sports bottles of wine a day, so that’s about 30 standard drinks a day.”

PHOTO: Professor Conigrave says the images used in the app can trigger the participant’s memory, making their drinking history more accurate. (Supplied: Kate Conigrave)

Professor Conigrave said the national health survey often contained “tiny” numbers from Indigenous communities.

“The sample sizes are so small, it’s hard to get a meaningful picture,” she said.

She said the app would provide a level of comfortability and anonymity which may lead to more accurate data, than an interview with a trained health professional.

“People can be a bit embarrassed about what they’re drinking and it can be a bit hard to admit to someone you know, ‘when I drink I have 12 cans of beer,'” she said.

Taking it to the communities

The app is in its second phase of testing.

In the first phase, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in remote, regional and urban parts of South Australia and Queensland were asked to describe their drinking habits.

Research on the app has now progressed to the second round, during which the focus was on the technology’s validity as an on-the-ground survey tool.

Scott Wilson, who was leading the development of the app at the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council (ADAC), said the second phase was a “major prevalence study” which would include participants from the local hospital and prison.

The location for the trial has not been made public.

“In the big major surveys people in those areas are always excluded,” Mr Wilson said.

“When you consider that I might be in hospital for an alcohol-related illness or I might be in jail because of an alcohol or drug-related crime, my voice or results are never included.”

The ADAC and app researchers hoped the app would be available to download by the end of the year.

In the meantime, they planned to have discussions with the government over the future use of the app and pursue grant opportunities.

Dr Lee said she was excited for the potential of the new technology.

“Eventually I think it would be a great tool to roll out nationally … using it in the same way as the National Drug Strategy Household Survey,” she said

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #IndigenousEvaluationStrategy : The Australian Government has asked the @ozprodcom to develop a whole-of-government evaluation strategy for policies and programs affecting Indigenous Australians

 ” We are developing an evaluation strategy for Australian Government policies and programs affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

 Better evidence about what works and why is needed to improve policies and programs.

The strategy will cover both Indigenous‑specific and mainstream policies and programs.”

 Romlie Mokak, Commissioner, Productivity Commission

Download the brochure HERE


Great ideas, engagement and interest in #IndigenousEvaluationStrategy workshop at #LowitjaConf2019 facilitated by Commissioner @RMokak and team members. Strong indicator of need for more attention on policy and program development and evaluation.

Evaluation can help policy-makers and communities determine:

  • whether government policies and programs are achieving their objectives
  • what influences whether government policies and programs are effective
  • how government policies and programs can be improved

We will engage widely across metropolitan, regional and remote locations.

We want to hear from individuals, communities and organisations.

  • How can Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge, priorities and values be better integrated into policy and program evaluation?
  • What principles should guide Australian Government agencies’ evaluation efforts?
  • What should be the priority policy areas for future Australian Government evaluation efforts?
  • How can evaluation results be better used in policy and program design and implementation?

We are particularly keen to get input and advice from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities and organisations.

An issues paper will be released in June 2019.

Learn more about the project, or register your interest or call 1800 020 083

Indigenous Evaluation Strategy

Letter of Direction

Evaluation of policies and programs impacting on Indigenous Australians

I, Josh Frydenberg, Treasurer, pursuant to Parts 2 and 4 of the Productivity Commission Act 1998 hereby request the Productivity Commission to develop a whole-of-government evaluation strategy for policies and programs affecting Indigenous Australians. The Commission will also review the performance of agencies against the strategy over time, focusing on potential improvements and on lessons that may have broader application for all governments.


A number of high profile reports have highlighted the need for more evaluation of policies and programs that have an impact on Indigenous Australians. For example, the Commission’s Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Report 2016found that only a relatively small number of programs have been rigorously evaluated.

Improving outcomes for Indigenous Australians depends on agencies with responsibility for policies and programs affecting Indigenous Australians undertaking meaningful evaluations. The Commission is to develop a strategy to guide that evaluation effort.


The Commission should develop an evaluation strategy for policies and programs affecting Indigenous Australians, to be utilised by all Australian Government agencies. As part of the strategy, the Commission should:

  • establish a principles based framework for the evaluation of policies and programs affecting Indigenous Australians
  • identify priorities for evaluation
  • set out its approach for reviewing agencies’ conduct of evaluations against the strategy.

In developing the strategy, the Commission should consider:

  • how to engage Indigenous communities and incorporate Indigenous knowledge and perspectives
  • ethical approaches to evaluations
  • evaluation experience in Australia and overseas
  • relevant current or recent reviews commissioned or undertaken by Australian, state, territory or local government agencies
  • the availability and use of existing data, and the further development of other required data and information
  • areas in which there may be value in the Productivity Commission undertaking evaluation
  • how to translate evidence into practice and to embed evaluation in policy and program delivery.


The Commission should consult widely on the strategy, in particular with Indigenous people, communities and organisations (such as the Empowered Community regions), and with all levels of government. It should also consult with non-Indigenous organisations, and individuals responsible for administering and delivering relevant policies and programs.

The Commission should adopt a variety of consultation methods including seeking public submissions.

The Commission should provide the evaluation strategy and forward work program to Government within 15 months of commencement.

The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP

[10 April 2019]


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.

NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health News : Minister @KenWyattMP will provide $1 million over 2 years to @BushTVMedia @ErnieDingo1 to deliver its Camping On Country program, to address health and wellbeing challenges in a culturally safe and meaningful way.

Ernie Dingo believes light moments are important even when talking about serious topics. In one candid exchange with a man who insisted doctors were unnecessary, Dingo shared the story of his decision to allow a doctor to examine his prostate.

“I told the men that I thought ‘Ah well, who is going to know?’ and they had a good laugh,” he said.

Dingo remains vigilant about his health. A dad of six, including three-year-old twin boys, he said being a father and grandfather made him want to encourage men to take care of themselves.

“We have to be around for our kids, and their kids,” 

Actor Ernie Dingo has created a confronting, humorous and bracingly honest reality series about Indigenous men that has captured the attention of federal Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt.

Dingo, a Yamitji man from the Murchison region of Western Australia, became a household name in Australia as the presenter of lifestyle program The Great Outdoors between 1993 and 2009. But his retreat from public life coincided with a struggle against depression that he said made him want to help other Indigenous men.

From The Australian See in full Part 2 below 

Ernie Dingo’s campfire chats a dose of reality TV

 ” I’ve been in film & tv for 40 years that’s long enough! Its time for me to go bush & work with my Countrymen.

No point in having influence if you can’t use it to make the world a better place for our mob!


A new health initiative that places culture and traditional knowledge systems at the centre of its program aims to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and ensure they have a strong voice in health and wellbeing services in their own communities.

The Federal Government will provide $1 million over two years to Bush TV Enterprises to deliver its Camping On Country program, to address health and wellbeing challenges in a culturally safe and meaningful way.

Speaking at the launch on the Beedawong Meeting Place in WA’s Kings Park: (From left) Murchison Elder Alan Egan; Ernie Dingo; Ken Wyatt; Kununurra Elder Ted Carlton.

Respect for culture has a fundamental role in improving the health of our men, who currently have a life expectancy of 70 years, more than 10 years shorter than their non-Indigenous counterparts.

Camping On Country is based on the premise that working with local men as the experts in their own health and community is critical in Closing the Gap in health equality.

We need every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander man to take responsibility for their health and to be proud of themselves and their heritage — proud of the oldest continuous culture on Earth, and the traditions that kept us healthy for the past 65,000 years.

Each camp will focus on specific topics including:

  • Alcohol and drug dependency
  • Smoking, diet and exercise
  •  Mental health and suicide

A traditional healer and an Aboriginal male health worker are assigned to each camp to conduct health checks and provide one-on-one support to men, which includes supporting men through drug or alcohol withdrawals.

Traditional yarning circles are used to discuss health and wellbeing issues as well as concerns about employment, money, housing and personal relationships.

Well-known actor, television presenter and Yamatji man Ernie Dingo developed the Camping On Country program with his BushTV partner Tom Hearn, visiting 11 communities and conducting small camps with groups of men at four sites across remote Australia in 2018.

The plan is to conduct 10 camps a year, with the initial focus on communities in need in Central Australia, the Kimberley, Arnhem Land, the Gulf of Carpentaria and the APY Lands.

The program puts culture and language at the centre of daily activities and also uses the expertise and knowledge of local men’s groups, traditional owners and local Aboriginal organisations.

A video message stick will be produced during each camp and made available to all levels of government associated with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

The message stick information will also be used by health providers to develop holistic, culturally appropriate programs with men and their communities.

The $1 million funding will also support Bush TV Enterprises to partner with a university and Primary Health Alliances to conduct research to track improvements in remote men’s health and enhance health and wellbeing services.

Bush TV Enterprises is an Aboriginal-owned community agency specialising in grassroots advocacy and producing and distributing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories.

Our Government has committed approximately $10 billion to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health over the next decade, working together to build strong families and communities.

Part 2 From The Australian  

Ernie Dingo’s campfire chats a dose of reality TV

Dingo, a Yamitji man from the Murchison region of Western Australia, became a household name in Australia as the presenter of lifestyle program The Great Outdoors between 1993 and 2009. But his retreat from public life coincided with a struggle against depression that he said made him want to help other indigenous men.

The 62-year-old has partnered with documentary-maker Tom Hearn to make four short films from fireside yarns with indigenous men in some of Australia’s most remote towns and communities.Mr Wyatt believes the program, called Camping on Country, has the potential to change lives. He has commissioned 20 more camps around Australia over the next two years at a cost of $1 million.

“We talk about everything,” Dingo told The Australian. “You want to see the way the men sing and talk once they feel safe.”

Camping On Country could ultimately drive health policy, as Dingo listens to men talk about alcohol and drug dependency, smoking, diet, exercise, mental health and suicide. Mr Wyatt will announce his support for the camps today and hopes that they can help close the health gap between indigenous and non-indigenous men. Aboriginal men die an average 10 years earlier than other Australian men, and generally their rates of cancer, heart disease and mental illness are higher.

An Aboriginal male health worker will be at each camp providing health checks and support, including to anyone experiencing drug or alcohol withdrawals. Dingo and Hearn will make a short film of each camp through production company Bush TV. The federal funding of $1 million covers an independent assessment of the overall program, ­including whether it makes a difference to the health of men who take part.