Aboriginal Health #NAIDOC2017 : New Aboriginal-led collaboration has world-class focus on boosting remote Aboriginal health

“One of the clear innovations that our Centre already offers is acknowledging that the principle of Aboriginal community control is fundamental to research, university and health care partnerships with regional and remote Aboriginal communities,”

Ms Donna Ah Chee Congress CEO said it was satisfying to achieve recognition for the strong health leadership and collaboration that already exists in Central Australia ( see editorial Part 3 below)

  ” The centre’s accreditation this week with the National Health and Medical Research Council proved the “landmark research” by consortium members had “huge potential” to address serious indigenous health issues.

The objective is to evaluate problems and find practical solutions fast, to prevent health problems and give speedy but lasting benefits to patients within community,”

Announcing $222,000 in seed funding, Federal Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt see full story PART 2 from the Australian below

Photo above : Traditional Arrernte owners welcome Ken Wyatt MP to Alice Springs to launch the Central Australia Academic Health Science Centre

An academic health science centre in Central Australia is the first Aboriginal-led collaboration to achieve Federal Government recognition for leadership in health research and delivery of evidence-based health care.

The Federal Minister for Indigenous Health and Aged Care, the Hon Ken Wyatt MP, today announced that the Central Australia Academic Health Science Centre (CAAHSC) was one of only two consortia nationally to be recognised as a Centre for Innovation in Regional Health (CIRH) by Australia’s peak funding body for medical research, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

To be successful in their bid, the 11-member consortium was required to demonstrate competitiveness at the highest international levels across all relevant areas of health research and translation of research findings into health care practice.

With NHMRC recognition, the CAAHSC joins an elite group of Australian academic health science centres that have so far all been based in metropolitan areas including Melbourne,

Sydney and Adelaide. The CAAHSC is also in good company internationally, with long established collaborations including Imperial College Healthcare in the UK and Johns Hopkins Medicine in the USA.

The CAAHSC, whose membership includes Aboriginal community controlled and government-run health services, universities and medical research institutes, was formally established in 2014 to improve collaboration across the sectors in support of health.

Such synergy is vital in order to make an impact in remote central Australia, considering the vast geographical area (over 1 million square kilometres) and the health challenges experienced particularly by Aboriginal residents.

The CAAHSC consortium reflects the importance of Aboriginal leadership in successful research and health improvement in Central Australia.

The Chairperson of CAAHSC is Mr John Paterson, CEO of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory, the peak body for the Aboriginal community controlled health services sector in the NT.

With the leadership of CEO Ms Donna Ah Chee, Central Australian Aboriginal Congress was the lead partner on the group’s bid to become a CIRH.

The CAAHSC is a community driven partnership, where Aboriginal people themselves have taken the lead in identifying and defining viable solutions for the health inequities experienced in the Central Australia region.

The CAAHSC partners have a long and successful track record of working together on innovative, evidence-based projects to improve health care policy and practice in the region.

Such projects include a study that examined high rates of self-discharge by Aboriginal patients at the Alice Springs Hospital, which in many cases can lead to poor health outcomes.

This research was used to develop a tool to assess self-discharge risk which is now routinely used in care, and to expand the role of Aboriginal Liaison Officers within the hospital.

Another collaborative project designed to address the rising rates of diabetes in pregnant women involves the establishment of a patient register and birth cohort in the

Northern Territory to improve antenatal care in the Aboriginal population.

CAAHSC Chair, Mr John Paterson agrees, saying the CIRH would serve as a model for other regional and remote areas both nationally and internationally, particularly in its governance, capacity building, and culturally appropriate approaches to translational research.

Mr Paterson said he hoped NHMRC recognition would attract greater numbers of highly skilled researchers and health professionals to work in Central Australia, and that local Aboriginal people would become more engaged in medical education, research and health care delivery.

He also hopes that achieving status as a CIRH will be instrumental in attracting further resources to the region, including government, corporate and philanthropic support.

Mr Paterson said the consortium is now focussed on building a plan across its five priority areas: workforce and capacity building; policy research and evaluation; health services research; health determinants and risk factors; and chronic and communicable disease.

This will include development of research support ‘apprenticeships’ for Aboriginal people and pursuit of long-term financial sustainability.

The partners of the Central Australia Academic Health Science Centre include: Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT); Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute; Charles Darwin University; Centre for Remote Health (A joint centre of Flinders University and Charles Darwin University); Central Australian Aboriginal Congress; Menzies School of Health Research; Central Australia Health Service (Northern Territory Health); CRANAplus; Flinders University; Ngaanyatjarra Health Service and the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health and Wellbeing.

1.Chronic Conditions

Chronic diseases are the most important contributor to the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Given their impact on premature mortality, disability and health care utilisation in Central Australia it is unsurprising that chronic disease has become the primary focus for addressing Indigenous Australian health disadvantage.

The Central Australia AHSC has considerable research and translation expertise with those chronic conditions that most impact the Aboriginal Australian population, including diabetes, heart disease, renal disease and depression.

Some of our focus areas are: understanding the developmental origins of adult chronic disease through targeted multi-disciplinary research focused on in-utero, maternal and early life determinants; understanding and preventing the early onset and rapid progression of heart, lung and kidney disease and diabetes within Aboriginal people, and developing and supporting capacity development of the chronic disease workforce within Aboriginal communities and health services.

2.Health Determinants and Risk Factors

In order to support the health of Central Australians, we recognise the importance of transcending boundaries between the biological, social and clinical sciences. The Central Australia AHSC takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding social gradients, their determinants, and pathways by which these determinants contribute to illness, and consequently to forwarding policy responses to reduce health inequalities.

The Central Australia AHSC is interested in exploring the role of stress, intergenerational trauma and other psychosocial factors, as well as uncovering the biological pathways by which social factors impact on cardiometabolic risk, mental illness and other conditions of relevance to Indigenous communities.

3.Health Services Research

As a regional hub servicing a high proportion of Aboriginal people spread across an extensive area, Central Australia serves as an exemplar environment through which to address critical issues of national importance – for instance, targeted and practical research focused on the National Health and Hospital Reform agenda, the ‘Close the Gap’ reforms and the Indigenous Advancement Strategy.

Through health services research, the Central Australia AHSC is chiefly interested in developing and equipping primary care and hospital services with the skills, methods and tools by which to improve health care quality, appropriateness and accessibility.

Towards this goal, we are involved in developing, trialling, evaluating and establishing the cost-effectiveness of novel health system approaches to the identification, management and prevention of acute care, chronic disease and mental illness

4.Policy Research and Evaluation

The Central Australia AHSC brings together the expertise of leading clinician researchers, public health specialists and health service decision makers.

The Central Australia AHSC provides the capacity to evaluate the systems that underpin change management in health care through policy, protocol and evaluation research, and to support quality improvement processes through health provider training.

While being locally relevant, our works also informs jurisdictional and national health policy and practice in Aboriginal and remote health and implementation of national health reforms.

5.Workforce and Capacity Building

Central Australia’s health care workforce encompasses health care providers in hospitals, remote Aboriginal communities, and outreach services, including Aboriginal health practitioners, nurses, allied health providers, general practitioners and specialists.

Remoteness and the challenging work environment often translate to high levels of health provider staff turnover.

The Central Australia AHSC’s ongoing focus on professional development and capacity building facilitates health work force sustainability by providing relevant training and support and by attracting new health care providers who are also involved in research.

Workforce and capacity building undertaken by the AHSC partners includes the delivery of education programs (including tailored remote and Indigenous health postgraduate awards for doctors, nurses and allied health practitioners), growing research capacity (supervised formal academic qualifications and informal mentoring), and conducting research to inform workforce recruitment and retention.

Part 2 World-class focus on boosting remote health

Alice Springs mother Nellie Impu is part of a grim health statistic profoundly out of place in a first-world nation: one in five pregnant Aboriginal women in the Northern Territory has diabetes.

Photo : Nellie Impu, left, with Wayne, Wayne Jr and nurse Paula Van Dokkum in Alice Springs. Picture: Chloe Erlich

From the Australian July 5

For pre-existing type 2 diabetes, that’s at a rate 10 times higher than for non-indigenous women; more common gestational diabetes is 1.5 times the rate.

Mrs Impu became part of that statistic almost five years ago when she was pregnant with son Wayne. So the announcement of a new central Australian academic health science centre, led by the Aboriginal community-controlled health service sector and bringing together a consortium of 11 clinical and research groups, is a big deal for her and many women like her.

The diabetes treatment she underwent while carrying Wayne will continue for more than a decade as part of a longitudinal study.

“We know there is a link ­between mums with diabetes in pregnancy and outcomes for their babies as they grow, including ­future possibilities of type 2 diabetes, which work like this can help us track,” said research nurse Paula Van Dokkum, who works with consortium member Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute.

Wayne is meeting all his childhood development targets, and his mother said the ongoing association with the centre would help her in “trying to make sure he grows up healthy and strong”.

Announcing $222,000 in seed funding, federal Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt said the centre’s accreditation this week with the National Health and Medical Research Council proved the “landmark research” by consortium members had “huge potential” to address serious indigenous health issues.

“The objective is to evaluate problems and find practical solutions fast, to prevent health problems and give speedy but lasting benefits to patients within community,” Mr Wyatt said.

The academic health science centre model, well ­established internationally, brings together health services, universities and medical research institutes to better produce evidence-based care.

The Alice Springs-based enterprise will aim to tackle a ­cancer-causing virus endemic in indigenous central Australia, its only significant instance outside South America and central Africa.

The human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 causes a slow death over 20 years with leukaemia, chronic cough, respiratory problems and respiratory failure. It can be acquired through breast milk in early childhood as well as through blood or sexual contact.

A recent study found HTLV-1 infection rates in a central Australian indigenous community of more than 40 per cent. One result, the inflammatory disease bronch­iectasis, is a leading cause of death for young adults at the Alice Springs hospital.

The program will also address the soaring demand for dialysis in remote communities, with indigenous Australians five times as likely to have end-stage kidney disease than other Australians.

Alice Springs hospital is home to the largest single-standing ­dialysis service in the southern hemisphere, with 360 patients.

Part 3 Alice Springs: the Red Centre of medical innovation

London, Boston, Toronto, Melbourne … and Alice Springs.

Although there may be little in common between these major cities and the heart of Australia’s outback, an announcement this week brings the Red Centre into the company of international players in translational health research, including prestigious institutions such as Imperial College Healthcare in Britain and Johns Hopkins Medicine in the US.

This week, the Central Australia Academic Health Science Centre was given the official seal of approval by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

The Central Australia consortium was one of only two centres recognised as a centre of innovation in regional health for its leadership in health research and delivery of evidence-based healthcare.

And now there’s opportunity in the Red Centre to do even more.

It may well be the most remote academic health science centre in the world, and perhaps the only academic health science centre in the world led by Aboriginal people. With such esteemed recognition for this remote, Aboriginal-led, evidence-based healthcare collaboration, it is hoped that public and private support will also follow.

As a model well established abroad and gaining momentum in Australia, academic health science centres are partnerships between health services, universities and medical research institutes whose collaborative work ensures that translational health research leads to evidence-based care and better health outcomes for patients.

For the 11 partners behind the Central Australia partnership, recognition as a centre for innovation in regional health acknowledges the outstanding collaboration that has existed in this region for several years, and particularly the leadership offered by the Aboriginal sector.

Working with the other partners in the consortium, Aboriginal community-controlled health services are taking the lead in identifying and defining viable solutions for the health inequities experienced in the region.

The work of the Central Australia partners is practical and responsive.

Interested in resolving what had become a troubling issue at Alice Springs Hospital, a resident physician researcher initiated a study that found nearly half of all admitted Aboriginal patients had self-discharged from the hospital in the past, with physician, hospital and patient factors contributing to this practice.

The research findings were used to develop a self-discharge risk assessment tool that is now routinely used in hospital care, and to expand the role of Aboriginal liaison officers within the hospital.

Considering the vast and remote geographical area — more than one million square kilometres — and the health challenges experienced particularly by Aboriginal residents who make up about 45 per cent of the region’s population of about 55,000 people, the Central Australia consortium faces unique and significant challenges. In this respect, Alice Springs may be more like Iqaluit in the Canadian Arctic than London or Baltimore.

But in other ways this relatively small academic health science centre may be at an advantage.

With its closely knit network of healthcare providers, medical researchers, medical education providers and public health experts working together, community-driven approaches to identifying issues and developing evidence-based solutions have become a standard approach in Central Australia.

In this setting of high need and limited resources, working collectively is sensible, practical and necessary.

Importantly, there is the possibility to do a lot more.

The consortium hopes such recognition will help to attract top healthcare providers and researchers, to increase educational offerings and to develop local talent, especially Aboriginal people.

The evidence is resounding. A research oasis in the desert, this centre for innovation is fertile ground for investment by government, corporations and philanthropists alike.

Donna Ah Chee is chief executive of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress. John Paterson is chief executive of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News : 10 Winners profiles National #NAIDOC2017 Awards

The National NAIDOC Committee on the weekend congratulated ten outstanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who were honoured at the 2017 National NAIDOC Awards Ceremony in Cairns.

See all 10 winners profiles full below Part 2

Dianne Ryder, a proud Noongar woman from Western Australia, was honoured with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. Dianne served a 21 year career in the Army, being awarded the Army Australia Day Medallion in 1990.

She is currently the President of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Veterans Association of WA and challenges us all to consider how we can improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Elverina Johnson, a highly respected Gurugulu and Indinji Gimuy women from Yarrabah in far north Queensland won the Artist of the Year award. Elverina has been involved in the arts industry for over 30 years as a singer, songwriter, playwright, actor, photographer and artist.

She believes that the arts can empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and restore a genuine sense of pride in their culture and communities.

The Person of the Year Award, sponsored by the Commonwealth Bank, went to National Basketball Association (NBA) Champion and a three time Olympian, Patrick Mills. Patrick is a Muralag man from the Torres Strait, Ynunga man from South Australia who is dedicated to using his international profile to promote and raise awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

NACCHO extends its congratulations to all of the 2017 National NAIDOC Award winners and nomination

“It is inspiring to see the tireless work being done by so many talented and dedicated individuals to benefit themselves, their communities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across our land,” said Committee Co-Chair, Benjamin Mitchell.

Congratulations to:

• Minjerribah Moorgumpin Elders-in-Council Aboriginal Corporation (QLD) – Caring for Country Award winner

• Latia Schefe (QLD) – Youth of the Year

• Elverina Johnson (QLD) – Artist of the Year

• Dr James Charles (SA) – Scholar of the Year

• Sharee Yamashita (QLD) – Apprentice of the Year

• Amanda Reid (NSW) – Sportsperson of the Year

• Faye Carr (QLD) – Female Elder of the Year

• Ollie George (WA) – Male Elder of the Year

• Patrick Mills (QLD/SA) – Person of the Year

• Dianne Ryder (WA) – Lifetime Achievement Award winner

2017 National NAIDOC Theme – Our Languages Matter

The importance, resilience and richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages will be the focus of national celebrations marking NAIDOC Week 2017.

The 2017 theme – Our Languages Matter – aims to emphasise and celebrate the unique and essential role that Indigenous languages play in cultural identity, linking people to their land and water and in the transmission of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, spirituality and rites, through story and song.

Some 250 distinct Indigenous language groups covered the continent at first (significant) European contact in the late eighteenth century. Most of these languages would have had several dialects, so that the total number of named varieties would have run to many hundreds.

 Search languages with this interactive website

Today only around 120 of those languages are still spoken and many are at risk of being lost as Elders pass on.

National NAIDOC Committee Co-Chair Anne Martin said languages are the breath of life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the theme will raise awareness of the status and importance of Indigenous languages across the country.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait languages are not just a means of communication, they express knowledge about everything:  law, geography, history, family and human relationships, philosophy, religion, anatomy, childcare, health, caring for country, astronomy, biology and food.

“Each language is associated with an area of land and has a deep spiritual significance and it is through their own languages, that Indigenous nations maintain their connection with their ancestors, land and law,” Ms Martin said.

“We are grateful to have worked with some outstanding partners this year, whose support contributed to success of the 2017 national celebrations.” said Committee Co-Chair, Anne Martin.

The Awards were hosted at the Cairns Convention Centre and attended by just under 1000 guests including the Yirrganydi and Gimuy Walubara Yidinji people, the Cairns community, federal and state politicians and high profile Indigenous affairs identities.

The Committee welcomed back Hannah Hollis and Luke Carroll as hosts for the evening alongside a colourful line-up of entertainment including the AustraNeisia and Gondwana Indigneous Childrens choirs, Torres Strait Islander dance groups Gerib Sik and Naygayiw Gigi, local band The Nightshift and teen superstar Isaiah Firebrace.

The Committee thanks all involved in making this year another successful National NAIDOC event.

“It is a privilege to stage the Awards each year in a different city around our sacred country. I would like to thank the Cairns NAIDOC Committee for its assistance with the Awards and the Yirrganydi and Gimuy Walubara Yidinji people for welcoming us onto their land”, said Mr Mitchell.

Lastly, congratulations to Sydney which was announced last night as the National NAIDOC Host City for 2017.

Highlights of the night are available at http://www.nitv.org.au

For more information on NAIDOC Week and the 2016 National NAIDOC Awards winners, visit www.naidoc.org.au

 

Caring for Country Award – Minjerribah Moorgumpin Elders -in -Council

The Minjerribah Moorgumpin Elders-in-Council Aboriginal Corporation in Queensland was created to record and teach people about caring for Country for future generations. They represent descendants of the Noonuccal, Ngugi and Goenpul people of North Stradbroke (Minjerribah), Moreton (Moorgumpin) and the Moreton Bay (Quandamooka) islands.

Each year the Elders deliver cultural education services to approximately 6000 participants. They teach knowledge of local languages; bush plants, and environmental management skills that they learned growing up.

As well as education, the Elders are preserving a regional ecosystem which includes significant vegetation and habitats.

Their success has seen the Elders involved in cultural heritage assessments, the publication of books to unique flora, bush tucker and medicinal plants of Stradbroke Island, and the re-introduction of local language to the younger generation, through publication of the Jandai Language Dictionary

Youth of the year – Latia Schefe

Latia Schefe is a young Yuggera woman from Brisbane, Queensland who has overcome serious illness and adversity to become a strong role model among her peers.

Diagnosed with Neuroblastoma cancer when she was only 6 years old, Latia endured multiple operations, chemotherapy and the loss of a kidney.

Despite her hardships, Latia went on to complete Year 12 education and in her final year was awarded the Jane Prentice Award for Indigenous Student of the Year.

Latia stands out as a promising future leader, participating in a Biking Program which fixes old bikes for people with disability, and coordinating local NAIDOC celebrations.

For her future, Latia wants join the police force, or drive the giant trucks in the mining industry

Artist of the Year – Elverina Johnson

Elverina Johnson is a highly respected Gurugulu and Indinji Gimuy women from Yarrabah in far north Queensland – and one of Australia’s most highly respected Indigenous artists.

With creative talents spanning the spectrum of visual and performing arts, Elverina has been involved in the arts industry for over 30 years as a singer, songwriter, playwright, actor, photographer and artist.

She believes that the arts can empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and restore a genuine sense of pride in their culture and communities, and works with youth and Elders alike to promote cultural respect and integrity.

Elverina volunteers her time to address critical social issues impacting on the lives of people in Indigenous communities, living true to her traditional family name -Bunya Badjil – which means “Good Woman”

Scholar of the year –Dr James Charles

Dr James Charles is a Kaurna man from Adelaide, South Australia and is currently working at Charles Sturt University as a lecturer in Podiatry.

He graduated from the University of South Australia in podiatry, completed his Masters, recently completed his PhD, and his research is being published in peer review journals.

James is passionate about providing podiatry services to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and believes that foot health is undervalued. He has worked for many years at leading Universities, educating on providing culturally appropriate health care.

In 2008 James undertook a two year chairmanship of the newly formed Indigenous Allied Health Network, an organisation he helped build.

Always giving back to his community, James has raised significant money for the Rotary Indigenous Health Fund to provide scholarships for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

Apprentice of the Year – Sharee Yamashita

Sharee Yamashita is a young Thanikwithi woman from Thursday Island who has recently completed her Electrical apprenticeship while managing the demanding responsibilities of a young family. She is now a full time employee working with Rio Tinto in Weipa on the Cape York Peninsula.

Sharee has overcome many obstacles along her journey, and says her determination has been inspired by many people, including her father. Her success in her apprenticeship has increased her confidence and she is keen to share her journey to inspire others.

Sharee’s leadership has a powerful positive impact on everyone that she interacts with. Her success in a male dominated industry makes Sharee an important role model for other young Indigenous women.

Sharee’s goal for the future is to help other young people to create opportunities and succeed in their chosen careers.

Sportsperson of the year – Amanda Reid

Amanda Reid is Gurinagi & Wamba Wamba women from Sydney, New South Whales and an accomplished Indigenous Paralympic athlete.

Amanda is the first Aboriginal cyclist and medallist, winning Silver at Rio 2016, and the first female athlete since 1992 to achieve a podium status.

Amanda is the current UCI Para World Cycling Champion in the 3000 meter Pursuit and the 500 meter time trail, breaking the Paralympic record in Rio.

Previously an Australia Day ambassador and currently delivering presentations in local schools, Amanda is an inspirational role model to all Australians. She mentors young disabled athletes as well as Aboriginal youth in care and plans to increase her community work prove that people with disability can achieve in their community.

Amanda lives every day by her mantra “dream it, believe it and you will be it.”

Female Elder of the year – Faye Carr

Faye Carr is a Yuggera Elder from Ipswich in Queensland, who has overcome a tough childhood to become a strong advocate and leader in her community.

Passionate about sharing her culture and knowledge with her community, Faye has been contributing to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people since the 1960’s.

Faye was involved in establishing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service, the Kambu Progress Association and the Kambu Aboriginal to deliver important legal, housing, recreational and health services to Ipswich and broader Queensland. Among many accolades, Faye was honoured with Ipswich Citizen of the Year in 2016.

Always an advocate for her people, Faye recently met with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and other key stakeholders to raise awareness about the impacts of domestic violence on women and families.

Male Elder of the year – Ollie George

Ollie George is a Badimaya Elder from Western Australia who has worked tirelessly since the early 1990s to preserve his mother tongue, Badimaya.

He has taught Badimaya at the school in his hometown of Mt Magnet and works with community members to create language materials and resources. He has recorded hundreds of hours of Badimaya language, much of it by himself.

Since 2012, Ollie has worked to produce 7 publications in Badimaya, has been featured in two ‘Indigenous Community Stories’ by the Film and TV Institute of WA, and the primary consultant on several projects on Badimaya language and country.

Ollie is now completing his ‘Nganang Badimaya Wangga’, a project based on 24 yarns he tells about life growing up on his country, learning language from old people, and the cultural and historical legacy of the Badimaya people.

Person of the year – Patrick Mills

Patrick Mills is a Muralag man from the Torres Strait, Ynunga man from South Australia and sporting legend.

A National Basketball Association (NBA) Champion and a three time Olympian Patrick is a member of the San Antonio Spurs who famously won the 2014 NBA Championship.

Patrick is the first Indigenous player to represent Australian Men’s Basketball at three consecutive Olympic Games and is preparing for his record fourth Games in Tokyo 2020.

He is the youngest player to represent Australia in Men’s Basketball and he holds the Olympic record for being the overall highest points scorer at the London Olympics in 2012. Patrick has won numerous awards including ACT Young Australian of the Year in 2015 and ACT Sports Male Athlete of the Year in 2016.

Patrick uses his international profile to promote and raise awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and often takes time to share parts of his language with his teammates.

A strong role model, Patrick’s goal for the future is to be an ambassador for Indigenous people and continue educating the world on his culture. Patrick says ‘It’s who I am. It’s what I know – even more than basketball.’

Life time achievement award – Dianne Ryder

Dianne Ryder is a proud Noongar woman from Western Australia with a legendary reputation for her contribution to family, community and country.

After school, Dianne embarked on a 21-year career with the army and in 1990, she was awarded the Army Australia Day Medallion.

Since leaving the Army, Dianne has worked as a community outreach worker in Sydney and later Perth. She is currently the President of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Veterans Association of WA and heavily involved with the Indigenous Veterans Memorial Service.

Her contribution and involvement with her community has led to her being sought out to share her wisdom with government departments and politicians at a state and national level. In 2015, Dianne was nominated for Australian of the year in 2015 and for the Prime Ministers Advisory Council on Mental health.

Dianne’s favorite saying is “Just imagine …” where she challenges us all to consider how we can improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : #NTIntervention: Ten years on and what has been achieved?

 

” The intervention was a “debacle” and a new attempt with Indigenous involvement “couldn’t do any worse .

I suggest a “mark two of what was attempted under the intervention”: a 10-year “Marshall plan” between federal and territory governments but with Aboriginal people as expert advisers on a planning, oversight and implementation committee.

It’s not enough to pay us the cursory privilege of being consulted, where our voices are not listened to and where we have no role in decision-making,” she said. “We couldn’t do any worse than what’s being done today, surely.”

Olga Havnen, the chief executive of the Danila Dilba Aboriginal health service see Part 2 story below

 “I  describe the intervention as “a complete violation of the human rights of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory.

The legacy is that Aboriginal people were completely disempowered.

They had the Army going into communities in their uniforms. They had no idea why the Army was there. People were terrified that they’d come to take the kids away.”

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation chief executive Pat Turner see story part 3 NT Intervention: Australia’s most costly ‘political stunt’

As the national representative body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples calls for a fundamental reset of government and community relations with us, beginning with the implementation of the Uluru Statement resolutions for constitutional reform. Congress stands ready to fill the role of the advisory body to parliament.”

“We also call for the immediate implementation of the Redfern Statement, which provides a roadmap for how governments can work collaboratively with us to develop efficient and effective programs”

Congress press release Part 1 Below

Part 1 The Northern Territory Intervention: Ten years on and what has been achieved?

As a federal election loomed a decade ago, facing disappointing polls the government of the day was scandalized by sexual abuse in Northern Territory Aboriginal communities and proposed an intervention to improve the life chances of Aboriginal children.

The program won bipartisan support and continued under a new name, Stronger Futures, when the government changed. Closing the Gap targets were announced and hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to improve the health, education, housing and employment status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people around the country, and especially those living in remote communities.

A decade on, it is timely to consider results:

  • The annual Closing the Gap report shows that six of the seven targets are not on track.
  •  We understand that there has not been a single prosecution for child sexual abuse as a result of these programs.
  •  Aboriginal men have been stigmatized as drunken, irresponsible pedophiles.
  •  Provisions of the Racial Discrimination Act have been ignored to allow the Intervention to proceed.
  •  Communities have been weakened by the downgrading of local self-government. Those who presume to know what is best for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have had their way.
  •  Tax payers are askance at the shocking waste of public monies on ineffective programs, for which many blame Aboriginal people.
  •  Most notably in the Northern Territory, but in the states as well, shocking abuses of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander juveniles have been uncovered.
  •  Incarceration rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men, women and children have sky rocketed.
  •  United Nations representatives have issued reports critical of the Intervention and of government relations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • The 97 recommendations of the 2007 Ampe Akelyernemane Meke Mekarle (Little Children are Sacred) report have been ignored.

A longer list would add to the inevitable conclusion that there is a crisis in Indigenous Affairs.

“The rationale for the Intervention was to protect Aboriginal children and to provide them with a better future. Health, education and well-being statistics demonstrate failure of the Intervention. There have been very few positive outcomes to show for the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been spent on the Intervention and related programs,” he said.

Part 2 NT intervention a ‘debacle’ and second attempt should be made, commission told

from Helen Davidson The Guardian

A 10-year Northern Territory intervention “mark two” could address the failings of the first one, which has seen most of the money “squandered”, the Northern Territory royal commission has heard.

Olga Havnen, the chief executive of the Danila Dilba Aboriginal health service, said the intervention was a “debacle” and a new attempt with Indigenous involvement “couldn’t do any worse”.

Havnen, who is also a former coordinator general for remote services in the NT, made the comments before the royal commission into the protection and detention of children on Thursday.

The hearing has coincided with the 10-year anniversary of the federal government’s emergency intervention into the region, which has been criticised as draconian and removing self-determination from Indigenous communities while failing to address Indigenous inequality.

Havnen told the hearing the NT was still reliant on federal funds and still failing to involve Indigenous people and organisations properly.

This week the commission heard the rates of child protection cases and notifications has more than doubled in the 10 years since the intervention. Separately, NT budget estimates revealed the number of children in out of home care had tripled, while the proportion in had dropped 20%.

Havnen said many government contracts were still procured without proper assessment of whether the organisation had the capability to work with Indigenous communities.

“These arrangements are absolutely stunning and I think are largely a legacy of the intervention supposedly committed to improving Aboriginal communities,” she said.

“By any measure the vast majority of that money has been squandered, and the people who made those decisions need to be held to account in my view.

“Just on the very cursory amount of information we have access to, you have to go: what the hell is actually really going on here and why does this continue to happen?”

Earlier this week the commission heard evidence a private business, Safe Pathways, had charged the Northern Territory government $85,000 a month to run a residential home for a maximum of four children.

A former Safe Pathways manager, Tracey Hancock, told the commission the amount would include staff wages but she didn’t have any further information on what the money was for.

Safe Pathways reportedly told the ABC the charges had been approved and accepted by the NT government.

“We get held up to be accountable as Aboriginal service providers and our level of accountability and transparency – every dollar we spend and commit, including performance outcomes, is well and truly documented,” Havnen said on Thursday.

“But you go and look at these websites for a lot of these NGOs running out-of-home services, there’s no detail about their governance arrangement, there’s no annual report, there’s no financial transparency or accountability. How is this good for anybody?”

Havnen earlier told the commission governments treated large non-Indigenous organisations as equal partners more than they did Indigenous organisations. She also said there were Indigenous organisations across the NT that were “well placed” to provide services currently contracted to non-Indigenous NGOs.

Aboriginal health services across the NT would be asked by the department to provide client medical records when there was an investigation “and yet we seem to be completely invisible to them as a capable partner and potential resource” to assist the department and vulnerable families, she said.

She said it seemed ironic and suggested the commission look at where remote Aboriginal health services were located. “Many of them are in those communities where we know large numbers of Aboriginal children are being removed from.”

Story 3 NT Intervention: Australia’s most costly ‘political stunt’

THE Federal Government’s radical plan to forcibly intervene in Aboriginal communities and impose restrictions on individuals was a billion dollar “political stunt”, a former political head has said.

WATCH SKYNEWS COVERAGE

The Northern Territory Emergency Response, known as “the Intervention”, was launched unilaterally by the Howard Government 10 years ago today.

It saw widespread alcohol bans and other restrictions imposed on 73 remote indigenous communities, as well as forced land leases, and changes to welfare under the Northern Territory Response Act 2007. The Racial Discrimination Act was suspended by the Commonwealth so thousands of indigenous people could have their welfare payments put onto “basics cards” for essential items. The Army, federal police and medical professionals were deployed to the communities for logistical support and health checks. The community development employment projects (CDEP) scheme was disbanded which limited job prospects for locals and an already limited support of bilingual education was cut off.

Communities that boasted distinctive ways of life as the oldest living culture in the world were suddenly referred to as “prescribed areas”, then “towns”, with individuals in need of reform.

Mr Howard said the Commonwealth had “responded” because the NT government of the day had failed to take action as recommended by the Little Children are Sacred report on child sexual abuse in NT indigenous communities.

The Intervention has cost Australian taxpayers more than one billion dollars but has largely proved ineffective in making a positive impact on the lives of those it denigrated.

NT’s first Labor chief minister Clare Martin said it was nothing more than a “political stunt” that was rolled out without her consultation when she was in power.

“(Then Prime Minister John Howard) didn’t ring me to say ‘can we talk about a possible intervention’, he rang me and said ‘there is an intervention taking place, I’m not going to talk to you about it, and it’s a done deal’,’ she told Sky News earlier today.

“I was stunned. I had no idea it was going to happen. I don’t think most people in the Territory — Aboriginal people who were the subject of it — they didn’t know it was going to happen, and very quickly you worked out it was mostly a political stunt.”

Ms Martin told the program she offered to fly to Canberra to discuss the plan but Mr Howard told her he was ‘too busy’ to meet.

“I thought for six years I had worked reasonably well with John Howard,” she said.

“I wasn’t in the same party as John Howard, but we always seemed to manage to sort things out, and then to be used as a political strategy like it obviously was, I just felt really deflated.

“My first thought when Howard rang me was to say expletives and resign and then I thought ‘well that’s just not mature’, but I did after that plan when I would leave.”

Ms Martin kept her position in the 2007 federal election then resigned as chief minister in November of the same year.

But she wasn’t the only one critical of the Intervention with the full scale of the blunder quickly revealing itself. It has widely been criticised for not directly involving Aboriginal people and instead giving rise to a remarkable spurt of government-funded activity that went on around them.

Twenty thousand Territorians are now on income management, despite the scheme not meeting its aims, according to a report.

Earlier this week, royal commissioners were told child protection notifications, substantiations and out-of-home placements had all more than doubled since 2007.

About 50 per cent of indigenous children in the NT now come to the attention of the child protection system by the age of 10, the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory heard on Monday.

Aboriginal women from the remote Central Australian community of Ampilatwatja performing at a public ceremony in 2010 to protest against the Northern Territory intervention. Picture: Chris Graham.

Aboriginal women from the remote Central Australian community of Ampilatwatja performing at a public ceremony in 2010 to protest against the Northern Territory intervention. Picture: Chris Graham.Source:Supplied

Signs — like this one outside Alice Springs — were erected in many Aboriginal communities following the rollout of the NT Intervention.

Signs — like this one outside Alice Springs — were erected in many Aboriginal communities following the rollout of the NT Intervention.Source:News Limited

New figures by the Menzies School of Health research that were presented to the Royal Commission indicated the intervention has not made a difference.

“The data that we have shows that since the intervention rates of child protection notifications, substantiations and out of home care have all doubled and so if that’s an outcome we’re looking at, the intervention has really failed to make a difference for that particular outcome,” school spokesperson Sven Silburn said.

Professor Silburn said the lack of proper community engagement, which he said might have given the Intervention a better chance of success, was a “great mistake”.

Footage of children detained at Don Dale recently sparked a royal commission into the maltreatment of youths in detention. It came as the Territory’s incarceration rate hit a 15-year high — the highest per capita rate in Australia — with one per cent of the population behind bars and more than 85 per cent of inmates indigenous.

Federal indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion recently said the Intervention was flawed.

“I think it would have been far better to do some of the same things with the full compliance of the community rather than the community having the sense that it was imposed on us, so yes of course we could have done it better,” Mr Scullion said during a recent visit to the central Australian community of Mutitjulu, which was at the front line of the Intervention.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, community, families have to be at the centre of the decisions, if we’re going to make substantive and sustainable change.”

Central Australian Aboriginal leader Bess Price has been vocal about the high level of violence in central Australian indigenous communities and supported the Northern Territory intervention.

Central Australian Aboriginal leader Bess Price has been vocal about the high level of violence in central Australian indigenous communities and supported the Northern Territory intervention.Source:Supplied

 

Some high profile indigenous politicians and community members have expressed support for the Intervention.

Former Chair of the Northern Territory’s indigenous Affairs Advisory Council, Bess Price previously said the Intervention has “had an impact on the grog, the alcohol, and it’s made life a bit better for the children”.

“It’s gonna take years to fix not everything, but right now, it’s done a huge amount of, you know, change in the way people have thought about children as well in regards to their health and wellbeing,” Ms Price told the ABC in 2011.

Ms Price later came under attack for her comments from indigenous lawyer Larissa Behrendt who used her Twitter account to describe watching bestiality on TV as “less offensive than Bess Price”.

News.com.au has contacted Ms Price for comment.

megan.palin@news.com.au

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News : $20 million Streamlined Support for Aboriginal Community Health Services

This is fundamental to the Turnbull Government’s policy of partnership, our commitment to doing things with, not to, the Indigenous community

Under the agreement, NACCHO will receive the funding and will form a collaborative network with its State and Territory counterpart organisations to finance and support local health services.

The agreement provides the network with funding certainty, allowing organisations to plan for the future and improve their effectiveness.”

Federal Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt

Download

NACCHO Ken Wyatt Press Release June 20 2017

Minister Wyatt says a new Network Funding Agreement will streamline the provision of $20 million a year in health service support through the National Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Organisation (NACCHO).

The unified funding arrangements, signed on Friday, will allow the Commonwealth to work better with Australia’s peak indigenous community health organisation.

Minister Wyatt said the agreement was focussed on outcomes, allowing service funding to be administered through an Aboriginal-controlled agency.

“I have been hearing from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about the kind of care they want, and this agreement will help deliver it,” he said.

“We know that strong, Aboriginal-administered care plays a pivotal role in improving health outcomes, but it can face challenges supplying services on the ground.

“‘This new approach will allow service providers to access the assistance they need to enable them to deliver crucial, quality care to their clients.”

Minister Wyatt said the new network would also ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices were heard clearly at all levels of health administration.

“The aim is to streamline funding and communication, to continue our shared commitment to Closing The Gap,” he said.

Aboriginal Health : Second Atlas of Healthcare Variation highlights higher Aboriginal hospitalisation rates for all 18 clinical conditions

 

“The report, compiled by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, shows us that high hospitalisation rates often point to inadequate primary care in the community, leading to higher rates of potentially preventative hospitalization

The most disturbing example of this  has been the higher hospitalisation rates for all of the 18 clinical conditions surveyed experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, people living in areas of relative socioeconomic disadvantage and those living in remote areas.

 Chairman of Consumers Health Forum, Tony Lawson who is a member of the Atlas Advisory Group.

 “Additional priorities for investigation and action are hospitalisation rates for specific populations with chronic conditions and cardiovascular conditions, particularly:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians
  • People living in remote areas
  • People at most socioeconomic disadvantage.

Please note

  • Features of the second Atlas include: Analysis of data by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status

DOWNLOAD Key-findings-and-recommendations

Mr Martin Bowles Secretary Dept of Health  launches the Second Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation

A new report showing dramatic differences in treatment rates around Australia signals a pressing need for reforms to ensure equitable access to appropriate health care for all Australians, the Consumers Health Forum, says.

“A seven-fold difference in hospitalisation for heart failure and a 15-fold difference for a serious chronic respiratory disease depending on place of residence, are among many findings of substantial variations in treatment rates in Australia revealed in the Second Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation,” the chairman of Consumers Health Forum, Tony Lawson, said.

“While there are a variety of factors contributing to these differences,  the variation in health and treatment outcomes is, as the report states, an ‘alarm bell’ that should make us stop and investigate whether appropriate care is being delivered.

“These findings show that recommended care for chronic diseases is not always provided.  Even with the significant funding provided through Medicare to better coordinate primary care for people with chronic and complex conditions, fragmented health services contribute to suboptimal management, as the report states.

“We support the report’s recommendation for a stronger primary health system that would provide a clinical ‘home base’ for coordination of patient care and in which patients and carers are activated to develop their knowledge and confidence to manage their health with the aid of a healthcare team.

“The Atlas provides further robust reasons for federal, state and territory governments to act on the demonstrated need for a more effective primary health system that will ensure better and more cost effective care for all Australians.

“The Atlas also examined  variations in women’s health care, and its findings included a seven-fold difference in rates of hysterectomy and  21-fold  difference in rates of endometrial ablation.  The report states that rates of hysterectomy and caesarean sections in Australia are higher than reported rates in other developed nations.  These results highlight the need for continuing support and information on women’s health issues,” Mr Lawson said.

The Second Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation (second Atlas) paints a picture of marked variation in the use of 18 clinical areas (hospitalisations, surgical procedures and complications) across Australia.

This Atlas, the second to be released by the Commission, illuminates variation by mapping use of health care according to where people live.  As well, this Atlas identifies specific achievable actions for exploration and quality improvement.

The second Atlas includes interventions not covered in the first Atlas, such as hospitalisations for chronic diseases and caesarean section in younger women. It also builds on the findings from the first Atlas – for example, examining hysterectomy and endometrial ablation separately, and examining rates of cataract surgery using a different dataset.

Priority areas for investigation and action arising from the second Atlas include use of:

  • Hysterectomy and endometrial ablation
  • Chronic conditions (COPD, diabetes complications)
  • Knee replacement.

Additional priorities for investigation and action are hospitalisation rates for specific populations with chronic conditions and cardiovascular conditions, particularly:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians
  • People living in remote areas
  • People at most socioeconomic disadvantage.

Healthcare Variation – what does it tell us

Some variation is expected and associated with need-related factors such as underlying differences in the health of specific populations, or personal preferences. However, the weight of evidence in Australia and internationally suggests that much of the variation documented in the Atlas is likely to be unwarranted. Understanding this variation is critical to improving the quality, value and appropriateness of health care.

View the second Atlas

The second Atlas, released in June 2017, examined four clinical themes: chronic disease and infection – potentially preventable hospitalisations, cardiovascular, women’s health and maternity, and surgical interventions.

Key findings and recommendations for action are available here.

View the maps and download the data using the interactive platform.

What does the Atlas measure?

The second Atlas shows rates of use of healthcare interventions (hospitalisations, surgical procedures and complications,) in geographical areas across Australia.  The rate is then age and sex standardised to allow comparisons between populations with different age and sex structures. All rates are based on the patient’s place of residence, not the location of the hospital or health service.

The second Atlas uses data from national databases to explore variation across different healthcare settings. These included the National Hospital Morbidity Database and the AIHW National Perinatal Data Collection.

Who has developed the second Atlas?

The Commission worked with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) on the second Atlas.

The Commission consulted widely with the Australian government, state and territory governments, specialist medical colleges, clinicians and consumer representatives to develop the second Atlas.

Features of the second Atlas include:

  • Greater involvement of clinicians during all stages of development
  • Analysis of data by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status
  • Analysis of data by patient funding status (public or private).

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Chronic disease and infection: potentially preventable hospitalisations

1.1 Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
1.2 Heart failure
1.3 Cellulitis
1.4 Kidney and urinary tract infections
1.5 Diabetes complications

Chapter 2 Cardiovascular conditions

2.1 Acute myocardial infarction admissions
2.2 Atrial fibrillation

Chapter 3 Women’s health and maternity

3.1 Hysterectomy
3.2 Endometrial ablation
3.3 Cervical loop excision or cervical laser ablation
3.4 Caesarean section, ages 20 to 34 years
3.5 Third- and fourth-degree perineal tear

Chapter 4 Surgical interventions

4.1 Knee replacement
4.2 Lumbar spinal decompression
4.3 Lumbar spinal fusion
4.4 Laparoscopic cholecystectomy
4.5 Appendicectomy
4.6 Cataract surgery
Technical Supplement
About the Atlas
Glossary

Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation data set specifications are available at http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/674758

 

Aboriginal Health #NRW2017 Good News Alert 1 of 2 : Download @AIHW 8th National report Aboriginal health organisations

 ” This eighth national report presents information from 277 organisations, funded by the Australian Government to provide one or more of the following health services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: primary health care; maternal and child health care; social and emotional wellbeing services; and substance-use services.

These organisations contributed to the 2015–16 Online Services Report downloadable.

Good News see in full below

Many health promotion group activities were provided, including around 7,600 physical activity/healthy weight sessions, 3,300 chronic disease support sessions and 2,000 tobacco-use treatment and prevention sessions.

With respect to maternal and child health care, around 12,900 home visits, 3,300 maternal and baby/child health sessions, 2,800 parenting skills sessions and 1,000 antenatal group sessions were done.

Download HERE NACCHO Resources 9.7 MB

NACCHO AIHW Aboriginal Health Organisations 2015-16

Or from AIHW website

Information is presented on the characteristics of these organisations; the services they provide; client numbers, contacts and episodes of care; staffing levels; and service gaps and challenges.

Key characteristics

Of the 204 organisations providing Indigenous primary health-care services:

  1. 72% (147) delivered services from 1 site, while 11% (23) had 2 sites and 17% (34) had 3 or more sites.
  2. 67% (136) were ACCHOs.
  3. 78% (159) had a governing committee or board and of these 72% had 100% Indigenous membership.
  4. 79% (162) were accredited against the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and/or organisational standards.
  5. 28% (57) had more than 3,000 clients (see Table S3.2).

Policy context  : The health of Indigenous Australians

An estimated 744,956 Australians identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander in June 2016, representing 3% of the total Australian population (ABS 2014). In 2011, 10% of the Indigenous population identified as being of Torres Strait Islander origin, and almost two-thirds of the Torres Strait Islander population lived in Queensland.

The Indigenous population has a younger age structure compared with the non-Indigenous population.

In June 2011, the median age of the Indigenous population (the age at which half the population is older and half is younger) was 21.8, compared with 37.6 for the non-Indigenous population.

The birth rate for Indigenous women is also higher (2.3 babies per woman in 2013 compared with 1.9 for all women) (AIHW 2015d).

Most Indigenous Australians live in non-remote areas (79% in 2011); however, a higher proportion live in remote areas (21%), compared with non-Indigenous Australians (2%)

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The gap in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians is well documented, especially around life expectancy, infant mortality, child mortality, chronic disease prevalence, potentially preventable hospitalisations and the burden of disease (AIHW 2015a).

For example, a recent burden of disease study found that Indigenous Australians experienced a burden of disease 2.3 times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians, with diabetes 6 times as high.

Chronic diseases were responsible for more than two-thirds (70%) of the total health gap in 2011 and for 64% of the total disease burden among Indigenous Australians in 2011.

The 5 disease groups that caused the most burden were mental and substance use disorders (19% of total disease burden), injuries (which includes suicide) (15%), cardiovascular diseases (12%), cancer (9%) and respiratory diseases (8%).

The same study also suggests that much of this burden could be prevented and reducing exposure to modifiable risk factors may have prevented over one-third (37%) of the burden of disease in Indigenous Australians.

The risk factors contributing most to the overall disease burden were tobacco and alcohol use, high body mass, physical inactivity, high blood pressure and dietary factors (AIHW 2016a).

While there have been improvements in the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians, they remain disadvantaged compared with non-Indigenous Australians.

There are a number of interlinking issues that contribute to this gap, including the disadvantages Indigenous people experience in relation to the social determinants of health such as housing, education, employment and income; behavioural risk factors such as smoking, poor nutrition, and physical inactivity; and access to health services (AIHW 2015a).

In addition, a broader range of social and emotional wellbeing issues result from colonisation and its intergenerational legacies: grief and loss; trauma; removal from family and cultural dislocation; racism and discrimination (DoH 2013).

Policy responses

In 2008 a framework was developed to tackle Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage, with 6 targets established to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. These targets were agreed with all states and territories through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan

Following on from the COAG targets, the Australian Government worked with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to produce the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013–2023.

This sets out a 10-year plan for the direction of Indigenous health policy and provides a long-term, evidence-based policy framework to close the gap in Indigenous disadvantage.

The vision outlined in the Health Plan around health system effectiveness is that the Australian health system delivers primary health care that is evidence-based, culturally safe, high quality, responsive and accessible to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (DoH 2013).

An Implementation Plan sits alongside the Health Plan, detailing the actions to be taken by the Australian Government and other key stakeholders to implement the Health Plan (DoH 2015b).

It identifies 20 goals to support the achievement of the COAG targets around the effectiveness of the health system and priorities across the life course, from maternal health and parenting, childhood health and development, adolescent and youth health, healthy adults and healthy ageing.

A technical companion document to the Implementation Plan outlines these goals and how they will be measured (AIHW 2015b).

The second stage of the Implementation Plan will be released in 2018 and will further develop actions and goals in the domain of social and cultural determinants of health and health system effectiveness.

It will also seek to increase engagement between Australian Government agencies, state, territory and local governments, the Aboriginal community-controlled health sector, the non-government sector and the corporate/private sector (DoH 2017).

Progress on achieving the Implementation Plan goals will be reported every two years in line with the release of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework. The findings will be incorporated into the Department of Health’s Annual Report and will inform the Prime Minister’s annual Closing the Gap report. Progress on the goals will also be publically reported on the DoH and AIHW websites from mid-2017 (DoH 2015b).

The good news

• In 2015–16, 204 organisations provided a wide range of primary health-care services to around 461,500 clients through 3.9 million episodes of care. Over 1 million episodes of care (26%) were in Very remote areas and these areas had the highest average number of episodes of care per client (10). Over time there has been an increase in the average episodes of care per client, from 5 in 2008–09 to 8 in 2015–16.

• Around 7,766 full-time equivalent staff were employed and just over half (53%) were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. Nurses and midwives were the most common type of health worker, representing 15% of employed staff, followed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and practitioners (13%) and doctors (7%). Nurses and midwives represented a higher proportion of employed staff in Very remote areas (24%).

• Many health promotion group activities were provided, including around 7,600 physical activity/healthy weight sessions, 3,300 chronic disease support sessions and 2,000 tobacco-use treatment and prevention sessions. With respect to maternal and child health care, around 12,900 home visits, 3,300 maternal and baby/child health sessions, 2,800 parenting skills sessions and 1,000 antenatal group sessions were done.

• In the 93 organisations funded specifically to provide social and emotional wellbeing services, 216 counsellors provided support services or Link Up services to around 18,900 clients through 88,900 client contacts.

• In the 80 organisations funded specifically to provide substance-use services, around 32,700 clients were seen through 170,400 episodes of care. Most clients (81%) and episodes of care (87%) were for non-residential substance-use services.

Things to note

• Over half the organisations providing primary health-care services reported mental health/social and emotional wellbeing services as a service gap (54%), and two-thirds (67%) reported the recruitment, training and support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff as a challenge in delivering quality health services.

• Some organisations felt clients with high needs had to wait too long for some services, in particular to access specialist and dental services. For example, 53 (28%) organisations providing on-site or off-site access to dental services still felt clients with high needs often had to wait a clinically unacceptable time for dental services.

For most specialist and allied health services, more organisations in Remote and Very remote areas felt clients with high needs had to wait too long to access services.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Smoking #WNTD @AMAPresident awards #NT Dirty Ashtray Award for World #NoTobacco Day

“Research shows that smoking is likely to cause the death of two-thirds of current Australian smokers. This means that 1.8 million Australians now alive will die because they smoked.

The Northern Territory, a serial offender in failing to improve tobacco control, has been announced as the recipient of the AMA/ACOSH Dirty Ashtray Award for putting in the least effort to reduce smoking over the past 12 months.

But it seems that the Northern Territory Government still does not see reducing the death toll from smoking as a priority. Smoking is still permitted in pubs, clubs, dining areas, and – unbelievably – in schools.

The NT Government has not allocated funding for effective public education, and is still investing superannuation funds in tobacco companies.

“It is imperative that Governments avoid complacency, keep up with tobacco industry tactics, and continue to implement strong, evidence-based tobacco control measures.”

Ahead of World No Tobacco Day on 31 May, AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, announced the results today at the AMA National Conference 2017 in Melbourne.

Previous NACCHO Press Release Good News :

NACCHO welcomes funding of $35.2 million for 36 #ACCHO Tackling Indigenous Smoking Programs

The Northern Territory, a serial offender in failing to improve tobacco control, has been announced as the recipient of the AMA/ACOSH Dirty Ashtray Award for putting in the least effort to reduce smoking over the past 12 months.

It is the second year in a row that the Northern Territory Government has earned the dubious title, and its 11th “win” since the Award was first given in 1994.

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, said that it is disappointing that so little progress has been made in the Northern Territory over the past year.

“More than 22 per cent of Northern Territorians smoke daily, according to the latest National Drug Strategy Household Survey, well above the national average of 13.3 per cent,” Dr Gannon said.

“Smoking will kill two-thirds of current smokers, meaning that 1.8 million Australian smokers now alive will be killed by their habit.

“But it seems that the Northern Territory Government still does not see reducing the death toll from smoking as a priority. Smoking is still permitted in pubs, clubs, dining areas, and – unbelievably – in schools.

“The Government has not allocated funding for effective public education, and is still investing superannuation funds in tobacco companies.”

Victoria and Tasmania were runners-up for the Award.

“While the Victorian Government divested from tobacco companies in 2014, and has made good progress in making its prisons smoke-free, its investment in public education campaigns has fallen to well below recommended levels, and it still allows price boards, vending machines, and promotions including multi-pack discounts and specials,” Dr Gannon said.

“It must end the smoking exemption at outdoor drinking areas and the smoking-designated areas in high roller rooms at the casino.

Learn more about the great work our Tackling Indigenous Smoking Teams are doing throughout Australia 100 + articles HERE

“Tasmania has ended the smoking exemption for licensed premises, gaming rooms and high roller rooms in casinos, but still allows smoking in outdoor drinking areas.

“While Tasmania has the second highest prevalence of smoking in Australia, the Tasmanian Government has not provided adequate funding to support tobacco control public education campaigns to the evidence-based level.  It should provide consistent funding to the level required to achieve reductions in smoking.”

Tasmania should also ban price boards, retailer incentives and vending machines, and divest the resources of the Retirement Benefits Fund (RBF) from tobacco companies, limit government’s interactions with the tobacco industry and ban all political donations, ACOSH said.

It should also ban all e-cigarette sale, use, promotion and marketing in the absence of any approvals by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

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Download the app today & prepare to quit for World No Tobacco Day

Queensland has topped the AMA/ACOSH National Tobacco Control Scoreboard 2017 as the Government making the most progress on combating smoking over the past 12 months.

Queensland narrowly pipped New South Wales for the Achievement Award, with serial offender the Northern Territory winning the Dirty Ashtray Award for putting in the least effort.

Judges from the Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH) allocate points to each State and Territory in various categories, including legislation, to track how effective government has been at combating smoking in the previous 12 months.

“Disappointingly, no jurisdiction scored an A this year, suggesting that complacency has set in,” Dr Gannon said.

“Research shows that smoking is likely to cause the death of two-thirds of current Australian smokers. This means that 1.8 million Australians now alive will die because they smoked.

“It is imperative that Governments avoid complacency, keep up with tobacco industry tactics, and continue to implement strong, evidence-based tobacco control measures.”

The judges praised the Queensland Government for introducing smoke-free legislation in public areas, including public transport waiting areas, major sports and events facilities, and outdoor pedestrian malls, and for divesting from tobacco companies.

However, they called on all governments to run major media campaigns to tackle smoking, and to take further action to protect public health policy from tobacco industry interference.

31 May is World No Tobacco Day Tweet using “Protect health,reduce poverty, promote development”

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #treaty : #Uluru Summit calls for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution

“We, gathered at the 2017 National Constitutional Convention, coming from all points of the southern sky, make this statement from the heart.

Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands, and possessed it under our own laws and customs.

This our ancestors did, according to the reckoning  of our culture, from the Creation, according to the common law from ‘time immemorial’ and according to science more than 60,000 years ago.”

Download PDF Referendum Council

Uluru Statement Referendum Council Pat Anderson

To resounding applause, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander delegates from across the country have agreed to a landmark Uluru Statement calling for the establishment of a First Nations’ voice enshrined in the constitution.

“We, gathered at the 2017 National Constitutional Convention, coming from all points of the southern sky, make this statement from the heart.

“Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands, and possessed it under our own laws and customs.

“This our ancestors did, according to the reckoning  of our culture, from the Creation, according to the common law from ‘time immemorial’ and according to science more than 60,000 years ago.

“This sovereignty  is a spiritual notion … it has never been ceded or extinguished , and co-exists with the sovereignity of the Crown.

“With substantive constitutional change and structural reform, we believe this ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood.

“We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country.

“When we have power over our own destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.

“We call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.

Makarrata is the culmination of our agenda: the coming together after a struggle. It captures our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination.

“We seek a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history…,” the statement says and “… we invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.”

The historic Uluru Convention was the last in a series of dialogues organised by the Referendum Council, bringing together hundreds of Indigenous people from communities around Australia to discuss constitutional reform.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar was present at the three-day event and she provided the Convention’s opening remarks.

The Commissioner endorsed the Uluru Statement and said having a First Nations’ voice in the constitution will enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples greater power over their lives, ensuring future generations of Indigenous Australians can flourish.

Commissioner Oscar said the dialogues were enriched by the experience, skills and talents shared by delegates and participants.

“The dialogues have brought together people of all ages, some of whom were engaged in the initial 1967 Referendum process 50 years ago.

“In so many ways, we have benefited from the energy, dedication and generosity of established and emerging leaders from regional Australia, from community organisations and from national organisations.

“Delegates have expressed diverse views throughout these discussions. Nevertheless, we have overwhelming support for substantive change.”

Commissioner Oscar described the Uluru Statement as a significant milestone for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, saying constitutional reform will enable real change in the lives our Australia’s First Peoples.

Commissioner Oscar also acknowledged the significant work of Referendum Council Co-Chair Pat Anderson and her colleagues in achieving a broad consensus on the proposal for change.

“This is just the beginning,” Commissioner Oscar said.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have devoted a significant amount of time to these discussions over many years, in fact, over generations.

“This movement for change has been a long conversation for our peoples. We hope that the nation will recognise this and acknowledge constitutional change needs to occur.”

Delegates will now work through options to take the reform proposal to Government and the Australian people.

ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS PEOPLES FROM ACROSS AUSTRALIA MAKE HISTORIC STATEMENT

Coming from all points of the southern sky, over 250 Delegates gathered at the 2017 First Nations National Constitutional Convention and today made a historic statement from the heart in hopes of improving the lives of future generations.

The conversation at Uluru built on six months of discussions held around the country where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples considered five options presented in the Referendum Council’s discussion paper.

When asked what constitutional recognition means to them, First Nations peoples told the Council they don’t want recognition if it means a simple acknowledgement, but rather constitutional reform that makes a real difference in their communities.

At the Regional Dialogues consistent themes emerged and these reflected decades of calls for change. These were used to develop Guiding Principles (see below). A ruler was run across all options raised over the course of the Dialogues and three emerged as meeting all the Principles – these were truth-telling, treaty and a voice to Parliament. These became the focus of discussion at Uluru.

Building on years of work and activism, this process gave Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples the chance to have their say on constitutional reform and the model they would support moving forward.

Established by both the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition, the Referendum Council were charged with seeking out the views of First Nations people from across the country and reporting back.

Today in Uluru, the spiritual heart of Australia, Delegates – a cross section of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from around Australia – adopted the ‘Uluru Statement from the Heart’ with a standing ovation.

Delegates agreed that sovereignty has never been ceded or extinguished.

With substantive constitutional change and structural reform, Delegates believe this ancient sovereignty can shine through, while giving Fist Nations people more control over their destiny.

Throughout the Convention and preceding Dialogues, Delegates have spoken passionately about the challenges and structural problems communities face including health, housing, high rates of suicide, community closures, Indigenous Advancement Strategy, education, community development program, youth detention and adult incarceration.

“These dimensions of our crisis tell plainly the structural nature of our problem. This is the torment of our powerlessness,” the Statement says.

We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.”

The Statement calls for establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution and establishment of a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations that includes truth-telling about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s history.

Delegations have nominated a working group to build on the momentum created by the Convention, to take up the roadmap laid down by the Uluru Statement and ensure its implementation following the Referendum Council’s report to Government at the end of June.

“In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard. We leave base camp and start our trek across this vast country. We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.”

The full Statement will now inform and be issued through the Council’s report to the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition, which will be delivered on 30 June.

The Referendum Council would like to thank the Aṉangu people for allowing us to meet on their land.

Guiding Principles

1. Does not diminish Aboriginal sovereignty and Torres Strait Islander sovereignty.

2. Involves substantive, structural reform.

3. Advances self-determination and the standards established under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

4. Recognises the status and rights of First Nations.

5. Tells the truth of history.

6. Does not foreclose on future advancement.

7. Does not waste the opportunity of reform.

8. Provides a mechanism for First Nations agreement-making.

9. Has the support of First Nations.

10. Does not interfere with current and future legal arrangements.

About the Referendum Council

The Referendum Council was jointly appointed by the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten on 7 December 2015.

The Referendum Council’s job is to advise the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition on progress and next steps towards constitutional reform.

A discussion paper has been released that outlines the main questions for Australians to consider.

All submissions and comments are welcome and can be provided through http://www.referendumcouncil.org.au

 

 

NACCHO #NIHRA #Mabo25 Alert : National Indigenous Human Rights Awards and @Malarndirri19 keynote speech

The National Indigenous Human Rights Awards recognises and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have significantly contributed to the advancement of human rights and social justice .

The 2017 Awards ceremony coincided with the 25th Anniversary of the Mabo decision in the High Court, which significantly established a fundamental truth and basis for justice for Indigenous Australian people.

 ‘” Believing in the impossible is really what leads us to where we get to in life. And if we can, share some of those secrets about believing in the impossible.

We are going to listen to a little bit of a story of one man who believed in the impossible. 

In 1982 Eddie Koiki Mabo, a Meriam man from Murray Island in the Torres Straits, along with Reverend David Passi, Celuia Mapoo Salee, Sam Passi and James Rice – said No.

No, to being an uncomfortable truth.

No to being told that it was impossible to prove they had rights well before European arrival.

It takes a spiritual nature to pursue peace through such conflict.

These courageous people didn’t want to be reassured with numbing advice that all legal options were impossible.

So they dared to challenge the centuries-old doctrine of Terra Nullius – a land that belonged to no one.

It was a decade-long legal battle. ”

Senator Malarndirri McCarthy’s speech at the National Indigenous Human Rights Award’s at Parliament House reminds people to believe in the impossible as the 25th anniversary of Mabo approaches. Full Speech continued below Part 2

Picture above : The winners of two of the three awards, Mervyn Eades (Dr Yunupingu Human Rights Award) [2nd from left], and Gayili Marika Yunupingu, (Eddie Mabo Lifetime Social Justice Achievement Award) [4th from right] with organisers and presenters of the awards. Missing is Professor Chris Sarra, winner of the Anthony Mundine Courage Award, who was unable to attend the evening.
Photo: Geoff Bagnall

Wiradjuri man, Jake Gablonski attended the National Indigenous Human Rights Awards in Canberra.

He says it’s an honour to be surrounded by Indigenous people who have significantly contributed to the advancement of human rights and social justice in Australia

By Jake Gablonski Source:  NITV News

Last night, the 2017 Indigenous Human Rights Awards were held at Parliament House in Canberra.

I was lucky enough to attend.

It was an honour in itself to attend the awards as a representative from the Black Rainbow enterprise. For those of you who don’t know, Black Rainbow is the only Aboriginal support website for the LGBTQI community. Last year, it’s founder, Dameyon Bonson, was awarded the Dr Yunupingu Award for Human Rights for his work and achievements around Indigenous LGBTI Suicide.

What an incredible experience to be surrounded by so many of our mob doing very significant things, creating positive pathways for a fair Australia for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

I felt really proud and inspired by each and every Aboriginal representative selected to be involved. I felt a deep sense of connection to country, culture and community, as the nominees, award recipients and guest speakers were presented.

Hosted by journalist and author, Jeff McMullen, he took the opportunity to not only express his support for the Awards, but recognise people who have “given their lives to the struggle”.

For me, the highlight of my night was the presentation of a Commemorative Plaque for the 25th Anniversary of the Mabo decision, which was presented to the Mabo family.

I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Aunty Bonita Mabo, wife of Eddie Mabo, who humbly said she was feeling “extremely surprised to be invited to Canberra for the occasion” and to be “presented with the plaque”.

Mrs Mabo said her daughter Gail, and grandchildren will continue to advocate for the Mabo legacy to live on.

Award Nominees and Winners Profile

National Indigenous Human Rights Awards 2017 in the Mural Hall, Parliament House, Canberra

Award Winners: Mervyn Eades (Dr Yunupingu Human Rights Award) and Gayili Marika Yunupingu, (Eddie Mabo Lifetime Social Justice Achievement Award)

Anthony Mundine Courage Award: Presented by Anthony Mundine

Dr Meg Willis
Joe Williams
Clinton Pryor
Professor Chris Sarra 

Winner: Professor Chris Sarra – For his work around Beating the challenges facing Indigenous Students in school –  Created the “Stronger and Smarter” philosophy  – Encouraging kids to be stronger in their cultural identity, and smarter by attending and excelling at school.

Dr Chris Sarra

Professor Chris Sarra won an award for his work around Beating the challenges facing Indigenous Students in school – Created the “Stronger and Smarter” philosophy

Dr Yunupingu Human Rights Award: Presented by Malarndirri McCarthy – “It’s about believing in the Impossible”

Mr Mark Wenitong
Professor Kerry Arabena
Rachel Perkins
Mervyn Eades 

Winner: Mervyn Eades – For his work as a Human Rights Campaigner, transforming the lives of those in prison through mentoring, education and training. Mervyn accepted this award stating that “we need to lead our own destiny”

National Indigenous Human Rights Awards 2017 in the Mural Hall, Parliament House, Canberra

Senator McCarthy and Merv Eades

Eddie Mabo Social Justice Award: Presented by Gail Mabo  – “Without Country, who are we?”

Dr Kim Isaacs
Noeletta McKenzie
Richard Weston
Gayili Marika Yunupingu

Winner: Gayili Marika Yunupingu – Who has been working extremely hard to  raise awareness around Suicide Prevention and Indigenous social issues right across the Northern Territory including her home community, and wider Australia.

Part 2 : Indigenous elder honoured for work fighting suicide in East Arnhem Land

By Bridget Brennan

Bonita Mabo embraces Gayili Marika Yunupingu
Photo Bonita Mabo embraces Gayili Marika Yunupingu (in red)Geoff Bagnall

An Aboriginal elder credited with single-handedly reducing the shocking rate of suicide in her community says her work is not over yet.

Bonita Mabo, wife of the late land rights pioneer Eddie Mabo, last night presented Gayili Marika Yunupingu with a lifetime achievement award at the National Indigenous Human Rights Awards.

The pair embraced and cried at Parliament House as Ms Yunupingu accepted the accolade.

“The job is not finished,” Ms Yunupingu said.

Twelve years ago Ms Yunupingu began a movement to support young people who felt hopeless and suicidal in East Arnhem Land.

At her community at Melville Bay, she put herself on call — 24 hours a day — responding to calls for help from people considering taking their own lives.

The suicide rate there began falling when she established her program, and she recruited others to volunteer to spend time with people in crisis.

She said her next step would be establishing a healing camp, and working with perpetrators and victims of domestic violence.

“We continue to work with the healing place in our community,” she said.

“I accept this award also on behalf of my community, who has struggled with me to keep our people safe and to keep them walking with us.”

Aboriginal educator and the Prime Minister’s Indigenous advisor, Professor Chris Sarra, was presented with a Courage award for his work over many decades.

Mervyn Eades, who helps ex-prisoners into work in Western Australia, was also recognized.

The awards took on special significance this year, 25 years since the historic Mabo decision.

Eddie Mabo’s daughter, Gail, said her father left a legacy for all Australian people to carry on.

“He was a man who was driven by the passions of his people. Let that be the fight of now,” she said.

She said she was heartened to see a new generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people fighting for land rights.

“I take my hat off to everyone who’s fighting to maintain their connection to country — because without country, who are we?”

Ms Mabo said she still had vivid memories of her father, who never lived to see the High Court decision handed down.

“I’d lie there and watch him, and sometimes I saw him cry, and sometimes I’d see him sing.

“The loss of someone, as we all know, it feels like yesterday.”

If you need to talk to someone, call @LifelineAust 13 11 14; @KidsHelplineAU 1800 551 800; @MensLine_Aus 1300 789 978; @SuicideCallBack 1300 659 467.

Part 3 : Senator Malarndirri McCarthy’s speech at the National Indigenous Human Rights Award’s at Parliament House

Photo: Geoff Bagnall

On 3rd June 1992, the High Court of Australia decided in favour of Eddie Koiki Mabo and his fellow plaintiffs.

Like any family, there is no doubt division in Eddie Mabo’s family and in his clan groups in the islands. Divisions not least of which centred on the authority to make decisions, about everyday life on Murray Island, or about who could hunt where for the food. Or whose role it was to take the lead in ceremonies sacred to their people. It was a pretty normal kind of life.

It is human nature to have conflict.

It takes a spiritual nature to pursue peace through such conflict.

There was friction in the understanding of legal doctrine, and further separation of whose legal advice was the better to follow. Who could interpret the law in such a way as to dare challenge this doctrine?

Eddie Koiki Mabo died six months before that decision came down. The High Court decision came down in June 1992.

The challenge and win in the high court resulted in the Native Title Act.

“It is the uncomfortable truth of black and white Australia. It is the uncomfortable truth that white Australia has a black history, and very much a living present.”

The very Act that Merv (Eades) referred to this evening, at the National Indigenous Human Rights Awards, and Jeff, that we are debating in the Senate.

The debating is all about the amendments to what you have heard this evening in terms of an extraordinary win by a family of Noongars in WA. Their legal right to challenge came about because of Eddie Mabo. Their legal right to say no came about because of Eddie Mabo. So the struggle and discernment that we hear in this parliament, the house of the people need to have, is a deeper understanding of why it is that this Act is before the parliament.

Who does it benefit? What is the change? Who else will benefit? Who will lose? Why are we amending the Act? Does it need amending?

These are the questions that we as political members of the parliament must ask. We may not like to as those questions, and we may not want to ask those questions, but that is why we put our hands up and said we want to represent. And that means taking the good with the bad. It means standing in those uncomfortable moments, in those uncomfortable decisions. But, I do believe he spirit of Gail Mabo’s Dad, is right here in this parliament.

If I could share with you the stories of how even to this point. Since the McGlade decision in February, something has been moving in this parliament, a really strong sense of spirit. Where a piece of legislation, that was rushed through the House of Representatives, one day without warning, didn’t happen. It couldn’t be rushed through.

Labor said no.

Then there were further conversations about what is going on here, why is this happening?

Labor insisted that it went to a Senate Inquiry, which is the appropriate process of examination of any act of Parliament, which is what we are here to do. From the Senate Inquiry came an outcome, over sixty submissions to the inquiry, an inquiry led by an incredibly experienced practitioner of Land Rights in my view, and certainly in the view of those that know him, as you would, Senator Pat Dodson.

“We have to listen to everyone.”

It is incredibly complex because Native Title is complex. It is the uncomfortable truth of black and white Australia. It is the uncomfortable truth that white Australia has a black history, and very much a living present.

When the Inquiry completed its findings, it was Labor that narrowed down to make sure that extinguishment was not a part of any steps forward.

It is Senator Pat Dodson who has advocated vehemently and taken the lead to make sure that extinguishment of the rights of the First Peoples of this country does never happen.

The spirit of Mr Mabo floats through here. I believe, in this parliament at a really important time.

The phone rings in my office, in Linda’s office, Pat’s office and I am sure in many of my colleagues of Labor party offices as much as it does in the Government offices.

The phone should ring, and people should listen because those calls are important calls coming from around the nation. It is bigger than Noongar people. This amendments impact over 120 Indigenous Land Use Agreements, We have to examine those land use agreements, we have to listen to the Native Title applicants and claimants from right across the country. As comfortable as it would be to listen to one group, we know that is not what we are here to do. We have to listen to everyone.

I ask each and every one of you to send your strong spirits and goodwill to those of us in there who are trying to discern the best way forward, not just for one group of people but for all people, that your spirits will help us guide through that process.

Aboriginal Health : Stark Indigenous inequality shows calls for governments to reset agenda: Download new report

The report highlights that the complexities of Indigenous affairs are not intractable, there is a clear way forward for Indigenous rights and the solutions lie with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people ourselves, and not with policy and funding structured around the whim of a minister or life of a government,”

“I call on all Australian governments to implement these recommendations in full and as a matter of urgency. Partner with us and we will realise equality.”

Respected human rights campaigner and former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Professor Tom Calma said the Oxfam report provided a valuable perspective on the state of human rights for Indigenous people on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum.

Professor Calma said the report outlined 10 clear steps to move beyond recognition and bring about real change.

Download the report HERE

OXF011-Indigenous-Rights-Report-Email

The failure of successive governments to listen to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is condemning too many Indigenous Australians to stark inequality and entrenched disadvantage, according to an Oxfam report published today.

Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke said the report found funding for Indigenous services was inadequate, misdirected, uncertain and lacking in transparency.

Dr Szoke said new economic analysis by Oxfam had found more than one in five Indigenous households were in Australia’s poorest 10 per cent of households – more than twice the rest of Australia.

Each year we see considerable support amongst Australians for closing the gap. Yet less than one in four Australians polled by Oxfam had some degree of confidence the disadvantages of Indigenous people would be addressed in the next decade.

“Half a century on from the historic 1967 referendum, far too many Indigenous Australians live in circumstances akin to those in developing countries,” Dr Szoke said.

“Many of the fundamental rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have not progressed – at the heart of this injustice is the failure to genuinely include Indigenous people in decision-making.

“At a time when we should be celebrating, our Constitution still fails to recognise our First Peoples, Indigenous children are sent to detention in greater numbers than ever and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples still die 10 to 17 years younger than non-Indigenous Australians.”

Dr Szoke said as an international aid agency, Oxfam’s experience showed listening to and working in partnership with local communities was the key to achieving real change.

“Oxfam’s report is not only evidence of the problems, it also highlights what is working well and makes realistic recommendations which would reset governments’ relationship with indigenous people,” Dr Szoke said.

“These recommendations include funding for an elected Indigenous body, funding preference for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service providers and minimum five-year funding agreements.”

Australian governments have failed Indigenous peoples, says Oxfam

From the Guardian

Successive Australian governments have failed to achieve meaningful change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, according to a report by Oxfam that calls for a drastic overhaul of all areas of Indigenous policy and interaction with government.

The report, released on Wednesday, outlines 10 recommendations including changing the native title system to make it easier to both attain and leverage as an economic and cultural asset; reestablishing a national elected representative body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; changing the funding system to prioritise community-run Indigenous organisations; and implementing every relevant recommendation from every major report into Indigenous affairs in the past 30 years.

The last task alone would keep the federal government in policy reform for several years: the majority of recommendations made by significant Indigenous inquiries, from the 339 recommendations of the 1991 royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody onwards, have never been implemented or have been implemented only in part.

The report comes a week after a UN investigator released a damning preliminary report saying repeated failure to enact UN recommendations on Indigenous issues would damage Australia’s chances of securing a seat on the security council.

Writing in the foreword, former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice commissioner Prof Tom Calma said the government should implement the recommendations of the Oxfam report with “all possible urgency” to break the cycle of policy renewal and change that had rarely resulted in meaningful change on the ground

“Over the years, the urgent need to respect the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples has been documented in far too many reports , reviews and inquiries – by royal commissions, parliamentary committees, government agencies, human rights and equal opportunity commissions, respected United Nations bodies, and indeed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples ourselves,” Calma said.

“Yet these reports are consistently ignored by successive governments, while too many of my Indigenous brothers and sisters continue to experience the reality of these failures every day in our communities. Sadly, too many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples still live shorter, less healthy lives with lower socioeconomic outcomes than non-Indigenous people.”

Australia is only on track to meet one of its seven closing the gap targets. Delivering his closing the gap speech in February, prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said “community driven” initiatives would be central to meeting those targets.