NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alert :@sunriseon7 finally shines light on Indigenous issues, but is it a real awakening (for all media)? Report from @croakeyblog

” In an era of fake news it was surprising that a popular breakfast news program would stop a live feed and resort to a green screen when confronted with Indigenous outrage over the comments of a few self-appointed white social media commentators from the other day.

That the Seven Network’s breakfast program Sunrise realised its mistake and offered to have a panel of three experts explain in lucid details the issues around the media storm they had generated was welcomed by NACCHO and our members.

Sunrise journalist David Koch asked well considered questions and the expert panel was able to respond in-depth regarding the removal of Indigenous children, the importance of  early intervention with increased funding for family support services and that multi-disciplinary teams should be invested in to work with Indigenous families urgently.

Unfortunately time did not permit discussion about other issues like extra resources devoted to early children’s education and the social determinants of health.

However, it should not just be about Aboriginal experts correcting the media record when the government has known about the health concerns of Aboriginal children for years: they are not listening to us and they give plenty of cash for their own pet projects. It’s time to resource our sector appropriately to reduce the numbers of children presenting in out of home care and juvenile detention as it has become a national scandal that needs to be fixed now. ”


” It shouldn’t be occurring in this day and age to have such insensitive comments made in mainstream domains and media about Aboriginal people, even if the person making them thinks they are doing it with best intentions in mind.

I think that the arrogance in not acknowledging what had gone down in the first panel until the community protested outside Channel Seven is an issue. I think it’s very good that Channel Seven convened a new panel but maybe they wouldn’t have done that if it that pressure wasn’t applied.

What should be occurring from here on is recruiting a panel of Aboriginal experts so that they call on these if they want to discuss Aboriginal issues. They should be convening an Aboriginal panel with expertise in the content matter and that way non-Indigenous Australians will have a broader exposure to the issues on the ground rather than through the few who are called in to talk about issues they have no expertise in.

It needs to be done on a regular basis. TV stations will have much more credibility for seeking informed commentary. A good journalist will seek alternative views or expert commentary and publish informed commentary. It’s never what happens.

The more we can have visibility in the Australian mainstream media, the more informed the Australian population will be. Currently they are too often informed by a minority that hold polarising views for Aboriginal people. They don’t get enough expertise to talk about these complex issues in Aboriginal health and they need to do it much more regularly ”

SAHMRI researcher James Ward

Our thanks to Croakey for this comprehensive coverage of Sunrise’s second effort on the issue, for their reflections and what needs to be done going forward. Subscribe view HERE

Sunrise finally shines light on Indigenous issues, but is it a real awakening (for all media)?

Editor: Marie McInerney

Channel Seven’s Sunrise program has finally shone a little light on complex Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child protection issues in the face of major criticism, formal complaints, distress and protests over an ill-informed, offensive panel discussion it aired last week.

Aboriginal community members protested for three days outside Seven’s Sydney studio over the segment that South Sea Islander and Darumbal journalist Amy McQuire and Yorta Yorta writer and public health consultant Summer May Finlay said “regurgitated mistruths” and was “sensationalist and frankly incorrect”.

Media Watch declared it was “A Sunrise to forget”.

It took a week but on Tuesday the breakfast TV show had a lengthy (by its standards) interview with three Indigenous health leaders: National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) CEO Pat Turner, Danila Dilba CEO Olga Havnen and South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) researcher James Ward.

You can watch the six minute segment here.

“We’ve got to talk about it, we’ve got to do something about it,” vowed anchor David Koch at the end of the discussion that highlighted the failure of governments to listen to Indigenous health experts, problems with government funding, systemic failures in health and child protection services, lack of community control and the conflation of sexually transmitted infection (STI) figures with child abuse.

But what Sunrise apparently didn’t feel the need to discuss was its own performance, its own journalistic standards, and the distress unleashed by last week’s ignorant and ill-informed discussion between Sunrise co-anchor Samantha Armytage and white shockjock commentators Prue MacSween and Ben Davis.

Armytage was no objective player or considered/informed moderator in the session, opening the two-minute ‘Hot Topic’ with: “Post-Stolen Generations there’s been this huge move to leave Aboriginal children where they are, even if they’re being neglected in their own families…”

(See the bottom of the Croakey  post for important reading on the placement of Indigenous children in out of home care from Victoria’s Commissioner for Aboriginal Children).

Thus it took just a minute for MacSween to follow this premise to declare it was “perhaps” time to consider a new Stolen Generation approach.

By the weekend Sunrise was clearly stung or shamed or embarrassed enough, with protesters assembling outside its studios at dawn and social media enraged, to finally do what it should have in the beginning, and invite Indigenous experts to the discussion.

“We don’t need confected outrage and anger”

But there was no mea culpa.

The show ignored the many calls for an apology, with ‘Kochie’ neatly sidestepping any culpability by referring only to how a “complex and emotional” discussion had been prompted by a newspaper report, headlined “Save Our Children”.

There was no mention of where it got it wrong, nor that it ignored three days of protests against the segment outside its Sydney studios last week, to the point of switching to a pre-recorded loop of a very quiet Martin Place for its studio backdrop on one day.

There was nothing about how, as ABC’s Media Watch revealed,  it had to take down the segment from its website because footage used to illustrate the “dangerous environment” that Indigenous children were allegedly subject to included a child getting a skin check in a film commissioned by Indigenous charity One Disease, used without permission.

It was left to Olga Havnen to have to interject at the end:

“What we need is intelligent informed discussions and looking for solutions rather than the confected outrage and anger.”

As my Croakey colleague Dr Ruth Armstrong said:

Kochie should have picked up on Olga’s comment, and asked (at least himself if not out loud) if there is any place in 2018 for a segment like ‘Hot Topic,’ where ‘social commentators’ are trotted out to shoot from the hip on issues that are far too nuanced and sensitive to be dealt with so flippantly. And will Sunrise develop a policy of going to Indigenous experts when they want to discuss Indigenous issues?

Kochie said “Let’s work together to try and get some of those changes through. It is a real issue affecting Indigenous people around the country.”

Does he know that he and his media buddies can actually have a role in improving Indigenous health and welfare? If only they will ask the right questions of the right people instead of amplifying sensationalism and misinformation.

With that in mind, the Croakey connective has come up with a few of the questions that ‘Kochie’ could have asked the panel – and/or himself and his colleagues (because many of these are surely not questions that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people must be expected to explain over and over again).

Questions Kochie could have asked

  • Why is it, do you think, that mainstream media reports so badly on Indigenous issues as we did on this last week?
  • What impact does it have on Aboriginal and Torres Strait children and families when we talk about communities like that?
  • What impact does it have on the Stolen Generations?
  • What should we have done on the day?
  • Why is it, do you think, that we won’t hold the Minister and other media to account over clumsy/inaccurate/uninformed/misleading/inflammatory comments but we will target Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people instead?
  • What was the impact from us showing archive footage of Aboriginal people with the implication they were somehow responsible/involved/at risk in abuse?
  • What should we have shown?
  • Who should hold media outlets like us to account: regulators, (white) journalists, advertisers, politicians?
  • How can we ensure that we include Indigenous voices in our stories in the future?
  • Can you suggest cultural safety training that all Australian journalists should undertake (and what the main issues are to address), as outlined in this submission to the recent Senate public interest journalism inquiry?
  • What’s the next most important Indigenous health topic we should cover in depth?
  • Can we book you all for a regular spot on the show so we can highlight these issues properly more often?

And Qs from the Croakey connective on child protection:

  • How do we best keep Aboriginal kids safe while maintaining their ties with family and culture?
  • What are the problems with the current system?
  • What can be done to better support Aboriginal families?
  • Data shows Aboriginal people frequently experience racism in hospitals and healthcare and it leads to worse outcomes – to what extent do you think racism and bias occurs in the child protection system? What would the impacts of this be?
  • What cultural safety training do child protection workers undergo? Best practice in learning recommends immersion in Aboriginal settings and learning from Aboriginal people – how much time do staff get for this professional development?

“Mopping up the mess”

The trouble is, of course, the Sunrise segment is no isolated example, but reflects ongoing, broader issues about representation and racism in the media and widespread media practices that harm the health, wellbeing and lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

They not only promote racist stereotypes but also divert the public spotlight from failures in government policies and processes, and consume the focus and energy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities, and organisations.

“Black people had to do a lot of work last week and it wasn’t even Invasion Day, Sorry Day, or NAIDOC Week,” said University of Queensland senior lecturer, Dr Chelsea Bond, an Aboriginal (Munanjahli) and South Sea Islander Australian, in this must-read piece at IndigenousX.

The implications of that also came out, she wrote, at a session she chaired last week at Converge, a First Nations National Media Conference.

Turns out the dilemma for First Nations news media is deciding how much of their little resources is exhausted on mopping up the mess created by mainstream news media and how much is invested in taking charge of the narrative and producing real Indigenous news content that has context and relevance to a local and/or national audience.

Indigenous journalist Amy McQuire  also had a revealing anecdote in her IndigenousX article: Spare us your false outrage.

She remembered being outside Parliament House in Canberra in 2015, on the day of the Abbott-Turnbull leadership spill, when Armytage and all the other mainstream TV stations were broadcasting live, with an unanticipated backdrop.

In a protest planned for months, Grandmothers Against Removals campaigners had come to Canberra from across the country to draw attention to skyrocketing rates of Aboriginal child removal. McQuire wrote:

The response from ‘journalists’ Armytage and David Koch was worse than silence. In one of the ad breaks, they turned around and admonished those who had assembled behind them. Rather than listen to their stories, rather than hearing about their children, they castigated them for daring to interrupt their broadcast. As Armytage ‘tsked tsked’, Koch told them to look at the charities he donated to before addressing him.

Where to from here?

Some other things (than Sunrise) to watch:

Which TV station will be first to take up James Ward’s challenge to set up a panel of Aboriginal experts so that they call on these if they want to discuss Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues?

How will Sunrise handle its next complex Indigenous issue?

What can the wider public health field can learn from Indigenous resistance, activism and critique/demolition of mainstream narratives?

And what will the wider mainstream media learn from Sunrise’s awakening?

The early signs may not be good, judging from this tweet.

Watch Here

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Saveadate and The #Apology10 :The fact is that most of the social and health problems we see in communities today are linked to Intergenerational Trauma says Richard Weston CEO @HealingOurWay

 ”  The fact is that most of the social and health problems we see in communities today, from family violence and suicide to high rates of incarceration and child protection, can be linked to Intergenerational Trauma

So if we want to create a different future and close the gaps that still exist between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians, we need to stop putting Intergenerational Trauma in the too-hard basket.

The National Apology to the Stolen Generations in 2008 was a landmark event. It was a moment of truth telling which is critical when you’re trying to heal from trauma. But it was a starting point not a solution. The latest progress report on Closing the Gap shows that efforts to address appalling levels of disadvantage have made marginal improvements, in spite of billions of dollars in government funding.

Closing the Gap is complicated, but it’s not impossible. We just need to invest in strategies that have been proven to work and be prepared to invest beyond political cycles and social fads.

We also need to listen to what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities tell us will work.”

Richard Weston, a Meriam man who was born on Gadigal country and grew up on Noongar Boodja and is now on Ngunnawal Country, is this week’s host on the @IndigenousX Twitter account and is tweeting with the #Apology10 hashtag. See Full Croakey article below

Communities across Australia, from Kununurra to Mildura, Casuarina to Logan, the Mornington Peninsula to Cherbourg and Muswellbrook to Adelaide, will come together this month to commemorate todays 10th anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations on 13 February 2008.

See this list of events.

In this anniversary article for Croakey, The Healing Foundation CEO Richard Weston says Australia must understand that the impacts of the Stolen Generations policies, and other brutal acts of colonisation, are not consigned to the past, but “very much part of the here and now”. He says we need a serious commitment to tackle unresolved and intergenerational trauma in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

#Apology10 is also hosting a free community concert in Canberra to mark #Apology10, featuring Archie Roach, Shellie Morris, The Preatures, Busby Marou and Electric Fields, hosted by Myf Warhurst and Steven Oliver.

See also this video series marking the National Apology being published by IndigenousX – featuring Uncle Jack Charles, Amnesty Australia’s Roxanne Moore, and Gavan Moor and Chris Dunk.

 Download the 6 Page 2018 Aboriginal / Health  days and events calendar updated 6 February  HERE

NACCHO Aboriginal Health 2018 Save a date Feb 6

National Apology was starting point, not solution: Stolen Generations trauma continues

Anniversaries are a good time for reflection and as we commemorate the 10th anniversary of the National Apology today, I hope we can use the momentum to achieve something we’ve never managed to realise before—a serious commitment to tackle unresolved and Intergenerational Trauma in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Ten years on from the Apology, and 20 years on from the tabling of the Bringing Them Home report that recommended that apology in the first place, there are still thousands of our people held back by the impact of trauma. Almost every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family is affected in some way.

To give you an idea of what I mean, more than 12 per cent of the people who gave evidence of abuse to the recent Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Sexual Abuse were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. But we’re not just talking about events of the past. A study in Western Australia found that one in five Aboriginal children were living in families now, where between seven to 14 major life stress events had occurred in 12 months.

Most Australians prefer to think about the Stolen Generations—and other brutal episodes in 230 years of colonisation—as a phenomenon of the past. But the impacts are very much part of the here and now.

Trauma affects the way people think and act and overwhelms their ability to cope and engage. If people don’t have the opportunity to heal from trauma, it’s likely that their experiences and negative behaviours will start to impact on others, particularly children who are susceptible to significant developmental damage when they experience trauma at a young age.

This has created a cycle of trauma, where the impact is passed from one generation to the next, creating a snowball effect of cumulative damage. Research backs this up. The Stolen Generations and their children and grandchildren are twice as likely to be arrested by police and a third less likely to be in good health, compared to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are already at a disadvantage.


The Healing Foundation is finalising the first full analysis of current needs for the Stolen Generations, particularly as they enter the aged care sector, and to address issues like national reparations. When we talk to members of the Stolen Generations, they tell us over and over again that re-building families through culture and healing is a key priority.

Why? Because a traumatised person can’t benefit from programs around education and training.  Healing strategies must be implemented alongside enablers like employment, education and economic empowerment, otherwise we will keep wasting taxpayer dollars focusing on symptoms alone.

The Healing Foundation has shown that investment in the right programs will create long term change and reduce the burden on public funds.  Over the last eight years we’ve seen reductions in violence, juvenile justice rates and out-of-home care for children where healing programs have been implemented.  For example, our men’s healing programs have led to a 50% reduction in contact with Corrective Services and a drop in family violence, while programs for young people have potentially reduced contact with the protection system by 18.5% and the juvenile justice system by nearly 14%.

To replicate these successes across Australia, we need to scale-up our healing efforts and focus on families and communities, rather than individuals.

Today will be a day of celebration to mark a major step forward in the process of healing and reconciliation.  But it’s also a day when we need to take stock of what’s working and what’s not. Over the past few weeks I’ve been reminded by young people in our communities that the future holds a great deal of hope. Despite the wrongs of the past, many of them are optimistic and motivated to create change. This gives me hope that we will have something more positive to report after the next decade—and a different future, built on a foundation of healing.


NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Pain Advice @AMAPresident @RuralDoctorsAus @ACRRM @CRANAplus @NRHAlliance Changes to the availability of #codeine containing medicines come into effect 1 February 2018

” From 1 February 2018, codeine will no longer be available over the counter. This means you will need to get a prescription from your ACCHO doctor to buy codeine. For people with ongoing chronic pain, there are other treatments in addition to or instead of medication that can be very helpful

There are many different ways that people can manage their pain without using codeine. Research shows low-dose codeine is not superior to over-the-counter alternatives such as a combination of paracetamol and ibuprofen for pain relief.”

From Real Relief

Opening graphic courtesy of Redfern AMA ACCHO

From 1 February 2018 medicines containing codeine will only be available by prescription. These medications are used to treat pain. Codeine is also sometimes used in cold and flu medicines.

If you live in a rural or remote area and you think that this change will affect you, it’s a good idea to know your options and plan ahead.

If you normally take medicines with codeine for ongoing (chronic) pain you should talk to a health practitioner about your pain management options. Codeine is only recommended for a maximum of three days and is not considered an effective treatment for chronic pain.

The best place to get advice and assistance will depend on the health services available in your area and your personal preference.

Visit your health practitioner

If you have access to a local GP, they can provide information and help with managing your pain and write you a prescription if you need one. If they feel you need extra help to manage chronic pain they might refer you to see a specialist – either in person or through a service called Telehealth that is used to deliver health services across Australia without the need for travel.

Go to a community health centre or remote health service

If you don’t have a local GP, you can get advice and help at a community health centre or a remote health service in your area. Remote area nurses and registered nurses can also provide advice and, in some areas, they can write prescriptions.

Visit your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Service

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Medical services can provide holistic and culturally appropriate advice and care on all health and medical issues including pain management.

Get free advice over the phone

For free health advice 24 hours, 7 days a week, you can call Healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222. Healthdirect can provide you with advice on all health topics, including pain management. They can also help you locate your nearest health services and chemists.

Download our NRHAM resources

Click here to download the NRHA Codeine Fact Sheet 

Click here to download the NRHA Posters

If pain is ongoing the best way to manage it is with a combination of strategies that suit your condition and personal situation. Medication alone is not effective.

Multidisciplinary pain management will address all of the factors associated with pain – including emotions, mental health, social relationships and work – to help you get the best results.

One of the best ways to manage pain is to take control of it. With access to the right education and strategies, most people with chronic pain can successfully regain quality of life without the need for opioids, surgery or other invasive treatments.

You can learn more about multidisciplinary pain management through your ACCHO GP who can refer you to your nearest pain service.

Rural Doctors RDAA are working with ACRRM, CRANAplus and the National Rural Health Alliance (NRHA) to ensure that all rural doctors, rural and remote nurses and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers can access relevant training and information so they can advise and/or prescribe the best and most appropriate form of treatment available to consumers following the change

AMA Interview

Well, first of all, the myth that something’s changing for people who have already required a prescription for opioids. We are more and more concerned about the use of opioids in our community. It’s not unique to Australia. So many of the people who die from heroin overdoses in the United States and Australia started off on prescription opioids. So, if anything good has come of the Guild’s advocacy on low dose codeine, it’s been shining a light on the opioid epidemic we have.

But the most important myth to bust is that – for those people who reach occasionally for one of these preparations for a headache, for backache, for period pain – an anti-inflammatory alone, paracetamol alone, is every bit as effective, and in fact it’s better, because for a lot of people codeine causes headaches, it doesn’t make them better.”

AMA President, Michael Gannon see interview in full Part 2

President of the Rural Doctors Association Australia (RDAA), Dr Adam Coltzau, said that while the up-scheduling of codeine has been well publicised, some patients will remain surprised when they can no longer buy their preferred pain medication over the counter.

“I have no doubt that starting today there will be disgruntled people who were either unaware of the coming change or who did not make plans to change their medication,” Dr Coltzau said.

“Everyone should be aware that they may consult with their pharmacist where available or where there is no pharmacist their health clinic team regarding alternative over-the-counter medications. It is imperative that consumers who have previously used over-the-counter codeine to manage pain see their health care provider regarding alternative medications or therapies that are available to them.

“And of course for those patients whose doctor or nurse practitioner recommends codeine-based products these remain available to them by prescription.

“The up-scheduling of codeine has provided a positive opportunity for both patients and prescribing practitioners to increase their knowledge of the safer and more effective pain relief medications and treatments, review their condition and re-assess their approach to management of these conditions,” Dr Coltzau said.

President of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM), Associate Professor Ruth Stewart, said that patients should start a conversation with their GP about their pain problems to find a treatment that works for them.

“There’s no clinical evidence to suggest that over-the-counter codeine products are more effective analgesics than similar medicines without codeine,” A/Prof Stewart said.

“Talking to your GP about your pain is the best way to address it, as they’re equipped to suggest a pain management strategy based on your symptoms.

“Medication alone is often not the most effective way of treating many conditions, and a multidisciplinary pain management plan will help get the best results.

“In rural and remote areas, where people may have to travel to access their health care provider to review the management of their condition, it is important for consumers to schedule a visit with their

GP or other health care provider. Where pharmaceutical services are available, consumers can take advantage of the Government’s new Pain MedCheck program that will be rolled out across community pharmacies for a one-on-one consultation with your pharmacist.

“Online resources such as can provide consumers with the facts and information on the proven alternative pain medications that are available and there may also be specialist and allied health services available via telehealth for people living in rural and remote communities,” A/Prof Stewart said.

RDAA is working with ACRRM, CRANAplus and the National Rural Health Alliance (NRHA) to ensure that all rural doctors, rural and remote nurses and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers can access relevant training and information so they can advise and/or prescribe the best and most appropriate form of treatment available to consumers following the change.

Visit for more information.

 Part 2

LAURA JAYES:   AMA President, Michael Gannon, joins us now live from Perth. Dr Gannon, thanks so much for your time. Is the AMA on board with this decision?

MICHAEL GANNON:   The AMA supports the decision made by Minister Greg Hunt, who in turn was taking the advice from the TGA, the Therapeutic Goods Administration. They’re the bureaucrats who have looked at the science and made a decision that brings Australia into line with 25 other countries.

LAURA JAYES:   There’s been a bit of reaction to this, you would’ve noticed, Dr Gannon, but most people do use these codeine products in a very responsible way. Are you concerned about what this might do in regional areas, where people don’t have access to this, they have to find a GP? That might delay them in seeking this medication.

MICHAEL GANNON:   Look, the Pharmacy Guild stands alone in their opposition to this change, and we’ve seen a lot of mythology out there. The important message – for people who have always required a prescription for higher doses of codeine, nothing’s changed.

Now, we’ll have more to say about that. This is a drug that is causing more harm than good in our community, and ideally over time we’ll see fewer and fewer prescriptions for opioids.

But for the lower doses of codeine that this change affects, it’s very important to deliver the message to people that there’s very clear scientific evidence that the low dose codeine-containing preparations are no more effective than the paracetamol or the anti-inflammatory alone.

That’s the message that should be delivered to a patient presenting to a community pharmacy today or in coming weeks: here’s some paracetamol, here’s some ibuprofen – it’s every bit as effective, and it’s a lot safer.

LAURA JAYES:   Well, you said myth-busting; what kind of myths did you want to bust? I’ll give you the platform to do it right here and now.

MICHAEL GANNON:   Well, first of all, the myth that something’s changing for people who have already required a prescription for opioids. We are more and more concerned about the use of opioids in our community. It’s not unique to Australia. So many of the people who die from heroin overdoses in the United States and Australia started off on prescription opioids. So, if anything good has come of the Guild’s advocacy on low dose codeine, it’s been shining a light on the opioid epidemic we have.

But the most important myth to bust is that – for those people who reach occasionally for one of these preparations for a headache, for backache, for period pain – an anti-inflammatory alone, paracetamol alone, is every bit as effective, and in fact it’s better, because for a lot of people codeine causes headaches, it doesn’t make them better.

LAURA JAYES:   You sound like the AMA is preparing to actually look more deeply into opioids other than codeine. It seems like codeine is the first frontier. Why is codeine any worse than some of the others?

MICHAEL GANNON:   Well, the reason that codeine is worse is that it’s unique amongst the opioids in that’s it’s being treated in such a permissive manner. You still need a prescription for fentanyl; you still need a prescription for oxycodone; you still need a prescription for morphine.

But if anything good has come out of this conversation in recent months, it’s been that we, as doctors – whether that’s surgeons dispensing opioids after surgery, whether it’s emergency departments dispensing them in people who have presented with trauma or some other form of pain – we need to do something, because oxycodone, fentanyl, higher doses of codeine, are also causing damage in our community.

We need to look carefully at better opioids. Codeine is very much yesterday’s drug, it would not be licensed if it was invented next week. But we need to look carefully at our prescription of other opioids and really look carefully at non-pharmacological approaches to chronic pain.

LAURA JAYES:   What ones are you concerned about? Are you concerned about pseudoephedrine? Because I believe if I’ve got a bit of the flu, I go to the chemist, I get some cold and flu tablets that contain pseudoephedrine. You can certainly get through a day of work with those drugs, but are they an addictive substance? If codeine is the first one you’re concerned about, what are the next?

MICHAEL GANNON:   Pseudoephedrine is not an opioid, so it’s not used for pain relief, and the main reason to be careful with its use is it’s used to cook up methamphetamine in criminal backyard laboratories.

But you raised an important issue there, the need to monitor. We support real-time prescription monitoring. We’ve been very supportive of what’s existed in Tasmania until now. State Minister Jill Hennessy in Victoria, Federal Minister Greg Hunt, have made noises about real-time prescription monitoring. We agree with the Pharmacy Guild that that’s the way forward, especially for other licit opioids that have become drugs of abuse, like fentanyl, like oxycodone.

LAURA JAYES:   Okay, so those are the main concerns that are being abused if the opportunity is given?

MICHAEL GANNON:   Well, we are concerned about these drugs as drugs of abuse. I mean, the evidence comes from coronial reports in Victoria and other States.

LAURA JAYES:   How do people get them, though? Do they doctor shop?

MICHAEL GANNON:   Well, there is no question that some people doctor shop, but that’s a pretty ambitious effort to doctor shop for 8mg codeine tablets. But there’s no question that some people, they cook up all sorts of stories, they’re very sophisticated in how they go around collecting prescriptions for codeine 30mg tablets.

We know that fentanyl patches, that people use them, and they get the drug out of the patch for intravenous or subcutaneous administration. Australia has long been a high user of opioids, we’re a big exporter of opioids, and the story of the harm they do in the community is not a new one. But this decision, it’s at least two or three years overdue, and it brings us into line with much of the rest of the developed world.

 LAURA JAYES:   Dr Michael Gannon, thanks so much for your time today. This is a fascinating area that I agree with you we need to look a lot more closely at. We’ll get you back another time and deep-dive into that issue. Thanks so much for your time.

 MICHAEL GANNON:   Thank you, Laura.    








Dr Google will see you now ! NACCHO Aboriginal Health Alert @AMAPresident says Doctor #Google no substitute for a visit to your trusted ACCHO / Family GP.

 ” We live in a digital generation. People use their smartphones and the internet for absolutely everything in life, so it’s to be expected that they’ll use it in regard to their health, and we know that health is one of the main reasons that people access search engines like Google.

One of the reasons doctors do recoil in horror is that some of the quality of the information on the internet leaves a lot to be desired.

So when a patient presents to their GP or another specialist and says they’ve done their own research on vaccinations and they’ve spent 20 minutes and that’s meant to overcome hundreds, thousands of hours of research into different  ” vaccines, that’s the kind of thing that makes doctors upset.

But we need to be clever enough and sensitive enough to listen to people, and often they’ve done part of the work for us.

Dr Michael Gannon President AMA responding to a question about Dr Google from Lisa Barnes  6PR Breakfast Perth 3 January 2018

Will patients stop going to the GP?

 “According to Google, one in 20 Google searches are health-related. Google’s new health cards will include facts vetted by a team of “medical doctors”, the company says, and adds:

“Each fact has been checked by a panel of at least ten medical doctors at Google and the Mayo Clinic for accuracy.”

Google’s Isobel Solaqua also encouraged patients to still seek professional medical attention.

What we present is intended for informational purposes only — and you should always consult a healthcare professional if you have a medical concern.”

Google’s new function might be handy for giving patients more accurate information – rather than having people wind up on dusty message boards and forums with questionable advice.”

Source Dr Google will see you now :

 ” At the first sign of a headache (“brain tumour?”), aching joint (“dengue?”) or a rash (“measles?”) do you find yourself looking to Dr Google? If so, then there’s a chance that your real malaise warrants another moniker: cyberchondria.

With one in 20 Google searches a quest for health information, many of us are likely familiar with the anxiety that goes with compulsively searching online for real (or imagined) health issues.

But is all this googling actually paying off in terms of our health and wellbeing?

For some time, researchers have pointed out that our ability to find out almost anything health-related through a quick online search has its downsides.”

NACCHO would suggest you use Dr Google and download the NACCHO APP that can help you find one of the 302 ACCHO Clinics throughout Australia ( and make a booking with one of our real ACCHO Doctors)  

Download the NACCHO App HERE

And here is why

 ” Well, Dr Google should never, and will never, be a surrogate for a face to face consultation.

There’s a lot of skill in medical practice – sometimes it’s unseen to patients – but there is a skill in taking a history, performing an examination, working out which tests are and aren’t indicated, thinking about how you’re going to interpret those tests and what your follow-up plan is.”

Dr Michael Gannon on why you should see a real Doctor

Full Transcript of Interview

MICHAEL GANNON:   I think there’d be plenty of patients who would have positive experiences, and there’d be plenty of patients that are led down the garden path. I think that if you put into a search engine the basic symptoms, in my experience most patients end up diagnosing themselves with either leukaemia or a brain tumour. But if you ask for something very specific, there’s some very credible and very useful health information that gives patients an idea how to proceed.

GEOF PARRY:   Michael, I think the AMA has been concerned about Dr Google in this sense, that they’ve been presenting to doctors and some doctors have been getting a bit upset about it, and you’re sort of saying, isn’t it, that it’s a bit of a fact of life now and you have to work with it?

MICHAEL GANNON:   I think you’re exactly right, Geof. We live in a digital generation……….

See opening extract

But we need to be clever enough and sensitive enough to listen to people, and often they’ve done part of the work for us.

LISA BARNES:   You’re right though, it is about using a little bit of common sense and being a bit specific with what you’re searching for, isn’t it? Because I know I’ve used Dr Google, and yeah, I seem to come up with about 17 serious diseases that I’ve got. But if you narrow it down, you can use that information for good, can’t you?

MICHAEL GANNON:   You can. I mean, some of the State Health Departments have very high-quality information that’s available. I would encourage people to have a look at where the information’s coming from.

So, if the search engine directs them to a website of one of the learned Colleges or a State or Territory Health Department, one of the august bodies in the English-speaking world like Britain or the United States, you might get valuable information.

I use Wikipedia to look up genetic conditions and rare syndromes all the time and, although I have concerns about how often some of that information’s curated, overall it’s extremely good. It’s when people start googling individual symptoms they usually get led down the garden path.

GEOF PARRY:   Michael, I’m wondering whether it’s any different using Dr Google to, say, the sorts of things that the medical profession has had to counter in the past.

So – and I’m going to get criticised for this – but, say, iridology, where people have used iridology to sort of find out what they might be suffering from, or having their auras, their colours read, those sorts of things which, in some schools of thought, these are just quackery.

MICHAEL GANNON:   Yeah, well, you’re right, Geof. We worry a lot about the quality of the health information that’s out there.

Where this story started- I did an interview with a journalist at the Courier Mail in Brisbane, and it was based on a directive from the NHS in Britain, the NHS asking patients to try Google first. Now, that represents a failing health system.

We don’t have that problem in Australia. We hear individual stories, but overall the statistics show that it’s not hard to get an appointment to see a GP, and let’s not forget that 85 per cent of GP services are bulk billed – it costs nothing.

It represents, in a world where it’s increasingly difficult to find value for money for people on fixed wages, a visit to your GP represents value for money like no other I know in the whole community.

LISA BARNES:   And certainly, Michael, obviously the advice would be double check or get it confirmed by a doctor, don’t just take Dr Google at face value.

MICHAEL GANNON:   Well that’s exactly right, and people should never ignore danger symptoms, and individual human beings, the parents, guardians of young children, people caring for elderly relatives, et cetera, should never hesitate to seek medical attention.

The reality is that GPs and doctors in Emergency Departments do see sometimes odd and not particularly high value presentations, but we would never want a situation where someone second-guessed themselves and didn’t seek health care.

GEOF PARRY:   Yeah, is there a couple of risks – like quite serious risks – here? I mean, you can put your health at risk if you put your trust in something like Dr Google and they get it wrong, or are you just completely wasting time and wasting people’s time by going down that path?

MICHAEL GANNON:   Well, Dr Google should never, and will never, be a surrogate for a face to face consultation.

There’s a lot of skill in medical practice – sometimes it’s unseen to patients – but there is a skill in taking a history, performing an examination, working out which tests are and aren’t indicated, thinking about how you’re going to interpret those tests and what your follow-up plan is.

Medical care’s a lot more complicated than sometimes doctors get given credit for. Looking something up on a search engine can be a useful adjunct. We do need to do better with health literacy in our community. I’d love to see more biological sciences taught in high school, but for now it’s a useful tool that people can use to either give themselves reassurance or to make it clear they do need to see a doctor.

LISA BARNES:   Michael, we appreciate your time. Thank you.

MICHAEL GANNON:   Pleasure. Happy New Year to both of you.

LISA BARNES:   And to you. That’s Dr Michael Gannon, the AMA President

NACCHO Aboriginal #HealthyFutures : Making @DeadlyChoices Your 2018 New Year #HealthyChoice Resolutions

 ” In 2012–13, more than two-thirds (69%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults were overweight or obese (29% overweight but not obese, and 40% obese). Indigenous men (69%) and women (70%) had similar rates of overweight and obesity (ABS 2014a).

One-third (32%) of Indigenous men and more than one-quarter (27%) of Indigenous women were overweight but not obese, while 36% of Indigenous men, and 43% of Indigenous women were obese ”

See NACCHO Aboriginal Health article

Background AMA FACTS

·         According to CSIRO, four out of five Australians do not eat the recommended five servings of vegetables and two of fruit daily.

·         One-third of daily food consumption comes from discretionary foods – energy-dense foods that are typically high in saturated fats, sugar, and salt.

·         In 2014-15, nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of Australian adults were overweight or obese, up from 57 per cent in 1995.

·         One in four children (aged 2-17) were overweight or obese in 2014-15.

·         Overweight and obesity was responsible for 7 per cent of the total health burden in Australia in 2011.

·         In 2011-12, obesity was estimated to cost the Australian economy $8.6 billion. The World Obesity Federation estimated that rose to $12 billion in 2017 and has forecast it to rise to $21 billion by 2025.

·         Australia’s obesity rate (28 per cent) is the fifth highest among Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, behind the United States of America (38 per cent), Mexico (33 per cent), New Zealand (32 per cent), and Hungary (30 per cent).

·         Being overweight or obese is associated with a higher death rate, cutting two to four years off the life expectancy of a person with a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 30 and 35, and eight to 10 years for a person with a BMI of over 40.

·         Increased BMI is also linked to an increased risk of death from colon, rectum, prostate, cervical, and breast cancers.

See Deadly Choices Facebook Page

If you’re looking for a New Year’s Resolution that will improve your health, here are the resolutions we recommend:

The Healthy Weight Guide has been developed to provide you with the information you need to help you understand the importance of healthy eating and physical activity in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

Whether you already have a good understanding of what is required or if you are just starting out, the Healthy Weight Guide can help.

You might find achieving and maintaining a healthy weight easier if you break it down into the following seven steps:

Get started

An important first step towards achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is to understand what your journey will involve. You might like to start by finding out if you are a healthy weight. Setting goals and planning are also important steps. Once you are on your journey, it is important to monitor what you do to ensure you can maintain the healthy habits you set up. Registering with the Healthy Weight Guide can help you with all of these steps.

Set goals

It’s a good idea to set yourself some goals to help keep focused. Your goals might be related to your weight or about changing your behaviour, such as increasing your fitness or eating more healthily.  In the set goals section you will find some useful tips and ideas to help you decide on your goals and how you will achieve them. You will also find a downloadable goal setting form in this section. Alternatively, the My Goals section in the My Dashboard registered area will help you to set up and keep track of your goals.

Get active

Creating opportunities to be physically active every day can help you to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. In the get active section you will find helpful hints on finding out what physical activities you like and how to incorporate them into your day. For some people, planning to do physical activity at a regular time every day or week is more likely to make it a habit.  Get active also has a downloadable Physical Activity Planner to help you plan what physical activity you will do and when. The My Planner section of the My Dashboard registered area also has great tool to plan and monitor your physical activity.

Eat well

Developing healthy eating habits is important to being a healthy weight. You might like to start with a few small changes and gradually incorporate more. In the eat well section you will find some great suggestions on healthy shopping, cooking and eating out. You will also find a downloadable meal planner to help you plan and monitor your meals. The My Planner section of the My Dashboard registered area also has great tool to plan and monitor your meals and calculate your energy requirements.

Keep in check

Some people who keep track of their progress are more likely to make the changes that over time become new healthy habits. The keep in check section will give you some suggestions on how to continue to keep track of the healthy habits you have set. You might find the My Dashboard registered area useful to help you monitor your progress.

Managing the challenges

There may be times when you find managing your weight a challenge. The managing the challenges section has useful suggestions to help manage some of the common challenges you might face along the way.

Get informed and get support

In the get informed section you will find information related to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight from the Australian Dietary Guidelines and Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines. There is also information on different weight loss methods. You might find all this information helpful when setting your goals and making your healthy eating and physical activity plans. The getting support section has useful information on who you might be able to reach out to and how they might help. After all, everyone needs a helping hand.

If you’re looking for a New Year’s Resolution that will improve your health, here are 7 resolutions we also recommend: Adapted from

  1. Drink 8 glasses of water per day.  8 can be substituted for however many your body needs .Be sure to track your progress – find a way to track how many glasses you’re drinking per day, and to “check off” the days when you achieve your goal!
  2. Eat 2 servings of fruits and vegetables with every meal.  You could also choose to try for 4 different types of fruits and vegetables every day, or to try a new vegetable every month, or to achieve the recommended 9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.  Any specific target that increases your vegetable consumption is a great resolution!
  3. Fit in some movement (or stretching) every day.  We are not saying you don’t need rest days, or you need to push yourself to exhaustion every day.  But even on your busiest days, try for a quick lunchtime walk, 10 minutes of stretching before bed, or even a quick interval workout
  4. Learn a new type of exercise, or achieve a new fitness goal.  Working on a new skill can be a great motivation to get active.  Set a resolution that you’ll learn a new activity   Or, set a specific goal in a mode of exercise you already practice (with interim steps along the way!).  Is there a certain weight you want to be able to deadlift, a certain KM time you’ve been hoping for, or a certain pose in yoga you’ve been dying to achieve?  Figure out how you’ll get there this year!
  5. Reduce added sugars (and/ or artificial sweeteners).  This is a lofty and hard-to-measure target, so I recommend you do this in smaller mini-goals.  For example, reduce the 2 tsp of sugar in your coffee to 1 tsp, or go for plain yogurt with fruit instead of sweetened, fruit-flavored yogurt.
  6. Eat at home 4 nights per week, or pack your lunch 2 times per week.  Of course, the numbers are arbitrary, so set a goal that works for you.  The point is to increase the number of home-cooked meals you prepare … so much better for your wallet and your health!
  7. Commit to a small, incremental change every month.  In January, you may order a side of veggies instead of french fries every time you go out to eat.  In February, you may switch from coffee with skim milk.  In March, you may add 5 minutes to your daily 30-minute walk.  Whatever it is, choose a small change that you can add on every single month.

NACCHO Aboriginal #ChooseHealth wishes you a very Healthy Xmas and #sugarfree 2018 New Year #SugaryDrinksProperNoGood

 ”  This campaign is straightforward – sugary drinks are no good for our health.It’s calling on people to drink water instead of sugary drinks.’

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Cape York and throughout all our communities experience a disproportionate burden of chronic disease compared to other Australians.’

‘Regular consumption of sugary drinks is associated with increased energy intake and in turn, weight gain and obesity. It is well established that obesity is a leading risk factor for diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease and some cancers. Consumption of sugary drinks is also associated with poor dental health.

Water is the best drink for everyone – it doesn’t have any sugar and keeps our bodies healthy.’

Apunipima Public Health Advisor Dr Mark Wenitong

WATCH Apunipima Video HERE

“We tell ‘em kids drink more water; stop the sugar. It’s good for all us mob”

Read over 30 NACCHO articles Health and Nutrition HERE

 ” Let’s be honest, most countries and communities (and especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders ) now face serious health challenges from obesity.

Even more concerning, so do our kids.

While no single mission will be the panacea to a complex problem, using 2017 to set a new healthy goal of giving sugar the kick would be a great start.

Understand sugar, be aware of it, minimise it and see it for what it is – a special treat for a rare occasion.

This New Year’s, make breaking up with sugar your planned resolution.

“Hey sugar – it’s not me, it’s you…”

Alessandro R Demaio  Global Health Doctor; Co-Founded NCDFREE & festival21; Assoc. Researcher, University of Copenhagen and NACCHO supporter ( First Published 2016 see in full below )


We recommend the Government establish obesity prevention as a national priority, with a national taskforce, sustained funding and evaluation of key measures including:

  • Laws to stop exposure of children to unhealthy food and drink marketing on free to air television until 9.30 pm
  • Mandatory healthy food star rating from July 2019 along with stronger food reformulation targets
  • A national activity strategy to promote walking, cycling and public transport use
  • A 20 per cent health levy on sugary drinks

Australia enjoys enviable health outcomes but that is unlikely to last if we continue to experience among the world’s highest levels of obesity.

 CEO of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells

NACCHO Aboriginal #HealthStarRating and #Nutrition @KenWyattMP Free healthy choices food app will dial up good tucker

” Weight gain spikes sharply during the Christmas and New Year holiday period with more than half of the weight we gain during our lifetime explained just by the period between mid-November and mid-January.

Public Health Advocacy Institute of WA

 ” Labels that warn people about the risks of drinking soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages can lower obesity and overweight prevalence, suggests a new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study.

The study used computer modelling to simulate daily activities like food and beverage shopping of the populations of three U.S. cities – Baltimore, San Francisco and Philadelphia.

It found that warning labels in locations that sell sugary drinks, including grocery and corner stores, reduced both obesity and overweight prevalence in the three cities, declines that the authors say were attributable to the reduced caloric intake.

The virtual warning labels contained messaging noting how added sugar contributes to tooth decay, obesity and diabetes.

The findings, which were published online December 14 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, demonstrates how warning labels can result in modest but statistically significant reductions in sugary drink consumption and obesity and overweight prevalence.”

Diabetes Queensland : Warning labels can help reduce sugary drinks consumption and obesity, new study suggests


Global recognition is building for the very real health concerns posed by large and increasing quantities of hidden sugar in our diets. This near-ubiquitous additive found in products from pasta sauces to mayonnaise has been in the headlines and in our discussions.

The seemingly innocuous sweet treat raises eyebrows from community groups to policy makers – and change is in the air.

Let’s review some of the sugar-coated headers from 2016 :

  • The global obesity epidemic continued to build while more than two-in-three Australian adults faced overweight or obesity – and almost one in four of our children.
  • Science around sugary drinks further solidified, with consumption now linked to obesity, childhood obesity, heart disease, diabetes (type-2), dental caries and even lower fertility.
  • Australians were estimated to consume a staggering 76 litres of sugary drinks each since January alone, and new reports highlighted that as much as 15% of the crippling health costs associated with obesity could result from sugary drinks consumption.
  • Meanwhile around the planet, more countries took sound policy measures to reduce sugar consumption in their citizens. France, Belgium, Hungary, Finland, Chile, the UK, Ireland, South Africa and many parts of the United States implemented, continued or planned the implementation of pricing policies for sugary drinks.

In short, the over-consumption of sugar is now well recognised as a public health challenge everywhere.

With all this in mind and a New Year ahead, it’s time to put big words into local action. With resolutions brewing, here are seven helpful tips to breaking up with sugar in 2017.

1. Understand sugar

When it comes to sugar, things can get pretty confusing. Below, I shed some light on the common misunderstandings, but let’s recheck sugar itself – in simplest terms.

Sugar is a type of refined carbohydrate and a source of calories in our diet. Our body uses sugar and other sources of calories as energy, and any sugar that is not used is eventually stored as fat in our liver or on our bellies.

“Free sugars” are those added to products or concentrated in the products – either by us or by the manufacturer. They don’t include sugars in whole fruits and vegetables, but more on that later. For a range of health reasons, the World Health Organization recommends we get just 5% of our daily calories from free sugars. For a fully grown man or woman, this equates to a recommended limit to sugar consumption of roughly 25 grams – or 6 teaspoons. For women, it’s a little less again.

Consume more than this, and our risk of health problems rises.

2. Quit soft drinks

With 16 teaspoons of sugar in a single bottle serving – that’s more than 64 grams – there’s nothing “soft” about soft drinks. Including all carbonated drinks, flavoured milks and energy drinks with any added sugars, as well as fruit drinks and juices, sugary drinks are a great place to focus your efforts for a healthier 2018. Sugary drinks provide no nutritional value to our diets and yet are a major source of calories.


What’s more concerning, evidence suggests that when we drink calories in the form of sugary drinks, our brains don’t recognise these calories in the same way as with foods. They don’t make us feel “full” and could even make us hungrier – so we end up eating (and drinking) more. In this way, liquid calories can be seen as even more troubling than other forms of junk foods. Combine this with studies that suggest the pleasure (and sugar spike) provided by sugary drinks may make them hard to give up – and it’s not difficult to see why many of us are drinking higher amounts, more often and in larger servings. This also makes cutting down harder.

The outcome is that anything up to one-seventh of the entire public cost of obesity in Australia could now result from sugary drinks. In other words, cut out the sugary drinks and you’ll be doing your own health a favour – and the health of our federal and state budgets.

3. Eat fruit, not juice

When it’s wrapped in a peel or a skin, fruit sugars are not a challenge to our health. In fact, the sugars in fruit are nature’s way of encouraging us to eat the fruit to begin with. Fruits like oranges, apples and pears contain important fibres. The “roughage” in our foods, this fibre is healthy in many ways but there are three in particular I will focus on. First, it slows our eating down; it is easy to drink a glass of juice squeezed from 7 apples, but much harder to eat those seven pieces whole. Second, it makes us feel full or satiated. And third, it slows the release of the sugars contained in fruit into our blood streams, thus allowing our bodies to react and use the energy appropriately, reducing our chances of weight gain and possibly even diabetes.

Juice, on the other hand, involves the removal of most of those fibres and even the loss of some of the important vitamins. What we don’t lose though, is the 21 grams or more than five teaspoons of sugar in each glass.

In short, eat fruit as a snack with confidence. But enjoy whole fruit, not juice.

4. Sugar by any other name

High-fructose corn syrup, invert sugar, malt sugar and molasses – they all mean one thing: sugar.

As the public awakens to the health challenges posed by sugar, the industry turns to new ways to confuse consumers and make ‘breaking up’ more difficult. One such way is to use the many alternative names for sugar – instead of the ‘s’ word itself. Be on the lookout for:

Evaporated cane juice, golden syrup, malt syrup, sucrose, fruit juice concentrate, dextrose and more…

5. Eat whole foods where possible

Tomato sauce, mayonnaise, salad dressings, gravies, taco sauces, savoury biscuits and breakfast cereals – these are just some of the many foods now often packed with hidden, added sugars.

A study found that 74% of packaged foods in an average American supermarket contain added sugars – and there is little evidence to suggest Australia would be dramatically different. Added to food to make it more enjoyable, and moreish, the next tip when avoiding such a ubiquitous additive is to eat whole foods.

It’s hard to hide sugar in plain flour, or a tomato, or frozen peas. Buying and cooking with mostly whole foods – not products – is a great way to ensure you and your family are not consuming added sugars unaware.

6. See beyond (un)healthy claims

Words like “wholesome”, “natural” and “healthy” are clad on many of our favourite ingredients. Sadly, they don’t mean much.

Even products that are full of sugar, like breakfast cereals and energy bars, often carry claims that aim to confuse and seduce us into purchase. Be wary – and be sure to turn the package over and read the ingredients and nutrition labelling where possible (and if time permits).

7. Be okay with sometimes

The final but crucial message in all of this is that eating or drinking sugar is not a sin. Sugar is still a part of our lives and something to enjoy in moderation. The occasional piece of cake, or late night chocolate – despite the popular narrative painted by industry to undermine efforts for true pricing on sugar – these occasional sweet treats are not the driving challenge for obesity. The problem is that sugary drinks, and sugar in our foods, have become every day occurrences.

With this in mind, let’s not demonise sugar but instead let’s see it for what it is. Enjoy some juice or bubbles from time to time but make water the default on an everyday basis. With the average can of cola containing 39 grams or 9 teaspoons of sugar, be OK with sometimes.

Bitter truth

Let’s be honest, We now face serious health challenges from obesity.

Even more concerning, so do our kids.

Learn more about our ACCHO making Deadly Choices


NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Nutrition : Download Guide , Posters , Activity sheets @MenziesResearch SHOP@RIC (Stores Healthy Options Project at Remote Indigenous Communities )


” This guide presents information on the consumer education strategy used in the SHOP@RIC study.

SHOP@RIC (Stores Healthy Options Project at Remote Indigenous Communities) is one of four studies in the world to provide evidence on the effect of a price discount with and without nutrition education on food purchasing.”

Download Guide Here :  SHOP_RIC_Consumer_Education_Guide

Read over 35 NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Nutrition articles HERE

This study is the largest nutrition-related trial to be conducted with remote Aboriginal communities in Australia.

It provides an example of a successful collaboration between communities, retailers, health professionals and academics.

Many people participated in making SHOP@RIC the success that it was.

See full resources website

The SHOP@RIC consumer education strategy was delivered with a price discount on fresh and frozen fruit, vegetables, artificially sweetened soft drinks and water.

We hope that the information presented here will inspire readers to use the consumer education strategy resources and the evaluation tools we have made available on the Menzies School of Health Research website.

Below are six poster options for download.

This should be read in conjunction with SHOP@RIC Consumer Education Guide.

Title SHOP@RIC consumer education posters
SHOP@RIC poster theme 1
SHOP@RIC poster theme 2 (landscape)
SHOP@RIC poster theme 3
SHOP@RIC poster theme 4
SHOP@RIC poster theme 5 (landscape)
SHOP@RIC poster theme 6

Below are several web activity sheet options for download.

This should be read in conjunction with SHOP@RIC Consumer Education Guide.

Title SHOP@RIC consumer activity sheets
SHOP@RIC activity sheet – beverages theme 1
SHOP@RIC activity sheet – beverages theme 2
SHOP@RIC activity sheet – beverages theme 3
SHOP@RIC activity sheet – beverages theme 4
SHOP@RIC activity sheet – beverages theme 5
SHOP@RIC activity sheet – beverages theme 6
SHOP@RIC activity sheet – fruit and veg theme 1
SHOP@RIC activity sheet – fruit and veg theme 2
SHOP@RIC activity sheet – fruit and veg theme 3
SHOP@RIC activity sheet – fruit and veg theme 4
SHOP@RIC activity sheet – fruit and veg theme 5
SHOP@RIC activity sheet – fruit and veg theme 6

NACCHO 1 of 100 Organisations supporting @Change_Record #NationalAction4Kids #FreetobeKids call for PM @TurnbullMalcolm to take national action through #COAG


” We are horrified by the abuses and torture of children in detention in the Northern Territory, highlighted throughout the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory (the Royal Commission)

We are deeply concerned at the worsening rate at which Australia is locking up Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, which is now 25 times the rate of non-Indigenous children. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children make up more than half the total number of children in prisons Australia-wide.”

NACCHO has joined nearly 100 other organisations to call for immediate national action so we never see abuse again. The Federal Government must act now on make change for children in the justice system

See NACCHO post

NACCHO @AMSANTaus @CAACongress respond #NTRC #DonDale Royal Commission demands sweeping change – But how can we make it happen?

We note the report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Ms Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, following her visit to Australia in March 2017 who found “the routine detention of young indigenous children the most distressing aspect of [her] visit.”

We note that this abuse is not isolated to the Northern Territory. Throughout the past 18 months there have been independent Inquiries into youth detention in every jurisdiction except South Australia.

In addition to removing children from their families and communities, children are being subjected to prolonged abuse including isolation, restraint chairs, spit hoods and tear gas in youth prisons.

This is unacceptable.

All Australian governments must take immediate measures to reform our youth justice systems and address the recommendations of the Royal Commission. These must be developed collaboratively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities to ensure that all of Australia’s children thrive.

The undersigned organisations call on the Australian Government, working with the Northern Territory Government and other State and Territory governments through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), to seize the landmark opportunity presented by the Royal Commission to:

  • Work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their representative bodies to deliver a comprehensive and ongoing response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission
  • Lead national reform through COAG of youth justice systems, laws, policies and practices. This must build on the recommendations of the Royal Commission, with a view to developing national minimum benchmarks for laws and policies
  • Prioritise this issue as a standing item at future COAG meetings to ensure an ongoing comprehensive Commonwealth, State and Territory response to this pressing national issue
  • Ensure there is independent oversight and monitoring of the implementation of the recommendations of the Royal Commission.

For media comment from Change the Record Co-Chairs Antoinette Braybrook or Cheryl Axleby, contact Rashmi Kumar, Principal Advisor, at 0409 711 061 or

Signed by the following organisations:

Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention Legal Service Victoria



Amnesty International Australia


Article 26

Australian Association of Social Workers

Australian Capital Territory Law Society

Australian Child Rights Taskforce

Australian Council of Trade Unions

Australian Health Promotion Association

Australian Indigenous Alpine Sport Foundation

Australian Indigenous Doctors Association

Australian Lawyers for Human Rights

Australian Physiotherapy Association

Australian Youth Affairs Coalition

Bar Association of Queensland

Canberra Police Community Youth Club

Centrecare Inc.

Child Rights Australia

Children and Young People with Disability Australia

Common Grace

Community Legal Centres NSW

Community Legal Centres Queensland

Community Legal Centres Association WA

CREATE Foundation

Democracy in Colour

Elizabeth Evatt Community Legal Centre

Federation of Community Legal Centres (Victoria)

First Peoples Disability Network

Flemington & Kensington Community Legal Centre


Human Rights Law Centre

Indigenous Allied Health Australia

Indigenous Eye Health

Infinite Hope

International Social Service Australia

Jesuit Social Services

Just Reinvest NSW

Justice Reinvestment SA

Koorie Youth Council

Law Council of Australia

Law Society of NSW

Law Society of South Australia

Making Justice Work

Melbourne City Mission

Muticultural Youth Advocacy Network (MYAN)

NACCHO- National aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation

National Association of Community Legal Centres

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services

National Children’s and Youth Law Centre

National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples

National Council of Single Mothers and their Children

National FVPLS Forum



Oxfam Australia

People with Disability Australia


Plan International Australia

Protect All Children Today Inc.

Public Health Association of Australia


Reconciliation Australia

Reconciliation Victoria

Relationships Australia


Save the Children Australia

Sisters Inside

Smart Justice for Young People

SNAICC – National Voice for Our Children

Social Determinants of Health Alliance

Southern Aboriginal Corporation

St Vincent de Paul Society of Australia

TEAR Australia

The Bridge of Hope Foundation Inc.

The Kimberley Foundation

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians

UNICEF Australia



Weave Youth & Community Services

Woden Community Service

Youth Action

Youth Advocacy Centre Inc.

Youth Affairs Council of Victoria

Youth Coalition of the ACT



NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Data : Dr Ray Lovett #Indigenous health data and the path to healing

 ” The health disadvantages of Indigenous peoples around the world have their roots in colonisation and discrimination and are related to a loss of autonomy over lands and culture.

This history has profoundly affected social determinants of health, such as poverty and marginalisation, and contributed to higher rates of communicable and non-communicable diseases in Indigenous people, and life expectancies that are typically 5 years or more lower than in non-Indigenous populations. 

Despite persistent health inequities, Indigenous peoples are determining the path to healing their communities.”

Download the research HERE  Ray Lovett ANU

” There has been major progress in the reduction of smoking rates, cardiovascular deaths and vaccine coverage among Indigenous people, but these achievements get overshadowed by the bad news stories.”

Dr Ray Lovett from the ANU Research School of Population Health said studies and media reports often portrayed Indigenous health as only a problem and overemphasised negative findings, rather than highlighting progress (Pictured above at the recent #NACCHOagm2017

View NACCHO TV Interview with Dr Lovett at #NACCHOagm2017


There has been major progress in the reduction of smoking rates, cardiovascular deaths and vaccine coverage among Indigenous people, but these achievements get overshadowed by the bad news stories.

Major gaps in data are impeding the ability of Indigenous communities to gain a clear picture of their health and access to services, an Indigenous health expert from The Australian National University (ANU) has found.

Dr Lovett is part of an international research collaboration from Australia, New Zealand and Canada that has proposed a new way to ensure Indigenous people maintain control of their health data.

The research and proposed governance processes for use of routinely collected Indigenous health data are published in The Lancet .

“The landscape of health data is changing with increasing access to diverse sources, including health system encounters, health payment claims and disease registries,” Dr Lovett said.

“The value of these routinely collected data is enhanced if they can be linked securely and anonymously at the level of the individual to create reliable health records.”

In Australia, the Federal Government has responsibility for primary health care through Medicare and Indigenous identity can be registered when enrolling for coverage.

“The problem is that enrolment in Medicare is incomplete, as is Indigenous self-identification,” Dr Lovett said.

He said Medicare data was not linked with other administrative and registry data at the national level to investigate the health and care of Indigenous people.

No national agreements on the governance of Indigenous health data exist in Australia, New Zealand or Canada.

ANU conducted the research with the Laurentian University and Institute for Clinical Evaluation Sciences and The Chiefs of Ontario in Canada, The University of Waikato in New Zealand and Bond University in Queensland.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health @IndigMaraProjct : 10 Indigenous runners #RunSweatInspire to finish the #NewYorkMarathon

 “I’m hoping to show other Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders that anything is possible when you put in the hard work

I joined a walking to running program and this is a great example of what you can achieve out of something as small as that.

Growing up I wasn’t a sport person but it’s not all about sport, it’s about a holistic view and making a change for the better, I want people to think ‘if Cara can do it than so can I’.”

Queanbeyan mother Cara Smith has just completed a remarkable journey at the New York marathon on Sunday (see her Story Part 2 below )

“The running the New York Marathon  has given me a lot of discipline.

The main reason why I joined the squad was to be a positive role model for my family and for my community. People see me doing this and hopefully it gets them on the right; if you put in hard work you get rewarded for it.”

Speaking from Central Park New York Roy Tilmouth said the IMF running project had inspired him to be a positive role model for his community in Alice Springs.(see story Part 1 Below )

Update 9.00 am good news all 10 completed #NYM

Background news coverage Part 1 of 2

GROUP of indigenous Australians planning to participate in this weekend’s New York City marathon say the terror attack in Manhattan will not deter them from the race.Indigenous Marathon Foundation director Rob de Castella said the squad never considered pulling out.

“Absolutely not – I refuse to change my way of life and my aspirations and dreams based on what some radical, rat bag people do because once you start doing that, then terrorism wins,” he said.

The IMF project turns indigenous Australians from beginners to marathon runners within six months in an effort to promote healthy lifestyle choices, resilience and success.

“Most of them have done no running and they’ve gone from struggling to run three kilometers or five kilometers to six months later running 42 kilometers non-stop,” he said.

Participants also have to complete an education component, which this year featured an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and First Aid course.

De Castella said the runners, many from remote and regional areas, have experienced profound transformations as a result of the program.

“They realize that they’re so much stronger than what they were,” he said. “They want to make life better for their community because they are exposed to so much dysfunction and suicide, loss, suffering, abuse and alcoholism and they want it to stop.

“They realize that it has to start with them so this experience transforms them and makes them realize they are strong and that they have the capacity to drive change and address those issues they want stopped,” he said.

Twelve indigenous Australians will run in the world-famous New York City marathon, thanks to de Castella’s mentoring program. In the lead up to the marathon, the participants had to complete several challenges, including a 30-kilometere run in Alice Springs.

Speaking to News Corp Australia in Central Park before a practice run, Roy Tilmouth said the IMF running project had inspired him to be a positive role model for his community in Alice Springs.

“The running has given me a lot of discipline,” he said.

“The main reason why I joined the squad was to be a positive role model for my family and for my community. People see me doing this and hopefully it gets them on the right; if you put in hard work you get rewarded for it.”

Another mentee of De Castella, Layne Brown, said that his daughter had inspired him to prove something to himself.

“I’ve lost 20 kilos on this journey and I’m trying to live a better way than I have in the past,” he said.

“I stuffed a lot of things up and I want to be a better person and keep working towards that and running has been my vehicle for that over last six months”.

For Perth’s Luke Reidy, the running project offered an avenue to tackle his depression.

“I had a few deaths in the family and got depressed and I just want to highlight how physical exercise can also help with mental exercise,” he said.

Mr Reidy said he was humbled by the amount of people who had followed his progress and given their support throughout the process.

“The amount of people that watch your journey that you don’t know and they come up to you – it’s really humbling.”

Queanbeyan mother Cara Smith will complete a remarkable journey at the New York marathon on Sunday. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Smith has been part of a gruelling six-month training program under the tutelage of Australian marathon legend Rob de Castella as part of the Indigenous Marathon Foundation.

The 30-year-old was one of 12 people selected from more than 150 applicants after sharing her story with de Castella of wanting to fight a long family history of diabetes and obesity.

Smith has braved 4am training sessions in the the Canberra winter said she has herself through it to be part of something special and inspire her one-year-old son.

Smith said she was couldn’t wait to arrive in New York and soak up the atmosphere ahead of one of the biggest challenges of her life.

“I’ve been looking forward to this all year, I’m super excited and really nervous too so it’s a good mix but I just want to get started,” Smith said.

“I don’t know what to expect but I just want to soak up atmosphere and I can’t wait see my son’s face when I show him the New York marathon medal and talk to him about it one day.”

There will be unprecedented security at the event following the recent terrorist attack in New York which claimed six lives.

Smith prepared with five training camps which included a 30km effort in Alice Springs last month, the longest the group have run in preparation for the 42km epic.

“The final 12km will be pure willpower, I have a strong purpose and that is my son and setting up a healthy active lifestyle for him to aspire to,” Smith said.

“I want to set an example and I’ve done the training so I’m confident I’ll get there, I know it’s going to be tough but I’m really looking forward to the challenge.

“I want to see what the infamous wall throws at me, I’m really pumped for the final hurdle and I just hope the body and mind will hold up.”

De Castella said Smith’s sense of purpose is what will carry her the final 12km when her body is screaming to stop.

“In the marathon you always get to a point when you ask yourself ‘why am I doing this’ and it’s really important to have a really strong answer to that question,” de Castella said.

“The marathon doesn’t start until 30 km and that’s as far as they’ve ever run so they just have to get themselves to starting line and then it’s about hitting the wall and pushing through soreness and fatigue and blisters and exhaustion and pain.

“The only reason you keep going because is the reason of why you’re doing it and Cara’s reason is she wants to be a great model for her child and a leader for the community.

“These are everyday people, mums and dads and single parents, they’re not elite athletes, not high-flying academics and doctors and lawyers, they’re just everyday people that have basically had a gutful of all of the struggles and the problems in life and they just want to be part of a change going forward.”

Smith hopes her performance will inspire those in the indigenous community who are looking to make positive changes in their lives.

“I’m hoping to show other aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders that anything is possible when you put in the hard work,” Smith said.

“I joined a walking to running program and this is a great example of what you can achieve out of something as small as that.

“Growing up I wasn’t a sport person but it’s not all about sport, it’s about a holistic view and making a change for the better, I want people to think ‘if Cara can do it than so can I’.”

Press release from Federal Government