NACCHO Aboriginal Health Debate 3 of 3 @BillShortenMP speech #ClosingtheGap Our future is your future.


Shadow minister for human services Linda Burney MHR ,Senator Pat Dodson , Senator Malarndirri McCarthy, Jenny Macklin and leader of the opposition Bill Shorten signing the Redfern statement

See also Mondays 20 Feb press release and ACCHO visit


Labor sets up Indigenous caucus in push to improve representation across all parties


” Bill Shorten  pointed  to the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations around this country and the magnificent work they are doing to improve the health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people right around this country.

They are the best examples of comprehensive primary health care in the nation. What we do not want is for them to be white-anted by some competitive-funding model, which has the potential to happen.

So I say to the government: invest in what we know works. I am sure that if we do that, we can get better outcomes all round.

I note also—and the Leader of the Opposition spoke about this today—that there are programs that actually do work well.

The Deadly Choices program through the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health, which the member for Blair referred to—a highly progressive organisation—started with four health clinics in Brisbane and now has 18, delivering comprehensive primary health care across the urban population of Brisbane for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people—some 50,000 to 60,000 people.  The number of health checks is increasing.”

Mr SNOWDON (Lingiari) (17:21):

Can I firstly acknowledge the traditional owners of this great land that we are on, the Ngunawal and the Ngambri people, and acknowledge the traditional owners of all Aboriginal lands—all Aboriginal nations—right around this country, most particularly in my own electorate of Lingiari, which traverses 1.34 million square kilometres, one-sixth of Australia’s landmass, and has a sizeable proportion of the remote Aboriginal population.

Mr SHORTEN (Maribyrnong—Leader of the Opposition) (12:23):

I acknowledge the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples, traditional owners of the land upon which we meet. I pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging.

This tradition of recognition goes back millennia. This parliament and the nation we call home is, was and always will be Aboriginal land. Where we are, so too are Aboriginal peoples: from the Noonga near Perth to the Eora of Sydney, the Nunga of Adelaide, the Kulin around Melbourne, the Palawah of Tassie, the Murri of Brisbane and Torres Strait Islanders. We are one country, enriched by hundreds of nations, languages and traditions.

After the last election, I took on the shadow ministry for Indigenous affairs. My family and I went back to Garma to listen and learn. I have met with Northern Territory leaders, defending the young men being abused in juvenile detention.

I travelled to Wave Hill to commemorate the courage of Vincent Lingiari and the Gurindji. And I have looked to my Indigenous colleagues for their wisdom. They are as inspirational as they are modest: a Wiradjuri woman in the House, a shadow minister; a Yanuwa woman in the Senate, heading our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander caucus committee; and a Yawuru man, the father of reconciliation, I look to him as my mentor and assistant shadow minister.

I also recognise the member for Hasluck, Ken Wyatt, and congratulate him on his historic appointment, and I recognise too Senator Lambie.

I will never forget walking into Cairns West Primary on Djabugay Country on the first day of last year’s election campaign and I saw the wide-eyed smiles of so many young Aboriginal students as I introduced them to Senator Patrick Dodson.

The value of role models, of the next generation seeing faces like theirs in places of power, cannot be underestimated. It should not be the exception. We should make it the rule.

In the Labor Party, we are doing better than we have, but what we did before was simply not good enough and I want us to improve, not just at the federal level but at every level of government.


There are so many First Australians in the galleries today. You are friends and your peers would elevate and enrich our parliament with your talent, whichever party you choose. I look forward to the day, and can imagine the day, when one of the First Australians is our Prime Minister or, indeed, our head of state.

As the Prime Minister mentioned, the Referendum Council are continuing their important community conversations. After the Uluru gathering, it will be time for the parliament to step up and draw upon these consultations and to finally agree a set of words to put to the Australian people.

I believe, and let me be clear, that this parliament, this year, should agree on a way forward—not a vague poetic statement meaning nothing and offending no-one by saying nothing; a meaningful proposition that every Australian can understand and, I remain confident, Australians will overwhelmingly support.

Recognition is not the end of the road, but it should be the beginning of a new, far more equal relationship between the first peoples of this nation and all of us who have followed. And that is where the listening and the learning must reach beyond the walls of this chamber.

I do not seek to present a balance sheet of the good and the bad—not a list of top-down programs imperfectly managed; not the same old story of reports written but not read. Instead, I believe in a new approach.

We must forget the insulting fiction that the First Australians are a problem to be solved and, instead, have a new approach to listen to people who stand on the other side of the gap; a new approach that, from now on, the First Australians must have first say in the decisions that shape their lives; a new approach that means a stronger voice for the National Congress of Australia’s First People and the resources to make it happen; a new approach to extend ourselves beyond handpicked sources of advice; a new approach to be in the places where our First Australians live and work and play, from Mount Druitt to Logan, in the APY Lands and East Arnhem.

Not treating local consultation as a box to be ticked but applying the wisdom of people who know. Understanding and recognising there are many Aboriginal nations across this country: Waanyi and Warlpiri, Badi Badi and Gumatj, Tharawal and Kuarna, Yorta Yorta and Narrunga. And all of these nations have the right to have control of their future. The change required is deeper and more profound than where we visit and who we talk to, though.

I believe that First Australians want a way to be heard in a voice that they are in control of. I want Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to know that Labor hears you.

We understand the need for a structure that is not at the mercy of the cuts or seen as a gift of largesse; a voice that cannot be kicked to the curb by change of government or policy; an entity that recognises culture, kinship, identity, language, country and responsibility; the pride that comes from knowing who you are, where you come from and the values you stand upon; and a system where culture is central and fundamental. And have no doubt; this can be done.

We see it when a Pitjantjatjara person seeks out a local healer, a ngangkari, in addition to a GP—when they see both the GP and the local healer; because spiritual wellbeing cannot be treated by a packet of Panadol alone. We see it in the Koori Court in Parramatta, using diversionary sentencing as an alternative to incarceration. The elders sit on the bench alongside the judges and ask the right questions of young people.

They give the young people a sense of belonging and, if these young people muck up, the elders address them with that straight-talking freedom of family and culture, a frankness and reassurance, that even the judge can learn from.

There at this court, the police, the prosecution and the defence show sensitivity to culture, yet still deal with the young person who has behaved in an antisocial way.

This cross-cultural approach enhances the system, bringing Aboriginal cultures to the centre, allowing justice to be done without diminishing the individual or denying identity. It Australianises justice and makes it work better.

We also see it in the best of Australian theatre and art and in education and literature. And if we can accept the value and richness of Indigenous cultural genius and allow it to impact and transform our justice system and the arts, we can do this with the Australian parliament too. In this the people’s place, we can grow an enhanced respect for the first peoples for their unique societies, for their values and for their experiences.

At Redfern, Paul Keating threw down a gauntlet to us, the non-Aboriginal Australians.

He posed a question that we had never asked: how would I feel if this were done to me? That question still stands before Australia, 25 years later. How would we feel if our children were more likely to go to jail than to university? .

How would we feel if the life expectancy of our families was 20 years shorter than our neighbour? How would we feel if, because of our skin, we experienced racism and discrimination? And how would we feel if every time we offered a solution, an idea or an alternative approach, we were patronisingly told ‘the government knows best’?

This is about our ability to walk in another’s shoes. So our test, as a people and as a parliament, is not just to craft a new response but also to rediscover an old emotion, to recapture the best of Australian compassion, to wake up our brotherhood and sisterhood and recapture our love for our fellow human being and our dedication to our neighbours, as we saw with Weary Dunlop’s devotion to his troops—the love of others over risk to self; with Fred Hollows’ life of service; and with Nancy Wake’s courage. It is actually a spirit we see in millions of ordinary Australians: carers, teachers, volunteers and emergency service personnel. It is the story that Pat told me about the matron at his school demanding that that young boy have sheets on his bed like every other young boy. It is about the lady in Casterton who said that no-one was going to treat Pat any different to any other boy.

Courage comes in all forms, and it is the spirit we need. There is a spirit of courage which lurks in the hearts of all Australians. There is that sense that we, at a certain point, will be pushed no further, that we will not stand for it any more.

It is that spirit to reject discrimination, to reject inequality and to simply say, ‘This cannot continue and Aboriginal people should not put up with the rubbish anymore.’ So my message today is not just for the people in this chamber but for the first peoples of this nation.

We seek your help. We seek your partnership. We seek your inspiration and your leadership, because things cannot continue as they are.

The audit of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy tells a worrying tale, a familiar tale. It is concern about consultation and cuts. But it speaks, though, of a problem—perhaps it is called paternalism—of a slide backwards. We see too often—and this is not a comment on the coalition or Labor; it is a comment about parliament—the legitimate cynicism of our First Australians towards the efforts of this place.

There are problems written across the land, in suburbs and remote communities, in our schools and hospitals, in women’s refuges, in the courts of our country and in the targets that we fall short of today. We see it in the staggering 440 per cent increase in Aboriginal children in out-of-home care.

It has been 20 years since Bringing them home, that report which brought tears to this chamber. It is nine years since Kevin Rudd and Jenny Macklin’s apology to the stolen generations—and I wish to acknowledge former Prime Minister Rudd’s presence here today in the gallery, visiting his former workplace. I say this, Kevin: you can take well-deserved pride in your leadership on the 2008 apology.

But now we have more Aboriginal children than ever growing up away from home and away from kin, culture and country. We know that many members of the stolen generation are still living with the pain of their removal and the harm done by years of having their stories rejected and denied.

That is why I applaud the state governments of New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania, who are already taking steps towards providing reparations to families torn apart by the discrimination of those times. Decency demands that we now have a conversation at the Commonwealth level about the need for the Commonwealth to follow the lead on reparations. This is the right thing to do. It is at the heart of reconciliation: telling the truth, saying sorry and making good.

The Closing the Gap targets were agreed by all levels of government—not just the Commonwealth; the states and the local government—in partnership with Aboriginal people. The targets were driven by the understanding: that your health influences your education, that your education affects your ability to get a job, and that good jobs make thing better for families, relationships and communities. The Closing the Gap framework is an intergenerational commitment to eroding centuries of inequality.

It outlives governments and parliaments and prime ministers and opposition leaders—but it also requires renewal. This year, many of the current targets are due to be renegotiated. And there are also new areas that we must consider. Labor continues to demand a justice target, because incarceration and victimisation are breaking families and communities across this country.

Today we propose a new priority on stronger families—adding a target for reducing the number of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care. The Secretariat for National Aboriginal and Islander Chid Care has shone a light on this shame: one in three children in statutory out-of-home care are Indigenous. And Indigenous children are nearly 10 times more likely to be removed by child protection authorities than their non-Indigenous peers.

Labour will listen to and will work with SNAICC—and, most importantly, the communities themselves—to look at new models and new approaches.

Breaking this vicious cycle of family violence, of women murdered and driven from their homes, of unsafe communities, of parents in jail and kids in care, requires more from us than doubling down on the current system.

We need to learn from places like Bourke and Cowra and their focus on justice reinvestment—on prevention, not just punishment; from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who are making men face up to their responsibilities, forcing a change in attitudes and supporting great initiatives such as the ‘No More’ campaign. And that should be our story across the board: in preventative health, in education, in employment and in housing. It is time for humility—to admit that we don’t have the answers here; to go out and seek them.

It is time for truth-telling. Our ancestors drove the first peoples of this nation from their bora ring; we scattered the ashes of their campfires. We fenced the hunting grounds; we poisoned the waterholes; we distributed blankets infected with diseases we knew would kill. And there has been plenty of damage done in different ways with better intentions—by the belief that forced assimilation was the only way to achieve equality.

So today, I come here not to tell but to ask, because where we have failed the first Australians have succeeded. On the road to reconciliation, it is our first Australians who have led the way: giving forgiveness as we seek forgiveness; standing up and walking off at Wave Hill Station, for their right to live on their land in their way; Charles Perkins and the Freedom Riders, who opened the eyes of a generation to racism and poverty; Jessie Street, Faith Bandler, Chicka Dixon, Joe McGinniss and countless others who rallied support for the 67 Referendum under the banner ‘Count us Together’; and Eddie Mabo, who told his daughter Gail: ‘One day, all Australia is going to know my name’.

The success of Aboriginal leadership can be found in every corner of the country. I have seen it with my own eyes: the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, providing essential primary care; marvellous Indigenous rangers, in Wadeye and Maningrida, the Central Desert and the Kimberley, working on country and on the seas and waterways, doing meaningful jobs for good wages; the Families as First Teachers program, which has given culturally-appropriate support to over 2,000 young families, helping with health and hygiene and preparing for early childhood education; Money Mob, teaching budgeting and planning skills; Deadly Choices, through the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health in Brisbane, improving preventive health; the Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre in Darwin; the Stars Foundation, inspiring Indigenous girls, modelling the success of the Clontarf Academy for Boys; and there is the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience, connecting Aboriginal university students with high achievers at school.

On every issue, at every age, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are demonstrating that solutions are within their grasp. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people know what needs to be done. What they need from this parliament is recognition, respect and resources.

We cannot swap the tyranny of bureaucracy for funding cuts and neglect. The people on the frontline—the elders, the leaders, the teachers and health-care workers—know what to do. We need to take the time to listen. We need to respect the right of Aboriginal voices to make decisions and to control their own lives—to give them their own place and space. They just need us to back them up.

Fifty years ago, Oodgeroo wrote: … the victory of the 1967 Referendum was not a change of white attitudes. The real victory was the spirit of hope and optimism …We had won something. … We were visible, hopeful and vocal.

All too rarely—before and since—has that been the story for Aboriginal people. Instead, it has been a tale of exclusion: exclusion from opportunity, from the pages of our history, and exclusion from the decisions that govern their lives.

It is time to write a new story. And it is a story of belonging, because Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples belong to a proud tradition, of nations who fought the invaders; brave people who fought, and died, for their country, at Passchendaele, Kokoda and Long Tan, and now in the Middle East and Afghanistan; who have fought and continue to fight for justice, for land, for an apology, for recognition.

You belong to a tradition of sporting brilliance, in the face of racism from opponents, teammates, administrators and even spectators. You belong to humanity’s oldest continuous culture—more famous around the world than ever before. You do not belong in a jail cell for an offence that carries an $80 fine. You do not belong strapped into a chair with a hood on your head. You do not belong in the back of a windowless van, away from your family and loved ones. You do not belong in a bureaucrat’s office begging for money. You do not belong on the streets with nowhere to go.

You belong here, as members of parliament, as leaders of this nation. You belong in the Constitution, recognised at last. You belong in schools, teaching and learning. You belong on construction sites, building homes, gaining skills. You belong on country, caring for land. You belong here, growing up healthy, raising your children in safety, growing old with security. You belong here, strong in your culture, kinship, language and country. You belong here, equal citizens in this great country, equal partners in our common endeavour. This is your place. This is our place.

Our future is your future.

As Senator Dodson has said to me, ‘Let’s go. The best advice: let’s get on with it.’ As he would say, in the language of his people, ‘Wamba yimbulan.’

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Obesity #junkfood : 47 point plan to control weight problem that costs $56 billion per year


 ” JUNK food would be banned from schools and sports venues, and a sugar drink tax introduced, under a new blueprint to trim the nation’s waistline.

The 47-point blueprint also includes a crackdown on using junk food vouchers as rewards for sporting performance and for fundraising.

State governments would be compelled to improve the healthiness of foods in settings controlled by them like hospitals, workplaces and government events.

And they would have to change urban planning rules to restrict unhealthy food venues and make more space for healthy food outlets. “

Originally published as Move to ban junk food in schools

Updated Feb 21 with press release from Health Minister Greg Hunt See below

The Australian Government is taking action to tackle the challenge of obesity and encourage all Australians to live healthy lives

“In my view, we should be starting to tax sugary drinks as a first step. Nearly every week there’s a new study citing the benefits of a sugary drinks tax and and nearly every month another country adopts it as a policy. It’s quickly being seen as an appropriate thing to do to address the obesity epidemic.”

A health economist at the Grattan Institute, Stephen Duckett, said the researchers had put together a careful and strong study and set of tax and subsidy suggestions.see article 2 below  

One hundred nutrition experts from 53 organisations working with state and federal bureaucrats have drawn up the obesity action plan to control the nation’s weight problem that is costing the nation $56 billion a year.

The review of state and federal food labelling, advertising and health policies found huge variation across the country and experts want it corrected by a National Nutrition Policy.

The nation is in the grip of an obesity crisis with almost two out of three (63 per cent) Australian adults, and one in four (25 per cent) Australian children overweight or obese.

Obesity is also one of the lead causes of disease and death including cancer.

More than 1.4 million Australians have Type 2 diabetes and new cases are being diagnosed at the rate of 280 per day.

Stomach, bowel, kidney, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, oesophagus, endometrium, ovary, prostate cancer and breast cancer in postmenopausal women have all been linked to obesity.

Half of all Australians are exceeding World Health Organisation’s recommendations they consume less than 13 teaspoons or sugar a day with most of the white stuff hidden in drinks and processed food, the Australian Bureau of Statistics Health Survey shows.

Teenage boys are the worst offenders consuming 38 teaspoons of sugar a day which makes up a quarter of their entire calorie intake.

Dr Gary Sacks from Deakin University whose research underpins the obesity control plan says it’s time for politicians to put the interests of ordinary people and their health above the food industry lobbyists

“It’s a good start to have policies for restricting junk foods in school canteens, but if kids are then inundated with unhealthy foods at sports venues, and they see relentless junk food ads on prime-time TV, it doesn’t make it easy for them to eat well,” he said.

That’s why the experts want a co-ordinated national strategy that increases the price of unhealthy food using taxes and regulations to reduce children’s exposure to unhealthy food advertising.

The comprehensive examination of state and federal food policies found Australia is meeting best practice in some areas including the Health Star Rating food labelling scheme, no GST on basic foods and surveys of population body weight.

While all States and Territories have policies for healthy school food provision they are not all monitored and supported, the experts say.

Jane Martin, Executive Manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition and a partner in the research, said a piecemeal approach would not work to turn the tide of obesity in Australia.

“When nearly two-thirds of Australians are overweight or obese, we

know that it’s not just about individuals choosing too many of the wrong foods, there are strong environmental factors at play – such as the all pervasive marketing of junk food particularly to children,” she said.

The new policy comes as a leading obesity experts says a tax on sugary drinks in Australia would be just as logical as existing mandatory controls on alcohol and tobacco

Professor Stephen Colagiuri from the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre claims a ‘sugar tax’ help individuals moderate their sugary beverage intake, in much the same way as current alcohol, tobacco, and road safety measures like seat belts and speed restrictions preventing harmful behaviours.

The UK will introduce a sugar tax next year and in Mexico a sugar tax introduced in 2014 has already reduced consumption of sugary drinks by 12 per cent and increased the consumption of water.

Australian politicians have repeatedly dismissed a sugar tax on the grounds it interferes with individual rights.

However, Professor Colagiuri says “individual rights can be equally violated if governments fail to take effective and proportionate measures to remove health threats from the environment in the cause of improving population health.”

Originally published as Move to ban junk food in schools

ARTICLE 2 Australia would save $3.4bn if junk food taxed and fresh food subsidised, says study 


O as published in the Guardian

Australian researchers say subsidising fresh fruit and vegetables would ensure the impact of food taxes on the household budget would be negligible. Photograph: Dave and Les Jacobs/Getty Images/Blend Images

Health experts have developed a package of food taxes and subsidies that would save Australia $3.4bn in healthcare costs without affecting household food budgets.

Linda Cobiac, a senior research fellow at the University of Melbourne’s school of public health, led the research published on Wednesday in the journal Plos Medicine.

Cobiac and her team used international data from countries that already have food and beverage taxes such as Denmark, but tweaked the rate of taxation and also included a subsidy for fresh fruit and vegetables so the total change to the household budget would be negligible.

They then modelled the potential impact on the Australian population of introducing taxes on saturated fat, salt, sugar and sugar-sweetened beverages, and a subsidy on fruits and vegetables. Their simulations found the combination of the taxes and subsidy could result in 1.2 additional years of healthy life per 100 people alive in 2010, at a net cost-saving of $3.4bn to the health sector.

“Few other public health interventions could deliver such health gains on average across the whole population,” Cobiac said.

The sugar tax produced the biggest gains in health, followed by the salt tax, the saturated fat tax and the sugar-sweetened beverage tax.

The fruit and vegetable subsidy, while cost-effective when added to the package of taxes, did not lead to a net health benefit on its own, the researchers found.

The researchers suggest introducing a tax of $1.37 for every 100 grams of saturated fat in those foods with a saturated fat content of more than 2.3%, excluding milk; a salt tax of 30 cents for one gram of sodium above Australian maximum recommended levels; a sugar-sweetened beverage tax of 47 cents a litre; a fruit and vegetable subsidy of 14 cents for every 100 grams; and a sugar tax of 94 cents for every 100ml in ice-cream with more than 10 grams of sugar per 100 grams; and 85 cents for every 100 grams in all other products.

The taxes exclude fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and many dairy products.

“You need to include both carrots and sticks to change consumer behaviour and to encourage new taxes,” Blakely said. “That’s where this paper is cutting edge internationally.

“We have worked out the whole package of taxes with minimal impact on the budget of the household, so you can see an overall gain for the government. The government would be less interested in the package if it was purely punitive, but this provides subsidies and savings to health spending that could be reinvested back into communities and services.”

He said taxing junk foods also prompted food manufacturers to change their products and make them healthier to avoid the taxes.

“For those who might say this is an example of nanny state measures, let’s consider that we don’t mind asbestos being taken out of buildings to prevent respiratory disease, and we’re happy for lead to be taken from petrol. We need to change the food system if we are going to tackle obesity and prevent disease.”

A health economist at the Grattan Institute, Stephen Duckett, said the researchers had put together a careful and strong study and set of tax and subsidy suggestions. “This is a very good paper,” he said.

“In my view, we should be starting to tax sugary drinks as a first step. Nearly every week there’s a new study citing the benefits of a sugary drinks tax and and nearly every month another country adopts it as a policy. It’s quickly being seen as an appropriate thing to do to address the obesity epidemic.”

A Grattan Institute report published in November found introducing an excise tax of 40 cents for every 100 grams of sugar in beverages as part of the fight against obesity would trigger a 15% drop in the consumption of sugary drinks. Australians and New Zealanders consume an average of 76 litres of sugary drinks per person every year.

In a piece for the Medical Journal of Australia published on Monday, the chair of the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges, Prof Nicholas Talley, wrote that “the current lack of a coordinated national approach is not acceptable”.

More than one in four Australian children are now overweight or obese, as are more than two-thirds of all adults.

Talley proposed a six-point action plan, which included recognising obesity as a chronic disease with multiple causes. He also called for stronger legislation to reduce unhealthy food marketing to children and to reduce the consumption of high-sugar beverages, saying a sugar-sweetened beverage tax should be introduced.

“There is evidence that the food industry has been a major contributor to obesity globally,” he wrote. “The health of future generations should not be abandoned for short-term and short-sighted commercial interests.”

Press Release 21 February Greg Hunt Health Minister

The Australian Government is taking action to tackle the challenge of obesity and encourage all Australians to live healthy lives.

PDF printable version of Turnbull Government committed to tackling obesity – PDF 269 KB

The Turnbull Government is taking action to tackle the challenge of obesity and encourage all Australians to live healthy lives.

But unlike the Labor Party, we don’t believe increasing the family grocery bill at the supermarket is the answer to this challenge.

We already have programmes in place to educate, support and encourage Australians to adopt and maintain a healthy diet and to lead an active life – and there’s more to be done.

Earlier this month, the Prime Minister flagged that the Government will soon be announcing a new focus on preventive health that will give people the right tools and information to live active and healthy lives. This will build on the significant work already underway.

Yesterday, we launched the second phase of the $7 million Girls Make Your Move campaign to increase physical activity for girls and young women. This is now being rolled out across Australia.

Our $160 million Sporting Schools program is getting kids involved in physical activity. Already around 6,000 schools across the country have been involved – with many more to come. This is a great programme that Labor wants to axe.

Our Health Star Rating system helps people to make healthier choices when choosing packaged foods at the supermarket and encourages the food industry to reformulate their products to be healthier.

The Healthy Weight Guide website provides useful advice including tips and tools to encourage physical activity and healthy eating to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

The Healthy Food Partnership with the food industry and public health groups is increasing people’s health knowledge and is supporting them to make healthier food and drink choices in order to achieve better health outcomes.

We acknowledge today’s report, but it does not take into account a number of the Government programs now underway.

Obesity and poor diets are complex public health issue with multiple contributing factors, requiring a community-wide approach as well as behaviour change by individuals. We do not support a new tax on sugar to address this issue.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are already effectively discounted as they do not have a GST applied.

Whereas the GST is added to the cost of items such as chips, lollies, sugary drinks, confectionery, snacks, ice-cream and biscuits.

We’re committed to tackling obesity, but increasing the family’s weekly shop at the supermarket isn’t the answer

NACCHO Invites all health practitioners and staff to a webinar : Working collaboratively to support the social and emotional well-being of Aboriginal youth in crisis


NACCHO invites all health practitioners and staff to the webinar: An all-Indigenous panel will explore youth suicide in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The webinar is organised and produced by the Mental Health Professionals Network and will provide participants with the opportunity to identify:

  • Key principles in the early identification of youth experiencing psychological distress.
  • Appropriate referral pathways to prevent crises and provide early intervention.
  • Challenges, tips and strategies to implement a collaborative response to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in crisis.

Join hundreds of doctors, nurses and mental health professionals around the nation for an interdisciplinary panel discussion. The panellists with a range of professional experience are:

  • Dr Louis Peachey (Qld Rural Generalist)
  • Dr Marshall Watson (SA Psychiatrist)
  • Dr Jeff Nelson (Qld Psychologist)
  • Facilitator: Dr Mary Emeleus (Qld GP and Psychotherapist)

Read more about the panellists.

Working collaboratively to support the social and emotional well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in crisis.

Date:  Thursday 23rd February, 2017

Time: 7.15 – 8.30pm AEDT


No need to travel to benefit from this free PD opportunity. Simply register and log in anywhere you have a computer or tablet with high speed internet connection. CPD points awarded.

Learn more about the learning outcomes, other resources and register now.

For further information, contact MHPN on 1800 209 031 or email

The Mental Health Professionals’ Network is a government-funded initiative that improves interdisciplinary collaborative mental health care practice in the primary health sector.  MHPN promotes interdisciplinary practice through two national platforms, local interdisciplinary networks and online professional development webinars.







NACCHO #closethegap Aboriginal Health : Professor Tom Calma has a passion for growing #healthyfutures and #closingthegap


 ” The progress being made is heartening and exciting because it will have a lasting impact, taking us several great strides towards a healthier future.

In the last few years as we all know, we’ve seen changes of prime ministers, we’ve seen changes of Indigenous affairs ministers, so all the advancement gets retarded in some way — the impact is lost.

That’s what the Close the Gap  10-year anniversary was about: we now need to get governments to recommit to working together [with the opposition], to having a strong policy focus.

Last year’s Closing the Gap report card tabled in Parliament showed there had been little progress in raising the life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Indigenous men have a life expectancy of 69.1 years, which is nearly 10 years less than for non-Indigenous men, while Indigenous women are also living almost 10 years less than other Australian women.

It has to be a generational target, a 25-year target, because that’s how long it takes.

I’m  proud that more than 40 organisations, including many community-controlled Aboriginal health organisations, were monitoring the Close the Gap targets.

You can’t deny that this is the group that has the expertise, who governments should be falling over themselves to take advice from.”

Professor Tom Calma : Close the Gap was first suggested by Professor Calma in 2005  during his time as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice commissioner : NACCHO will be covering extensively the Prime Ministers Closing the Gap Report next Tuesday 14 February : Please note quotes above edited and added by NACCHO Media  

Professor Tom Calma AO is Chancellor of the University of Canberra, Adjunct Professor at the University of Queensland, Adjunct Associate Professor at the Australian National University, Professor and Chair of the Poche Indigenous Health Network at the University of Sydney Medical School and National Coordinator, Tackling Indigenous Smoking. He is an Aboriginal elder of the Kungarakan people and a member of the Iwaidja tribal group and was ACT Australian of the Year in 2013.

As his wife Heather says, “Tom works more than full time”.

Photo above : Professor Tom Calma with Warrigal greens or chillies in his greenhouse. Photo: Karleen Minney

As published in Canberra Times Susan Parsons is a Canberra writer

At home in Chapman, his passion is gardening. The block is 1200 square metres and the back garden is filled with raised beds of vegetables, including chillies, strawberries that are stolen by the birds, tomatoes, zucchini and three varieties of laden fig trees

Along the fences, which back onto Mt Arawang, are rows of fruit trees, espaliered and cordoned at 45 degrees for extra space. There are three pear trees, four apples planted two years ago after landscaping work, a double-grafted apricot, a triple-grafted plum, two nectarines, two peaches,a cherry tree and a prune. However, possums reduce the crops.

Tom started gardening in Darwin when very young and, at his primary school near Fannie Bay, there was a plot in which the children were encouraged to garden

His mother’s father, Dutch engineer and agriculturist Edwin Verburg, was a pioneer horticulturist in the Northern Territory. He married Tom’s grandmother, Anmilil, a Traditional Owner of Adelaide River and the region 100 kilometres south of Darwin where he established a farm. In the 1920s he had fields of rice and maize, vegetables and tropical fruit where he introduced irrigation and built the first dam with centrifugal pumps. A bridge in the town is named after him.

Tom’s father was also interested in horticulture and his first job was growing tobacco in the Darwin Botanical Gardens.

My introduction to the Calmas was through Adrian Van Leest, of Campbell, a grower of family heritage tomatoes and a keen gardener. Heather Calma says that through Adrian, one year Tom grew a variety of potatoes called ‘Heather’ which had a purple skin. This year, however, their busy life meant Tom missed the potato planting season.

The Chapman greenhouse is crowded with plants and horticultural products. There is a stool and fan for comfort when Tom experiments with his favourite weekend activity, raising plants with Marcotting, or air-layering, a specialty. Tom finds growing capsicums in the greenhouse means he can use them as perennials, though they do not produce fruit in winter. This season he has bell capsicums and long capsicums, bush tomatoes, ginger, pots of chillies and Warrigal spinach. He also raises broccolini, a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli, a hybrid developed in 1993.

Heather says Tom grows unusual things sometimes that she doesn’t want to eat. One edible, not often seen is Celtuce, an ancient Asian vegetable called “wosun” in China. It has a trunk like celery and leaves like lettuce and Tom purchased it off eBay.

Among rows of Heather’s dark foliaged plants in the front garden is Tom’s potted Manzanillo olive tree. He salts the ripe (black) olives for 30 days, washes them in fresh water to reduce the salt, dry, then cover in olive oil with chilli, diced limes and homegrown purple hard neck garlic, which makes delicious snacks.

On our visit Tom obligingly dug a root of horseradish, a heavy job as the ground was hard after two 37C days and no rain. He says most recipes for mashing horseradish are similar. He uses this link: The grated plant oxidises and gets very hot so use vinegar to stabilise it.

The couple met at university in 1977 and, for 14 years, lived in Darwin and in Humpty Doo with a large vegie garden. On diplomatic postings to India and Vietnam from 1995 to 2002, it was in India that Heather Calma started cooking and eating eggplants and it is one of her favourite edibles. Tom grows the long, slender Lebanese variety.

When they lived in Darwin, Heather frequented a great Indonesian cafe at lunchtime and loved to eat their chilli bean dish. As they were leaving to move to Canberra, she cheekily asked how to make it and they shared the ingredients and basic method but not the quantities. Over the years she has turned this into a favourite chilli eggplant dish.

Eggplant with Chilli and Coconut milk

Heat oven to 180C.

Cut 10-12 Lebanese eggplants in half longways and microwave until almost cooked.

Place them cut side up in a single layer in a large baking dish.

In a blender, blend:

2 medium brown onions

3 large cloves garlic

2-4 red chillies (according to taste)

3 medium to large tomatoes

3 tbsp fish sauce

2 tsp brown sugar

Heat a dessertspoon of olive oil in a large fry pan. Once warm, add the mixture and cook on medium heat for four minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture changes from salmon pink colour to a more orange colour when it has cooked enough.


450ml tin coconut milk

2 Kaffir lime leaves, scrunched up to release flavour

1 stalk lemon grass cut in half, bruised and sliced down the middle

Gently bring to low simmer for a few minutes. Pour over the eggplant making sure all the eggplants are covered. Bake in a moderate oven for 30-40 minutes until the liquid has reduced and the dish browned slightly.

Serve with rice and meat or chicken. Also delicious on its own.

Susan Parsons is a Canberra writer.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #ClosingtheGap Run and Walk : 3 ways you can support Indigenous Marathon Foundation


 ” IMP uses the marathon as a vehicle to promote healthy lifestyles to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Running is accessible to any age, ability and location and has the tremendous power to instil a sense of personal accomplishment when one has pushed beyond what they thought possible.

Robert De Castella Founder Indigenous Marathon Foundation (IMF)

You are invited by the Indigenous Marathon Foundation (IMF) support the project in 3 ways

  1. To participate in their Closing the Gap Run-and-Walk, held on the eve of the release of the Prime Minister’s 2017 Closing the Gap Report.
  2. Donate or assist in fundraising The Indigenous Marathon Foundation Ltd is a registered health promotion charity Donations over $2 are tax deductable and support our programs and inspirational Graduates celebrate Indigenous achievement, resilience and promote health and physical activity PO Box 6127 Mawson ACT 2607 (02) 6162 4750
  3. The search for the 2017 squad of the Indigenous Marathon Project : Promote to your community see 2017 Remaining try-out tour dates and locations below  

The IMF are a not-for-profit organisation that uses running to drive social change, create young leaders and address Indigenous health and social issues by celebrating Indigenous resilience and achievement.

Their program has inspired communities across Australia to take up running not just for exercise, but also to connect and share stories in a supportive environment.

Healthy lifestyle programs like those run by the IMF are a vital part of the Australian Government’s initiative to close the substantial gap in health, education and employment outcomes between Indigenous and other Australians.

Please come to join runners from the IMF and staff from the Department’s IAG Health Branch for a 5 kilometre run-and-walk to support the successful impact sport and recreation programs have in Indigenous communities and kick start the launch of the 2017 Closing the Gap Report.

1.Event details 

Date: Monday 13 February 2017 Time: 6:45 am arrival for a 7:00 am start

Location: Reconciliation Place, Lake Burley Griffin 

Please bring a water bottle or something to drink on the way. A light breakfast will be available after the run and a coffee van will also be present at the site.

Please RSVP to Rachael at

3.The search for the 2017 squad of the Indigenous Marathon Project

The search for the 2017 squad of the Indigenous Marathon Project began in Canberra on February 1 when former world champion runner and IMP Founder Rob de Castella, and 2014 IMP Graduate and Head Coach Adrian Dodson-Shaw put applicants through their paces for a place on the life-changing project.

No running experience is required, as the project is not necessarily looking for athletes, but for young Indigenous men and women who show the potential to become community leaders.

The national tour will visit communities around Australia and select six men and six women in a trial that includes a 3km run for women and 5km run for men, in addition to an interview with Mr Dodson-Shaw. The group will also be expected to complete a Certificate III in Fitness, First Aid & CPR qualification and Level 1 Recreational Running coaching accreditation as part of the project’s compulsory education component.

There were a record number of applications in 2016, and high numbers are anticipated for the 2017 try-outs.

“There’ll be some pretty exciting times ahead as we begin the national IMP 2017 try-out tour, and what better place to start than the nation’s capital,’’ Mr Dodson-Shaw said.

“It’s going to be a busy two months on the recruitment drive but I’m looking forward to meeting the applicants and choosing the next squad to take on the New York City Marathon.”

Mr de Castella said the selection of a new squad is always an exciting time.

‘’The marathon is synonymous with struggle and achievement and it is one of the hardest things you can choose to do,’’ he said. ‘’Doing a full marathon from no running experience, on the other side of the world, in the biggest city in the world, in the biggest marathon in the world, is an incredible feat of hard work and determination.

‘’We are now recruiting a new squad to follow in the footsteps of the 65 IMP Graduates we have produced since 2010.

‘’I encourage every young Indigenous man and woman who wants to make change happen to come along and be part of this amazing life-changing and life-saving adventure!’’

Try-outs are open to all Indigenous men and women aged 18-30, and applications can be made on the day.

The IMP is a program of the Indigenous Marathon Foundation, a not‐for‐profit Foundation established by Rob de Castella. Each year IMP selects a squad of 12 young Indigenous men and women, to train for the New York City Marathon in November, complete a compulsory education component – a Certificate III in Fitness, media training and coaching accreditation – and through their achievements celebrate Indigenous resilience and success.

The IMP relies on the generous support of the Australian Government Department of Health, Department of PM&C, Department of Regional Australia, local Government, Arts and Sport, Qantas, ASICS, Accor and the Australian public.

For more information please contact Media Manager Lucy Campbell on (02) 6162 4750 or 0419 483 303. More information about IMP can be found at or visit our Facebook page, The Marathon Project. ABN 39 162 317 455

2017 Remaining try-out tour dates and locations

  • Newcastle  February 8  8am

Empire Park, Bar Beach

  • Sydney  February 10  6pm

Redfern Oval

  • Perth  February 14  8am

Lake Monger, between Leederville and Wembley

  • Karratha  February 15  5pm

Bulgarra Oval

  • Broome  February 16  5pm

Peter Haynes Oval (Frederick Street)

  • Adelaide  February 21  8am

Barratt Reserve, West Beach

  • Brisbane  February 28  8am

QSAC Track Kessels Road, Nathan

  • Townsville  March 1  8am

Muldoon Oval

  • Cairns  March 2  5pm

Pirate Ship, The Esplanade

  • Thursday Island  March 3  5pm

Mr Turtle

  • Alice Springs  March 8  5pm

Head Street Oval

  • Port Macquarie  March 11  11am

Westport Park

  • Darwin  March 20  6pm

Outside Darwin Military Museum, Alec Fong Lim Drive

  • Timber Creek  March 21  6pm

Timber Creek Oval

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders #FASD : Community participation is a key principle in effective health promotion


 ” Community participation is a key principle in effective health promotion. Gurriny have used a whole-of-community approach by involving the five above mentioned target groups when designing their FASD prevention activities.

Gurriny consulted with women of childbearing age to learn about their views and attitudes towards alcohol, and assed their current knowledge about the harms associated with drinking in pregnancy. It was also important for health professionals to understand what types of alcoholic drinks women of child bearing age were consuming and how much.

For further information about the FASD Prevention and Health Promotion Resources Project please contact Bridie Kenna on 0401 815 228 or

Read 17 Articles about FASD

Menzies School of Health Research have partnered with the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the Telethon Kids Institute (TKI) to develop a package of resources to reduce the impacts of FASD on the Aboriginal population.

FASD is a diagnostic term used for a spectrum of conditions caused by fetal alcohol exposure. Each condition and its diagnosis is based on the presentation of characteristic features which are unique to the individual and may be physical, developmental and/or neurobehavioural.

The package of resources is based on the model developed by the Ord Valley Aboriginal Health Service (OVAHS). OVAHS is an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service located in the far north east region of the Kimberly in Western Australia. OVAHS services Aboriginal people in the remote town of Kununurra and surrounding regions.

The package incorporates FASD education modules targeting five key groups:

  • Pregnant women using New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services (NDMBS) antenatal services, and their partners and families;
  •  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women of childbearing age;
  •  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander grandmothers;
  •  NDMBS staff who provide antenatal care
  •  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men.

To complement the package of resources, two day capacity building workshops for the 85 New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services (NDMBS) were held in Darwin, Cairns, Melbourne (TAS, VIC and SA sites combined), Perth and Sydney. The aim of the training workshops was to enable NDMBS sites to develop, implement and evaluate community-driven strategies and solutions by:

i. Increasing awareness and understanding of alcohol use during pregnancy, and FASD;

ii. Increasing awareness and understanding of existing FASD health promotion resources;

iii. Increase understanding, skills and capacity to use existing FASD health promotion resources within NDMBS, in line with their capacity, readiness and community circumstances and needs.

Staff from Gurriny Yealamucka Health Service (Gurriny) participated in the Queensland FASD training workshop in April. Since then, Gurriny have thrived in the area of FASD prevention by implementing multiple strategies within their community.

A key component of the FASD training workshop was highlighting the importance of routine screening of women about alcohol use during pregnancy. Assessment of alcohol consumption, combined with education in a supportive environment can assist women to stop or significantly reduce their alcohol use during pregnancy. A number of screening tools were introduced at the workshop including AUDIT-C (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test – Consumption), which Gurriny have now incorporated into their own data recording system. This tool has three short questions that estimate alcohol consumption in a standard, meaningful and non-judgemental manner.

Gurriny now places great emphasis on providing routine screening of women about their alcohol use during all stages of pregnancy and recording results in clinical records at each visit. Health professionals at Gurriny often use brief intervention and motivational interviewing techniques to guide conversations about alcohol and pregnancy.

This is of particular significance when working with pregnant women, as there are multiple opportunities through routine antenatal care to provide support through the stages of change. There is sound evidence that motivational interviewing and brief interventions can decrease alcohol and other drug use in adults. Both practices are listed in the Royal Australian College of General Practice (RACGP) guidelines as an effective strategy for positive behaviour change.

It is estimated that over half of all pregnancies in Australia are unplanned and many Australian women are unknowingly consuming alcohol during pregnancy. Providing women of childbearing age with reliable information about the risks of alcohol consumption during pregnancy and the importance of contraception use if they are not planning a pregnancy are essential strategies in preventing FASD. Staff at Gurriny have pre-conception discussions about healthy pregnancies and FASD prevention with women who cease contraception use and may be planning a pregnancy. Women are provided with reliable information in a supportive environment to help them make informed decisions.

Knowledge transfer strategies are a key component to ensure new information is shared and retained within the service and community. Members from Gurriny’s Child and Maternal Health team have shared the package of resources and new skills gained at the workshop with a number of their colleagues, both clinical and administrative. They have also shared the new information with relevant health professionals from external organisations, including the local hospital. This assists in developing a more consistent approach to FASD prevention and maximises available resources in the community. Gurriny have made links with other health and community services within the Yarrabah community to develop a coordinated, strategic approach to FASD prevention.

Community participation is a key principle in effective health promotion. Gurriny have used a whole-of-community approach by involving the five abovementioned target groups when designing their FASD prevention activities.

Gurriny consulted with women of childbearing age to learn about their views and attitudes towards alcohol, and assed their current knowledge about the harms associated with drinking in pregnancy. It was also important for health professionals to understand what types of alcoholic drinks women of child bearing age were consuming and how much.

Based on the findings, laminated cards were developed which show the number of standard drinks in each serving according to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) alcohol guidelines. These cards are used in both one-on-one and group based education sessions. There is no safe level of alcohol consumption at any stage of pregnancy; this message is emphasised at all opportunities with women of childbearing age.

Raising community awareness is a key strategy in successful health promotion. Gurriny have a strong presence in the Yarrabah community and often attend health and community events to raise awareness of the harms associated with drinking in pregnancy and FASD.

Health staff make use of any opportunity to raise awareness, share information and prompt people to think about making positive changes to their own drinking behaviour, or support others to do so.

Additional awareness raising strategies include showing FASD prevention DVD’s on iPad’s in clinic waiting rooms, demonstrating the concept of the invisible nature of FASD disability by using demonstration FASD dolls in education sessions, and having posters about healthy pregnancies and FASD prevention in clear view throughout the clinic.

Health promotion is most effective when multiple strategies are used which target not only the individual, but the community at large. It is evident Gurriny Yealamucka Health Service is using this approach in order to reach the best possible health outcomes for women, children and families.

For further information about the FASD Prevention and Health Promotion Resources Project please contact Bridie Kenna on 0401 815 228 or


NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Smoking : Pack warning labels help Aboriginal smokers butt out


Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services across 140 health settings are helping smokers in our communities to quit.

Pack warning labels are also an important element as smokers read, think about and discuss large, prominent and  graphic labels.

This comprehensive approach works to reduce Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smoking and the harm it causes in our communities,’

Matthew Cooke from the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO).

Pack warning labels are motivating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers to quit smoking according to new research released by Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies) today.

The study has shown that graphic warning labels not only motivate quit attempts but increase Indigenous smokers’ awareness of the health issues caused by smoking.

Forming part of the national Talking About The Smokes study led by Menzies in partnership with Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, the 642 study participants completed baseline surveys and follow-up surveys a year later.

The study found that 30% of Indigenous smokers at baseline said that pack warning labels had stopped them having a smoke when they were about to smoke.

Study leader, Menzies’ Professor David Thomas said, ‘This reaction rose significantly among smokers who were exposed to plain packaging for the first time during the period of research. The introduction of new and enlarged warning labels on plain packs had a positive impact upon Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers.’

Professor David Thomas, explained the significance of this finding, ‘Reacting to warning labels by forgoing a cigarette may not seem like much on its own. However, forgoing cigarettes due to warning labels was associated with becoming more concerned about the health consequences of smoking, developing an interest in quitting and attempting to quit. This is significant for our understanding of future tobacco control strategies.’

In addition, Indigenous smokers who said at baseline they often noticed warning labels on their packs were 80% more likely to identify the harms of smoking that have featured on warning labels.

Just under two in five (39%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 and over smoke daily. Smoking is responsible for 23% of the health gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.

In 2012, pack warning labels in Australia were increased in size to 75% on the front of all packs and 90% of the back at the same time as tobacco plain packaging was introduced.

The study was funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and published in the Nicotine & Tobacco Research journal and available at:

Summary of findings
  • The research is part of the Talking About the Smokes study
  • A total of 642 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers completed surveys at baseline (April 2012-October 2013) and follow-up (August 2013-August 2014)
  • At baseline, 66% of smokers reported they had often noticed warning labels in the past month, 30% said they had stopped smoking due to warning labels in the past month and 50% perceived that warning labels were somewhat or very effective to help them quit or stay quit
  • At follow-up, an increase in stopping smoking due to warning labels was found only those first surveyed before plain packaging was introduced (19% vs 34%, p=0.002), but not for those surveyed during the phase-in period (34% vs 37%, p=0.8) or after it was mandated (35% vs 36%, p=0.7). There were no other differences in reactions to warning labels according to time periods associated with plain packaging.
  • Smokers who reported they had stopped smoking due to warning labels in the month prior to baseline had 1.5 times the odds of quitting when compared with those who reported never doing so or never noticing labels (AOR: 1.45, 95% CI: 1.02-2.06, p=0.04), adjusting for other factors.
  • Smokers who reported they had often noticed warning labels on their packs at baseline had 1.8 times the odds of correctly responding to five questions about the health effects of smoking that had featured on packs (AOR: 1.84, 95% CI: 1.20-2.82, p=0.006), but not those that had not featured on packs (AOR: 1.03, 95%CI 0.73-1.45, p=0.9) when compared to smokers who did not often notice warning labels.

NACCHO Advertisement


NACCHO has announced the publishing date for the 9 th edition of Australia’s first national health Aboriginal newspaper, the NACCHO Health News .

Publish date 6 April 2017

Working with Aboriginal community controlled and award-winning national newspaper the Koori Mail, NACCHO aims to bring relevant advertising and information on health services, policy and programs to key industry staff, decision makers and stakeholders at the grassroots level.

And who writes for and reads the NACCHO Newspaper ?


While NACCHO’s websites ,social media and annual report have been valued sources of information for national and local Aboriginal health care issues for many years, the launch of NACCHO Health News creates a fresh, vitalised platform that will inevitably reach your targeted audiences beyond the boardrooms.

NACCHO will leverage the brand, coverage and award-winning production skills of the Koori Mail to produce a 24 page three times a year, to be distributed as a ‘lift-out’ in the 14,000 Koori Mail circulation, as well as an extra 1,500 copies to be sent directly to NACCHO member organisations across Australia.

Our audited readership (Audit Bureau of Circulations) is 100,000 readers

For more details rate card

Contact : Colin Cowell Editor

Mobile : 0401 331 251

Email  :



NACCHO Aboriginal Health : How mentoring helps Aboriginal teens create new healthy futures


” Jason Anketell remembers his early teen years growing up in Tennant Creek, a remote town of about 3,000 planted in the middle of Australia’s hot, sparsely populated Northern Territory.

Until the middle of 10th grade, says Mr. Anketell, an Aboriginal man from the Warumungu language group, he was at loose ends, getting into fights and “mingling with the wrong people” on streets tinged red by the dust of the rusted landscape.

Somewhere amid the chaos of “alcohol, drugs, and domestic violence,” a well-worn narrative in many rural Aboriginal communities, he began to “think twice – this is not the life I want in the future.”

Photo above : Jason Anketell reads a graduation letter from mentor Amber Camp (right) after the AIME 12th-grade graduation session at Clontarf Aboriginal College in September. AIME is an aboriginal mentoring and education program that has indigenous school kids graduating at a rate above the national non-indigenous average.

Ninety-three percent of AIME’s 12th-grade Aboriginal students graduated from high school, exceeding Australia’s overall graduation rate.


Around that time, a youth worker pushed Jason to travel more than 2,500 miles to board at the Clontarf Aboriginal College, in Western Australia’s capital, Perth. Soon after he arrived, a school staff member suggested he get involved with the dedicated Aboriginal youth mentoring program AIME (Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience).

“Since then I’ve just been meeting with new people, being proud of who I am,” Anketell says. “AIME is the only one who makes me feel confident enough to feel proud, to feel strong.”

That increased confidence is always the No. 1 thing any young person feels as the result of connecting with a mentor who cares about them, according to Judy MacCallum, an associate professor at Murdoch University’s School of Education.

But, some Aboriginal people say, discovering a sense of self-worth can be a particularly steep climb for indigenous youth whose ancestral past includes mass killings, land dispossession, and denial of basic rights for much of white history.

“We have a saying: No shame at AIME,” says Jason Burton, AIME’s center manager for Curtin and Murdoch Universities in Western Australia, at the Clontarf AIME grade 12 graduation night. ‘“We like to say ‘indigenous equals success’ – we want to say, ‘You guys are already successful, you’re the oldest living culture on earth, you’re resilient.’ It’s almost been beaten into them not to come out of their shells, but we’re saying: Now there’s nothing holding you back.”

Many top-down government programs have fallen short on winding back chronic inequalities such as a shorter life expectancy, disproportionate rates of incarceration, and poverty. Over the past decade, however, a proliferation of dedicated Aboriginal mentoring and scholarship programs like AIME are giving education advocates fresh hope that progress can be made on lifting roughly 160,000 Aboriginal children out of the chronic educational disadvantage that feeds such problems.

Unlike periodic government efforts to “close the gap,” these corporate and privately funded nonprofits are created by, or in close collaboration with, Aboriginal people. And, some Aboriginal experts say, the egalitarian relationship between the youth and their often non-indigenous mentors is helping dissolve racial stereotypes as Australia’s national conversation around race and history evolves.

“Aboriginal people are sick and tired of having programs implemented, only to see them taken away or the funding diminished to a point where they’re no longer able to achieve or go about the objective of those programs,” says Graeme Gower, a descendant of the Yawuru people from Broome and senior lecturer at Kurongkurl Katitjin, Edith Cowan University’s Centre for Indigenous Australian Education and Research. “Projects like AIME that have been sustained and have been supported by other funding means they have impact, because things won’t just happen overnight.”

93 percent graduation rate

AIME is still only reaching a sliver of the kids in need, but it has a model it wants to share, with a view to reaching all 160,000 children by 2025. Earlier this month, it also launched a global campaign in the hope others around the world will take its blueprint to help other indigenous and minority people.

Its CEO, Jack Manning Bancroft, along with a number of close friends, launched the program in the Sydney suburb of Redfern about 12 years ago. Starting with 25 mentors and 25 students, it has grown into a national program that this year is connecting about 6,000 9th- to 12th-grade students with about 1,800 mentors.

In 2015, 93 percent of AIME’s 533 12th-grade mentees graduated from high school, exceeding the national nonindigenous rate of 87 percent and the indigenous rate of 59 percent. Roughly three-quarters of those graduates transitioned to university or a job or training, the same as the national nonindigenous average. AIME follows up with all its students for two years after they leave high school to make sure they’re still on track.

To do this, the program partners with 17 universities, from which it draws its volunteer mentors. These mentors help run sessions with students from surrounding schools. The sessions range from drama, hip-hop, or writing a speech as if they were prime minister, to life skills like résumé-building and goal-setting for their transition after graduation. Additionally, mentors get together with students once a week for “tutor squad,” helping them with homework. They sometimes act as a go-between when the teens aren’t comfortable talking directly with their school teachers.

For Anketell, it’s an approach that, in a few years, has transformed the 18-year-old’s outlook. Three weeks before he becomes the first person in his family to graduate from high school, he says, he just wants to be a “hard-working man.” That could mean staying in Perth and getting work in civic construction or heading back home to work as a mechanic.

Jason Anketell (left) reads a graduation letter from mentor Amber Camp (right) after the AIME 12th-grade graduation session at Clontarf Aboriginal College in September. AIME is an aboriginal mentoring and education program that has indigenous school kids graduating at a rate above the national non-indigenous average.

Still, the program is far from perfect, observers say. For one, its model means it’s still not reaching many kids with the highest needs in remote communities. Also, while AIME’s model of drawing mentors from the university student pool has allowed them to grow quickly, levels of mentor commitment vary.

Even so, the two-way relationships Aboriginal students are building with their diverse, nonindigenous Australian and international student mentors are helping to wear down some ingrained stereotypes and giving Aboriginal people more of a voice, AIME folks and Mr. Gower say.

Mentor training is case in point. For the first hour, a roomful of mentors sit quietly, listening to the stories of four 11th-grade students. They ask them questions about everything from being racially bullied to how they could be better mentors. One mentee, Bailey, reminds them: “Remember, you can learn from us, too.”

Australia takes fresh look at race and history

In many ways, what’s happening at AIME is indicative of a new wave in Australia’s national conversation around race and history. For one, talk of changing the date of Australia Day – the day marking the 1788 landing of the First Fleet of British colonists at Botany Bay near Sydney, which some people refer to as invasion day – has entered the mainstream. Aboriginal people have been breaking down professional barriers and speaking out explicitly against racism, sometimes sparking an angry backlash.

Last year, Linda Burney, who is Wiradjuri, became the first aboriginal woman to be elected to a federal lower house seat from Barton, in New South Wales. Sky News foreign correspondent Stan Grant, also Wiradjuri, gave a speech that went viral in which he declared that the Australian dream is rooted in racism.

Sharna Ninyette, program manager for AIME at the University of Notre Dame’s Fremantle campus in Western Australia, believes that the number of nonindigenous voices willing to speak out in public forums against racism has grown.

“There’s actually a bigger group of non-Aboriginal people that stand up to say, ‘That’s not cool,’ ” she says. “That is something you would not have seen five or 10 years ago, and that for these young fellas is exciting because they’ve got people standing with them. Whereas when I was in school and it happened to me, it was very isolating.”

Indeed, the education picture has brightened considerably. Until the late 1940s, Aboriginal kids weren’t allowed to attend public schools, according to Dr. Gower. Between about 1910 and 1970, the so-called “stolen generations” of children were systematically whisked from their parents and placed far away on religious missions, which attempted to assimilate them.

Today, more Aboriginal youth are eager to go further than their grandparents and parents, many of who remember the time before they were granted the right to vote in 1962 – or when they were counted as actual members of the Australian population for the first time in 1971.

Not going home ’empty handed’

Marlee Hutton, a Bardi Jawi woman in her early 20s who hails from the far north of Western Australia, exemplifies her generation’s stretch. Back in high school, she was granted a scholarship to attend Perth’s Iona Presentation College by Madalah, an organization that offers scholarships to Australia’s best boarding schools for Aboriginal kids from remote communities, and connects them with mentors.

Ms. Hutton, who has worked for AIME since it expanded to Western Australia in 2012, will graduate from university this year with a double major in marine and environmental science. Ultimately, she says, all the years she has spent in the city have not watered down her connection to culture or “country.” She wants to return home, but not until she’s qualified and empowered to work with her community.

Her high school mentor, Naomi, an Aboriginal woman, stopped her going home “empty-handed” a number of times.

“There were times when I really wanted to go home, but Naomi really … pushed the fact that I have the ability to do a lot more than I think I can,” she says, “and it’s important that I do something, and don’t just give up and go back home.”

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: @AMSANTaus and Redfern #ACCHO welcomes @KenWyattMP appointment


Aboriginal medical services have proved the longevity of Aboriginal people, so we need the bigger spread and more Aboriginal medical services probably in the next 5-10 years.

We probably need another 100 to 150 Aboriginal medical services throughout the whole country, in cities and remote communities as well, so we’ll be pressuring Ken to make available more funds for the establishment of Aboriginal Medical Services.”

Sol Bellear AM, Chair  of the Aboriginal Medical Service in Redfern

It’s absolutely critical, we need people who understand our health and wellbeing and some of the important illnesses Aboriginal people get that say their non-Aboriginal counterparts don’t,

We have every confidence in Minister Wyatt, he has the experiences, the necessary qualifications, and the contacts and understanding, particularly with his expertise and knowledge having worked in Indigenous health in his past career.

He also knows a lot of leaders around the country and he knows where to get the correct information if he requires it, and we’re certainly willing, ready and able to help him if he requires it and calls upon us.”

AMSANT’S Executive Officer, John Paterson, explained it’s extremely important the minister for Indigenous Health is Indigenous.

The Aboriginal Medical Service in Redfern and the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the Northern Territory are pleased to have Ken Wyatt as the new Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health, but have called for improvement.

Ken Wyatt was appointed yesterday as the Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health after a cabinet reshuffle brought about by the resignation of Susan Ley.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says Mr Wyatt’s previous experience as a bureaucrat within the Indigenous Health area makes him an ideal appointment to role.

Sol Bellear AM, Chair  of the Aboriginal Medical Service in Redfern, acknowledged Minister Wyatt’s long commitment to Indigenous health, but also recognised there is always room for improvement.


VIEW recent NITV NACCHOTV interview with Sol Bellear

These comments from the Indigenous medical community have not been lost on the first ever Indigenous Federal Minister, who has already called for a new approach to addressing the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Mr Wyatt says it will take a whole of government approach to create lasting change.

Mr Wyatt  told the ABC:

“There’s this construct around Aboriginal health that is based on Aboriginal Community-controlled health services and organisations and specific programs that have been funded by the Commonwealth.

But if we’re truly serious, then what we should be doing is saying, ‘alright, how does the health sector, including all the ACCHOs then tackle this issue collectively to make sure that 800 thousand Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in this country have their health conditions improved?… the levels of, and prevalence rates of certain illnesses, tackled in a way that sees a reduction?”

AMSANT Lending a helping hand

AMSANT has been working on creating programs that tackle mental health issues, with a particular focus on intergenerational trauma.

Mr Paterson said he wants to meet with the minister as soon as possible, to present AMSANT’s research and get government support to start implementing the programs.

“We’ve done enough research, now it’s about implementation and action and that’s where we want to encourage governments,” he said.

“We have two experienced psychologists, one Indigenous psychologist, that have been working and looking at all different models overseas and internationally and we believe there are a couple of models that could be implemented in our Aboriginal communities here in our nation,” he said.

“There’s plenty of data and plenty of information, all we require is a willingness of governments and ministers to put the appropriate resources in that area.”

He added that tackling intergenerational trauma in communities could start to change the face of First Nations health entirely.

“You’ll see an increase in children’s attendance at school, their confidence, their general health and wellbeing, and you’ll see people having the confidence to approach issues that they may have been reserved or hesitant about in the past,” The Executive Officer said.

“This underlying trauma and stress that families have experienced because of whatever reasons you know – government policy back in the day, the stolen generation, the removal of kids, you know some families have never ever had some of those experiences treated,” he continued.

“And you can see it being played out now so we really need to focus and invest in some wrap around programs and the right counsellors and psychologists for those families and individuals that are experiencing this intergenerational trauma and stress.

“There is a way forward here and there is a process that can help tackle the underlying issues that many of us still face.”

Paterson said he also wants to talk to Minister Wyatt about ensuring specialist services are available in the NT, that Aboriginal Australians stop dying years earlier than their non-Aboriginal counterparts, and that preventative programs are implemented to tackle chronic diseases.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Invasion Day #changethedate debate : New Australia Day ad has no mention of it? Strewth


” The latest Meat and Livestock Association’s (MLA) annual Australia Day ad is out. It’s the first not to mention ‘Australia Day’, but it doesn’t need to. It features a “beach party” scene imitating all textbook illustrations of the arrival of European colonization.

The only thing I can hope for when I watch that ad is that this will be the last Australia Day held on the 26th of January, and that any future attempts to profit from patriotism will not need to try so damn hard to make Australian history, or contemporary Australian society, appear much more inclusive than it actually is. “

By Luke Pearson  Source:  NITV

” An Australia Day ad without actually mentioning Australia Day? Strewth, that’s un-Australian!

But that’s exactly what Meat & Livestock Australia has done, with its annual Australia Day ad failing to actually name the national celebration.

Labelled the MLA’s “January campaign”, the ad instead focuses on the controversy surrounding the negative meaning on Australia Day for indigenous Australians.

Referred to by many as “Invasion Day”, January 26th is the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet from Great Britain “

Australia Day ad has no mention of it? Strewth! The Australian

The ad perhaps is a fitting theme for Australia Day: forget about or completely misrepresent Australian history and contemporary society, and buy stuff instead.

Enjoy your paid day off, buy a flag cape, buy some alcohol and get drunk, buy some lamb and have a BBQ, and complain about whoever you think isn’t ‘Australian enough’ or about those who choose not to celebrate ‘Australia Day’ and call the day Survival Day, Invasion Day, or a Day of Mourning.

Apart from a brief reference to Aboriginal people having been here “since forever”, the ad crams tens of thousands of years into a quick sound bite. The ad revels in the last 200 years, because apparently, that’s when pretty much anything worth talking about happened.

The attempt to include ‘boat people’ at the end, with the response: “aren’t we all boat people?”, does nothing to redeem the caricatures we’ve just witnessed.

 2017 lamb ad features a beach party hosted by Indigenous Australians.

Using sarcasm to say “we’re not racist” is probably the point.

An ad like this can’t lose from a marketing perspective. People who love it will share it and sing its praises, people who hate it will share it and point out its flaws, commentators like myself will comment on it guaranteeing that anyone who reads this and hasn’t seen the ad will watch it, if only so they can make sense of what I am saying. I’m okay with that thought because, for my part at least, I’m not trying to get anyone to boycott lamb or trying to stop anyone from watching the ad.

Love it or hate it, it is still worth a watch.

My goal is trying to get the date of Australia Day changed, and the blind patriotism that goes along with it reduced, not merely extended so that everyone else can be just as blindly patriotic to the notion of ‘Australianity’, or mateship, or ‘One Nation’ or whatever we are calling it these days.

I do however appreciate that all ads are trying to sell something, that is what they’re meant to do, but I think the MLA are trying too hard to tack on their newly discovered ‘sense of inclusivity’ to their core desire to sell more meat.

The idea of a group of marketing executives sitting a room thinking, “Hmmm, how can we make the controversy over Australia Day equal more profits for us?”, just turns me off my lunch.

I can picture the creative team patting each other on the back after coming up with the line, “we’re all boat people” and feeling particularly clever about co-opting a concept that many people have used for years now, albeit for more altruistic motives, namely to combat the term being used to denigrate asylum seekers.

The construct of ‘Australia Day’ is problematic enough for the Australia Day Council given the date that Australia chooses to hold its national day, but to take it one step further to try to sanitise the history of migration to Australian shores is outright impossible.

Justifying the existence of Australia Day being on the 26th of January in order to sell lamb to a more diverse customer base is just too convoluted a plan for my taste.

The only thing I can hope for when I watch that ad is that this will be the last Australia Day held on the 26th of January, and that any future attempts to profit from patriotism will not need to try so damn hard to make Australian history, or contemporary Australian society, appear much more inclusive than it actually is.

I’m sure many people will consider this ad to be a great step forward for representation in Australian media, but personally, I still remember their racist ads of recent years, and I am not buying that this attempted shift of focus has anything other to do with trying to sell more lamb, which I am also not buying.

Maybe I’d have been a bit kinder to this latest attempt if it was a standalone, and not just the next chapter of a series I already don’t like, written for an company I already don’t like, tied to a day that I do not like…

Just change the damn date already.