NACCHO Aboriginal #SexualHealth : No point in a one-size-fits-all fix for #STIs in #remote communities @AMSANTaus @CAACongress @Apunipima @TheAHCWA @atsihaw

” The varying incidence of sexually transmitted infections in the ­Aboriginal populations in remote Australia presents a number of challenges to the Australian health system.

The identification of persons with STIs is not straightforward — and sometimes extremely difficult — in remote areas.

The diseases range from rare and difficult to treat, to endemic and even more difficult to treat. Those that are easy to treat remain a problem because of the ways in which the infectious burden develops in these populations.

These are difficult, long-term issues that only a few dedicated services are tackling.

These ser­vices are not helped by prurient and muddled media interest, the ­Aboriginal men and women who for their own reasons deny the existence of these problems and retreat to life-threatening but comfortable slogans, and least of all, the negligence of successive governments whose responsible leaders have responded too slowly and with too few resources for an effective response by the frontline workers.”

Marcia Langton is Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor, Australian Indigenous Studies, at the University of Melbourne.

Read over 38 NACCHO Aboriginal Sexual  Health articles published over past 6 years

Three animated education and awareness videos focus on HIV, STIs and PrEP (a daily medication that can prevent HIV), which aim to enhance awareness of HIV prevention. These are housed on the website,

Watch 1 of 3 Videos HERE

It is wrong to conflate the incidence of STIs with sexual abuse. To make this clear: it is not the case that all cases of STIs in ­minors are the result of sexual contact or abuse.

The rush to recommend removal of Aboriginal children from their families is an unwarranted response, and has become the catchcry of those building their careers on serious health issues that have become salacious fodder for the media and very significant threats to developing protocols for treating these continuing disease threats to ­extremely vulnerable people.

The question of whether to remove children is secondary to the question of immediate medical treatment.

Ascertaining how the STIs are being spread — by interviewing children — is the work of professionals and needs to be undertaken with caution and care.

Some proportion of the sexual activity involves only children and not adults. When only children are involved, different steps need to be taken.

When adults are involved in sexual activities with children, a different set of steps must be under­taken. Is the adult offender living in the household? Visiting the household? In what circumstances does the offender gain access to the child?

It would be ridiculous to have a one-size-fits-all approach to this very difficult problem. Medicos working in the Territory under the Northern Territory Emergency Response schemes were well aware of these problems but unable to speak because of the issues of confidentiality of patients and maintaining the confidence of ­patients and communities to present to clinics.

The rates of STIs among Aboriginal children in the NT must be treated as a medical matter for professionals. In the absence of a Centre for Disease Control (as recommended by the Australian Medical Association), the Office of Health Protection in the federal Department of Health has some responsibility for communicable diseases.

If I were in a responsible position, I would ask the Office of Health Protection to co-operate with the ­Aboriginal medical ser­vices bodies, such as Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and the Northern Territory and Queensland health departments, and put together medical teams to test and treat Aboriginal children in the affected areas in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia.

All children in school should have sex education and STI education, and the educational material should be in their own languages. They and their parents need to be aware of the consequences of untreated STIs: infertility, mortality, brain damage and others. Other infectious diseases, such as trachoma, have been treated with similar approaches involving better co-ordination of existing services.

The federal, Northern Territory and Queensland governments are negligent in the extreme in allowing this situation to worsen over the past 10 years. It has been reported regularly and extensively in the past decade by medical professionals from various health entities, including the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, and the responsible ministers and officers run for cover rather than taking the necessary steps to treat children for these diseases.

In this context, I have previously said that the complaints from some Aboriginal male leaders about being labelled universally as abusers should be ignored and the complicity of the indigenous sector in protecting their sensitivities and strange complaints that result should also be ignored.

If they had taken positions of protecting children rather than outrage at John Howard’s nasty and ridiculous blame game in 2007, we would not have the increased rates (also greatly under-reported) that are reported now.

Blatant denialism has contributed to this terrible situation.

Marcia Langton is Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor, Australian Indigenous Studies, at the University of Melbourne.

Aboriginal Male Health Talking powerfully from the heart @CAACongress and @CASSEaustralia Launch Kurruna Mwarre Ingkintja – Good Spirit Men’s Place – Research Project Report : Download



 ” Establishing a male leadership group, having a place for males and addressing violence have been identified as key priorities in a research project to investigate ways to develop a best practice Aboriginal Men’s Shed in Alice Springs.

The Kurruna Mwarre-Ingkintja (Good Spirit Males Place) Research Project, a collaboration between the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (Congress) and Creating A Safe Supportive Environment (CASSE) – commenced in 2015 with the aim of developing a unique Aboriginal Men’s Shed Model, along cultural lines, to empower men to find their voices and live authentically.

For two years prior, many consultations were held with Aboriginal men and communities to determine the direction and need for pending research. The research has been philanthropically funded.”

The completed research report will be launched at THE OLD COURTHOUSE, ALICE SPRINGS, at 12.30 PM on FRIDAY 9 MARCH 2018, followed by a BBQ. MEDIA ARE INVITED TO ATTEND.




Read over 342 Aboriginal Male Health articles published by NACCHO in last 6 Years

Ken Lechleitner Pangarte, the primary Researcher Officer, is an Anmatjere and Western Arrernte man with a cultural reputation for being able to move between the two worlds and for being an advocate for change for his people.

On establishing a male leadership group, Ken said: “This group of males shaped the direction of where the research should go, not to the bookshelves to gather dust, but create an entity to ensure findings are implemented into becoming outcomes.”

The group identified the need for new Aboriginal organisations, while operating alongside, and to provide a place for men to go to receive the physical, social and psychological support they need to get their lives on track, leading to establishment of the Blokes On Track Aboriginal Corporation (BOTAC).

“Establishing BOTAC was a breakthrough in finding a solution to engaging multiple services and these services have indicated that they would be happy working with a mutual body like BOTAC providing the required male leadership,” Ken stated.

The project included qualitative research interviews with 23 male participants living in Alice Springs that illuminated critical aspects of men’s experiences. Fourteen of the men agreed to have their interviews on public record and are published in “Talking Powerfully from the Heart – Interviews by Ken Lechleitner”, providing a moving adjunct to the research report.

“Their interviews brought to light and to life new found voices for males from central Australia,” Ken said.

Pamela Nathan, Director of CASSE’s Aboriginal Australian Relations Program, Senior Investigator, co-supervised the project and stated that the interviews “illuminated critical aspects of men’s experiences. Their recognition of the degree to which they have unmet emotional and psychological needs was striking – an aspect of their experience that seemed unrecognised by the wider public.

“The men say they hide their feelings that ‘they hurt, they bleed they have pain’, ‘all suffering’, feel ‘degraded and scorned’, ‘disempowered’, ‘lost’, ‘devalued’ and ‘unrecognised,’ seen as ‘violent losers’ and more.”

A key component of the project was trialling the psychoanalytically informed 15week ‘BreakThrough Violence’ group treatment program for the prevention and treatment of violence. The program privileges cultural and emotional experiences.

The summary of participants in the group program is an indictment of the system –many of the men were repeat violent offenders and many had not before received treatment for violence, let alone treatment in a culturally appropriate manner:

  • 32 men regularly participated in the weekly program
  • over two thirds (23 men) had not attended a violence treatment program before
  • nearly all (30) of the men were mandated
  • over two-thirds (20 men) had committed violent offences
  • 21 of the men had been in gaol before
  • 15 had been in gaol at least twice if not more often.
  • 5 of the men had been in gaol over five times.
  • 23 of the men were substance affected at the time of the offence.
  • The majority of men were aged between 20 and 40
  • Half the men lived in remote communities, with slightly less living in town
  • 30 out of the 34 men said they found the group helpful.

“These statistics reinforce the comment made last year by the Northern Territory Coroner Greg Cavanagh that “the current focus on policing and punishments are not providing the answer to the NT’s domestic violence problem””, said Pamela and Ken.

Final recommendations from the Kurruna Mwarre-Ingkintja Research Project report include:

  1. Establish a services agreement between Non-Government and Government Organisations through Blokes On Track Aboriginal Corporation (BOTAC)
  2. Establishment of Male Cultural Place
  3. Establishment of Psychological Place Health Retreat
  4. Men’s Residential area
  5. Chronic Disease Care Management services to be provided into the Male place
  6. Palliative Care Services on Country
  7. Establish a lease agreement with Iwupataka Land Trust
    7.1 Public Space area
    7.2 Restaurant / Café
    7.3 Market Place

For over 40 years, Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (Congress) has provided support and advocacy for Aboriginal people in the struggle for justice and equity. Since that time, Congress has expanded to become the largest Aboriginal community-controlled health organisation in the Northern Territory, providing a comprehensive, holistic and culturally-appropriate primary health care service to Aboriginal people living in and nearby Alice Springs, including five remote communities; Amoonguna, Ntaria (and Wallace Rockhole), Santa Teresa, Utju (Areyonga) and Mutitjulu. Today, we are one of the most experienced Aboriginal primary health care services in the country, a strong political advocate of closing the gap on Aboriginal health disadvantage and a national leader in improving health outcomes for all Aboriginal people.

CASSE (Creating A Safe Supportive environment) is a psychological not-for-profit organisation with the vision to change minds in order to save lives. CASSE aims to promote safe, supportive environments through psychoanalytic awareness. We focus on empowering people and communities to understand and work through their trauma (manifest by suicide, depression, violence, substance usage) by preserving and strengthening cultural life and capacity between the generations in a self-determining way.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Socialdeterminants #ClosingTheGap @ANU_CAEPR Three charts on: the changing status of #Indigenous Australians

 ” The data do not tell us anything about the content or meaning of Indigenous identity, or who is or isn’t Indigenous. These data do not suggest changing identification in the census in any way leads to an improvement in outcomes, nor is that the motivation for people’s identification to change.

Rather, there are a range of social and familial reasons why some people may change their identification in the census. And the person who filled out a census form on behalf of someone in 2011 might be different to the person who filled out the form in 2016.

There should not be any intervention to reduce identification change; in fact it should be seen as a positive development. But identification change must always be always kept in mind when assessing the progress toward targets related to Indigenous Australians like Closing the Gap ”

The complexity of identification change

Dr. Nicholas Biddle is a quantitative social scientist, Senior Fellow at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR)

Francis Markham Research Fellow, College of Arts and Social Sciences, Australian National University 

See Additional NACCHO ABS Aboriginal Health : 2016 CENSUS of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders launched

Above chart added by NACCHO

Three charts on: the changing status of Indigenous Australians

Originally published in The Conversation

A new dataset has shed fresh light on the changing socioeconomic status of Indigenous Australians.

It shows that what appears to be slow progress or steady outcomes for the whole population may be masking worsening results.

This stems from how the Indigenous population is counted in the census and in surveys, and how that identification might change over time.

In each survey or census, people are asked to indicate if they are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin. If they move in or out of the group classified as Indigenous, then this can appear in the aggregate as if people’s life-chances are changing. Rather, this may be an artefact of the group’s changing composition.

Flows into and out of the Indigenous population

Between 2011 and 2016, the best estimate of the Indigenous population grew by 128,500, or around 19%. This was due to a greater number of births than deaths, but also partly due to changes in how people were identified (either by themselves or others) as being of Indigenous origin.

There are many good reasons why Indigenous people may choose not to disclose their ancestry. These are often of a highly personal nature, especially given Australia’s history of discrimination against Indigenous people.

A decision to identify as Indigenous (or not) in the census should not be interpreted as a reflection on someone’s Indigenous identity, which is a separate matter from what box gets ticked on a census form.

But the box-ticking does inform the government’s understanding of the Indigenous population – including monitoring progress against Closing the Gap targets.

Read more: Three reasons why the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians aren’t closing

Using the data, we can identify three groups of Indigenous people in the 2011 and 2016 censuses:

  • the “always identified” – those who identified as Indigenous in both censuses;
  • the “formerly identified” – those who identified as Indigenous in the 2011 census but not the 2016 census; and
  • the “newly identified” – those who did not identify as Indigenous in the 2011 census, but who did identify as such in the 2016 census.

The figure below gives our best estimate of the flows that constitute these populations, and estimated births and deaths over the period.

Indigenous population flows, 2011-2016. Authors/Australian Bureau of Statistics

The largest of these three groups is the 572,400 people who identified as being of Indigenous origin in both the 2011 and 2016 censuses. This is the population we usually think about when analysing and interpreting Indigenous socioeconomic and demographic change.

However, two other groups were also quite large. There were 45,000 people in Australia who identified as Indigenous in the 2011 Census, but who didn’t identify as such in the 2016 Census. While this is a large number relative to the 2011 population estimate, the newly identified number is larger still (129,600).

The net increase from identification change was therefore estimated to be 84,600. This is equivalent to 13.7% of the Indigenous population in 2011.

The geography of identification change

The vast majority of those who changed how they identified their Indigenous origins in the census lived in urban parts of Australia in 2011.

There are significant differences in the level of change in each of Australia’s eight states and territories.

Added by NACCHO

Added by NACCHO 2/2

Changing answers to the census question on Indigenous origin had a particularly pronounced impact on Indigenous population estimates in three jurisdictions – Victoria (21.5%), the Australian Capital Territory (20.9%), and New South Wales (20.8%).

However, because NSW had a relatively large Indigenous population in 2011 relative to Victoria and the ACT, net identification change in that state made up 48% of the total identification change. This is almost double the next greatest contribution – Queensland, which contributed 24.3%.

This may have implications for the distribution of GST revenue between the states and territories.

The relationship between socioeconomic and demographic change

Changes to the way people answer the census question on Indigenous origin has the potential to impact on the understanding of change in Indigenous socioeconomic outcomes.

If those who newly identified in the census had higher relative socioeconomic status before their identification changed, then this will tend to bias upward any measured change in socioeconomic outcomes.

Looking at all Indigenous adults aged 15 years and above at the time of each census, the employment rate in 2011 was 49.7%, while for the same measure in 2016 it was 50.4%.

If we only used repeated cross-sections, we would think that Indigenous employment is improving, albeit relatively slowly.

But when we look at the employment rates using the linked population, a very different picture emerges.

The employment rate for “always identifiers” was 49.6% in 2011 and 48.7% in 2016. So, there was actually worsening employment outcomes between 2011 and 2016 for this group, rather than the small increase that might be concluded from looking at the two censuses separately.

The complexity of identification change

Changes to the way people answer the census question on Indigenous origin not only changes official estimates of the size of the Indigenous population – it also changes the composition.

Compared to those previously identified in the census, those who are newly identified are more likely to:

  • be young;
  • live in NSW, Victoria or ACT;
  • likely to live in a major city;
  • be employed;
  • live in higher-income households; and
  • have higher rates of education.

The data do not tell us anything about the content or meaning of Indigenous identity, or who is or isn’t Indigenous. These data do not suggest changing identification in the census in any way leads to an improvement in outcomes, nor is that the motivation for people’s identification to change.

Rather, there are a range of social and familial reasons why some people may change their identification in the census. And the person who filled out a census form on behalf of someone in 2011 might be different to the person who filled out the form in 2016.

There should not be any intervention to reduce identification change; in fact it should be seen as a positive development. But identification change must always be always kept in mind when assessing the progress toward targets related to Indigenous Australians like Closing the Gap

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Alcohol : Download Creating change – #roadmap to tackle #alcohol abuse , Recommendations , Responses and Action Plan : With Press Release from @AMSANTaus

 ” The Territory Labor Government has outlined sweeping alcohol reforms to achieve generational change, in today’s response to the Riley Review into alcohol policy and legislation.

The Attorney-General Natasha Fyles said there’s too much alcohol fuelled violence and crime in the Territory, it affects every community and it has to be addressed. See Part 1 full NT Govt Press Release : Part 4 Download 3 reports

 “ Following the tragic events that have occurred in Tennant Creek in the last fortnight, the most tragic of which has received national media attention, AMSANT reinforces the need to continue to support the nation-leading reforms being undertaken by the Northern Territory Government.

Everyone has acknowledged in all media coverage that the current upsurge in domestic and other violence that has occurred in Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Katherine is alcohol caused.

The NT Government is in the process of implementing world-leading alcohol policy reforms following the Riley review. Reforms of this magnitude do not happen overnight and AMSANT understands this,”

AMSANT CEO, John Paterson see full press release Part 2 or HERE

 ” The Northern Territory will become the first Australian jurisdiction to put a floor price on alcohol, the Government has announced.

On Tuesday morning, the NT Government unveiled its response to a wide-ranging alcohol review commissioned by former NT Supreme Court chief justice Trevor Riley, and said it would implement a minimum $1.30 floor price per standard drink for all alcoholic beverages.”

Northern Territory to be first jurisdiction in Australia with minimum floor price on alcohol see Part 3 or View HERE

ABC NT Media Report

Graphic price comparison from The Australian 28 Feb

Update 10.00 Am 28 February

Licensing – Further restrictions on sale of takeaway alcohol in Tennant Creek

The Director-General of Licensing Cindy Bravos has acted to further restrict the sale of takeaway alcohol in Tennant Creek effective 28 February 2018, for the next seven days.

The restrictions will apply to the six venues currently licensed to sell takeaway alcohol, being:

Tennant Creek Hotel

Goldfields Hotel

Headframe Bottle Shop

Sporties Club Incorporated

Tennant Creek Golf Club Incorporated

Tennant Creek Memorial Club Incorporated.

Ms Bravos said her decision was in response to widespread concerns about the significant increase of alcohol related offences, particularly domestic violence incidents, in Tennant Creek over the past four weeks.

“Licensing NT has an important role in supporting the right of all Territory residents to live in a safe community,” Ms Bravos said.

“For the next seven days takeaway sales will only be available between 3pm and 6pm Monday to Saturday and all takeaway sales will be banned on Sunday.

There will also be limits on the amount of takeaway alcohol that can be purchased per person per day.

“These restrictions will be in place for seven days. I will then assess their effectiveness and the options available for implementing longer term measures if the restrictions prove to be successful in reducing the levels of harm associated with the consumption of alcohol in Tennant Creek.”

Fast Facts:

The varied conditions of the licences impose these restrictions:

Takeaway liquor will only be available for sale Monday through to Saturday between the hours of 3pm and 6pm. Takeaway liquor sales on Sunday is prohibited.

Sale of these products will be limited to no more than one of the following per person per day:

30 cans or stubbies of mid-strength or light beer; or

24 cans or stubbies of full strength beer; or

12 cans or bottles of Ready to Drink mixes; or

One two litre cask of wine; or

One bottle of fortified wine; or

One bottle of green ginger wine; or

Two x 750 ml bottles of wine; or

One 750 ml bottle of spirits.

The sale of port, wine in a glass container larger than 1 litre and beer in bottles of 750ml or more remains prohibited.

Part 1 NT Government Press Release

Territorians want and deserve safe communities and today we are releasing the most comprehensive framework in the Territory’s history to tackle the Territory’s number one social issue.

We promised Territorians we would take an evidence based approach to tackling alcohol related harm and the government’s response to the Riley Review provides a road map to address that.

The Northern Territory Alcohol Harm Minimisation Action Plan 2018-19, also released today, provides a critical framework for how more recommendations will be progressed over the coming year.”

Minister Fyles was handed the Riley Review in October 2017, giving in-principle support to consider implementing all but one recommendation around a total ban on the trade of take away alcohol on Sunday.

Today’s detailed response now outlines the government:

  1. SUPPORTS 186 recommendations to be implemented in full
  2. Gives IN-PRINCIPLE SUPPORT to 33 recommendations

Minister Fyles said work is well underway with 22 Recommendations completed and a further 74 in progress.

“We have worked efficiently to reintroduce the Liquor Commission, establish a community impact test for significant liquor licensing decisions, extend and expand a moratorium on all new takeaway liquor licences and establish a unit in the Department of the Chief Minister to drive reforms (the Alcohol Review Implementation Team- ARIT).

“There is still considerable work to be done in consultation and modelling to address the 33 recommendations that we support in-principle. While we support the outcomes of these recommendations, we’ll work with community and stakeholders to consider the best possible models of implementation for the Territory context.”

Territorians are urged to review the government’s plan to tackle alcohol fuelled violence and crime and provide feedback at

Part 2 AMSANT Press Release

Following the tragic events that have occurred in Tennant Creek in the last fortnight, the most tragic of which has received national media attention, AMSANT CEO, John Paterson today reinforced the need to continue to support the nation-leading reforms being undertaken by the Northern Territory Government.

“Everyone has acknowledged in all media coverage that the current upsurge in domestic and other violence that has occurred in Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Katherine is alcohol caused. The NT Government is in the process of implementing world-leading alcohol policy reforms following the Riley review. Reforms of this magnitude do not happen overnight and AMSANT understands this,” he said.

“However, the immediate increase in alcohol consumption and violence has primarily been caused by the police walking away from the alcohol outlets in terms of full time POSIs or what is known as “lock down”. The government and the people of the NT have been badly let down by our police force and the buck must stop with the Commissioner.

“The ‘on again off again’ approach to point of sale supply reduction is not effective and we are seeing the results of this across the NT but mainly in the regional centres in which full time POSIs had made such a dramatic difference – reducing interpersonal violence by up to 70%.

“AMSANT also understands better than most that there are major problems in the NT Child Protection system,” he continued.

“Along with others, we have offered many solutions to these problems which have been endorsed by the recent Royal Commission. These include the need for an increased investment in parenting, family support services and other early childhood services and much more action on the broader social determinants of these problems such as unemployment and overcrowding. The NT Government has not sat back but has established a new department to lead the large-scale reforms that we know are desperately need in child protection and youth justice and has other major plans in early childhood, housing and other key social determinants.

“In this process, we are confident Aboriginal leaders will be listened to and we can ensure that when our children need to be removed they are placed with kinship carers in their extended families. We can also do much better at preventing our children and families reaching these crisis points and we have the blueprint for change and a government that is up to the task. Again, these reforms will take time to implement as successive governments in the past have failed to listen to Aboriginal leaders and do what is needed.

“In terms of child protection, there should be no need to remind people that the key cause of child neglect is alcohol abuse amongst parents. It is not the only cause, as parental education, mental illness, overcrowding and other social determinants also contribute, but action on alcohol supply will
make an immediate difference in preventing the removal of more our children and helping families recover and keep their children.

“This take us back to the failure of the Police Commissioner to do his job in protecting public safety and maintaining law and order.

“We must implement the Riley review and the many relevant recommendations of the Royal Commission as quickly as is possible but for now, full-time POSIs is one of the most immediate and effective ways to make a difference and the Commissioner must stop deferring to the Police Association and instruct his force to get back on the outlets all day, every day,” this is his duty.

“Finally, there needs to be an immediate needs-based investment in Tennant Creek through our member service Anyinginyi Health Service to deliver important service and programs in accordance with the views of the local Aboriginal community”.

Part 3 The Northern Territory will become the first Australian jurisdiction to put a floor price on alcohol, the Government has announced.

On Tuesday morning, the NT Government unveiled its response to a wide-ranging alcohol review commissioned by former NT Supreme Court chief justice Trevor Riley, and said it would implement a minimum $1.30 floor price per standard drink for all alcoholic beverages.

The recommendation was for a $1.50 floor price, NT attorney-General Natasha Fyles told Mix 104.9 in Darwin, and the Government hopes to have it in place by July 1.

“$1.30 doesn’t affect the price of beer but it will get rid of that cheap wine, we see wine that costs less than a bottle of water… and that is just not acceptable,” Ms Fyles said.

“A bottle of wine has on average around seven alcohol units per bottle, so it’s $1.30 per unit of alcohol. That would put a bottle of wine around $9, $10, so you won’t see that $4 and $5 bottle of wine.”

Ms Fyles said the price of beer would not be affected because it already retailed at a higher cost; neither will the cost of spirits be changed.

“It’s getting rid of cheap wine, particularly, that has a higher alcohol content of beer, so it affects [people] quicker,” Ms Fyles said.

She said the NT Liquor Act was “ad hoc and not fit for purpose” and would be rewritten over the next year, and that a blood alcohol limit of 0.05 would be introduced for people operating boats; there is currently no drinking limit for skippers.

Major recommendations of the Riley Review:

  • The NT Liquor Act be rewritten
  • Immediate moratorium on takeaway liquor licences
  • Reduce grocery stores selling alcohol by phasing out store licences
  • Floor price/volumetric tax on alcohol products designed to reduce availability of cheap alcohol
  • Shift away from floor size restrictions for liquor outlets and repeal 400-square-metre restrictions
  • Reinstating an independent Liquor Commission
  • Legislating to make it an offence for someone to operate a boat or other vessel while over the limit
  • Establish an alcohol research body in the NT
  • Trial a safe spaces program where people can manage their consumption and seek intervention

The People’s Alcohol Action Coalition has long campaigned for many of the changes, and praised the Government for its “world-leading” action.”

Of course, it’s not going to touch the price of beer; the cheapest a carton on beer sells for is about $1.48 a standard drink… at $1.30 cheap wine will still be the preferred drink of heavy drinkers.”

“Our view was we should fall in line with everything that’s in the Riley report,” he said.

Alongside parts of Canada and Scotland, the NT is one of the few jurisdictions in the world to move towards legislating a floor price for alcohol.In his review, Mr Riley said the NT had the highest per-capita rate of alcohol consumption in Australia, one of the highest in the world, and the highest rate of hospitalisations due to alcohol misuse.

In 2004-2005, the total social cost of alcohol in the NT was estimated to be $642 million, or $4,197 per adult, compared to a national estimate of $943 per adult.

Ms Fyles denied the Government had brought forward the legislation as a response to the spike.186 of the recommendations will be implemented in full, with in-principle support for a further 33 recommendations, Ms Fyles said.

“There’s many Territorians that do the right thing and they should be able to access the beverage of their choice, but when we know the harm it causes it’s important we put in place the recommendations of the Riley review,” she said.

The increase in the cost of alcoholic beverages will benefit alcohol retailers, as it is not a tax.

The volumetric tax has been identified as the preferable measure but the Federal Government has refused to move on that so we are taking the step of putting in place a price measure that has shown to have an impact on the consumption of alcohol,” she said.

Making voluntary liquor accords law

In Central Australia, the minimum price for a standard drink is already $1 under the accords.NT Police patrolling bottle shops

It’s a package of measures which is going to be a watershed moment for addressing the scourge alcohol is causing in Tennant Creek,” Dr Boffa said.”

They should be instructing police to keep those police officers in front of bottle shops until they have liquor inspectors there… I would have seen them as a bigger priority than the establishment of a liquor commission,” he said.

Dr Boffa agreed. “It’s ideological opposition — ‘drinking’s an individual responsibility, this is not the police’s job’ — that’s the message we’re getting now,” he said.”The harm that’s being caused by what the police have done in walking away from outlets is preventable. People are dying as a result of that decision

“It’s not about the workforce. Given that we now know it’s not about workforce, there’s no excuse.

He said they addressed crime and antisocial behaviour on the streets of Katherine, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs, but communities recently complained that police had stopped patrolling as often in Central Australia, leading to a rise in alcohol-fuelled crime.

Mr Higgins criticised the Government’s delay in designating uniformed licensing inspectors to monitor bottle shops, and said it was was “copping out” on stationing police officers at bottle shops by saying police should determine how they resource and manage their staff.

Dr Boffa said the NT would also be a world leader in risk-based alcohol licensing, and supermarkets making more than 15 per cent of their turnover from alcohol sales would eventually be outlawed.

There are already alcohol restrictions in place in Alice Springs and Tennant Creek, but they are voluntary liquor accords that are unenforceable, which the Government is seeking to formalise.

“Currently it’s $200 per liquor licence, which is cheaper than some nurses and teachers pay for their licences.”

However, Ms Fyles said the Government would increase liquor licence fees for retailers.

“These are people’s businesses, their livelihoods, and in like any industry there’s a few bad eggs that cause harm and we need to make sure in implementing these reforms we’re working with the community to ensure lasting change.”

Ms Fyles said the NT Labor Government was working through the recommendations and would be consulting the community and the alcohol industry.

Mr Riley made 220 recommendations, of which the NT Government supported all but one, refusing to ban Sunday liquor trading.

Alcohol misuse leads to crime, drink-driving, anti-social behaviour, and wider economic consequences such as adverse impacts on tourism and commercial opportunities, as seen recently in Tennant Creek with tourists repeatedly fleeing during its spike in crime.

Forty-four per cent of Territorians drink at a risky level at least once a month, compared to a quarter of people nationally.

NT has highest alcohol consumption rate in Australia

“They said they’d adopt everything that was in there… While I would have liked to see the Riley $1.50, I can live with $1.30.”

Country Liberals Party Opposition leader Gary Higgins said he broadly supported the Government’s move and felt an approach to alcohol policy should be depoliticised.

“The cheapest you can get alcohol for now in Darwin is 30 cents a standard drink, so this is a dollar more a standard drink — that’s a big change,” John Boffa said.

The Government is also looking at expanding the Banned Drinkers Register from takeaway outlets to late-night venues.

Part 4 Northern Territory Government’s Response to the Final Report

In March 2017, the Northern Territory Government commissioned the Alcohol Policies and Legislation Review to deliver an analysis of alcohol use in the Northern Territory.

The Final Report was handed down on October 2017.

Read the Northern Territory Government’s Response to the Final Report (1.3 mb).

NT Government’s Position and Action Plan

The Northern Territory Government’s Response to the Alcohol Policies and Legislation Review Final Report comprises two important elements:

Cover image for NT Government Position on Alcohol Policies and Legislation Review Final Report Recommendations

1. NT Government Position on Alcohol Policies and Legislation Review Final Report Recommendations (719.7 kb).

This sets out the NT Government’s position in relation to each of the 220 recommendations in the Final Report. 186 of the recommendations are accepted by Government, 33 are accepted in principle and 1 is not supported (to ban Sunday trading).

The Northern Territory Alcohol Harm Minimisation Action Plan 2018-19

2. The Northern Territory Alcohol Harm Minimisation Action Plan 2018-19 (6.7 mb).

The Action Plan sets out the policy and legislative reforms, enforcement and compliance activities and harm management strategies/services that the NT Government is committed to delivering, in order to prevent and reduce harms associated with alcohol misuse.

The Action Plan comprises four key areas:

  1. Strengthening Community Responses – Healthy Communities and Effective and Accessible Treatment
  2. Effective Liquor Regulation
  3. Research, Data and Evaluation
  4. Comprehensive, Collaborative and Coordinated Approach by Government

NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealth #Suicide : #DefyingTheEnemyWithin Powerful new book extract from @joewilliams_tew out 22 January – a promising career derailed by booze, drugs and mental health problems.

That afternoon, a guy I’d never seen before, who was partying with the group, approached me and asked if I needed anything to help me stay awake. That was the day I had my very first ecstasy tablet. Boom. I was instantaneously hooked.

Now I had a drinking and drug problem. But I didn’t for one second think I might have a mental-health problem.

I thought that someone who was mentally unwell was “weird” or not stable in society. I even believed that mentally ill people were criminals.

How wrong I turned out to be. “

This is an edited extract from Defying The Enemy Within by Joe Williams, published by ABC Books, in stores Monday

See 3 Pages from book below Part 2

Win a copy of the book by sending an email to

Telling Joe in 50 words or less why you would like to read his book : Entries Close Wednesday 24 January : Winner Announced Thursday 25 January NACCHO Deadly Good News Post

‘Joe Williams has been into the darkest forest and brought back a story to shine a light for us all. He’s a leader for today and tomorrow.’Stan Grant

‘In telling his powerful story, Joe Williams is helping to dismantle the stigma associated with mental illness. His courage and resilience have inspired many, and this book will only add to the great work he’s doing.’Dr Timothy Sharp, The Happiness Institute

‘It is through his struggles that Joe Williams has found direction and purpose. Now Joe gives himself to others who walk the path he has.‘ – Linda Burney MP

Former NRL player, world boxing title holder and proud Wiradjuri First Nations man Joe Williams was always plagued by negative dialogue in his head, and the pressures of elite sport took their toll.

Joe eventually turned to drugs and alcohol to silence the dialogue, before attempting to take his own life in 2012. In the aftermath, determined to rebuild , Joe took up professional boxing and got clean.

Defying the Enemy Within is both Joe’s story and the steps he took to get well. Williams tells of his struggles with mental illness, later diagnosed as Bipolar Disorder, and the constant dialogue in his head telling him he worthless and should die. In addition to sharing his experiences, Joe shares his wellness plan – the ordinary steps that helped him achieve the extraordinary.

Joe Williams was guest speaker at NACCHO Conference Canberra : See full text from the Enemy Within  .


View Joe Williams Presentation from NACCHO Conference 2018

Read over 169 NACCHO Mental Health Articles published over past 6 years

Read over 119 NACCHO Suicide Prevention articles published over past 6 years

MOVING to Sydney to chase my dream in the NRL was a fantastic opportunity; spending my first two years in the big city under Arthur Beetson’s roof gave me a lifetime of memories and an experience I am truly grateful for.

But those years also provided me with some of the biggest and toughest life lessons I’ve learned.

During the 2002 pre-season, I got my first taste of mixing with the squad as a full-time player. I was expected to train with the team either on the field or in the weights room two or three times a day, five days a week.

It was essential to get to training on time but one day I was running late for a mid-morning session because I’d had to stay at Marcellin (College) a bit later than usual for school photos.

I raced to training, knowing I’d get in trouble from coach Ricky Stuart for being late. Sure enough, being the tough coach he was, Ricky started ripping into me.

When I told him I was late because I had my school photos, he and all the players burst out laughing. For the next few weeks, it became the running joke as an excuse for being late.

I learned so much during that off-season and impressed the coaching staff enough to be chosen in the top squad for the trial period.

Having just turned 18, it was amazing to play in two trial first grade NRL games at halfback inside Brad “Freddy” Fittler, one of the greatest five-eighths of all.

I didn’t make my NRL debut that year because the coaching staff wanted me to gain more experience playing in the Roosters’ under-20s Jersey Flegg side.

Looking back, although I felt like I was ready, I definitely needed the time and experience under my belt to become a more complete player and the sort of on-field leader a halfback needs to be

At the time, though, it was disappointing to go from playing with the first grade team one week to training with guys who were pretty much hoping to get a spot so they’d be contracted.

It was after I was put back to the under-20s that I first noticed the negative voices in my mind rearing their ugly head, telling me I didn’t deserve to be in Sydney given I wasn’t playing first grade and that I should just pack up and head back to the bush (Wagga) because I was worthless.

Back then, there wasn’t as much emphasis on the psychology of professional athletes and the pressures that came with playing elite sport.

There were days when training staff were almost like army drill sergeants. Sometimes they screamed at players and humiliated and even degraded players in front of other members of the team.

Occasionally, they would even bring the racial identity of a player into the abuse. It may be that they believed this was the way to make the players mentally stronger and that, if you weren’t mentally strong, you should just give up playing rugby league.

For me and many others, that approach of ridicule, embarrassment and tough love didn’t work.

In fact, it had the opposite impact of sending my self-esteem lower and lower.

But the negative thoughts were a different story altogether. They’d often spiral out of control, to the point where I felt like I was witnessing an argument taking place between two separate people; the negative Joe and positive Joe.

The head noise and voices affected my mental well-being so severely that it started to affect me physically.

Things grew worse, as the voices wreaked havoc on my ability to think. I started second-guessing every decision I made both on and off the field. The voices became so vivid and loud in my head, it was like I was hearing actual voices.

After a while, I became so anxious and down that I’d get to the point where I’d convinced myself I was worthless, a failure.

Even on the days I didn’t put a foot wrong on the footy field or won player of the match, I’d convince myself I would be dropped from the squad because of the negatives in my game.

I would be scared to go to training because I dreaded the coach saying I wouldn’t be in the team the following week.

The only way I knew how to combat these constant thoughts, turn down the voices and deaden the pain I felt, was to drink as much alcohol as I could.

Despite the negative voices and drinking, I managed to stay on track with my footy, even captaining the under-20s Roosters team. They were a great bunch of guys and good players and we ended up having a fantastic season and making it through to the Grand Final.

On the day of the Grand Final I kicked three goals, had two try assists and kicked the winning field goal. After our first grade team also won their grand final, we had one hell of a party that went on for a few days.

During the 2003 season, I was really battling emotionally, suffering from homesickness and looking for comfort at the bottom of a bottle. Instead of concentrating on playing well, I was busy worrying about what drinking and late-night partying the crew had planned after the game.

It all began to take its toll physically and mentally. At the same time, I found I was clashing with some of the coaching staff. I became desperate for a change. As a result, I decided to move to South Sydney Rabbitohs.

When I called my mother to tell her I’d signed with the Rabbitohs, she burst into tears of joy. Mum had been an avid Souths fan since she was a young girl and had dreamed that one day she’d get to see me run out in the famous red-and-green South Sydney colours.

I’d signed with Souths to show I was still keen to be an NRL player but the money wasn’t great so the pre-season was tough. As a result, I had to make a living like many league players did, working long hours labouring on a construction site. Afterwards, I’d go to football training then get some sleep and do it all over again.

To make matters worse, I broke my thumb in the opening trial game and had to have surgery on it, causing me to miss the first six weeks of the season.

I was no longer drinking so much or partying hard as I didn’t have much money. After a few weeks of putting a huge effort into training and committing myself both physically and mentally, I was picked in the reserve grade team. I began to play myself into form, stringing a few good games together and it was noticed by the coaching staff.

It wasn’t long before I was picked in the first grade team to make my NRL debut. Finally, the time had come to live out my childhood dream.

I didn’t sleep a wink the night before my first grade debut. On the way to Shark Park, I seemed to take every wrong turn and was late for the warm-up. To my surprise and happiness, though, the coach had organised for my dad to present me with my playing jersey.

I’d dreamed of this moment for most of my life and the fact I was playing for the mighty South Sydney Rabbitohs made things even sweeter.

People sometimes ask me what it was like playing my first NRL game. The funny thing is, I copped a knock to the head that gave me a mild concussion for the rest of the match.

I do remember that we lost but one thing that stood out for me was that my idol, close friend and mentor Dave Peachey was playing in his 200th NRL game. After the siren and when we were shaking hands, “The Peach” said to me: “Young brother, as my career is nearing its end, yours is just starting. Good luck”.

Joe Williams tells his story.

I had spent my entire life chasing the dream of becoming an NRL player. I now had the monkey off my back and it was time to get to work and live up to my potential.

Unfortunately, wins were few and far between for Souths in 2004.

My alcohol abuse was becoming rampant again, now I was earning more, and playing first grade had sent my ego to an all-time high, especially after I was named Rookie of the Year in 2004.

Things got even worse when I discovered party drugs during the 2004-2005 off-season. I enjoyed being the life of the party, laughing and joking, the centre of attention.

On Mad Monday, I celebrated by drinking so much alcohol I couldn’t stand up. That afternoon, a guy I’d never seen before, who was partying with the group, approached me and asked if I needed anything to help me stay awake. That was the day I had my very first ecstasy tablet. Boom. I was instantaneously hooked.

Now I had a drinking and drug problem. But I didn’t for one second think I might have a mental-health problem.

I thought that someone who was mentally unwell was “weird” or not stable in society. I even believed that mentally ill people were criminals.

How wrong I turned out to be.

NEED Help ? Contact your nearest ACCHO and see a Doctor or Mental Health Professional OR


NACCHO Aboriginal Health @strokefdn @HeartAust New Year’s resolutions : For your health in 2018 have your blood pressure checked , it could save your life. #FightStroke


 ” We hear so much at this time of year about New Year’s resolutions – eat healthy, quit smoking, get more exercise, drink more water. The list goes on and on and on. 

While these are all valid and well intentioned goals, I am urging you to do one simple thing for your health in 2018 which could save your life. 

Have your blood pressure checked.  

High blood pressure is a key risk factor for stroke and one that can be managed.”

By Stroke Foundation Clinical Council Chair Associate Professor Bruce Campbell see full Press Release Part 1 WEBSITE

NACCHO has published 48 Aboriginal Health and Heart  Articles in the past 6 Years

NACCHO has published 86 Aboriginal Health and Stroke Articles in the past 6 Years

  ” High blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension, is a major risk factor for stroke, coronary heart disease, heart failure, kidney disease, deteriorating vision and peripheral vascular disease leading to leg ulcers and gangrene.

Major risk factors for high blood pressure include increasing age, poor diet (particularly high salt intake), obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, and insufficient physical activity . A number of these risk factors are more prevalent among Indigenous Australians

Based on both measured and self-reported data from the 2012–13 Health Survey, 27% of Indigenous adults had high blood pressure.

Rates increased with age and were higher in remote areas (34%) than non-remote areas (25%).

Twenty per cent of Indigenous adults had current measured high blood pressure.

Of these adults, 21% also reported diagnosed high blood pressure.

Most Indigenous Australians with measured high blood pressure (79%) did not know they had the condition; this proportion was similar among non-Indigenous Australians.

Therefore, there are a number of Indigenous adults with undiagnosed high blood pressure who are unlikely to be receiving appropriate medical advice and treatment.

The proportion of Indigenous adults with measured high blood pressure who did not report a diagnosed condition decreased with age and was higher in non-remote areas (85%) compared with remote areas (65%).

PMC Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2014 Report see extracts below PART 2 or in full HERE

Closing the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who experience and die from cardiovascular disease at much higher rates than other Australians. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, when compared with other Australians, are:

  • 1.3 times as likely to have cardiovascular disease (1)
  • three times more likely to have a major coronary event, such as a heart attack (2)
  • more than twice as likely to die in hospital from coronary heart disease (2)
  • 19 times as likely to die from acute rheumatic fever and chronic rheumatic heart Disease (3)
  • more likely to smoke, have high blood pressure, be obese, have diabetes and have end-stage renal disease.(3)

From Heart Foundation website

Find your nearest ACCHO download the NACCHO FREE APP

ACCHO’s focusing on primary prevention through risk assessment, awareness and early identification and secondary prevention through medication.

Download the NACCHO App HERE

High blood pressure is a silent killer because there are no obvious signs or symptoms, the only way to know is to ask your ACCHO GP for regular check-ups.

Uncontrolled high blood pressure is one of the greatest preventable risk factors that contributes significantly to the cardiovascular disease burden.

The good news is that hypertension can be controlled through lifestyle modification and in more serious cases by blood pressure-lowering medications.”

Part 1 Stroke Foundation Press Release Continued :

A simple step to prevent stroke in 2018

Stroke is a devastating disease that will impact one in six of us. There is one stroke every nine minutes in Australia. Stroke attacks the human control centre – the brain – it happens in an instant and changes lives forever.

In 2018 it’s estimated there will be more than 56,000 strokes across the country. Stroke will kill more women than breast cancer and more men than prostate cancer this year.

But the good news is that it does not need to be this way. Up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable, and research has shown the number of strokes would be practically cut in half (48 percent) if high blood pressure alone was eliminated.

Around 4.1 million of us have high blood pressure and many of us don’t realise it. Unfortunately, high blood pressure has no symptoms. The only way to know if it is a health issue for you is by having it checked by your doctor or local pharmacist.

Make having regular blood pressure checks a priority for 2018. Include a blood pressure check in your next GP visit or trip to the shops. Be aware of your stroke risk and take steps to manage it. Do it for yourself and do it for your family.

If you think you are too young to suffer a stroke, think again. One in three people who has a stroke is of working age.

Health and fitness is big business. But before you fork out big bucks on a personal trainer or diet plan this year, do something simple and have your blood pressure checked.

It will only take five minutes, it’s non-invasive and it could save your life.

Declaration of Interest : Colin Cowell NACCHO Social Media Editor ( A stroke Survivor) was a board member and Chair of Stoke Foundation Consumer Council 2016-17

Part 2 PMC Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2014 Report  or in full HERE

In 2012–13, 10% of Indigenous adults reported they had a diagnosed high blood pressure condition.

Of these, 18% did not have measured high blood pressure and therefore are likely to be managing their condition.

Indigenous males were more likely to have high measured blood pressure (23%) than females (18%).

The survey showed that an additional 36% of Indigenous adults had pre-hypertension (blood pressure between 120/80 and 140/90 mmHg).

This condition is a signal of possibly developing hypertension requiring early intervention. In 2012–13, after adjusting for differences in the age structure of the two populations, Indigenous adults were 1.2 times as likely to have high measured blood pressure as non-Indigenous adults.

For Indigenous Australians, rates started rising at younger ages and the largest gap was in the 35–44 year age group. Analysis of the 2012–13 Health Survey found a number of associations between socio-economic status and measured and/or self-reported high blood pressure.

Indigenous Australians living in the most relatively disadvantaged areas were 1.3 times as likely to have high blood pressure (28%) as those living in the most relatively advantaged areas (22%).

Indigenous Australians reporting having completed schooling to Year 9 or below were 2.1 times as likely to have high blood pressure (38%) as those who completed Year 12 (18%).

Additionally, those with obesity were 2 times as likely to have high blood pressure (37% vs 18%). Those reporting fair/poor health were 1.8 times as likely as those reporting excellent/very good/good health to be have high blood pressure (41% vs 22%).

Those reporting having diabetes were 2.2 times as likely to have high blood pressure (51% vs 23%), as were those reporting having kidney disease (57% vs 26%). One study in selected remote communities found high blood pressure rates 3–8 times the general population (Hoy et al. 2007).

Most diagnosed cases of high blood pressure are managed by GPs or medical specialists. When hospitalisation occurs it is usually due to cardiovascular complications resulting from uncontrolled chronic blood pressure elevation.

During the two years to June 2013, hospitalisation rates for hypertensive disease were 2.4 times as high for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as for non-Indigenous Australians. Among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, hospitalisation rates started rising at younger ages with the greatest difference in the 55–64 year age group.

This suggests that high blood pressure is more severe, occurs earlier, and is not controlled as well for Indigenous Australians.

As a consequence, severe disease requiring acute care in hospital is more common. GP survey data collected from April 2008 to March 2013 suggest that high blood pressure represented 4% of all problems managed by GPs among Indigenous Australians.

After adjusting for differences in the age structure of the two populations, rates for the management of high blood pressure among Indigenous Australians were similar to those for other Australians.

In December 2013, Australian Government-funded Indigenous primary health care organisations provided national Key Performance Indicators data on around 28,000 regular clients with Type 2 diabetes.

In the six months to December 2013, 64% of these clients had their blood pressure assessed and 44% had results in the recommended range (AIHW 2014w).


The prevalence of measured high blood pressure among Indigenous adults was estimated as 1.2 times as high as for non-Indigenous adults and hospitalisation rates were 2.4 times as high, but high blood pressure accounted for a similar proportion of GP consultations for each population.

This suggests that Indigenous Australians are less likely to have their high blood pressure diagnosed and less likely to have it well controlled given the similar rate of GP visits and higher rate of hospitalisation due to cardiovascular complications.

Research into the effectiveness of quality improvement programmes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care services has demonstrated that blood pressure control can be improved by a well-coordinated and systematic approach to chronic disease management (McDermott et al. 2004).

Identification and management of hypertension requires access to primary health care with appropriate systems for the identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients and systemic approaches to health assessments and chronic illness management.

The Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme, which commenced 1 July 2014, provides for better chronic disease prevention and management through expanded access to and coordination of comprehensive primary health care.

Initiatives provided through this programme include nationwide tobacco reduction and healthy lifestyle promotion activities, a care coordination and outreach workforce based in Medicare Locals and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations and GP, specialist and allied health outreach services serving urban, rural and remote communities, all of which can be used to diagnose and assist Indigenous Australians with high blood pressure.

Additionally, the Australian Government provides GP health assessments for Indigenous Australians under the MBS, of which blood pressure measurement is one key element, with follow-on care and incentive payments for improved management, and cheaper medicines through the PBS.

The Australian Government-funded ESSENCE project ‘essential service standards’ articulates what elements of care are necessary to reduce disparity for Indigenous Australians for high blood pressure.

This includes recommendations focusing on primary prevention through risk assessment, awareness and early identification and secondary prevention through medication.


NACCHO Aboriginal Health @VACCHO_org @Apunipima join major 2018 health groups campaign @Live Lighter #RethinkSugaryDrink launching ad showing heavy health cost of cheap $1 frozen drinks


“A cheeky, graphic counter-campaign taking on cheap frozen drink promotions like $1 Slurpees and Frozen Cokes has hit Victorian bus and tram stops to urge Australians to rethink their sugary drink. 

Rather than tempt viewers with a frosty, frozen drink, the “Don’t Be Sucked In” campaign from LiveLighter and Rethink Sugary Drink, an alliance of 18 leading health agencies, shows a person sipping on a large cup of bulging toxic fat. “

NACCHO has published over 150 various articles about sugar , obesity etc

Craig Sinclair, Chair of Cancer Council Australia’s Public Health Committee, said while this graphic advertisement isn’t easy to look at, it clearly illustrates the risks of drinking too many sugary drinks.

“Frozen drinks in particular contain ridiculous amounts of added sugar – even more than a standard soft drink.”

“A mega $3 Slurpee contains more than 20 teaspoons of sugar.

That’s the same amount of sugar as nearly eight lemonade icy poles, and more than three times the maximum recommended by the World Health Organisation of six teaspoons a dayi.”

“At this time of year it’s almost impossible to escape the enormous amount of advertising and promotions for frozen drink specials on TV, social media and public transport,” Mr Sinclair said.

“These cheap frozen drinks might seem refreshing on a hot day, but we want people to realise they could easily be sucking down an entire week’s worth of sugar in a single sitting.”

A large frozen drink from most outlets costs just $1 – a deal that major outlets like 7-Eleven, McDonald’s, Hungry Jacks and KFC promote heavily.

LiveLighter campaign manager and dietitian Alison McAleese said drinking a large Slurpee every day this summer could result in nearly 2kg of weight gain in a year if these extra kilojoules aren’t burnt

“This summer, Aussies could be slurping their way towards weight gain, obesity and toxic fat, increasing their risk of 13 types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart and kidney disease, stroke and tooth decay,” Ms McAleese said.

“When nearly two thirds of Aussie adults and a third of kids are overweight or obese, it’s completely irresponsible for these companies to be actively promoting excessive consumption of drinks completely overloaded with sugar.

“And while this campaign focuses on the weight-related health risks, we can’t ignore the fact that sugary drinks are also a leading cause of tooth decay in Australia, with nearly half of children aged 2– 16 drinking soft drink every day.ii 

“We’re hoping once people realise just how unhealthy these frozen drinks are, they consider looking to other options to cool off.

“Water is ideal, but even one lemonade icy pole, with 2.7tsp of sugar, is a far better option than a Slurpee or Frozen Coke.”

Mr Sinclair said a health levy on sugary drinks is one of the policy tools needed to help address the growing impact of weight and diet-related health problems in Australia.

“Not only can a 20% health levy help deter people from these cheap and very unhealthy drinks, it will help recover some of the significant costs associated with obesity and the increasing burden this puts on our public health care system,” he said.

This advertising will hit bus and tram stops around Victoria this week and will run for two weeks. #



About LiveLighter: LiveLighter® is a public health education campaign encouraging Australian adults to lead healthier lives by changing what they eat and drink, and being more active.

In Victoria, the campaign is delivered by Cancer Council Victoria and Heart Foundation Victoria. In Western Australia, LiveLighter is delivered by Heart Foundation WA and Cancer Council WA.

For more healthy tips, recipes and advice visit

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

Visit for more information.

NACCHO Aboriginal #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 #Alcohol : @healthgovau National Alcohol strategy 2018-2026 for public consultation Closes 11 February 2018

” The National Alcohol Strategy 2018- 2026 outlines Australia’s agreed approach to preventing and minimising alcohol-related harms.

The National Alcohol Strategy provides a national framework and highlights a number of opportunities for action under each of the priority areas of focus.

These opportunities are examples of activities or initiatives that could be considered at either local, jurisdictional (state and territory) or national levels, including a mix of broad population approaches and targeted approaches.”

Download a draft copy

Consultation Draft National Alcohol Strategy 2018-2026

Consultation closes 11 February 2018

The Department of Health has opened a public consultation process, and is inviting stakeholders and the general public to provide feedback on the National alcohol strategy 2018-2026.

See Website

As a sub-strategy of the National drug strategy 2017-2026, the National alcohol strategy is overseen by the Ministerial Drug and Alcohol Forum. The Forum consists of Ministers from across Australia with responsibility for alcohol and other drug policy  from the health and justice/law enforcement portfolios from each jurisdiction.

On 27 November 2017, members agreed that the draft National alcohol strategy will undergo a public consultation process to further inform the strategic direction and priorities of the strategy.

The online submission process is now open and will close on 11 February 2018. Feedback from the consultation will be considered by the Ministers at their next meeting in 2018, and the strategy revised.

To lodge a submission, please email

Disproportionate Impacts of Alcohol-Related Harm

This Strategy recognises that alcohol-related harms are not experienced uniformly across the population, with disproportionate levels of harm being experienced within some contexts and communities.

Read over 190 NACCHO Articles Alcohol and other Drugs posted over the past 5 years

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Overall, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are more likely to abstain from drinking alcohol than non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (31% compared with 23% respectively). However, among those who did drink, higher proportions drank at risky levels (20% exceeding the lifetime risk guidelines) and were more likely to experience alcohol-related injury than non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (35% compared to 25% monthly, respectively).26

For this reason, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people suffer from disproportionate levels of harm from alcohol, including alcohol-related mortality rates that are 4.9 times higher than among non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.27

The poorer overall health, social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Islander people than non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are also significant factors which can influence drinking behaviours.28

People in remote areas

People residing in remote areas have reported drinking alcohol in quantities that place them at risk of harm at higher levels that those living in less remote regions.

People in remote and very remote areas were 1.5 times as likely as people in major cities to consume 5 or more drinks at least monthly and 2.4 times as likely to consume 11 or more drinks

Pregnant women (or those planning a pregnancy)

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can result in birth defects and behavioural and neurodevelopmental abnormalities including Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Data from states and territories have estimated FASD rates at 0.01 to 1.7 per 1000 births in the total population and 0.15 to 4.70 per 1000 births for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.31 There is evidence that indicates some communities are experiencing much higher incidences of FASD and therefore the lifelong impacts of FASD.32

The relationship between the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy and the expression of FASD is complex, but avoiding drinking before or during pregnancy eliminates the risk of FASD.

Around 1 in 2 women report consuming alcohol during their pregnancy, with 1 in 4 women continuing to drink after they are aware they are pregnant. Of these women, 81% drank monthly or less with 16.2% drinking 2–4 times a month.33


The Ministerial Drug and Alcohol Forum is co-Chaired by the Commonwealth Ministers with portfolio responsibility for alcohol and other drugs (AOD), and justice/law enforcement.

Membership consists of two Ministers from each jurisdiction, one each from the health/community services portfolios (with AOD policy responsibilities) and one from the justice/law enforcement portfolios.

The Commonwealth, State and Territory governments have a shared responsibility to build safe and healthy communities through the collaborative delivery and implementation of national strategic frameworks to reduce AOD related harms for all Australians.

The Forum will be supported by the National Drug Strategy Committee (NDSC) in the implementation and monitoring of these national strategic frameworks.


NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Prison System: New Ground breaking partnership for ACT Government and Winnunga having an ACCHO deliver health and wellbeing services to prison inmates

“ACT Corrective Services recognises that increasing Aboriginal led services within the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC) a minimum to maximum security prison is essential to maintaining cultural connection for Aboriginal detainees and improving overall wellbeing and safety.”

Speaking at the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) board meeting ACT Minister for Justice Shane Rattenbury announced that Winnunga Aboriginal Health and Community Services (AHCS) will move soon into full service delivery at the AMC

Photo above Minister with some of the new NACCHO Board December 2017 : Pic Oliver Tye

Julie Tongs pictured above with Shane Rattenbury and NACCHO CEO John Singer  

‘Importantly, Winnunga will continue to be a separate independent entity, but will work in partnership with the ACT Government to complement the services already provided by ACT Corrective Services and ACT Health to deliver better outcomes for Indigenous detainees.

It is ground breaking to have an Aboriginal community controlled and managed organisation delivering health and wellbeing services within its own model of care to inmates in prison in this capacity’ Ms Tongs said.

‘Winnunga delivering health and wellbeing services in the AMC and changing the way the system operates is the legacy of Steven Freeman, a young Aboriginal man who tragically died whilst in custody in the AMC in 2016

It is also ground breaking for our sector, so it needs to be given the recognition it deserves’

Julie Tongs, CEO of Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services (Winnunga AHCS) welcomed the announcement by Minister Shane Rattenbury

Winnunga has commenced enhanced support at the AMC focused on female detainees, and will move to full delivery of standalone health, social and emotional wellbeing services in the AMC in 2018.

The Independent Inquiry into the Treatment in Custody of Steven Freeman highlighted the need for improvements in a range of areas including cultural proficiency to more effectively manage the welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander detainees.

The ACT Government is working to develop a safer environment for all detainees, especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander detainees.

Minister Rattenbury welcomed the involvement of Winnunga AHCS in the delivery of health services within its culturally appropriate model of care in the AMC.

To achieve this ACT Corrective Services and Justice Health have been working closely with Winnunga AHCS to enhance their presence in the AMC. Winnunga AHCS has begun delivering social and emotional wellbeing services to female detainees who choose to access Winnunga AHCS in the AMC.

Over time, all detainees will have the option to access Winnunga AHCS services.

Winnunga AHCS will over time deliver services to all inmates in the AMC who choose to access this option, however the services will be implemented through a staged process initially focussed on female detainees. This will help inform system changes as we operationalise the model of care within the AMC.

‘In 2018, we will expand our role to deliver GP and social and emotional wellbeing services to all detainees who choose to access Winnunga AHCS in the AMC, Monday to Friday, between the hours of 9am to 5pm’, Ms Tongs noted.

‘Winnunga does not want to be divisive in the AMC, we will be inclusive.

Obviously, there will be some issues particularly around – strong identity and connection to land, language and culture, and how the impact of colonisation and stolen Generations affects unresolved trauma, grief and loss that will be specific to Aboriginal people, however we will work with all inmates’, said Ms Tongs.

Ms Tongs stated, ‘The priority for us is to ensure in time all Aboriginal people are provided with an Aboriginal health check and care plan…the goal is for Winnunga to provide all services we do outside in the community, to prisoners also on the inside and this is a very good starting point’.