NACCHO Aboriginal Health #VoteACCHO #AusVotesHealth : @VACCHO_CEO  calls on the incoming government after #Election2019 to change the #remote focus to Close the Gap as a majority of Aboriginal peoples live in #urban and #regional Australia

The reality is we will never Close the Gap if we focus on 26 per cent of Aboriginal peoples.”

Addressing the workforce shortages and infrastructure issues faced by Aboriginal Controlled Community Organisations (ACCOs), an Infrastructure and Workforce Plan was needed.

Significant transformation of a sector requires a carefully planned and considered approach, we need to get this right

ACCOs provide comprehensive, culturally-responsive and holistic support, but we depend on sustainable investment into our infrastructure and workforce. Short-term, proscriptive funding cycles inhibit long-term gains needed to improve Aboriginal health and wellbeing across Australia.

We call on all parties to recognise the important role played by ACCOs in Closing the Gap and to ensure that whoever forms the next Federal Government ensures they are funded effectively to achieve good outcomes for all Aboriginal peoples, regardless of where they live “

Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) Acting CEO Trevor Pearce

Sustainability, Prevention Accountability to & for us.
Download HERE

Whoever Australia decides to back on 18 May, they need to remember that when it comes to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities “it’s not just a northern or remote problem”.

The fact is that the majority of Aboriginal peoples live in urban and regional Australia, not remote areas, Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) Acting CEO Trevor Pearce says.

“Governments need to take this fact into account”, he said.“The only images that the vast majority of Australians are permitted to see of Indigenous Australia is often remote. When in fact, the majority of us live in cities and regional country towns.

“Just like the rest of Australia, we hug the eastern seaboard.”

Based on the 2016 ABS 74 per cent of Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander people live in Queensland, NSW, ACT, Victoria and Tasmania.

“The focus on remote areas means there is reduced funding and opportunities available for the 74 per cent of First Nations peoples who live in urban and regional Australia, Mr Pearce said.

“As part of our Federal Election Platform we are seeking a national review of current funding models that have geographically-based funding limitations. “These models fail to account for the complex range of health and wellbeing issues experienced by Aboriginal peoples living in urban and regional locations.

“What is of most concern is that the chronic conditions affecting Aboriginal people in Melbourne, Mount Druitt and Maningrida are very similar. How can this be? The fact is that many Aboriginal peoples living in urban and regional areas have the same poor health and wellbeing issues  as communities living in remote areas, sometimes even worse. There is a misrepresentation that we have infrastructure and services coming out of our ears, when in truth we still experience high rates of chronic health issues. The health gap exists in urban areas, just as much as it does in rural and remote areas. Mr Pearce said.

“Homelessness and rates of children (kids) in out-of-home care is highest in Victoria. Yet the gap around rheumatic heart disease is almost closed here.

“The impact of colonisation manifests in different ways across the country, but it can be seen everywhere. Our rights have to be upheld, and systemic inequality has to be addressed. “This isn’t about reducing funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in remote areas. Funding must meet need, everywhere, full stop.“We need the Federal Government to stop using Indigenous disadvantage in remote communities to prop up a misguided view that they are addressing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health problems.”

Under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) the vast majority of Victoria is excluded from the Remote Australia Strategies program, due to the State’s geographical make-up. Without the opportunity to tender for all five IAS funding programs, “Aboriginal peoples in Victoria are automatically disadvantaged, Mr Pearce said.

 

NACCHO Members #VoteACCHO #Election2019 #Aboriginal Health Deadly Good News Stories : #NSW @ahmrc @Galambila #Armajun ACCHO #VIC @VACCHO_org @VAHS1972 #NT @CAACongress #KatherineWest #QLD @DeadlyChoices #Gidgee #Mamu #SA #ACT

Feature Article this week from Apunipima ACCHO Cape York leading the way vaccinating the mob against the flu at no cost to the patient

1.1 National :  Report from the recent Close the Gap for Vision by 2020: Strengthen & Sustain National Conference 2019 hosted by AMSANT released

1.2 National : Survey Yarning with New Media Technology:
Mediatisation and the emergence of the First Australians’ cyber-corroboree.

1.3 NACCHO calls on all political parties to include these 10 recommendations in their election platforms

2.1 NSW : AHMRC April Edition of Message Stick is out now!

2.2 Brand new Ready Mob team and Galambila ACCHO Coffs Harbour CEO Reuben Robinson participate in Team Planning & Meet n’ Greet day.

2.3 NSW : Adam Marshall MP  catches up with the team from Inverell-based Armajun Health Service Aboriginal Corporation to discuss their exciting $5.7 million expansion plans

3.1 VIC : VACCHO Launches its #Election 2019 Platform

3.2 VIC : VAHS ACCHO launches new new 2019 Deadly Choices Health Check Shirts

4.1 NT : Katherine West Health Board ACCHO prepare healthy lunches for the kids at Kalkarindji School everyday.

4.2 NT Congress farewells and thanks Sarah Gallagher from our Utju Health Service after 22 years of exceptional service as an Aboriginal Health Practitioner.

5.1 QLD : Gidgee Healing ACCHO Mt Isa Comms & Marketing team were up in Doomadgee this week attending the ‘Get Set for School 2020 & Career Expo

5.2 QLD : MAMU Health Service Innisfail celebrates 29 Years of Service to community 

5.3 QLD : Deadly Choices Patrick Johnson say winter is coming!! Book into your local Aboriginal Medical Service ASAP for your flu shot and health check.

6.1 SA : Morrison Government is providing almost $250,000 to three South Australian Aboriginal medical services to replace outdated patient information systems.

7.1 ACT : Download the April edition of our Winnunga ACCHO Newsletter.

8.1 WA: KAMS ACCHO as an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services encourages the use of traditional bush medicines

How to submit in 2019 a NACCHO Affiliate  or Members Good News Story ?

Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media 

Mobile 0401 331 251 

Wednesday by 4.30 pm for publication Thursday /Friday

Feature Article this week from Apunipima ACCHO Cape York leading the way vaccinating the mob against the flu at no cost to the patient

The Federal Government has recently announced a program that will ensure almost 170,000 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children and adolescents are vaccinated against the flu at no cost to the patient, with an additional provision of $12 million provided to boost a national immunisation education campaign.

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children aged between 6 months and 14 years will have access to the influenza vaccine. Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander experience a higher burden from influenza infection and are more likely to be hospitalised with the disease. This funding is a welcomed initiative.

The ‘Get the Facts about Immunisation’ campaign will be delivered over the next three years and will include a national television campaign, to help raise awareness around the benefits and importance of immunisation.

FOR MORE INFO about immunisation

1.1 National :  Report from the recent Close the Gap for Vision by 2020: Strengthen & Sustain National Conference 2019 hosted by AMSANT released

The conference report from the recent Close the Gap for Vision by 2020: Strengthen & Sustain National Conference 2019 held by Indigenous Eye Health (IEH) and co-hosted by Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT) in Alice Springs on 14 and 15 March 2019.

We also include for your interest and information a two-page conference summary report and an A3 poster to celebrate activities at the Conference.

Over two days of the Conference, more than 220 delegates and over 60 speakers from all state and territories and including representation from community, local and regional services, state organisations, national peak and non-government agencies, and government came together to share, learn, and be inspired.

Conference attendance has grown significantly year to year since the first conference (+83%) held in Melbourne in 2017. This increase also reflects over 50 regions, covering more than 80% of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, that are now engaged in activities to close the gap for vision.

IEH would like to thank everyone that attended and contributed to the Conference and especially the speakers for sharing their stories, thoughts and learnings. Congratulations again to our deserved 2019 Leaky Pipe Award winners.

The feedback IEH has received from delegates and speakers has been very positive and supports the joint commitment to close the gap for vision by 2020.

The Conference reports, presentations, photo gallery, and other supplementary materials can be accessed here on IEH website. Please feel free to forward this email and information to your colleagues and networks and we also continue to welcome your further feedback, input and commentary.

We will look forward to welcoming you to the next national conference planned in March 2020 and in the year ahead let’s keeping working together to close the gap for vision.

Hugh R Taylor AC
Harold Mitchell Chair of Indigenous Eye Health
Melbourne School of Population and Global Health
The University of Melbourne

1.2 : National : Survey Yarning with New Media Technology:
Mediatisation and the emergence of the First Australians’ cyber-corroboree.

Throughout this study, we use the terms ‘First Australian’ or ‘Indigenous Australian’ when referring to people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage, and ‘Peoples’ when referring to the collective group of Aboriginal nations.

We acknowledge the inadequacy of these homogenising Western terms used to describe such a diverse range of Peoples, languages and cultures.  However, we hope this terminology is sufficient for the purposes of this survey in describing the multi-dimensional relationship that this survey covers. We offer an unreserved apology in lieu of our inadequate terminology causing any undue annoyance or umbrage; this was not our intention.

Take the survey HERE

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FVPD3K6

Any questions or concerns should be addressed to:- keith.robinson2@griffithuni.edu.au

1.3 NACCHO calls on all political parties to include these 10 recommendations in their election platforms

NACCHO has developed a set of policy #Election2019 recommendations that if adopted, fully funded and implemented by the incoming Federal Government, will provide a pathway forward for improvements in our health outcomes.

We are calling on all political parties to include these recommendations in their election platforms and make a real commitment to improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and help us Close the Gap.

With your action and support of our #VoteACCHO campaign we can make the incoming Federal Government accountable.

See NACCHO Election 2019 Website

2.1 NSW : AHMRC April Edition of Message Stick is out now!

Welcome to the April edition of the Message Stick!

Yaama from me, Dr Merilyn Childs! I recently joined AH&MRC in the role of Senior Research Advisor. This means that I help researchers improve the quality of research applications before they are sent to the AH&MRC Ethics Committee. I’ll be providing Professional Learning Opportunities and resources for researchers, and feedback on applications where appropriate.

While I’m with AH&MRC 3 days a week, I have other roles. For example, I’m Honorary Associate Professor at Macquarie University, and I’m on Academic Board for the newly proposed College of Health Sciences at the Education Centre of Australia.

As I write this, I think of my mother Helen. When I was a child in the 1960s, Helen taught me about racism, stolen land, and stolen Aboriginal lives and languages. She was a passionate advocate of land rights. With her, and my two-year-old toddler, I marched as an ally of First Nations people on January 26th, 1988 in Sydney.

Two decades later at Charles Sturt University I was fortunate enough to work for some years with the amazing team embedding Indigenous Cultural Competence into curriculum. Because of them I continued the journey I began with my mother as I tried respectfully to develop ‘yindiamarra winhanga-nha’ – the wisdom of respectfully knowing how to live well in a world worth living in, from the voices of the Wiradjuri people’. In 2015 I joined Macquarie University and collaborated with Walanga Muru colleagues to amplify Aboriginal voices in Higher Degree Research training.

I feel privileged to continue my journey working at AH&MRC with warm and amazing colleagues and with those of you I meet in the future, to improve the quality of research applications that are submitted to the AH&MRC Ethics Committee.

Read View HERE

2.2 Brand new Ready Mob team and Galambila ACCHO Coffs Harbour CEO Reuben Robinson participate in Team Planning & Meet n’ Greet day.

Galambila ACCHO Coffs Harbour CEO Reuben Robinson joined in the interactive activities and shared his vision for Ready Mob and Galambila  in moving forward in service of our communities. SEE FACEBOOK PAGE

2.3 NSW : Adam Marshall MP  catches up with the team from Inverell-based Armajun Health Service Aboriginal Corporation to discuss their exciting $5.7 million expansion plans

Adam Marshall MP  catches up with the team from Inverell-based Armajun Health Service Aboriginal Corporation to discuss their exciting $5.7 million expansion plans last week.

Armajun is planning to build a new and expanded health service centre next door to its current premises in River Street to cater for for patients and offer more health services to the community.

Part of this will be a $400,000 expanded dental clinic, which Adam will be approaching the State Government to fund.

Armajun provides services to many communities across the Northern Tablelands and do a wonderful job!

3.1 VIC : VACCHO Launches its #Election 2019 Platform

It’s out! We’ve just published our #auspol  #AusVotes2019  Election Platform.
Read all about what Aboriginal Communities need from the Federal Government to improve our health and wellbeing, to not just Close the Gap, but eliminate it all together.
Sustainability, Prevention Accountability to & for us.
Download HERE

3.2 : VAHS ACCHO launches new new 2019 Deadly Choices Health Check Shirts

VAHS, Essendon Football Club and The Long Walk have continued to work collaboratively that empowers our community to be more aware of their personal and family health by completing an annual health assessment.

An annual Health Assessment is a deadly way to monitor your own health and identify or prevent a chronic disease. Plus its 100% free if you complete this health assessment at VAHS. Anyone can complete an Health Check.

We have plenty of shirts for our mob all year, so don’t stress if you have completed an Health Check recently. You only allowed an annual Health Check every 9 months. Ring VAHS on 9419-3000 if you’re due for a health check.

Also we have another exciting news to announce very soon. Stay tune

4.1 NT : Katherine West Health Board ACCHO prepare healthy lunches for the kids at Kalkarindji School everyday.

This is Gabrielle and Mary they help prepare healthy lunches for the kids at Kalkarindji School everyday.  They are both great cooks and are working with myself to make their meals high iron and vitamin C so kids can have strong blood to learn and play.
#oneshieldforall

4.2 NT Congress farewells and thanks Sarah Gallagher from our Utju Health Service after 22 years of exceptional service as an Aboriginal Health Practitioner.

For 22 years with us, Sarah has been delivering culturally safe and responsive health care and programs to her people in the Utju community.

Born and raised in Utju, Sarah commenced her training as an AHP in the Utju Clinic, received her Certificate IV in AHP and progressed her career as a senior health practitioner and clinic manager.

In 2014 Sarah was a finalist at the ATSIHP Awards in the excellence in remote service delivery category. Sarah remains committed to the health and wellbeing of her people as elected Chairperson of the Utju Health Services board.

5.1 QLD : Gidgee Healing ACCHO Mt Isa Comms & Marketing team were up in Doomadgee this week attending the ‘Get Set for School 2020 & Career Expo’

Was lovely to see so many people and services attend this event. If you pop down to the Gidgee Healing stall Guy Douglas our new Practice Manager at Doomadgee Clinic, Andrew, Trish or Gavin would be happy to help you fill in birth registration forms. There are a few goodies also so please go check them out and say hello.

5.2 QLD : MAMU Health Service Innisfail celebrates 29 Years of Service to community 

5.3 QLD : Deadly Choices Patrick Johnson say winter is coming!! Book into your local Aboriginal Medical Service ASAP for your flu shot and health check.

Make a Deadly Choices a healthy choice and get your DC beanie.

I’m sporting my North Queensland Toyota Cowboysbeanie what DC beanie are you sporting? Institute of Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH)

6.1 SA : Morrison Government is providing almost $250,000 to three South Australian Aboriginal medical services to replace outdated patient information systems.

Picture Above Minister Ken Wyatt visit earlier this year 

Ensuring high quality primary health care, delivered in a culturally competent way, is a key to improving the health and wellbeing of First Australians.

Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said it was important that all medical services across Australia were provided with the right tool kit to do their work.

“As a result of this announcement three Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in Grey, Nunyara in Whyalla, Pika Wiya in Port Augusta and and the Ceduna Kooniba Health Service will receive assistance to install new “state-of-the-art” patient record keeping systems”, Mr Ramsey said. “The efficiency of any good health system is dependent on good record-keeping and accurate, easy-to-access patient information.

“Streamlined modern information systems will enable healthcare professionals to gain instant, secure, and efficient access to the medical and treatment histories of patients. This can be especially valuable where we have transingent populations as is particularly the case with some indigenous families.”

This funding through the Morrison Government’s Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme will contribute to new systems to provide better patient care.

Under the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme, the Morrison Government funds around 140 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services across Australia to provide culturally appropriate comprehensive primary health care services to First Australians.

The Minister for Indigenous Health, the Hon Ken Wyatt said the Federal Government is committed to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities to develop practical, evidence-based policy and deliver programs that will make a real difference to the lives of First Australians.

”It is part of our focus on closing the gap and supporting culturally appropriate primary health care and programs,” Mr Wyatt said.

“Good health is a key enabler in supporting children to go to school, adults to lead productive working lives, and in building strong and resilient communities.”

The Morrison Government is providing $4.1 billion to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the next four years.

7.1 ACT : Download the April edition of our Winnunga ACCHO Newsletter.

 

April edition of our Winnunga Newsletter.

Read or Download Winnunga AHCS Newsletter April 2019 (1)

Please also note that the details for Winnunga’s National Sorry Day Bridge Walk for 2019 is included in this newsletter, so please Save the Date and join us.

8.1 WA: KAMS ACCHO as an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services encourages the use of traditional bush medicines

 ” Back in 2017 when I found some funding ($3,000) to start the idea of making some Bush medicine with a couple of ex- AHW’s at Balgo, was a very exciting time for us and them.

 The Bush medicines an integral part of Aboriginal culture and traditional customs.

Jamilah Bin Omar Acting SEWB Manager Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Ltd.

 As an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services encourages the use of traditional bush medicines and talk up the bush medicine information through the Certificate III and Cert. IV Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care Program under the competency units;

  • Support the safe use of medicines
  • Administer medicines

Myself and Joanna Martin (Pharmacist) from the KAMS Pharmacy Support team spent one week in Balgo working with the community Women Elders to make three different types of bush medicines.  These were;

  • Piltji (used on all parts of the body to heal internal injuries, organs, arthritis and many other problems)
  • Ngurnu Ngurnu (used for cold and flu and rubbed on the chest and head)
  • Yapilynpa (used as a rub on the chest and head for the relief of colds and headaches)

At the completion, bush medicines became available in the Balgo Health Centre, for patients to select and use individually or in conjunction with western medicine.

The Bush Medicines program is an opportunity for KAMS staff to collaborate with community members.  It will provide a forum for traditional practices to be used and passed onto future generations.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal #AusVotesHealth and #Budget2019 3 of 5 : ACCHO Peaks and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community Stakeholders express disappointment in #Budget2019 @VACCHO_org @QAIHC_QLD @AMSANTaus @_PHAA_ @amapresident @LowitjaInstitut @congressmob @NationalFVPLS

1.QAIHC : Federal budget once again fails the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community

2. VACCHO :Federal Budget robbing Aboriginal people with disabilities to pay for tax cuts

3. AMSANT : The Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister has all but admitted today there is no major item in the Federal budget for First Nations people.

4 .PHAA : Not enough investment in disease prevention

5.AMA : Government’s Budget announcements have set up a genuine health policy competition for the upcoming election.

With NACCHO TV Interview

6. Lowitja Institute : “An investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing

7. HealthInfoNet : How the #Budget2019 impacts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

8 .Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention

9. The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples Australia’s Need More Than Promises.

10. Change the Record

11.National Peak Body for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services

12.Family Violence Prevention Legal Services

13. Reconciliation Australia : Greater vision and investment needed for First Nations as progress sidelined in federal budget

14. Indigenous groups denounce Australian budget as ‘punishing people in poverty

This weeks NACCHO Budget Coverage 

Post 1: NACCHO Intro #AusVotesHealth #Budget2019

Post 2: NACCHO Chair Press Release

Post 3:  Health Peak bodies Press Release summary

Post 4 : Government Press Releases

Post 5 : Opposition responses to Budget 2019 

Read all Budget 2019 Posts 

View NACCHO TV interview with NACCHO Chair HERE

1.QAIHC : Federal budget once again fails the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community

Josh Frydenberg’s budget has failed to fund Aboriginal and Islander Community Controlled Health Organisations (AICCHO) to enable them to continue their work towards Closing the Gap.

The burden of disease for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Queensland is unacceptable. 10% of our babies are born with low birthweight. Our children make up 49% of Queensland’s new and recurrent cases of acute rheumatic fever. Chronic diseases including diabetes continues to be on the rise. For our men aged 15-34 years, suicide rates are more than three times higher than non-Indigenous men.

Previous attempts by the Federal Government to achieve better health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through the Closing the Gap agenda, have failed. Chronically under-funded government programs in AICCHOs contribute to this. This budget has funded a selection of specific projects for collaboration with community-controlled organisations at a strategic level, however the benefits will take years to trickle down to real action on the ground. Inadequate primary health care is a burden on the tertiary care system, contributing to excessive public expenditure.

“From health promotion and health literacy through to diagnosis, treatment, management and end of life care, investment in the health system is essential now if health equity is to be achieved.” Neil Willmett, CEO of Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) said.

“The AICCHO Sector is already achieving ground-breaking results in health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Queensland. We are achieving more than ever before for less funding, but our Members are being expected to do even more because of the government’s continual failure to adequately resource the sector.”

QAIHC Chairperson, Gail Wason, explains “Community driven solutions are proven to be most effective. Our AICCHOs have been driving the solutions. Equitable to need, the sector receives 47% less Commonwealth funding than mainstream health services. This doesn’t equate to government supporting community led solutions. Government needs to prioritise greater investment in AICCHO’s, rather than just talking about Close the Gap.”

In Queensland there are 26 AICCHOs offering culturally appropriate comprehensive primary health care to over 180,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people make up 4.6% of Queenslanders, and that percentage is growing.

QAIHC is calling for political parties to respect and resource the Aboriginal and Islander Community Controlled Health Sector to achieve real results this election. You can follow the campaign via QAIHC’s social media platforms.

2. VACCHO :Federal Budget robbing Aboriginal people with disabilities to pay for tax cuts

Barriers to Aboriginal people accessing NDIS services are effectively funding tax cuts, according to Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) Acting CEO Trevor Pearce.

“While the Federal Government is claiming it will deliver a surplus and is offering pre-election tax cuts, part of that money is coming from the fact that two thirds of the funding allocated for Aboriginal people living with disabilities for NDIS services is unspent. It’s not unspent due to a lack of need but due to significant barriers preventing people from accessing the NDIS,” Mr Pearce said.

“How are we supposed to Close the Gap when there are 60,000 Aboriginal people living with disabilities who aren’t getting support, according to the First Peoples Disability Network?

“The fact that two thirds of all funds allocated to Aboriginal NDIS participants has been left unspent speaks volumes about the difficulties so many people in the community face in accessing the NDIS, especially in Aboriginal Communities.

“Knowing that pre-election tax cuts are being handed out while 60,000 Aboriginal people living with disabilities aren’t able to access services is nothing short of appalling.”

Mr Pearce said it was disappointing the Budget delivered nothing of substance for the working poor.

“We’re very concerned about the extension of the failed Cashless Debit Card trials and what that could mean for Victoria. Many of our Members are worried they could come here,” he said.

“It’s critical that the funding allocated to Aboriginal mental health and family violence issues not only be focused on delivery in remote areas. The majority of Aboriginal people live in urban and regional areas and live with similar levels of disadvantage, especially on these key issues.

“We know from data from our Members that the second highest prescribed medication in SOME clinics is antidepressants, just behind relievers commonly known as Ventolin. This tells us how prevalent mental health issues are in our Communities. An allocation of $5 million over four years nationally for youth suicide prevention is not going to make an impact on that significant a problem.

“We are also disappointed that dental health received no additional funding given spending in dental health actually saves money by preventing additional, more expensive health conditions.”

Mr Pearce said the Federal Budget did appear to have some highlights for Aboriginal people but the lack of clarity around much of the funding, and apparent lack of new money especially around Closing the Gap measures, meant it was difficult to be certain.

“The $10 million allocated to the Lowitja Institute is great, as funding Aboriginal-led and designed research is so important as part of self-determination,” Mr Pearce said.

“It’s good to see that the Medicare freeze has been lifted, and we hope that any GP practices that aren’t currently bulk billing Aboriginal people will start doing that given their increased funding.

“We look forward to further clarification on the Closing the Gap refresh spending and the realisation that self-determination and community control are fundamental to attaining this aim.”

3. AMSANT : The Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister has all but admitted today there is no major item in the Federal budget for First Nations people.

Indigenous leaders and lobby groups are outraged because there are several items they say are priorities for funding including money to help drive the reform of the Closing The Gap process.

Featured:

Nigel Scullion, Indigenous Affairs Minister
Dr Jackie Huggins, National Congress.
Peter Yu, Broome indigenous leader
Marion Scrymgour, Tiwi Islands Regional Council
Wayne Butcher, Lockhart River mayor
John Paterson, Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance

Listen HERE

4 .PHAA : Not enough investment in disease prevention

The 2019 federal Budget does too little to prevent Australia’s major illnesses, according to Public Health Association of Australia CEO Terry Slevin.

“Australia is one of the lowest investors in illness prevention of any OECD nation at less than 2% of our national health spending,” Mr Slevin said.

“Two of our biggest killers were conspicuous by their absence in the Budget – obesity and alcohol.”

“Nonetheless this Budget has some valuable and welcome investments:

  • Extension of the Child Dental Benefits Schedule ($1 Billion)
  • Mental health and suicide prevention commitments ($736M) – these are sorely needed
  • Research investment via the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) guarantees ($260M over 10 years) for preventive and public health research plus another $160M in Indigenous health research over 11 years
  • Global health research focused on antimicrobial resistance ($28M) is welcome
  • A tobacco control campaign at $20M over 4 years is a starting point, but smoking remains one of our biggest killers. We need to do much more to kick start serious tobacco control efforts.
  • Promoting social inclusion and being physically active via sports ($23.6M)
  • Take Home Naloxone Program ($7.2M) “Spending on good health care, effective drugs and research is important and essential.

But a continual downward spiral in real prevention is a trend we must seriously address.”

“We should have ambitious goals for real life-long health. To reach that point we need major action to contain the explosion of obesity and overweight in our community.”

“We need to do so much more to limit the harms of misuse of alcohol. And we have a massive gap to close regarding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.”

“But the long-term wellbeing of the community has not figured sufficiently in this budget,” said Mr Slevin.

“Like inaction on climate change, the budget does little to prevent a future illness tsunami.”

5.AMA : Government’s Budget announcements have set up a genuine health policy competition for the upcoming election.

AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, said this that the Government’s Budget announcements have set up a genuine health policy competition for the upcoming election.

“The Health Minister, Greg Hunt, has listened closely to the AMA and delivered a strong Health Budget, with a particular emphasis on primary care, led by general practice,” Dr Bartone said.

“Australia’s hardworking GPs will be happy to see a commitment of almost $1 billion to general practice. This includes matching Labor’s promise to bring forward by a year the lifting of the freeze on rebates for a range of Medicare GP items.

“Overall, the Government has delivered a much-needed significant investment to general practice – the driving force of quality primary health care in Australia.”

The GP package includes:

  • $448.5 million to improve continuity of care for patients over 70 with chronic conditions;
  • Quality Incentive Payments for general practices ($201.5 million);
  • $62.2 million for rural generalist training; and
  • $187.2 million for lifting of the freeze on GP items.

The AMA also welcomes:

  • Funding for new Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule (PBS) medicines;
  • Retention of the Aged Care Access Incentive (ACAI); and
  • A rural workforce program.

Dr Bartone said there are obvious gaps in mental health, prevention, Indigenous health, pathology, and public hospital funding to improve all hospitals.

“We expect to hear more on these key areas from all parties before the election,” Dr Bartone said.

“Health Minister Hunt has worked closely with the AMA, especially on the primary care element of this Budget.

“Overall, the Government has produced a good start for a quality health policy platform for the election.

“We look forward to the Opposition making health a real contest when they roll out all their policies.”

Dr Bartone said there is still unfinished business with the Private Health Insurance reforms as they are implemented from this month, and with the ongoing work of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review, which must return any savings to new and improved MBS items.

6. Lowitja Institute : “An investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing

The Lowitja Institute welcomes the funding announcement in the Budget delivered by the Treasurer the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP.

The Institute is Australia’s national institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research. We have a strong track record working with communities, researchers and policymakers. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community priorities and self-determination must be built into the national research agenda that informs state and federal policies and programs.

Our work embeds First Nations creativity, ingenuity and leadership in the decision making; this is critical to improving the health and wellbeing of Australia’s First Peoples.

We look forward to expanding our work in key research areas such as the cultural and social determinants of health, and health system improvements for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We also look forward to continuing to build the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research workforce, and growing our national and international networks. Our innovations in knowledge translation will ensure the ongoing positive impact of our research.

7. HealthInfoNet : How the #Budget2019 impacts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Find information on and read about how it impacts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander , here:

8 .Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention

Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention (CBPATSISP) Director Professor Pat Dudgeon and National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Mental Health (NATSILMH) Chair Mr Tom Brideson cautiously welcomed yesterday’s mental health and suicide prevention budget announcements but looked forward to more detail being released before committing to a response. Professor Dudgeon said:

I am especially pleased to see commitments to a National Suicide Information System. This is something that CBPATSISP and, prior to that, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP)called for. But it must operate in our communities and it’s not clear on the information provided whether it will. This is critical, such a system should help us get the people and resources to where they are needed faster, to help prevent suicide ‘clusters’, and better assist Indigenous families and communities after a suicide.

Professor Dudgeon also welcomed a $5 million commitment to an Indigenous leadership group to implement an Indigenous suicide prevention strategy; and similar funding for Indigenous youth leaders to respond to Indigenous youth suicide. She said:

A national Indigenous suicide prevention strategy was developed in 2013 and about $20 million implementation funding given to the Primary Health Networks (PHNs). While many PHNs are doing the best they can, the key ingredient – Indigenous governance and leadership in how that money is spent – has too often been lacking. It is my hope that the new Indigenous leadership group will not only lead a more effective and efficient national and regional response to Indigenous suicide, but also address these accountability problems. But again, we need more information about how these bodies will operate, and the leaders must be Indigenous and enjoy wide community support. 

Mr Brideson called for greater funding for Indigenous mental health and suicide prevention:

$15 million Indigenous specific funding in a $461 million youth mental health and suicide prevention package, within a $736 mental health package, is not enough to meet our needs. Indigenous people comprise 3% of the population and have about double the suicide prevention needs, and three times the mental health needs, of other Australians. In terms of equity, we estimate about 9% of the total package, about $70 million, should be dedicated Indigenous expenditure. While this may seem a significant amount, it should not be forgotten that the bulk of Indigenous mental ill-health is preventable with access to primary mental health care, and yet the social costs of untreated Indigenous mental health difficulties are likely to run into the billions.

In fact, a long called for reinvestment funding approach to our mental health, particularly justice reinvestment, should eventually enable the Australian Government to make savings in many areas as well as making a big contribution to ‘Closing the Gap’ and Indigenous wellbeing. This is particularly in relation to the enormous cost of imprisoning over 13,000 Indigenous people, many of whom are in prison because of untreated mental health and related issues.  

Professor Dudgeon and Mr Brideson closed by calling on Ministers Wyatt, Hunt and Scullion, their shadow ministry counterparts and the newly announced Suicide Prevention Coordinator to meet with them and other Indigenous mental health and suicide prevention leaders to discuss the detail of the package, and ensure that Indigenous peoples get their fair share of the mainstream elements of the mental health, suicide prevention, drug strategy and other budget initiatives:

We will be working with other Indigenous mental health and suicide prevention leaders to ensure our people, and young people in particular, benefit from all the budget measures according to their greater need. This includes the extra funding for headspace, the adult mental health centres and many other promising mainstream initiatives. CBPATSISP and NATSILMH want to see a partnership approach with the Australian Government to help ensure we get the detail right, and that the total $736 million package results in better mental health and suicide prevention outcomes for Indigenous Australians.

9. The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples Australia’s Need More Than Promises.

The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples welcomes the Australian Government’s commitment of additional funding to address key challenges; however, the budget lacks concrete measures in areas of high importance for First Peoples. More needs to be done to remedy the structural causes of the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians.

Read more

10. Change the Record

Change the Record has condemned the Federal Government’s Budget, demanding that the Government stays committed to self-determined legal services and stops punishing people struggling to make ends meet.

“Research shows that our people are locked up at such high rates because of the poverty we experience, especially for First Nations people with disability,” said Damian Griffis, co-chair of Change the Record.

“Instead of Budget providing a roof over our heads and meeting basic needs, this Government is punishing our people who are caught in the poverty trap. Sacrificing critical legal services and NDIS and punishing women through ParentsNext for budget surplus is inhumane – these are our lives they are playing with.

Read More Here

11.National Peak Body for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services

National Peak Body for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) released the following statementwarning abandoning the standalone Commonwealth Indigenous Legal Assistance Program after a 50 year long commitment threatens self-determination and cultural safety

NATSILS welcomes the overturning of the planned and ongoing cuts to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS), introduced in a 2013 ongoing savings measure.

However, Attorney-General Christian Porter is also walking away from the Commonwealth’s 50-year long commitment to ATSILS by disbanding the Indigenous Legal Assistance Program (ILAP), days after the Government’s Independent Review into the Indigenous Legal Assistance Program recommended retaining a standalone specific program.

12.Family Violence Prevention Legal Services

Also missing was core funding needed for the Family Violence Prevention Legal Services which released the following statement:

For the sixth year in a row, the Federal Budget brings no additional core funding for the crucial supports provided by Family Violence Prevention Legal Services (FVPLSs), with funding to end 30 June 2020. Antoinette Braybrook, Convenor of the National FVPLS Forum called on all parties to commit to ongoing funding and to keeping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women safe.

13. Reconciliation Australia : Greater vision and investment needed for First Nations as progress sidelined in federal budget

Reconciliation Australia has described the federal budget as “a disappointing missed opportunity to present a cohesive national narrative around closing the gap in social outcomes for First Nations people and addressing unfinished business of reconciliation.”

Chief executive, Karen Mundine, said the Prime Minister’s recent closing the gap report outlined the urgent need for further investment.

“Governmental support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services has not met the level of need of First Nation’s peoples,” said Ms Mundine.

“The frustration felt by First Nations people and other Australians with the results of the Closing the Gap Framework has been compounded with the lack of any national narrative in this federal budget,” she said.

Ms Mundine said this was illustrated by two significant funding decisions outlined in the budget; an insufficient $15 million investment into suicide prevention, despite the ongoing the crisis facing young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, and the decision to end the national stand-alone Indigenous Legal Assistance program and roll funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services into mainstream legal aid programs.

“The high level of suicide in First Nations communities and the growing rates of incarceration of First Nations women, men and children are two clear indicators of the need for greater investment but instead this budget has fallen short.”

“We urge the Government to reconsider, and increase investments in these two critical areas.”

Ms Mundine also said there was little in the budget to address the unfinished business of reconciliation and some of the foundational issues that require settlement.

“I also note this morning’s comments from the peak body representing the Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander health sector decrying the lack of funding in the budget for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services and the Aboriginal community-controlled health sector.”

“The connection between the material and cultural wellbeing of First Nations people and our national progress towards reconciliation are clear and we are concerned that the stalling of progress towards equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will not be remedied by this budget,” said Ms Mundine. “The lack of investment in services, further exacerbated by cuts to legal services, means that funding levels will not meet the clear needs of First Nations peoples.”

Ms Mundine said concerns about the budget were intensified by the optimism generated by last week’s signing of a partnership agreement between the Government and a Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peaks to progress closing the gap.

“Sadly, this optimism has not been supported by the budget with its lesson that ambitions for a surplus trump the needs of Australia’s First Nations peoples.”

Ms Mundine said the Australia is at a critical juncture in the reconciliation journey with constitutional reform and agreement-making stalled in Parliament notwithstanding strong public support.

“Despite our disappointment Reconciliation Australia hopes for greater bipartisan support for truth telling initiatives and progress constitutional reform and meeting the goals of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as expressed in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.”

“These hopes are buoyed by the strong support for such initiatives shown by the Australian public, most recently in the results of our Australian Reconciliation Barometer survey which found that 95% of Australians believe that ‘it is important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have a say in matters that affect them’ and 80% believe it is important to
‘undertake formal truth telling processes’”.

“The imminent election provides an opportunity for Government and Opposition to clearly spell out their respective visions for how we this nation can improve the lives of First Nations people and bring us closer to a just, equitable and reconciled Australia,” Ms Mundine said.

14. Indigenous groups denounce Australian budget as ‘punishing people in poverty

Key Aboriginal organisations have expressed anger and disappointment with the budget, criticising the $129m expansion of the controversial cashless welfare card and the lack of new funding for health and legal services.

The chief executive of the National Coalition of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, Donnella Mills, said she was frustrated none of its budget priorities had been included.

“We called for an increased base funding for our health organisations, and an increase in capital works and infrastructure. We need funds for housing, which is a vital key to good health, and we sought a strengthening of support for mental health,” Mills said.

The government set aside $461m for youth mental health but only $5m over four years is earmarked for addressing Indigenous youth suicide, recently described by suicide prevention campaigner Gerry Georgatos as a “moral and political abomination.”

Mills said: “We welcome $5m for suicide prevention. That amount is just a starting point, and we have no detail on how it will be allocated.

“How is that $5m going to get into communities? How is it going to address housing, family violence?

“The treasurer kept on about how we are geared towards surplus. I would hope there’d be room in [the] government’s thinking to address the unmet needs of the most vulnerable people in our communities.”

Read all Peak Comments 

 

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #ClosingtheGap : Read or Download these Indigenous Peak bodies responses to historic hard-fought #COAG partnership agreement @NACCHOAustralia @VACCHO_org @IAHA_National @SNAICC @AIDAAustralia @nswalc @AMSANTaus

This historic achievement of a hard-fought partnership between peak Aboriginal organisations and governments on Closing the Gap should be celebrated,”

This weeks Joint Council meeting represented the first time we’ve had a seat at the table and was a culmination of many years of negotiations and hard work.”

From this day forward, expert Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices in health, education and community services will be working as equal partners with COAG in crafting the best solutions to achieve better life outcomes within our communities.

The health disparities and widening gaps between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and other Australians are unacceptable and as leaders in our fields, we are ready to do the hard work to reverse these trends.

We are so pleased to see the Federal Government step up and commit $4.6 million to support the efforts of our peaks to undertake this important work,”

Pat Turner, CEO of NACCHO after the first ever Joint Council meeting on Closing the Gap was held this week in Brisbane between the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and a Coalition of National Aboriginal Peak Bodies (Coalition of Peaks).

Updated Friday PM NATSIHWA and Reconcilition Australia

The Joint Council is comprised of 12 representatives elected by the Coalition of Peaks, a Minister nominated by the Commonwealth and each state and territory governments and one representative from the Australian Government Association.

Read or Download this full NACCHO Press Release Here

The Joint Council agreed on a communique which can be read here: https://www.naccho.org.au/wp-content/uploads/ctg-joint-council-communique.pdf

For more information on The Joint Council, The Partnership Agreement, The Coalition of Peaks and to sign up for our mailing list, go to: https://www.naccho.org.au/ programmes/coalition-of-peaks/

We believe that shared decision making between governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled representatives in the design, implementation and monitoring of new Closing the Gap targets and framework is essential

This is self-determination in action. Self-determination is a proven approach to Closing the Gap for Indigenous peoples; global research provides that evidence-base, including research done at Harvard University.

The new Closing the Gap targets must use Aboriginal holistic definitions of social and emotional health and wellbeing, and address systemic inequity and racism.

Closing the Gap encompasses much more than health indicators. We are resilient peoples who have survived for thousands of years and hundreds of detrimental government policies.

We know what works to help our people thrive and this Partnership Agreement will make sure that we are heard.”

VACCHO Chairperson and CEO BADAC ACCHO Ballarat Karen Heap

Read or Download this full VACCHO Press Release Here

2.VACCHO-MEDIA-PEAKS-COALITION

“Shared decision making between governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled representatives in the design, implementation and monitoring of Closing the Gap is essential to improve the health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

We have a lot of work to do, but through genuine engagement and a constructive partnership with governments we are in a position to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples,”

IAHA CEO Donna Murray.

Read or Download this full IAHA  Press Release Here

3. Peaks-Partnership-Agreement-Media-Release-27-3-19-1

 

“After the first ten years of the original Closing the Gap Framework, it was clear that little progress was made against targets.

We believe that one of the reasons is insufficient ownership and engagement by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

This new and historic approach is a very important first step. Now begins the real work of refreshing targets, implementing measures we believe are necessary to achieve real change and monitor the progress of this new framework”.

CEO of the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) and Chair of SNAICC – National Voice for our Children, Muriel Bamblett

Read or Download this full SNAICC Press Release Here

4.SNAICC CTG

Read or Download this full VACCA Press Release Here

VACCA CTG

“It is time for standard practice to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices when making decisions and writing policy that impacts our lives, health and wellbeing. By signing this agreement, the government is committing to doing things in consultation with us, not to us or for us.”

AIDA President Dr Kris Rallah-Baker

Read or Download this full AIDA Press Release Here

5.AIDA CTG

We believe that the commitment in the Partnership Agreement to co-design, implement and monitor programs in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled representatives and their members, is essential to closing the gap.

NSW CAPO along with other National Peak Aboriginal Organisations have been calling for a greater role with governments on efforts to close the unacceptable gaps in life outcomes within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

The Partnership Agreement sets out how governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peaks bodies will work together toward a refreshed national agreement on Closing the Gap, including any new Closing the Gap targets and implementation and monitoring arrangements.”

Co-Chair NSW CAPO Roy Ah-See,

Read or Download this full NSW ALC / CAPO Press Release Here

“And now collectively, we can come up with a plan to address those issues that we share.

Despite the federal election being only months away, I do not believe the agreement was a bid to win votes by the Morrison government because it was not on a party political level, and was under the COAG instead.

Regardless of who’s in power of the Australian government, this commitment will continue to exist with maybe some minor amendments, depending on the possible change of government,” he said.

But essentially, this is a non-political process “

John Paterson, the CEO of Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory and one of the Coalition Peak members, said the announcement was significant because it gave Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders equal opportunity to discuss pressing issues affecting Indigenous people.

Read full Press Coverage

Our people understand deeply the needs of our communities and this partnership brings
about a platform for these needs to be voiced with emphasised importance”

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners have an
unmatched role in delivering health services to our communities. Our members are in a
prime position to play a key role in reducing barriers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
peoples face in accessing health services and are critical to ensuring the provision of
cultural safety in care.

 Karl Briscoe, Chief Executive Officer, NATSIHWA.

Read or Download the NATSIHWA Press Release HERE

closing_the_gap_partnership_agreement_media_release

CEO, Karen Mundine said formalising this new partnership giving key Aboriginal and Torres Strait organisations a formal role in redesigning, implementing and monitoring the Closing the Gap strategy signals a significant shift towards shared decision making.

“The additional experience, knowledge and skills that the Peak Organisations can bring to COAG’s deliberations will lead to better outcomes,” said Ms Mundine. “And better outcomes are critical given the latest disappointing results which saw five of seven Closing the Gap targets not met.”

Reconciliation Australia CEO, Karen Mundine said formalising this new partnership giving key Aboriginal and Torres Strait organisations a formal role in redesigning, implementing and monitoring the Closing the Gap strategy signals a significant shift towards shared decision making.

Read full press release HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Eye Health and #Housing @2019wihc #CloseTheGap : Co Host John Paterson CEO @AMSANTaus opening speech @IEHU_UniMelb #ClosingtheGap in Vision 2020 #CTGV19 Conference Plus #AliceSprings Declaration @OptometryAus @RANZCOeyedoctor @Vision2020Aus

Regarding the environmental improvements, we know that the NT Aboriginal population has the worst housing in Australia.  

Around 60% of Aboriginal people live in over-crowded housing and one third live in poorly maintained houses. 

This directly impacts on the ability of our people to maintain healthy living practices such as ensuing their kids have clean faces and clean clothes. 

We cannot keep on relying on antibiotics to get rid of trachoma – to be sustainable, there must be major improvements in environmental health and housing.

Improving housing will also lead to improvements in other infectious diseases that are way too common in our people in the NT

John Paterson CEO of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the NT or AMSANT. See full Speech Part 1 Below

Alice Springs Declaration

At the 2019 Close the Gap in vision 2020 conference, held in Alice springs, delegates heard that improvements in environmental health and housing are essential to eliminate trachoma and to reduce rates of other childhood infections that can lead to serious conditions such as rheumatic heart disease, blindness and deafness.

The conference heard about good progress in reducing trachoma rates but also that there had been some stalling in remote Central Australian communities where trachoma remains endemic and will not be eliminated unless housing is addressed.

Over half of Aboriginal people in the NT live in overcrowded housing and nearly one third live in poorly maintained housing. This is by far the worst result of any jurisdiction in Australia.

The Conference noted that there is currently a political impasse between the Commonwealth and Northern Territory governments which is preventing the completion of an agreement to enable desperately needed Commonwealth investment in Aboriginal housing to be made available.

The Conference was also concerned at the very slow pace of implementation of the Northern Territory government funded housing program, where only 62 million of 220 million has been spent in the first two years.

The delegates demand that both levels of government urgently work to fix this impasse to ensure that Aboriginal housing investment can be made available to address the critical housing needs in the NT and contribute to improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal Territorians.

This declaration was unanimously endorsed

Download PDF Copy

CTG19 ALICE SPRINGS DECLARATION

” Supporting and improving the local primary health care service capacity to confidently perform eye assessments should reduce the dependency on visiting eye specialists.

Going forward I see the promotion of these items as a highly effective way of investing in people and communities to have the capacity to manage and improve their own health outcomes.

Building local workforces must be key and I know that’s easier said than done.

The Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision is a standout example of a program that has been successful in its impact towards closing the First Nations health gap.

Remarkable results have been achieved in just under a decade and the Roadmap recommendations are well on the way to being fully implemented.

Progress in Indigenous eye health has long been a challenge, making the success of this collaborative work even more remarkable.

The Hon Warren Snowdon Opposition Spokesperson Indigenous Health Keynote Address #CTG19 see full speech part 2 Below

Good morning everyone. My name is John Paterson and I am the CEO of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the NT or AMSANT. As many of you will know, AMSANT is the peak body for Aboriginal community controlled health services in the Northern Territory.

I’d like to begin by acknowledging the traditional owners, the Arrernte past, present and future, of the land on which we’re meeting: Mbantua – also known as Alice Springs.

To everyone here today, welcome to this important conference that is for the first time being held outside of Melbourne.

It will provide us with a great opportunity to share challenges, learnings and new ideas in a key regional centre for Aboriginal Australians who live in remote and very remote settings.  Aboriginal culture is strong and proud here, as it is across the NT.

Welcome to the many attendees from the NT and right across Australia. Thank you for the work you do in eye health and your interest in improving Aboriginal health outcomes.

I would like to begin by talking a little about the history of our sector in the NT.

It is a story of self-determination.

And it is a story about the passion and dedication in developing essential primary health care services to our people from the ground up.

It is a story about always being a strong advocate for our people.

Our sector provides comprehensive primary health care from Darwin to the most remote areas of the NT.

Central Australian Aboriginal Congress is 45 years old and is the second oldest ACCHS after Redfern. It is also the largest ACCHS in the NT and one of the largest in Australia.

Keynote from Donna Ah Chee CEO Congress calling on the sector to see Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye health in the context of the bigger picture of Indigenous health.

Miwatj is the largest remote ACCHS in Australia and Utopia is the oldest ACCHS based in a very remote region, having also recently turned 40.

We have in total 26 members – 13 of which provide comprehensive primary health care across the NT.

We work in partnership with the Northern Territory Government, who also provide Aboriginal PHC services to the NT. However, ACCHSs are the larger of the two providers and our sector is expanding in line with the Commonwealth and NT Government commitment to transition PHC services to community control.

The theme of this conference – “Strengthen and sustain” – resonates with the foundational principles of our sector including the need to build capacity and self-determination.

The ACCHS sector aims to provide comprehensive primary health care with our larger services providing a broad and expanding range of services that go beyond providing physical health care. Comprehensive primary health care includes Social and Emotional Wellbeing, social support, youth work, health promotion and prevention, with some now extending into aged care and even disability care.

The broad range of services considered to be part of primary health care is in line with the Alma Ata Declaration of 1978, where primary health care leaders from around the world – including leaders from the Aboriginal community controlled sector – set out a vision of primary health care that is now reflected in how our sector operates.

The declaration emphasised the need for communities to have a say and be involved in the running of primary health care, hence the fundamental importance we attach to our sector being community controlled.

Another principle of the Declaration is that comprehensive primary health care should work with government policy makers and other sectors such as employment and housing, to address the conditions that lead to poor health. Our sector strives to do this at every level, from the community to national levels, and even on the international stage.

In the NT, one of the main ways we are achieving this is by working with other Aboriginal peak bodies in an Alliance called the Aboriginal Peak Organisation NT, or APONT. APONT includes AMSANT, along with the Central and Northern Land Councils, who assist traditional owners and native title holders in the management and development of their land, including through Aboriginal ranger groups and increasingly, community development projects.

The Alma Ata declaration also emphasised the need to aim for equity of outcomes in health care provision – noting that across the world including in rich countries such as Australia, there is an unacceptable health gap between the well off and those living in poverty. As you all know, on our own country, this health gap is even larger between Aboriginal Australians and the rest of Australia. Equity is a foundational principle of our sector.

The first national Aboriginal Health Strategy, in 1989, reflected these principles and others including the need to take a holistic view of health care, including the physical, social, spiritual and emotional health of people.

This strategy recognised the inter-relationship between good health and the social determinants of health and the need to partner with sectors outside health. The strategy also emphasised capacity-building of community-controlled organisations and the community itself to support local and regional solutions to improving health.

This was a fine strategy, however, an implementation plan was not properly developed and the strategy was not properly funded. This has been a recurring story in Aboriginal health over the years.

The most recent national Aboriginal health plan is also based on self-determination, including the need for community control and the critical importance of the social and cultural determinants of health.

As I hope most of you know, there are a national set of Close the Gap targets that are soon due to expire, that guide our efforts to improve Aboriginal health.  Sadly only 3 of the 8 target are currently on track – and the health gap is one of those that is not on track.

In fact, despite marked improvement in life expectancy in the NT over the last thirty years, life expectancy in the NT now seems to be stalling which is due to the failure to address social determinants, and the ever-growing chronic disease epidemic in our people.

I believe we would have seen much more progress towards closing the gap if the vision first set out in 1989 in the National Aboriginal Health Strategy had been implemented by both the Federal and State governments, including the critical need to commit to self-determination.

While that precious opportunity has foundered for the last three decades, I believe we are once again at a critical juncture and seeing a shift towards governments working in equal partnership with our people. This trend must continue if we are to see sustainable improvement.

At a national level, I am very heartened to see that the process to refresh the Closing the Gap targets is now developing into an equal partnership between Aboriginal leaders across Australia and Commonwealth, State and Territory governments through the Council of Australian Governments or COAG process.

We now, for the very first time, have a large group of Aboriginal peak bodies working closely with government to set the forward agenda for tackling the health gap. Our national peak organisation, NACCHO, led by an inspiring Aboriginal Alice Springs leader – Pat Turner – is at the vanguard of this work.

Read all 50 plus NACCHO Aboriginal Eye Health Articles Here

I represent APONT on this national coalition, ensuring that our leadership in the Northern Territory continues to influence the national agenda. We will be working hard to ensure that the targets reflect the critical issues affecting the health of our people – across the social determinants, and including issues such as housing,  the skyrocketing imprisonment rates and tragically high rates of children in the child protection system.

How does all of this high-level government policy relate to eye care?

We know that our Aboriginal community controlled health services in the NT are under resourced.

Six years ago, a study was done in a small ACCHS in the NT – one of our better funded services. The study looked at how much it cost to carry out all the chronic disease care recommended by the CARPA manual – which is the guideline that all our services use.

It found that the service was under funded to the tune of $1700 per person per year. This funding gap may have increased since then.  The AMA has recently reiterated that there is a large funding gap in Aboriginal primary health care.

We cannot build specialist services, including specialist eye services, on a foundation of an under-resourced primary health care sector.  Our sector must be properly funded.

Trachoma is often described as a disease of poverty, which is one of the reasons why its continued existence in Australia, and almost exclusively in Aboriginal communities, is a national disgrace.

The World Health Organisation has developed the SAFE strategy for eliminating trachoma.

I am sure most of you know that the S stands for surgery, A for antibiotics, F for facial cleanliness and E for Environmental Improvements.

Regarding the environmental improvements, we know that the NT Aboriginal population has the worst housing in Australia.

Around 60% of Aboriginal people live in over-crowded housing and one third live in poorly maintained houses.

This directly impacts on the ability of our people to maintain healthy living practices such as ensuing their kids have clean faces and clean clothes.

We cannot keep on relying on antibiotics to get rid of trachoma – to be sustainable, there must be major improvements in environmental health and housing.

Improving housing will also lead to improvements in other infectious diseases that are way too common in our people in the NT, including skin sores and sore throats – which can both precipitate RHD; and with skin sores also being linked to high rates of renal disease.

A recent data linkage study found that over-crowded housing was by far the biggest reason for children missing school – accounting for over 30 days of missed school a year on average.

We know that poor school attendance is very closely linked to poor school results.  Our children need decent living conditions if they are to thrive both physically but also socially and at school.

What is AMSANT doing about the shocking state of housing in the NT?

AMSANT has worked as part of the APONT alliance in supporting the formation of an Aboriginal Housing committee, AHNT, and is supporting AHNT to become the recognised Aboriginal housing peak body for the NT. Along with AHNT, we are working closely with NT Department of Housing to develop a community led housing strategy, to return Aboriginal housing to community control.

More info Register 

This is a long journey – but it is already bearing some fruit.

However, currently, as many of you will be aware from recent media reports – the NT and Commonwealth are at a stand-off about desperately needed Commonwealth funding for remote Aboriginal housing.

We must have cooperation between the two levels of government to address our housing crisis. We are tired of the excuses and political stand offs, while our communities suffer.

If they would for one moment stop and listen to us, come and talk with us, they would hear our message loud and clear – we want a seat at the decision-making table.

It the Prime Minister and the State and Territory Premiers and Chief Ministers can agree on an equal partnership with Aboriginal peak bodies on Closing the Gap, then the Commonwealth and NT governments can do the same for Aboriginal housing. We say – make it happen!

And now to eyes.

 

Eye health matters. In Australia, people with even mild vision loss have a risk of dying that is 2.6 times higher than those with good vision.

Vision loss causes 11% of the Indigenous health gap, meaning it accounts for 11% of years of life lost to disability for Indigenous people. It is the third leading cause of the gap behind cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

The 2008 National Indigenous Eye Health Strategy demonstrated the huge gap between the eye health of Indigenous and other Australians:

  • Indigenous adults were 6 times more likely to become blind as non-Indigenous, despite 94% of this vision loss being preventable or treatable;
  • Australia was the only developed country in the world to have endemic trachoma in some regions;
  • And yet studies showed that Indigenous children have better eyesight than others.

However, as you know, a lot is happening in the eye space and primary health care is a critical part of that work.

The work done to close the gap for vision has been very successful. The progress made on the Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision, which comprises action against over 40 recommendations, is substantial and impressive, particularly given the number of stakeholders in many sectors who have contributed to its achievements.

One of the achievements in the NT has been the formation and ongoing success of regional eye health coordination groups, which are collaborations and partnerships involving all the key eye health stakeholders including primary health care, and are an important component of the Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision.

The Central Australian and Barkly collaboration has been working effectively for 10 years now, and has been joined in recent years by a Top End collaboration.

AMSANT is involved in both groups and has been funded by the Fred Hollows Foundation to become more involved, including through a position supporting the Central Australian committee.

However, I hope that you have got the message that everyone in health care – including those in eye health care – need to think more broadly about health and not just focus on their part of the gap.

The Aboriginal vision of health is holistic and specialist services need to be built on a strong primary health care foundation.

The international health research has shown that health systems built on a strong primary health care foundation are more equitable affordable and sustainable.

I believe that the eye care gap will not sustainably close – along with the rest of the health gap – if we do not have political commitment to self-determination, and an equitable approach to funding Aboriginal primary health care, based on need.

And we also  need a commitment to fixing the social determinants of health, equitably, based on need and Aboriginal-led.

We must avoid the situation where specialist areas advocate separately to government for their bit of Aboriginal health funding without seeing the bigger picture and the lack of resources on the ground in primary health care.

We need to work together in true partnership if we are to close the gap and that means we MUST be at the decision-making table, not an afterthought.

So thank you for all the work that you do in eye health care- we do appreciate it.

And I hope that you enjoy the two days and go back to your work refreshed, invigorated and inspired.

Thank you.

Part 2 : ADDRESS TO THE CLOSE THE GAP FOR VISION BY 2020

From the outset I want to stress that Federal Labor is acutely aware that Australia remains the only developed country with endemic trachoma, which is only found in our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Further, while we acknowledge the scourge of Trachoma, cataract is the leading cause of blindness for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults and is 12 times more common than for non-Indigenous Australians. We have seen inroads in the rates of trachoma, many thanks to people in this room.

Trachoma has dropped from 21 per cent in outback children in 2008 to 3.8 per cent in 2018 and is on track to be eliminated by the end of 2020. This is a marvellous achievement and I again want to thank the tireless effort, tenacity and dedication of those in this room over the last decade in ensuring this has remained a front and centre issue for consecutive governments across partisan lines.

Today I want to discuss three things:

  • Where to now and looking beyond 2020
  • How we can build on the success of the Roadmap in other spaces and;
  • What to expect from a Shorten Labor Government

As the incidence of Trachoma lessens and is likely to be completely eliminated come 2020/21, we will face different vision-loss challenges. Blindness and impaired vision among Aboriginal people was six times the national rate in 2008, and it is now down to three times the national rate. However, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are still most likely to experience permanent vision impairment, with most cases of avoidable blindness resulting from uncorrected refractive error, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts.

One in 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults is at risk of Diabetic Retinopathy, which we all know can lead to irreversible vision loss. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people wait on average 63% longer for cataract surgery than non-Indigenous Australians. Almost two-thirds of vision impairment among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is due to uncorrected refractive error- often treatable with a pair of glasses.

And I want to note here, that I welcomed Minister Wyatt’s announcement in August last year to commit $2 million to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with easier access to affordable prescription glasses. This was a positive first step.

The case for well-informed advocacy around uncorrected refractive error, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts in the First Nation population must be a priority for this sector come 2020 and beyond. As we edge towards the complete elimination of Trachoma the traction from governments’ and the funding which comes attached I anticipate will lessen. This will be no surprise to people in this room.

Security of funding will decline without ongoing strategic advocacy from the sector. There will need to a be a sustained and coordinated approach as there has been with the Roadmap to ensure this doesn’t curtail the inroads that are being made in other areas of vision loss. For example; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians with diabetes have significantly fewer recommended eye checks than the non-indigenous Australian population and this incidence is particularly escalated in remote and regional areas [35% comparted with 64% respectively].

The total indirect cost of blindness as a result of diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular oedema, the most frequent manifestations of diabetic retinopathy, is estimated to be more than $28,000 per person. Early investment into coordinated primary healthcare presents a powerful fiscal argument for governments at all levels.

These are the sorts of messages I encourage the sector to advocate for, we are in fiscally uncertain times so governments are constantly looking for costefficient measures.  The fact the up to 98 per cent of diabetes-related blindness can be prevented through annual eye exams and timely treatment in the early stages of disease, is compelling.

Investing in professional development and training to enhance existing clinicians’ skills to perform eye-health assessments can produce significant savings for both the patient and the tax payer. I am a proponent of the MBS 715 item [Aboriginal Health Check] and the annual MBS 12325 item [Diabetic Retinopathy Screening] to be employed in all instances, as both schedule items promote early screening and diagnosis, preventing future complications and the costs associated with vison impairment.

The establishment of diabetic eye screening rates as a key performance indicator for Primary Health Networks is a sensible way to drive MBS revenue and improve eye health outcomes. Further, employing MBS item service delivery models, is a sustainable model of care which does not rely on ongoing or recurrent government funding. Increased information-sharing around the schedule benefits can produce significant preventative health gains to the target communities as well as provide large fiscal returns to service practices.  It’s a no brainer.

Further, supporting and improving the local primary health care service capacity to confidently perform eye assessments should reduce the dependency on visiting eye specialists. Going forward I see the promotion of these items as a highly effective way of investing in people and communities to have the capacity to manage and improve their own health outcomes.

Building local workforces must be key and I know that’s easier said than done.

The Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision is a standout example of a program that has been successful in its impact towards closing the First Nations health gap. Remarkable results have been achieved in just under a decade and the Roadmap recommendations are well on the way to being fully implemented. Progress in Indigenous eye health has long been a challenge, making the success of this collaborative work even more remarkable. This work has undergone rigorous scientific process and has a strong evidence base.

Importantly it has been strongly supported by local communities and organisations, including leading peak bodies and philanthropic organisations.

This disciplined coordination is what I think other sectors can really look towards and aspire to. And I must say this discipline is attributed in major part to the work of Professor Taylor. Stopping trachoma and other infections through the promotion of good hygiene practices and the emphasis on health hardware are pathways to negate further chronic health conditions.

Including: Ear infections and otitis media

  • Respiratory infection
  • Tooth and gum disease
  • Skin infections
  • Kidney disease

And I think most markedly

  • Rheumatic Heart Disease

The Roadmap has been able to achieve comprehensive culturally safe coordination in navigating all levels of care which is critical when managing health conditions, such as avoidable blindness.  Skilled workforce shortage complications in regional areas can ultimately be ameliorated by investing in people and communities to have the capacity to manage and improve their own health outcomes.

I know Diabetic retinopathy cameras and trained operators are being placed in more than 150 Aboriginal health clinics across Australia and this ideally must be the model we aspire for in other complex health areas. This model has been promoted and driven throughout the Roadmap.

To reiterate my major point, Labor is committed to Closing the Gap in eye health. The Roadmap was established under Labor and has since made significant improvements to the eye health of First Australians, as I’ve acknowledged. A Shorten Labor Government is committed to fully implementing the Roadmap to Close the Gap for vision.

A Shorten Labor government appreciates there is still work to be done to close the gap to meet the 2020 deadline. As an outcome of the Roadmap there are many regions of Australia where successful eye care programs have been developed providing high quality eye care for First Australians.

We acknowledge these successes and aim to build on and enhance these existing services. Now is the time to consolidate this good work and finally end avoidable blindness to ensure we meet our World Health Organisation obligations and successfully eliminate Trachoma. As Professor Taylor says, “we can’t afford to take our foot off the accelerator.” Equitable access to specialist and general eye health care services is critical to reducing high rates of preventable blindness among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

We’ve seen too many cases of good work in Aboriginal affairs left unevaluated and subsequently dismantled, especially under the Abbott/Turnbull/ Morrison government. The Tackling Indigenous Smoking program is a case in point which we’ve witnessed under this Government.

Guiding all the decisions under a Shorten Labor Government will be evidence- based policy.  The Federal Labor team will certainly have more to say on this and you can expect further announcements in the coming months in the lead up to the election. But I can say that any further investments will be to meet the 2020 Roadmap.

Under a Shorten Labor government we will be prioritising:

  • The national implementation of regional coordinators
  • Population based funding of outreach services
  • Case management and local coordination
  • Prompt housing repair and maintenance to ensure First Australians have access to safe and functioning bathrooms

We’re at the pointy end of finalising our election commitments but I do want to use this opportunity to encourage the experts before me to bring forward any policy proposals you have. If anyone wishes to share any policy ideas, as some have already, by all means I am open to hearing them and sharing them with my Federal Labor team. And for anyone in this room who isn’t aware I have an open-door policy, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch in near future.

I think that’s enough from me.

Thank you for your time this morning.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health @TheAHCWA Chair Vicki O’Donnell and Moorditj Koort’s ACCHO express deep concern over the Federal Government’s decision to award over $1.6m to a non-Indigenous organisation

“It is quite concerning, considering there are only two Aboriginal Health Services in the Perth Metropolitan Region. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t have been consulted,.

From an economic standpoint, Moorditj Koort should have been considered for the government grant as research shows Indigenous organisations deliver greater outcomes than non-Indigenous organisations. ”

Moorditj Koort’s CEO Jonathon Ford said the organisation was not consulted by the government to apply for the grant. Moorditj Koort Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre has been Indigenous-owned and run in Perth since it was founded in 2010 See Part 2 Below 

Chair of the Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA), Vicki O’Donnell has expressed deep concern over the Federal Government’s decision to award over $1.6m to a non-Indigenous organisation to deliver primary health care to Indigenous Australians.

AHCWA is the peak body for its 23 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services across WA.

On February 14th, the Prime Minister stated “Governments fail when accountabilities are unclear ,when investment is poorly targeted, when systems aren’t integrated.

And when we don’t learn from evidence.”

Read Download HERE 

We have major concerns with the procurement process in relation to this funding decision.

  • How was the need for this additional service determined when there are already existing services in the area including Mooditj Koort, Derbarl Yerrigan and other not-for profit services? Is this not a duplication of services?
  • How would Redimed add value to the services already being provided in Midland given the existence of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) that have already built connections with the local Aboriginal community?
  • Why was the funding approval process not subject to an open tender process in fairness to existing agencies?
  • How was the capacity of the grant recipient to deliver the contract determined in terms of clinical accreditation and experience in delivering primary health care to Aboriginal people?
  • What is the rationale for introducing an additional non-Indigenous provider to deliver primary health care services to the area, rather than increasing the capacity of the two current ACCHS operating in Midland?

The AMA 2018 Report Card on Indigenous Health highlights the fundamental issues such as committing to equitable needs-based funding; systematically costing, funding, and implementing the ‘Closing the Gap’ health and mental health plans; identifying and filling the gaps in primary health care; addressing environmental health and housing; addressing social determinants; and Aboriginal leadership.

“Sizeable and rapid health gains would result from additional primary health care services and targeted improvements to existing primary health services to prevent, detect, and then manage the conditions that lead to potentially preventable hospital admissions and deaths.

By definition, it is these conditions that must be addressed if the life expectancy gap is to close….these services should generally be provided by Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services that are more accessible, perform better in key areas, and are the most cost-effective vehicles for delivering primary health care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.”

Read Download AMA Report Card HERE

The decision to award such significant funding to a non-Indigenous organisation goes completely against the sentiments made in Prime Minister’s recent statement at the launch of the Closing the Gap Report

BACKGROUND NIT 

Over $1.6 million of funding for Indigenous health services has been awarded to a non-Indigenous health organisation.

Redimed, a private Perth-based company, has been the recipient of an Indigenous Comprehensive Primary Health Care grant worth $1,692,856 from the Commonwealth Department of Health.

Redimed’s grant application was labelled as targeted or restricted, indicating other organisations may not have been invited to tender.

The number of organisations asked to apply is unconfirmed and questions are arising over the suitability of selecting a non-Indigenous organisation to deliver culturally competent health services to Indigenous peoples.

The Australian Health Review reported in 2017 that Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Services are more effective at improving Indigenous health than other health providers as they are specialised in delivering care that is consistent with Indigenous patient needs.

“Simply, we have evidence that we can do better with the same amount of funds,” Mr Ford said.

He said it is ethically wrong for non-Indigenous organisations to receive Indigenous health funds.

“Our Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Organisations have the right to self-determination and self-management under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

Ford said he is unsure why the government would give a hefty sum like that awarded to Redimed without consulting the First Nations people of the land in Perth.

“I do know that unless government begins to enable our Aboriginal Organisations to provide community driven strength-based approaches to our people, it will not close the gap.”

National Indigenous Times can report that Redimed has registered a new business name: Aboriginal Health Care 360. It is unclear whether Redimed is collaborating with 360 Health which provides some Indigenous health care services.

Redimed owner Dr Hanh Nguyen was contacted for comment, however no response was received.

The funding issue is expected to be brought up in Friday’s Senate Estimates.

Minister for Indigenous Health Ken Wyatt did not respond to National Indigenous Times’ requests for comment.

By Hannah Cross

NACCHO Members Aboriginal Health Deadly Good News Stories : #NT @AMSANTaus @DanilaDilba @NRHACEO #TAS #QLD @ATSICHSBris @DeadlyChoices @Apunipima #VIC @VAHS1972 #NSW Katungul and Wellington ACCHos #SA Pika Wiya #WA @TheAHCWA #ACT

1.1 Back ACCHO medical services to #closethegap

1.2 National : In 2018–19, NACCHO and the RACGP are working on further initiatives and we want your input! Survey closes 15 February

1.3 National : SRWF inaugural Pat Turner Scholarship awarded

2. TAS : Deadly Ninja Warrior helps the Tasmanian FIAAI Tackling Smoking Team spread the message of the benefits of healthy choices.

3.1 WA : AHCWA and the WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) signed an MOU

3.2 WA : AHCWA :  Do you want to be an Aboriginal Health Worker?

4.1 NSW : Wellington Aboriginal Corporation Health Service are active members of the “Welcome Here Project ” #LGBTIQ

4.2 NSW : Katungul ACCHO credited with changing the life of Mark Scott who was using heroin for 14 years, in prison on-and-off for 14 years and an alcoholic for 17 years

5.1 VIC : VAHS ACCHO Coming soon: Aboriginal Seniors Games!!

6. ACT : Winnunga ACCHO leads the way for independent review into the “health” of Canberra’s prison

7.QLD : Apunipima’s ACCHO Mossman Gorge Clinic shares success of ACCHO’s with James Cook University’s School of Medicine and The University of Saskatchewan’s College of Medicine.

8.1 NT : National Rural Health Alliance promotes Sunrise ACCHO clinic at Bullman

8.2 NT: AMSANT and Danila Dilba ACCHO Darwin offer ideas on how to increase the retention of Aboriginal Health Workers

9. SA:  Pika Wiya Health Service Aboriginal Corporation officially reopened the doors to the Davenport Health Clinic on Monday, January 14.

How to submit in 2019 a NACCHO Affiliate  or Members Good News Story ?

Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media 

Mobile 0401 331 251 

Wednesday by 4.30 pm for publication Thursday /Friday

1.1 Back ACCHO medical services to #closethegap

” The widening and persistent deficit in the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians is arguably the nation’s biggest policy failure, but Aboriginal communities are fighting back and showing how to close the gap, .

When the very first Aboriginal medical service opened its doors in a small shopfront in Sydney’s inner-city Redfern in 1971, the leaders who launched it showed enormous guts, resourcefulness and vision to address the very poor health of their people.

Almost five decades later, there are now about 145 such medical services located around Australia, with the vast majority run by boards comprised of Aboriginal people. Each year, they provide care to around 350,000 people.

Despite the efforts of these trailblazers, Aboriginal people are still missing out on primary and preventative health care, and this explains why we are failing as a nation to close the gap and achieve Aboriginal health equality.

And Australia is doing far worse than other countries that have a similar history of dispossession and colonisation. ”

Dr Paul Cleary is Oxfam Australia’s Indigenous policy and advocacy lead.

Professor Ian Ring AO is a distinguished expert in public health and epidemiology.

Read full article Here 

The Government’s justifying more funding into mainstream services by arguing that ACCHS only service around half of the Indigenous population ignores the strong preference of Indigenous people for community-controlled health.

Most of the services are at maximum capacity and there are many places where due to location and distance it is simply not possible to attend an ACCHS – the answer is increased investment not less,”

To make matters worse, the government seems to be giving preference to the mainstream sector in order to address Aboriginal health needs says Pat Turner, the chief executive of the peak body NACCHO

1.2 National : In 2018–19, NACCHO and the RACGP are working on further initiatives and we want your input! Survey closes 15 February

Survey until 15 Feb 2019 : To participate in a short survey, please CLICK HERE

Please tell us your ideas for

-improving quality of 715 health checks

-clinical software -implementation of the National Guide

-culturally responsive healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

More info 

1.3 National : SRWF inaugural Pat Turner Scholarship awarded

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) has welcomed the creation and awarding of the Pat Turner Scholarship Program by The Sir Roland Wilson foundation to six scholars. Pat Turner is the current CEO of NACCHO.

NACCHO Acting Chair Donnella Mills said, “the scholarship is named after Pat and will provide for Australian Public Service employees to complete full time post-graduate study at the Australian National University or Charles Darwin University. This honour for Pat is a testament to her years of hard work, resilience and advocacy for Indigenous peoples.”

Pat’s career as a public servant included many great achievements. She was the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and the Deputy CEO of ATSIC at its inception. She was also responsible for setting up the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation when working in the Dept of Prime Minister & Cabinet.

After winning the Monash Chair of Australian Studies, Georgetown University she moved to Washington DC as Professor of Australian Studies.

She was the inaugural CEO of NITV and was appointed NACCHO Chief Executive Officer in April 2016.

The Sir Roland Wilson PhD scholarship program has recently been extended to now include the Patricia Turner Scholarship program.

The Foundation decided to name it after an influential, significant and impressive Indigenous woman. She was considered a trailblazer in the APS and her legacy of encouraging her staff to seek out and undertake educational opportunities was certainly something to be celebrated.

That Pat came from humble beginnings and had to repeatedly prove herself against a system of societal inequality, was somewhat reminiscent of Sir Roland Wilson’s beginnings. He was from a very working-class background and was awarded a scholarship to study at Oxford.

In August 2018 SRWF held selection interviews for the inaugural Pat Turner Scholarship. We had 17 APS agencies participating and actively promoting the opportunity to their staff. Each participating agency conducted its own internal selection process and 13 nominations were forwarded to us. The Selection committee shortlisted 11 applicants to interview.

NACCHO congratulates the recipients and wished them well in their chosen fields of studies.

The scholarships were awarded to:

Anthony Cowley Department of Social Services Master by Research CDU

Craig Leon Department of Human Services Master by Research ANU

Martin Dallen Department of Agriculture & Water Resources Master of Forestry ANU

Peter (PJ) Bligh Department of the Environment & Energy Master of Economic Policy ANU

Steve Munns Department of Human Services PhD ANU

Deborah Katona Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Master of Public Policy CDU

2. TAS : Deadly Ninja Warrior helps the Tasmanian FIAAI Tackling Smoking Team spread the message of the benefits of healthy choices.

JACK WILSON or as he’s known, The Deadly Ninja Warrior was in Tasmania during the month of January to help the FIAAI Tackling Smoking Team spread the message of the benefits of healthy choices.

Jack is mostly known for his athleticism and skills on the widely popular TV show Ninja Warrior but he is also passionate about educating and inspiring communities to be the best versions of themselves.

Jack started his Tasmanian journey down South at the Huon Valley PCYC sharing his story and engaging with the kids in a workout at a community event in partnership with the South East Tasmanian Aboriginal Corporation.

The event also incorporated a large number of other community organisations and services, such as the Tasmania Fire Service, SES, Misha’s Mates, Quit Tasmania, Tasmanian Aboriginal Legal Service, The Heart Foundation plus many more.

Jack’s next appearance was at The Link Youth Health Service in Hobart City with 17 eager attendees.

Duncan Giblin, AOD worker stated ‘Jack was down to earth and engaged really well with the young people who attended. Jack encouraged people to seek help to address the barriers in their lives and to be persistent when things seemed hard.’

Leaving the youth inspired, Jack headed just around the corner to another youth group to spread the message even further. ‘It was a very engaging session’ said Simon, Team Leader at Youth Arts and Recreation Centre.

Simon continued to state that ‘The intimate audience of young people and youth workers listened curiously which sparked many questions to Jack ranging from his time on Australian Ninja Warrior to running the New York Marathon.”

Jack and the Tackling Smoking Team then headed north to visit a Detention Centre and the Launceston PCYC to further reiterate this important message and put them through their paces with a deadly ninja workout.

Ashley’s Detention Centre Program Coordinator told the tobacco action workers that “Jack’s visit had really inspired the young people. “

40 keen participants attended the event at the Launceston PCYC with one participant lucky enough to engage in a one on one training session with Jack after the event. Aaron Gornalle of Launceston now hopes to make it onto the next season of Australian Ninja Warrior.

The final hoorah landed Jack and the team on Flinders Island at the Furneaux Islands Festival where Jack took a huge portion of the Island’s youth through a large scale ninja obstacle course and discussed that in order to be at your peak, there is no room for unhealthy habits like smoking!

3.1 WA : AHCWA and the WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) signed an MOU

This week , AHCWA and the WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) signed an MOU with the key objective for both parties to adopt a shared and coordinated approach in seeking to address the health and wellbeing needs of the Aboriginal population in WA in the most efficient and effective manner possible.

(L-R): Learne Durrington, WAPHA CEO; Des Martin, AHCWA CEO; Dr Richard Choong, WAPHA Chairperson; and Vicki O’Donnell, AHCWA Chairperson

3.2 WA : AHCWA :  Do you want to be an Aboriginal Health Worker?

AHCWA can help you achieve this, places are still open for the 2019 intakes.

Becoming an Aboriginal Health Worker will allow you to work within the health care setting to assist your community to access and receive the appropriate care they require.

Contact adminmembersupport@ahcwa.org for more information.

4.1 NSW : Wellington Aboriginal Corporation Health Service are active members of the “Welcome Here Project ” #LGBTIQ

Wellington Aboriginal Corporation Health Service are active members of the “Welcome Here Project”.

What is this project, you ask, well the Welcome Here Project is the new Safe Place Project.

The Safe Place Project started in 1998 in response to high levels of street based violence directed at Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) people.

Local businesses signed up to become a ‘Safe Pace’ by putting a sticker in their shop front to let LGBTIQ community members know they could seek refuge if they were under the threat of violence.

Check out the deadly staff and their support for the LGBTIQA+ community!

4.2 NSW : Katungul ACCHO credited with changing the life of Mark Scott who was using heroin for 14 years, in prison on-and-off for 14 years and an alcoholic for 17 years

“My name is Mark Scott but my mates call me Baldy. I’m a Wiradjuri man and I’m pretty open with my past – if by sharing my story, I can help someone else then that’s a good thing.

I was using heroin for 14 years, in prison on-and-off for 14 years and an alcoholic for 17 years and I’m only 56.

I credit Katungul for the life I live today. Rohan Moreton (Katungul Drug and Alcohol Community Support Worker) convinced me to go up to Oolong House in Nowra (Oolong House provides residential treatment for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal men who wish to regain their lives and manage problems linked to alcohol and other drugs) and since I graduated from that program I’ve been drug and alcohol free.

I have my own place to live, I got my driver’s license, and I even present two hours a week on 2SeaFM community radio. What makes me most proud though is that I’m back in touch with my kids and grandkids.

I meet with Katungul’s AOD team every week in Eden because they keep me grounded and remind me of how far I’ve come. I own the word ‘no’ now”

5.1 VIC : VAHS ACCHO Coming soon: Aboriginal Seniors Games!!

Want to get out of the house or know a family member who does. Whilst getting active, meeting new people and most importantly having fun! Then come along and check it out. This is a program not to be missed.

When: Wednesday’s starting March 6th
Time: 10am-2pm
Where: Aborigines Advancement League (Thornbury)

Need help registering? Want to learn more about the games?
Come along to our registration and info day on the 27th Feb 12-2pm at VAHS Preston. Lunch provided!

Follow the link to register for the games! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/senior

Any questions contact:03  8459 0932

6. ACT : Winnunga ACCHO leads the way for independent review into the “health” of Canberra’s prison

In its submission to the Moss review, the Winnunga Aboriginal Health Care service said that the “bashing, care, treatment and death of Steven Freeman [had been] characterised by a lack of transparency, accountability and of secrecy

Recommendations from the independent Moss review “So Much Sadness In Our Lives” which examined the 2016 death in custody of indigenous detainee Steven Freeman.

The 2016 death in custody of Steven Freeman sharply focussed attention on Canberra’s prison “

An independent review into the “health” of Canberra’s prison, the first of its type for any Australian correctional centre, is inviting public submissions and commentary as part of an extensive report to be tabled in the ACT Assembly mid-year.

Independent prison review invites submissions from the Canberra public CREDIT:JAY CRONAN

Submissions are now open, and close on May 1.

The ACT Inspector of Correctional Services said that the “healthy prison review” welcomes input from all interested parties including corrections staff, community organisations, unions and the academic community.

Detainees at the prison are also invited to submit, anonymously if wished, with a stated preference by the inspectorate for all submissions to directly address one or more of the four “pillars” of the review framework.

These pillars include:

  • prison safety;
  • respect;
  • purposeful activity; and
  • rehabilitation and preparation for release.

Submissions should not raise complaints about the treatment or conduct of named individuals although anonymous case studies are permitted.

The inspectorate’s role, in reporting directly to the ACT Assembly, is to deliver an independent assessment of Canberra’s prison and services.

The role was established as a government response to the recommendations from the independent Moss review “So Much Sadness In Our Lives” which examined the 2016 death in custody of indigenous detainee Steven Freeman.

The 2016 death in custody of Steven Freeman sharply focussed attention on Canberra’s prison

The prison treatment of Freeman over a lengthy period prior to his death highlighted deficiencies in the prison’s systems, facilities and detainee treatment.

These issues included the mixing of remandees with sentenced prisoners, prisoner boredom, poor CCTV surveillance coverage, a lack of opportunities to learn a skill or trade, illicit drug use, and the delivery of health services.

In its submission to the Moss review, the Winnunga Aboriginal Health Care service said that the “bashing, care, treatment and death of Steven Freeman [had been] characterised by a lack of transparency, accountability and of secrecy”.

The prison’s inspector, Neil McAllister, is permitted to conduct unannounced visits to all correctional centres, including the cells underneath the ACT court buildings.

He works alongside, but separate from, other oversight mechanisms such as the ACT Human Rights Commission, the ACT Ombudsman, the Public Advocate and the prison’s official visitors.

Primarily, his review is seeking to ascertain whether vulnerable detainees at the prison, such as those with mental health issues or cognitive impairment, are being held safely, and whether staff are able to work in a “safe and supportive” environment.

It will also examine whether human rights and dignity are respected within the prison.

It will seek to determine whether detainees are “able, and expected to engage in activity that is likely to benefit them”.

Finally, it will assess whether prisoners have access to programs and services which will assist and prepare them for a life outside the prison.

Submissions can be addressed to the office of the inspector of correctional services at http://ics@act.gov.au.

7.1 QLD : Apunipima’s ACCHO Mossman Gorge Clinic shares success of ACCHO’s with James Cook University’s School of Medicine and The University of Saskatchewan’s College of Medicine.

This week the team at Apunipima’s Mossman Gorge Clinic spent time with representatives from James Cook University’s School of Medicine and The University of Saskatchewan’s College of Medicine.

The Canadian visitors have spent their time in Australia learning more about Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHO).

Visiting a number of services across North Queensland which has given them a good insight.

“Health care for Indigenous people in Canada is delivered in a far more traditional way than what we have seen here. I am impressed by the level of consultation and how different disciplines work together to deliver the best results for the patient.” said Carlyn Seguin, who oversees the Global Health Certificate at the University of Saskatchewan.

Students studying the Global Health Certificate with the University of Saskatchewan have the opportunity to apply for an international placement as part of the program. Placements in Australia are facilitated by James Cook University’s School Of Medicine, a partnership that is now entering its fourth year.

“JCU’s partnership with the University of Saskatchewan provides a valuable opportunity to develop a collective global voice for Indigenous health needs, concerns and successes.” said Tarun Sen Gupta, Professor of Health Professional Education at James Cook University.

7.2 QLD : At ATSIHS ACCHO Brisbane get your Deadly Choices All Star Shirt

Just in…the limited edition  Choices All Stars shirts. Get in quick to get yours at your health check (715)!

Contact us Visit HERE 


8.1 NT : National Rural Health Alliance promotes Sunrise ACCHO clinic at Bullman

Positive signs of No Sugar (Zoro Coke and water ) in Indigenous communities but there is a long way to go. The link between excessive sugar levels in soft drinks and diabetes, chronic disease is well established. More effort is required in remote communities

8.2 NT: AMSANT and Danila Dilba ACCHO Darwin offer ideas on how to increase the retention of Aboriginal Health Workers

“In [these] clinics, the decisions are made at the local community level and the response is fairly quick.

In the government clinics, I’d imagine there’s a hierarchical structure and people get frustrated.

Training put strains on some hopeful AHWs, with more demands on them today to travel away from their base clinics — which are also often their home communities — to learn in Alice Springs or Darwin.

This puts a lot of strain on families, particularly families with young kids and single parents.

Once trainees graduate, many get burned out by the job, especially those working in remote locations.

Often did not get perks like cheap accommodation offered to police officers or doctors

The real challenge is to encourage and offer the proper incentives and renumeration to reward those who do want to undertake that particular work in rural and remote Northern Territory,” he said.

The salaries of Aboriginal health practitioners also needs to be reviewed.”

The chief executive of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT, John Paterson, said the data might hint at how the workers felt more supported in Aboriginal-community-controlled health clinics.

FROM the ABC

The Northern Territory is the only place in the nation with falling numbers of health sector workers trained to bridge cultural gaps between First Nations and non-Indigenous people.

Key points:

  • NT Health is losing Aboriginal Health Workers
  • This may be partly due to difficult training requirements
  • Others may be moving into health streams like nursing or medicine

Data obtained by the ABC shows the number of registered Aboriginal Health Workers in the NT fell almost 17 per cent over six years, even though almost a third of the Territory’s population is Indigenous.

All of those losses came from the public health sector, rather than private or Aboriginal-controlled health services.

‘I get to help my mob’

Kiara Peacock is one year into her traineeship as an Aboriginal Health Worker (AHW) at the Aboriginal-community-controlled health clinic, Danila Dilba.

The Larrakia woman used to work in HR but jumped at the chance when the traineeship position came up in Darwin.

“I get to help my mob,” Ms Peacock said.

“We have more of an understanding with the cultural side of things, with communicating to our patients and understanding them as well.”

That is incredibly important in a place like the Territory, which has the biggest proportion of Indigenous people per capita in Australia and many different language groups often not spoken by non-Indigenous doctors and nurses.

Another Danila Dilba trainee, Darren Braun, said he believed Indigenous patients felt more able to open up to him because of their shared culture and his grasp on the language Kriol.

“I find that in consults, if a doctor is doing consults first and we do it after, we get more information than what a doctor can do,” he said.

Yet Ms Peacock and Mr Braun are entering the profession at a time when the overall numbers of AHWs working in the Territory is dwindling.

Data obtained by the ABC shows the number of registered workers in the NT fell from more than 250 in 2012 to just 211 in 2018.

The data follows a recent study by the Australian National University that found the Territory was the only jurisdiction in the country where the numbers of these workers had declined in the past decade.

ANU researcher Alyson Wright found at a national level, retiring workers were not being replaced by younger workers.

The ABC crunched the data by ANU and – in terms of workers per Indigenous person – Victoria and South Australia now have the highest proportion of workers, with Queensland, Western Australia and the NT trailing on relatively similar levels.

What sector are the workers leaving?

Danila Dilba chief executive Olga Havnen said the numbers of AHWs at the clinic had been relatively stable over the last decade.

She said they had achieved that by prioritising traineeships.

Data shows numbers of AHW working in non-government clinics like Danila Dilba had slightly increased since 2012, with the overall decline in numbers all coming from the government sector, NT Health.

NT Health — which operates clinics in Darwin through to very remote Indigenous communities — has lost a staggering 61 of these workers since 2012.

The department did not respond to questions from the ABC about whether this is directly related to the closure of NT Health Clinics.

However, in a statement, a spokesperson said the loss was not due to redundancies.

“While our numbers are declining, we have not cut positions,” the spokesperson said.

He said there were many factors behind the decline, including changes to the training requirements for AHWs in the Territory and a very low completion rate by trainees.

This is something experienced by Ms Peacock — while she is based in Darwin, she has to travel an hour for her studies every month to Batchelor.

“If anything would stop me doing this job personally, it’s the location of where I study,” she said.

“Some of us are quite young. We’ve only just got our Ps. Some don’t even have a car themselves or transport. Some of us come from places like [the remote community] Maningrida.”

Is there a silver lining to the trend?

The NT Health spokesperson said the department was, “developing a workforce strategy that will have a clear career path with the appropriate support mechanisms to attract and retain” the workers.

“Including looking at ways Aboriginal students are supported while they are studying, often away from their country,” they said.

Yet despite the decline in numbers, the spokesperson said some of the workers leaving are moving into other health streams like nursing or medicine.

That is something Ms Havnen from Danila Dilba has noticed.

“So I’m hoping that what people is doing is taking slightly different career paths,” she said.

Mr Paterson agreed this was a positive step forward, but that the growth of Indigenous people into these other roles should not come at the loss of AHWs in the Territory.

“We’ve got to get that balance right,” he said.

9. SA:  Pika Wiya Health Service Aboriginal Corporation officially reopened the doors to the Davenport Health Clinic on Monday, January 14.

The clinic has been closed for several months due to a “lack of staff and the ongoing problem with the recruitment of doctors”, but is now back in business, giving Davenport residents a closer option for their health requirements.

Pika Wiya CEO Alan Morris said the return of the health clinic was “long overdue”.

“We decided to address the needs out here,” Mr Morris said.

“For the first six months, we’ll be seeing and assessing what those needs will be by looking at the patient numbers coming through.

“We’re very happy to be back out here.”

Pika Wiya’s healthcare is available to the Aboriginal population in Port Augusta and surrounding towns, with about 3200 active customers and patients accessing the medical service.

With the Port Augusta centre on Dartmouth Street facing an influx of patients during the summer months, Pika Wiya began working towards reopening the Davenport clinic.

Mr Morris said Pika Wiya’s board, as well as the Davenport community, were keen for the clinic to reopen.

“Patients could have transport issues. They might not be able to access (the Port Augusta centre),” Mr Morris said.

“We’ve spent a lot of money on doing up the clinic, so it’s in pretty good nick.”

Davenport community members gathered at the clinic on Monday morning to celebrate the opening, with staff hosting a barbecue breakfast.

Mr Morris said the event was a good opportunity to let the community know that the doors were officially open.

“It was just a chance for us to say ‘here we are, we’re back and we’re going to be operating again’,” he said.

The Davenport Health Clinic is open on Monday afternoons from 2-4pm, and Wednesday and Fridays from 9am-12:30pm

Patients will have access to general practitioners and Aboriginal health workers at the refurbished clinic.

For more information about the clinic, contact 8642 2556.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal #Heart Health #refreshtheCTGRefresh : Two leading Victorian health organisations have developed a new relationship to help #ClosetheGap on heart disease and improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

It is essential that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are respected as cultural experts, central to their own care. Yet we can’t expect to close the healthcare gap, let alone eliminate it as is our aim, by working in isolation.

Too many Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are diagnosed with illnesses much later than non-Indigenous Victorians, resulting in a significant burden on health services and other long-term costs on the system.

Together with the Heart Foundation, we can provide support and share information to help Aboriginal communities affected by, or at risk of, heart disease across the state access the services they need.”

VACCHO Acting CEO Trevor Pearce welcomed the opportunity to continue working with the Heart Foundation to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

 ” The people you love, take them for heart health checks.

Learn the warning signs of a heart attack and make sure to ring 000 (Triple Zero) if you think someone in your community is having one. Secondly give cigarettes the boot:

If you smoke, stop. I was only a light smoker but it still did me harm, so now I’ve given up.”

Former champion footballer Nicky Winmar always looked after his health, apart from having been a light smoker for years : Watch video 

Read this article and over 60 NACCHO Aboriginal Heart Health Articles HERE published over 6 years

Two leading Victorian health organisations have developed a new relationship to help Close the Gap on heart disease and improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

 and  The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and the Heart Foundation in Victoria today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together to improve the heart health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait lslander communities in this state.

Heart disease is the leading killer of Australians, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are twice as likely to die from heart disease than non-Indigenous people.

In some regions of Victoria, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are hospitalised for heart conditions up to three times more often than non-Indigenous Australians. Yet they are less likely than non-Indigenous people with heart disease to have coronary angiography and other cardiac procedures; to receive or attend cardiac rehabilitation; or to be prescribed statins.

Heart Foundation CEO Victoria Kellie-Ann Jolly said, “Signing this MOU reinforces the relationship and commitment both organisations have towards achieving health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait lslander peoples.

“We understand how important it is to build mutual respect and trust at a local level through our previous work with Shepparton’s Rumbalara Aboriginal Health Service, and as part of the Lighthouse Hospital Project with the Bairnsdale Regional Health Service and the town’s local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO),” Ms Jolly said.

“With almost one-quarter of the mortality gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous people due to cardiovascular disease, it is vital we work together to address this pressing issue.

“We see our collaboration with VACCHO as a long-term partnership towards achieving our shared vision of improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heart health care in Victoria.

“While there’s still a long way to go, increasing awareness of heart disease and working towards improved pathways to access culturally-safe healthcare services are critical if we are to see change.

“Eliminating rheumatic heart disease, which is far more common in Indigenous communities, is another priority for the Heart Foundation. It is only through working together with grass-roots organisations and the peak body, VACCHO, that we can begin to address this issue.”

VACCHO and the Heart Foundation will also work together to advocate for projects and initiatives that strive towards health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This MOU signing marks a significant step towards Closing the Gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

About the Heart Foundation

The Heart Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to fighting the single biggest killer of Australians – heart disease. For close to 60 years, it’s led the battle to save lives and improve the heart health of all Australians. Its sights are set on a world where people don’t suffer or die prematurely because of heart disease. To find out more about the Heart Foundation’s research program or to make a donation, visit www.heartfoundation.org.au or call 13 11 12.

About VACCHO

The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation Inc (VACCHO) was established in 1996. VACCHO is the peak body for Aboriginal health and wellbeing in Victoria, with 30 Member ACCOs providing support to approximately 25,000 Aboriginal people across the state.

Visit www.vaccho.org.au

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and local #Adoption : @CAACongress @SNAICC and @AbSecNSW streamed live today August 14 from Canberra , public hearing local adoption : Plus @AMSANTaus full submission

 

We are aware that this Inquiry was called in the wake of recent media coverage relating to the issue of adoption of Aboriginal children, including the Minister’s own comments that adoption policies should be changed to allow more Aboriginal children to be adopted by non-Aboriginal families.

AMSANT would like to emphasise the importance of informed discussion on this issue and draws the Committee’s attention to the following, put forward in March of this year as part of a joint statement from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders in response to media coverage:

We need to have a more rational and mature discussion aimed at achieving better social, community, family and individual outcomes for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people. We must work to ensure that the drivers of child protection intervention are addressed, rather than continuing with a poorly designed and resourced system that reacts when it’s too late, after families have already reached breaking point and children have been harmed1

See Full AMSANT Submission Part 2 Below

 

“As detailed in our submission, AbSec is strongly opposed to the coerced adoption of Aboriginal children by statutory child protection systems. Adoption orders are characterised by the absence of key safeguards to ensure the safety and wellbeing of Aboriginal children.

They fail to uphold an Aboriginal child’s fundamental rights to family, community and culture, and the importance of these connections to our life long wellbeing and resilience. They are not in the best interests of our children.

In particular, it must be noted that past policies of the forced separation of Aboriginal children and young people from their families, communities, culture and Country is regarded as a key contributor to this ongoing over-representation. It is not a solution.

AbSec, alongside QATSICPP and SNAAICC, call for the development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-led approaches to the care of our children “

ABSEC Submission Download Here

ABSEC Adoption submission

SNAICC Submission Download Here

Snaicc Adoption submission

 Part 1 Next public hearing for local adoption inquiry

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs will hold a public hearing into a nationally consistent framework for local adoption in Australia.

The Committee will hear from the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care – National Voice for our Children (also known as SNAICC), and the Aboriginal Child, Family and Community Care State Secretariat (NSW) (also known as AbSec).

A detailed program for the hearing is available from the inquiry webpage (www.aph.gov.au/localadoption).

Public hearing details: Tuesday 14 August, 4.40pm (approx) to 6.00pm, Committee Room 1R2, Parliament House, Canberra

The Central Australian Aboriginal Congress

SNAICC (Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care) – National Voice for our Children

AbSec – the Aboriginal Child, Family and Community Care State Secretariat (NSW)

The hearings will be streamed live in audio format at aph.gov.au/live.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the hearing however there will be limited seating available.

Further information about the inquiry, including the terms of reference and submissions published so far, is available on the inquiry webpage.

Part 2 AMSANT submission to The Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs: Inquiry into local adoption

AMSANT welcomes the opportunity to provide a submission to the Inquiry into Local Adoption. As the peak body for the community controlled Aboriginal primary health care sector in the Northern Territory AMSANT advocates for equity in health, focusing on supporting the provision of high quality comprehensive primary health care services for Aboriginal communities.

This submission provides an overview of AMSANT’s position in relation to Aboriginal children in Child Protection, including Out of Home Care (OOHC) and potential adoption, and also responds directly to Terms of Reference 1 and 2 of the Inquiry.

Overview

AMSANT embraces a social and cultural determinants of health perspective which recognises that health and wellbeing are profoundly affected by a range of interacting economic, social and cultural factors. Accordingly, we advocate for a holistic and child-centred approach to Child Protection that seeks first and foremost to address the underlying causes of abuse and neglect through prevention and early intervention.

We are aware that this Inquiry was called in the wake of recent media coverage relating to the issue of adoption of Aboriginal children, including the Minister’s own comments that adoption policies should be changed to allow more Aboriginal children to be adopted by non-Aboriginal families.

AMSANT would like to emphasise the importance of informed discussion on this issue and draws the Committee’s attention to the following, put forward in March of this year as part of a joint statement from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders in response to media coverage:

We need to have a more rational and mature discussion aimed at achieving better social, community, family and individual outcomes for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people. We must work to ensure that the drivers of child protection intervention are addressed, rather than continuing with a poorly designed and resourced system that reacts when it’s too late, after families have already reached breaking point and children have been harmed1.

As captured in this statement it is essential that efforts to improve outcomes for children and families in contact with the Child Protection System stem from an understanding that abuse and neglect of children are most often the result of deeper family conflict or dysfunction, arising from social, economic and/or psychological roots.

In cases where children do need to be removed from family, decisions about what kind of placement, including adoption, is most appropriate for that child should occur in line with the following principles:

 Child-centred approach that allows for children to have a say in decisions that affect them

 OOHC for Aboriginal children delivered by Aboriginal Community Controlled Services (ACCSs)

 Adoption of a set of national standards for the rights of children in care

 Maintaining connection to family, community, culture and country, including prioritising adoption by extended family or if that is not possible, Aboriginal families who are not related.

 Improved support for kinship carers

1 See full statement here: http://www.snaicc.org.au/snaicc-statement-14-march-2018-joint-statement-aboriginal-torres-strait-islander-leaders-recent-media-coverage-around-child-protection-children/ Inquiry into local adoption

Stability and permanency for children in out-of-home care with local adoption as a viable option

Transition of OOHC to Aboriginal Community Control

Evidence clearly demonstrates that culturally competent services lead to increased access to services by Aboriginal children and their families2. Aboriginal led and managed services are well-placed to overcome the many barriers that exist for Aboriginal families and children to access services3, such as:

 a lack of understanding of the OOHC system and how to access advice and support;

 a mistrust of mainstream legal, medical, community and other support services;

 an understanding of the cultural or community pressures not to seek support, in particular perceptions of many Aboriginal families that any contact with the service system will result in the removal of their child4.

As the evaluation of child and family service delivery through the Communities for Children program identifies, “Indigenous specific services offer Indigenous families a safe, comfortable, culturally appropriate environment that is easier to access and engage with.”5 In addition, they are also going to be better at locating, training and supporting Aboriginal foster carers. This provides the opportunity to increase the quality of OOHC for Aboriginal children at significant lesser cost than the current “professional” foster care arrangements that are too often being put in place for Aboriginal children.

Following the lead of NSW, who in 2012 commenced a process of transfer to community control, there is a project currently being undertaken by the Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT (APO NT), in collaboration with the NT Government, to develop a strategy for the transition of OOHC to Aboriginal community control in the NT. Victoria has also confirmed that all OOHC service provision for Aboriginal children and families will be provided by community controlled services, with Queensland and Western Australia both exploring similar shifts.

AMSANT supports APO NT’s vision that Aboriginal children and young people in out of home care, as a priority, are placed with Kinship or Aboriginal foster carers and supported to retain culture, identity and language.

Strengthening the voice of children in decisions that affect them

Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states; “Children have the right to say what they think should happen when adults are making decisions that affect them and to have their opinions taken into account” 6.

There is a need for Child Protection proceedings to be more responsive to the child’s aspirations and needs. An approach taken in Family Law known as child-inclusive family dispute resolution has been shown to produce better outcomes for families with parenting disputes, including greater stability of care and contact patterns, and greater contentment of children with those arrangements7. Central to this approach is the use of an independent, specially trained child health professional to conduct interviews before any decision is made about them.

There is no reason why a similar approach couldn’t be taken in terms of long term care arrangements for children but with specific provisions for continuing contact with family and community.

Maintaining connection with family, kin and country

In line with international convention, Aboriginal children and families have the right to enjoy their cultures in community with their cultural groups (UNCRC, article 30; UNDRIP, articles 11-13). This right has been enshrined in these conventions to reflect the wealth of evidence that show culture, language and connection to country are protective factors for at-risk communities8.

The Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Placement Principle (ATSIPP) has been developed to ensure recognition of the value of culture and the vital role of Aboriginal children, families and communities to participate in decisions about the safety and wellbeing of children.

Despite the commitment from all States and Territories to fully implement this principle under the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children, in 2015 only 34.7% of Aboriginal children in the NT were placed in care in accordance with the Child Placement principle, compared with a national average of 65.6%, and only 3.3% of children were placed with relatives or kin, compared with 48.8% at the national average9.

This reflects the need for better practice relating to kinship care in the NT including;

– early identification of kinship networks when the child first comes to the attention of Child Protection, rather than when a crisis point has been reached;

– increased access to supports and training for kinship carers (see below);

– support services to birth parents to strengthen the option for reunification;

– development of cultural support plans for all Aboriginal children to ensure meaningful connection to family, culture and community is maintained.

Improved support for kinship carers

A lack of adequate support for kinship carers can contribute to placement breakdown, and escalation for children and young people in the statutory OOHC system, including entry into residential care.

Conversely, home based care and placement stability are associated with a range of better health, education, economic and wellbeing outcomes.

Improved access to the following would support kinship carers in maintaining more stable placements for the children in their care:

– Ensure a comprehensive assessment of the child has been conducted and a care plan, incorporating cultural supports for Aboriginal children, is developed and fully implemented.

– Ensure access to training courses across a broad range of issues (parenting solutions, behavioural management, understanding and responding to trauma etc.)

– Increased financial support to bring payments in line with foster carers.

It is important to note that even for many long-term, stable care arrangements, including for children in kinship care, adoption may not be seen as a viable option due to the loss of supports that would be incurred in transitioning from ‘carer’ to ‘parent’.

In this way it is clear that the type of placement reflects neither stability and permanency nor wellbeing for the child, but rather the particular vulnerabilities and needs of the child and their carer. Adequately meeting these needs should remain the paramount focus of any efforts to create stable, loving homes for children in care.

Appropriate guiding principles for a national framework or code for local adoptions within Australia

In order to ensure that the rights and needs of the child remain central to all Care and Protection operations, AMSANT advocates that Australia adopt a set of national standards that set out the rights of children in care, which would be modelled on the Council of Europe’s 2005 Recommendation on the Rights of Children Living in Residential Institutions10.

This recommendations sets out a list of basic principles, specific rights of children living in residential institutions and guidelines and quality standards in view of protecting the rights of children living in residential institutions, irrespective of the reasons for and the nature of the placement. It advocates that the placement of a child should remain the exception and that the placement must guarantee full enjoyment of the child’s fundamental rights.

 

NACCHO partners with @Mayi_Kuwayu and key Indigenous peak bodies to survey 200,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in national Wellbeing study

“The Aboriginal-led and governed study will be larger than any previous study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults.

It aims to provide information for communities, services and policy makers to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.”

Dr Mark Wenitong, study co-investigator from the Apunipima Cape York Health Council.

In an Australian first, the Australian National University will partner with key Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak bodies to conduct a national study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing.

The study name, ‘Mayi Kuwayu’ means ‘to follow Aboriginal people over time’ in Ngiyampaa language, the family language of the study’s director, Associate Professor Ray Lovett from the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at ANU.

Download Mayi Kuwayu Study_Protocol

“The survey includes questions that people have told us matter to them as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Those things include connection to country, cultural beliefs and knowledge, language, family, kinship and community, cultural expression and continuity and self-determination and leadership, along with health”, Associate Professor Ray Lovett said.

 

The study will be rolled out in the second half of 2018 and will provide much needed evidence on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and its impact on health and wellbeing.

The team has developed the survey questions with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from across the country over the last three years.

An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander governance committee will oversee the study, and ensure that it adheres to principles of Indigenous data sovereignty and governance.

All Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander people aged 16 years or older can be part of the study.

 

Potential participants can contact the team at mkstudy@anu.edu.au, at the study website www.mkstudy.com.au, or by free call on 1800 531 600.

The study received funding from the Lowitja Institute and the National Health and Medical Research Council.

A protocol paper describing the study has recently been published in the journal BMJ Open: https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/8/6/e023861.share.

Our study partners include: