Aboriginal #MentalHealth and #Wellbeing #SuicidePrevention : NATSIMHL and @cbpatsisp #GayaaDhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration and Indigenous Governance workshop : Keynote Speech from John Paterson CEO @AMSANTaus

“ AMSANT understands that social determinants of health are critical to improving health outcomes for Aboriginal Communities and recognises the role that these determinants play in the development of mental health and harmful substance use issues within communities.

AMSANT therefore recognises that a crucial component of providing support to the delivery of AOD and Mental Health programs and services through the Community Controlled Sector is to continue to advocate and lobby for the improvement of the social determinants of health and mental health for Aboriginal people.

We understand that these determinants extend beyond issues relating to, for example, housing, education, and employment, to more fundamental issues relating to the importance of control, culture and country and the legacy of a history of trauma and loss.

Strong and empowered community governance is the backbone to community resilience and Self-Determination and leads to better health outcomes

We have great challenges and great opportunities here in the Territory and with your commitment to self-determination, Aboriginal Governance, policies and practices that do not re-traumatise, we can achieve strong outcomes together

But first we need to recognise and acknowledge the past to inform our future journey and the sometimes difficult paths we will need to take. 

We as Aboriginal people understand the inter-connectivity of all things;

Our call to action is what part will you play, where are you positioned within this connectivity to ensure health and wellbeing is strong for Gayaa Dhuwi our Proud Spirit. “

John Paterson CEO AMSANT ( Pictured above with Kerry Arabena ) Keynote speech see Part 2 Below

Have your say about what is needed to make real change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people see part 3 below #HaveYourSay about #closingthegap   

Part 1 Help close the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health gap by pledging support for the Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration.

The mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is significantly worse than that of other Australians across many indicators. In particular, the suicide rates are twice as high.

The reasons for the gap are many but include the lack of culturally competent and safe services within the mental health system, that balance clinical responses with culturally-informed responses including access to cultural healing.

To rectify this, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership is needed in those parts of the mental health system that work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.

Pledging your organisation’s or personal support for the Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration is a first step in supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership in appropriate parts of the mental health system to improve our mental health and reduce suicide.”

More info sign HERE

Or Download the 6 Page Brochure HERE

Gayaa-Dhuwi-Declaration_Proud-Spirit

Part 2

The Aboriginal Medical Services of the NT is the peak body for the community controlled Aboriginal primary health care (PHC) sector in the Northern Territory (NT). We have 25 members providing Aboriginal comprehensive primary health care (CPHC) right across the NT from Darwin to the most remote regions.

AMSANT has been established for 25 years and just recently celebrated our 25 year anniversary in Alice Springs.   AMSANT has a major policy and advocacy role at the NT and national levels, including as a partner with the Commonwealth and NT governments in the Northern Territory Aboriginal Health Forum (NTAHF).

The ACCHSs sector in the NT is comparatively more significant than in other jurisdictions, being the largest provider of primary health care services to Aboriginal people in the NT. Over half of all the episodes of care approximately 60% and contacts 65% in the Aboriginal PHC sector in the Northern Territory are provided by ACCHSs. Moreover, ACCHS deliver comprehensive primary health care that incorporates social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and AOD services, family support services and early childhood services, delivered by multidisciplinary teams within a holistic service model.

Aboriginal people experience a disproportionate morbidity and mortality burden from mental health and alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems. Nationally, mental health conditions are estimated to account for 12% of the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, with suicide contributing another 6% and alcohol another 4% (Vos et al. 2007). Tragically, from 2011-15, the Indigenous suicide rate was twice that of the non-Indigenous population (AHMAC 2017).

At AMSANT, we have come to believe that encouraging an understanding of trauma and its impact and facilitating trauma informed perspectives and ways of working – for all staff throughout our health services – can enhance service delivery and outcomes for the communities in which these services are based.

Some of the most challenging, complex and life threatening issues faced within our health services can be better understood in the context of historical and ongoing experiences of trauma. But as we understand these difficulties in relation to the stories of trauma that communities have lived through since colonisation, it is vital that we also see and understand the strengths and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities – and that we recognise the central role of connection to culture, cultural identity and cultural continuity in maintaining these strengths and keeping people well.

Many Aboriginal people in the NT are happy, engaged with their families and culture, and prepared to make a positive contribution to their communities. The physical and mental health of Aboriginal people have been maintained through beliefs, practices and ways of life that supported their social and emotional wellbeing across generations and thousands of years.

However, factors unique to the Aboriginal experience—including the historical and ongoing process of colonisation that has seen loss of land, suppression of language and culture, forcible removal of children from families, and experiences of racism—have all contributed to profound feelings of loss and grief and exposure to unresolved trauma, which continues disadvantage, poor health and poor social outcomes for far too many Aboriginal people.

This process has directly involved the disruption and severing of the many connections that are protective in maintaining strong mental health and wellbeing – Our connections to a strong spirit

Identifying the extent and impacts of poor mental health among Aboriginal people must be founded on an understanding of this context and the reality that Aboriginal understandings and experiences of mental health and wellbeing are in many ways very different to that of mainstream society.

Also in relation to health and mental health, there is an acknowledgement of the significance of the social determinants of health.  There is an understanding of how ongoing marginalisation, disempowerment, discrimination and stress contribute to poor health and mental health outcomes.

AMSANT understands that social determinants of health are critical to improving health outcomes for Aboriginal Communities and recognises the role that these determinants play in the development of mental health and harmful substance use issues within communities.

AMSANT therefore recognises that a crucial component of providing support to the delivery of AOD and Mental Health programs and services through the Community Controlled Sector is to continue to advocate and lobby for the improvement of the social determinants of health and mental health for Aboriginal people.

We understand that these determinants extend beyond issues relating to, for example, housing, education, and employment, to more fundamental issues relating to the importance of control, culture and country and the legacy of a history of trauma and loss.

Strong and empowered community governance is the backbone to community resilience and Self-Determination and leads to better health outcomes.  For this reason APONT’s Partnership Principles have been developed to improve collaboration and coordination between service providers with the aim of strengthening and rebuilding an Aboriginal controlled development and service sector in the NT.

It is widely understood that mental illness carries a certain amount of social stigma. The impact of this is magnified however for Aboriginal people, who are often subject to systemic racism and discrimination in their everyday lives.  This is demonstrated in the overrepresentation of Aboriginal young people in justice and child protection systems

Census data from June 2017 revealed that among the 964 young people in detention on an average night in Australia, 53% were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and 64% had not been sentenced. In the Northern Territory, these rates were as high as 95% for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children, with 70% not sentenced.

It is now well known that unresolved traumatic experience impacts the developing brain, causing an over-developed fear response leading to increased stress sensitivity and related symptoms can include isolation, aggression, lack of empathy and impulsive behaviour.

Often children in the youth justice system may appear to be violent, aggressive, oppositional, unreachable or disturbed, however, underlying these behaviours is the grief of a child who has had to live through experiences that no human being should ever experience especially a child who does not have the agency to repair, respond and heal, resulting in feelings of powerlessness, anxiousness, and depression.

For these reasons, having a youth justice system that incorporates punishment as a form of behavioural management will only perpetuate the child’s belief that their world is unsafe, and further compound and escalate complex and violent behaviours. If the emotional and psychological wounds do not get appropriately addressed then there is risk of a lifelong pattern of anger, aggression, self-destructive behaviours, academic and employment failures, and rejection, conflict, and isolation in every key relationship. This cycle of trauma and violence can continue across generations.

AMSANT believes that a youth justice system that is trauma informed and sits within a social emotional wellbeing (SEWB) framework would be a positive way forward in redirecting youth away from the justice system, supporting social and emotional health and aiding in community re-entry.

It is also necessary to understand and confront the cumulative impacts of institutional racialism and discriminative policies. For example, the Intervention in the Northern Territory involved the imposition of a series of punitive measures against 73 Aboriginal communities and denied opportunities for community leaders to govern their own communities. The effects of the Intervention on Indigenous people throughout the NT and the fundamental disempowerment that it represented, can hardly be overstated and is demonstrated in our continuing unacceptable disparity in health outcomes.

However Aboriginal Territorian are working together and in collaboration to overcome these disparities.  For example, here in the Territory we have the Aboriginal Health Forum which provides high-level guidance and decision-making. The Forum enables joint planning and information sharing, where partners work together in a spirit of partnership and collaboration.

Nationally AMSANT is involved through the Coalition of Peaks in developing agreed policy positions to negotiate a new National Agreement on Closing the Gap with the Council of Australian Governments or COAG.  For a long time, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have been calling to have a much greater say in how programs and services are delivered to our peoples.

See Part 3 below to have your say about what is needed to make real change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people #HaveYourSay about #closingthegap

As a result of the work of the Coalition of Peaks, we are now formally represented on the Joint Council on Closing the Gap – which is the first time an external non-government partner has been included within a COAG structure.

Finally we are seeing a change in the policy conversation on Closing the Gap, with our mob at the decision-making table.

And regionally, leadership exists throughout all of our communities.   Even without the resources and empowerment that would allow for leadership and governance to thrive, it is intrinsically there, understood and followed by the protocols of community life and our kinship systems.

Our ACCHS in the Northern Territory recognise social emotional wellbeing as holistic and interconnected which includes our cultural knowledge and practices as well as mental health and the social determinants of health.

Having control and governance over our service delivery has paved the way for innovation and best practice within our SEWB programs.

We have great challenges and great opportunities here in the Territory and with your commitment to self-determination, Aboriginal Governance, policies and practices that do not re-traumatise, we can achieve strong outcomes together

But first we need to recognise and acknowledge the past to inform our future journey and the sometimes difficult paths we will need to take.

We as Aboriginal people understand the inter-connectivity of all things;

Our call to action is what part will you play, where are you positioned within this connectivity to ensure health and wellbeing is strong for Gayaa Dhuwi our Proud Spirit.

Part 3 Have your say about what is needed to make real change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people #HaveYourSay about #closingthegap

There is a discussion booklet that has background information on Closing the Gap and sets out what will be talked about in the survey.

The survey will take a little bit of time to complete. It would be great if you can answer all the questions, but you can also just focus on the issues that you care about most.

To help you prepare your answers, you can look at a full copy here

The survey is open to everyone and can be accessed here:

https://www.naccho.org.au/programmes/coalition-of-peaks/have-your-say/

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and our Workforce #IAHAConf19 #ClosingTheGap : Read John Paterson’s CEO @AMSANTaus Keynote Speech :The importance of collaboration , partnerships and the role of leadership vital in supporting and expanding our Aboriginal health workforce.

 

” Allied health professionals play a very important role in the health system and our services increasingly employ a range of allied health professionals as part of providing holistic, comprehensive primary health care: podiatrists, diabetes educators, dieticians, optometrists, audiologists, dental workers and physiotherapists.

Some areas have received increasing recognition and associated resourcing. For example, better understanding of the issues associated with social and emotional wellbeing, the impact of trauma and the need to address the tragic loss of so many of our people to suicide, has resulted in increased resourcing and employment of allied health professionals, particularly within the multi-disciplinary teams of our health services.

IAHA’s role, as is AMSANT’s, is to build our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce that is critical to improving health outcomes.”

John Paterson CEO AMSANT Keynote Speech IAHA Conference Darwin 25 September

I would like to begin by acknowledging the traditional owners on whose land we gather upon today, the Larrakia people – and to honour their leaders past, present and emerging.

My name is John Paterson and I am the Chief Executive Officer of Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT, or more commonly known as AMSANT. AMSANT is the peak body for Aboriginal community controlled health services (ACCHSs) in the Northern Territory and we are an affiliate of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation, NACCHO. We provide a range of support to our members including workforce, public health, policy, digital health, continuous quality improvement and trauma informed care.

I’d like to thank the Indigenous Allied Health Association for inviting me to present this morning at this important conference.

I’d also like to acknowledge my colleague, Donna Ah Chee, who gave an inspiring keynote speech yesterday.  In her presentation, Donna outlined the characteristics and importance of the comprehensive model of primary health care, delivered through Aboriginal community controlled health services, and so I won’t go over the same ground here today.

Instead I’d like to focus on the importance of collaboration and partnership that in many ways have come to define the way we work in Aboriginal health; and also to reflect on the role of leadership that is so vital in supporting and expanding our Aboriginal health workforce.

Can I firstly congratulate IAHA on celebrating their first 10 years—hopefully the first decade of many more to come—and to acknowledge their hard work across the nation to build and support quality Indigenous Allied Health professionals for our mob.

I would also like to acknowledge IAHA’s CEO, Donna Murray, their board and its members for the hard work you continue to do to build IAHA to where it is today.  We look forward to seeing where your future takes you.

We know how important it is to have our own Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander national and peak organisations to advocate for our mob. We have to be there, in the tent, at the negotiating table, making our case.

And we’ve got to be working together.

One of my other hats is as one of the governing group of CEOs of the Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT, or APO NT, along with the CEOs of the Northern Land Council and Central Land Council. The APO NT alliance was formed in 2010 to provide coordinated Aboriginal leadership in the Territory in the wake of the NT Intervention, although we have also worked effectively at the national level.

APO NT is a member of the National Indigenous Coalition of Peaks, within which IAHA is also represented as a member. The work of the Coalition of Peaks and the outcomes we are achieving in relation to a renegotiation of Closing the Gap is an important example of why working together in partnership is so vital to the future of Aboriginal health. This is a theme I will return to later in my presentation.

The other critical element, of course, is the frontline workers at the health service and community levels, who care for our mob.  I want to acknowledge and thank all of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Allied Health Professionals and students in the room today and across the nation who do such an exceptional job in their chosen fields to help make a difference in health.

Find a a job in an ACCHO with NACCHO Job Alerts

You are an essential part of the health system and we thank you for your tireless efforts in everything that you do.

Allied health professionals play a very important role in the health system and our services increasingly employ a range of allied health professionals as part of providing holistic, comprehensive primary health care: podiatrists, diabetes educators, dieticians, optometrists, audiologists, dental workers and physiotherapists.

Some areas have received increasing recognition and associated resourcing. For example, better understanding of the issues associated with social and emotional wellbeing, the impact of trauma and the need to address the tragic loss of so many of our people to suicide, has resulted in increased resourcing and employment of allied health professionals, particularly within the multi-disciplinary teams of our health services.

IAHA’s role, as is AMSANT’s, is to build our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce that is critical to improving health outcomes.

The untapped potential is huge. Collectively, the Aboriginal community controlled health sector employs about 6,000 staff, 56 per cent whom are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This makes us the single largest employer of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the country.

But there is still such a long way to go.

One of the areas requiring attention is the need to be advocating for more allied health positions within our sector. Many Aboriginal community controlled health services are not sufficiently funded to employ the multi-disciplinary workforce required to deliver the full range of core comprehensive primary health care services. Expanding and increasing the resourcing of Aboriginal community-controlled comprehensive primary health care services is a key strategy in developing our Indigenous workforce, particularly in allied health positions.

Further potential is provided by the opportunities to expand services in regional and remote areas in aged care and through the NDIS.

The lack of aged care and disability services in regional and remote areas is a major problem that needs to be addressed in ways that take account of the lack of economies of scale and difficulty in attracting health professionals to such areas, as well the need for culturally responsive service delivery. This requires consideration of regional hub models and opportunities for joint initiatives in workforce development, capacity building and the employment of specialist and other allied health professionals.

Some ACCHSs already provide aged care and disability services, sometimes by default due to the failure or lack of service providers. There is further potential for ACCHSs to employ staff who can provide aged care and disability services.

Our vision is for people with disabilities in remote and regional areas to be able to access the services they need and to lead active and fulfilling lives. And for our old people to be able to live out their days in dignity on country and pass away surrounded by family.

We have such a long way to go to achieve this vision and we hope that the current Royal Commissions into these areas will provide a catalyst for action.

Increasingly, building our Indigenous workforce requires collaboration between providers and sectors. AMSANT works in collaboration with a wide range of key stakeholders to create career opportunities for our next generation coming through, and to build initiatives and opportunities for our existing Aboriginal health workforce in developing career pathways, whether it be as community workers, health workers or in management.

An important initiative for AMSANT has been our involvement in the Lowitja Institute-funded Career Pathways Project. This is an Aboriginal-led national research project to provide insights and guidance to enhance the capacity of the health system to retain and support the development and careers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the health workforce. The project partners include Aboriginal health services in NSW and the NT along with university and peak organisation partners.

This project was important to us. We wanted to give our Aboriginal health professionals a voice that was evidence-based. To be able to provide solutions from the ground up that we could advocate for at local, regional and national platforms. To demonstrate with evidence where the need for investment is and emphasise how critical our Aboriginal health workforce is to improve health outcomes for our mob.

Other significant collaborations include working with Indigenous workforce bodies, such as IAHA and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers Association, or NATSIHWA, on expanding Indigenous workforce in key areas.

You may have heard yesterday that AMSANT has been working in partnership with IAHA for the past 2-3 years to develop and implement a VET in schools pathway for high school students here in Darwin. This will provide students an opportunity to gain a qualification in allied health support and consider a career in health.

This has been a priority for AMSANT for many years, to source opportunities in many health disciplines for the next generation of our kids to start a journey in health. We have known for too long here in the NT that there are simply not enough opportunities for our kids to start that journey. A journey that is supported, nurtured and led by the Aboriginal health sector.

We have also successfully advocated alongside IAHA and other key organisations to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) at a meeting in Alice Springs, for the development of an Aboriginal health workforce plan.

The important message from this is that we can’t do workforce strategy, or broader health strategy for that matter, alone.

Partnerships are vital. We need them to help bridge the gap between the too-often siloed mentality of governments and funders and the reality that health is holistic and demands focus on the big picture.

Partnerships enable us to work together to push the health agenda and encourage investment in the areas our communities so desperately need.

This means following the evidence and advocating on it.

For example, it’s now commonly understood that health services only account for approximately a third of health outcomes, with the other two thirds accounted for by the social and cultural determinants of health.

Increasingly, AMSANT’s partnerships have focused on health determinants, following the evidence and responding to the issues raised by our membership and the community. Our sector’s model of comprehensive primary health care encourages cross sectoral action on the social determinants.

Housing has been at the forefront of community concern, with high levels of overcrowded and inadequate housing and homelessness. We know the health and wellbeing impacts that poor housing and homelessness causes. This includes impacts on the Aboriginal health workforce who struggle with living in inadequate or overcrowded houses while maintaining their responsibilities to their work in health. Strong Aboriginal advocacy on housing is needed.

As a member of APO NT, AMSANT has contributed to the development of a Northern Territory Aboriginal peak housing body, Aboriginal Housing NT or AHNT. The new body will provide a strong Aboriginal voice on housing as well as a mechanism for government to engage with in increasing the involvement of Aboriginal organisations in housing provision and management.

I use this example to illustrate the importance of taking a role in advocating on the social determinants as a means of improving health outcomes as opposed to focusing exclusively on health service or disease specific strategies.

However, it also illustrates the point that I began this presentation with—the importance of Aboriginal leadership and having our own Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations to advocate for our mob and to deliver services to our communities that are culturally responsive and effective.

I want to return briefly to my earlier mention of Closing the Gap and the membership of APO NT and IAHA as members of the National Indigenous Coalition of Peaks.

 

The Coalition of Peaks emerged as a result of a group of national Indigenous organisations writing to the Prime Minister in relation to the exclusion of our mob from the decision-making process for the Closing the Gap Refresh.

After ten years of failed progress under Closing the Gap we weren’t about to submit to another top-down, government-imposed process on our communities.

The letter sparked a meeting with the Prime Minister and subsequently, negotiations with the Council of Australian Governments, or COAG, that have resulted in a formal Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap with the Coalition of Peaks, and the establishment of a Joint Council on Closing the Gap with the Coalition of Peaks represented as a Council member—the first time that a non-governmental body has been represented within a COAG structure.

Importantly, the central ask of the Coalition of Peaks, is not around new indicators—although these are important tools to get right—but for a fundamental change in the way governments work with our people and the full involvement of our people in shared decision-making at all levels.

This includes a commitment to building, strengthening and expanding the formal Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled sector to deliver Closing the Gap services and programs.

We are also calling for the new Closing the Gap strategy to be properly funded, at least matching the ten-year funding of the original Closing the Gap.

The potential for this new national partnership with government is that support for the expansion of the Aboriginal community controlled service delivery sector and with it the Indigenous health workforce could be a game-changer.

While nothing is certain in this world, this is one development that gives me real hope that fundamental change is possible.

Have Your Say SURVEY HERE

And it started with Aboriginal leadership.

Of course, Aboriginal leadership is just as important at the sector and service level if we are to be true to our commitment to the aspirations and standards of community control.

AMSANT has been committed to building leadership capacity within the health sector in the NT and has been delivering leadership workshops for over 11 years now. We have recently developed a formal partnership with the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre which will further build our capacity in leadership support within the NT. We look forward to seeing this partnership develop and deliver for our sector.

We especially need to acknowledge our elders—our leaders and mentors who have or still work tirelessly to keep doing what they do to give our communities the best possible chance of improving health outcomes. Too often they are the unsung heroes that have paved the way for the next generations to keep building on the hard work that’s been done.

Leadership is vital at every level, not least in supporting our Aboriginal workforce. We know the many challenges that our workforce face, dealing with burnout, the vicarious trauma they experience, as well as day to day stress—and we know that we have to have in place effective strategies to support them. We know there is much still to do in supporting career pathways. And we know that there are many issues of equity, such as addressing the lack of housing for local workers.

The Aboriginal health sectors and its workforce has decades of knowledge, know-how and lived experience to know what we need by way of services and ways to improve health outcomes.

AMSANT recently celebrated our 25th anniversary and our oldest member service, the Central Australia Aboriginal Congress, has now been in existence for 45 years. They, along with other pioneers such as the Redfern Medical Service, paved the way for the more than 150 Aboriginal community controlled health services that are currently working for our communities across the country.

Here in the Territory, AMSANT is a member of the Northern Territory Aboriginal Health Forum along with the Northern Territory and Commonwealth governments, and the NT Primary Health Network. The Forum is a high level Aboriginal health planning body that assures us a seat at the table.

Our sector today continues the mission it took on 45 years ago to provide Aboriginal community controlled holistic, comprehensive primary health care to our people. We have continued to grow our place in the health system, currently providing around two thirds of all primary health care services to our communities. And we are supported to continue to transfer government run services to community control over time.

I hope that the students amongst the audience today can take encouragement from this history of our sector, that you have a secure future in Aboriginal health and that you have a welcome place in our services.

Believe me, as a former bureaucrat and ATSIC Commissioner, there is not much that survives the relentlessly changing priorities of government. That we continue to prevail is a true success story!

And I hope you can take the courage to dream big as our leaders did all those years ago.

Today we have a new vision to follow: the Uluru Statement from the Heart, adopted by the First Nations National Constitutional Convention at Uluru in May 2017.

Treaty, truth, voice!

We have support and as Indigenous peoples we are persistent and patient.

But keep that fire in your belly!

I hope you enjoy the rest of the conference and I wish you all the very best for your futures.

Thank you.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #AMSANT25Conf Speeches : Donna Ah Chee CEO Congress ACCHO : Aboriginal communities, determining the what, which, how, when, where and who of programs to address our health and wellbeing.

 ” Aboriginal Community control means at least:

  • the right to set the agenda, to determine what the issues are,
  • the right to determine which programs or approaches are best suited to tackle the problems in the community
  • the right to determine how a program is run, its size and resources
  • the right to determine when a program operates, its pace and timing
  • the right to say where a program will operate, its geographical coverage and its target groups
  • the right to determine who will deliver the program, its staff and advisers.

In my view, this is still a great definition of what community control is about.

It is about us, as Aboriginal communities, determining the what, which, how, when, where and who of programs to address our health and wellbeing.”

Donna Ah Chee CEO Congress ACCHO Alice Springs keynote address to AMSANT 25 Anniversary Conference 7 August 

So what is community control ? To answer that question, let me take you back almost thirty years to 1991, to before AMSANT existed

Good morning brothers and sisters, ladies and gentlemen,

I begin by acknowledging and paying my respects to the Arrernte people, traditional custodians of the land on which we are meeting today, and to their Elders past, present and emerging. I also extend my appreciation to Kumalie (Rosalie) Riley for the very warm welcome to her country.

My name is Donna Ah Chee. I am a Bundjalung woman from the far north coast of New South Wales, but I have lived on beautiful Arrernte country for over thirty years.

And let me say right at the start, that I am passionate about community-control .Ever since I first worked for the Institute for Aboriginal Development here in Alice Springs back in the early nineties, I haven’t looked back. Later, I moved over the back fence of the IAD premises to begin work at Congress.

Since then I have spent many years in leadership positions at Congress, and within AMSANT.

Given this experience, it is a great pleasure to be here at AMSANT’s 25th anniversary conference. And I sincerely thank the Chair, Board and CEO of AMSANT for the invitation to speak to you today.

I want to use this opportunity to go back to basics: to discuss the strengths and achievements of this model we all share, the model of Aboriginal community-control.

I want to reiterate the role of Aboriginal community-control as an act of self-determination by our diverse peoples.

I want to describe what we Aboriginal people can achieve through Aboriginal community control – and in particular, what we can deliver that no other service model can.

Of course, we all know this.

We all have lived it in our lives and through the community controlled services we are part of.

But it’s worth stepping back sometimes and reminding ourselves about what our sector stands for and what we have achieved.

So what is community control?

To answer that question, let me take you back almost thirty years to 1991, to before AMSANT existed.

The Public Health Association of Australia, responding to advocacy from our sector here in Central Australia, was holding its annual conference in Alice Springs, not far from here, on the health of indigenous peoples.

Congress and Anyinginyi gave a landmark address to the conference called Primary Health Care and Community Control.

In this address, they described what community control meant to them.

They said that:

[Aboriginal] Community control means at least:

  • the right to set the agenda, to determine what the issues are,
  • the right to determine which programs or approaches are best suited to tackle the problems in the community
  • the right to determine how a program is run, its size and resources
  • the right to determine when a program operates, its pace and timing
  • the right to say where a program will operate, its geographical coverage and its target groups
  • the right to determine who will deliver the program, its staff and advisers.

In my view, this is still a great definition of what community control is about.

It is about us, as Aboriginal communities, determining the what, which, how, when, where and who of programs to address our health and wellbeing.

Given the process of colonisation in this country, and the effects on our health and wellbeing, these matters are for us to decide – not for some outside agency however well- intentioned; not for government; not for the non-Aboriginal experts.

While we work with all these groups in a spirt of good will and collaboration, in the end it is the Aboriginal community who decides how best to address our health and wellbeing.

That is what community control means. It’s an act of self-determination.

And crucial for the exercise of this act of self-determination are our Boards.

It is our Boards, the directly elected representatives of our peoples, who are at the heart of community control.

They are the ones who ultimately set the direction of our organisations, they employ the CEOs, they make the key strategic decisions for the organisation.

I know it is often a heavy burden of responsibility to carry, but without them the community-controlled model can’t exist.

So to all the members of our community-controlled Boards here today I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ from my heart: because without you, there is no community control.

So, that’s what our model is.

But what does it do?

How is it better than government run services, or those run by Non-Indigenous NGOs (or NINGOs we call them)?

Well, again, I am sure the AMSANT members here will have strong views on how their service is better than those other, non-Aboriginal controlled models.

You will know this from your own experience, your own detailed knowledge of the communities you serve.

But I would like to reiterate those strengths of the model, as I see them, because we have to keep fighting for community control.

Despite our history of amazing achievements, funding for Aboriginal health keeps being given to NINGO’s and other private providers.

Funding is not being allocated according to need, to the best practice community controlled model, and this is a serious threat to the health of our communities.

The first strengths of our model I want to talk about is what the academics call the ‘control factor’.

It has been shown that the less control people have over their lives and environment, the more likely they are to suffer ill health [1]: powerlessness is a risk factor for ill-health and poor social and emotional wellbeing [2].

So, the very fact that the community-controlled model empowers our communities contributes to health and wellbeing in itself.

Our model empowers our mob by guaranteeing their input into decision-making, and embedding Aboriginal employment and leadership across our services.

Of course, within our services we have genuine partnerships with non-Aboriginal people, including our independent Board members, staff and advisers.

We need their skills.

And we appreciate their commitment to working with us, under the leadership and direction of Aboriginal people.

Because despite the rhetoric about Aboriginal input we often hear from government, no other way of governing services guarantees Aboriginal empowerment and control.

Our model is fundamentally different from those services which include Aboriginal community members but only in an advisory role, and where the organisation can ignore that advice if they please.

Organisations led by unelected boards with a majority of non- Aboriginal directors are not Aboriginal community-controlled organisations – it is that simple.

Each year AIHW reports annually on services receiving Commonwealth funding to address Aboriginal health.

Their data shows that ACCHSs have Boards composed fully or of a majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

By contrast 75% of non-ACCHS organisations have no Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander formal community input into decision making at all, either having no Board, or no Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation on a Board.

These structures of community control have whole range of benefits in themselves, because the sense of control and empowerment itself is a big boost to health and wellbeing.

For example, in Canada it has been shown that First Nation communities that took steps to preserve their culture, and worked to control their futures through Indigenous-led organisations had much lower rates of youth suicide [4].

The second big advantage of the Aboriginal controlled health service is our reach into the community.

Simply put, our communities trust us and the services we provide.

In 2017-18, Aboriginal community controlled health services had 400,00 clients nationally – that’s 60% of the entire Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population across the country [5].

Of course, it is important that Aboriginal people have choice about which services to access, just as it is for any person.

But it is clear that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a clear preference for the use of Aboriginal community- controlled health services, leading to greater access to care and better treatment outcomes [6, 7].

Our ability to deliver culturally safe care is fundamental to this preference, which in turn is founded upon those processes of community control I just described.

On this point, we often hear this figure bandied about that “most Aboriginal people don’t access or want to access Aboriginal Medical Services”.

I think we have to call out this statistic whenever we hear it.

It’s based on one single survey, and the way the question is asked is clearly confusing – for example, the same question showed that a quarter of Aboriginal people in very remote areas supposedly ‘prefer’ to receive their health care in a hospital! [8]

That’s clearly not right.

That figure also reflects that in many areas of Australia, our people don’t have access to Aboriginal community controlled health services, so our sector may not be ‘on the radar’ when it comes to where people prefer to get their care.

And it ignores the fact that our comprehensive model of care goes beyond the treatment of individual clients and is quite different to that offered by most mainstream services.

We treat those who are sick, but we also have prevention programs and we act to address the social determinants of health.

Overwhelmingly the evidence points to our sector as highly cost effective, with a major study concluding that:

up to fifty percent more health gain or benefit can be achieved if health programs are delivered to the Aboriginal population via ACCHSs, compared to if the same programs are delivered via mainstream primary care services [6].

So whenever you hear that statistic about most Aboriginal people not wanting to use our services, I urge you to call it out for the nonsense that it is.

Our people need choice – but given a genuine choice they will overwhelmingly choose Aboriginal-community controlled health.

We see that here in Central Australia at the moment.

Many remote communities with government clinics are coming to Congress and asking us to run their health services for them.

They are tired of not having a say in the running of the under- resourced Government-run clinics in their communities.

This is not a criticism of the individual government-employed staff in these places, many of whom are dedicated and caring people.

But government is simply not able to duplicate the high levels of community input and cultural safety that our sector delivers.

This brings me to the third strength I would identify about our health services: we employ our own mob and train them up.

Our services are much more effective in employing Aboriginal people than government or mainstream NGOs.

In those organisations funded by the Commonwealth specifically to deliver health services to our people, Aboriginal community controlled health services have 57% Indigenous staff; compared to only 38% in non-ACCHS organisations.

Particularly significant is the much greater commitment of ACCHS organisations to employing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in training positions, and in leadership roles such as CEOs, managers or supervisors.

Nationally, our sector employs almost 3,500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers, making it the largest employer of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia [7].

This employment of our own people in our organisations – not just in front-line positions but as decision-makers and leaders

– is crucial to our record of delivering culturally safe services.

So again, I would like to say thank you to all those Aboriginal staff of our services who are here today – truly our sector could not do it without you.

The last strength of our sector I want to highlight is our ability to hold Governments accountable.

We are able to speak up on behalf of our communities, to make sure that policies set by Governments don’t ignore our needs, and to make sure that our communities get an equitable share of funding and resources compared to those needs.

Back in the days before Aboriginal community controlled health services, government did whatever they wanted to do to address the health of our peoples, which was generally nothing or worse than nothing.

Just how badly the mainstream health system was failing our peoples is sometimes forgotten, so it’s worth revisiting some historical statistics.

For example, according to government figures based on the reports of concerned health professionals, the mortality rate for Aboriginal infants in Central Australia in the mid-1960s was estimated at 250 per 1,000 births [9].

In other words, fifty years ago, well within the lifetime of many of us in this room, a quarter of Aboriginal children died before their first birthday.

Even in the mid-1970s, the rate was 60 to 70 per 1,000: worse than all but the most disadvantaged developing countries today.

Today the rate has fallen to around 10 deaths per 1,000 live births as our health services have dramatically improved access to primary, secondary and tertiary health care.

It was to address the suffering behind these numbers that community-controlled health services were established by our communities across Australia, often initially with volunteers.

But our community-controlled services were also able to speak out about the needs of our mob.

We were able to argue and shame the government into action.

This is where the establishment of AMSANT in 1994 was so crucial.

It brought together all the Aboriginal community controlled services in the Northern Territory so we could speak with a strong, collective voice to government.

And government was forced to listen.

I think Pat Anderson, who played an important role in AMSANT’s early years, will speak later this morning about that time and the important role that AMSANT played in the Northern Territory, at the national level, and even internationally.

And that role – a collective voice for our sector, our Boards, our communities – holding government to account is something that AMSANT has continued to do over the years.

It is hard work.

A lot of it is not very exciting.

It means sitting in meetings, continuing to argue for the rights and needs of our sector and of our communities.

But it is important work, and it produces results.

I can give one example from a few years ago when the NTPHN was given the role by the Commonwealth government of distributing funds for tackling Alcohol and Other Drugs and Social and Emotional Wellbeing in Aboriginal communities.

I was on the NTPHN Board and argued strongly that our sector needed to get a fair share of those funds.

And even though I wasn’t there as a representative of AMSANT, I knew that AMSANT was backing me.

And the rest of the NTPHN Board knew that too.

So in they end they made the right decision and worked through the Northern Territory Aboriginal Health Forum, where AMSANT sits, to develop a way to allocate these funds according to need.

This included the acceptance of the 3 streams of care integrated AOD / mental health service model that AMSANT has championed for many years.

It also included a visionary decision to pool the separate AOD and mental health funds into a single funds pool to achieve this integrated model – no other PHN did this.

Once this work was done the NTPHN was then able to use its commissioning framework to directly tender funds to where they were most needed, either our sector or, where there was not an Aboriginal health service, the NT Department of Health.

Rather than competition, collaboration was the key to this successful process.

As a result of this, a lot of our services were able to get funding for alcohol and other dugs and SEWB positions.

And that means vital services for our community members in the communities where they live.

And this was made possible because of the power and influence of AMSANT in holding the non-Aboriginal system to account, and as the collective voice of all our services, our Boards and our communities.

So I have talked about what community control is for me.

And I have talked about our sector’s strengths and achievements.

How it empowers our communities.

How it improves access to culturally-secure services for our people.

How it employs our mob and supports Aboriginal leadership.

And how it is able to hold the non-Aboriginal health system to account.

For me, it is a privilege to be part of the sector and part of those achievements.

But I can’t leave you today without looking forward.

As I said at the beginning, every Aboriginal community controlled health service is an act of self-determination.

AMSANT brings us together and amplifies our voice and our capacity to act.

But the job is not done.

As well as these things, we need national processes of self- determination for us as First Peoples of this continent.

As so beautifully captured by the Uluru Statement from the Heart in 2017, we need

  • a process of treaty-making to lay a firm basis for the future relationship of First Nations and those who came to this country later;
  • a process of truth telling about our shared past; and
  • a constitutionally enshrined voice to Parliament to ensure ongoing structures for our input into policy making and the life of the

Why are these things important for the health and wellbeing of our peoples?

First, as I discussed before, there is a strong relationship between disempowerment and poor health and wellbeing.

These genuine reforms – and the self-determinant policies and practices that /would flow from them – would increase our control over our own lives and can be expected to lead to better health and wellbeing outcomes.

Second, a treaty is important for many reasons, including that it would provide an enduring and just institutional foundation for the provision of health services.

For example, it was convincingly argued by the late Stephen Kunitz that the treaties with First Nations in Canada, Aoteraroa and the United States led to more effective and sustainable policy and service delivery arrangements, and consequently led to a much narrower health gap than we have here in Australia [10].

This fact was shouted out loud by Aboriginal speakers at the recent Garma festival.

Last, the establishment of a permanent, constitutionally enshrined First Nations voice to the Federal Parliament would help end our marginalisation from national decision-making processes.

It will contribute to more effective policy making and program design.

And it might just help government fix its terrible record when it comes to the implementation of the recommendations of the many reviews, reports and commissions to which we have contributed over decades.

So I think we need to keep working at that local level with our communities – treating those who are sick, promoting good health, and addressing the social determinants.

We need to keep working through AMSANT at the Territory level to keep government and other agencies accountable.

And we need to keep moving forward on national processes of self-determination by implementing the demands contained in the Uluru Statement.

So to finish I would like say thank you once again to all of you here at this celebration of AMSANT’s first twenty-five years.

I hope you find the next couple of days empowering and inspiring, an opportunity to reflect on the past and look to the future.

But most of all, an opportunity to celebrate the great achievements of our Aboriginal community controlled sector.

Thank you.

  1. Marmot M, Siegrist J, and Theorell T, Health and the psychosocial environment at work, in Social determinants of health, Marmot M and Wilkinson R, Editors. 2006, Oxford University Press:
  2. Tsey, K., et al., Social determinants of health, the ‘control factor’ and the Family Wellbeing Empowerment Australasian Psychiatry, 2003. 11(3 supp 1): p. 34–39.
  3. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander health organisations: Online Services Report — key results 2015–16. 2017, AIHW:
  4. M, C. and L. C, Cultural continuity as a hedge against suicide in Canada’s First Nations. Transcultural Psychiatry, 1998. 35(2): p. 191-219.
  5. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander health organisations: Online Services Report — key results 2017–18. 2019, AIHW:
  6. Vos T, et al., Assessing Cost-Effectiveness in Prevention (ACE–Prevention): Final Report. 2010, ACE–Prevention Team: University of Queensland, Brisbane and Deakin University:
  7. National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), Economic Value of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, in Unpublished paper. 2014, NACCHO:
  8. Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council (AHMAC), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2017 Report. 2017, Commonwealth of Australia:
  9. Kettle E, Health Services in the Northern Territory – a History 1824-1970. 1991, Darwin: Australian National University Northern Australia Research
  10. Kunitz S J, Disease and social diversity. 1994, Oxford: Oxford University

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #OurWay : Read @June_Oscar inspirational address to the 200 delegates at the #AMSANT25Conf in Alice Springs

 ” And for all the AMS’s and ACCHOS in the room you are essential to making this change real.

You can bring these ingredients together, utilise changing structures and relationships to design the culturally informed health models and work programs our people need. It is the way that we deliver our work from the ground up that informs the best policy and legislation. We have to seize this moment.

As the Partnership takes effect we have to organise on the ground and become the policy activists that was discussed earlier today. Organise, collaborate and reignite the flame of the torch that we have been carrying for years and all of us, particularly our staff on the frontline, will hold in our hands that change that we all want to see.

This moment of change is ours – to own, control and make happen. So go for it!

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO addressed 200 delegates at the AMSANT Our Health Our Way Conference in the Alice Springs on August 7. The topic was ‘Personal Reflection’.

Pictured above from left AMSANT CEO John Paterson and Chair Barb Shaw , Lowitja Chair Pat Anderson , June Oscar and Congress ACCHO Alice Springs Donna Ah Chee 

Jalangurru maninga balanggarri. Yaningi yatharra ngindaji yuwa muwayi ingirranggu Arrente yani U.

I acknowledge the Arrente people, and all of you and your families and elders past, present and emerging.

I want to give a special acknowledgment to all of my Kimberley mob here tonight.

What a great gathering. It is wonderful to come together on this 25 years anniversary and see so many familiar faces that have been part of on the journey for all these years. This is our collective celebration. I know many people here, close friends – you’re my colleagues and allies in this social justice work, my sisters and brothers.

For a great number of us we have certainly done the hard yards and we keep on, keeping on! I look around and see remarkable leaders in this space who deserve so much recognition – you’ve been my inspiration and life-long teachers, – Pat Anderson, Pat Turner, Barb Shaw, Olga Havenen and others and those I walk beside.

We carry much responsibility, but we carry it together. And let’s have faith that while we’ve got years, maybe even decades in us, there is a whole new and wonderful generation(s) with new imaginations and hope coming up, following in our footsteps and making their own unique tracks.

It has been a long and full day, so I don’t want to add too much more to our plates when we’ve had/got a good feed in front of us.

But I do want to spend some time reflecting on the major themes that have arisen throughout the day. And for me, an anniversary is an important opportunity to look back, to take stock of our achievements, to understand why we do what we do, so we can move forward with renewed vigour and determination.

And I want to deliver a clear message, that health done ‘our way’, is unique.

It is a holistic system grounded in truth, lived realities, our culture, law and country.

I was reminded today that we have all gathered in the red-hot centre of Aboriginal activism. This is where so many community-controlled organisations began with great and entirely appropriate ambition. Demanding our Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander equal rights, recognition of our nation-hoods and our right to self-govern to determine our futures.

We stand on this Arrentee land with fire in its belly, energising us to raise our voices, to be public policy activists, and do the work that needs to be done. There is no better place to celebrate this milestone for AMSANT than here in Mbantua on Arrernte country.

I do want to say at the outset that health, and the management and frontline work of AMS’s and ACCHOS is not my professional area, but health of course belongs to all of us, and I have been a part of the broad context of health in all the work that I have done on the ground.

The absence and presence of good health defines our lives and our societal existence.

We know what it means to have lives characterised by poor health and illness, many of which are entirely preventable. Lives unjustly and cruelly cut short. In our intimately connected society, the sickness of one is often a sickness of many. We know it first-hand, I’ve heard it today, that poor health hurts us all and cripples the human body, as much as it does the body of our society.

As the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner I am acutely aware that dismally poor health outcomes and health inequality experienced by our people is unacceptable. We all know the statistics, I won’t outline them, what they tell us though, is that our fundamental human rights have been violated. The right to health was first set out in the International Convention on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights. Since then it has been mentioned across many international human rights instruments. Pat Anderson, in her wonderful historical overview, also reminded us that it is contained within the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

This is the most comprehensive tool outlining our unique Indigenous rights, in which health like housing and all other foundational rights, essential to a life well lived are understood as part of our right to control our own organisations, decision-making and governance bodies grounded in our culture. Good health and wellbeing in this sense is premised on the development of community-controlled organisations and institutions that can reconstruct our Indigenous nation-hoods to restore our societal and cultural practices, protocols and knowledge systems. It is this societal restoration that brings us all, the human and the non-human and the surrounding ecology back to full health and wellbeing.

You said Pat Anderson, that our approach to health had shaped the national agenda, but you and others have clearly set the international standard for how good health should be understood and achieved for Indigenous societies across the globe. I believe that a substantial change is afoot in the way that we work that will ensure we recognise and realise our rights in full, and meet this standard.

My predecessor Tom Calma understood the all-inclusive nature of the right to health. That many rights had to be realised for our good health to be achieved. In his 2005 social justice report he set out a call to action – that governments commit to achieving equality for our peoples in health and life expectancy. This was the beginning of Closing the Gap.

It took some years, but governments committed. When they did, they invested heavily. But there was a fatal flaw, as Pat Turner stated, we were not included as equal partners. Without our inclusion at all levels of program design and policy making, the repercussions of government decision-making can be disastrous on the ground.

As if the machinery of government acting alone without our voices could deliver the changes, we need to restore our society to full health and wellbeing. It hasn’t been able to. Instead, targets have been designed at the top, without us in mind, that ultimately have not reflected our lived realities but have been determined by western measures of success.

Last year I travelled the country as part of a national engagement project I led listening to our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls, called Wiyi Yani U Thangani, meaning women’s voices in my language Bunuba. The report will be tabled in Parliament later this year. Women told me that it is this type of top-down, siloed decision-making approach that has fundamentally failed us which must end.

As we fail to meet targets that do not reflect us, our peoples continue to be narrowly framed in the deficit, as if we are a problem to be solved.

Women and girls have also said that some of the major themes that are emerging that underpin all issues like health, housing and education are the structural conditions of poverty, huge economic inequalities, trauma, and the pervasiveness of institutional discrimination and racism, all of which are intergenerational. This structural reality is the cause of entrenched disadvantage in our lives. It manifests appalling health outcomes and yet Closing the Gap did not confront these structural and interconnected conditions.

We all know that health is everything. For us, as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies health is holistic. We must always look at the underpinning factors, these are the determinants of health.

Let me return to grounding our approach to achieving good health in this very clear truth: as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples we know good health like no other society, we know it better than any western liberal democracy. The evidence is in the years – not in one generation’s life-span, not in single western indicators – the measure of our success in health is the tens of thousands of years of our continuous civilization. There is no way that an unhealthy society could have existed for 60,000 years and counting!

Women have spoken to me of needing a system that reflects this measure of success – grounded in our culture and lived realities and our knowledge. A system that supports a holistic way of living where education, regional economies, jobs, housing, childcare and mental, spiritual and physical health are all interconnected.

This might sound like a big agenda, but I know we can do it. We have had enough of business as usual, we cannot pretend that real long-term and meaningful success can be found in a system that is focused on crisis intervention and not prevention.

I believe a new system is emerging, built on the work we’ve done for the last 25 years and beyond and all the learnings that we’ve carried with us from a time immemorial.

When I travelled the country with Wiyi Yani U Thangani I could hear a momentum for change rising up in our women’s voices. They have said that the system is failing us and this does not have to be, because if you put control back in our hands, we hold the solutions and we will make change happen.

That flame of self-determination is igniting in our communities across the country. Because we know that self-determination was never a policy era, it is an inherent right that belongs to us as a distinct peoples and it never ends. I was in Garma over the last few days and I heard it there too.

We want a voice enshrined in our constitution our leaders are united around that. But there is more, we seem to be gaining some consensus across divided political lines. Irrespective of whatever political party is in government it doesn’t matter there is a momentum in society for change. We do not need to be dependent on a political moment. Our position can no longer be ignored or tolerated.

Beyond the Voice I also heard:

the young people put forward an imagination declaration for Australia that sees this nation embracing the genius and millennial wisdom and intelligence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples. They see our voice contributing to all forms of ecological sustainability and technological innovations.

On the ground there was Miwatj transforming community-controlled health to be trauma-informed, grounded in culture and focused on healing and wellbeing.

There was discussions about regional governance structures determining our economic and infrastructural development.

We talked about homeland education, two way learning, and bush schools.

Then there was the northern territory treaty presentation by professor Mick Dodson and the process that should be embedded to ensure effective treaty negations and layers of agreement making.

And then there was the presentation by Pat Turner, who also gave us an overview this morning, of the partnership agreement with the coalition of peaks and the commonwealth government for Closing the Gap.  This partnership that defines a new relationship between our national Aboriginal peak organisation with the Commonwealth government is unprecedented. It is paving a new way forward in how we can begin to have a dialogue between our peoples and the Australian nation state. I feel it is the beginnings of understanding what a truly equal partnership can look like. That deserves a huge round of applause.

From true community-controlled health services on the ground to health partnerships between our community-controlled sector and the commonwealth, state and territory governments, these are the ingredients for change.

When people ask how are we going to be heard, how are we going to make the difference that we want to see? This is how.

And all the AMS’s and ACCHOS in the room you are essential to making this change real. You can bring these ingredients together, utilise changing structures and relationships to design the culturally informed health models and work programs our people need. It is the way that we deliver our work from the ground up that informs the best policy and legislation. We have to seize this moment. As the Partnership takes effect we have to organise on the ground and become the policy activists that was discussed earlier today. Organise, collaborate and reignite the flame of the torch that we have been carrying for years and all of us, particularly our staff on the frontline, will hold in our hands that change that we all want to see. This moment of change is ours – to own, control and make happen. So go for it!

Thank you

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Conferences and Events #SaveADate : This weeks feature @AMSANTaus #AMSANT25Conf Prospectus 6- 8 August #OCHREDay 29-30 August Register your Interest Plus @IAHA_National @SNAICC @CATSINaM @IAHA_National #NACCHOAgm2019

This weeks featured NACCHO SAVE A DATE events

6 – 8 August 2019 Our Health, Our Way Leadership Conference Alice Springs 

Download the 2019 Health Awareness Days Calendar 

7 -14 July 2019 National NAIDOC

5 July NAIDOC week Symposium

6 July National NAIDOC Awards Canberra

10 July Minister Ken Wyatt at the National Press Club 

2-5 August Garma Festival 

4 August  National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day 2019

13- 14 August Indigenous Health Justice Conference (IHJ) Darwin 

29th  – 30th  August 2019 NACCHO OCHRE DAY

2- 5 September 2019 SNAICC Conference

23 -25 September IAHA Conference Darwin

24 -26 September 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference

2- 4 October  AIDA Conference 2019

9-10 October 2019 NATSIHWA 10 Year Anniversary Conference

16 October Melbourne Uni: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Wellbeing Conference

November date TBA World Indigenous Housing Conference

4 November NACCHO Youth Conference -Darwin NT

5 – 7 November NACCHO Conference and AGM  -Darwin NT

5-8 November The Lime Network Conference New Zealand 

Featured Save a date this week

6 – 8 August 2019 Our Health, Our Way Leadership Conference Alice Springs 

AMSANT is holding a one and a half day conference to celebrate its 25th Anniversary of working with and supporting the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector and member services.

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) have a long and successful history as leaders in providing best practice primary health care to our communities, starting in the NT in 1973 with the establishment of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (Congress). This was only two years after the first Aboriginal Medical Service was established at Redfern in Sydney.

At a meeting in Alice Springs in 1994, ACCHSs in the NT formed our own peak body, the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT (AMSANT). Our sector has not looked back. AMSANT now has 26 member services across the Territory and is continuing to expand and strengthen its membership.

The last 45 years has seen our sector grow significantly, supported for the past 25 years through AMSANT’s leadership and advocacy. The innovation and leadership of the ACCHSs sector has influenced system-wide improvements in primary health care.

This record of achievement has ensured that ACCHSs are the preferred model for primary health care services to Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory. Currently, our member ACCHSs provide over half of all primary health care services delivered to our people in the Northern Territory and there is an ongoing process for further transition to community control in coordination with our partners in the NT Aboriginal Health Forum.

A nationally-significant conference

The Our Health Our Way – 25 of Health Leadership Conference 2019 will be held at the Alice Springs Convention Centre and will bring together key local and national speakers to discuss the achievements and successes of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector in the Northern Territory and the future development of Aboriginal comprehensive primary health care here and beyond.

The themes of the conference will cover key aspects of our sector, from health leadership and governance through to research and data and continuous quality improvement (CQI) processes, and growing a sustainable Aboriginal health workforce.

The conference will showcase the successes of AMSANT’s member health services in effectively delivering primary health care services and developing local, community based and led programs across a range of areas including social and emotional well-being, health and housing, and expanding community controlled health services.

The conference format will include keynote speakers, plenary sessions and breakout workshop sessions on key topics. The conference program will be available soon on AMSANT’s website.

Conference Dinner

A Conference Dinner will be held on the evening of Wednesday 7th August at the Convention Centre featuring dinner and entertainment.

Individual seats or tables may be booked as part of the registration process.

Partner information stalls

The Our Health, Our Way – 25 Years of Health Leadership Conference 2019 will provide opportunities for government and NGO partners to hold information stalls within the conference venue to promote their work.

If you are interested in holding a stall during the conference please contact us using the details provided below.

Further information and registration

Further information including registration for the event will be available on AMSANT’s website: http://www.amsant.org.au

Inquiries can be made by phone or email or in person:

Mia Christophersen

Email: mia.christophersen@amsant.org.au

Phone: 08 8944 6666 (Darwin)

AMSANT Darwin Office: 43 Mitchell St, Darwin

Download the NACCHO 2019 Calendar Health Awareness Days

For many years ACCHO organisations have said they wished they had a list of the many Indigenous “ Days “ and Aboriginal health or awareness days/weeks/events.

With thanks to our friends at ZockMelon here they both are!

It even has a handy list of the hashtags for the event.

Download the 53 Page 2019 Health days and events calendar HERE

naccho zockmelon 2019 health days and events calendar

We hope that this document helps you with your planning for the year ahead.

Every Tuesday we will update these listings with new events and What’s on for the week ahead

To submit your events or update your info

Contact: Colin Cowell www.nacchocommunique.com

NACCHO Social Media Editor Tel 0401 331 251

Email : nacchonews@naccho.org.au

7-14 July NAIDOC week

VOICE. TREATY. TRUTH.

We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.

The Indigenous voice of this country is over 65,000 plus years old.

They are the first words spoken on this continent. Languages that passed down lore, culture and knowledge for over millennia. They are precious to our nation.

It’s that Indigenous voice that include know-how, practices, skills and innovations – found in a wide variety of contexts, such as agricultural, scientific, technical, ecological and medicinal fields, as well as biodiversity-related knowledge.  They are words connecting us to country, an understanding of country and of a people who are the oldest continuing culture on the planet.

And with 2019 being celebrated as the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages, it’s time for our knowledge to be heard through our voice.

For generations, we have sought recognition of our unique place in Australian history and society today. We need to be the architects of our lives and futures.

For generations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have looked for significant and lasting change.

Voice. Treaty. Truth. were three key elements to the reforms set out in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. These reforms represent the unified position of First Nations Australians.

However, the Uluru Statement built on generations of consultation and discussions among Indigenous people on a range of issues and grievances. Consultations about the further reforms necessary to secure and underpin our rights and to ensure they can be exercised and enjoyed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

It specifically sequenced a set of reforms: first, a First Nations Voice to Parliament enshrined in the Constitution and second, a Makarrata Commission to supervise treaty processes and truth-telling.

(Makarrata is a word from the language of the Yolngu people in Arnhem Land. The Yolngu concept of Makarrata captures the idea of two parties coming together after a struggle, healing the divisions of the past. It is about acknowledging that something has been done wrong, and it seeks to make things right.)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people want their voice to be heard. First Nations were excluded from the Constitutional convention debates of the 1800’s when the Australian Constitution came into force.  Indigenous people were excluded from the bargaining table.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have always wanted an enhanced role in decision-making in Australia’s democracy.

In the European settlement of Australia, there were no treaties, no formal settlements, no compacts. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people therefore did not cede sovereignty to our land. It was taken away from us. That will remain a continuing source of dispute.

Our sovereignty has never been ceded – not in 1788, not in 1967, not with the Native Title Act, not with the Uluru Statement from the Heart. It coexists with the sovereignty of the Crown and should never be extinguished.

Australia is one of the few liberal democracies around the world which still does not have a treaty or treaties or some other kind of formal acknowledgement or arrangement with its Indigenous minorities.

A substantive treaty has always been the primary aspiration of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander movement.

Critically, treaties are inseparable from Truth.

Lasting and effective agreement cannot be achieved unless we have a shared, truthful understanding of the nature of the dispute, of the history, of how we got to where we stand.

The true story of colonisation must be told, must be heard, must be acknowledged.

But hearing this history is necessary before we can come to some true reconciliation, some genuine healing for both sides.

And of course, this is not just the history of our First Peoples – it is the history of all of us, of all of Australia, and we need to own it.

Then we can move forward together.

Let’s work together for a shared future.

Download the National NAIDOC Logo and other social media resources.

5 July NAIDOC week Symposium

Symposium: Our Voice, Our Truth
Kick off NAIDOC week in Canberra with a Symposium event with keynote speakers and expert panel on the topic of good governance through strong leadership. A daylong event, fully catered with morning and afternoon tea, lunch and post-event drinks and canapes with entertainment to conclude.
This is an exclusive ticketed event in a stunning lakeside venue with limited seats available.
6 July National NAIDOC Awards Canberra

10 July Minister Ken Wyatt at the National Press Club 

During NAIDOC week and in his first major Address as Indigenous Affairs Minister, Ken Wyatt will lay out the pathway towards possible constitutional recognition for Australia’s first peoples and the importance of its view on the voice to parliament.

Ken Wyatt AM will outline how he and the Government want to do things differently – how partnerships, pride, respect and responsibility underpin his vision for a better future for Indigenous Australians and a stronger nation, even more confident in its cultural heritage and history.

Our first Aboriginal Minister for Indigenous Australians will detail the critical role of education, culture, community safety, suicide prevention, health, hope, employment and business development.

He will share the importance of co-designing and planning with Indigenous Australians at all levels, from the grassroots to peak representative bodies – and how inclusion and understanding is the only pathway towards Constitutional recognition.

As he has said, his dream is to ensure the greatness of our many Indigenous nations is reflected in the greatness of our Australian nation, now and forever.


Ken Wyatt was elected in 2010 as the Federal Member for Hasluck, located east of Perth, making history as the first Aboriginal Member of the House of Representatives.

The traditional garment worn by Ken on special occasions is a booka, a traditional kangaroo skin cloak presented to him by Perth’s Noongar elders and decorated with cockatoo feathers that signify his status in Noongar culture as a leader.

Since his election, Ken has worked tirelessly to be a strong advocate for his electorate to help build a stronger local community.

In 2015 Ken became the first Aboriginal member of the Federal Executive after being sworn in as Assistant Minister for Health, responsible for Aged Care, as well as for Dementia, the Organ and Tissue Authority and Australian Hearing.

In January 2017, Ken made history as the first Aboriginal Minister to serve in a Federal Government, after being appointed as Minister for Aged Care and Minister for Indigenous Health.

In August 2018, he was made Minister for Senior Australians & Aged Care and Minister for Indigenous Health.

In May 2019, he again made history when he became the first Aboriginal person to be made Minister for Indigenous Australians.

Before entering politics Ken worked in community and senior government roles in the fields of health and education including as Director of Aboriginal Health in both New South Wales and Western Australia.

In addition to Ken’s extensive public service career, he has made an enormous contribution to the wider community which was recognised in 1996 when he was awarded the Order of Australia for services to health, education and Indigenous affairs.

In 2000, Ken received a Centenary of Federation Medal for his contribution to improving the quality of life of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and mainstream Australian society.

BOOK HERE 

 

2-5 August Garma Festival 

Garma Website

4 August  National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day 2019

We Play, We Learn, We Belong
We play on our land.
We learn from our ancestors.

We belong with our communities.

In 2019, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day is celebrating the early years, and promoting the importance of early years education and care for our little ones.

We recognise the critical role that family, community, country and culture play in their development.

And we will continue to fight for better access to culturally appropriate early childhood education for our children through Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations.

Our 2019 Ambassador is Nanna from the animated children’s series Little J & Big Cuz.

We are delighted to have Nanna representing Children’s Day this year.

Children’s Day has been celebrated on the 4th of August for more than 30 years. It’s a special time for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to celebrate our children, and for all Aussies to learn about our cultures.

Around the 4th of August, schools, kinders and communities run Children’s Day events. On this website you can get ideas for how to run a Children’s Day event, and register your event so we can see Children’s Day growing each year across the nation.

We sell Children’s Day bags with fun toys and activities for kids to play with at your event. We can send you posters to promote Children’s Day and we will have a video of Nanna that you can show at your event.

Aboriginal Childrens Day Website

Are you holding a Children’s Day event this year? Call us on (03) 9419 1921 or email info@snaicc.org.au to order your FREE Children’s Day poster!

13- 14 August Indigenous Health Justice Conference (IHJ)

This year AMSANT is pleased to partner with the group representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander lawyers and law students in the Northern Territory – Winkiku Rrumbangi NT Indigenous
Lawyers Aboriginal Corporation – to host the Indigenous Health Justice Conference (IHJ) in Darwin

This conference will run parallel to the 14th National Indigenous Legal Conference being held in Darwin for the first time. Collaborations between Health and Justice services are gaining momentum nationally and internationally because the broadly accepted evidence shows these can lead to improved outcomes.

AMSANT’s policy focus has raised the importance of dealing with the social determinants of healthand, for some individuals, unresolved legal issues can also be determinants of health.

To discuss this conference further, please contact John Rawnsley via email
directors.wrnt@gmail.com.

 

Website 

29th  – 30th  Aug 2019 NACCHO OCHRE DAY

Ochre Day is on again! This is the space to let us know you are interested in attending ! Register to get on the Early Bird list now!

About this Event

This year the event will be held at the Pullman on the Park in Melbourne between 29-30 August 2019.

As we count down to the conference we are calling for you to express your interest in attending.

Your expression of interest will secure you a spot at the FREE OCHRE DAY MENS CONFERENCE .

TELLING US YOU WANT TO COME MEANS YOU WILL KNOW:

– when registration opens

– link to the registration

– the code to book your accommodation direct with the hotel BEFORE registration opens, securing your room with the fabulous PULLMAN ON THE PARK MELBOURNE

– receive a link to the conference APP

THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO BE IN THE KNOW.

REGISTER YOUR INTEREST HERE TODAY

 

2- 5 September 2019 SNAICC Conference

Preliminary program and registration information available to download now!

Less than 3 weeks until our discounted early bird offer closes.

Visit  for more information.

23 -25 September IAHA Conference Darwin

24 September

A night of celebrating excellence and action – the Gala Dinner is the premier national networking event in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health.

The purpose of the IAHA National Indigenous Allied Health Awards is to recognise the contribution of IAHA members to their profession and/or improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The IAHA National Indigenous Allied Health Awards showcase the outstanding achievements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health and provides identifiable allied health role models to inspire all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to consider and pursue a career in allied health.

The awards this year will be known as “10 for 10” to honour the 10 Year Anniversary of IAHA. We will be announcing 4 new awards in addition to the 6 existing below.

Read about the categories HERE.

24 -26 September 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference

 

 

The 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference will be held in Sydney, 24th – 26th September 2019. Make sure you save the dates in your calendar.

Further information to follow soon.

Date: Tuesday the 24th to Thursday the 26th September 2019

Location: Sydney, Australia

Organiser: Chloe Peters

Phone: 02 6262 5761

Email: admin@catsinam.org.au

2- 4 October  AIDA Conference 2019

Print

Location:             Darwin Convention Centre, Darwin NT
Theme:                 Disruptive Innovations in Healthcare
Register:              Register Here
Web:                     www.aida.org.au/conference
Enquiries:           conference@aida.org.au

The AIDA 2019 Conference is a forum to share and build on knowledge that increasingly disrupts existing practice and policy to raise the standards of health care.

People with a passion for health care equity are invited to share their knowledges and expertise about how they have participated in or enabled a ‘disruptive innovation to achieve culturally safe and responsive practice or policy for Indigenous communities.

The 23rd annual AIDA Conference provides a platform for networking, mentoring, member engagement and the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of AIDA’S Indigenous doctor and students.

9-10 October 2019 NATSIHWA 10 Year Anniversary Conference

2019 Marks 10 years since the formation of NATSIHWA and registrations are now open!!!

Come and celebrate NATSIHWA’s 10 year Anniversary National Conference ‘A Decade of Footprints, Driving Recognition’ which is being held in Alice Springs. We aim to offer an insight into the Past, Present and Future of NATSIHWA and the overall importance of strengthening the primary health care sector’s unique workforce of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners throughout Australia.

During the 9-10 October 2019 delegates will be exposed to networking opportunities whilst immersing themselves with a combination of traditional and practical conference style delivery. Our intention is to engage Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners in the history and knowledge exchange of the past, todays evidence based best practice programs/services available and envisioning what the future has to offer for all Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners.

Watch this space for the guest speaker line up, draft agenda and award nominations

16 October Melbourne Uni: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Wellbeing Conference

The University of Melbourne, Department of Rural Health are pleased to advise that abstract
submissions are now being invited that address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and
wellbeing.

The Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Conference is an opportunity for sharing information and connecting people that are committed to reforming the practice and research of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander health and celebrates Aboriginal knowledge systems and strength-based approaches to improving the health outcomes of Aboriginal communities.

This is an opportunity to present evidence-based approaches, Aboriginal methods and models of
practice, Aboriginal perspectives and contribution to health or community led solutions, underpinned by cultural theories to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.
In 2018 the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Conference attracted over 180 delegates from across the community and state.

We welcome submissions from collaborators whose expertise and interests are embedded in Aboriginal health and wellbeing, and particularly presented or co-presented by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and community members.

If you are interested in presenting, please complete the speaker registration link

closing date for abstract submission is Friday 3 rd May 2019.
As per speaker registration link request please email your professional photo for our program or any conference enquiries to E. aboriginal-health@unimelb.edu.au.

Kind regards
Leah Lindrea-Morrison
Aboriginal Partnerships and Community Engagement Officer
Department of Rural Health, University of Melbourne T. 03 5823 4554 E. leah.lindrea@unimelb.edu.au

November date TBA World Indigenous Housing Conference

Want to be kept updated on the WIHC in November 2019 ?

Inbox us your email address and we will add you to the mailing list or email our Principal Project Manager- Brandon.etto@nationalcongress.com.au

4 November NACCHO Youth Conference -Darwin NT

Darwin Convention Centre

Website to be launched soon

Conference Co-Coordinator Ben Mitchell 02 6246 9309

ben.mitchell@naccho.org.au

5 – 7 November NACCHO Conference and AGM  -Darwin NT

Darwin Convention Centre

Website to be launched soon

Conference Co-Coordinator Ben Mitchell 02 6246 9309

ben.mitchell@naccho.org.au

5-8 November The Lime Network Conference New Zealand 

This years  whakatauki (theme for the conference) was developed by the Scientific Committee, along with Māori elder, Te Marino Lenihan & Tania Huria from .

To read about the conference & theme, check out the  website. 

NACCHO Our Members #Aboriginal Health Deadly Good News Stories : Features National @NACCHOChair #LowitjaConf2019 @Apunipima #715HealthChecks #QLD @QAIHC_QLD #CEOSleepout $ #NT @KenWyattMP visits @AMSANTaus #NSW Katungul #Vic MDAS #WA South West AMS #SA #ACT

Feature article this week 715 Health Checks 

1.1 National : Relationships key to better Indigenous Health – and the 715 health check is paving the way says Dr Mark Wenitong

1.2 National : Donnella Mills Acting @NACCHOChair broadcast interview at Lowitja Conference in Darwin

1.3 National : Donnella Mills Acting @NACCHOChair and John Paterson CEO AMSANT presents at Lowitja  the Coalition of ACCO Peaks on #ClosingtheGap

1.4 National : Michaela Coleborne the new NACCHO Director of Policy visits Lowitja Conference Darwin meeting many of our stakeholders like End RHD

2. NSW : Katungul ACCHO newly appointed CEO for the next 12 months, Joanne Grant talks about what motivates her to get out of bed every day

3. Vic MDAS Family and Community Services team supports our clients as they strive to achieve their own goals in life.

4. QLD :QAIHC CEO sleeps out to raise vital funds for homelessness : Please Donate HERE

5.1 WA : The South West Aboriginal Medical Service and City of Bunbury have been working together to deliver a $28 million multi-faceted facility for those living in the region. 

5.2 WA : AHCWA Starts new course in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Primary Health Care Practice

6. SA : AHCSA_ Study redefines gender policy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 

7. NT : Minister Ken Wyatt visits AMSANT office in Darwin after opening Day 2 Lowitja Conference ( See Video )

8.ACT : Winnunga ACCHO adviser says reports expose ACT disinterest in Aboriginal care

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

1.1 National : Relationships key to better Indigenous Health – and the 715 health check is paving the way says Dr Mark Wenitong

“You really have to engage with the local Aboriginal community, so they feel comfortable to come in and get their 715.

 You need to understand cultural sensitivities to get a proper medical history – you can’t diagnose if you don’t know what’s really going on with a patient, so building that trust is really critical.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the worst health outcomes of any community in Australia.

We have a responsibility as health professionals to take care of this community, the same way that we take care of any part of our community. 

 Our people can actually take care of themselves if they have the education and the information in their hands.”

Dr Mark Wenitong Apunipima Health Service

Mark is one of a kind. Descending from the Kabi Kabi tribal group of South Queensland, Mark is one of the first Aboriginal men to graduate as a Doctor and is now a powerful advocate for improving Indigenous health outcomes.

Mark says he was inspired to become a Doctor by his mother who was one of the first Aboriginal Health Workers to be trained in Queensland. Her work with the Cape York community, in particular tackling the surge of sexually transmitted diseases in the region at the time, inspired a passion for better health within the family.

“Mum’s legacy was what really made me want to become a Doctor. I wanted to be able to help our mob to look after their own health, to provide a cultural lens. For me, that’s why it’s so important that Aboriginal Doctors are part of our service system, we can translate research, evidence and even program work into real practice” says Mark.

“With more Aboriginal Doctors, we can relate to our people, overcome barriers and build cultural resonance.”

After studying and graduating from the University of Newcastle in 1995, Mark is now based in Cairns at Apunipima Health Service, working with the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities up north, both in the clinic and out in communities.

Mark says, the annual health check for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, item 715 under the Medicare Benefits Schedule, provides enormous opportunities for GPs to engage with Indigenous communities about their health needs.

View the video case study herehttps://youtu.be/lUgJsjtiItA

“The importance of 715s can’t be overstated – it’s one of the most important innovations that Medicare, and the Government, has brought in. We needed to do it, because we needed to get an understanding of what people’s health profile was before they were unwell. Why wait until patients come to us with a chronic disease? Let’s start screening early,” says Mark.

With Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 2.3 times more likely to suffer a chronic condition, the annual health check is designed to provide early detection and prevention. Mark says the assessment is critically important in improving Indigenous health outcomes.

“There’s a couple of aspects to a 715 that are really important. The first is the screening – there are lots of people that are asymptomatic – meaning they aren’t showing symptoms yet –  that could have early disease like diabetes, hypertension. These patients may not come in until they get symptoms because people still think they have to be sick to come to a clinic. It’s an important way to engage the community, so they know they can come to a clinic whenever they need do,” says Mark.

“The other important aspect is that it’s a comprehensive assessment – a complete head to toe. By screening a broad array of physical, social and emotional factors, we get a really good picture of individual and community level health. Because we can identify problems early, we can also start early treatment.

“At a community level, we get really great data from undertaking the 715. We work with the local Elders groups to deliver 715 health check days out in the community, and screen people that otherwise wouldn’t come to the clinic. It gives us an idea of what the issues are at a really local level. We can then look at broader issues that affect the whole community, like immunisation, dementia, mental health and social wellbeing and can work to develop appropriate programs that tackle the specific issue a community might be experiencing.”

The annual health check is available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of all ages, however nationally less than 30 per cent of patients are accessing the check.

Mark says it’s important to engage young patients with getting a 715 early as part of educating people about how to stay healthy.

“I see young people come in for their 715 and they’re very well. But I talk to them about health maintenance, talk to them about what they could end up like. Their uncle whose overweight, with no teeth and smoking outside. Our young people want to look deadly and fit, so we can help them with information and tips to stay in good health.

But with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Doctors representing less than 1% of the general practitioner workforce it’s important that all GPs understand the benefits of a 715 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

Mark says the key to improving mainstream health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients is to encourage practices to engage with their local community to build cultural competency.

“If Aboriginal people walk into a service and don’t feel welcome, they won’t come back. Access is a big issue – creating a safe space for people to feel welcome is important,” says Mark.

“You really have to engage with the local Aboriginal community, so they feel comfortable to come in and get their715. You need to understand cultural sensitivities to get a proper medical history – you can’t diagnose if you don’t know what’s really going on with a patient, so building that trust is really critical.

“Most GPs can do this fairly well with most people, so it’s just a matter of then learning a little bit more about Aboriginal social and cultural issues to be able to relate to these patients in the right way. If you do, you’ll make a big difference.

“Some mainstream practices I’ve worked with have done really simple things, like putting Aboriginal health posters up in the waiting room or hiring and Aboriginal Health Worker or Aboriginal receptionist to help people feel welcome.”

Mark’s message to health professionals is simple – help your Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients in the same way you help any others.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the worst health outcomes of any community in Australia. We have a responsibility as health professionals to take care of this community, the same way that we take care of any part of our community.  Our people can actually take care of themselves if they have the education and the information in their hands.”

The 715 health check is available annually to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of all ages. Further information, including resources for patients and health practitioners is available at www.health.gov.au/715-health-check.

1.2 National : Donnella Mills Acting @NACCHOChair broadcast interview at Lowitja Conference in Darwin

1.3 National : Donnella Mills Acting @NACCHOChair and John Paterson CEO AMSANT presents at Lowitja  the Coalition of ACCO Peaks on #ClosingtheGap

Read Full Speech Here

1.4 National : Michaela Coleborne the new NACCHO Director of Policy visits Lowitja Conference Darwin meeting many of our stakeholders like End RHD

NACCHO are a founding member of the RHD alliance, leading work to across Australia. ( with Vicki Wade on right )

Read NACCHO and RHD HERE

2. NSW : Katungul ACCHO newly appointed CEO for the next 12 months, Joanne Grant talks about what motivates her to get out of bed every day

What motivates you to get out of bed every day to come and work at Katungul and why?
I firstly want to pay my respects to the Walbunja peoples, some of whom are family, of the Yuin nation and I am really honoured to be able to work on their land and with the local Aboriginal Communities along the far South Coast of NSW.
There is well documented evidence of the disparity faced by Aboriginal people in Australia and still today our people are denied their basic human rights. The opportunity to make a change for our people is what really motivates me.

Working in the health sector has been an eye opening experience for me as we see daily the ‘real’ effects of colonisation and trans-generational trauma which presents in many forms, for our mob eg AOD, mental health, chronic disease, family breakdown to name a few. To be able to work in an organisation like Katungul, that can provide services and programs directly to our communities, and who value cultural safety is what I believe will make a genuine difference.

What are you most excited about taking on in the next 12 months?

I am keen for the challenge that lies ahead of me. Whilst I have been apart of the executive team at Katungul for nearly 4 years, to take the reins of our organisation requires a whole new level of responsibility, way of thinking and commitment.
I see my role as an opportunity to build on our successes and have us recognised for the work we do.

It disappoints me at times that our Government still does not fully value the significant role of an Aboriginal community controlled organisation, which is evident when you look at the funding options that bypass us. I believe, we hold the vital keys and answers to our solutions!  I am keen to take the lead and have us write our own narrative of change as we move forward.

What can you personally bring to you role?

MMM.. talking myself up is not a big strength of mine, but when I look at my employment history I believe I can bring 30 plus years of demonstrated experience and commitment of working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples with me.

When I left year 12 my first real job was with the Human Rights Commission, handling complaints of racial discrimination around Australia. This was a not just a job but a real life lesson for me, at that young age.It really opened my eyes up to the injustices my people faced. These stories have stayed with me throughout my employment journey and always motivates me to champion change.

What do you think will be your biggest challenges?

Working in any Aboriginal organisation is a hard ask, as we face many political challenges, at all levels including by our own communities. There seems to be a perception out there that we, Aboriginal organisations, receive a plethora of funding and are able to address ALL issues faced by our communities.

Unfortunately this is not the case, and we need to be clear and concise about what we can and cannot do and exceed where we are able to.  Living in regional Australia itself is a challenge as local resources are limited which means we have to access support and services for our clients out of area. This is clearly evident in the AOD space with all clients requiring residential treatment/care having to leave the area and  their family and Kinship networks which at times can be problematic.

What can the community expect to see from you in this role?

They can expect to see an Aboriginal woman lead with integrity, take on the challenges as they arise and to put the needs of the communities we serve  at the centre of our business.

3. Vic MDAS Family and Community Services team supports our clients as they strive to achieve their own goals in life.

We have specialist teams focussing on the different needs within our community:

• Aged and Disability
• Children’s Placement Services
• Family Services
• Youth Services
• Homelessness and Housing Services

Our staff work from a “Best-Interest Case Practice Model” – that means we support clients to achieve their goals and maintain their connections to their community, their families and, importantly, their culture.

Website

4. QLD :QAIHC CEO sleeps out to raise vital funds for homelessness : Please Donate HERE

Last night ( Thursday 20 June ) the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) CEO, Neil Willmett, slept out on the cold, hard concrete of Brisbane’s Powerhouse as part of the Vinnies CEO Sleepout.

The annual event raises much needed funds and awareness to address homelessness in Australia. For the CEOs involved it is one night of discomfort, but for more than 116,427 Australians, including more than 22,000 Queenslanders, homelessness is a constant reality.

This is the third year that Mr Willmett has participated in the CEO Sleepout, a cause close to his heart.

“It is well known that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are over-represented in the homeless population. Across Australia, approximately 25% of people who access specialist homelessness services identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander,” said Mr Willmett.

Mr Willmett is striving to raise a minimum of $5,000 to help the St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland (Vinnies) provide support to people in crisis.

“I am proud to participate in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout. As the CEO of QAIHC, I lead an organisation whose membership has a positive impact on the most vulnerable. Across the whole of Queensland, the homeless population is in the thousands. Homelessness can have profound and ongoing effects on people and their health and wellbeing,” Mr Willmett said.

Funds raised at the Vinnies CEO Sleepout enables Vinnies to provide vital services to people experiencing homelessness. Vinnies provides emergency accommodation, advocacy support, budgeting services, living skills programs, emergency relief, transitional housing and access to programs that help rebuild the lives of Australians living in poverty.

To donate, visit www.ceosleepout.org.au/fundraisers/neilwillmett/brisbane

5.1 WA : The South West Aboriginal Medical Service and City of Bunbury have been working together to deliver a $28 million multi-faceted facility for those living in the region. 

Plans for the construction of an all-encompassing Indigenous health hub are progressing despite the project not yet receiving state or federal funding.

Last week council agreed to transfer city-owned land to SWAMS to develop the health campus.

Originally published HERE

Lot 4669 Forrest Avenue, Carey Park which is known as Jaycee Park will be transferred to SWAMS with the city agreeing to waive the development application fee of $34,196.

City of Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan said the health hub would be a welcomed addition to the region.

“We are pleased to be able to provide the land to SWAMS for their health precinct and council would like to acknowledge all the hard work they do as well as the excellent service they provide to the community,” he said.

“By expanding their practice they will be able to do even more for their clients and make health care available and more accessible to those who need it.”

SWAMS chief executive Lesley Nelson thanked council for prioritising Indegenous health.

“This is about looking at a one-stop health hub to bring all of our programs and services under the one roof, in the one location,” she said.

“Strong local commitment and continuity are required to close the gap and that is why this purpose built, local facility is so important.”

During planning for the new purpose-built hub, SWAMS has partnered with University of Technology Sydney, to ensure an innovative, cutting edge design which will deliver positive outcomes for clients.

The build will include clinical and research facilities, administrative offices, dedicated maternal and child health facility and an outdoor Indigenous park in the one location.

There will also be a fenced-off children’s playground, landscaped gardens and new toilet facilities all open to the public.

Ms Nelson said they were still looking for funding partners and had sent the health hub plans out to a number of ministers.

“The total project will be around $28 million but if there is opportunities to undertake work at different stages that’s what we’ll do,” she said.

“We’re positive that it will happen, the first stage we’ll be looking at is building the health and wellbeing community centre and the landscaping and the park.

“That will get us started and showcase to the local community that something is happening on the site that is exciting.

“We know it’s important and this is part of trying to close the gap at a local level from the community – in terms of driving what they want to see here.”

SWAMS will now submit the development application to the City for assessment.

Once it has been approved, construction is expected to be completed within 12 months.

For more information visit www.swams.com.au.

5.2 WA : AHCWA Starts new course in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Primary Health Care Practice

NEW COURSE STARTING THURSDAY JULY 25th 2019

If you are interested in completing the Certificate IV in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Primary Health Care Practice” course or would like more information please email shirley.newell@ahcwa.org. or phone 92771631.

6. SA : AHCSA_ Study redefines gender policy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 

Read and /Or Download Report HERE

7. NT : Minister Ken Wyatt Visits AMSANT office in Darwin after opening Day 2 Lowitja Conference 

8.ACT : Winnunga ACCHO adviser says reports expose ACT disinterest in Aboriginal care

 ” THE release in late 2018 of two reports – “The Family Matters Report 2018”, which concerns  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care or in touch with the child protection system, and the Bureau of Statistics report “Prisoners in Australia 2018″– are a wake-up call for Canberra.” 

Jon Stanhope is employed as an adviser at Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Service

Originally Published HERE 30 Jan 2019

Jon Stanhope
Jon Stanhope.

“The Family Matters Report 2018”, which measures the trends in over-representation of Aboriginal children in out-of-home-care is as depressing as it is distressing. The report includes a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction report card on the implementation of best practice in child protection as represented by the Aboriginal Child Placement Principles and the four building blocks of the Family Matters Roadmap. “The Family Matters Report” is a collaborative effort of SNAICC-National Voice for our Children, the University of Melbourne and Griffith University. In other words, it is rigorous and credible.

In summary, the report reveals (and not for the first time) that the ACT is among the worst-performing jurisdictions in Australia and, on a number of specific and major measures, the worst-performing jurisdiction in Australia when it comes to the care of Aboriginal children in contact with the child-protection system.

In relation to the Aboriginal Child Placement Principles, recognised nationally as of fundamental importance to the management and care of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care, the ACT is identified as the only jurisdiction in Australia that has refused to include in its child-protection legislation any of the recognised elements of self-determination or a human-rights-based framework for participation in child protection decision making such as consulting Aboriginal community controlled organisations and involving them in decisions about the placement or care of Aboriginal children.

In light of the ACT government’s practice of excluding Aboriginal participation in child protection it is no surprise that the ACT has the highest rate of Aboriginal children in touch with the care and protection system in Australia and the third highest rate of removal of Aboriginal children from their families in Australia. An Aboriginal child in the ACT is 14 times more likely than a non-Aboriginal child to be in out-of-home care.

Stunningly, despite these quite shameful outcomes the ACT has the lowest level of funding in Australia for intensive family support and the second lowest level of family support generally.

Unsurprisingly, there are clear linkages between children who have been removed from their family by care and protection services and poverty, disadvantage and ultimately contact with the criminal justice system. The ABS report – “Prisoners in Australia 2018” – to the extent that it exposes and details the over-representation of Aboriginal men and women in prison in the ACT, confirms the depth of the failure of the ACT government and justice system to address either the causes of or appropriate response to Aboriginal offending.

The headline finding in the ABS report is that the ACT has the highest ratio of Aboriginal people in jail in Australia. An Aboriginal person in Canberra is 17.5 times more likely than a non-Aboriginal person to be sent to prison. The next highest is WA with a ratio of 16 followed by the NT where the ratio is 12. The ACT also stands out as the jurisdiction with the highest increase in relative imprisonment of Aboriginal people between 2008 and 2018, with an increase over the 10 years of a massive 100 per cent. In that same period WA and SA reduced the relative imprisonment rate by 9 per cent and 1 per cent respectively.

There is perhaps no single better illustration of the extent of inequality in Canberra than that the city with the highest median household income, the highest rates of home ownership and private health insurance, the fastest growing median house price and the highest mean income in the nation also has the highest rate of indigenous incarceration.

There is a range of other data reported by the ABS that is as equally shocking as the raw rate of indigenous incarceration. For instance the rate of prior imprisonment (or recidivism rate) of Aboriginal prisoners currently in the AMC is a mind blowing 90 per cent, the highest in Australia. Of the 109 Aboriginal detainees in the AMC on June 30 a staggering 99 of them were recidivists.

Equally alarming is the rate of increase in the ACT in the crude imprisonment rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Between 2017 and 2018 the rate in the ACT increased by 12 per cent to produce an increase over the six-year period from 2012 to 2018 of 89 per cent against a national average of 24 per cent. By way of comparison the growth in incarceration, over the same six years, in the NT, WA and SA was 8 per cent, 15 per cent and 18 per cent respectively.

That the rate of increase in the incarceration of Aboriginal people in the ACT, over the last six years, is 65 per cent higher than the national average and that the rate of relative imprisonment has doubled in the last 10 years is deeply alarming and surely demands immediate and independent investigation and an urgent response. However, for that to occur there needs to be someone in government who actually cares.

My fear is that the ACT government has sensed that the Canberra community doesn’t really care that much about the level of indigenous disadvantage and poverty in Canberra and has accordingly decided that there is no need for it to either.

Jon Stanhope is employed as an adviser at Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Service.

Aboriginal Health and Smoking #WNTD2019 31 May News Alerts #CommunityControl #YourHealthYourFuture: Over 7 years 130 Plus articles Including 20 myths about smoking that will not die

“Smoking kills. Smoking robs people, including young people, of their health.

Governments must do more to help people to stop smoking, or to not take up the deadly habit in the first place.

Strong government actions, including making packaging unappealing, keeping tobacco products out of view, and keeping tobacco prices high, have helped to encourage people to quit, or young people not to start.

The Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt, is to be commended for continuing funding of $183.7 million over four years for the Tackling Indigenous Smoking program.

Releasing the AMA/ACOSH National Tobacco Control Scoreboard on World No Tobacco Day, AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone

NACCHO and Croakey followers are invited to join Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in New South Wales in a Twitter Festival focused on tobacco control initiatives and successes across Australia.

NACCHO will be posting 8.45 to 9.00 AM Follow NACCHO

Follow the discussions on Twitter and contribute your views by using the hashtags #CommunityControl and #YourHealthYourFuture.

Please encourage your networks and organisations to support the event by following the discussion and retweeting as much as possible.

See full program 8.00 to 1.00 Pm HERE

Our special thanks to Tom Calma who has been our NO 1 promoter of our alerts 

Read or subscribe to NACCHO Daily Aboriginal Health News Alerts

“Across forty years I’ve come to recognise many factoid-driven myths about smoking that just won’t die. If I asked for a dollar each time I had to refute these statements, I’d have accumulated a small fortune.

Their persistence owes much to their being a vehicle for those who utter them to express unvoiced but clear sub-texts that reflect deeply held beliefs about women, the disadvantaged, mental illness, government health campaigns and the “natural”.

Let’s drive a stake through the heart of ten of the most common myths.”

Simon Chapman  Emeritus Professor in Public Health, University of Sydney

Originally published in The Conversation 

1. Women and girls smoke more than men and boys

Women have never smoked more than men. Occasionally, a survey will show one age band where it’s the other way around, but from the earliest mass uptake of smoking in the first decades of last century, men streaked out way ahead of women.

In 1945 in Australia, 72% of men and 26% of women smoked. By 1976, men had fallen to 43% and women had risen to 33%.

As a result, men’s tobacco-caused death rates have always been much higher than those of women. Women’s lung cancer rates, for example, seem unlikely to reach even half the peak rates that we saw among men in the 1970s.

Currently in Australia, 15% of men and 12% of women smoke daily.

But what about all the “young girls” you can see smoking, I’m always being told. In 2014, 13% of 17-year-old male high school students and 11% of females smoked. In two younger age bands, girls smoked more (by a single percentage point).

Those who keep on insisting girls smoke more are probably just letting their sexist outrage show about noticing girls’ smoking than their ignorance about the data.

2. Quit campaigns don’t work on low socioeconomic smokers

In Australia, 11% of those in the highest quintile of economic advantage smoke, compared with 27.6% in the lowest quintile. More than double.

So does this mean that our quit campaigns “don’t work” on the least well-off?

Smoking prevalence data reflect two things: the proportion of people who ever smoked, and the proportion who quit.

If we look at the most disadvantaged group, we find that a far higher proportion take up smoking than in their more well-to-do counterparts. Only 39.5% have never smoked compared with 50.4% of the most advantaged – see table 9.2.6).

When it comes to quitting, 46% of the most disadvantaged have quit compared to 66% of the least disadvantaged (see table 9.2.9).

There is a higher percentage of the disadvantaged who smoke mainly because more take it up, not because disadvantaged smokers can’t or won’t quit. With 27.6% of the most disadvantaged smoking today, the good news is that nearly three-quarters don’t. Smoking and disadvantage are hardly inseparable.

3. Scare campaigns ‘don’t work’

Countless studies have asked ex-smokers why they stopped and current smokers about why they are trying to stop. I have never seen such a study when there was not daylight between the first reason cited (worry about health consequences) and the second most nominated reason (usually cost).

For example, this national US study covering 13 years showed “concern for your own current or future health” was nominated by 91.6% of ex-smokers as the main reason they quit, compared with 58.7% naming expense and 55.7% being concerned about the impact of their smoking on others.

If information and warnings about the dire consequences of smoking “don’t work”, then from where do all these ex-smokers ever get these top-of-mind concerns? They don’t pop into their heads by magic. They encounter them via anti-smoking campaigns, pack warnings, news stories about research and personal experiences with dying family and friends. The scare campaigns work.

4. Roll-your-own tobacco is more ‘natural’ than factory made

People who smoke rollies often look you in the eye and tell you that factory made cigarettes are full of chemical additives, while roll-your-own tobacco is “natural” – it’s just tobacco. The reasoning here that we are supposed to understand is that it’s these chemicals that are the problem, while the tobacco, being “natural”, is somehow OK.

This myth was first turned very unceremoniously on its head when New Zealand authorities ordered the tobacco companies to provide them with data on the total weight of additives in factory made cigarettes, roll-your-own and pipe tobacco.

For example, data from 1991 supplied by WD & HO Wills showed that in 879,219kg of cigarettes, there was 1,803kg of additives (0.2%). While in 366,036kg of roll-your-own tobacco, there was 82,456kg of additives (22.5%)!

Roll-your-own tobacco is pickled in flavouring and humectant chemicals, the latter being used to keep the tobacco from drying out when smokers expose the tobacco to the air 20 or more times a day when they remove tobacco to roll up a cigarette.

5. Nearly all people with schizophrenia smoke

It’s true that people with mental health problems are much more likely to smoke than those without diagnosed mental health conditions. A meta-analysis of 42 studies on tobacco smoking by those with schizophrenia found an average 62% smoking prevalence (range 14%-88%). But guess which study in these 42 gets cited and quoted far more than any of the others?

If you said the one reporting 88% smoking prevalence you’d be correct. This small 1986 US study of just 277 outpatients with schizophrenia has today been cited a remarkable 1,135 times. With colleagues, I investigated this flagrant example of citation bias (where startling but atypical results stand out in literature searches and get high citations – “wow! This one’s got a high number, let’s quote that one!”).

By googling “How many schizophrenics smoke”, we showed how this percolates into the community via media reports where figures are rounded up in statements such as, “As many as 90% of schizophrenic patients smoke.”

Endlessly repeating that “90%” of those with schizophrenia smoke does these people a real disservice. We would not tolerate such inaccuracy about any other group.

6. Everyone knows the risks of smoking

Knowledge about the risks of smoking can exist at four levels:

  • Level 1: having heard that smoking increases health risks.
  • Level 2: being aware that specific diseases are caused by smoking.
  • Level 3: accurately appreciating the meaning, severity, and probabilities of developing tobacco related diseases.

Level 4: personally accepting that the risks inherent in levels 1–3 apply to one’s own risk of contracting such diseases.

Level 1 knowledge is very high, but as you move up the levels, knowledge and understanding greatly diminish. Very few people, for example, are likely to know that two in three long term smokers will die of a smoking caused disease, nor the average number of years that smokers lose off normal life expectancy.

7. You can reduce the health risks of smoking by just cutting down

It’s true that if you smoke five cigarettes a day rather than 20, your lifetime risk of early death is less (although check the risks for one to four cigarettes a day here).

But trying to “reverse engineer” the risk by just cutting down rather than quitting has been shown in at least four large cohort studies such as this one to confer no harm reduction.

If you want to reduce risk, quitting altogether should be your goal.

8. Air pollution is the real cause of lung cancer

Air pollution is unequivocally a major health risk. By “pollution”, those who make this argument don’t mean natural particulate matter such as pollen and soil dusts, they mean nasty industrial and vehicle pollution.

The most polluted areas of Australia are cities where pollution from industry and motor vehicle emissions are most concentrated. Remote regions of the country are the least polluted, so if we wanted to consider the relative contributions of air pollution and smoking to smoking-caused diseases, an obvious question to ask would be “does the incidence of lung cancer differ between heavily polluted cities and very unpolluted remote areas?”

Yes it does. Lung cancer incidence is highest in Australia in (wait for this …) in the least polluted very remote regions of the country, where smoking prevalence happens also to be highest.

9. Smokers should not try to quit without professional help or drugs

If you ask 100 ex-smokers how they quit, between two-thirds and three-quarters will tell you they quit unaided: on their final successful quit attempt, they did not use nicotine replacement therapy, prescribed drugs, or go to some dedicated smoking cessation clinic or experience the laying on of hands from some alternative medicine therapist. They quit unaided.

So if you ask the question: “What method is used by most successful quitters when they quit?” The answer is cold turkey.

Fine print on this English National Health Service poster states a bald-faced lie by saying that “There are some people who can go cold turkey and stop. But there aren’t many of them.” In the years before nicotine-replacement threapy and other drugs were available, many millions – including heavy smokers – quit smoking without any assistance. That’s a message that the pharmaceutical industry was rather not megaphoned

10. Many smokers live into very old age: so it can’t be that harmful

In just the way that five out of six participants in a round of deadly Russian roulette might proclaim that putting a loaded gun to their head and pulling the trigger caused no harm, those who use this argument are just ignorant of risks and probability.

Many probably buy lottery tickets with the same deep knowing that they have a good chance of winning.

11. Today’s smokers are all hard core, addicted smokers who can’t or won’t give up

This claim is the essence of what is known as the “hardening hypothesis”: the idea that decades of effort to motivate smokers to quit has seen all the low-hanging fruit fall from the tree, leaving only deeply addicted, heavy smokers today.

The key index of addicted smoking is the number of cigarettes smoked per day. This creates a small problem for the hardening hypothesis: in nations and states where smoking has reduced most, the average number of cigarettes smoked daily by continuing smokers has gone down, not up. This is exactly the opposite of what the hardening hypothesis would predict if remaining smokers were mostly hard core.

12. Smoking is pleasurable

Repeated studies have found that around 90% of smokers regret having started, and some 40% make an attempt to quit each year. There’s no other product with even a fraction of such customer disloyalty.

But I’m always amused at some die-hard smokers’ efforts explain that they smoke for pleasure and so efforts to persuade them to stop are essentially just anti-hedonistic tirades. Many studies have documented that the “pleasure” of smoking centres around the relief smokers get when they have not smoked for a while. The next nicotine hit takes away the discomfort and craving they have been experiencing.

This argument is a bit like saying that being beaten up every day is something you want to continue with, because hey, it feels so good when the beating stops for a while.

13. Light and mild cigarettes deliver far less tar and nicotine to the smoker than standard varieties

Several nations have outlawed cigarette descriptors such as “light” and “mild” because of evidence that such products do not deliver lower amounts of tar and nicotine to smokers, and so are deceptive.

The allegedly lower yields from cigarettes labelled this way resulted from a massive consumer fraud.

Cigarette manufacturers obtained these low readings by laboratory smoking machine protocols which took a standardized number of puffs, at a standardized puff velocity. The smoke inhaled by the machine was then collected in glass “lungs” behind the machine and the tar and nicotine weighed to give the readings per cigarette.

But the companies didn’t tell smokers two things. So-called light or mild cigarettes had tiny, near-invisible pin-prick perforations just on the filter (see picture). These holes are not covered by the “lips” or “fingers” of the laboratory smoking machine, allowing extra air to be inhaled and thus diluting the dose of tar and nicotine being collected.

But when smokers use these products, two things happen. Their lips and fingers partially occlude the tiny ventilation holes, thus allowing more smoke to be inhaled. Smokers unconsciously “titrate” their smoking to obtain the dose of nicotine that their brain’s addiction centres demand: they can take more puffs, inhale more deeply, leave shorter butt lengths or smoke more cigarettes.

Today, where use of these descriptors has been stopped, the consumer deception continues with the companies using pack colours to loudly hint to smokers about which varieties are “safer”.

Magnification and location of filter ventilation holes. Author collection

14. Filters on cigarettes remove most of the nasty stuff from cigarettes

We’ve all seen the brown stain in a discarded cigarette butt. But what few have seen is how much of that same muck enters the lungs and how much stays there.

This utterly compelling video demonstration shows how ineffective filters are in removing this deadly sludge. A smoker demonstrates holding the smoke in his mouth and then exhales it through a tissue paper, leaving a tell-tale brown stain. He then inhales a drag deep into his lungs, and exhales it into a tissue. The residue is still there, but in a much reduced amount. So where has the remainder gone? It’s still in the lungs!

15. Governments don’t want smoking to fall because they are addicted to tobacco tax and don’t want to kill a goose that lays golden eggs

This is perhaps the silliest and most fiscally illiterate argument we hear about smoking. If governments really want to maximise smoking and tax receipts, they are doing a shockingly bad job of it. Smoking in Australia has fallen almost continuously since the early 1960s. In five of the 11 years to 2011, the Australian government received less tobacco tax receipts than it did the year before (see Table 13.6.6).

Plainly, as smoking continues to decline, diminishing tax returns will occur, although this will be cushioned by the rising population which will include some smokers.

In the meantime, tobacco tax is a win-win for governments and the community. It reduces smoking like nothing else, and it provides substantial transfer of funds from smokers to government for public expenditure.

Those of us who don’t smoke do not squirrel away what we would have otherwise spent on smoking in a jam jar under the bed. We spend it on other goods and services, benefiting the economy too.

16. Most smokers die from smoking caused diseases late in life, and we’ve all got to die from something

Smoking increases the risk of many different diseases, and collectively these take about ten years off normal life expectancy from those who get them.

Smoking is by far the greatest risk factor for lung cancer. In Australia, the average age of death for people with lung cancer is 71.4 (see Table 4.2), while life expectancy is currently 80.1 for men and 84.3 for women.

This means that, on average, men diagnosed with lung cancer lose 8.7 years and women 12.9 years (mean 10.8 years). Of course, some lose many more (Beatle George Harrison died at just 58, Nat King Cole at 45).

If a 20-a-day smoker starts at 17 and dies at 71, 54 years of smoking would see 394,470 cigarettes smoked. At ten puffs per cigarette, that’s some 3.94 million point-blank lung bastings.

It takes about six minutes to smoke a cigarette. So at 20 a day, smokers smoke for two hours each day. Across 54 years, that’s a cumulative 1,644 days of smoking (4.5 years of continual smoking if you put it all together).

So by losing ten years off life expectancy, each cigarette smoked takes about 2.2 times the time it takes to smoke it off the life expectancy that might otherwise have been enjoyed.

17. Smokers cost the health system far less than the government receives from tobacco tax

In June 2015, a senior staff member of Australian libertarian Senator David Leyonhjelm, Helen Dale tweeted:

In Australia, a now old report looking at 2004/05 data estimated the gross health care costs attributable to smoking “before adjustment for savings due to premature death” were $A1.836 billion. In that financial year, the government received $A7,816.35 billion in customs and excise duty and GST on tobacco.

Someone who thought that the fiscal ledger was all that mattered in good government might conclude from this that smokers easily pay their way and perhaps we should even encourage smoking as a citizen’s patriotic duty.

With smokers being considerate enough to die early, these noble citizens lay down their lives early and thus contribute “savings due to premature death” like failing to draw a state pension or needing aged care services late in life. Philip Morris notoriously gave this advice to the new Czech government in 1999.

Other assessments, though, might well point to the values inherent in such assessments. History’s worst regimes have often seen economically non-productive people as human detritus deserving death. Primo Levi’s unforgettable witnessing of this mentality in Auschwitz comes to mind.

18. Big Tobacco is starting to invade low-income nations, now that smoking is on the wane in the wealthiest nations

Sorry, but US and British manufacturers have been aggressively marketing cigarettes in places such as China since the early years of last century. These collectable posters show many featuring Chinese women.

The large populations, the often lax tobacco-control policies and the higher corruption indexes of many low- and middle-income nations makes many of these nirvanas for Big Tobacco.

There are fewer more nauseating experiences than reading the corporate social responsibility reports of tobacco transnationals and then seeing how they operate in smokers’ paradises such as Indonesia. This documentary says it all.

19. Millions of cigarette butts on the world’s beaches leach lots of toxic chemicals into oceans

Cigarette butts are the most discarded items in all litter. Every year uncounted millions if not billions are washed down gutters in storm water and find their way into rivers, harbours and oceans. Cigarette filters and butts contain toxic residue and experiments have shown that placing laboratory fish in containers for 48 hours with leachate extracted from used cigarette butts, 50% of the fish die. From this, we sometimes hear people exclaim that cigarette butts are not just unsightly, but they “poison the oceans”.

But a confined laboratory container does not remotely mirror real life exposures in oceans or rivers. There are some 1,338,000,000 cubic kilometers of water in the world oceans, so the contribution of cigarette butts to the toxification of all this could only excite a homeopath.

If we want to reduce tobacco litter, we need not wander into such dubious justifications. The best way by far is to keep reducing smoking. Industry attempts at portraying themselves as corporately responsible by running dinky little clean-up campaigns or distributing personal butt disposal canisters avoids their efforts to keep as many smoking as possible.

20. Tobacco companies care deeply about their best customers dying early

Naturally, all businesses would rather their customers lived as long as possible so that the cash registers can keep ringing out long and loud. Tobacco companies wish their products didn’t kill so many, but worship the god nicotine for its iron grip on so many.

Visit any tobacco transnational’s website and you will find lots of earnest and caring talk about the companies’ dedication to doing all they can to reduce the terrible harm caused by their products. All the major companies have now invested heavily in electronic cigarettes, so isn’t this a sign that they taking harm reduction seriously?

It might be if the same companies were showing any sign of taking their feet off the turbo-drive accelerator of opposing effective tobacco control policies. But they are doing nothing of the sort. All continue to aggressively attack and delay any policy like tax hikes, graphic health warnings, plain packaging and advertising bans wherever in the world these are planned for introduction.

For all their unctuous hand-wringing about their mission to reduce harm, they are all utterly determined to keep as many smoking as possible. Big Tobacco’s business plan is not smoking or ecigarettes. It’s smoking and ecigarettes. Smoke when you are able to, vape when you can’t. It’s called dual use and some 70% of vapers are doing just that. The tragedy now playing out in some nations is that too many gormless tobacco control experts are blind to this big picture.

NACCHO and RACGP Podcast

Do you smoke?’ A simple preventive activity for clinicians to engage with every patient.

With over 30 years’ experience in Indigenous health, Professor David Thomas from the Menzies School of Health Research discusses updates to the smoking topic from Chapter 1: Lifestyle, in the third edition

Listen to Episode one:

Smoking & Smoking Cessation with Prof David Thomas on The National Guide Podcast 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Conferences and Events #SaveADate #NRW2019 : This weeks feature @ahmrc Twitter Festival 31 May #WorldNoTobaccoDay #CommunityControl #YourHealthYourFuture #Smoking Moderated by @amymcquire @timsenior @harleymcquire

This weeks featured NACCHO SAVE A DATE events

31 May AHMRC World No Tobacco Day Twitter Festival 

29th  – 30th  August 2019 NACCHO OCHRE DAY

4 November NACCHO Youth Conference -Darwin NT

5 – 7 November NACCHO Conference and AGM  -Darwin NT

Download the 2019 Health Awareness Days Calendar 

27 May to 5 June National Reconciliation Week #NRW2019

18 -20 June Lowitja Health Conference Darwin

2019 Dr Tracey Westerman’s Workshops 

5 July NAIDOC week Symposium

6 July National NAIDOC Awards Canberra

7 -14 July 2019 National NAIDOC Grant funding round opens

2-5 August Garma Festival 

29th  – 30th  August 2019 NACCHO OCHRE DAY

23 -25 September IAHA Conference Darwin

24 -26 September 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference

9-10 October 2019 NATSIHWA 10 Year Anniversary Conference

16 October Melbourne Uni: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Wellbeing Conference

4 November NACCHO Youth Conference -Darwin NT

5 – 7 November NACCHO Conference and AGM  -Darwin NT

5-8 November The Lime Network Conference New Zealand 

This weeks featured NACCHO SAVE A DATE events

NACCHO and Croakey followers are invited to join Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in New South Wales in a Twitter Festival focused on tobacco control initiatives and successes across Australia.

Follow the discussions on Twitter and contribute your views by using the hashtags #CommunityControl and #YourHealthYourFuture.

Please encourage your networks and organisations to support the event by following the discussion and retweeting as much as possible.

Bookmark this Twitter list to follow guest tweeters and learn more from community leaders and organisations across the tobacco control space.


World No Tobacco Day program

Draft as at 28 May : Check Croakey for the latest program 

#CommunityControl #YourHealthYourFuture

(All times are AEST)

8am – 8:15am – Launch

#CommunityControl #YourHealthYourFuture moderators:

Amy McQuire (8am-1pm) @amymcquire

Tim Senior (8am-11am) @timsenior

Hayley McQuire (11am-1pm) @HayleyMcQuire


8.15-8:45am – Introductions

Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council: Your health Your Future, the strengths of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service sector

@ahmrc


8.45 -9.00 am – National Perspective

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation: Tobacco Control from the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service sector nationally

@NACCHOAustralia

Read over 130 NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Smoking articles HERE

9:00-9:15am – Dead or Deadly

Waminda South Coast Women’s Health and Welfare Aboriginal Corporation

@Deadordeadly1


9:15-9:30am – Ministry of Health

NSW Health: The role of the government in supporting tobacco control

@NSWHealth


9:30-9:45am – Linking Tobacco Control & Culture

Cancer Institute NSW & Aboriginal Quitline

@cancerNSW

@AQuitline


9:45-10:00am – Tackling Indigenous Smoking

Desley Thompson, Ninti One

@ninti_one


10:00-10:15am – Awabakal

Awabakal: Celebrating success in tobacco control initiatives in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley NSW

@AWABAKAL


10:15-10:30am – Riverina Medical and Dental Aboriginal Corporation

AH&MRC tweeting live from RivMed: Celebrating success in tobacco control initiatives in the Riverina region NSW

@ahmrc


10:30-10:45am – Creating and Leveraging Strategic Partnerships

Cancer Council NSW

@CCNewSouthWales


10:45-11:15am – Sharing Our Successes

Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO), Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC), Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT)

@VACCHO_org

@QAIHC_QLD

@AMSANTaus


11.15 -11.30 am – Ready Mob

Galambila Aboriginal Medical Service

@ReadyMob


11:30-11:45am – International Perspective

IndigenousNCDs

@IndigenousNCDs


11:45-12:00pm – iSISTAQUIT

Dr Gillian Gould: Successes in reducing the incidence of smoking during pregnancy

@GillianSGould


12:00-12:15pm – Tobacco Control during Rehabilitation

The Glen Centre – Central Coast Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation

@TheGlenCentre


12:15-12:30pm – A GP’s perspective

Dr Tim Senior

@timsenior


12:30-12:45pm – Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service

Walgett: Celebrating success in tobacco control initiatives in northern NSW

@Walgett_AMS


12:45-1:00pm – Wrapping It Up

Moderators:

Amy McQuire  @amymcquire

Hayley McQuire  @HayleyMcQuire


The Twitter festival is hosted by Croakey Professional Services on behalf of the AH&MRC. We thank the AH&MRC for organising the program. Bookmark this link to follow related stories

Download the NACCHO 2019 Calendar Health Awareness Days

For many years ACCHO organisations have said they wished they had a list of the many Indigenous “ Days “ and Aboriginal health or awareness days/weeks/events.

With thanks to our friends at ZockMelon here they both are!

It even has a handy list of the hashtags for the event.

Download the 53 Page 2019 Health days and events calendar HERE

naccho zockmelon 2019 health days and events calendar

We hope that this document helps you with your planning for the year ahead.

Every Tuesday we will update these listings with new events and What’s on for the week ahead

To submit your events or update your info

Contact: Colin Cowell www.nacchocommunique.com

NACCHO Social Media Editor Tel 0401 331 251

Email : nacchonews@naccho.org.au

 

27 May to 5 June National Reconciliation Week #NRW2019 

At the heart of reconciliation is the relationship between the broader Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. To foster positive race relations, our relationship must be grounded in a foundation of truth.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have long called for a comprehensive process of truth-telling about Australia’s colonial history. Our nation’s past is reflected in the present, and will continue to play out in future unless we heal historical wounds.

Today, 80 per cent of Australians believe it is important to undertake formal truth telling processes, according to the 2018 Australian Reconciliation Barometer. Australians are ready to come to terms with our history as a crucial step towards a unified future, in which we understand, value and respect each other.

Whether you’re engaging in challenging conversations or unlearning and relearning what you know, this journey requires all of us to walk together with courage. This National Reconciliation Week, we invite Australians from all backgrounds to contribute to our national movement towards a unified future.

What is National Reconciliation Week?

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

The dates for NRW remain the same each year; 27 May to 3 June. These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey— the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision respectively.

Reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds and actions of all Australians as we move forward, creating a nation strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider Australian community, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Resources HERE

18 -20 June Lowitja Health Conference Darwin


At the Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2019 delegates from around the world will discuss the role of First Nations in leading change and will showcase Indigenous solutions.

The conference program will highlight ways of thinking, speaking and being for the benefit of Indigenous peoples everywhere.

Join Indigenous leaders, researchers, health professionals, decision makers, community representatives, and our non-Indigenous colleagues in this important conversation.

More Info 

2019 Dr Tracey Westerman’s Workshops 

More info and dates

5 July NAIDOC week Symposium

Symposium: Our Voice, Our Truth
Kick off NAIDOC week in Canberra with a Symposium event with keynote speakers and expert panel on the topic of good governance through strong leadership. A daylong event, fully catered with morning and afternoon tea, lunch and post-event drinks and canapes with entertainment to conclude.
This is an exclusive ticketed event in a stunning lakeside venue with limited seats available. Save the date – July 5 – and follow https://www.facebook.com/ailcleaders/ on Facebook to be the first in line to book tickets
6 July National NAIDOC Awards Canberra

7 -14 July 2019 National NAIDOC Grant funding round opens

VOICE. TREATY. TRUTH.

We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.

The Indigenous voice of this country is over 65,000 plus years old.

They are the first words spoken on this continent. Languages that passed down lore, culture and knowledge for over millennia. They are precious to our nation.

It’s that Indigenous voice that include know-how, practices, skills and innovations – found in a wide variety of contexts, such as agricultural, scientific, technical, ecological and medicinal fields, as well as biodiversity-related knowledge.  They are words connecting us to country, an understanding of country and of a people who are the oldest continuing culture on the planet.

And with 2019 being celebrated as the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages, it’s time for our knowledge to be heard through our voice.

For generations, we have sought recognition of our unique place in Australian history and society today. We need to be the architects of our lives and futures.

For generations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have looked for significant and lasting change.

Voice. Treaty. Truth. were three key elements to the reforms set out in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. These reforms represent the unified position of First Nations Australians.

However, the Uluru Statement built on generations of consultation and discussions among Indigenous people on a range of issues and grievances. Consultations about the further reforms necessary to secure and underpin our rights and to ensure they can be exercised and enjoyed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

It specifically sequenced a set of reforms: first, a First Nations Voice to Parliament enshrined in the Constitution and second, a Makarrata Commission to supervise treaty processes and truth-telling.

(Makarrata is a word from the language of the Yolngu people in Arnhem Land. The Yolngu concept of Makarrata captures the idea of two parties coming together after a struggle, healing the divisions of the past. It is about acknowledging that something has been done wrong, and it seeks to make things right.)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people want their voice to be heard. First Nations were excluded from the Constitutional convention debates of the 1800’s when the Australian Constitution came into force.  Indigenous people were excluded from the bargaining table.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have always wanted an enhanced role in decision-making in Australia’s democracy.

In the European settlement of Australia, there were no treaties, no formal settlements, no compacts. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people therefore did not cede sovereignty to our land. It was taken away from us. That will remain a continuing source of dispute.

Our sovereignty has never been ceded – not in 1788, not in 1967, not with the Native Title Act, not with the Uluru Statement from the Heart. It coexists with the sovereignty of the Crown and should never be extinguished.

Australia is one of the few liberal democracies around the world which still does not have a treaty or treaties or some other kind of formal acknowledgement or arrangement with its Indigenous minorities.

A substantive treaty has always been the primary aspiration of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander movement.

Critically, treaties are inseparable from Truth.

Lasting and effective agreement cannot be achieved unless we have a shared, truthful understanding of the nature of the dispute, of the history, of how we got to where we stand.

The true story of colonisation must be told, must be heard, must be acknowledged.

But hearing this history is necessary before we can come to some true reconciliation, some genuine healing for both sides.

And of course, this is not just the history of our First Peoples – it is the history of all of us, of all of Australia, and we need to own it.

Then we can move forward together.

Let’s work together for a shared future.

Download the National NAIDOC Logo and other social media resources.

2-5 August Garma Festival 

Garma Website

29th  – 30th  Aug 2019 NACCHO OCHRE DAY

Venue: Pullman Hotel – 192 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne Vic 3000

Website to be launched soon

23 -25 September IAHA Conference Darwin

24 September

A night of celebrating excellence and action – the Gala Dinner is the premier national networking event in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health.

The purpose of the IAHA National Indigenous Allied Health Awards is to recognise the contribution of IAHA members to their profession and/or improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The IAHA National Indigenous Allied Health Awards showcase the outstanding achievements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health and provides identifiable allied health role models to inspire all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to consider and pursue a career in allied health.

The awards this year will be known as “10 for 10” to honour the 10 Year Anniversary of IAHA. We will be announcing 4 new awards in addition to the 6 existing below.

Read about the categories HERE.

24 -26 September 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference

 

 

The 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference will be held in Sydney, 24th – 26th September 2019. Make sure you save the dates in your calendar.

Further information to follow soon.

Date: Tuesday the 24th to Thursday the 26th September 2019

Location: Sydney, Australia

Organiser: Chloe Peters

Phone: 02 6262 5761

Email: admin@catsinam.org.au

9-10 October 2019 NATSIHWA 10 Year Anniversary Conference

SAVE THE DATE for the 2019 NATSIHWA 10 Year Anniversary Conference!!!

We’re so excited to announce the date of our 10 Year Anniversary Conference –
A Decade of Footprints, Driving Recognition!!! 

NATSIHWA recognises that importance of members sharing and learning from each other, and our key partners within the Health Sector. We hold a biennial conference for all NATSIHWA members to attend. The conference content focusses on the professional support and development of the Health Workers and Health Practitioners, with key side events to support networking among attendees.  We seek feedback from our Membership to make the conferences relevant to their professional needs and expectations and ensure that they are offered in accessible formats and/or locations.The conference is a time to celebrate the important contribution of Health Workers and Health Practitioners, and the Services that support this important profession.

We hold the NATSIHWA Legends Award night at the conference Gala Dinner. Award categories include: Young Warrior, Health Worker Legend, Health Service Legend and Individual Champion.

Watch this space for the release of more dates for registrations, award nominations etc.

16 October Melbourne Uni: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Wellbeing Conference

The University of Melbourne, Department of Rural Health are pleased to advise that abstract
submissions are now being invited that address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and
wellbeing.

The Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Conference is an opportunity for sharing information and connecting people that are committed to reforming the practice and research of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander health and celebrates Aboriginal knowledge systems and strength-based approaches to improving the health outcomes of Aboriginal communities.

This is an opportunity to present evidence-based approaches, Aboriginal methods and models of
practice, Aboriginal perspectives and contribution to health or community led solutions, underpinned by cultural theories to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.
In 2018 the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Conference attracted over 180 delegates from across the community and state.

We welcome submissions from collaborators whose expertise and interests are embedded in Aboriginal health and wellbeing, and particularly presented or co-presented by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and community members.

If you are interested in presenting, please complete the speaker registration link

closing date for abstract submission is Friday 3 rd May 2019.
As per speaker registration link request please email your professional photo for our program or any conference enquiries to E. aboriginal-health@unimelb.edu.au.

Kind regards
Leah Lindrea-Morrison
Aboriginal Partnerships and Community Engagement Officer
Department of Rural Health, University of Melbourne T. 03 5823 4554 E. leah.lindrea@unimelb.edu.au

4 November NACCHO Youth Conference -Darwin NT

Darwin Convention Centre

Website to be launched soon

Conference Co-Coordinator Ben Mitchell 02 6246 9309

ben.mitchell@naccho.org.au

5 – 7 November NACCHO Conference and AGM  -Darwin NT

Darwin Convention Centre

Website to be launched soon

Conference Co-Coordinator Ben Mitchell 02 6246 9309

ben.mitchell@naccho.org.au

5-8 November The Lime Network Conference New Zealand 

This years  whakatauki (theme for the conference) was developed by the Scientific Committee, along with Māori elder, Te Marino Lenihan & Tania Huria from .

To read about the conference & theme, check out the  website. 

NACCHO Our Members #Aboriginal Health Deadly Good News Stories : Features #NT @AMSANTaus @ailcleaders #NSW #715HealthChecks @awabakalltd #Werin #VIC @DeadlyChoices @VAHS1972 #BADAC #QLD @GidgeeHealing #SA Pika Wiya #WA

1.1 Our CEO Pat Turner and Acting Chair Donnella Mills congratulate the newly elected Morrison Government

2.1 NT :  AMSANT and Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre enter into Leadership Development Partnership

2.2  NT : Red Lily Health Board in Jabiru now in the hands of a community controlled health board .

3.1 NSW : Werin ACCHO : Ngambaga Bindarry Girrwaa Elders win 21st Elders Olympics held in Port Macquarie

3.2 NSW : Awabakal ACCHO Newcastle : Your health is in your hands, says the 715 Health Checks team 

3.3 NSW : Greater Western ACCHO and Deadly Choices last night launched a partnership with the at BankWest Stadium.

4.1 VIC : VAHS would like to thank all 300+ community members who attended our Epping community day to help celebrate VAHS new Epping Clinic.

4.2 VIC : Deadly Choices facilitator training in beautiful Bendigo with the BDAC team

5. QLD : Gidgee Healing Mt Isa . Big day for Mt Isa’s first Deadly Choices Indigenous Senior Elders Games

6.SA : Pika Wiya Health Corporation provides the 715 health check and runs a range of support programs

7.1 WA : Her Rules Her Game is proud to support the BGA leadership camp to Melbourne.

7.2 WA : Team AHCWA up and running

8. TAS  2019-20 Budget: Investing in Tasmania’s Aboriginal communities

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 Our CEO Pat Turner and Acting Chair Donnella Mills congratulate the newly elected Morrison Government

CEO of The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Pat Turner, spoke on the ABC News Channel on Sunday

Our thanks to Croakey for this report .

Turner congratulated the newly elected Government and said she hoped that the Parliament would take a bipartisan approach to dealing with all matters for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

She also thanked the Labor party for all the hard work they did in putting forward their policy platform which “unfortunately the Australian people decided they weren’t ready to take on”.

“Regardless of the election result,” Turner said, “we need a radical rethink by governments  regarding the way they work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

Turner said NACCHO was grateful for Scott Morrison’s leadership on closing the gap.

We need to see the colour of the money and I’m hoping that the Prime Minister will announce that very soon.

We also urge all the state and territory governments to work with us on a collaborative basis, to ensure the self-determination of our people is given legs.”

Turner said self determination had been a policy since the early 1970’s but that infrastructure and support for Indigenous systems of government  “to ensure our cultural values remain, our languages remain and our culture is strong” had not been forthcoming:

The resources need to be directed at the Aboriginal communities and through Aboriginal controlled organisations.

The old way of doing things and business as usual are over. Scott Morrison has the mandate to ensure that he takes on our advice.”

She also said the days of government appointed advisory bodies were over:

Aboriginal people need a real say in who they want to speak for them.

The community controlled organisations should be respected, and have a seat at the negotiating table, making sure the decisions are made in partnership with us.”

Turner said there were more than 40 organisations in the Coalition of National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Bodies and that they were “extremely united” in their efforts to close the gap.

We came together because we were devastated over the past.

We would like the 500 million dollars taken out of the Aboriginal Affairs budget by Abbott and Hockey reinvested in Aboriginal community control.”

She said the states and local government also need to be more accountable for the programs they are responsible for.

We are always accountable as Aboriginal people and we will continue. We want the responsibility and we have to be given the role, to play it.”

Turner thanked Scott Morrison for his commitment to ending youth suicide and invited him to visit one of the high risk areas to meet the people on the ground and “make sure we really hear from our communities how we can overcome this tragedy of youth suicide.”

Ten proposals from NACCHO

NACCHO’s Acting Chair Donnella Mills presented ten policy proposals (fleshed out in this statement,) to “seize the moment and make Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health a national priority”.

Read full Release HERE

2.1 NT :  AMSANT and Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre enter into Leadership Development Partnership

“Aboriginal Health in Aboriginal Hands remains fundamental to the success and growth of our services throughout the NT.

We need to be empowered and inspired to continue to grow our leadership capacity to meet demands of today and the future.

Whilst our leadership journeys continue beyond training, the right training and motivation to spark and drive ideas provides the perfect starting point.

This partnership is testament of how working together can reap real and meaningful gains as we support and invest in our future leaders “.

CEO of AMSANT, John Paterson

Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the Northern Territory (AMSANT) and The Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre (AILC) last week embarked on a new partnership to work together to continue to deliver Regional Leadership Workshops to Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service staff and other related service staff throughout the Northern Territory.

The parties signed a two-year Memorandum of Understanding to formalise the relationship between the two organisations, and build on and further strengthen the success of the program which AMSANT has delivered since 2006.

This partnership comes at an opportune time as AILC now have a permanent presence here in the NT.  AILC are the experts in delivery of leadership training and AMSANT are the peak body of a membership of 25 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in the NT. The partnership is a practical and mutually beneficial arrangement where each organisation can bring their collective capacity to the table to make certain that the commitment to Aboriginal Health Leadership training continues and our future leaders are supported to realise their aspirations and to continue to develop and grow the sector.

Following the success of a trial of regional leadership workshops held in Alice Springs last year, the regional model and approach will remain a feature of how they are planned and delivered under the term of this partnership.

Robyn Forester, CEO AILC welcomed the partnership. “The AILC is excited for the partnership with AMSANT. It provides both organisations with the opportunity to support and grow current and emerging Aboriginal Leadership in the NT. It will also allow the AILC to be accessible to many communities that have not benefited from AILC training in the past”, Ms Forester said.

2.2  NT : Red Lily Health Board in Jabiru now in the hands of a community controlled health board .

“The Red Lily Health Board acknowledges the assistance provided over many years by elders and community members in the West Arnhem region as well as Top End Health Service, NT Health, AMSANT, Northern Territory PHN and the Commonwealth Department of Health.”

“Communities have local advisory groups who are actively involved in the community control of health services to determine their priorities “

Red Lily Health Board Chair, Reuben Cooper

Photo attached – Left to Right:

Andrew Bell (Independent Director), Rosemary Nabulwad (Director – Gunbalanya Outstations), Mary Djurundudu (Director – Warruwi (South Goulburn Island)), Health Minister Natasha Fyles, Reuben Cooper (Chair, representing Cobourg Peninsula), Steven Fejo (Director – Minjilang (Croker Island)), Steve Hayes (Transition Manager

Local Decision Making has been put into the hands of a community controlled health board in Jabiru.

The Red Lily Health Board is now overseeing the provision of public health services in Jabiru after the transfer of funding from Northern Territory PHN in April.

The Territory Labor Government is determined to restore local decision making to communities.

Minister for Health Natasha Fyles has personally congratulated the board while they were in Darwin for meetings.

Most of the board members have been on the board since 2008 and are confident they are well prepared to deliver the care required by their communities. These communities include Gunbalanya, Jabiru, Minjilang, Warruwi, and related Homelands/Outstations.

Red Lily Health Board has plans underway to broaden the promotion of health and wellness to the Aboriginal people of the West Arnhem region with Red Lily commencing planning to transfer further health service delivery in the coming year.

Quotes from the Minister of Health, Natasha Fyles:

“Transitioning health services to community control is a key election commitment of the Territory Labor Government and I look forward to Red Lily’s success with managing additional services in the year ahead.”

“The Red Lily Health Board members should be recognised for their dedication to promoting health and wellness to the Aboriginal people of the West Arnhem region.”

Quotes from the Member for Arafura, Lawrence Costa:

“To build a strong Territory we must have strong communities. Transitioning to Aboriginal controlled health services is an important part of delivering this.”

“This is a key milestone for communities in West Arnhem Land.”

3.1 NSW : Werin ACCHO : Ngambaga Bindarry Girrwaa Elders win 21st Elders Olympics held in Port Macquarie

What legends! After a drought of nearly 20 years our Ngambaga Bindarry Girrwaa Elders from the Nambucca Valley have brought home a swag of medals and won the overall event at the Elders Olympics held in Port Macquarie last month.

The 2019 Elders Olympics are being hailed as the best ever.

Originally published HERE

Organised by the Werin Aboriginal Elders team, representing their auspicing body Werin Aboriginal Corporation Medical Centre, 519 competitors and support workers participated on the day.

There was also plenty of spectators on hand to soak up the atmosphere.

Ngambaga with two teams of ten, it was Team 2 that scored the runs … or rather the shots, the hits and more as they competed in egg and spoon races, quoits, netball, bean bags, softball and of course a relay.

Absolute champion of the day was Noelene Ballangarry – she broke the record for shots in Pass the Football, which requires players to shoot a big ball through a little hole.

“She just kept slotting them through, and I’m saying go, go, go,” Ngambaga chair Aunty Ann Edwards said.

The Elders Olympics started back in 2001 in the Nambucca Valley – with two teams. Now there are 38 teams from all around NSW, including Tamworth, Lake Macquarie, Port Stephens, Inverell, Dubbo and Moree.

“It is the best time – we all look forward to it, to seeing friends and family and having a good chin wag,” Aunty Ann said.

What about training?

“Oh I think we threw a few bean bags once!” Aunty Val Balir laughed.

Already thoughts have turned to next year … even more so because Bowraville will host it.

3.2 NSW : Awabakal ACCHO Newcastle : Your health is in your hands, says the 715 Health Checks team 

For more than 40 years, Awabakal has been looking after the health of the Newcastle mob.

The New South Wales mid north coast region is home to one of the largest populations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.

The 715 health check is a preventative health assessment designed specifically to support the health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“A 715 health check is critical to the overall health of our Aboriginal community. We need to make sure that our community are coming in, accessing the service and getting their health check completed.

“It is important GP’s build rapport with our patients and our community to get them the health support that they actually need. We want to get to know you, as a person, your health is a key part of that.”

Toni Johnston A/g CEO Awabakal Medical Service NSW

“The 715 Health Check is a really important part of how we keep our mob healthy. It’s a really good health assessment that checks on physical, social and emotional health to keep us all as healthy as we can be.

After a 715 Health Check we see that people are more aware of what their health is like, as it is. They’re more aware of what they need to do to improve their health, and we have a better connection in terms of medical staff and patients to work together to help health improve.”

Dr Joyce Hyde, General Practitioner, Awabakal Medical Service NSW

For born and bred local, Rod Smith, the 715 health check has helped him look after his mental health.

“Like many Aboriginal men, I grew up thinking that men don’t cry – that men have to be tough. I’d always been a happy go lucky person but as I got older I experienced a few hurdles in life. I got to a point one day where I started thinking negative,” says Rod.

“Like most men out there, I thought, if I go and talk for a doctor about mental health, does that mean I’m crazy?

“It was that fear creeping in. That’s a big reason why a lot of Aboriginal people don’t go for a health check, is it’s the fear of what they’re going to find out.

“But I did it, I got the 715 health check and I found the mental health aspects of the 715 so valuable. I’m now a member of the Awabakal team myself, looking after our promotions.”

It’s a whole of team commitment to looking after the mob’s health at Awabakal. Simone Jordan, Community Relations manager, helps people like Rod to overcome the fear and other barriers to going to the Doctor and getting a health check.

“There are different barriers for people. I think the main one is making the time. Reminding people to look after themselves, have that self-care. Aboriginal mothers, we tend to look after everyone else and forget ourselves. So, we’re trying to instil that your own health is important,” says Simone.

Patients that complete the 715 health check are able to access a range of support services to better manage conditions and stay in good health. At Awabakal, this includes nutrition and diet programs, dental care and family and youth support services.

“I can’t stress how important they are. A 715 health check gives us a whole range of options then to refer you to our other services. We look at how we can make looking after your health, part of everyday normal life,” says Simone.

Dr Joyce has a simple message for the region.

“Come on in, have a yarn to us and get your 715 health check done today. Your Health is in Your Hands,” says Dr Joyce.

“Yes! Looking after your health, you’ll be kicking goals!” adds Toni, Awabakal Acting CEO.

The 715 health check is free at Aboriginal Medical Services and bulk billing clinics, and is available annually to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of all ages. Further information, including resources for patients and health practitioners is available at http://www.health.gov.au/715-health-check.

3.3 NSW : Greater Western ACCHO and Deadly Choices last night launched a partnership with the at BankWest Stadium.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members who complete a 715 Health Check can receive one of these Deadly Eels Jerseys.

4. 1 VIC : VAHS would like to thank all 300+ community members who attended our Epping community day to help celebrate VAHS new Epping Clinic.

 

There was heaps of smiles, laughs and all positives vibes from everyone.

We’ve captured a great number of people who wasn’t accessing VAHS regularly who lives in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, the reason why VAHS established a new clinic in Epping and hosted this event to engage with families to start accessing VAHS services more regularly.

Videos from this day will be uploaded onto our social media very soon.

4.2 VIC : Deadly Choices facilitator training in beautiful Bendigo with the BDAC team.

Day 2 with the Bendigo team

Nutrition  

Physical Activity  

Harmful Substances  

Healthy Relationships

Great to have so many passionate mob keen to deliver the program

5.QLD : Gidgee Healing Mt Isa . Big day for Mt Isa’s first Deadly Choices Indigenous Senior Elders Games

Big day for Mt Isa’s first Deadly Choices Indigenous Senior Elders Games – a atmosphere of country music playing (Charlie Pride) lots of cheers, laugher and competition

 Gidgee Healing thank you too our inspirational elders. Patrick Johnson

6.SA : Pika Wiya Health Corporation provides the 715 health check and runs a range of support programs

Aboriginal residents in Port Augusta are being encouraged to get their annual 715 health check in a bid to help curb the early mortality rate of the First Nation peoples.

The free yearly check up ensures Aboriginal people receive primary health care matched to their needs, by encouraging early detection, diagnosis and intervention for common and treatable conditions

The Pika Wiya Health Corporation provides the 715 health check and runs a range of support programs, from birth right through to parenthood, encouraging residents to undertake their regular check.

Amy Walters runs the Kinderling’s program at Pika Wiya, which is designed for babies from birth through to six years old.

“715 health checks on our babies are very important. It gives us a benchmark on where they are at birth and makes sure they’re growing healthy and meeting development milestones throughout their childhood,” Ms Walters said.

“While they’re here, we talk to the mums, making sure it’s a safe environment for them to come to to talk about health.”

The Kinderling’s program provides incentives to help encourage mums to make sure their babies health checks are up to date.

“We give them or their babies free clothing – we have little onesies, t-shirts, dresses – the mothers love the dresses!” Ms Walters said.

Pika Wiya also offers a Well Women’s program, designed to help new mums look after their own health too.

The ‘Well Women’s House’ provides education and counselling about diet, social and emotional wellbeing, and offer a veggie pack when mums complete their 715.

Local GP Dr Julia Nook said the annual health check is a critical first step to engage with patients about their health needs.

“It’s not just about having a 715 health check. We use the initial screening consultations to build trust with our patients, getting to know them and their family,” she said.

“We work together to try and look at issues identified in the health check, like tackling smoking or weight, and when people are ready, we refer them to follow up services like a dietitian.

“Sometimes there are underlying issues that might be causing some of their health issues and we can explore those further with patients too.”

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are 2.3 times more likely to experience burden of disease than non-Indigenous Australians.

The 715 health check is free at Aboriginal Medical Services and bulk billing clinics for people of all ages.

7.1 WA : Her Rules Her Game is proud to support the BGA leadership camp to Melbourne.

How great is this update on their visit to Essendon Football Club

7.2 WA : Team AHCWA up and running

This morning AHCWA staff members (and Taj) took part in all 3 categories of the HBF Run for a Reason, the 4km, 12km and 21km, finishing at Gloucester Park.

Congratulations to Marianne (missing from the photo) who ran the 21km half marathon. Well done everyone 😊
#hbfrun

8. TAS  2019-20 Budget: Investing in Tasmania’s Aboriginal communities

The Hodgman Liberal Government is committed to our Reset agenda with the Tasmanian Aboriginal people, while investing to grow social, cultural and economic outcomes and to promote greater understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal culture.

To further support the Reset, the 2019-20 State Budget includes new funding of $542,000 across the forward estimates to support activities and initiatives that demonstrate that our commitment today to the Reset is as strong as ever.

This includes:

  •  $90,000 per annum to support greater involvement of Aboriginal communities in government decisions, consistent with the Statement of Intent between the Tasmanian Regional Aboriginal Alliance and the Tasmanian Government;
  •  New funding to support the Young Tasmanian Aboriginal Women Leader’s Awards to support emerging female leaders and to promote and advance career and academic pathways for Aboriginal girls.

Across Government we are also working to close the gap in inequalities experienced by Aboriginal people.

This includes initiatives such as continued support for Aboriginal Tasmanian’s impacted by family violence, and permanent funding to support a coordinated approach to increase the number of Aboriginal people employed in the State Service.

There is also ongoing funding to enable the Cultural Management Group to continue its work with nongovernment Aboriginal organisations and other stakeholders on the management of cultural values, tourism and a program for Aboriginal Tasmanians to access important resources within the TWWHA, as well as for Aboriginal Trainee Rangers to work in our national parks and reserves.

This Government has a genuine desire to make a positive difference – a true difference that recognises a remarkable 40,000 plus years of Aboriginal heritage and culture, and one that points to a brighter future for Aboriginal Tasmanians.

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.

 

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