NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Communities #CoronaVirus News Alert No 11 of 11 March 18 : Contributions @AMAPresident Communique @AMSANTaus Community resources @normanswan Todays Update Plus #MentalHealth care for Health Care Workers

In this special Corona Virus edition 11

1.AMA Communique

1.1 Communication:

1.2 Prevention of spread:

1.3 Vulnerable Communities

1.4 Medical Workforce maintenance and support:

1.5 Protection of access to health care:

2. AMSANT Resources

2.1 INFORMATION FOR HEALTHCARE WORKERS

2.2 INFORMATION FOR COMMUNITY MEMBERS

2.3 HEALTH PROMOTION INCLUDING HYGIENE RESOURCES

2.4 PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)

2.4 ACCESS TO ABORIGINAL COMMUNITIES

2.6 MEDICARE MBS BILLING INFORMATION

2.7 LINKS TO EXTERNAL SITES

3.Dr Norman Swan Update March 18

4.Mental Health care for Health Care Workers

See NACCHO Corona Virus Home Page

Read all 11 NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Coronas Virus Alerts HERE

1.AMA Communique 

Recognising that Australian Governments, advised by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), have been working to respond to the escalation of COVID-19 in Australia, and that many announced measures, particularly expanded use of medical telehealth services, are yet to be fully optimised, the AMA believes the next stage of responding to COVID-19 requires strong medical leadership.

Communication:

  1. Consistent, succinct and contemporaneous communication across all media from a single trusted source must be provided. The public has been receiving conflicting and inaccurate information about when they need to be tested, and how they should approach testing, and what comprises effective prevention and mitigation strategies. The messaging has been improving, but this confusion is causing undue community distress and system inefficiency.
  2. Involvement of the medical profession at all levels in planning and disseminating the public health message is essential.

Prevention of spread:

  1. The national response should focus on a greater effort to slow the pace of COVID-19’s spread in Australia as a means to ‘flatten the curve’ of the outbreak.
  2. Australia must act to prevent community transmission by: effectively implementing the announced ban on mass public gatherings; encouraging social distancing; and, minimising social contact where alternatives are readily available (such as working from home, virtual meetings). Public education on effective and sensitive public distancing measures should focus on individual as well as institutional responsibilities.
  3. Planning should be undertaken for potential advanced education centre closures, workplace restrictions, and the possibility of school closures.
  4. Measures to ensure essential services and health service providers are adequately stocked and properly trained in the appropriate use of PPE must be an urgent priority. Access for healthcare personnel to sufficient Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is still inadequate.

Vulnerable Communities:

  1. Communities identified as being vulnerable, and in which morbidity and mortality is expected to be higher, include: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations; people with complex and chronic disease, the elderly, persons in residential aged care; and, rural and remote populations.
  2. We call for the limiting of non-essential travel to Indigenous rural and remote communities and ask that healthcare delivery be culturally safe. We also ask that rural health needs be considered with emerging COVID-19 related policy and care delivery decisions.
  3. Preparation for potential virus spread in aged care must include published action plans for response to concentrated virus outbreak in residential aged care centres or densely populated areas of older Australians to guide preventive and responsive actions for older Australians, aged care workers, the medical and wider health profession, and those with family members in aged care.

Medical Workforce maintenance and support:

  1. The health, safety, and wellbeing of all healthcare workers must be prioritised to maintain healthcare delivery capacity during the response to COVID-19.
  2. Clear and consistent guidance on COVID-19 testing for health care workers is imperative and testing should be prioritised by pathology services to minimise periods off work due to isolation when not infected with COVID-19.
  3. Preparation for a large proportion of the healthcare workforce needing to self-isolate or cease work due to exposure or illness, and resultant consequences for patient access to care, must be urgently addressed.
  4. In order to minimise community spread of COVID-19 and maintain non-pandemic related health service provision, all doctors in private practice should have immediate access to telehealth for treatment of all patients, not just for screening and treatment of potential COVID-19 infection.
  5. Doctors in private practice, both GPs and other specialists, must be involved in planning and implementation of the COVID-19 response, and clear, accessible and authoritative communication lines must be established.
  6. Extraordinary workforce measures such as recruiting retired or semi-retired doctors and other health workers; reassigning healthcare workers including doctors out of their usual clinical fields; and, utilising medical students as physician extenders or clinical aides must be undertaken only with due consideration of clinical outcomes, personal and community safety outcomes, and without coercion.
  7. Consideration of means to maintain the adequate education, assessment, and continuous professional development of all doctors, including those in training and medical students, is essential as is considering the impact of pandemic related workforce and training disruption on the continuing visa status of internationally trained doctors.
  8. There must be planning for follow-up personal support for all health workers to ensure ongoing psychological wellbeing after this crisis has passed.

Protection of access to health care:

  1. A clear plan for the usual care of patients is needed for patients without COVID-19. It is essential that patients with other pressing clinical needs can access timely care.
  2. The role of the Private Health system in relieving health system pressure due to COVID-19 needs to be included in planning efforts. Releasing the public hospital system from dealing with less acute health problems will help sustain access but will require whole of health sector coordination. For example, it is possible that public elective surgery may need to pause to enable capacity of the public hospital system to receive patients with COVID-19.

The AMA in 2016 called for establishment of a national Centre for Disease Control (CDC). The challenges currently being faced by the Australian community underscores the need for strengthened national coordination of pandemic response capability. Establishment of a CDC is essential at the conclusion of this current emergency.


This AMSANT webpage is a collation of resources to support member services, health professionals and community members relating to COVID-19.  AMSANT will continue to update resources as information becomes available.

Please do not hesitate to contact liz.moore@amsant.org.au if you require additional information.

INFORMATION FOR COMMUNITY MEMBERS
HEALTH PROMOTION INCLUDING HYGIENE RESOURCES
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)
ACCESS TO ABORIGINAL COMMUNITIES
MEDICARE MBS BILLING INFORMATION
3.Dr Norman Swan Update March 16

4.Mental health care for healthcare workers

For health workers, feeling under pressure is a likely experience for you and many of your health worker colleagues. It is quite normal to be feeling this way in the current situation. Stress and the feelings associated with it are by no means a reflection that you cannot do your job or that you are weak. Managing your mental health and psychosocial wellbeing during this time is as important as managing your physical

Take care of yourself at this time. Try and use helpful coping strategies such as ensuring sufficient rest and respite during work or between shifts, eat sufficient and healthy food, engage in physical activity, and stay in contact with family and friends. Avoid using unhelpful coping strategies such as tobacco, alcohol or other drugs. In the long term, these can worsen your mental and physical wellbeing.

This is a unique and unprecedent scenario for many workers, particularly if they have not been involved in similar responses. Even so, using strategies that have worked for you in the past to manage times of stress can benefit you now. You are most likely to know how to de-stress and you should not be hesitant in keeping yourself psychologically This is not a sprint; it’s a marathon.

Some healthcare workers may unfortunately experience avoidance by their family or community due to stigma or fear. This can make an already challenging situation far more difficult. If possible, staying connected with your loved ones including through digital methods is one way to maintain contact. Turn to your colleagues, your manager or other trusted persons for social support- your colleagues may be having similar experiences to

Use understandable ways to share messages with people with intellectual, cognitive and psychosocial disabilities. Forms of communication that do not rely solely on written information should be utilized If you are a team leader or manager in a health

Know how to provide support to, for people who are affected with COVID-19 and know how to link them with available resources. This is especially important for those who require mental health and psychosocial support. The stigma associated with mental health problems may cause reluctance to seek support for both COVID-19 and mental health conditions.

The mhGAP Humanitarian Intervention Guide includes clinical guidance for addressing priority mental health conditions and is designed for use by general health workers.

Download 

mental-health-considerations

NACCHO Aboriginal Remote Communities Health and #CoronaVirus News Alerts :  #APYLands  @Nganampa_Health @NLC_74 #CAAHSN @AMSANTaus @RACGP All ensuring remote communities are resourced , protected and provided with appropriate information #COVID19

 

“As health and medical research organisations, we are calling for an absolute priority to be given to minimising risk and preventing death in communities across central Australia.

A major priority in our endeavours is working with Aboriginal communities and support to the primary health services in the bush and our regional centres.

Things that might work in. the big cities simply won’t work out bush, so we need to focus on local solutions.

Both Aboriginal community-controlled and government primary health services face enormous day-to-day challenges—and we strongly support them as the real heroes of health care in remote Australia, from Aboriginal Health Practitioners, to nurses to allied health workers to doctors, to all staff doing such vital work “

CAAHSN would continue to be informed by COVID19  messaging from AMSANT Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance and the Department of Health.

AMSANT has already been supplying advice to member services, with a focus on updating vaccinations and a focus on day-to-day preventive measure such as had washing.

Read full press release Central Australia Academic Health Science Network Part 2 Below

Graphic above QAIHC

Read all NACCHO Corona Virus Articles HERE

” As GPs try to navigate national guidelines for coronavirus (COVID-19), a number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community leaders have stepped in to manage their own infection control.

For example, in the Northern Territory quite a few communities are putting in place their own procedures around how they’re going to manage it. ’ 

‘[They’re] isolating themselves from [the] outside and I gather even saying, “Actually, we don’t want health professionals coming in at the moment to keep ourselves safe”.’

Dr Tim Senior, Medical Advisor for RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, told newsGP. See report part 4 below

“We need to be vigilant and follow these guidelines in order to protect Anangu from this virus,

There have been no known COVID-19 cases among APY Lands residents to date, but the Prime Minister has expressed concern about the vulnerability of those in remote Indigenous communities, including the APY Lands.

During the 2009 A(H1N1) swine flu outbreak, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 11 per cent of all identified cases, 20 per cent of hospitalisations and 13 per cent of deaths. Indigenous people are 8.5 times more likely to be hospitalised during a virus outbreak.”

APY General Manager Richard King has issued the directive to all APY staff and contractors. The directive also has been issued to Nganampa Health Council and major allied non-government organisations. State and Commonwealth government agencies, that are not required to apply for a permit to enter the APY Lands, have been contacted seeking their co-operation.

Mr King said communities on the APY Lands were particularly vulnerable because of well-documented poor health and living conditions. See full press release part 3

Part 1 NLC

“ The NLC supports the NT Government’s call to cancel all non-essential trips to remote communities as it tries to prevent the spread of coronavirus to vulnerable populations and has taken steps to ensure that all NLC employees who have recently travelled overseas do not travel to remote communities unless they have been cleared to do so.

“We agree with the NT Government’s decision to ask all workers to cancel their trips if they are not essential and the same goes for NLC staff,”

NLC CEO Marion Scrymgour.

Part 1 :The Northern Land Council’s Executive Council met today with officials from the Northern Territory Department of Health and the Danila Dilba Health Service’s CEO Ms Olga Havnen to examine strategies and information focused on protecting Aboriginal communities in the NLC’s region from the risk of coronavirus.

The NLC supports the NT Government’s call to cancel all non-essential trips to remote communities as it tries to prevent the spread of coronavirus to vulnerable populations and has taken steps to ensure that all NLC employees who have recently travelled overseas do not travel to remote communities unless they have been cleared to do so.

“We agree with the NT Government’s decision to ask all workers to cancel their trips if they are not essential and the same goes for NLC staff,” said NLC CEO Marion Scrymgour.

Ms Scrymgour will meet with NT Tourism tomorrow (March 13) to discuss how tourism operators can minimise their potential impact on remote communities.

NLC chairman Samuel Bush-Blanasi said the NLC is working closely with the NT Government and health service providers to  working

“We want people to really think about their need to visit remote communities. Especially if they have returned from an at risk country they must not travel to Aboriginal communities and must take every precaution.”

NT Government website COVID19 Information for Aboriginal communities

  • There are currently no suspected cases of COVID-19 in any Territory communities.
  • Residents should stay alert but carry on with normal activities.
  • There is no risk to eating traditional animals and plants.
  • The virus is not spread by mosquito bites.
  • The virus is not spread on the wind.
  • The most important thing for everyone to remember is to maintain hygiene by:
    • Washing your hands
    • Avoid shaking hands with people who may be unwel
    • Stay at a distance of 1.5 m away from someone who is unwell
    • Coughing or sneezing into your elbow
    • Don’t go to crowded places if you’re unwell.
  • If you get sick, go to your health clinic.

Recordings in language

A Coronavirus (COVID-19) Public Health Remote Communities Plan has been developed and distributed to all remote Territory communities. This plan provides high level guidance and each community will tailor their individual plans to suit their specific circumstances and community requirements.

Part 2

At a Council meeting of the Central Australia Academic Health Science Network [CA AHSN] today, a call was made for decisive and urgent action on the prevention of COVID-19 spreading to remote Australian communities, Executive Director Chips Mackinolty said today.

“We are in this together, and we have a collective responsibility at all levels of government and health service delivery to keep people safe,” said Mr Mackinolty.

“As health and medical research organisations, we are calling for an absolute priority to be given to minimising risk and preventing death in communities across central Australia.

“A major priority in our endeavours is working with Aboriginal communities and support to the primary health services in the bush and our regional centres.

“Things that might work in. the big cities simply won’t work out bush, so we need to focus on local solutions.

“We believe it is critical that rapid and extensive testing be rolled out as soon as possible, so that such work is timely and localised. As a first step this should be located in Alice Springs, rapidly followed by other regional centres.

“Of paramount concern is that our health services—already severely under resourced—not be further burdened. Just as happened in the recent bush fire crises, we would see it as essential that Commonwealth-funded remote area health medical workers being brought in to help.

“Both Aboriginal community-controlled and government primary health services face enormous day-to-day challenges—and we strongly support them as the real heroes of health care in remote Australia, from Aboriginal Health Practitioners, to nurses to allied health workers to doctors, to all staff doing such vital work.

“Meanwhile, our research activities will limit fieldwork, and researchers recently overseas will not be allowed to travel remotely. This follows the initiatives already of some of our partner organisations

In any case, we will also seek to follow the recommendations of local Aboriginal community organisations in our work.

“A major priority, from the Commonwealth and NT governments should be a major effort in proving accurate and concise information to Aboriginal people—with a stron

Part 3 MEDIA STATEMENT: APY enacts border protection to reduce coronavirus risk

APY has introduced strict new rules for entry into its remote lands in response to the Federal Government’s concerns about the potential for coronavirus to spread in vulnerable Indigenous communities.

The Executive Board that governs the remote Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, in South
Australia’s far northwest, addressed the threat of a coronavirus outbreak at its latest meeting.

The Board has resolved not to routinely issue entry permits for the next three months to anyone who has:

  • Been in mainland China from 1 February 2020.
  • Been in contact with someone confirmed to have coronavirus.
  • Travelled to China, Iran, South Korea, Japan, Italy or Mongolia.

If a person who wishes to enter the APY Lands has travelled to any of the affected countries, experienced coronavirus symptoms in the previous 14 days, been seen by a doctor and recorded a negative test, they must submit a copy of the test results along with a Statutory Declaration to be considered for an entry permit.

APY has the legal authority to exclude persons from entering the APY Lands pursuant to section 19 of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Land Rights Act. APY General Manager Richard King has issued the directive to all APY staff and contractors.

The directive also has been issued to Nganampa Health Council and major allied non-government organisations. State and Commonwealth government agencies, that are not required to apply for a permit to enter the APY Lands, have been contacted seeking their co-operation.

Part 4 RACGP 

Media report RACGP Dr Tim Senior : Chronic diseases and a lack of access to culturally appropriate care makes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people vulnerable to coronavirus.

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Resources Alert : @RACGP , NACCHO and @ahmrc to host a webinar series to complement their brand new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health resource hub.

” The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) have worked together to develop resources for GPs and other health professionals to support culturally responsive primary healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, wherever they seek care.”

A new resource hub has been launched : See Part 1 below

 ” AH&MRC has also partnered with the RACGP to develop a webinar series. The webinars are on topics relevant to healthcare professionals employed within the ACCHS sector.” 

These webinars are published on the RACGP Website : See Part 2 below 

Part 1

 

A new resource hub has been launched on the RACGP website.

It is home to resources that support primary healthcare that is accessible, effective and valued by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Original published WAGPET 

The hub includes:

  • Good practice tables – building on the five steps towards excellent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healthcare and five good practice tables provide activities for all members of the practice team with each activity linked to accreditation
  • Quality 715 health check resource – this one-page resource provides an opportunity for practice teams to reflect on what they are doing well and what could be improved to support quality Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) item 715 health checks for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • National Guide check (unit 561) – this edition of check provides case studies involving Aboriginal patients
  • Clinical audit – Identification – this audit aims to identify with the use of existing medical record software

To complement the resource hub, RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health has developed a new webinar series titled, ‘I can see clearly now: Good experiences and great health outcomes through effective, culturally safe primary healthcare’.

The webinar series is presented by:

  • Ms Jacinta McKenzie, Integrated Team Care Supervisor, Indigenous Health Project Officer, Wellness Our Way at Country and Outback Health
  • Dr Mary Belfrage, GP and RACGP Fellow
  • Ms Ada Parry, RACGP Cultural and Education Advisor.

Webinar details

Webinar Title Date Time
NACCHO RACGP Resource Hub webinar Wednesday, 18 March 2020 7:00 – 8:00pm
Case study: Working together to achieve great health outcomes webinar Wednesday, 6 May 2020 7:00 – 8:00pm
Quality 715 health check and follow up webinar Wednesday, 10 June 2020 7:00 – 8:00pm

Part 2 ACCHS webinar series

Access RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW and NSW Health webinars on issues related to GPs and other health professionals working in the Aboriginal Community Controlled health Services (ACCHS) sector.

SEE WEBPAGE

Topic Webinar Slides
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) Recording PDF
Hepatitis C epidemiology, screening and treatment Recording PDF
Syphilis: Clinical overview, screening and treatment Recording PDF
Influenza preparedness Recording PDF
715 Health check Recording PDF

National guide webinars

Topic Webinar Slides
The new guidelines: Family abuse and violence (Chapter 16) Recording PDF

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Alert for ACCHO members and our communities affected by bushfires : Download @FireRecoveryAU National Bushfire Recovery Agency Fact Sheets #BushfireRecoveryAU

Since the bushfire season began back in October in northern NSW , NACCHO has been working closely with the Federal Government , AH&MRC ,VACCHO , Winnunga and AHCSA Members to support the information sharing about emergency alerts , evacuations , fundraising and support on all our social media platforms ( See our report Part 3 Below ).

The bushfire season is far from over with Katungul ACCHO deciding to close both our Batemans Bay and Narooma offices this Friday, 31 January 2020. ( See Part 4 Below ).

Part 1 National Bushfire Recovery Agency

In the past few weeks after our CEO Pat Turner met with the Prime Minister on two occasions , NACCHO was invited to a forum hosted by the Agency ( See report Part 2)

The National Bushfire Recovery Agency (the Agency) has been established to lead and coordinate a national response to rebuilding communities affected by bushfires across large parts of Australia.

View the agency website HERE 

These factsheets provided by the agency to assist bushfire affected communities in their understanding of the recovery assistance and financial support available to them.

Download the 2 key factsheets HERE

Assistance for Families – Fact sheet 2020 01 23

Mental Health Assistance fact sheet 2020 01 23

These factsheets are also available on the Agency’s website along with additional information on relief and recovery measures.

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services

Culturally appropriate, comprehensive primary health care services are available through local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services or Aboriginal Medical Services. Most of these services provide access to a general practitioner, nurse or Aboriginal Health Worker.

Visit HealthDirect to find your nearest Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service or Medical Service.

Additional support for Indigenous Australians

The National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) is available to assist Indigenous Australians and their communities, organisations and businesses get access to supports and services – contact details are available through the NIAA support to bushfire affected communities page.

The Australian Government’s Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) is providing a $2,000 bushfire crisis grant for home loan and business finance customers directly impacted by the recent bushfires. IBA is also temporarily suspending loan repayments for those affected and will assist customers who need help with insurance claims. This assistance can be accessed through the Indigenous Business Australia’s Assistance for bushfire affected customers page.

See our support for small business page for information on other support for bushfire-affected Indigenous corporations.

Immediate support for people directly affected by the bushfires is available now, and we are encouraging everyone to check their eligibility for the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment and Disaster Recovery Allowance by calling the disaster payments hotline on 180 22 66.

Families and individuals

The Australian Government has put measures in place so that families and individuals affected by bushfires can access resources quickly to ease the stress during the recovery phase.

Services Australia have special arrangements in place to help bushfire affected communities, including Mobile Service Centres and Mobile Service Teams. They can help you access all Australian Government payment services.

On these agency pages you can find Click Here

  • Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment
  • Disaster Recovery Allowance
  • Back to school, early education and care assistance
  • Child Care Assistance
  • Additional support for volunteer firefighters
  • Support for job seekers
  • Emergency relief
  • Financial counselling
  • Other financial help after a bushfire
  • Health advice
  • Mental health support
  • Medicare
  • Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services
  • Air Quality
  • Telecommunications and energy
  • Additional support for Indigenous Australians
  • Tax exemption for Disaster Relief Payments
  • ATO administrative relief
  • Other support measures
  • National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
  • Lost or destroyed passports or citizenship certificates
  • Redeeming damaged banknotes
  • Bushfires Disaster Emergency Declaration

Part 2

The “deep sorrow” caused by the bushfires was the first item of discussion when the prime minister, Scott Morrison, met with the nation’s peak Aboriginal organisations on Thursday to agree on three major reforms to the way the government works with Indigenous communities.

The coalition of more than 50 peak Aboriginal community organisations told Morrison of the “deep sorrow that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people right across the nation feel at the scarring of their country and loss of wildlife”.

The meeting “recognised the significant role that cultural burning, led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, can play in expertly managing the impacts of bushfires in the future”.

Indigenous groups tell Scott Morrison of ‘deep sorrow’ at bushfire devastation

Part 3

Over the past 2-3 weeks NACCHO social media has been supporting AHMRC, VACCHO, Winnunga ACT and ACCHO members and communities in the impacted fire zones with a wide range of news ,crisis information sharing , fundraising and wide range of support.

Plus supporting many ACCHO members and supporters who organised donations and other support.

Assisted $1.4 Million Go Fund Me  plus VACCHO GEGAC and Illawarra

On Facebook alone we have shared over 90 posts that attracted over 60,000  engagements (shares, likes and comments ) See Pages 3-9.

Download the full report 

NACCHO Social Media Report support for Members during fire Crisis V

One post alone about the all female Indigenous fire crew in East Gippsland attracted over 14,00O likes etc

Part 4

Based on information provided this afternoon by the Eurobodalla Emergency Operations we have decided to close both our Batemans Bay and Narooma offices this Friday, 31 January 2020.

Extreme conditions are forecast for Friday and Saturday and we must consider the safety of our staff and clients.

See Facebook for updates

Please take care, stay safe and keep up to date with information from the RFS, Eurobodalla Council and your Fires Near Me app. Thank you all for your understanding and patience during this difficult time.

NACCHO Affiliates and Members Deadly Good News : #National #QandA @NACCHOChair @SandraEades #VIC @VACCHO_org #Treaty @VAHS1972 #NSW @ahmrc #Bulgarr #NT @Kwhb_OneShield @MiwatjHealth #QLd @QAIHC_QLD @DeadlyChoices #ACT @nimmityjah #TAC

1.1 National : NACCHO Chair says National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey outcomes confirm that the ACCHOs smoking cessation programs are working

1.2 National : Our CEO Pat Turner appears on final ABC TV Q and A for 2019 : Watch on IView

1.3.National : NACCHO Congratulates Professor Sandra Eades Australia’s first appointment of an Indigenous Dean to a medical school.

1.4 National : NACCHO Communique to generate off new platform in 2020

2.1 VIC : VACCHO : Self-determination and sovereignty inseparable from health and socio-cultural wellbeing says peak Aboriginal health body

2.2 VIC : VAHS acknowledges the legendary Dr. (Uncle) Bruce McGuinness by unveiling of the plaque of recognition

3.1 NSW : AH&MRC hosts the Deadly Doctors Forum as part of the Rural Doctors Network for our Member Services

3.2 NSW : Bulgarr Ngaru ACCHO Casino NSW develops the clinical skills of their Aboriginal Workforce

4.1 NT Katherine West Health Board ACCHO are in the middle of a SEWB community mural painting project.

4.2 : NT : Miwatj Health ACCHO values the commitment and dedication you have to your work, Rrapa Elizabeth Dhurkay.

5.1 QLD : QAIHC legend Aunty Mary Martin AM awarded QUT’s highest award – the Doctor of the University.

5.2 : QLD Deadly work by our DC Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service ACCHO Brisbane team acknowledged for their dedication and support of Marsden State School

6. ACT : Winnunga ACCHO promotes and supports HIV awareness to clients through promoting and supplying condoms 

7.TAS : The Australian Digital Health Agency meets with representatives from state and territory Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services at TAC

8.WA : Congratulations to our very own Keisha Calyun AHCWA Youth Committee Member winning the Hope Community Services Positive Achievement Award at the WA Youth Affairs Council annual WA Youth Awards

How to submit in 2020 a NACCHO Affiliate  or Members Good News Story ?

Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media 

Mobile 0401 331 251 

Wednesday 18 January 2020 by 4.30 pm for publication Friday 20 January 2020

 

1.1 National : NACCHO Chair says National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey outcomes confirm that the ACCHOs smoking cessation programs are working

“The latest NATSIHS report demonstrates the ACCHO smoking cessation programs and health promotion activities are working.

It is encouraging to see fewer younger people are taking up smoking in the first place, with a decrease in people ages 15 years and over who smoked every day, falling from 41 per cent in 2012 – 13 to 37 per cent in 2018 – 19. 

“The results unfortunately also show an increase in many chronic diseases for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, with 46% reporting one or more chronic condition (up from 40% in 2012-13).

Thus, providing more evidence that additional funding is needed to Close the Gap in health outcomes as chronic diseases are the major contributors to the mortality gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians.

It is positive to see more than four in 10 people rated their health as excellent or very good, up from 39 per cent in 2012 – 13 to 45 per cent and more than half of children aged 2-17 years had seen a dentist or dental professional in the last 12 months.”

Donnella Mills NACCHO Chair

Read or Download the full NACCHO Press Release HERE

Read our full coverage of the ABS Health Report

1.2 National : Our CEO Pat Turner appears on final ABC TV Q and A for 2019 : Watch on IView

End of an Era : The 2019 finale of Q&A. Joining Tony Jones on the panel Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, Indigenous leader Pat Turner, author Sisonke Msimang and ANU Vice-Chancellor Brian Schmidt.

https://iview.abc.net.au/show/qanda

1.3.National : NACCHO Congratulates Professor Sandra Eades Australia’s first appointment of an Indigenous Dean to a medical school.

“Curtin has successfully expanded its healthcare and medical profile within Western Australia and nationally. I am honoured to be appointed as Dean and look forward to collaborating with colleagues, industry and students to ensure the Curtin Medical School continues to thrive,

From a leading public health academic and respected Noongar woman Professor Sandra Eades, who has been influential in improving the health of Aboriginal communities across Australia has been appointed the new Dean of the Curtin Medical School, commencing in March 2020.

Read full Report Here

1.4 National : NACCHO Communique to generate off new platform in 2020

After 2,800 Aboriginal Health Alerts over 7 and half years from www.nacchocommunique.com NACCHO media will cease publishing from this site as from 31 December 2019 and resume mid January 2020 with posts from www.naccho.org.au

For historical and research purposes all posts 2012-2019 will remain on www.nacchocommunique.com

Your current email subscription will be automatically transferred to our new Aboriginal Health News Alerts Subscriber service that will offer you the options of Daily , Weekly or Monthly alerts

For further info contact Colin Cowell NACCHO Social Media Media Editor

2.1 VIC : VACCHO : Self-determination and sovereignty inseparable from health and socio-cultural wellbeing says peak Aboriginal health body

VACCHO has long argued that self-determination and sovereignty is inseparable from health and sociocultural wellbeing, and welcomes treaty negotiations as another step forward in ensuring basic respect for the rights, dignity, and sovereignty of Aboriginal people, but as a fundamental determinant of health outcomes for the Aboriginal community.

“Establishing a Treaty process will be of benefit to all Victorians. It is a vital step in transforming the relationship and power dynamics between Aboriginal Victorians and non-Aboriginal Victorians.

Any change must embed values and actions that create equality for all, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal and not as colonised and coloniser. The culture of Victoria will be richer when Victoria embraces its entire history and not just parts here and there. “

Acting VACCHO CEO, Trevor Pearce

The inaugural meeting of the First Peoples’ Assembly for a Treaty and Treaties between the Aboriginal Community and Victorian Government which took place today is a watershed moment in Australian history and society concerning the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples said VACCHO, the peak body for Aboriginal health in Victoria.

Acting VACCHO CEO, Trevor Pearce said as an historic moment, it is comparable to the 1939 Cummeragunja Walk-Off, 1963 Yirrkala Bark Petitions, 1966 Wavehill Walk-Off by Gurindgi, 1967 Referendum and the 1992 Mabo v QLD case that challenged and overturned the concept of Terra Nullius, to name just a few.

VACCHO is the leading advocate for the health of Aboriginal peoples in Victoria and a peak organisation to its Membership with a membership of 30 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations. VACCHO also works closely with partner organisations, Government, non-Government Community sector organisations across Victoria and nationally.

“This next part of Australian history marks the first time an Australian Government will enter into treaty negotiations with any Aboriginal people. Australia is the last colony of Great Britain to start the process,” said Mr Pearce.

“As Victorians we must acknowledge the challenges experienced by our community and the tireless work of many generations of the Aboriginal community who have participated and contributed to standing up for our basic human rights since colonisation,” he continued.

“Truth-telling and not sanitising our shared history can lead to the first steps of healing our nation. We are optimistic that it will create momentum for the adoption of Treaty negotiations and truth-telling to begin at a national level,” said Mr Pearce.

2.2 VIC : VAHS acknowledges the legendary Dr. (Uncle) Bruce McGuinness by unveiling of the plaque of recognition


Plenty of the old warriors and many of the new and upcoming warriors attended the unveiling of the plaque of recognition

Dr. (Uncle) Bruce McGuinness a NAIHO/NACCHO pioneer

He has been described as the “ideological godfather of the Black power movement”, but he was also a pioneer in the development of a national network of Aboriginal “community-controlled health services”.

Bruce was also instrumental in the later emergence of the National Aboriginal and Islander Health Organisation (NAIHO) in the 1970s. NAIHO was ostensibly a national “umbrella organisation” established to represent the interests of the new national network of community-controlled health services.

Read More

3.1 NSW : AH&MRC hosts the Deadly Doctors Forum as part of the Rural Doctors Network for our Member Services

On the 28th of November 2019, the AH&MRC hosted the Deadly Doctors Forum as part of the Rural Doctors Network for our Member Services. A range of topics were presented by many wonderful speakers. The overarching objective of the Forum was to provide Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) with a Forum to gain insight into what’s happening in the ACCHS sector and a chance to network with peers.

Member Services from throughout NSW gathered in Manly to hear about various topics in the health space from a range of speakers.

Kyla Wynn, Trish Levett and Dr Rowena Ivers discussed cancer and palliative care and how their team is assisting community members to attend appointments and grief counselling, as well as talking about some great initiatives from their Illawarra service.

Dr Clayton Spencer, Chief Medical Director of Western NSW Local Health District discussed the importance of accessing traditional healing practices from the Ngangkari Aboriginal healers and building career pathways using this scope of healing. Traditional approaches to healing are holistic taking into account the mind, body and spirit. In this sense, health is not just physical wellness but also connects kinship of the culture and community.

Dr Laila Tabassum provided an update on My Health Record, explaining the procedures behind providing better-connected care between patients and health organisations with the ability to upload clinical documents.

Donna Parks from the Agency of Clinical Innovation (ACI) spoke in detail about the use of Telehealth where clinically appropriate.

Ely Taylor from the Ministry of Health provided insights into the modification of the Influenza Season Preparedness toolkit, ensuring the document is culturally appropriate.

AMS Redfern’s Dr Kath Keenan discussed the effects, screening, diagnosis and treatment of Hepatitis C.

Dr Vlad Matic provided an informative presentation on Clinical Governance and the role of the GP, in which we discovered a continuing theme of W Edwards Deming quotes including the System of Profound Knowledge in relation to data collection and use.

Our Public Health Medical Officer (PHMO) Dr Kate Armstrong discussed the recently held PHMO meeting and introduced other PHMOs from around Australia.

Liz Moore from AMSANT in NT, Lucy Morris QAIHC in QLD and Sarah McLean VACCHO in VIC provided an update from their regions.

Nathan Taylor and Janeen Foffani presented on the Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach (PEPA), where they discussed their approach to education and training of the health workforce and delivery of programs to primary, secondary and tertiary health care provider groups.

The Your Health Your Future (YHYF) campaign was discussed by our Public Health Manager Lee Bradfield who spoke about member collaboration, the Ambassador program with the Deadly Ninja Jack Wilson, and Illawarra Hawks Tyson Demos, plus funding plans for 2020 and available resources.

Information regarding Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Pulmonary Rehabilitation was provided by Dr Jennifer Alison and David Meharg. Details on guidelines, GP action plans and upskilling on medication use were discussed in detail.

Dr Karin Jodlowski-Tan from the Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS) highlighted the model of training their organisation provides. Susan Anderson presented on the NSW Aboriginal Cancer Scoping Project, with statistics to be released in 2020.

Overall the day was highly informative, and we look forward to future Deadly Doctor Forums.

For more information about future Deadly Doctors Forums, please don’t hesitate to contact AH&MRC Public Health Officer Imran Mansoor IMansoor@ahmrc.org.au

Author – Zoe Mead, AH&MRC Public Health Team

3.2 NSW : Bulgarr Ngaru ACCHO Casino NSW develops the clinical skills of their Aboriginal Workforce.

This week Bulgarr Ngaru partnered with the University Centre for Rural Health (UCRH) and the NSW Rural Doctors Network to run the first workshop of a series to further develop the clinical skills of our Aboriginal Workforce.

This weeks workshop focused on Health Assessments (715s) and Triage.

4.1 NT Katherine West Health Board ACCHO are in the middle of a SEWB community mural painting project.

So far we have done a community mural at Timber Creek, Yarralin and Lajamanu communities. All are painted over a week with KWHB Board Directors, community members and staff involved in designing the mural, the message behind the mural and assisting with the painting.

The Kalkaringi communities mural will be completed early next year.

The results of the community mural project have been fantastic – both the community participation and awareness of SEWB and the results of the painting.

“The Lajamanu #SpeakUp mural week would have to be the most amazing week I’ve had in my 10 years at KWHB!

It was a pleasure working with the community, the program and clinic team as well as Andrew, Georgie & Cal, the artists.

Everyone pitching in and working as a team is what makes these projects successful. Shout out to KWHB Directors and all the community members who assisted with painting of the mural as well as the CDEP mob, without them the mural would not have been finished. We are all very blessed to have community members share their culture and stories with us.” KWHB Health Promotion Coordinator

Feedback for one community member – “It’s good to have ‘Share your worries’ written on the front of the clinic because it is a place to go and share your worries and get help.”

4.2 : NT : Miwatj Health ACCHO values the commitment and dedication you have to your work, Rrapa Elizabeth Dhurkay.

Congratulations on all your inspiring achievements! Thanks also to ALPA for sharing this wonderful story. #MiwatjHealth

 

 

5.1 QLD : QAIHC legend Aunty Mary Martin AM awarded QUT’s highest award – the Doctor of the University.

“Introducing Dr Mary Martin AM.

An honour to attend the 2019 QUT Graduation Ceremony at QPAC today to watch Aunty Mary Martin AM be awarded QUT’s highest award – the Doctor of the University.

Aunty Mary is a Health trailblazer training as a Registered Nurse in the 1970’s before dedicating over 40 years of her life to improving the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

A QAIHC employee for over 22 years; and a strong advocate for community control and better health outcomes, we congratulate Aunty Mary.

We also congratulate QUT for acknowledging Aunty Mary and awarding her this prestigious Doctorate.”

REPOST – QAIHC CEO Neil Willmett ( Pictured Above )

5.2 : QLD Deadly work by our DC Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service ACCHO Brisbane team acknowledged for their dedication and support of Marsden State School

Congrats to our Browns Plains staff and the Deadly Choices team who were recognised for their dedication and support to Marsden State School. Bree, Skye, Brandon, Ray and Brenton attended a VIP Breakfast of Champions to receive the community partnership award. Well done!! #deadly

6. ACT : Winnunga ACCHO promotes and supports HIV awareness to clients through promoting and supplying condoms 
Thanks team Winnunga for promoting and supporting HIV awareness to our clients through promoting and supplying condoms
And big thanks also to Sarah Martin and the team at the Canberra Sexual health clinic for the care you provide for clients with HIV and other STI’s #you and me can stop HIV#

7.TAS : The Australian Digital Health Agency meets with representatives from state and territory Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services at TAC 

“It’s vital that Aboriginal health services are involved in the work of the Digital Health Agency as our holistic approach to the health of our people ensures those who will benefit most from engaging with digital health have the information to enable them to do so.”

Heather Sculthorpe, CEO of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre.

The Australian Digital Health Agency met with representatives from state and territory Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services on 4 December to support improvements in digital health literacy.

Read More

8.WA : Congratulations to our very own Keisha Calyun AHCWA Youth Committee Member winning the Hope Community Services Positive Achievement Award at the WA Youth Affairs Council annual WA Youth Awards

The Hope Community Services Positive Achievement Award

Keisha Calyun

Keisha was born the eldest of five with cultural heritage mix of English, Dutch and Ballardong Noongar. Her family life has been difficult. With her father rarely present, her mother fought breast cancer twice in ten years, unfortunately losing her battle when Keisha was just 23. After stays with extended family, Keisha and her 20-year-old sister decided to become guardians for their three younger siblings.

Alongside her family responsibilities, Keisha works at the Aboriginal Health Council of WA, where she is helping to develop an online mapping platform that shows availability of health services for regional and remote communities. She is also a Youth Representative on the WA Aboriginal Health Ethics Committee.

She ensures that her family continue to embrace their Aboriginal culture through involvement in cultural groups and activities.

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. 

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