older Aboriginal man looking directly at camera with Aboriginal male youth in background - image from Diabetes Australia website

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: First Nations People should not pay price for Australia’s economic recovery

First Nations people should not pay price for economic recovery

The Edmund Rice Centre today expressed serious concern at the disregard for the needs of First Nations Peoples and Refugees in the 2020–21 Federal Budget. “It has been said that the Federal Budget is statement on the nation’s priorities. Clearly if that is the case, judging by this Budget, First Nations Peoples, refugees and people seeking asylum – some of the most vulnerable people to the pandemic – are very low priorities for this Government”, Phil Glendenning, Director of the Edmund Rice Centre and President of the Refugee Council of Australia said. Two months ago the Prime Minister signed a new Closing the Gap Agreement committing Federal and State Governments to a long-term program to finally reduce the huge disparities in life expectancy, health, incarceration, education and employment between First Nations peoples and other Australians. “Prime Minister Morrison’s signing of the new Closing the Gap Agreement just two months ago was a welcome step, but in last night’s Budget the Government provided no resources to make it happen”, Mr Glendenning said. 

To view the Edmund Rice Centre media release click here.

Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) CEO, Jill Gallagher agreed, saying a lack of Federal Government support towards Closing the Gap targets was a major omission in a Budget that would provide some hip pocket relief and new jobs for young people but delivered “nothing of substance” for Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Ms Gallagher said Treasurer Josh Frydenberg mentioned Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders just once in his speech. She described the lack of money for new Closing the Gap measures as “dispiriting”. “There are a number of targets which all levels of Government have committed too but where is the investment?”, she asked.

To view the article about the VACCHO comments click here.

Funding to improve health of First Nations families

A program that is already showing unprecedented success in improving the health and employment outcomes of First Nations families has been awarded $2.5 million in funding through the National Health and Medical Research Council. Led by the team at Charles Darwin University’s Molly Wardaguga Research Centre at the College of Nursing and Midwifery, the project is focused on providing the Best Start to Life for First Nations women, babies and families and has been awarded a Centres of Research Excellence (CRE) grant. Co-director of the Molly Wardaguga Research Centre Associate Professor Yvette Roe said the funding would allow the centre to expand and build on a current program that had resulted in a 50% reduction in preterm birth and 600% increase in First Nations employment.

To read the full article click here.

Women and researchers during the Caring for Mum on Country project, Galiwinku, Northern Territory. (L-R)-Yvette Roe, Dhurruurawuy, wurrpa Maypilama, Sarah Ireland, Wagarr and Sue Kildea

Women and researchers during the Caring for Mum on Country project, Galiwinku, Northern Territory. (L-R)-Yvette Roe, Dhurruurawuy, wurrpa Maypilama, Sarah Ireland, Wagarr and Sue Kildea. Image source: Katherine Times.

Palawa man heads mainstream health peak body

The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) has announced the appointment of Palawa man Scott Willis as its 22nd national president, the first Indigenous president of a mainstream health peak body in Australia. Scott, who commences his two year term on 1 January 2021, said “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ health remains a priority area for our profession. We’re going to ensure not only that we are a culturally safe, engaged profession by listening to, learning from and working with First Nations peoples, but we’re going to make physio a known, viable and aspirational professional choice for young Aboriginals coming through the education system. I want them to know they can and should aspire to strong and respected leadership roles in the community.”

To view the APA media release click here.

portrait photo of APA President Scott Willis

APA president-elect Scott Willis. Image source: Australian Physiotherapy Association.

Cashless Debit Card expansion opposed

The Aboriginal Peak Organisation of the Northern Territory (APO NT) have called on all members of parliament to strongly oppose the legislation that would make the Cashless Debit Card (CDC) permanent in the current trial sites and expand it to the NT and Cape York, despite there being no proof that compulsory income management works. APO NT spokesperson John Paterson said, “Support for the bill would directly contradict the recent National Agreement on Closing the Gap that was supported by all levels of government including the Commonwealth. It is not in keeping with the spirit of the agreement and its emphasis on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander self-determination.” Mr Paterson added, ”We did not ask for the card, yet 22,000 of us will be affected if the card is imposed on NT income recipients.”

To view the APO NT’s media release click here.

Aboriginal man under tree holding Cashless Debit Card to camera

Image source: Gove Online.

Restricting high-sugar food promotion helps diet

Restricting the promotion and merchandising of unhealthy foods and beverages leads to a reduction in their sales, presenting an opportunity to improve people’s diets, according to a randomised controlled trial of 20 stores in remote regions of Australia. Julie Brimblecombe, of Monash University, Australia, co-joint first author of the study, said: “Price promotions and marketing tactics, such as where products are placed on shelves, are frequently used to stimulate sales. Our novel study is the first to show that limiting these activities can also have an effect on sales, in particular, of unhealthy food and drinks. This strategy has important health implications and is an opportunity to improve diets and reduce associated non-communicable diseases. It also offers a way for supermarkets to position themselves as responsible retailers, which could potentially strengthen customers loyalty without damaging business performance.” 

To read the full article published in The Lancet click here.

hands of Aboriginal person pushing trolley or health foods in outback store

Image source: Adult Learning Australia website.

New research supports self-care

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt is set to launch a new policy blueprint that calls for policy reform to improve population health and reduce health service demand through effective self-care. Released by the Mitchell Institute, the document notes a range of environmental, economic and social factors drive self-care capability. It says governments can play a major role in creating environments that either inhibit or enable self-care. The importance of self-care to good health has also been highlighted by COVID-19, according to the Mitchell Institute’s Professor of Health Policy, Rosemary Calder. “Now is the time for a systematic approach, led by a national agenda to enable shared responsibility between government organisations and health care professionals to tackle health inequity and support self-care for all Australians,” she says.

To view the full article click here.

man's hand holding baby's hand both cradled in woman's hand against blurred grass background

Image source: Emerging Minds, Australia website.

Funding for healthy ageing research

Professor Dawn Bessarab from the University of WA’s Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health and her team will lead the Centre for Research Excellence on the Good Spirit Good Life: Better health and wellbeing for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. The first Centre for Research Excellence in Australia to explore Indigenous ageing, Professor Bessarab and her team were awarded $2.5 million in NHMRC funding. They will develop their research with and from the perspective of Aboriginal people, to better understand healthy ageing in older Aboriginal people and inform culturally secure and effective service provision.

To view the full article click here.

elderly Aboriginal woman in hospital bed looking up to nurse

Indigenous elder Mildred Numamurdirdi. Image source: The Guardian.

Cost of hygienic products linked to high disease rates

A Senate committee investigating the over-pricing of items in remote Aboriginal communities has heard from Melbourne University Indigenous Eye Health Institute’s senior engagement officer Karl Hampton, who said the price-gouging of items like soap and towels is a key factor to Indigenous youth holding “the heavy burden” of serious trachoma infections.

To view the full Global Citizen article click here.

supermarket shelves showing high cost of soap

Image source: The Guardian Australian edition.

Keeping our sector strong discussion

Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) is hosting a virtual forum from 12.00–1.00 pm (AEDT) Monday 12 October 2020 with the Minister for Indigenous Australians, The Hon Ken Wyatt, AM, MP, to discuss the changes made by Indigenous businesses adapting to survive and thrive in the current climate.

To find out more and register your attendance click here.

Spaces are limited for this opportunity so be sure to register today!

Learning from each other webinar series

The Sydney Institute for Psychoanalysis invites you to join them as they bring together First Nations’ thinkers with psychoanalysts and psychotherapists in a series of six webinars in the spirit of Two Way – working together and learning from each other.

All profits will go to CASSE’s Shields for Living, Tools for Life, a dual cultural and therapeutic program, based in the Alice Springs region for ‘at-risk’ youth, providing an alternative to detention and reducing the likelihood of offending or reoffending.

The Two-Way: Learning from each other webinar series will stream 8.00–9.30 pm AEST each Tuesday from 13 October to 17 November 2020.

Click here for the webinar program and registration.

Queenie McKenzie Dreaming Place - Gija country 1995

Queenie McKenzie, Dreaming Place – Gija Country, 1995.
Image source: Australian Psychoanalytical Society,

Range of health scholarships available

The following scholarship programs, aimed at increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait lslander participation in the health workforce and improving access to culturally appropriate health services, are seeking applications.

Indigenous Health Scholarships – Australian Rotary Health administer these scholarships on behalf of the Department of Health, providing a one off grant of $5,000 to assist students with their day to day expenses and provide mentoring support while they undertake a course in a wide range of health related professions. For further information click here.

Nursing Scholarships – the Australian College of Nursing are currently offering nursing scholarship opportunities for study in 2021 with undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships of up to $15,000 per year of full time study being available for eligible courses. Further information is available here. Applications close from 25 October 2020.

Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme – provides financial assistance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander undergraduate students for entry level studies that lead or are a direct pathway to registration or practice as a health professional.  Further information is available here. Applications close on 8 November 2020 for studies in 2021.

portrait of Indigenous Health Scholarship 2020 recipient Marlee Paterson, UNSW, Doctor of Medicine.

Indigenous Health Scholarship 2020 recipient Marlee Paterson, UNSW, Doctor of Medicine. Image source: Australian Rotary Health website.

NSW – Taree – Biripi Aboriginal Corporation Medical Centre

Aboriginal Health Worker – Drug & Alcohol/Sexual Health – Identified x 2 (male and female)

Human Resources Officer x 1

Maintenance Officer x 1

Biripi Aboriginal Corporation Medical Centre (Biripi ACMC), a community controlled health service providing a wide range of culturally appropriate health and well-being services covering communities across the Mid-Northern NSW Region, is looking to fill a number of vacant positions.

To view the job descriptions for each position click on the name of the position above.

Applications for all positions close 5.00 pm Sunday 18 October 2020.Biripi Aboriginal Corporation Medical Centre logo silhouette of two black hand overlapping inside yellow circle inside border top half black, bottom half red with words Our Health In Our Hands

VIC – Shepparton – Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-operative Ltd.

PT Case Manager (Re-advertised)

FT Cradle to Kinder Worker

FT Family Preservation Worker 

Kinship Care Case Management

FT Practice Manager

Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-operative Ltd. has a number of vacancies within its Health & Wellbeing, Engagement & Family and Positive Ageing & Disability services areas.

Applications for the Case Manager position close 4.00 pm Tuesday 13 October 2020.

Applications for the Cradle to Kinder Worker, Family Preservation Worker and Kinship Care Case Manager positions close 4.00 pm Wednesday 14 October 2020.

Applications for the Practice Manager position close 4.00 pm Friday 23 October 2020.

NSW – Sydney – The George Institute for Global Health

FT Research Associate (project Manager)

The George Institute for Global Health has a very exciting opportunity for a Research Associate (project Manager) to join its ‘Safe Pathways’ team that will work in partnership with families to focus on developing a discharge planning and delivery model of care that will: address institutionalised racism; facilitate access to ongoing specialist burn care; and enhance communication, coordination and care integration between families, local primary health services and the burns service at Westmead. 

The George Institute’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Program cuts across content areas and is conducted within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing, being and doing, with a focus on social determinants of health, health systems and healthcare delivery, and maintains an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander paradigm of health and healing (physical, emotional, social, cultural and spiritual) and a commitment to making impact through translation that influences policy.

For further details about the position click here. Applications close on 30 October 2020 or sooner if a suitable candidate is found.The George Institute for Global Health banner, words and purple tick with dot in shape of flame

World Evidence-Based Healthcare Day

World Evidence-Based Healthcare Day is a global initiative that raises awareness of the need for better evidence to inform healthcare policy, practice and decision making in order to improve health outcomes globally. It is an opportunity to participate in a debate about global trends and challenges, but also to celebrate the impact of individuals and organisations worldwide, recognising the work of dedicated researchers, policymakers and health professionals in improving health outcomes. World Evidence-Based Health Day is on Tuesday 20 October 2020 and has the 2020 theme is ‘Evidence to Impact’. For further information click here.logo with words World Evidinece-Based Healthcare Day 2020 ebhc 20 October 2020 light blue & navy

White Ribbon Day

Together, we really can end men’s violence against women in our communities and in our workplaces. But it starts with us turning awareness into sustained, collaborative action and it needs to start now. This year White Ribbon Day is on Friday 20 November. White Ribbon Australia are asking you to hold an event – online or as a group (following local COVID-safe guidelines) – to bring your community together as a catalyst for ongoing action. Download a Community Action Kit here to access ideas and resources to bring your community together on White Ribbon Day, get involved on social media, and to kick-start a Community Action Group that will continue to create impact long after the event is over.White Ribbon Australia banner - black bacground words White Ribbon Australia & white ribbon icon

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: Aboriginal health funding boosted, but infrastructure overlooked

external view of medical clinic in slightly run down state

Aboriginal health funding boosted, but infrastructure overlooked

NACCHO has welcomed the increase in funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health in the Budget with the Chair of NACCHO, Donnella Mills, saying, “I am heartened by the additional investment in the Indigenous Australians Health Program with $33m for our hard-working services over the next three years. I am also pleased to hear of the regional-and-remote health funding that will assist many of our clinics and the communities they serve as well as assistance for training and workforce development. These are all very welcome.”

NACCHO Conference 2017
Photo: Geoff Bagnall

“While these measures are significant, NACCHO will continue to press the Government for targeted infrastructure investment in our clinics. If stimulus is the main objective of the Budget, we believe that there is no better way to do so than to invest in local communities. There was a valuable opportunity here to invest in our 550 local clinics across the country where our 410,000 clients reside. This was an opportunity missed.”

To view NACCHO’s media release on the Budget click here.

new Armajun Aborignal Health Service Inverell being built

Armajun Aboriginal Health Service, Inverell. Image source: Adam Marshall MP website.

Mental health support extended in NPY region

Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council (NPYWC) and Smiling Mind have partnered to see crucial, prevention-focused mental health support extend even further into Australia’s Indigenous communities. Over the past two years, Smiling Mind has worked closely with NPYWC, translating its popular in-app mindfulness sessions into the region’s Indigenous languages, in order to support the communities’ youth with tools in their native language. To date, the programs have engaged more than 2,500 subscribers, and more than 5,000 meditations have been completed. Three remote schools in the central desert region have also benefited from mindfulness training, where educators were supported to foster positive mental health habits with their students and the wider school community. 

Envato Foundation, the philanthropic arm of leading technology business Envato, have donated $100,000 to give new life to the partnership, allowing for an extension to the tools and resources already created to infiltrate further across the NPY  region of Central Australia, a region spanning 28 remote communities in the tri state region of NT, SA and WA over an area covering 350,000 square kms.  

To view the full Mirage article click here.

Aboriginal woman on Country listening to podcast

Image source: NPYWC website.

Centre for Disease Control an urgent priority

‘The pandemic experience this year is a clear reason for the establishment of an Australian Centre for Disease Control,’ says Alison Verhoeven, Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) Chief Executive. ‘The call for this has been long-standing, with a 2013 recommendation to the Government by the Standing Committee on Health and Ageing overlooked in favour of the development of a National Communicable Disease Framework. Such a Centre would position Australia well to demonstrate global leadership in communicable disease planning and response capabilities. ‘It would also support existing state and territory disease control measures through a cohesive approach to research, diagnosis, screening, reporting, case management, contract tracing, forecasting and trend monitoring.’

To read the AHHA media release click here.

scientist in laboratory with full PPE looking at a sample

Image source: The Conversation website.

Budget health response scale warranted

Federal AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid has commended the Federal Government’s $16 billion COVID-19 health response and further stimulus spending aimed at fending off a COVID-19 recession, saying ‘The health and economic impacts of COVID-19 warrant this scale of health response and stimulus spending directed toward restarting the economy. A safe, effective and widely available vaccine is not guaranteed for next year and if it doesn’t eventuate and a large outbreak occurs, economic recovery will be threatened, along with many Australian lives. Governments cannot drop the ball and must continue a broad range of strong policies to keep COVID-19 out of the community in order to ensure a sustained health and economic recovery.’

To view the AMA media release click here.

Aboriginal flat with stethoscope sitting on top

Image source: My South West Directory website.

Telehealth must be start of a health ‘revolution’

CEO of the Consumer Health Forum of Australia (CHF), Leanne Wells, says the use of telehealth during the pandemic shows transformative change is possible in healthcare. She went on to say ‘telehealth has been stimulated by the pandemic to trigger easier and safe access to doctors, we look forward to further developments after the six month extension to March 2021 expires and we hold great ambition for the scope of services that will be possible under the 10 Year Primary Health Care Plan currently in development.’

To view the CHF media release click here.

two Aboriginal men and health professional looking at monitor

Image source: The Fred Hollows Foundation website.

 

ACT – Canberra – National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)

Social Media Communications Coordinator

As the Social Media Communications Coordinator within the NACCHO Communications team, you will manage and maintain NACCHO’s social media presence and the daily blog. You will report to the Director, Communications and seek direction and approval on content delivery. You will work cohesively with the NACCHO Communications teams towards the creation and the delivery of social media campaigns and driving key Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector news content across channels.

This position will be offered as a fixed contract on a full time or part time basis depending on the candidate. 

To view the full position description click here. Applications close 9.00am Friday 16 October 2020.

NSW – Narooma – Katungul Aboriginal Corporation Regional Health and Community Services

FT Systems Analyst

Katungul Aboriginal Corporation Regional Health and Community Services has a vacancy for a Systems Analyst. The focus of the role is to oversee the implementation, maintenance and upgrading of information technology systems to support the delivery of Katungul’s range of services and for related research, analysis and performance reporting functions. The Systems Analyst will be an integral member of a collaborative team that works closely with Katungul’s service areas to deliver the best outcomes for the community.

To view the position description click here. Applications close 5.00 pm Friday 16 October 2020.Katungul Log

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Budget2020 submission downloads : Both the @AMAPresident and @_PHAA_feature strong support for our #ACCHO’s and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health

” The AMA is calling on the Federal Government to significantly increase recurrent spending on health to properly meet current and future demand for quality care and services in the Australian health system.

Releasing the AMA’s Pre-Budget submission for the 2020-21 Federal Budget, AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, said today that the AMA wants the Government to lift spending from its current level of 9.3 per cent to a level in line with comparable countries.

From Page 17

Over recent years, there have been some modest health gains for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, notably, the reductions in rates of child mortality and smoking. Despite this progress, the life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians is still significant.

Chronic diseases are a primary contributor to the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, many of which, stem from the social determinants of health

– poverty; unhygienic, overcrowded living conditions; poor food security and access to safe drinking water; lack of transport; as well as an absence of health services.

To make any significant progress in improving health and life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, these social determinants must be addressed. This should be done through culturally appropriate programs that are responsive to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

From AMA 2020-21 Budget submission : Read Indigenous health support Page 17 or in full Part 1 Below

Read full AMA Press Release

Download full AMA submission

AMA_Budget_Submission_2020_21

Major efforts have been undertaken in recent decades to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s health. Life expectancy has increased notably, from levels well below those enjoyed by Australia’s non-Indigenous population.

There have been encouraging reductions in mortality rates from chronic diseases. Correspondingly, between 2012 and 2017 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life expectancy at birth rose by over 2 years.

Nonetheless, it is vital that effort to maintain the increase in life expectancy is reinforced, as the gap in overall life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians remains largely unchanged.

It is unacceptable that, according to the 2019 Closing the Gap report, “The target to close the gap in life expectancy by 2031 is not on track” (p122, emphasis added), and it is widely believed that the target cannot be achieved within the CTG timeframe.

It is urgent that the underlying causes of the gap are addressed. This must involve deliberate, coordinated and long-term commitments, developed and delivered with and by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Finally, noting the vital need for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to lead health and other initiatives central to their own health, PHAA supports the funding of programs that are initiated and run by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people such as the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO). “

From PHHA 2020-21 Budget submission : Read Indigenous health support Page 16 or in full Part 2 Below

Download the full PHAA Submission

Commonwealth Budget 2020-21 – pre-Budget directions

Part 1

The 2020-21 Budget presents an opportunity for the Government to translate available knowledge into action, including identifying and filling service gaps, and directing Indigenous health funding according to need.

This is particularly important given that the burden of disease for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is 2.3 times higher than for other Australians.

AMA POSITION

The AMA calls on the Government to:

  • allocate Indigenous health funding in the 2019-20 budget based on the much higher health needs of Indigenous communities, recognising that chronic disease is inextricably connected to the social determinants of health; and
  • implement the recommendations of the AMA’s recent Report Cards on Indigenous Health, in particular:

+ commit to achieving a minimum standard of 90 per cent population access to fluoridated water;

+ systematically identify, cost and fund unimplemented parts of the national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023;

+ implement a coordinated national response to address chronic otitis media in Indigenous communities;

+ fund and implement a strategy to eradicate rheumatic heart disease from Australia; and

+ appropriately fund services that divert Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from prison.

Part 2

Serious health care challenges remain for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Rheumatic heart disease remains a massive concern.

Alarmingly, mortality from cancer is actually rising, and the ‘gap’ in cancer mortality compared with the general population is actually growing. Rates of suicide remain far too high.

The health conditions of young Indigenous Australians should be a key focus. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have a younger age profile than the general population, having a median age of 23 compared with 38 (as at the 2016 Census). Over 60% of Indigenous people are aged under 30.

There are a number of current programs working to prevent illness in very young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders people between 5 and 8 years old.

However, there is a major lack of targeted attention to people from the adolescent years through to around age 25.

This broad age group is formative of many lifelong health problems. Illnesses related to consumption habits (smoking, alcohol, sugar-added products and junk food) resulting in diabetes, cardiovascular disease, rheumatic heart disease, oral health problems, as well as mental health problems often have their genesis in this neglected period of adolescence and young adulthood.

Specifically, the evidence of a link between hearing loss in childhood and subsequent incarceration of Aboriginal people is overwhelming.

A program that has demonstrated the success of an Aboriginal controlled and led model is the Tackling Indigenous Smoking program.

The initiative to reduce smoking rates in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has made valuable progress but more is required to close the gap in smoking rates between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.

Major initiatives in illness prevention are required to improve the wellbeing of adolescent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by:

  • reducing the suicide rate
  • reducing use of alcohol and other drugs
  • reducing tobacco use, with targets including:
  • reducing age 15-17 smoking rates from 19% to 9%
  • increasing age 15-17 ‘never-smoked’ rates from 77% to 91%
  • increasing annual health check for people aged 15-24
  • reducing rates of juvenile incarceration, through programs such as justice reinvestment programs should aim to close the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and the wider Australian population in all health metrics

Environmental factors also impact on health and wellbeing. Programs to improve environmental health help prevent eye and ear health problems which are more prevalent in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Rheumatic heart disease, including acute rheumatic fever, is almost exclusively experienced within Australia by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and is also associated with poverty, poor and overcrowded living conditions and poor hygiene.

We note that the current National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan, due to remain in effect until 2023, has not in fact been adequately funded to achieve its outputs.

One very obvious place for the Government to start in the coming Budget is to repair this defect. T

his would be consistent with the priorities, established by the COAG Joint Council on Closing the Gap co-chaired by the Pat Turner AM and the Hon Ken Wyatt MP, Minister for Indigenous Australians, to accelerate improvements in life outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by:

  • developing and strengthening structures to ensure the full involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in shared decision making at the national, state and local or regional level and embedding their ownership, responsibility and expertise to close the gap
  • building the formal Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled services sector to deliver closing the gap services and programs in agreed priority areas
  • ensuring all mainstream government agencies and institutions undertake systemic and structural transformation to contribute to Closing the

PHAA urges Government to adopt substantive and durable commitments aligned with the priorities identified by the National Health Leadership Forum (NHLF), the national representative body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations advocating for Indigenous health and wellbeing, which include:

  • “Promote self-determination across national institutions, through Constitutional reform and the recommendations that arose from the Uluru Statement from the Heart;
  • Close the gap in life expectancy and the disproportionate burden of disease that impacts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, through system-wide investment approach for the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan, with COAG Health Council;
  • Prioritises and escalates actions under the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Plan – to address the massive shortfall in this workforce across all professions and levels, and is essential to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing; and
  • Acknowledge the adverse impact of racism on the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and aspects of the health system that prevent people from accessing and receiving the health care they require – and to work with the NHLF and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health experts in embedding co-design and co-decision making processes to embed culturally safe and responsive health practices and ”

Finally, noting the vital need for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to lead health and other initiatives central to their own health, PHAA supports the funding of programs that are initiated and run by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people such as the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO).