NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #NationalCloseTheGapDay Media : Press Releases from Stakeholders @AusHealthcare @RACGP @TheRACP @ranzcog @TheRACP @AbSecNSW @strokefdn @ACRRM and coverage #NT @CAACongress #WA #QLD #VIC #NSW #ACCHO events

Contents of our CTG NACCHO Post 

National Close the Gap Campaign Launched at Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation ACCHO

Stakeholders CTG Press Releases

1.AHHA

2.RACGP

3.RANZOG

4.ACCRM

5.ACEM

6 ABSEC

7.Labour Party

8. Greens Party

9. RACGP

10. Stroke Foundation

11. Coalition Government 

ACCHO Members

Congress ACCHO Alice Springs

Gidgee ACCHO Mt Isa

Mallee ACCHO Victoria

Apunipima ACCHO Cape York Cover )

Galambila ACCHO Coffs Harbour

Kimberly Aboriginal Medical Service

National Close the Gap Campaign Launched at Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation ACCHO

A national campaign highlighting the health and well-being of Indigenous people was launched in Campbelltown today.

Close the Gap Day was established to celebrate community practices that are positively affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation in Airds was chosen to host the launch due to its valuable contributions to the local community.

Campbelltown mayor George Brticevic said the event was important not just for Macarthur, but for the rest of Australia as well.

“The importance we place on everyone in our community being able to enjoy a comparable standard of life can’t be understated,” he said.

“Close the Gap Day is a reminder of the inequalities Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people still face today, and a call to action for the entire community.

“The fact that the report is being launched here in Campbelltown is a great credit to our Aboriginal community leaders and the important work being done by the Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation.”

South-western Sydney has the largest growing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in Australia, but the health of the community as a whole trails well behind non-Aboriginal Australians.

According to the most recent census, Aboriginal men on average live to 69 compared to non-Aboriginal men who live to 80.

Non-Aboriginal women live to 84 compared to Aboriginal women who live to 73.

The 2019 Close the Gap report, “Our Choices, Our Voices”, was released this morning.

The report, prepared by the Lowitja Institute, is being released at a community event at Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation – Aboriginal Medical Service South Western Sydney, as part of National Close the Gap day events around the country.

National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples co-chair Rod Little said the report highlighted the incredible work being carried out by Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) to improve the health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“The stories in the report clearly demonstrate that when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are involved in the design and delivery of the services they need, we are far more likely to succeed,” he said.

The report comes one month after the Commonwealth Government’s Closing the Gap report was tabled in federal parliament, showing a lack of progress on most targets.

In his address, Prime Minister Scott Morrison restated the government’s commitment to work collaboratively in a formal partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Mr Little said he hoped National Close the Gap Day would encourage further commitment to address the challenge of health inequality.

“Health outcomes and life expectancy in Aboriginal communities are affected by many different factors, such as housing, educational opportunity, access to community-controlled primary health services, a culturally safe workforce, racism, and trauma and healing,” he said.

“I want Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to have the same opportunity to live full and healthy lives, like all other Australians.

“We are optimistic that by supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led initiatives and a commitment to working in genuine partnership, that we can close the gap.”

Download the CTG report HERE

ctg2019_final2_web

ACCHO CTG Stakeholders

1.AHHA

‘Today is National Close the Gap Day—and to truly close that gap we badly need a refreshed focus on the social determinants of health, including income, education, racism and intergenerational trauma’, says Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven

‘These factors account for over one-half of the difference in health outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians.

‘To reduce such inequities, as a nation we need to have concrete action on things many non-Indigenous Australians take for granted. Things such as quality housing, effective education, jobs, community activities, access to healthy food and clean water, and access to appropriate healthcare.

‘When we say “appropriate healthcare” we mean more than medically appropriate—we mean culturally safe healthcare services.

‘When dealing with the healthcare sector Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should feel safe and secure in their identity, culture and community. There should be no challenge to whether they should be able to access culturally safe services. Whether a service is “culturally safe” or not needs to be determined by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people themselves.

‘In this vein, we have much to do in tackling institutional racism—which is different to individual racist acts, and mostly goes unacknowledged.

‘For example—a recently published study of the Australia and New Zealand Dialysis and Transplant (ANZDATA) Registry showed that Indigenous patients were less likely than non-Indigenous patients to be added to the transplantation waiting list during the first year of renal replacement therapy; this disparity was not explained by differences in patient- and disease-related factors. The authors concluded that changes in policy and practice are needed to reduce these differences.

‘There was also the case of a government department providing 26 different streams of funding for various ‘body parts’ (diabetes, heart disease and so on) to a holistic Aboriginal Medical Service—and then demanding 26 different streams of accountability for the money. Apart from the unreasonable reporting load, this kind of administration is screaming “we don’t trust you” to the funding recipients—and don’t imagine that they don’t feel it.

‘We need to go right back to the original 2008 Close the Gap Statement of Intent signed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). That statement was founded on an understanding that population health outcomes are fundamentally the result of social determinants and that governments need to work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their organisations to achieve beneficial outcomes.

‘The 2018 commitment by COAG to a formal partnership approach with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to Close the Gap is a long overdue step in the right direction.

‘In addition to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples having a leadership role in Aboriginal health, let’s also ensure that there is strong investment in Aboriginal health services, and prioritised development of an Aboriginal health workforce to deliver both Aboriginal-specific and mainstream health services’, Ms Verhoeven said.

2. RACGP

Dr Schramm points to Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) as a proven example of the success that comes with people being involved.

‘Their strength is that, as it says, they are community-controlled,’ she said. ‘They’re developed by the community, for the community.

‘So that’s the power behind them – the community have a say in how their health service is run, the programs and how it’s all going to work … [ACCHSs] set themselves up to address the needs of Aboriginal people and health, and they’re culturally safe, competent services for people to go to.’

Full Press Release HERE


Dr Tim Senior, Medical Advisor for RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, also spoke at this week’s event, emphasising the need for non-Indigenous Australians to truly consult with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities about what is needed to close health gaps.

‘We actually have to do much more listening than talking, particularly around issues of cultural safety.

‘This is not up to us to decide or judge, this is up to thousands of local communities around Australia to decide and judge if we are getting this right,’ Dr Senior said.

‘And then listen, and act on that.’

Taking action to achieve health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people #ClosetheGap

Dr Tim Senior, Tharawal CEO Darryl Wight, Leanne Bird, Prof Jenny Reath, and Chair RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health A/Prof Peter O’Mara at the launch of the #ClosetheGap Report at Tharawal AMS

3.RANZGP

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) supports Close the Gap Day as an important opportunity to reflect on the social and health disparities present between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians.

The recently released Closing the Gap Report 2019 once again showed that in many areas Australia is not making progress.

In recognition of the need for ongoing action to address the social determinants of health and the mental health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the College recently updated its Position Statement to call for the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution.

The RANZCP supports the establishment of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advisory body to guarantee an Indigenous voice in political decision-making, as recommended in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

In order to realise truth-telling and promote health, the RANZCP also supports the establishment of a Makarrata Commission to guide the treaty process and to provide a basis for truth-telling.

The inclusion of mental health targets in any refresh to the Close the Gap strategy, designed and implemented in collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, is also a crucial part of working towards achieving health equity.

For more information, see Position Statement 68: Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution.

4.ACRRM

On Close the Gap Day 2019, ACRRM says it is time to build on the solutions

The Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) sees this Close the Gap Day as a time to focus efforts on the strategies that are successfully delivering better health outcomes to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

ACRRM is a Close the Gap Campaign member and welcomes the Government’s recent commitment to progress its future work in full partnership with peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups.

Alongside this, ACRRM commits to sharpening its own efforts to contribute toward health equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

ACRRM President Dr Ewen McPhee says that after 11 years of closing the gap, if we are to achieve health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by 2030, we need to build on what’s working.

“Health inequality has by most counts, worsened in the 11 years since the Close the Gap Strategy was produced,” he says.

“We need to work harder and smarter and learn from the many success stories of how community-centred, culturally-appropriate, primary-care is improving health outcomes for Australia’s first peoples.

“It is known that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients access health services more, where they feel they are culturally safe and respected and have strong relationships with practitioners, especially where there are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors and staff to support them.

“The College recognises that by ensuring our doctors are dedicated and culturally competent and, by growing and supporting our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Fellows, we are able to make an important contribution.

“Most ACRRM doctors have significant numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and our members are practising in some of the country’s highest needs, remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“Our College has more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members now than ever before and since introducing its own selection process in 2017, ACRRM has seen continuing record numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctor enrolments to its training programs.

“The College also continues to build on its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health curricula and courses to ensure our members are trained and supported to provide their medical services as effectively as possible,” Dr McPhee says

National surveys demonstrate ACRRM registrars continue to be distinguished among general practice registrars for their interest in and likelihood of working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

“Today we are happy to build on the outstanding contributions of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors and all our dedicated members working in rural and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,” Dr McPhee says.

ACRRM is proud of the exceptional work of its members in serving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and sees great promise for the future in both the passion and the capacity of the doctors that it continues to attract.

5.ACEM

Emergency departments (and health systems generally) have been poor at providing culturally safe and appropriate environments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

ACEM recognises that in order to help o close the gap in health outcomes emergency departments and the health system must improve our accessibility and responsiveness to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

2018 ACEM report examining the experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) and non-Indigenous patients presenting to Australian emergency departments shows Indigenous patients are overrepresented, both in their number of presentations to EDs relative to their proportion of population (in remote, very remote and metropolitan areas).

For many patients, the emergency department is the front door to the health system. The experience of any patient presenting to an ED is one that may then shape their steps into specialist or other care, and their opportunities to achieve optimal health and life outcomes, so it is particularly important that the care we provide is culturally safe.

Since 2008 disparities health and life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have been measured and tracked as part of the Australian Government’s Closing the Gap strategy, which has sought to identify and reduce these disparities with non-Indigenous populations of Australia.

As the government and Coalition of Australian Governments finally pursue meaningful partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, leaders and peak bodies to close these gaps, ACEM is continuing its work to build culturally safe emergency departments and an emergency medicine workforce that is responsive to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients. To achieve this, we recognise that this work needs to be led from Aboriginal communities and organisations. We must also better enable the growth and development of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander emergency specialist workforce.

The College’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Steering Group has been working to establish partnerships with key Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations (such as the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association)
This year the College’s RAP Steering Group is renewing ACEM’s Innovate RAP in partnership with Reconciliation Australia. The College’s inaugural RAP was released in 2017 with design by Indigenous artist Luke Mallie. Just nine (of more than 100) deliverables in that RAP have so far not been achieved and will be reincorporated into the next RAP (2019–21), being produced by Marcus Lee Design.
The College is undertaking a broad body of work to build these relationships, including:

  • Embedding Indigenous Health and Cultural Competency into the ACEM Curriculum Framework.
  • Awarding the Joseph Epstein Scholarshipto support the training and development of an Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander or Māori advanced trainee.
  • Accrediting Indigenous Health Special Skills posts for rural health.
  • Developing careers resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors working in emergency medicine.
  • Advocating for more Indigenous Health Liaison Officers to be employed in emergency departments.
  • Increasing the numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trainees, Diplomates and  Certificants.
  • Introducing mandatory cultural competence activitiesinto its Specialist CPD program.

The action plan guides the priorities and work of the College as it continues its commitment to equity in the health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and seeks to build environments, systems and structures to support the training, development and careers of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce in emergency medicine.

6 .ABSEC

Closing the Gap will only be successful if Aboriginal communities lead the solutions according to NSW Aboriginal peak body AbSec

Currently in NSW as well as across Australia, the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal kids continues to widen across the child protection system.

In NSW, Aboriginal children are now almost 9 times more likely to be involved in the child protection system, an increase from almost 7 times for the previous year.

On Close the Gap day, it is a reminder that Aboriginal communities need to lead on the solutions to make sure that the inequalities faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are addressed Tim Ireland, Chief Executive Officer at AbSec, whose goal is to reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal kids in the child protection system, said:

“The gap is widening. Aboriginal children are now 11 times more likely to be removed from their families than non-Indigenous children, an increase from last year. “Closing the Gap will only be successful if Aboriginal communities lead the solutions.

We need a genuine partnership between governments and Aboriginal communities that invests in Aboriginalled solutions, designed by Aboriginal people, and delivered by Aboriginal organisations.

Only then will we have an approach that is tailored to the needs of our children, families and communities, supporting them to thrive, strong in culture and identity.”

7. Labour Party

If elected, a Shorten Labor Government will move quickly to agree on a process with First Nations people to make the Voice a reality – including a pathway to a referendum. Labor supports a Voice.

We support enshrining it in the Constitution. This is our first priority for Constitutional change.
First Nations peoples must have a say in the matters that affect their lives and policies must be co-designed with full free and prior informed consent.

Download full Press Release

Bill Shorten CTG PR

 ” A Shorten Labor Government will invest $5 million towards closing the gap in
South Australia by assisting the Port Adelaide Football Club in establishing the
Aboriginal Centre of Excellence.

The Aboriginal Centre of Excellence will help close the gap for Indigenous students
by providing boarding capacity for 50 both male and female students from metro,
rural and regional South Australia.”

Download Labour CTG Press Release

Labor Party

8. Greens Party

The Greens have today announced their election commitment to work with First Nations peoples to address Australia’s unfinished business, close the gap and achieve justice

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said a commitment to self-determination must be at the heart of closing the gap, and that this approach has been sadly lacking.

Download or Read Greens Press Release

Greens Press Release

9. RACP recognises Indigenous leadership on National Close the Gap Day

The RACP is urging all Australian people to recognise Indigenous leadership and success on National Close the Gap Day 2019.

The RACP is a founding member of the Close the Gap Campaign for Indigenous health equality, a campaign by peak Indigenous and non-Indigenous health bodies to close the health and life expectancy gap by 2030.

“We have a right to self-determination and full participation in decision-making about matters that affect us. We need to invest in and support on the ground voices and solutions. An investment in our community-controlled organisations is an investment in success,” Commissioner Oscar said.

RACP President Associate Professor Mark Lane said Indigenous leadership and community-control are central.

“Without self-determination, it is not possible for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to fully overcome the legacy of colonisation and dispossession, and the ongoing impacts on health.

Professor Noel Hayman, Chair of the RACP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Committee, said “to make real, long-term gains in Indigenous health, the health system needs to recognise the highly skilled leadership of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are best placed to mobilise action and build the platform for change.”

“The RACP’s focus is on improving access to medical specialists for Indigenous people, and we have great examples of where this is being done innovatively and effectively,” Professor Hayman said

10. Stroke Foundation determined to close the gap

By Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan

Read over 100 NACCHO Aboriginal Health Stroke Articles HERE

Equal access to healthcare is a basic human right, but sadly, this is not the reality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Today is Close the Gap Day – an important initiative which aims to achieve health equality within a decade.

Here at the Stroke Foundation, we believe this is a goal well worth fighting for. All Australians need and deserve to have access to best practice health care.

Currently, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are overrepresented in stroke statistics.  This is harrowing and it must change.

Indigenous Australians are twice as likely to be hospitalised with stroke and 1.5 times as likely to die from stroke than non-indigenous Australians.

A 2018 Australian National University study found one-third to a half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in their 40s, 50s and 60s were at high risk of future heart attack or stroke.  Alarmingly, high levels of risk were also found in people under the age of 35.

Our vision is for a world free from disability and suffering caused by stroke, but there is so much to do in our own backyard.

Stroke Foundation is committed to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations to improve the health outcomes of Indigenous communities. This includes access to health checks and increasing stroke awareness by delivering targeted education on what a stroke is, how to prevent it and how to spot the F.A.S.T signs of stroke.

Our commitment to establishing a national telestroke network is also a big step towards transforming emergency stroke treatment for regional and rural Australia.

Stroke can be prevented, it can be treated and it can be beaten. We must act now to stem the tide of this devastating disease by closing the gap and delivering health equality.

The facts
The burden of disease for stroke in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is 2.3 times that of non-Indigenous Australians.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are 1.5 times more likely to die from stroke as non-Indigenous Australians.

11. Coalition Government 

Today is National Close the Gap Day, a day we re-affirm our commitment to delivering better outcomes for our First Australians.

The Coalition Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Scott Morrison (ScoMo) has re-framed the Government’s Closing the Gap agenda and established a new partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations as well as state and territory governments to drive the next phase of Closing the Gap.

We are committed to this because we know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians must have a say in their future and be a part of our shared efforts to improve the life outcomes of our First Australians.

That is why under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy we have doubled the percentage of Indigenous organisations receiving contracts under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy.

When I became Minister for Indigenous Affairs only 30 per cent of our services funded to deliver better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities were delivered by Indigenous organisations.

Today, I am proud to say that 60 per cent of our services are delivered by Indigenous organisations.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people must be at the heart of our nation’s commitment to deliver a better future for all Australians including our First Australians.

#ClosetheGap #closethegap2019 #nationalclosethegapday #indigenous#IAS

ACCHO Members

Congress ACCHO

Gidgee ACCHO Mt Isa

Mallee ACCHO Victoria

It’s all happening today in the MDAS Health Mildura carpark with a BBQ for National Close the Gap Day. #closethegap #mildura #deadlychoices

Deadly Choices

Apunipima ACCHO Cape York Cover )

Galambila ACCHO Coffs Harbour

Closing the Gap recognition Awards
Lovely welcome by Aunty Kim

Kimberly Aboriginal  Medical Service

A message from the KAMS CEO Vicki O”Donnell on Close the Gap Day #closethegap

NACCHO Press Release : Aboriginal Health and #ClosetheGap Report : #NationalClosetheGap Day : A Time to Reflect and Recommit how our mob can enjoy the same access to health, education and employment outcomes as non-Indigenous Australians.

“ We were really pleased when the Council of Australian Governments agreed to a formal partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak bodies on closing the gap.

It was encouraging to hear the Prime Minister acknowledge that until Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are brought to the table as equal partners, the gap will not be closed and that this principle would be part of Closing the Gap efforts going forward,”

NACCHO CEO, Pat Turner see Press Release Part 1

Download NACCHO Press Release

NACCHO CTG Day Media Release Final

Releasing the report, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander commissioner June Oscar AO said Indigenous people had “the right to self-determination and full participation in decision-making about matters that affect us”.

“We need to invest in and support on the ground voices and solutions,” she said.

The programs have reduced the rate of incarceration, addressed health problems like anaemia and low birth weight babies and helped families find secure housing

From The Sydney Morning Herald March 21 :

Our choice, our voice: to close gap, Indigenous leaders say what works

“The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO and the Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples Rod Little, will today release the 2019 Close the Gap report – “Our Choices, Our Voices”.

The report, prepared by the Lowitja Institute, is being released at a community event at Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation – Aboriginal Medical Service South Western Sydney, as part of National Close the Gap day events around the country.

The report highlights the incredible work being carried out by Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) to improve the health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

From the CTG Press Release see Part 2 Below

Download a copy of the 2019 Close the Gap report Our Choices, Our Voices visit

ctg2019_final2_web

https://antar.org.au/campaigns/national-close-gap-day

As Australia marks National Close the Gap (CTG) Day, it is an opportunity for the nation to reflect on the progress and challenges in the life outcomes facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities.

For ten years Closing the Gap has put an important spotlight on the vast health, economic and life disparities between First Nations peoples and the Australian population at large.

Historically, the challenge of Closing the Gap has always centred around the lack of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices and input in the larger framework, policies and targets.

The top-down approach of Closing the Gap was never going to yield the outcomes we all hoped to see.

“Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations were established on principles that address structural power imbalances. Our services are fundamental to closing the gap. But we have long recognised that closing the gap on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and disadvantage will never be achieved until:

  • Our primary health care services are adequately resourced, and their infrastructure hardware is fit for purpose;
  • Our people are living in safe, secure and health housing;
  • Culturally safe and trusted early intervention services are available to our vulnerable children and their families to address the unacceptably high rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and youth in out of home care and detention facilities;
  • Services to promote our psychological, social and emotional wellbeing need to be fully funded within our comprehensive primary health care service model; and
  • Our connection to our land, languages and lore need to be respected, maintained and promoted, given we are the oldest living culture in the world over the past 65,000 years.

National Close the Gap Day is an opportunity for us all to reflect on the status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our country and consider how we can work together to ensure our First Nations people enjoy the same access to health, education and employment outcomes as non-Indigenous Australians.

Part 2 CTG Press Release

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO and the Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples Rod Little, will today release the 2019 Close the Gap report – “Our Choices, Our Voices”.

The report, prepared by the Lowitja Institute, is being released at a community event at Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation – Aboriginal Medical Service South Western Sydney, as part of National Close the Gap day events around the country.

“The report highlights the incredible work being carried out by Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) to improve the health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“The stories in the report clearly demonstrate that when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are involved in the design and delivery of the services they need, we are far more likely to achieve success,” the Co-Chairs said.

The report comes one month after the Commonwealth Government’s Closing the Gap report was tabled in Federal parliament, showing a lack of progress on most targets.

In his address, the Prime Minister restated the government’s commitment to work collaboratively in a formal partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Commissioner Oscar said the report highlights the need to have genuine and meaningful engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the decision-making process.

“We have a right to self-determination and full participation in decision-making about matters that affect us. We need to invest in and support on the ground voices and solutions. An investment in our community-controlled organisations is an investment in success,” Commissioner Oscar said.

Rod Little said he hopes that National Close the Gap Day will encourage further commitment to address the challenge of health inequality.

“Health outcomes and life expectancy in Aboriginal communities are affected by many different factors, such as housing, educational opportunity, access to community-controlled primary health services, a culturally safe workforce, racism, and trauma and healing.

“I want Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to have the same opportunity to live full and healthy lives, like all other Australians,” Rod Little said.

Among the case studies included in the report;

The Birthing on Country Project provides Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women access to culturally and clinically safe, inclusive care that incorporates cultural birthing traditions within mainstream maternity services. It is currently piloting two programs;

* South East Queensland in collaboration with Indigenous Urban Health Institute and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Services Brisbane and

* Nowra, New South Wales, alongside Waminda South Coast Women’s Health and Welfare Aboriginal Corporation

Northern Territory Aboriginal Health Academy is taking a new approach to education and training. This is a community-led learning model focussed on re-shaping and re-designing the way training is delivered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students.

IndigiLez Leadership and Support Group offers support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) women.

Yawuru Home Ownership Program was established in 2015 after the Yawuru people in highlighted housing as a key priority.

The Co-Chairs said the over-riding principle throughout the stories is that the success of these initiatives is based on community governance and leadership, which is imperative to the success and longevity of the programs.

“These stories illustrate that ‘our choice and our voice’ is vital if we are to make gains and start to close the gap.

“We are optimistic that by supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led initiatives and a commitment to working in genuine partnership, that we can close the gap,” they said.

Further information on National Close the Gap Day visit the ANTaR website; https://antar.org.au/campaigns/national-close-gap-day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alice Springs Declaration

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

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

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

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

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

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

This declaration was unanimously endorsed

Download PDF Copy

CTG19 ALICE SPRINGS DECLARATION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is a story of self-determination.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read all 50 plus NACCHO Aboriginal Eye Health Articles Here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info Register 

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

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

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

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

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

And now to eyes.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you.

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

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

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

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

Today I want to discuss three things:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Including: Ear infections and otitis media

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

And I think most markedly

  • Rheumatic Heart Disease

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Under a Shorten Labor government we will be prioritising:

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

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

I think that’s enough from me.

Thank you for your time this morning.

NACCHO #Saveadate Aboriginal #SocialDeterminants #Health and #Housing : @2019wihc Registrations for The World Indigenous Housing Conference #2019WIHC on the #GoldCoast 20-24 May are now open #Itsabasichumanright

” The 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference on the Gold Coast will bring together over 2,000 Indigenous leaders, government, industry and academia representing Housing, health, and education from around the world including:

  • National and International Indigenous Organisation leadership
  • Senior housing, health, and education government officials Industry CEOs, executives and senior managers from public and private sectors
  • Housing, Healthcare, and Education professionals and regulators
  • Consumer associations
  • Academics in Housing, Healthcare, and Education.

The 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference is pleased to announce the following invited speakers who bring their expertise and knowledge to share with attendees at 2019WIHC.

Our local and international speakers will bring to life the focus areas of this three-day conference on the Gold Coast.

Their keynote presentations will be complemented by concurrent sessions, panel discussions, plenary sessions and networking opportunities.

See details of all speakers HERE

Download the WIHC Conference Brochure and share

2019WIHC_Overview_Feb2019

 ” Thousands of Aboriginal Territorians are being left in limbo as a remote housing squabble between the Commonwealth and NT Governments reaches an “outrageous, crazy” fever pitch.

Key points:

  • The NT Government has handed over the maintenance and management of 44 remote Aboriginal communities’ housing to the Commonwealth
  • Chief Minister Michael Gunner’s move has been slammed by Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion as unconstitutional
  • CEO of AMSANT John Paterson said Indigenous Territorians were being treated like political footballs

Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner on Monday relinquished the remote housing leases of 44 remote communities back to the Federal Government — the latest move in an heated public spat over a $550 million housing agreement.

Mr Gunner’s decision will mean the NT Labor Government’s hallmark $1.1 billion housing policy will cease to be rolled out across those 44 communities in Central Australia, the West Daly, Tiwi Islands and Arnhem Land.

Treated like a political football’: John Patterson AMSANT 

Indigenous leaders have voiced their anger at how the negotiations have been handled.

John Paterson, chief executive officer of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory, said his board was “absolutely furious that we can’t get two governments to sort out … an essential service such as housing for Indigenous Territorians”.

“We have Indigenous Territorians that are suffering from rheumatic heart disease, from other serious chronic illnesses, living in substandard housing throughout the NT, who had all these promises from both levels of government and here we have a big spit-fight between the two governments and using the Aboriginal housing as a political football,” Mr Paterson said.

“This is absolutely disgraceful and a lack of leadership from everyone.”

Mr Paterson said he would be taking further action with the Federal Government if no resolution was sorted out promptly.

“If we can’t get a resolution or find a solution to this fairly quickly, then we’ll be writing to the Prime Minister to seek his intervention as he’s done with the Close the Gap process and demonstrate and provide the appropriate leadership to have this resolved,” he said.

Read todays NT media coverage here

 “ Australian State and Territory Health Ministers discussed the conditions that make up the health gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and are associated with a range of social and environmental determinants.

Communicable diseases in particular share the same environmental risk factors of poor cleanliness and hygiene, the impacts of which are exacerbated by overcrowded living conditions.

Acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) are two examples of diseases resulting from overcrowding and poverty in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. ” 

March 8 Communique :  Diseases of housing overcrowding and poverty in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

As you may be aware the National Congress and the National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Housing Authority (NATSIHA) are hosting the 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference.

NATSIHA a peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing has been formed as a response to the Redfern Statement.

They have the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples and the UN Special Rapporteur for Adequate Housing attending along with Community representatives from Australia, NZ , USA, Canada , Fiji , Samoa , Tonga just to name a few.

There are Ministerial Delegations from a number of Countries and DFAT will be hosting a side event. This will not be a talk fest as a report will be taken to the UN Permeant Forum next year by the UN Special Rapporteur Indigenous Peoples.

The 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference #2019WIHC is the principal conference to provide a platform for leaders in housing, health, education and related services from around the world to come together.

Up to 2000 delegates will share experiences, explore opportunities and innovative solutions, work to improve access to adequate housing and related services for the world’s Indigenous people.

Event Information:

Key event details as follows:

Venue: Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre
Address: 2684-2690 Gold Coast Hwy, Broadbeach QLD 4218
Dates: Monday 20th – Thursday 23rd May, 2019 (24th May)

Registration Costs

  • After 1 February FULL CONFERENCE & TRADE EXHIBITION REGISTRATION $2245 AUD plus booking fees

PLEASE NOTE: The Trade Exhibition is open Tuesday 21st May – Thursday 23rd May 2019

Please visit www.2019wihc.com for further information on transport and accommodation options, conference, exhibition and speaker updates.

Methods of Payment:

2019WIHC online registrations accept all major credit cards, by Invoice and direct debit.
PLEASE NOTE: Invoices must be paid in full and monies received by COB Monday 20 May 2019.

Please note: The 2019 WIHC organisers reserve the right of admission. Speakers, programs and topics are subject to change.

Please visit http://www.2019wihc.com for up to date information.

Conference Cancellation Policy

If a registrant is unable to attend 2019 WIHC for any reason they may substitute, by arrangement with the registrar, someone else to attend in their place and must attend any session that has been previously selected by the original registrant.

Where the registrant is unable to attend and is not in a position to transfer his/her place to another person, or to another event, then the following refund arrangements apply:

    • Registrations cancelled less than 60 days, but more than 30 days before the event are eligible for a 50% refund of the registration fees paid.
    • Registrations cancelled less than 30 days before the event are no longer eligible for a refund.

Refunds will be made in the following ways:

  1. For payments received by credit or debit cards, the same credit/debit card will be refunded.
  2. For all other payments, a bank transfer will be made to the payee’s nominated account.

Important: For payments received from outside Australia by bank transfer, the refund will be made by bank transfer and all bank charges will be for the registrant’s account. The Cancellation Policy as stated on this page is valid from 1 October 2018.

Terms & Conditions

please visit www.2019wihc.com

Privacy Policy

please visit www.2019wihc.com

 

NACCHO Deadly Good Members News : Aboriginal Health #InternationalWomensDay #IWD2019 : #MorePowerfulTogether  Our tribute to our 10 Women NACCHO Board of Directors and 71 #ACCHO CEO’s of our majority female workforce

1.National : Donnella Mills – Chair NACCHO and Wuchopperen Health Service   

2.NT: Donna Ah Chee Central Australian Aboriginal Congress

3.NSW: LaVerne Bellear Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service

4.TAS: Raylene Foster Tasmanian Aboriginal Corporation

5.NT: Olga Havnen Danila Dilba Health Service

6.VIC: Karen Heap Ballarat & District Aboriginal Co-operative

7.SA: Vicki Holmes Nunkuwarrin Yunti of South Australia

8.WA: Lesley Nelson South West Aboriginal Medical Service

9.ACT: Julie Tongs Winnunga Nimmityjah Health and Community Service

10. QLD: Gail Wason Mulungu Primary Health Care Service

Aboriginal women are the best advocates and leaders for health and wellbeing in their own families and in the broader community.

They are proving to be effective role models, mentors and influencers for the next generation of Aboriginal female leaders.

Recently NACCHO CEO Pat Turner told a women’s leadership summit

As mothers, aunts, grandmothers, sisters and daughters, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have culturally and historically always played a pivotal role in supporting and caring for families in our communities so working in the health sector was a natural progression.

For over 47 years Indigenous health activists like Dr Naomi Mayers, Coleen Shirley (Mum Shirl) Smith AM MBE, Jill Gallagher AO, Vicki O’Donnell, Pamela Mam, and the late Mary Buckskin have been just some of our leaders who have successfully advocated for community controlled, culturally respectful, needs based approach to improving the health and wellbeing outcomes of our people.

See previous NACCHO #IWD Tribute HERE 

As a result of their leadership and years of commitment as role models they have now paved the way for 10 women to be on the NACCHO board, 71 Indigenous women promoted to CEO’s out of 145 Organisations who employ over 6,000 staff with a majority being Indigenous woman

Our ACCHO network has successfully provided a critical and practical pathway for the education, training and employment for many Indigenous women.But much more needs to be done to develop viable career pathways to graduate more Indigenous women doctors, nurses and allied health professionals.

Last year NACCHO, RANZCOG and other medical college Presidents met with the Minister for Indigenous Health and other ministers in Canberra who are all determined to do everything possible to Close the Gap in health outcomes.

Creating career pathways for Indigenous women in our workforce will be a good starting point to continue supporting the theme ” More powerful together ”

1.National : Donnella Mills – Chair NACCHO and Wuchopperen Health Service QLD 

Donnella is a Torres Strait Islander woman with ancestral and family links to Masig and Nagir in the Torres Strait.

She is a Cairns–based lawyer with LawRight, a Community Legal Centre which coordinates the provision of pro-bono civil legal services to disadvantaged and vulnerable members of the community. Donnella is currently the project lawyer for the Wuchopperen Health Justice Partnership through a partnership with LawRight. This innovative Health Justice Partnership is an exciting model of providing access to justice, where lawyers and health professionals collaborate to provide better health outcomes and access to justice for patients with legal issues.

Donnella said she was “very excited about the opportunity to contribute to working the new Chairperson, the new board and the NACCHO Executive to drive the national health debate, develop community led solution, and to champion why Community-Controlled is the pinnacle model in achieving greater autonomy and self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Utilising a legal lens in which to view health, social justice, human rights, and access to justice, my commitment is to deliver expanded and enhanced innovative health services that are community driven and community led, addressing core systemic social determinant issues that have a direct impact on our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

2.NT: Donna Ah Chee CEO Central Australian Aboriginal Congress

Ms Ah Chee is the Chief Executive Officer of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress Aboriginal Corporation, the Aboriginal community controlled primary health care service in Alice Springs.

Ms Ah Chee is a Bundgalung woman from the far north coast of New South Wales and has lived in Alice Springs for over 25 years.

She has been actively involved in Aboriginal affairs for many years, especially in the area of Aboriginal adult education and Aboriginal health. In June 2011, Ms Ah Chee moved to Canberra to take up the position of Chief Executive Officer of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation before returning to Congress in July 2012.

Ms Ah Chee convened the Workforce Working Party under the Northern Territory Aboriginal Health Forum, was Chairperson of the Central Australian Regional Indigenous Health Planning Committee, a member of the Northern Territory Child Protection External Monitoring Committee and jointly headed up the Northern Territory Government’s Alcohol Framework Project Team.

She currently sits on the National Drug and Alcohol Committee and at a local level, represents the Congress on the People’s Alcohol Action Coalition.

3.NSW: LaVerne Bellear CEO Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service

LaVerne Bellear a descendant from the Nunukle Tribe of south-eastern Queensland, grew up in the northern part of the Bundjalung Nation (north coast New South Wales).

LaVerne strongly believes that empowering Aboriginal people will create opportunity to make better informed decisions and choices regarding personal management of health care, ultimately resulting in better health outcomes. LaVerne has extensive experience in Aboriginal health, having worked in community health, Aboriginal controlled health services and as the Director, Aboriginal Health, Northern Sydney Local Health District.

Recently, LaVerne has taken up the position of CEO, Aboriginal Medical Service Cooperative at Redfern, New South Wales.

She has been a state representative on a number of working parties and committees concerning Aboriginal health. LaVerne has a Bachelor of Business, a Professional Certificate in Indigenous Research in Training and Practices and is studying a Master of Public Health at The University of New South Wales.

4.TAS: Raylene Foster Tasmanian Aboriginal Corporation

Raylene Foster is a palawa women from the Cygnet area. She commenced her career in hospitality, becoming a chef, and then moved into adult teaching within the TAFE institute.

Raylene took on a six-month secondment to Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre in 1995 and stayed; she has now been with the TAC for over 20 years

She’s had varying roles within the TAC, including the Director of the Aboriginal Community School, Workforce Development Officer, Emotional and Social Wellbeing Coordinator and over the past 15 years the Manager of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre in the South, which includes the Aboriginal Health Service.

Raylene has a Graduate Certificate in Administration and an Advanced Diploma in Human Resources, as well as Diploma of Alcohol and Other Drugs and Mental Health and a facilitator in the SMART Recovery program. Raylene is passionate about children’s wellbeing and keeping families connected to break the cycle of institutionalisation, separations and trauma-related illnesses.

Raylene’s Abstract For This Months Rural Health Conference in Hobart 

See Website 

The Aboriginal cultural camp was an initiative that commenced in 2016 for Tasmanian registrars, GPs and members of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community. We wanted to go beyond the basic requirements of attendance at cultural training, to offer an immersion in to Aboriginal culture, on Aboriginal country, with mutual benefit for the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities.

The camp is held annually at trawtha makuminya, Aboriginal-owned land in the Central Highlands of Tasmania, from a Friday afternoon until a Sunday afternoon. Registrars, General Practitioners, Practice Staff and General Practice Training Tasmania staff and family members attend, in addition to the TAC staff Camp Organisers and Caterers, Cultural and Land Educators, Elders and community members.

The weekend involves an official welcome speech, dance and music, yarning around the campfire, guided walks with discussion about Aboriginal history, the land and stone tools, kayaking, basket weaving, hand stencilling, clap stick making, and a session of “You Can’t Ask That”. There is a medical education session and participants hear from an Aboriginal Health Worker and Aboriginal Enrolled Nurse about the services offered by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre.

There is a lot of informal discussion about culture and life stories shared by both the adults and the children.

The feedback given to date, both informally and through the evaluation forms, is overwhelmingly positive. Participants value the beautiful location, the opportunity to spend time with community members outside the clinical setting, the obvious connection to country displayed by the Aboriginal community and the sharing of stories in a cultural exchange.

5.NT: Olga Havnen CEO Danila Dilba Health Service Darwin 

Olga is of Western Arrente descent and grew up in Tennant Creek. Her great-grandfather was Ah Hong, a Chinese cook who worked on the Overland Telegraph Line[2] whose partner was an Aboriginal woman in Alice Springs.

Their daughter Gloria, Havnen’s grandmother, was the first Aboriginal woman to own a house in Alice Springs. Havnen’s father was a Norwegian sailor who jumped ship in Adelaide and her mother, Pegg lived in Tennant Creek. Havnen went to boarding school in TownsvilleQueensland.[3]

Olga Havnen has held positions as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Programs Co-ordinator for the Australian Red Cross, Senior Policy Officer in the Northern Territory Government’s Indigenous Policy Unit, Indigenous Programs Director with the Fred Hollows Foundation, and Executive Officer with the National Indigenous Working Group.

And was the Coordinator General of Remote Service Provision from 2011 until October 2012, when the Northern Territory Government controversially abolished the position.[4]

She released one report which detailed deficiencies in Northern Territory and Commonwealth Government’s service provision to remote communities in the Northern Territory.[5]

She is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Danila Dilba Health Service in Darwin, an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service.[1]

Havnen gave evidence at the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory critical of the outcomes and delivery of the Northern Territory National Emergency Response, commonly referred to as the Intervention stating “the experience of the Intervention was such a debacle you’d never want that repeated, but I do think that there is a role for the federal government in here in the Northern Territory”,

6.VIC: Karen Heap Ballarat & District Aboriginal Co-operative : Chair VACCHO 

Karen Heap, a Yorta Yorta woman, has been the CEO of Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative for 12 years and brings with her a vast amount of knowledge and skillsets procured from extensive experience within the Aboriginal Service Sector.

Karen Heap was recently the winner of the Walda Blow Award ( pictured above )

This award was established by DHHS in partnership with the Victorian Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People, in memory of Aunty Walda Blow – a proud Yorta

Yorta and Wemba Wemba Elder who lived her life in the pursuit of equality.

Aunty Walda was an early founder of the Dandenong and District Aboriginal Cooperative and worked for over 40 years improving the lives of the Aboriginal community. This award recognises contributions of an Aboriginal person in Victoria to the safety and wellbeing of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children and young people.

Karen ensures the safety and wellbeing of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children and young people are always front and centre.

Karen has personally committed her support to the Ballarat Community through establishing and continuously advocating for innovative prevention, intervention and reunification programs.

As the inaugural Chairperson of the Alliance, Karen contributions to establishing the identity and achieving multiple outcomes in the Alliance Strategic Plan is celebrated by her peers and recognised by the community service sector and DHHS.

Karen’s leadership in community but particularly for BADAC, has seen new ways of delivering cultural models of care to Aboriginal children, carers and their families, ensuring a holistic service is provided to best meet the needs of each individual and in turn benefit the community.

7.SA: Vicki Holmes Nunkuwarrin Yunti of South Australia

Vicki Holmes is an Aboriginal woman descended from the Tanganekald and Western Aranda clan. Vicki has been with Nunkuwarrin Yunti for 32 years where she has had many roles; her first position was the medical receptionist but she also did whatever was needed including home visits, transport and hospital visits.

In 1986, Vicki became the Health Coordinator and while in this role programs such as women’s health, HIV, diabetes, mental health and social/welfare support expanded and developed. In 2010, Vicki became the CEO of Nunkuwarrin Yunti of South Australia. As CEO of Nunkuwarrin Yunti, she holds positions on the Boards of NACCHO, the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia, Research Excellence in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health (REACCH), and First Peoples National Congress.

Her vision for Nunkuwarrin Yunti is around what she calls the four Cs: Community, Communication, Caring, Consistency. Vicki has always been passionate about the social and emotional wellbeing of the Aboriginal community.

8.WA: Lesley Nelson CEO South West Aboriginal Medical Service

SWAMS are united by the drive and passion to provide culturally safe, accessible and holistic health care to the Aboriginal people of the South West. WA

As an organisation, they continue to attract and employ culturally appropriate and professional staff members. SWAMS employs over 70 staff members including specialist Aboriginal Health Practitioners, Dietitians, Nurses, Midwives, Mental Health workers and Social Workers and because of this, we are able to provide a large and diverse range of services to the community.

In addition to this, they strive to create Aboriginal career pathways and opportunities across the sector and maintain a positive percentage of ATSI employees

Last year as preparations got underway for the South West Aboriginal Medical Service’s 20th anniversary, centre chief executive officer Lesley Nelson has reflected on how far indigenous health has advanced in the South West in that time.

Ms Nelson said the centre started small with a handful of staff and a desire to improve Aboriginal health outcomes in the region.

Over the next 20 years, it expanded with clinics in Bunbury, Busselton, Manjimup, Collie and Brunswick.

“We started after local elders held discussions with a number of key groups about developing a culturally appropriate service to address the health-related issues of the South West’s Indigenous population,” she said.

“Since then we’ve gone from strength-to-strength, offering a number of employment opportunities in the sector, training programs and improved health outcomes.”

Ms Nelson said the local service played an important role in the community.

“Being based in a number of country towns ensured locals can access our services conveniently, especially if they lack transport options to the bigger cities,” she said.

“We offer an important service because we intervene and manage issues early on and slowly we are improving the health of the South West Noongar people.

“We are also standing out nationally when it comes to maternal and child health.”

Moving forward, SWAMS are keen to continue growing, participating in more research studies and working collaboratively with other similar services to offer a whole of community approach to improved health.

9.ACT: Julie Tongs Winnunga Nimmityjah Health and Community Service

Julie Tongs OAM has been the Chief Executive Officer of Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services since 1998.  Julie has more than 30 years experience working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs and in particular has extensive experience in advising, formulating, implementing and evaluating public health initiatives, programs and policy at a local, regional and national level.

Julie has been a national leader and strong advocate of quality improvement initiatives within the Aboriginal Community Controlled sector.

Julie is the recipient of a number of awards, including the ACT Governor General’s Centenary Medal and the ACT Indigenous Person of the Year. In 2011 Julie received the ACT Local Hero Award within the Australian of the Year Awards 2012, and in 2012 Julie was honoured with the Medal of the Order of Australia.

Julie’s vision is that Winnunga continues to build on its reputation as a national leader in the provision of holistic primary health care services delivered in a culturally appropriate environment that achieves improved health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Julie is committed to ensuring that Winnunga offers services that are delivered consistent with best practice standards.

10 .QLD: Gail Wason Mulungu Primary Health Care Service

We see the best way to build capacity and capability within our corporation is by encouraging strong leaders, maintaining effective governance, ensuring strong systems, and keeping focused on accountable performance management.

Mulungu help our clients to make informed decisions. We work in health but we also work across education and job opportunities. Our model supports individuals who want to do the best for themselves, their family and their community.’

CEO Gail Wason.

Gail is the Chief Executive Officer of Mulungu Primary Health Care Service in Mareeba. She has over 25 years’ experience in Aboriginal affairs and health, and an unwavering commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of her community.

Gail strives to ensure that the community has access to the full range of high quality, culturally appropriate primary health care services that empowers clients to fully participate in the management of their own health.

She has served as QAIHC’s Far North Queensland Director and Chairperson of QAIHC’s Finance Committee and has worked closely with the Board for many years.

Mulungu Aboriginal Corporation Medical Centre is an Aboriginal community-controlled health organisation working to improve the lives of Indigenous people in and around Mareeba.

The centre was established in 1991 and incorporated under the CATSI Act in 1993.

The rural town of Mareeba—a word from local Aboriginal language meaning ‘meeting of the waters’—is located on the Atherton Tablelands where the Barron River meets Granite Creek. Traditionally Muluridji people inhabited this land.

‘Although the bright lights of Cairns are only 65 kilometres away we feel like a stand-alone, small country town,’ says chair of the Mulungu board of directors (and valued volunteer) Alan Wason. ‘We have a population of 10,000 and our own identity separate from Cairns.’

The town of Mareeba may be a little tucked away but it has much to offer, including Mulungu Aboriginal Corporation Medical Centre—a bright, open, modern building—which employs a large professional staff who work as a team and support each other. Everyone is passionate about providing top quality holistic health care to the community through Mulungu’s programs and services.

Mulungu’s mission is to provide comprehensive primary health care to the community in culturally, socially and emotionally appropriate ways. It’s about handing back power to the people to manage their own health, wellbeing and spiritual needs. So as well as providing clinical health care services Mulungu ‘auspices’ other important primary health care programs, including the Mareeba Children and Families Centre (CFC), Mareeba Parent and Community Engagement (PaCE) Program, and the Mareeba Young and Awesome Project (MY&A).

The MY&A Project tackles the problem of binge drinking in the community. Its aim is to motivate young people (aged 12 to 25) to get involved in constructive activities that they might enjoy—and to get them away from drinking alcohol. This two-year project is funded by the Australian Government.

‘We help our clients to make informed decisions,’ says Gail Wason. ‘We work in health but we also work across education and job opportunities. Our model supports individuals who want to do the best for themselves, their family and their community.’

It’s all about changing and improving lives.

To learn more about Mulungu Aboriginal Corporation Medical Service visit http://mulungu.org.au.

 

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Children’s Health : #SaltAwarenessWeek #UnpackTheSalt #EatLessSalt @georgeinstitute Report : Which fast #junkfood giants packs the most amount of salt in your kids’ meal?

New research has revealed the hidden toll that fast food kids’ meals can have on young children’s health. Some meals aimed at kids contain more than an entire day’s maximum recommended salt intake.

Most disturbing, the salt content of fast foods like chicken nuggets in Australia can be more than twice as salty as similar meals in the UK.

A new report from The George Institute for Global Health, VicHealth and the Heart Foundation analysed the salt content in kids’ meals from four major fast food outlets (Hungry Jack’s, KFC, McDonald’s and Subway) as part of a global push to reduce the salt content in children’s food during World Salt Awareness Week.

Originally Published HERE 

The report found high levels and a huge variation in the salt content of children’s meals across the four chains. A kids’ chicken nuggets meal from Hungry Jack’s contained more than an entire day’s worth of salt for a 4-8 year old child, a McDonald’s Cheeseburger Happy Meal with fries contained almost two thirds of a day’s worth of salt, and a KFC Kids Meal Snack Popcorn contained almost half a days’ worth of salt.

Subway Kids’ Paks were the least salty meal options, providing mini subs and purees rather than burgers with chips. All of their meals were found to be in the top five lowest salt kids’ meal options and contained one gram of salt or less per meal.

Meals with fries were among the saltiest options. McDonalds was the only chain that provided apple slices, yoghurt and cherry tomatoes as an option, instead of fries.

Heart Foundation dietitian Sian Armstrong said while none of the popular meals are healthy options, it was concerning to see some kids’ meals containing more than an entire day’s worth of salt.

“An alarming 80 per cent of Aussie kids are eating too much salt with most of it coming from processed food and fast food takeaways,” Ms Armstrong said.

“Consuming excess salt can lead to high blood pressure, a major risk for heart attack, stroke and kidney disease. Studies suggest that children with elevated blood pressure may go onto suffer it as adults.

“Most parents know that fast food isn’t a healthy option for their kids, however they may not realise that a single kids’ meal could blow out an entire day’s salt intake.

“This research shows fast food doesn’t have to be this salty. There is no reason why chicken nuggets at KFC and Hungry Jack’s should be almost twice as salty as the chicken nuggets from McDonald’s. The same goes for fries. Fast food outlets can and must reduce the salt content of their meals.”

Read over 100 NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Nutrition articles HERE 

Key findings:

  • The average salt content of children’s meals across the four outlets was 1.57g of salt or 45% of a child’s recommended daily salt intake.
  • The highest salt children’s meal was the Hungry Jack’s 6 Chicken Nugget Kids’ pack (includes a dipping sauce and small chips), which contained 3.78g salt or 108% of a 4-8-year-old child’s recommended daily salt intake.
  • The lowest salt children’s meal was the Subway Kids’ Pak Veggie Delite Mini Sub, (includes a mini-sub and SPC puree snack), which contained 0.44g salt or 13% of a 4-8-year-old child’s daily recommended salt intake.
  • McDonald’s is the only fast-food outlet offering fresh fruit (apple slices) and vegetables (grape tomatoes) with the Kids Meal packs.
  • Within the retailers, there was a range in salt levels for children’s meals. For example, a McDonald’s Happy Meal containing 3 chicken nuggets, apple slices and water contains 16% of a 4-8-year-old child’s salt intake, whereas the saltier option of a cheeseburger, fries and water contains 66% of a 4-8-year-old child’s salt intake.
  • There are huge variations in the same product at the different outlets; a 6 pack of chicken nuggets from KFC and Hungry Jack’s contained twice as much salt as 6 pack of chicken nuggets from McDonald’s
  • The UK set salt targets for takeaway kids’ meals of less than 1.8 grams of salt per meal. Thirty per cent of the meals analysed in this report exceeded this target. All Subway products met this target.

The George Institute’s Public Health Nutritionist and the report’s lead author Clare Farrand said it was clear there needed to be more regulation on fast food outlets to make their products healthier.

“It is unacceptable that some children’s meals in Australia are significantly saltier than similar meals purchased in the UK,” Ms Farrand said.

“Hungry Jack’s 6 pack nugget meal was 1.5 times saltier in Australia than in the UK and McDonald’s 6 pack nugget meal was a whopping 1.7 times saltier.”

“The fact that some companies produce the same foods with a lot less salt in the UK demonstrates that they can, and should for all countries.”

“We know that some companies are doing better than others – all of the Subway kids’ meals meet the UK targets – but clearly more needs to be done to reduce the salt content across the board.”

VicHealth dietitian Jenny Reimers said when it comes to kids’ meals it was time for fast food outlets to make the default choice the healthier option.

“Kids aren’t born craving salty food – we develop this taste preference based on exposure so it’s really important parents limit the amount of salty food their kids eat,” Ms Reimers said.

“Fast food really should be occasional treats, yet the average family has takeaway almost once a week. If you’re going to have takeaway foods, try less salty options with fresh fruit and vegetables included.

“While it’s encouraging that some fast food outlets are including fresh fruit and vegies as options in their kids’ meals this should be the default and it should be offered at all restaurants.”

Tips for consumers:

  • Limit fast food – these discretionary foods should only be eaten in small amounts as a treat every now and again
  • If you are eating fast food, try to choose options with fruit and vegetables as these are likely to be lower in salt
  • Parents looking to lower their family’s salt intake can sign up to the Unpack Your Lunch 10-Day Salt Challengewhere they will receive tips to reduce salt, blogs and low salt recipes.

About the Victorian Salt Reduction Partnership

The Victorian Salt Reduction Partnership was established in 2014 in response to alarming high levels of salt consumption by the Victorian public.

The partnership comprises of peak public health organisations: VicHealth, Heart Foundation, The George Institute for Global Health, Deakin University Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), National Stroke Foundation, Kidney Health Australia, The Victorian Department for Health and Human Services, Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Food Innovation Australia Ltd, CSIRO and the High Blood Pressure Research Council.

Australia is committed to meeting the World Health Organization’s target of 30 percent reduction in average population salt intake by 2025. To achieve this, the partnership has developed a comprehensive set of actions aimed at gaining consensus and commitment for salt reduction action from governments, public and industry in Victoria.

NACCHO Aboriginal Women’s Health #IWD2019 : $35 million investment in #FourthActionPlan will respond to the needs, backgrounds and experiences of #Indigenous women and children affected by domestic, family and sexual violence.

Unfortunately however too many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women face far higher levels of violence than the general community and that is why we need to put in place genuine Indigenous designed and Indigenous led solutions.
 
“The $35 million in Indigenous specific measures announced today will help tackle the drivers of family and domestic violence and address the specific needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people affected by violence.”

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said the investments announced as part of the Fourth Action Plan will respond to the needs, backgrounds and experiences of Indigenous women and children affected by domestic, family and sexual violence.: see Part 1 Below

Our Government’s first priority is to keep Australians safe. To hear the accounts of survivors, and see the statistics, it’s just not good enough .That’s why we are investing $328 million for the Fourth Action Plan to fund prevention, response and recovery initiatives.

This is the largest ever Commonwealth contribution to the National Plan. To stop violence against women, we need to counter the culture of disrespect towards women. A culture of disrespect towards women is a precursor to violence, and anyone who doesn’t see that is kidding themselves.   That’s why we are investing so heavily in prevention with $68.3 million to stop violence before it begins.

This is about changing attitudes to violence, and helping those who think violence is an option, to stop.

We will also develop Australia’s first national prevention strategy to stop domestic and family violence and sexual assault, and continue our work to change the attitudes and beliefs that can lead to violence.”

The Prime Minister said his Government would deliver the largest ever Commonwealth investment of $328 million for prevention and frontline services through the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022. See in Full Part 2

 

‘ This measure also supports an update of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’ Abuse and violence: Working with our patients in general practice  
 
After family and friends, it is GPs and other primary care providers who survivors of family and domestic violence turn to for support.

The quality of the response from the GP has been found to have a deep and profound impact on victims, influencing whether they seek help and support in the future.’

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the Government is committing $9.6 million to boost family violence care. Of that funding, Minister Hunt said $2.1 million over three years will be invested to train 5000 primary care workers across Australia, including GPs, ‘to better respond and support family violence victims’ See Part 3 Below 

Part 1 : Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children will receive support through the Federal Government’s $35 million investment as part of the Fourth Action Plan (4AP) of the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2010-2022.

The $35 million package includes:

  • Ongoing additional investment to continue and expand Indigenous specific projects funded under the Third Action Plan to keep women and their children safe from violence including funding to increase Family Violence Prevention Legal Services’ capacity to deliver holistic crisis support to Indigenous women and children
  • New funding to support Indigenous women and children through intensive family case management in remote areas and areas of high need so they are able to access services that work with the whole family to address the impacts of violence
  • Practical intervention programs to work with Indigenous young people and adults at risk of experiencing or using violence to address past trauma and equip them with the practical tools and skills to develop positive and violence-free relationships
  • $1.7 million to support the second stage of the Wiyi YaniU Thangani (Women’s Voices) national conversation with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, June Oscar AO.

“These measures, funded out of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy, have been developed in partnership with Indigenous leaders, service providers and experts who have told us that investment is needed to provide wrap around support to women and their families impacted by domestic violence and to address the trauma and violence that is often a cause of future violence.

“These measures will also be rolled out in consultation with Indigenous Australians with the establishment of an expert consultative committee involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders, experts and service providers such as representatives of the Family Violence Prevention Legal Services to ensure these measures are delivered in a culturally appropriate way, in the areas of highest need and with Indigenous organisations and service providers that can best meet the needs of women and their families. Appropriate monitoring and evaluation strategies will also be built into this work.

“On top of this investment, the Coalition Government will provide $2.5 million for the Office of the eSafety Commissioner to work with and assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in communities across Australia to identify, report and protect themselves and their children from technology-facilitated abuse.

“Funding will also be provided to 1800RESPECT to improve accessibility for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to ensure they have access to high quality and culturally appropriate counselling and support.

“Together these initiatives provide a comprehensive suite of measures to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, victims and survivors of family and domestic violence and builds on existing initiatives such as the Coalition’s record $121 million investment to 2020 for 14 Family Violence Prevention Legal Services,” Minister Scullion said.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au.

Part 2 RECORD FUNDING TO REDUCE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Combating violence against women and children remains one of the Federal Government’s top priorities, as part of its plan to keep Australians safe.

The Prime Minister said his Government would deliver the largest ever Commonwealth investment of $328 million for prevention and frontline services through the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022.

“Our Government’s first priority is to keep Australians safe. To hear the accounts of survivors, and see the statistics, it’s just not good enough,” the Prime Minister said.

“That’s why we are investing $328 million for the Fourth Action Plan to fund prevention, response and recovery initiatives.

“This is the largest ever Commonwealth contribution to the National Plan.

“To stop violence against women, we need to counter the culture of disrespect towards women.

“A culture of disrespect towards women is a precursor to violence, and anyone who doesn’t see that is kidding themselves.

“That’s why we are investing so heavily in prevention with $68.3 million to stop violence before it begins.

“This is about changing attitudes to violence, and helping those who think violence is an option, to stop. “We will also develop Australia’s first national prevention strategy to stop domestic and family violence and sexual assault, and continue our work to change the attitudes and beliefs that can lead to violence.”

The National Plan connects the important work being done by all Australian governments, community organisations and individuals so that Australian women and children can live in safe communities.

The National Plan and the Government’s investments are the product of extensive consultations with frontline workers and survivors ahead of the release of the Fourth Action Plan 2019-22 in mid-2019.

Minister for Families and Social Services Paul Fletcher said the Commonwealth would invest $35 million in support and prevention measures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and $78 million to provide safe places for people impacted by domestic and family violence.

“We will act against the different forms abuse can take, including preventing financial abuse and technology-facilitated abuse, and we have included specific measures targeted to address the risks faced by women with intellectual disability and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women,” Minister Fletcher said.

The Commonwealth commitment will also fund targeted prevention initiatives to reach culturally and linguistically diverse communities and people with disability.

“Domestic violence is a risk that all women face – but we recognise that specific groups may have particular vulnerability, which is why there are specific targeted measures included in this package.”

“Today’s announcement brings Commonwealth investment in this space since 2013 to over $840 million,” said Mr Fletcher.

The Commonwealth’s commitment also provides $82 million for frontline services, including investments to improve and build on the systems responsible for keeping women and children safe, such as free training for health workers to identify and better support domestic violence victims, and the development of national standards for sexual assault responses.

The Coalition will investment $62 million in 1800RESPECT to support the service, which has rapidly grown in scope as more Australians find the courage to seek help and advice.

Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer said all women and children have the right to feel safe, and to feel supported to seek help when they need it.

“The statistics on this issue are shocking – one in six women have experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or former partner since the age of 15. This figure increases to nearly one in four women when violence by boyfriends, girlfriends and dates is included,” Minister O’Dwyer said.

“The safety of women and children is vitally important. Our Government has zero tolerance for violence against women and children.

“Whether it’s at home, in the workplace, in our communities or online, all women and children deserve to be safe.”

Summary of new measures:

  • $82 million for frontline services
  • $68 million for prevention strategies
  • $35 million in support and prevention measures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities funded under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy.
  • $78 million to provide safe places for people impacted by domestic and family violence.
  • 1800RESPECT will receive $64 million to support the service.

The Coalition has taken strong action already to protect women and children, including:

  • introducing a minimum standard for domestic violence leave for the very first time;
  • banning the direct cross-examination of women by their alleged perpetrator during family law proceedings;
  • extending early release of superannuation on compassionate grounds to victims of family and domestic violence;
  • expanding Good Shepherd Microfinance’s No Interest Loan Scheme to 45,000 women experiencing family and domestic violence;
  • providing over 7,046 visas for women and children needing safe refuge through the Women at Risk program;
  • extending funding for Specialist Domestic Violence Units and Health Justice Partnerships including funding for additional financial support services;
  • funding support for an additional 31,200 families to resolve family law disputes quickly through mediation;
  • continuing advertising of the award winning Stop it at the Start campaign;
  • further funding 1800RESPECT, the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service;
  • investing an additional $6.7 million in DV alert;
  • prioritising women and children who are escaping family violence in the $7.8 billion housing and homelessness agreement; and
  • establishing the eSafety Commissioner in 2017, expanding the scope of the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner.

About the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children (2010-2022) (the National Plan)

The National Plan aims to connect the important work being done by all Australian governments, community organisations and individuals to reduce violence so that we can work together to ensure each year, less women experience violence and more women and their children live safely.

The Commonwealth Government is leading the development of the Fourth Action Plan 2019-2022 of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022 (the National Plan) in partnership with state and territory governments.

The Fourth Action Plan is the final action plan of the National Plan and is due for implementation from mid-2019.

For further information on the National Plan, visit

Part 3 Major funding boost for family violence training

FROM RACGP Post

Family violence has been in the spotlight, with two large funding pledges from the Federal Government.

In one announcement, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the Government is committing $9.6 million to boost family violence care.

Of that funding, Minister Hunt said $2.1 million over three years will be invested to train 5000 primary care workers across Australia, including GPs, ‘to better respond and support family violence victims’.

That training will be delivered by accredited providers and will reflect evidence-based trauma-informed models of care and culturally appropriate care.

‘This measure also supports an update of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’ Abuse and violence: Working with our patients in general practice,’ Minister Hunt said.

‘After family and friends, it is GPs and other primary care providers who survivors of family and domestic violence turn to for support.

‘The quality of the response from the GP has been found to have a deep and profound impact on victims, influencing whether they seek help and support in the future.’

A further $7.5m will be provided over three years towards expanding the Recognise, Respond and Refer Program, an initiative of the Brisbane South Primary Health Network (PHN) to a further four PHN regions.

The trial states that it will:

  • deliver whole-of-practice training to GP staff to recognise the signs of family violence
  • develop locally relevant care and referral pathways for people who are, or are at risk of, experiencing family violence
  • provide post-training support to practices to assist them to put in place training to identify and support victims of family violence
  • develop models to integrate primary healthcare into the domestic and family violence sector in the local region, including clear roles for GPs.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #refreshtheCTGrefresh : New @HealthInfoNet publication supports the need for #ClosingtheGap Refresh initiatives for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

“ The Overview is our flagship knowledge exchange resource as we summarise information from many publications into one document, ensuring those working in the sector receive a comprehensive update that is both accessible and timely’.

HealthInfoNet Director, Professor Neil Drew

” On the floor of Parliament , the Prime Minister spoke of a change happening in our country: that there is a shared understanding that we have a shared future- Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, together. But our present is not shared. Our present, and indeed our past is marred in difference, in disparity. This striking disparity in quality of life outcomes is what began the historic journey of the Closing the Gap initiatives a decade ago.

But after ten years of good intentions the outcomes have been disappointing. The gaps have not been closing and so-called targets have not been met. The quality of life among our communities is simply not equal to that of our non-indigenous Australian counterparts.

Yes change must come from within our communities, but change must also come from the whole of Australia. We must change together.

The time has come for our voices to be heard and for us to lead the way on Closing the Gap. We are ready for action. ”

Pat Turner AM is the CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation. Read HERE 

 

The most recent indicators of the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are documented in the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet’s authoritative publication, the Overview of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health status

Download

Overview+of+Aboriginal+and+Torres+Strait+Islander+health+status,+2018 (1)

The annual Overview contains updated information across many health conditions.

It shows that despite some improvements, there are still significant health disparities between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians, which supports the need for the broader refresh of the Closing the Gap targets.

The Overview also includes a strengths based approach and highlights areas where improvements have been achieved or positive outcomes realised. It provides a comprehensive summary of the most recent indicators of the health and current health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

As part of the HealthInfoNet’s commitment to knowledge exchange, there are other tools and resources to access this information including:

A plain language Summary version of the Overview

Summary+of+Aboriginal+and+Torres+Strait+Islander+health+status+2018

PowerPoints that can be used as a teaching resource

https://healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/key-resources/publications/36501/

The Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet is based at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia. The HealthInfoNet is a massive web resource that informs practice and policy in Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander health by making up to date research and other knowledge readily accessible via any platform.

For over 21 years, working in the area of knowledge exchange with a population health focus, the HealthInfoNet makes research and other information freely available in a form that has immediate, practical utility for practitioners and policy-makers in the area of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, enabling them to make decisions based on the best available evidence.

www.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #FirstPeoples2019 News : Government is making life worse for #Indigenous people, argues Professor @marcialangton but progress is possible. #UluruStatementFromtheHeart

“Give the money to the Indigenous sector. Give the power to the Indigenous sector,

Indigenous people have to set their own priorities. You can’t have administration of very complex matters from the Canberra bubble. It’s not working and lives are being lost.

We must push for policies that give formal powers to the Indigenous sector and remove incompetent, bureaucratic bungling.

Indigenous people have to set their own priorities.

Argued Professor Marcia Langton in a speech criticising many aspects of the governance of Indigenous affairs. Government is making life worse for Indigenous people, said Marcia but progress is possible.

Originally published in The Mandarin 

Indigenous communities want greater freedom to decide their own priorities and choose how to spend government money.

That was one of the clear messages of last week’s ‘Reimagining public administration: First Peoples, governance and new paradigms’ conference in Melbourne, hosted by the Australia and New Zealand School of Government.

Download the Conference Program HERE 

Conference booklet v10

WATCH SPEECH HERE

Langton and many others spoke of the government’s failure to listen to Indigenous communities about their needs, and the damage that caused.

“Most people who are informed about the status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people agree that many of the present policy settings are contributing to a tragic and avoidable decline in their wellbeing.

“Please do not feel personally offended by what I have to say to you today,” she told the audience, many of whom work in the Indigenous affairs bureaucracy.

“But it must be said that we must all take responsibility and be courageous enough to take action, to put an end to the policies and programs that disempower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, not just causing a decline in their living standards, but accelerating them into permanent poverty.

“Especially the vulnerable. The children and youth are victims of a failed view of the Indigenous world and Indigenous people. This is a dystopian nightmare. We must imagine a future in which Indigenous people thrive and we must do whatever it takes to reach that future. This is urgent.”

Langton and others lamented that despite the huge amount of work that went into it and broad Indigenous stakeholder support, the Uluru Statement From the Heart has been largely dismissed or ignored by the government.

Read final report HERE 

“The Uluru Statement From the Heart encapsulates all of these policy aspirations of the Indigenous world, and I fail to see how it is not being fully supported across the political and administrative spectrum,” she said.

“We need to be empowered to lift ourselves out of the state-imposed tangle of policies, programs and bureaucracy that excludes us and removes our agency. Only we can overcome, but you can help.”

Economic inclusion

While many Indigenous Australians in cities and regional areas were doing well, remote communities were the “forgotten people”, in many cases making little progress in recent years, Langton argues.

Economic inclusion is one of the key ways of improving Indigenous lives, and there are some glimmers of hope in policy.

“Throughout the world there’s a broad consensus that the only sustainable exit from poverty is economic progress with development that is inclusive of the most disadvantaged,” Langton argues.

“Fortunately, government and private sector procurement policies have developed, and these are including Indigenous businesses and building them into supply chains. This is the most important development in policy in years.

“The only sustainable exit from poverty is economic progress with development that is inclusive of the most disadvantaged.”

“But employment and training strategies are equally important. There will be little progress in achieving Indigenous parity if we do not address weaknesses in the approaches adopted on employment and training by successive governments.”

Government should enable Indigenous people to build better lives, rather than telling them how to, she says.

“Indigenous people must therefore carry the responsibility for driving this. It is they who must build human capital, assets and wealth, and do what’s needed to transition out of poverty, built on a strong educational foundation.

“This means being prepared to take risks, and learning the lessons of the past, including an over-dependence on government to solve problems, and less than fully productive investments of Indigenous time and money.

“But it also means new attitudes and ways of operating by governments, the business sector and the community more generally. The transformation will take time — to collect the data, to inform and involve those affected, and to embed new thinking and practice, including learning from those both here and overseas.”

She was especially critical of the Community Development Program, a work for the dole initiative in remote Indigenous communities, which is designed with a disconnect between pay and hours worked.

“We must have push-policies based on effective measures for economic inclusion. This means dismantling CDP, the punitive development project, so-called, and paying real wages for real work.”

Frustration with co-design

Co-design came up throughout the conference, frequently as a subject of frustration.

One of the key gripes is that government often doesn’t meet communities on a level playing field, using the cover of ‘co-design’ to try to get the rubber stamp for decisions already taken — a common complaint.

Lil Anderson, acting chief executive at New Zealand’s Te Arawhiti (Office for Maori-Crown Relations), noted many in government view ‘partnership’ with community as extending little beyond contracts for services.

But for many at the conference, even true co-design was still an unacceptable level of government intrusion in community affairs.

“Co-design by very definition means that there’s two people at the table.”

Karen Diver, previously special assistant for Native American affairs to President Obama and chair of a tribal government in Minnesota, argued co-design means communities are not fully in control of their own affairs.

“Co-design by very definition means that there’s two people at the table. And if I have to look at majority government, really none of their ideas have worked for 300 years. That was a part of our oppression,” she argues.

National and state governments often have a poor understanding of the needs and desires of Indigenous communities, so retaining control only makes things worse.

Diver used the example of creating a policy to reduce school delinquency.

“Give us the resources we need so we can singularly design what we need to do within our community. It might not be a school resource officer, it might not be law enforcement — it might be a bunch of grandmas, it might be peer support, it might be extra tutoring … but that also means we have the flexibility to meet each child where they’re at.

“The thing is that in small communities … we know who the dads are, the mums, the grandmas, we know what that family looks like and what sort of supports are there. It might not even be anything the child is doing, they might just be tired, because something’s going on at home. But this [community-run] department over here knows that too, because we also run our social services.”

Progress is possible

The experience of Aotearoa New Zealand shows improvement is possible, Langton believes.

In recent years, many Maori groups have been given reparations by the national government. Maori and the NZ government are only a few years away from completing all settlements for historical breaches of the 1841 Treaty of Waitangi. The settlements are a tiny fraction of what was lost, and many problems persist, but there is a feeling NZ is far ahead of Australia.

“Look across the ditch at the Maori progress, the Treaty of Waitangi, the Treaty of Waitangi Tribunal, the justice reinvestment, the economic development,” she says.

“It’s all possible, and I don’t see why we can’t have that here.”

Langton noted Victoria and the Northern Territory are pursuing treaties.

“But the Commonwealth government cannot even contemplate treaties.”

READ MORE: Marcia Langton: the world is run by those who show up

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Press Release : @NACCHOChair appalled and perplexed about Non -Aboriginal privately-owned company being granted $1.7 million funding

“ The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation ( NACCHO ) is appalled that funding of almost $1.7 mill to Redimed was approved by the federal Aboriginal Health Minister Ken Wyatt 2 weeks ago

I am totally perplexed how a non-Aboriginal, privately-owned company, that has no experience whatsoever of working in the delivery of comprehensive primary health to Aboriginal people, can be given a federal government grant of almost $1.7 million.”

Ms Donnella Mills, Acting Chair of NACCHO

Download full NACCHO Press Release or read Part 1 Below 

NACCHO Press Release Questions about Aboriginal funding to Non Aboriginal Company

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

Vicki O’Donnell, chair of the Aboriginal Health Council of WA, the peak body for the state’s 23 Aboriginal community-controlled health services said Aboriginal-controlled services were more accessible, performed better in key areas, and were the most cost-effective vehicles for delivering primary health care to Indigenous communities. See Full SMH Coverage Part 2

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

Unless government begins to enable our Aboriginal Organisations to provide community-driven strength-based approaches to our people, it will not close the gap.”

Moorditj Koort Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre, Indigenous-owned and run in Perth since being founded in 2010, CEO Jonathan Ford told the National Indigenous Times that it was unethical for non-Indigenous organisations to receive funds for Indigenous health services.

“NACCHO strongly believes that any such funding should only be given when there is an open and transparent process. In this case it was not.

We already have two well established Aboriginal Community Health Services operating in Perth, Derbal Yerrigan and Moorditj Court,  and they would have welcomed the opportunity to apply for that funding.” she said.

“It is especially concerning that Redimed and its newly created entity, Aboriginal Medical Care 360 was not required to go through the proper normal application process that all our 145 Members Aboriginal Health Services must always do. Where is the clinical accreditation all our organisations must have prior to receiving government funding?” Ms Mills said.

“We trust the Federal Budget will include the much-needed funding of our sector that has repeatedly sought and as it is outlined in our pre-budget submission lodged through Treasury in late January this year.” Ms Mills concluded.

See our NACCHO Pre Budget Submission HERE

Read AHCWA NACCHO Article HERE

Part 2 : Despite DIY rhetoric, federal Aboriginal health grant goes to non-Indigenous WA service

The federal Liberal government has shocked the Indigenous community by awarding almost $1.7 million from a funding program aimed at Aboriginal health services to a non-Indigenous organisation that employs a former WA Liberal minister.

From the SMH

Privately owned Redimed has former WA Liberal health minister Kim Hames on its staff as a GP.

Self-described in advertising materials as a “provider of specialised medical and injury management services”, it has not previously listed Indigenous health as a specialty.

But it says its pilot program will create Indigenous jobs and address unmet healthcare demand in one of Perth’s priority areas for Closing the Gap.

Senate estimates 22 February revealed there had been no tender process, closed or otherwise; the company had made an unsolicited bid for the two-year grant, approved by Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt.

A fortnight ago, when the 11th annual Closing the Gap report revealed that only two of seven targets were on track – neither concerning life expectancy – Prime Minister Scott Morrison had said the system was “set up to fail” through a lack of true partnership with Indigenous people, and promised an equal role for Indigenous leaders in redesigning the Closing the Gap process.

But the Indigenous community has “major concerns” about this federal funding decision, said a public statement from Vicki O’Donnell, chair of the Aboriginal Health Council of WA, the peak body for the state’s 23 Aboriginal community-controlled health services.

Ms O’Donnell queried how Redimed would add value to the two Aboriginal-controlled services already operating in Midland that had built connections with local Aboriginal people.

“How was the need for this additional service determined when there are already existing services in the area including Mooditj Koort, Derbarl Yerrigan and other not-for profit services?” she said.

She questioned how Redimed’s capacity to deliver the contract was determined, in terms of clinical accreditation and experience in delivering primary health care to Aboriginal people.

She also asked why, if additional funding was available, the government would not increase the support for the two Aboriginal-controlled services in Midland to expand.

Ms O’Donnell said Aboriginal-controlled services were more accessible, performed better in key areas, and were the most cost-effective vehicles for delivering primary health care to Indigenous communities.

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

The $800 million federal funding stream is “primarily aimed at and spent on Aboriginal-controlled organisations”, according to the Health Department.

About 85 per cent of its funding for front-line medical care goes to Aboriginal-controlled organisations, and another 10 per cent goes to state government services.

Only 5 per cent goes elsewhere, including now to Redimed for the pilot program of health assessments and follow-up home visits for Indigenous people in Rockingham, Joondalup and the eastern suburbs.

Moorditj Koort Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre, Indigenous-owned and run in Perth since being founded in 2010, told the National Indigenous Times that it was unethical for non-Indigenous organisations to receive funds for Indigenous health services.

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

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

After questions from WA Senator Rachel Siewert in a Senate estimates hearing, the Health Department’s Caroline Edwards said while the “key focus” of the funding program was supporting Aboriginal-controlled organisations, the department was also “looking at alternative methods of primary care and alternative delivery methods to cater for different types of circumstances.”

“This particular grant is one of those instances of having a go at a different form of delivery to see how it works in a particular area,” she said.

Redimed won the grant on condition it consult and collaborate with Indigenous organisations. It says Koya Aboriginal Corporation in Midland will lead delivery of the project and will face independent evaluation at the end of the two years.

“We did state that the pilot was not to duplicate any already funded service and was to serve only clients who weren’t already visiting other funded services,” the Health Department’s Mark Roddam said at the estimates hearing.

Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt emphasised the Redimed plan would be delivered in partnership with Koya Aboriginal Corporation in a “holistic and culturally focused” way.

He said it was normal for this funding program to receive unsolicited bids.

“It aims to fill a gap in services in two areas of Perth where there has been significant growth in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations,” he said.

“Under the Indigenous Australians’ Health Program, unsolicited funding applications can be assessed against IAHP Guidelines. The key consideration is their capacity to help in Closing the Gap in health equality.”

A Redimed spokesman said Dr Hames was part of the initial funding application advisory team but was not involved with the team of 14 that developed the pilot program and submitted the final funding application.

Asked about Redimed’s Indigenous healthcare qualifications, he said the pilot would be delivered by a newly created entity, Aboriginal Medical Care 360, in close partnership with Koya and the Pindi Pindi Centre of Research Excellence in Aboriginal Wellbeing.

Koya Aboriginal Corporation founding chairman and stolen generation survivor Allan Kickett, and Pindi Pindi patron Professor Fiona Stanley, both supported Redimed’s research and Mr Kickett would be in a leadership role on its delivery.

“Medical Practitioners care for people from all cultures and Redimed is already caring for Aboriginal patients,” he said.

“Statistics show that a high percentage of Aboriginal people are unable to attend Aboriginal Health centres for a variety of reasons, including not having access to or being able to afford transport to and from appointments.

“To address this, AMC360 will deliver health care in people’s homes or in local community settings where patients have family and friends close by.”

He said these home services, delivered by Aboriginal clinicians, were a key point of difference to existing  services.

He said the Greater City of Swan region was a federal priority area for Closing the Gap and up to 20 new Indigenous jobs would be created through the project.

State Coroner Ros Fogliani’s recent report into a string of Indigenous children’s suicides in the Kimberley resulted in 42 recommendations for this state.

Many of these, as well as the overall conclusion to the report, used the recommendations to push for better service design and delivery by Aboriginal people themselves.

She recommended the principles of self-determination and empowerment be given emphasis in programs relating to Aboriginal people in WA; that Aboriginal people and organisations be involved in setting and formulating policy and to share service delivery responsibilities.

“The considerable services already being provided to the region are not enough. They are still being provided from the perspective of mainstream services, that are adapted in an endeavour to fit into a culturally relevant paradigm,” she wrote.

“It may be time to consider whether the services themselves need to be co-designed in a completely different way, that recognises at a foundational level, the need for a more collective and inclusive approach.”

The Closing the Gap report revealed that while targets for increased participation in early childhood education and higher rates of year 12 attainment among Indigenous students were on track, the other five targets were not.

There had been little progress towards closing the gap in life expectancy, halving the gap in child mortality rates, halving the gap in employment and in reading and numeracy and closing the gap in school attendance.