NACCHO Aboriginal Health #NRW2019 and #ClosingTheGap @KenWyattMP ‘s First speech and major interview as Minister for #Indigenous Australians ” A reflection on how far we’ve come on the journey of Reconciliation #GroundedinTruth

” On Friday Ken Wyatt stood in front of an audience in Perth, his home town, and promised to lead his people towards a better future as the nation’s first Aboriginal Minister for Indigenous Australians.

He was not the man who was supposed to be standing on the podium as keynote speaker marking the end of National Reconciliation Week. The original choice had been Pat Dodson, invited to speak as the father of reconciliation rather than as Labor’s aspirant for the job that Wyatt has since ­landed.

Dodson pulled out from Friday event soon after Labor’s May 18 election defeat, prompting Reconciliation WA co-chairwoman Carol Innes to pick up the phone to her friend Wyatt, also her local MP in the Perth hills electorate of Hasluck and now her federal minister. ”

Read the full The Australian Inquirer May 31 or Part 2 Below

 ” One of my priorities in this role is working on a refreshed Closing the Gap framework.

As the Prime Minister said earlier this year, the original Closing the Gap process was good-hearted and well-intentioned, but it took a top-down approach, not one based on true partnership. It failed on its own tests.

In refreshing that approach, we now have an opportunity to do things differently. To do things in partnership.

We’ve set up a partnership with a coalition of peak organisations, and a Joint Council through COAG.

But of course the key is partnering with people on the ground, so that they can drive local, community-led solutions.

And though the approach has changed, the heart and soul of Closing the Gap has not. “

Minister Ken Wyatt WA Reconciliation Breakfast speech : Read in full Part 1 Below

” Just announced the establishment of NIAA the National Indigenous Australians Agency- to lead and coordinate the development and implementation of Australia’s Closing the Gap targets in partnership with Indigenous Australians

See full details Part 3 Below 

Part 1

In Noongar language, I say kaya wangju – hello and welcome.

I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we’re meeting today, the Whadjuk people of the Noongar nation, and pay my respects to our Elders past, present and emerging.

And all distinguished guests joining us today.

What an amazing gathering – it warms my heart to see more than 1300 people together here this morning, to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and contributions.

To celebrate our deep past and enduring presence, across this great state and our vast country.

What a privilege that I have been made the first Aboriginal Minister for Indigenous Australians, during National Reconciliation Week.

This morning I want to reflect on how far we’ve come on the journey of Reconciliation – how I got here, with a bit of my story – and how far we’ve come as a nation.

Any of us who are old enough to remember the 50s and 60s will tell you it’s a long, long way.

I was born in 1952 and raised on Roelands Mission, the eldest of 10 kids. My dad was a railway ganger. My mum was a member of the Stolen Generations.

In those days, they had to get permission to marry. Permission to travel. They could be arrested if they were out after 6pm.

If the Department of Native Welfare came around and thought you weren’t providing good care, they could take your children away.

We then lived in a tiny place called Nannine, just south of Meekatharra. My schooling at first was by correspondence – working a radio with a foot pedal, like an old sewing machine, for two hours at a time.

Soon afterwards, my parents moved down to Corrigin. At that point, my life changed.

It’s no exaggeration to say I’m standing here today because of my parents’ dedication to our family and their commitment to going to school and getting an education – and that started with my Year One teacher, Mrs Abernethy.

She saw that I was behind the other kids, so she got me to come to school half an hour early every day. When I was home with whooping cough, she came over every afternoon.

She believed in me, supported me, never gave up on me. And fifty years later, she even campaigned for me in the seat of Hasluck!

While she was building my confidence – and my vocabulary – there was a petition circling to get the Aboriginal families kicked out of Corrigin.

It failed. The townspeople wanted us to stay.

Just a few years later, Australia voted overwhelmingly for inclusion in the 1967 Referendum.

I was in high school in Perth, and Fremantle had the second highest ‘Yes’ vote in the nation.

Things were changing. We were making progress. For the first time, we had a sense that as Australians we were indeed walking together.

Four years later, Neville Bonner became the first Aboriginal person in parliament as a Senator for Queensland.

The next year, 1972, saw the creation of the first Department of Aboriginal Affairs – the precursor to the new Agency I will now lead.

In the mid-70s we got the Racial Discrimination Act and the Aboriginal Land Rights Act.

These were landmark reforms that opened the way for every move toward rights and equality that have followed.

In fact, between the 1960s and the 1990s, the law of the land changed so much.

And in the decades since then, I know we’ve seen a big cultural shift.

The Reconciliation movement, and the work Senator Pat Dodson did all those years ago, has driven a great deal of that change.

It started small, but its ripple effect outwards has been tremendous.

It’s had an incredible impact not only at the local level, but in the way big corporates have embraced it, and undertaken commitments in Reconciliation Action Plans that would have been unthinkable 25 years ago.

I believe it’s been one of the major social reforms in Australia.

Its impact shows up in Reconciliation Australia’s recurring study.

Every two years since 2008, the Australian Reconciliation Barometer has measured attitudes and perceptions towards reconciliation on five overlapping dimensions: Race Relations, Equality and Equity, Institutional Integrity, Unity, and Historical Acceptance.

What the latest study shows is that the overwhelming majority of Australians believe that the linkages between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians are important, and that knowing our history and truth-telling are vital to this relationship.

80 per cent of Australians support formal truth-telling processes, and 86 per cent believe it’s important to learn our shared history.

Still more encouragingly, 95 per cent of people agree it’s important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have a say in matters that affect them.

This echoes the ‘Yes’ of 1967. And it resonates with my appointment as Minister for Indigenous Australians.

The days of complete control by the police or the bureaucracy over Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lives are long gone.

Since those days we’ve travelled more or less steadily towards greater freedom, autonomy, and equality.

And, crucially, we’ve travelled together.

As I said after my swearing-in this week, policy won’t be made in my office. It will be made in conjunction with Indigenous Australians.

I firmly believe it’s only through genuine partnership, through walking together, that we will solve our problems.

We need to jettison forever – as it seems the broader population has already jettisoned – the historic mindset of our people as passive recipients of services and programs.

We need instead partnerships based on mutual respect, mutual resolve – and mutual responsibility. Indigenous Australians must be truly regarded as equal and active partners, involved and informed.

One of my priorities in this role is working on a refreshed Closing the Gap framework.

As the Prime Minister said earlier this year, the original Closing the Gap process was good-hearted and well-intentioned, but it took a top-down approach, not one based on true partnership. It failed on its own tests.

In refreshing that approach, we now have an opportunity to do things differently. To do things in partnership.

We’ve set up a partnership with a coalition of peak organisations, and a Joint Council through COAG.

But of course the key is partnering with people on the ground, so that they can drive local, community-led solutions.

And though the approach has changed, the heart and soul of Closing the Gap has not.

We want to see Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids getting the best start in life, the same opportunities, schooling, healthcare, and life outcomes as their peers.

As well as Closing the Gap, we remain committed to recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in the Constitution.

We will continue to work with Indigenous communities to design a model for constitutional change that suits their needs and aspirations, and we will hold a referendum once we’ve settled on the right model.

This is a long-term process. We want to get it right. If we don’t, we risk putting this issue on hold for another 30 or 40 years.

In keeping with the ARB finding that a majority of Australians support learning about the past and undertaking a formal truth-telling process, we have committed to work on that with Indigenous communities.

And as part of that process, we will support the establishment of a National Resting Place.

For more than 150 years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestral remains were removed from Country and placed in museums, universities and private collections in Australia and overseas.

The National Resting Place will be a central place for commemoration, reflection and healing. A place for ancestral remains to rest in honour and peace, where all Australians can celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

In all this work, we will be partners, walking together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Looking back across this shared journey – my own and the much larger story of reconciliation – I can see the progress we’ve made.

Now, I could have told you some other stories today.

The primary teacher who told me I should leave school and get a job, because nobody would employ me as an adult.

The birthday party where half the kids invited didn’t show up because I was invited too.

The comments and emails I got when I was running in Hasluck – just 10 years ago, not back in the 1950s.

But those aren’t the stories that have shaped my life.

Those things scar you. Of course they do.

But they don’t define you.

I apply the same lens to our larger journey of reconciliation. Yes, we acknowledge the suffering and the wounds. Indeed we can’t go forward unless we tell the truth about the past.

But every step we take, every progression we make, is because of hope.

It’s because of optimism – because we choose trust over distrust, and courage over fear.

As I said at the beginning of this Reconciliation Week – we must ensure the greatness of our many nations is reflected in the greatness of our Australian nation, now and forever.

I believe with all my heart that the only way forward is together. I’ve seen the power and strength of sitting together, of listening and talking together, and of walking and working together.  Grounded in truth. Walking with courage.

As we say in the traditional Noongar of the country on which we’re meeting:

“Ngyung moort ngarla moort, ngyung boodja ngarla boodja.”

Meaning: “My people our people, my country our country.”

That’s the reason we’ve come so far.

Together.

That’s the force that will take us forward.

Thank you.

 

Part 2 : Continued from opening :

Carol Innes has known Wyatt since she learned that her mother and his mother shared years in a native welfare institution learning domestic skills. She watched him rise through health and education public service ranks in Western Australia, then become a commonwealth bureaucrat.

She rang and congratulated him when he made history in 2010 as the first indigenous person elected to the House of Representatives; then again when he became the first indigenous man in a ministerial portfolio in 2016; and now in the coveted cabinet role that no other indigenous person — except Dodson — has come even close to achieving.

“Ken’s a learned man, a quiet achiever, and now he’s been given the loudest voice,” says Innes.

“He’s had a passion for his people, and it was courageous of him to go into politics. The election before this one, he had a whole dossier of hate mail from voters saying if they’d known he was Aboriginal they wouldn’t have voted for him.”

Today’s Reconciliation breakfast in Perth will include business figures such as BHP’s iron ore head Edgar Basto and Rio Tinto senior executives, community leaders in football codes and senior Aboriginal leaders such as Nolan Hunter, chairman of the National Native Title Tribunal.

Many in the 1300-strong crowd have lent public support to the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which calls for a referendum on constitutional reform and an indigenous voice to parliament. Wyatt himself supported the statement two years ago before his own party — including Scott Morrison — rejected it. It now has tentative support under the Prime Minister, dependent on the outcome of a ­future inquiry.

Not a single person in the room will have missed the symbolism that, despite such setbacks, Australia has just witnessed two Aboriginal men from WA poised to occupy the indigenous affairs portfolio, one a southwest ­Nyoongar and the other a Yawuru man from the Kimberley.

It was Wyatt, wearing his traditional Nyoongar kangaroo cloak, who made history as he was sworn in by Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove on Wednesday. So, the audience might ask, why not dream that an embrace of the Uluru Statement, the hope for a constitutional voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, might be closer?

Wyatt tells The Australian the wellspring of emotion he felt at the swearing-in ceremony was “10 out of 10”.

It has been an intensely ­emotional week, in fact, starting when Morrison rang him at home last Sunday on National Sorry Day.

“It was after 10am and I was hanging out the washing,” says Wyatt. “Anna (Wyatt’s historian wife) and I had been talking about the 1967 referendum and reconciliation week.

“The Prime Minister said: ‘I’d like to offer you the opportunity to become the minister for indigenous Australians.’ I just couldn’t respond to him. He said: ‘Given your silence, I’ll accept that as a yes.’ ”

Wyatt says his speech today will begin by explaining “how along the way in my life, reconciliation has happened even though there was then no process”.

He will describe how decent “whitefella” institutions in the town where he grew up — the Country Women’s Association ladies and the Rotary Club that offered a scholarship — and his schoolteacher Lyn ­Abernethy “began the journey of believing in me as an Aboriginal kid”.

Born in 1952, he was the eldest of 10 children to a railway ganger father of Yamatji-Irish background and a Nyoongar mother. In the wheatbelt town of Corrigin, where his parents had settled for the children’s education, young Ken’s academic promise was rewarded with an annual fountain pen from native welfare and the faith of Abernethy, who would bring spelling books to his house.

“She epitomises what reconciliation is; she taught me, she walked with me,” he says. “Years later, she came back to hand out how-to-vote cards at my first election.”

To the thousands of indigenous elders and leaders with whom Wyatt has already worked as indigenous health minister, to those who urge him to lead the way toward fulfilment of the Uluru Statement, Wyatt says to wait a little longer. “The government is committed to recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Constitution. There needs to be more work done on what model we take to a referendum, which is why we are funding a $7.3 million consultation process.”

Is a referendum for an indigenous constitutional voice likely within his first ministerial term?

Wyatt says: “I do not want to rush something that fails. Because if it fails, like the referendum on becoming a republic, it could take another 30 years to be resurrected again. We have to get this right.”

Meanwhile, Wyatt says he wants to sit down and read the parliamentary reports tabled by Dodson and Liberal MP Julian Leeser, co-chairmen of parliament’s constitutional recognition committee. “Then I’ll turn my mind to the pathways we will take as a nation. But I’ll do that in concert with the Prime Minister.”

He says Dodson’s idea for regional assemblies has merit: “You don’t want a national body that’s disconnected from communities.”

He has promised to establish Circle of Elders meetings “to air local issues, to hear about what is working and to receive regular input ­directly from elders, families and communities”.

Wyatt has already handed Morrison his blueprint for a commission of elected elders that would have a say over government policies, taskforces, probes and complaints, The Courier-Mail reported yesterday.

Wyatt sent his plan to the Prime Minister in February as a “potential way forward to address the issue of constitutional recognition”, the newspaper said.

Asked about the proposal last night, Wyatt told The Australian: “This is not government policy.”

Wyatt’s elevation to serious power is a far cry, in tone and symbolism, from what happened after the Malcolm Turnbull leadership spill last year, when Morrison anointed Tony Abbott as special envoy for indigenous affairs.

Wyatt’s close relative Ben Wyatt, who is Western Australia’s Treasurer, was scathing, saying the term special envoy suggested “Aboriginal people are some ­foreign, unknowable nation in need of a special diplomatic mission. Led by the country’s worst diplomat.”

But Ben Wyatt this week praised the elevation of the man he calls “Uncle Ken” to Minister for Indigenous Australians, a role that Wyatt junior also holds in the state’s Labor government.

Like several men in the Wyatt wider family circle — Ben’s father, Cedric, and another uncle, Brian — Ken Wyatt has had a solid career as a public servant, including as director of Aboriginal education in WA and director of Aboriginal health in NSW. In 1996 he was awarded an Order of Australia.

Closing the Gap

If constitutional recognition is ­uppermost in many Aboriginal leaders’ minds, Closing the Gap is another urgent priority.

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation head Pat Turner has welcomed Wyatt’s appointment as an opportunity to continue “some good work” he did in indigenous health.

“To close the gap, it will require a cross-portfolio effort, not just from Ken, from all ministers, and for all of them to put their hands in their pockets from their port­folios,” she says.

Fred Chaney, Aboriginal affairs minister in the Fraser government, agrees Wyatt will need to bring along with him those ministers in other portfolios — social security, health and justice — that touch directly on the lives of Aboriginal people. He cites the example of “the obsession governments have with the healthy welfare card that has led to top-down control and a massively disproportionate number of social security breaches by Aboriginal people”.

Chaney counts Wyatt as a friend and handed out voting cards for him in his Hasluck electorate (“The only person I’ve ever done that for”). He says Labor’s ­utterances of support for Wyatt’s appointment “will presage a period of bipartisanship in which they can find some real answers”.

“The portents for co-operation are good,” he says.

Wyatt says reducing the number of young people committing suicide is a priority that needs new approaches.

“We can’t prevent them all but I want to make sure there’s support. There may be structures outside the ‘8 to 5’ service model,” he says.

“Someone said to me, ‘We need nocturnal workers in com­munities who kids know they can go to.”

He says he will be aided by a new administrative structure for Aboriginal affairs in which “all of the people who were once in Prime Minister and Cabinet are now in a new unit focused on priorities ­government has been working on. And they will work directly to me.”

Nyoongar man’s burden

Then will begin the true test of Wyatt’s ability, which some observers of his performance in the scandal-plagued aged-care sector have questioned.

“It always sounded like he was defending the system and not the aged,” one commentator tells The Australian. “He has a long history as a bureaucrat.”

Other critics point to the internal upheavals last year within Wyatt’s own office. A bitter disagreement between staff members led to an order by then prime minister Turnbull’s office for an investigation, whose outcome remains ­secret.

“The office wasn’t in shambles. It was an individual who wasn’t happy and raised a series of incorrect allegations,” says Wyatt.

“An independent report refuted those claims.”

As for his performance in the aged-care portfolio: “People told me they are disappointed I’m not continuing with them. I worked very closely with consumers, families and those who were dissatisfied. That’s why we set up the royal commission.”

Wyatt’s burden of expectation may hang rather more heavily than the “booka” kangaroo cape he was given by Nyoongar elders. Is he worried some people will expect him to be the ministerial “saviour” of his people?

“That may be a perception but I’ll be working closely with our people on the changes that are needed and I’ll set realistic priorities,” he says.

Innes says the roomful of people at today’s Reconciliation event will be on his side.

“He’s a Nyoongar man from Western Australia who’s got a big job ahead of him. But the beauty is we’ll be walking alongside him.”=

Wyatt’s rise from days of Rabbit-Proof Fence

The Wyatt ascendancy demonstrates that progress in black-white relations can be made in one man’s lifetime.

Now aged 66, Ken Wyatt came under the eye of native welfare when he was a boy. The department kept a file marked “Kenneth George Wyatt”. In one entry, it states: “This lad has potential but whether he has the capability is the issue.”

Exactly one year ago, Ken and his relative Ben Wyatt — also an indigenous affairs minister, in the West Australian government — marked a far sadder moment in their shared family history.

The two men stood next to the graves of Aboriginal inmates of Moore River settlement, the most notorious of WA’s native camps housing mixed-race Stolen Generations children.

Moore River was immortalised in Phillip Noyce’s film Rabbit-Proof Fence, depicting the true story of three girls who escaped and walked hundreds of kilometres back to their desert home. One of those girls was Ken Wyatt’s great-aunt Molly, whose daughter Doris Pilkington wrote Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence, a book based on her mother’s account. Ben Wyatt’s connection is even more poignant — his father, Cedric, was born there in 1940, a child soon removed from his family who refused to talk of it again.

“It’s a very personal story for me,” Ken Wyatt told The Australian that day. “But Ben was walking back into the place his father grew up in for a short time.

“Moore River reflects the history of removing people from around the state,” he said. “We’ve got to keep it as a reminder of policies that didn’t, in the end, dampen the spirits of people who lived there.”

Victoria Laurie is a senior reporter and feature writer in the Perth bureau of The Australian newspaper.

Part 3

Just announced the establishment of NIAA the National Indigenous Australians Agency- to lead and coordinate the development and implementation of Australia’s Closing the Gap targets in partnership with Indigenous Australians;

NACCHO’s 10 policy proposals for Aboriginal Health #VoteACCHO Acting @NACCHOChair Donnella Mills encourages the @ScottMorrisonMP Government to seize the moment and make Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health a national priority

 

“NACCHO welcomes the opportunity to work with Prime Minister Morrison and his Government to reduce the burden of disease for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

We are calling on Prime Minister Morrison to take a holistic approach to Indigenous health. Closing the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health requires a range of measures including increased funding for comprehensive primary health care, housing and infrastructure.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are disproportionately affected by many chronic diseases. Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is rare in the wider Australian community but remains substantially high in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

To this end, NACCHO is calling on Prime Minister Morrison and his government to support the following 10 policy proposals “

NACCHO Acting Chair, Ms Donnella Mills

Download the full NACCHO Press Release HERE

Read all the 37 + Vote ACCHO Articles published over the past 5 weeks

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) congratulates the Honourable Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Coalition on the federal election win.

To this end, NACCHO is calling on Prime Minister Morrison and his government to support the following 10 policy proposals:

These proposals are made in the knowledge that an appropriately resourced Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector represents an evidence-based, cost-effective and efficient solution for Closing the Gap in health outcomes.

1.Increase base funding of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations

  • Increase the baseline funding for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations to support the sustainable delivery of high quality, comprehensive primary health care services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.
  • Work together with NACCHO and its State Affiliates to agree to a new formula for the distribution of comprehensive primary health care funding that is relative to need.

2.Increase funding for capital works and infrastructure upgrades

  • Increase funding allocated through the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme for:
    • capital works and infrastructure upgrades, and
    • Telehealth services
  • Around $500 million is likely to be needed to address unmet needs.

3.End rheumatic heart disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

  • Support END RHD’s proposal for $170 million over four years to integrate prevention and control levels within 15 rural and remote communities across the country.
  • END RHD is a national contingent of peak bodies committed to reducing the burden of RHD for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia and NACCHO is a co-chair. Rheumatic heart disease is a preventable cause of heart failure, death and disability that is the single biggest cause of disparity in cardiovascular disease burden between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians.

4.Address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth suicide rates

  • Provide $50 million over four years to ACCHOs to address the national crisis in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth suicide in vulnerable communities
  • Fund new Aboriginal support staff to provide immediate assistance to children and young people at risk of self-harm and improved case management
  • Fund regionally based multi-disciplinary teams, comprising paediatricians, child psychologists, social workers, mental health nurses and Aboriginal health practitioners who are culturally safe and respectful, to ensure ready access to professional assistance; and
  • Provide accredited training to ACCHOs to upskill in areas of mental health, childhood development, youth services, environment health, health and wellbeing screening and service delivery.

5.Improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing and community infrastructure

  • Expand the funding and timeframe of the current National Partnership on Remote Housing to match at least that of the former National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing.
  • Establish and fund a program that supports low cost social housing and healthy living environments in urban, regional and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

6.Allocate Indigenous specific health funding to Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations

  • Transfer the funding for Indigenous specific programs from Primary Health Networks to ACCHOs.
  • Primary Health Networks assign ACCHOs as preferred providers for other Australian Government funded services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples unless it can be shown that alternative arrangements can produce better outcomes in quality of care and access to services

7.Expand the range and number of MBS payments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce

  • Provide access to an increased range and number of Medicare items for Aboriginal health workers, Aboriginal health practitioners and allied health workers.

8.Improve the Indigenous Pharmacy Programs

  • Expand the authority to write Close the Gap scripts for all prescribers.
  • Simplify the Close the Gap registration process and expand who may register clients.
  • Link medicines subsidy to individual clients and not practices through a national identifier.
  • Improve how remote clients can receive fully subsidized medicines in non-remote areas.
  • Integrate the QUMAX and s100 Support programs into one unified program.

9.Fund Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Organisations to deliver dental services

  • Establish a fund to support ACCHOs deliver culturally safe dental services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • Allocate Indigenous dental health funding to cover costs associated with staffing and infrastructure requirements.

10.Aboriginal health workforce

  • Increased support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce and increased support for workforce for the ACCHO sector which includes the non-Indigenous health professionals on which ACCHOs rely
  • Develop an Aboriginal Employment Strategy for the ACCHS sector

NACCHO is the national peak body representing 145 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations across the country on Aboriginal health and wellbeing issues.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #VoteACCHO Post #Election2019 Wrap : @abcnews Pat Turner congratulates @ScottMorrisonMP Plus 5 key questions for incoming  government  incl: Future of #UluruStatement and #ClosingThe Gap

“ No one saw it coming. Polling had the election as a win for Labor. Internal polling from the parties had it this way and external polling also had it so.

Exit polls had a 13 seat majority for Labor on Saturday night. They were all wrong. As we saw with Trump and Brexit, polls don’t always know best. On the weekend the Coalition held on.

It secured an election comeback that would have been unbelievable a month ago. 

So based on the Coalitions current Indigenous Policy document what can we expect in the next 3 years

Pat Turner NACCHO CEO was asked this question on ABC New yesterday (19 May ) the day after the “miracle win by Scott Morrison    

We have also compiled from Social media 5 key questions for the PM and his incoming government 

1.Who is going to be the new Indigenous Affairs Minister with the retirement of Nigel Scullion ?

2. Who is going to be the new Indigenous Health Minister ?

3.What is the future of of our Closing the gap Partnership ? 

” The Morrison Government is working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians to provide the same opportunities as for every other Australian.

We know and believe that, to deliver real outcomes, we need to work in partnership.

We’ve drawn a line in the sand in regard to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policies and programs.

We need to refresh what we’re doing because, while the 2019 Closing the Gap report highlighted successes across the country, only two of the seven targets are on track to be met.

The original targets were well-intentioned but developed without the collaboration and accountability of the states and territories or input from Indigenous Australians.

Under the Morrison Government, Australia’s Closing the Gap targets will be redeveloped in partnership with Indigenous Australians for the first time. ”

From the Liberal Party Website 

CLOSING THE GAP – A REFRESH

The Closing the Gap process that began in 2008 was born of good heart.

Despite this, it did not truly seek to partner with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The driving belief was that a top-down approach could achieve the change that was rightly desired, through lofty goals and bureaucratic targets.

The Morrison Government has turned a new page.

We are committed to working together and deciding together how future policies are developed – especially at a regional and local level.

We have listened to what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have told us is important.

At COAG in December last year, all governments committed to share ownership of, and responsibility for, frameworks, targets and ongoing monitoring of a refreshed Closing the Gap Agenda with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at its heart.

And under the leadership of Prime Minister Morrison, the Commonwealth, state and territory and local governments in partnership with the National Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations signed an Agreement to change the way government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians work together on Closing the Gap.

We are providing $4.6 million to the National Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations to ensure an equal partnership with governments in designing and monitoring Closing the Gap.

4. How much money the new Morrison incoming government is going to invest in Closing the Gap Refresh

NACCHO CEO Pat Turner says at least $5bn and a commitment to work with communities is needed to get anywhere in Closing the Gap.

About 40 peak bodies from all avenues of Indigenous affairs came together last week ( May 13 )  to discuss a new Closing the Gap agreement.

The Peaks were the negotiators of the Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap last year, and have not sat face to face since.

They met to discuss what they want to achieve in a new Closing the Gap agreement, with NACCHO CEO Pat Turner calling for a bigger commitment from the government, whoever that may be following the election.

“Neither side of politics, either the Liberals, or the Nationals, or the ALP [have announced] the commitment they will make over the next 10 years to Close the Gap,” Ms Turner told NITV News.

“We need both sides of politics to come out in the last week and give us a very clear indication of how much money they’re going to invest in Closing the Gap, and that they’re going to continue to work in partnership with us.

“And that Aboriginal people are central to the co-design, the monitoring and the evaluation, but also making sure that government changes the way it works with our people.”

Ms Turner said that the partnership between Aboriginal people and the government needs to be at every level, and hopes this is implemented in a Close the Gap ‘refresh’.

“From the community level, to the regional level, to the state level, to the national level. If it doesn’t work in partnership with us, then it will be doomed to failure,” she said.

“They can start with $5 billion. That would be a good start, and a lot of that money needs to be invested directly into Aboriginal communities through our organisations and in terms of fixing up the infrastructure in our communities.”

They hope for a new agreement to be signed by the Coalition of Peaks and the Council of Australian Governments, and for it to be implemented later this year.

https://www.sbs.com.au/…/doomed-failure-close-gap-peak-bodi…

5. What is the future of the #UluruStatement and a Voice to Parliament

Updated Monday 20 May from ABC News report

Going into the election campaign, federal Labor had committed to a plan for a referendum on constitutional recognition for Indigenous people.

Senator Dodson said this, and the Indigenous voice to Parliament, seemed to be lost.

“Now we’ve gone back to potentially not having a voice to Parliament for First Nations people, no referendum on that matter.

“The removal of the Makarrata Commission, so no real interest in truth telling and agreement making.

“And certainly no regional assemblies to enable First Nations people to have a greater say in their own affairs.

“So, a real rolling back, and more of the draconian activities that have underpinned the CDEP program with penalties applying to people and treating First Nations people as mendicants and a drain on the public sector.”

Senator Dodson said he believed a reforming, visionary agenda had been destroyed with lies and creating fear, and a “misperception” of what Labor stood for.

Wyatt says Coalition win still gives Indigenous voice to Parliament

Ken Wyatt, who has been serving as Minister for Aged Care, and Australia’s first Minister for Indigenous Health, has rejected Senator Dodson’s claims.

Mr Wyatt said he considered Mr Dodson to be a friend, and said he would’ve made a great minister.

“I have no doubt about that,” he said.

“He and I and Linda [Burney] and Malarndirri [McCarthy] talk frequently, we set aside the political differences.

“We talk about the philosophical things we are aiming to achieve but at the same time we recognise our party positions are different.”

Mr Wyatt said Labor’s loss didn’t mean the end of an Indigenous voice to Parliament.

“It doesn’t set back the causes for a voice to Parliament of some form, certainly a better way of engaging with Aboriginal people.

“I know that in Aboriginal health we were establishing strong partnerships so I can’t see that diminishing.

“I have every faith in the Prime Minister to continue the work that we were proposing in the Aboriginal Affairs reform agenda.”

Mr Wyatt said he wanted a structure to which Indigenous people could bring their concerns, and then that body could work with relevant ministers, including the Prime Minister.

“If we do that, then that provides an avenue for people having a say in their future, but we’ve got to get it right at the community level,” he said.

Mr Wyatt said if he was offered the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio, he would “do it with great pride”, but said it was up to the Prime Minister and he wouldn’t seek to “circumvent” any decision.

“Any position you’re given in cabinet is an honour to serve in,” he said.

From previous NACCHO Post

Since 2013, the Liberal and Nationals Government has maintained the multi-partisan commitment to recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in the Constitution.

We are listening to the recommendations of the bi-partisan Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition Relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (chaired by Julian Leeser MP and Senator Patrick Dodson).

The Joint Select Committee recommended that further work was needed to clarify a model for constitutional recognition and how it could best suit the needs and aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

See Policy Here

Coalition Policy Reviewed 

After the Uluru Statement from the Heart in 2017 there have been mounting talks about enshrining an Indigenous Voice to Parliament within the Australian Constitution.

Establishing a Voice to Parliament is not as visible in either the Liberal’s or the Nationals’ policies, however the Coalition did mention some support for the idea in this year’s Federal Budget.

If the Coalition is re-elected, the process for Voice to Parliament is likely to be a lengthy one.

The report 

“There is a national convergence between the aspirations of First Nations people, as reflected in the Uluru Statement, and the views of non-Indigenous Australians who overwhelmingly back a constitutionally enshrined First Nations voice in Parliament and a comprehensive process of truth telling.

This presents the next federal parliament with a rare mandate and opportunity to advance the national reconciliation agenda.

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,”

“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.”

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Healing #UluruStatement from the Heart 36 of 36 Final of our #VoteACCHO Posts :@RecAustralia has released a roadmap of priority steps the next federal parliament should take to advance #reconciliation

 ” As Australians prepare to go to the polls this Saturday, Reconciliation Australia has released a roadmap of priority steps the next federal parliament should take to advance reconciliation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The document proposes key policy priorities to address the unresolved issues of reconciliation. These include legislation setting out support, a timeframe, and the process for advancing the issues proposed in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

The Reconciliation Australia roadmap also calls for urgently renewing and increasing investments to meet expanded Closing the Gap targets. ”

The CEO of Reconciliation Australia, Karen Mundine

Download the Roadmap HERE

Reconciliation Aust 2019-federal-election-key-asks

Reconciliation Australia regularly surveys the community, publishing the results in the Australian Reconciliation Barometer.

Ms Mundine, says the Barometer shows the great majority of Australians support reconciliation and the demands of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and expect the next parliament to act decisively.

“There is a national convergence between the aspirations of First Nations people, as reflected in the Uluru Statement, and the views of non-Indigenous Australians who overwhelmingly back a constitutionally enshrined First Nations voice in Parliament and a comprehensive process of truth telling. This presents the next federal parliament with a rare mandate and opportunity to advance the national reconciliation agenda.” Ms Mundine said.

Watch video Here

The next federal parliament should immediately commit to support truth telling initiatives at a local, regional and national level by establishing a community grants program to initiate and support truth telling projects, and the development of resources to support this.

“The establishment of a national healing centre, reform of the national school curriculum to better encompass Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and history and consideration of a national truth and reconciliation commission to support a process of truth telling should all be on the next federal parliament’s first term agenda.”

Karen Mundine says the roadmap also calls for continued support of Reconciliation Australia’s work.

“Reconciliation Australia continues to lead the national reconciliation process and that role needs to be boosted over the next three years to enhance the momentum for change,” said Ms Mundine. “These proposed actions set a solid foundation from which to build a truly just, equitable and reconciled Australia.”

Welcome to our special NACCHO #Election2019 #VoteACCHO resource page for Affiliates, ACCHO members, stakeholders and supporters. The health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is not a partisan political issue and cannot be sidelined any longer.

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

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

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

More info HERE 

NACCHO Acting Chair, Donnella Mills

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #SuicidePrevention Recommendation 4 of 10 : Why does an Aboriginal ACCHO Health Service in one of Australia’s worst suicide regions have to self-fund #MentalHealth roles

“I think it’s appalling that we have to raise Medicare funds to subsidise services when the need is clearly demonstrated in umpteen coroner’s reports.

There are many gaps in the services that are currently available across Australia.

We welcome Labor policies to move SEWB funding into the federal health department, as well as its proposed multi-disciplinary teams of paediatricians, social workers, psychologists and Aboriginal counsellors.

But I criticize the “piecemeal approach” of the major parties. What governments don’t get is that the overall needs based funding required for Aboriginal community controlled health organisations (ACCHOs) to deliver fully on comprehensive primary healthcare hasn’t been built in to our model of care funding.”

As a result, the sector has had to seek additional funding for services like SEWB, instead of receiving a sufficient level as the base

We call for money to go to ACCHOs instead of mainstream services for Aboriginal healthcare.

We have a much better understanding of the issues [Aboriginal communities] deal with day in and day out. I also believe there should be workers engaged in the communities who are available out of hours, because most people don’t suicide between 9 and 5.”

Pat Turner AM  CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, told BuzzFeed News it was unacceptable, given the situation in the Kimberley

“We need those two positions given everything that’s happening in the community. People know them, they trust them, they will work with them. And it takes a long time to build up that trust with Aboriginal people.

Derby Aboriginal Health Service ( DAHS CEO )  Lynette Henderson-Yates said she is unsure how much longer DAHS will be able to find the $330,000 funding

Recommendation 4.Address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth suicide rates

  • Provide $50 million over four years to ACCHOs to address the national crisis in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth suicide in vulnerable communities
  • Fund new Aboriginal support staff to provide immediate assistance to children and young people at risk of self-harm and improved case management
  • Fund regionally based multi-disciplinary teams, comprising paediatricians, child psychologists, social workers, mental health nurses and Aboriginal health practitioners who are culturally safe and respectful, to ensure ready access to professional assistance; and
  • Provide accredited training to ACCHOs to upskill in areas of mental health, childhood development, youth services, environment health, health and wellbeing screening and service delivery.

More info https://www.naccho.org.au/media/voteaccho/

 Part 1 This is what it’s actually like to work on the frontline of Australia’s youth suicide Crisis

 “Alongside its beauty and isolation, the Kimberley is also known for its suicide rate. Last year, Indigenous health minister Ken Wyatt told the World Indigenous Suicide Prevention Conference: “If [the Kimberley] was a nation, it would have the highest suicide rate in the world.”

About eight years ago, Derby was at the epicentre of this ongoing catastrophe. In 2011 three young people died by suicide in as many weeks. The following year, the Aboriginal community of Mowanjum, 10km out of town, was rocked by the suicides of six people within six months.

Trent Ozies, 27, is a Djugun man from the Broome area who grew up in Derby. Ozies also has Filipino, Chinese and European heritage, as well as a gentle manner and a thoroughly infectious laugh. But he is grave as he recalls this terrible period.

“It was almost as if we went full circle,” he says. “Someone passed. Had their funeral, had the wake, someone passed. Had the funeral, had the wake, someone passed.

Read article in full HERE

Part 2

An Aboriginal health service in one of Australia’s worst suicide affected regions faces losing its psychologist and Aboriginal mental health worker, after money for the positions was cut in a state funding restructure last year.

The community controlled Derby Aboriginal Health Service (DAHS), located 220km east of Broome in Western Australia’s Kimberley region, delivers social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) services in Derby.

The region has long struggled with the issue of Indigenous youth suicide. Coroner Ros Fogliani’s recent report into the deaths of 13 Aboriginal children and young people who died in the Kimberley found that 12 had died by suicide, the tragedies prompted by widespread poverty and intergenerational trauma.

The five person SEWB team in Derby is considered a model for how community mental health outreach should work in remote towns, according to Rob McPhee, the deputy CEO of Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services.

But in a state funding restructure last year, DAHS lost funding for psychologist Maureen Robertson and mental health worker Ash Bin Omar and is now covering the $330,000 per year with money raised through Medicare consultations. SEWB services are generally funded by the Commonwealth.

Omar, who works with young Aboriginal men and boys, is also running a new project aimed at families with a low to medium risk of having their children removed to try and improve the situation and keep families together.

“For us not to have a psychologist and an Aboriginal mental health worker is really crazy,” Henderson-Yates said. “To my mind, there’s no debate about whether you have them or not have them.”

Senator Pat Dodson, who will become Indigenous affairs minister if Labor wins the election on May 18, told BuzzFeed News a Labor government would look to provide Commonwealth funding for two positions in Derby.

Labor has pledged $30 million over three years to support Aboriginal mental health and SEWB services in three high-need regions, including the Kimberley.

“If you don’t have these people being employed through the community health services, it just makes the effort to try and assist young people from taking these extreme measures totally impossible,” Dodson said.

Indigenous health minister Ken Wyatt told BuzzFeed News in a statement that the $19.6 million for suicide prevention pledged by the Coalition “builds on existing funding” provided through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) in the department of prime minister and cabinet.

The sum includes $15 million for the rollout of mental health first aid training in 12 Indigenous communities and for youth, as well as continuing training for frontline workers. Another $4.6 million will go towards community-led programs — designed to complement existing services — in areas such as leadership, sports and culture.

The IAS currently funds about $55 million per year for SEWB, Wyatt said.

If you or someone you know needs help, you can visit your nearest ACCHO or call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue Australia on 1300 22 4636.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #AusVotesHealth #VoteACCHO #ClosetheGap #ClosingtheGap : @ScottMorrisonMP @KenWyattMP @LiberalAus Finally release an #Election2019 policy to support Indigenous Australia

” The Morrison Government is working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians to provide the same opportunities as for every other Australian.

We know and believe that, to deliver real outcomes, we need to work in partnership.

We’ve drawn a line in the sand in regard to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policies and programs.

We need to refresh what we’re doing because, while the 2019 Closing the Gap report highlighted successes across the country, only two of the seven targets are on track to be met.

The original targets were well-intentioned but developed without the collaboration and accountability of the states and territories or input from Indigenous Australians.

Under the Morrison Government, Australia’s Closing the Gap targets will be redeveloped in partnership with Indigenous Australians for the first time.

From the Liberal Party Website 

When it comes to delivering the services needed, we believe Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations are best placed and we are increasing their number under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy.

Our Empowered Communities initiative, co-designed with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders, is a prime example of our reforms.

We are working with the Empowered Communities leaders and across each region to improve our engagement and delivery in partnership with local community leaders.

The Morrison Government has provided over $30 million to support local engagement and capacity building to eight Empowered Communities regional bodies throughout the country. Empowered Communities leaders are now directly involved in determining how funding is allocated in their regions.

We are also increasing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses winning contracts with the Commonwealth. From July 2019, the Indigenous Procurement Policy 2.0 will introduce a target of 3 per cent of the value of Commonwealth contracts to be awarded to Indigenous businesses within a decade. This builds on the highly successful IPP target that was introduced in 2015: where 3 per cent of the number of Commonwealth contracts are to go to Indigenous businesses.

We remain committed to recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in the Constitution.

The recognition of First Australians in our nation’s founding document would acknowledge our shared history and the value we place on our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage.

We also acknowledge the importance of telling and sharing our nation’s story: especially the history and culture of the oldest living culture on Earth. Supporting a process of truth telling and healing is an important part of our nation’s journey to reconciliation.

OUR RECORD

The Liberal Nationals Government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) delivers $5.2 billion in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities: ensuring children are attending school, adults are in jobs and communities are safe.

As partners with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, we have done a power of work.

Across the IAS, funding is increasingly delivered by Indigenous organisations operating in their communities, ensuring high quality and culturally appropriate services.

We have doubled the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations delivering services under the IAS – up from 30 per cent before its introduction to 60 per cent now.

Under our Government’s Indigenous Procurement Policy, over 1473 Indigenous businesses have won contracts delivering goods and services worth more than $1.83 billion, up from just 30 businesses receiving $6.2 million in 2012-13.

We have remained steadfast in our commitment to recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in the Constitution.

We established a Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition (the Committee) to examine how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are consulted and engaged with and to consider options for constitutional change. We did this because the Referendum Council did not do its job – it did not provide a clear path to a successful referendum.

We are now working to implement the recommendations of the Joint Select Committee so this pathway can be achieved.

We have supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians sharing their stories, languages and cultures through national institutions such as the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and the National Museum of Australia. And we’ve committed an additional $10 million to support the revival and maintenance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians languages.

We are also helping our nation to heal with funding to deliver the support that is needed for surviving members of the Stolen Generations.

We are providing $20 million to the Healing Foundation to support their work, including a comprehensive needs-analysis to better understand the demography of the surviving Stolen Generations.

We are providing almost $50 million a year to fund more than 110 organisations nationwide: supporting social and emotional wellbeing activities, including for Stolen Generations members and their families.

The Morrison Government will continue our efforts to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in the Constitution – and increase the involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the design of policies and delivery of programs that benefit them.

CLOSING THE GAP – A REFRESH

The Closing the Gap process that began in 2008 was born of good heart.

Despite this, it did not truly seek to partner with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The driving belief was that a top-down approach could achieve the change that was rightly desired, through lofty goals and bureaucratic targets.

The Morrison Government has turned a new page.

We are committed to working together and deciding together how future policies are developed – especially at a regional and local level.

We have listened to what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have told us is important.

At COAG in December last year, all governments committed to share ownership of, and responsibility for, frameworks, targets and ongoing monitoring of a refreshed Closing the Gap Agenda with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at its heart.

And under the leadership of Prime Minister Morrison, the Commonwealth, state and territory and local governments in partnership with the National Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations signed an Agreement to change the way government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians work together on Closing the Gap.

We are providing $4.6 million to the National Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations to ensure an equal partnership with governments in designing and monitoring Closing the Gap.

CONSTITUTIONAL RECOGNITION OF ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER AUSTRALIANS

Since 2013, the Liberal and Nationals Government has maintained the multi-partisan commitment to recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in the Constitution.

We are listening to the recommendations of the bi-partisan Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition Relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (chaired by Julian Leeser MP and Senator Patrick Dodson).

The Joint Select Committee recommended that further work was needed to clarify a model for constitutional recognition and how it could best suit the needs and aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

We are committed to recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in the Constitution at the same time as delivering practical outcomes to improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. But there needs to be more work done on what model we take to a referendum and what a voice to parliament would be – which is why we are funding a consultation process with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. This process will develop up a question for a referendum and what a referendum will deliver – because no one can answer what a voice to parliament actually is at the moment.

To deliver on this recommendation, the Morrison Government is providing $7.3 million for the comprehensive co-design of models to improve local and regional decision making and options for constitutional recognition. This work will commence immediately to provide a model and pathway to a successful referendum.

The key issue that we keep hearing is what is this Voice, the ALP cannot tell us what the Voice might look like and how it might operate. We believe if Australians don’t understand what they’re voting for in a referendum, they will vote no, and endanger this important issue for another generation.

The Government will engage and consult with Indigenous communities, organisations and leaders across Australia to deliver this important work.

A referendum will be held once a model has been settled, consistent with the recommendations of the Joint Select Committee.

And we have allocated $160 million in the Budget to run a referendum, with funding remaining in the Contingency Reserve until a referendum model has been determined.

NATIONAL RESTING PLACE

The Morrison Government supports the establishment of a National Resting Place for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander remains as a place of commemoration, healing and reflection. This is consistent with the recommendations of the Joint Select Committee.

The Government has committed $5 million to the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies to undertake a scoping study and consultation as a first step. This important memorial will recognise the unique contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and history to our nation.

TRUTH TELLING

The Morrison Government supports a process of truth telling as part of our nation’s journey to reconciliation.

A truth telling process would acknowledge the history and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians – and the impacts and consequences.

We will work with local Indigenous communities on this recognition and acknowledgment, supporting a process of local reconciliation for all Australians.

We are also investing almost $2 million in the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) to support the work of its Family History Unit. The unit works with local communities to identify and commemorate past trauma, dispossession and the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. The family history research and services support the process of truth telling and healing.

Our Government’s commitment to a National Resting Place also supports the process of truth telling.

A National Resting Place would provide an important memorial for the whole nation to reflect on the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians since European settlement.

WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP WITH ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER AUSTRALIANS

The Morrison Government remains committed to working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

We will continue to work and expand our co-designed Empowered Communities initiative to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are involved in local and regional decision making.

In addition, we will continue to increase the number of Indigenous-owned and operated organisations delivering services to benefit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy, we have doubled the number of contracts held by Indigenous organisations from 30 to 60 per cent. We know Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations are best placed to deliver services to their communities.

We are committing to increase that by 10 per cent each year with an aspirational target of 100 per cent by 2023.

THE CHOICE

When last in office, Labor failed First Australians for six years.

Labor had no cohesive focus to address decades of entrenched disadvantage.

It delivered the symbolic apology to Indigenous Australians, but then dropped the ball on improving outcomes.

The hopes of many Indigenous people that Labor would deliver real, practical change on the ground on the back of the apology were dashed.

As Labor destroyed the economy and the Budget, leaving $240 billion in cumulative deficits, it turned its back on Indigenous Affairs.

Trapped in the mindset of academics and peak advocacy bodies, Labor lost sight of the urgent need to address poverty and dysfunction.

The process of co-design and listening to Indigenous Australians was what Labor supported last year in Senator Pat Dodson and Julian Leeser’s report and this issue is too important to get wrong.

Now, their only solution is to rush, without adequate consultation to establish The Voice to Parliament – a new national representative body that amounts to a Third Chamber of Parliament just for Indigenous Australians.

Currently there’s no model, and we’ve got the ALP proposing to go to a referendum, and we don’t support the position to go with an unknown referendum question.

The key issue that we keep hearing is what is this Voice, the ALP cannot tell us what the Voice might look like and how it might operate?

We believe if Australians don’t understand what they’re voting for in a referendum, they will vote no, and endanger this important issue for another generation.

This is something that is neither desirable nor likely to be supported by the Australian people.

By contrast, the Morrison Government will focus on real action to deliver better outcomes for Indigenous people – getting kids to school, adults to work and making communities safer.

We are focusing on genuine engagement directly with communities.

And we will work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians to deliver constitutional recognition and continue to improve our engagement through local and regional decision making.

We’re working with Traditional Owners, elders and communities to identify the fundamental priorities and policy approaches that will lead to greater engagement in schooling, training and work and lead to safer communities.

We support the representative bodies like Land Councils that Labor wants to ignore.

For the first time in years, we have a clear line of sight to where each and every Indigenous-specific dollar is being spent.

We are ensuring that funding is directed to areas of greatest need and that organisations delivering services are held to account for outcomes.

We have ended the passive racism of lower expectations in the delivery of services to Indigenous people.

We recognise that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are thriving and making a positive contribution to our nation.

Only the Morrison Government can be trusted to deliver the practical change to address Indigenous disadvantage.

Only the Liberal Nationals Government, by keeping the economy strong, will be able to keep up the investment that is needed going forward.

Only the Morrison Government can be trusted to deliver the practical change to address Indigenous disadvantage.

COST

The Morrison Government’s policies to partner with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are funded from the $5.2 billion Indigenous Advancement Strategy.

 

Welcome to our special NACCHO #Election2019 #VoteACCHO resource page for Affiliates, ACCHO members, stakeholders and supporters. The health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is not a partisan political issue and cannot be sidelined any longer.

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

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

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

More info HERE 

NACCHO Acting Chair, Donnella Mills

NACCHO Aboriginal Dental Health #AusVotesHealth #VoteACCHO : Professor @MarcTennant supports our #Electio2019 Recommendation 9 of 10 for more ACCHOs to deliver culturally safe dental services for our mob

” A big focus of our effort is Aboriginal health. We are one of the early teams to work on addressing issues of rural and remote dental health care access for Aboriginal people.

A crazy (in today’s thinking) simple model of fly-in-fly-out support to locally owned and run Aboriginal Medical Service based dental clinics. The gold standard today.

Aboriginal Medical Services can have, run and look after fantastic dental services, it’s right. Proven over decades.

Just do it today! I want to see every 145 ACCHO in Australia with a dental service!

EVERY SINGLE ONE!

Professor Marc Tennant, UWA Orginally published in Croakey 

NACCHO Recommendation 9

The incoming Federal Government fund Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Organisations deliver dental services.

  • Establish a fund to support ACCHOs deliver culturally safe dental services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • Allocate Indigenous dental health funding to cover costs associated with staffing and infrastructure requirements.

More info https://www.naccho.org.au/media/voteaccho/

Read over 30 NACCHO Aboriginal Dental Health articles like this HERE

I have spent three decades working in and around dental health/public health and innovation in Australia and other places.

We are a team of many, many people from all over earth – there is more than 100 people working on things with us; from Jeddah to Utah and everywhere in-between.

We have graduate students focused on addressing inequality and building systems to reform health care in Australia and across the world.

Poor dental health has become a condition of poverty and marginalisation over the last five decades.

Today the “average” (actually does NOT exist) Aussie kid has less than one decayed tooth. In fact, over half of kids have NO decay.

But, a small minority of kids have LOTS of decay and suffer a lot. These are more often than not those for poor areas or are at the edge of society.

Why has decay dropped to such a low prevalence in society? Not actually a simple, clean one-line answer. Brushing, eating better, fluoride, toothpaste…. the list goes on.

Amazing turnaround!!! In 1960’s, a 12-year-old had 12 holes in their teeth – today less than ONE! AMAZING.

This started in the late 1960’s so many adults today have low decay levels too. BUT, there are pockets of trouble too!

This trend is now in adults too – the poor suffer far more than the rich with dental disease.

Why? The risk factors are higher for the marginalised, it’s harder to access good preventive care and more risk-taking activity.

Australia has two dental systems ­– private dental care, that are small independent businesses on the whole and are free to charge as they like. This is more than 85 percent of dental care.

AND, a small public system for those on health care cards or similar. Also, here we have Aboriginal Medical Service based dental services too.

PS We also have dental care in some tertiary hospitals for tough problems, cleft lip and palate, oral cancer, jaw fractures and more.

The public dental system is small, often under-resourced, especially as dental disease is now a condition of poverty. It’s the wrong way round now (private: public ratio)

Remember, the public dental systems are run by STATE governments – the federal government does not really have a role in dental (although there are some growing bits of funding now).

Where do we need to go in dental health in Australia?

Everyone says dental should be part of Medicare. If I said the bill for that could be as large as the NDIS as a cost, you can see the problem.

And remember that most dental care is provided by small businesses where the government cannot control prices – there would be payment gaps!

Read more on Medicare Dental at https://croakey.org/a-new-publication-on-oral-health-catch-up-with-some-talkingteeth/ … It will explain in detail why that’s probably not achievable nor actually what would help Australians.

There are alternatives… We have seen some ­– targeted care for those in need subsidised by the government.

There are some efforts around to be targeted and maximising bang for buck. The most efficient models of providing good dental care are actually part of State government care systems.

State government dental care systems across Australia are run down, and the real opportunity now is to re-enforce them and grow them. Get some balance back into the nation

We now have dental workforce to do it!

In 2000, we were at a workforce crisis with a lack of dentists. Today, 20 years later, we have sufficient workforce coming though… In some places there are too many (Sydney and Melbourne) but as a nation we are now safe.

We need to get more dental workforce out of Nedlands, Double Bay and Toorak and into the rest of Australia – that’s the big effort for the next decade.

We need our dental focus to start with those in most need, the poor and marginalised (economically and geographically). This is where dental troubles are. They are not in Toorak or Double Bay.

And people in Toorak or Double Bay have access to care – some of the highest densities of dentists in the world are around those suburbs!!! True.

It is interesting that the Labor Party policy released last week has focused on the elderly. Demographic shift.

As I am explaining, dental disease is reducing in adults and those born from mid 1960’s forward are on the whole dental far better than their elders.

Focus on elder dental health is good! Australia is growing old and we still have dental troubles for people.

The maximisation of bang-for-buck from what I can see is for people to take their “voucher” (if Labor wins) and spend it in the public dental service. Help grow the safety net for others in need.

Obviously, where there is no public system, do use the local private practice but I just wish people would try their darndest to support their fellow Australians by helping grow the public system.

I should say, I am not employed either as a private or public dentist and take no money in sponsorship. I am an academic. (In addition, I do not have a share portfolio!)

And new things to think about. Telehealth is coming to dental. Yes, imagine screening teeth from images you take in your own bathroom.

Telehealth really going to be important in closing geographic gaps. Imagine screening kids to prioritise them for the dental team when they come to town.

There is a digital future in dentistry (I have seen experimental robots doing dental care! – it’s coming)’

An important initiative in dental will be big data and prediction. Well protected (privacy) coupled with good analysis is going to give us great tools to predict risk and predict where needs are.

We do need to see support going into the R&D of these big-data solutions in health. They will squeeze every bit of value from every dollar we spend on dental care. A digital future is coming to public health and dentistry.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #AusVotesHealth #VoteACCHO : @NatIndigTimes #Election2019 What each major party will do for #Indigenous issues #Voice #Health #Education #Welfare #Legal #Housing #Environment

 “Still not sure who to vote for this coming Saturday? With the federal election fast approaching, NIT has been working hard to identify where each of the major parties stand on various issues relevant to Indigenous Australia.

What are the key policies that will affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people?

NIT has found that funding for suicide prevention is a common priority, as is remote housing and general housing affordability.

We bring you the NIT wrap below, covering the policies of the Liberal Party, the Labor Party, the Australian Greens and The National Party of Australia. While not exhaustive, we’ve aimed to pinpoint the big issues.”

By Hannah Cross

Originally published on NIT NEWS HERE

1.Voice to Parliament

After the Uluru Statement from the Heart in 2017 there have been mounting talks about enshrining an Indigenous Voice to Parliament within the Australian Constitution.

1.1 Labor
Labor has promised to support the call for a Voice to Parliament should they win the election.

A process agreed upon between the Government and First Nations people will lead to a constitutionally enshrined First Nations Voice to Parliament.

On top of this, Labor plans to establish Regional Assemblies to facilitate more regional engagement in policy issues.

1.2 The Greens
The Greens have also said they will pursue a Voice to Parliament, adding they are in full support of 2017’s Uluru Statement from the Heart. They also want to establish better paths to Treaty across Australia.

1.3 Liberal and the Nationals
Establishing a Voice to Parliament is not as visible in either the Liberal’s or the Nationals’ policies, however the Coalition did mention some support for the idea in this year’s Federal Budget.

If the Coalition is re-elected, the process for Voice to Parliament is likely to be a lengthy one.

2.Health

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

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

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

More info HERE 

The National Aboriginal and Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) has called for all candidates to prioritise Indigenous health during their campaigns.

“The health of Indigenous people is not a partisan political issue and it cannot be sidelined any longer,” NACCHO Acting Chair Donnella Mills said.

NACCHO flagged the funding of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs), Rheumatic Heart Disease, and Indigenous youth suicide rates as major issues all parties should have policies on.

2.1 Liberal
The Liberal Party has an election policy dedicated specifically to youth mental health and suicide, with one of its main focuses being Indigenous suicide prevention.

The party pledged a $34.1 million investment into Indigenous youth suicide prevention to allow for Indigenous leadership support so that care is culturally appropriate.

This also includes $19.6 million for Indigenous youth suicide prevention in the Kimberley region in particular.

Programs like the Yarn Safe Campaign, Young Indigenous Ambassadors and the Be You program have been allocated $4.2 million. The Be You program will be a fast-tracked and rolled out across the Kimberley region should the Liberals win the election.

As mentioned in this year’s Federal Budget, the Liberals are putting $22.5 million into youth and Indigenous health research projects as part of their Million Minds Mission mental health research.

The party has also pledged $35 million for Rheumatic Heart Disease research, treatment and prevention.

A Liberal government would continue the Indigenous Australians Health Program with $4.1 billion in funding over the next four years.

Concerning the NDIS, the Liberal Party will provide $20 million to expand the scheme’s Community Connectors Program, a program designed to assist rural and remote communities in connecting with and navigating the NDIS.

This comes after criticism of the Coalition’s decision to underspend on the NDIS in this year’s budget by slowing its roll-out to deliver their ‘Back in Black’ surplus.

2.2 Labor
Labor has said they will ensure ACCHOs have the principal role in delivering culturally competent health care to Indigenous Australians and that they will work in collaboration with ACCHOs and Indigenous Australians to implement the third iterationof the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-23.

Rheumatic Heart Disease has been receiving a lot of attention in the Indigenous public health sphere recently, and Labor has hopped on the bandwagon by promising to invest $33 million across 25 Indigenous communities to help eradicate the disease.

Labor has also pledged a $13 million investment into closing the gap in vision loss. Funding to the tune of $8.5 million will enable the instalment of regional eye health coordinators across the country.

The Fred Hollows Foundation has welcomed this decision but said both sides of politics must take decisive action on Indigenous health and eye health.

“Labor’s commitment is a promising start, but we will continue to call for more funding for Indigenous eye health programs,” said Foundation CEO Ian Wishart.

The Labor Party has also promised to directly address Indigenous youth suicide rates by providing $30 million to help ACCHOs further develop their mental health services.

Labor has said they will work with ACCHOs to implement best-practice in at-risk communities and provide $2 million annually to regions in north west WA, far north Queensland, and the Northern Territory.

The party has said it will also ensure equitable access to the NDIS for Indigenous Australians with disability.

2.3 The Greens
While the Greens take a more universal approach to their policies, they are not without benefit to the Indigenous community.

The Greens believe everyone should have access to free health and they are big on transforming social services to make them more accessible to Australians.

The Greens want to expand the premise of Medicare and fund a universal public health system.

Within their election promises, the Greens are also guaranteeing cheaper access to essentials such as mental health and disability services as well as supporting a fully funded NDIS.

2.4 The Nationals
Most of the Nationals’ election policies match the Liberal Party’s, including funding for the Million Minds Mission, Rheumatic Heart Disease, the NDIS, and the Indigenous Australians Health Program.

However, their main mental health and suicide prevention policy document does highlight a focus on Indigenous suicide prevention.

The Nationals’ policy mentions the $503.1 million Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan from the Coalition as well as the $19.6 million that is planned to support Indigenous youth suicide prevention measures.

The Nationals also pledged to invest $15 million into a national information system that will increase communication and response speeds in areas that have higher frequencies of self-harm and suicide.

It’s unclear as to what form this system will take.

The party has also said they are focused on bolstering the Indigenous health workforce to allow local community residents to provide health services to their peers.

3.Education

3.1 Labor
Indigenous Australians looking to study Early Childhood Education at TAFE are in luck if Labor wins the election, as the party has promised 200 fee-free places for Indigenous Australians to study the course at TAFE.

Labor has also pledged an extra $14 billion into public schools nationally to ensure Indigenous students get the best start in life with a good education and another $19.5 million to create nearly 8,000 new spots in the Stars Foundation’s programs that work to improve disadvantage faced by First Nations girls and young women.

The party is aiming to cover all bases when it comes to Indigenous education, pledging to help double the number of First Nations students at the University of Technology Sydney by promising $20 million toward building a new Indigenous Residential College.

In partnership with the Poche Centre, the party plans to invest $2 million over four years to increase numbers of PhD and postdoctoral students in health.

For those seeking an apprenticeship, Labor has said they will waive upfront fees for 100,000 TAFE students.

Labor also wants to invest in First Nations teachers and restore the More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teachers initiative which was axed by the Liberals. Labor has pledged $8 million over four years to increase and retain numbers of Indigenous teachers as well as bolster their professional and leadership capacities.

3.2 Liberal
The Liberal Party has also pledged a $200 million investment into the Indigenous Youth Education Package. This deal will fund extra scholarship placements to give First Nations students additional mentoring and support.

The Connected Beginnings program will continue to be rolled out, with a $12 million per year funding investment. This program aims to integrate family support services and maternal and child health with high-need and high-vulnerability schools. Overall, the purpose is to reduce the education gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children.

The Liberals have also pledged to start a Commonwealth Scholarship Program for Young Australians, where 400 scholarships will be open to students in regions around new industry training hubs.

Preference will be given to some groups of eligible applicants, including young Indigenous Australians.

Four skill-support programs will also be set up in remote Indigenous communities in collaboration with Indigenous community members to advance literacy, numeracy, language and digital skills.

On top of this, $5.2 billion has been pledged to support over 223,000 Indigenous students as part of the Liberals’ plan to back regional and rural students.

Although the Liberals plan to invest in Indigenous regional and rural students, another Liberal promise was announced prior to the election to wipe the HELP debts of 3,100 teachers should they pursue teaching in remote communities.

This prompted criticism around whether this has neglected the capacity building and upskilling of Indigenous people and remote community residents.

3.3 The Greens
The Greens have pledged to invest more than $24 billion in the next 10 years to fully fund public schools and expand infrastructure funding to meet every student’s needs.

The party has also promised to deliver on unlimited free TAFE and undergraduate university for all. They also plan to increase university funding by 10% should they win the election.

While the promise of free education looks good, there are no clear policies outlined by the Greens on how they might support Indigenous students in achieving their desired education outcomes.

3.4 The Nationals
Like the Greens, the Nationals are lacking specifics when it comes to Indigenous education policy, rather choosing to take a broader approach.

Again, in combination with the Liberals’ policies on education, the Nationals mention the preference given to Indigenous students in the proposed Commonwealth Scholarship Program for Young Australians.

The party has also promised to boost the skills of the workforce by trialling 10 industry training hubs and creating a $585 million skills package.

4.Welfare

4.1 Liberal and the Nationals
The Coalition said in this year’s Federal Budget they would continue to roll out the Cashless Debit Card across Australia by investing $128.8 million over four years to expand and extend it.

The Coalition has also chosen to steer away from addressing Newstart, which has seen no increase in recipients’ payments in real terms for approximately 25 years.

Instead, the Coalition is pressing to trial drug tests for new Youth Allowance and Newstart recipients.

4.2 Labor
Labor has not said whether they will keep the Cashless Debit Card.

The party has also been unclear with voters on their stance toward Newstart.

Although they have acknowledged the welfare payment is too low, Labor has only committed to reviewing Newstart and related welfare support should they win the election.

4.3 The Greens
The Greens have said upfront they will end the Cashless Debit Card initiative as they believe it is a punitive measure that prevents people from accessing income support with respect and dignity.

Instead, they want to raise both Newstart and Youth Allowance by $75 a week.

5.Legal
After the Indigenous Legal Assistance Program (ILAP) was axed in this year’s Federal Budget, there has been considerable backlash and calls for the program to be reinstated.

More than 100 organisations have banded together to protest the program’s abolition through an open letter to the Attorney General’s Office, calling the dismissal of the ILAP a “surprising and disappointing move.”

An independent report prior to the Budget’s release emphasised the effectiveness of the ILAP and that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services(ATSILS) are the preferred legal service provider of Indigenous communities.

“ATSILS provide specialised and culturally appropriate legal services for some of the most marginalised people in our community. They need to maintain independence to effectively continue their vital work,” said Law Council of Australia President Arthur Moses SC.

This makes the ILAP an important player in election policy in view of the strong responses to the program’s dismissal.

5.1 Labor
A Labor Government has promised the independence of the ILAP as well as $4 million over four years to the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) peak body.

The party has also pledged $40 million over four years for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) and $21.75 million over four years for Justice Reinvestment.

5.2 The Greens
Although the Greens say they are committed to justice for First Nations Peoples, there is no mention of the ILAP in their election policies.

However, they have supported a Justice Reinvestment approach to address high numbers of incarcerated Indigenous Australians and have committed $10 million over four years to set up a National Centre for Justice Reinvestment.

Over four years, another $50 million will be invested in a Justice Reinvestment Grants Program.

The Greens have said this approach will prioritise services that are known to keep people out of prison.

Change the Record has praised the commitments from both the Greens and Labor.

“We welcome this national leadership from The Greens and Australian Labor Party on Justice Reinvestment,” said Change the Record Co-Chair Cheryl Axleby.

“We know that when Justice Reinvestment is Aboriginal-led and investment is going into strengthening community rather than building prisons, it works.”

5.3 Liberal and the Nationals
Considering the Coalition disbanded the ILAP in the Budget in the first place, the Program is absent from both parties’ election policies.

6.Housing

6.1 Labor

The Labor Party has pledged a 10-year investment of $1.5 billion that will address issues of overcrowding and create jobs for residents in remote Indigenous communities.

The Western Australian State Government welcomed the decision with open arms, as at least $120 million of the money would head to WA in the next financial year.

This is double the money offered to the WA Government by the Coalition, which was rejected after Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion refused to negotiate a better deal for remote housing.

“This is not something the state can do, or indeed should do, on its own – it requires a working, collaborative, sustainable and enduring partnership with the Commonwealth,” WA Housing Minister Peter Tinley said.

“It is gratifying to see that a Federal Labor Government will recognise and honour that responsibility – something the Morrison Government has flatly refused,” WA Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt said.

6.2 Liberals and the Nationals
As announced in the Federal Budget, the Coalition is investing $550 million over five years to sustain Indigenous housing reforms as part of the National Partnership on Northern Territory Remote Aboriginal Investment.

The Liberals have also announced $15.9 million to increase housing availability in the Barkly region as part of its Barkly Regional Deal, which aims to improve the region’s economy and community.

6.3 The Greens
Believers in affordable housing for all, the Greens plan to invest in a community and social housing sector to make renting and buying easier for Australians.

The party has pledged to build 500,000 rent-controlled public and community homes as well as increasing funding to temporary accommodation to lessen the numbers sleeping on the streets.

This housing is not specifically earmarked in remote Indigenous communities.

7.Environment

7.1 Labor

The Labor Party has committed to doubling funding over the next five years for Indigenous Protected Areas. This new commitment is alongside a five-year commitment to double Indigenous ranger jobs.

Country Needs People spokesperson Sophia Walter said the Labor commitment would see Indigenous Protected Areas responsible for over half of all Australia’s protected areas within five years if implemented.

“This is a visionary commitment that means the places we as Australians are so proud of – the rainforests, coastlines, deserts – will be better protected by Traditional Owners. This is work that benefits every Australian,” Ms Walter said.

Labor has also said they will establish a research hub that taps into the ecological knowledge and traditional land management skills of First Nations peoples to improve understanding and possible application of such knowledge across various programs. Thirty million will be allocated over five years to this research centre.

The party has also promised an additional $50 million for the access and management of cultural water, building on the $40 million agreement for cultural water in the Murray Darling Basin.

7.2 The Greens
The Greens have a hard stance on climate change and have promised to move to 100% renewables should they win the election.

They want to protect the Murray Darling Basin, save the Great Barrier Reef and completely overhaul the country’s environment laws.

While environmental protection is important to Indigenous Australians, as it is all Australians, there is a lack of Indigenous-focused environmental policy in The Greens’ election policy.

7.3 Liberal
The Liberal Party’s stance on the environment is that we need to work with businesses, experts and Indigenous communities to protect and restore it.

Similar to Labor, the Liberals are investing into Indigenous rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas. Currently $830 million is being invested over a 10-year plan that ends in 2023.

Apart from this, the Liberal commitment to Indigenous-specific environmental policies is negligible.

7.4 The Nationals
The Nationals’ environment policy describes the current climate emergency as a matter of making the environment ‘cleaner.’

The party is aiming to deliver on better waste management through more recycling, creating greener communities, cleaning up waterways to protect marine life, and the general protection of threatened species.

While these commitments are a step in the right direction, there are questions around whether this action is drastic and transformative enough, especially since the recent United Nations’ report warning the world that 1 million species are facing extinction.

Funding for Indigenous Rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas do not appear to be mentioned, however if the Coalition stays, these areas should receive the promised funding from the Liberal Party.

Again, Indigenous-specific environmental policy is lacking from the Nationals’ election policies.

Summary


As the election edges closer, it is important to be informed on the policies that affect you.

Indigenous Australians can be assured that Indigenous youth suicide prevention is a high priority for all parties.

A Voice to Parliament is also on parties’ radars, however depending on who wins the election, the process could take some time.

The fate of the Indigenous Legal Assistance Program hangs in the balance, as do increases to Newstart and provisions for housing affordability.

NIT will publish updates on any major policy announcements to ensure our reader base is well-informed come election day.

Vote consciously and don’t forget the democracy sausage – a true election staple.

By Hannah Cross

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #AusVotesHealth #VoteACCHO @Greens Leader @RichardDiNatale and @SenatorSiewert launch their #Election2019 platform “ Improving #FirstNations health outcomes in partnership with #FirstNations people : Download Here

” First Nations peoples continue to experience much poorer health and wellbeing than the general Australian population in many key areas of health[1]. These include life expectancy, mortality, hospitalisations, education, employment, child and maternal health, and disabilities[2].

For First Nations peoples, good health is more than the absence of disease or illness; it is a holistic concept that includes physical, social, emotional, cultural, spiritual and ecological wellbeing, for both the individual and the community.

This concept of good health emphasises the connectedness of these factors and recognises how social and cultural determinants can affect health[3].

The Greens will work with First Nations peoples and communities to facilitate and fund community-led approaches in access to health care and social services in a wide range of ways which are outlined below. All of these are included in our broader 2019 election policy platform.’

Picture above NACCHO Library : Senator Rachel Siewert visiting the Broome Regional Aboriginal Medical Centre with Senator Richard Di Natale . Prior to entering parliament, Richard was a general practitioner and public health specialist. He worked in Aboriginal health in the Northern Territory.

Download Stakeholder Statement_First Nations Health_FINAL_RELEASED (2)

ONE: IMPROVING ACCESS TO HEALTH SERVICES

Following the introduction of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy, over $500 million was cut from First Nations programs, including more than $169 million of cuts to health programs4. This Strategy has resulted in funding uncertainty for organisations and a decrease in the number of organisations working in the communities they are serving.

The Australian Greens will restore this funding and work to ensure that this restoration is led by communities[4].

In addition, we will address specific health issues through broader changes to the health system including:

  • Addressing the proportion of First Nations Australians with long term health conditions which is 1.7 times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians. The Greens have a plan to reform Medicare to meet the needs of the millions of Australians living with chronic disease through additional funding for GPs and voluntary enrolment to provide coordinated care6.
  • Working with communities and health professionals to design targets and interventions for diseases, such as rheumatic heart disease, trachoma and chronic otitis media, that are more prevalent in First Nations communities.
  • Helping First Nations peoples who have poor access to high quality food, partake in insufficient physical activity and have high obesity7. The Australian Greens will address these challenges through our new independent preventive health commission8.
  • Investing $15 million per year to close the gap in the rates of new HIV diagnoses between Australian-born non-indigenous peoples and First Nations peoples. This funding will be used to ensure the needs of all First Nations peoples, including brotherboys, sistergirls and gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people are met in public health prevention and service provision.
  • Investing in suicide prevention programs that work by providing $500 million for community-based assertive outreach programs, with dedicated funding for First Nations peoples.
  • Increasing the numbers of peer workers by providing $166 million to fund a two-year national peer workforce trial with 1,000 places, with a dedicated number of places for First Nations peer workers.
  • Investing in research which is controlled and led research by First Nations peoples. The Greens provide in principle support for increased funding for First Nations controlled and led research, either through the MRFF or the National Health and Medical Research Council and will be investing more money in research and development.
  • Doubling Commonwealth AOD treatment funding to $800 million over three years to improve treatment outcomes

TWO: IMPROVING HEALTH OUTCOMES BY ADDRESSING AUSTRALIA’S UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Australia’s health inequities are closely related to powerlessness, racism and a slow process of reconciliation alongside limited recognition of human, land and sovereign rights9. The Australian Greens will10:

  • Provide $50 million in funding to First Nations peoples’ organisations to support a path towards treaties.
  • Provide $50 million for the establishment of a body, such as the suggested Makaratta commission, with the function of enabling agreement-making and facilitating a process of local and regional justice and truth telling.
  • Support the establishment of such a ‘voice to Parliament’ enshrined in the Constitution to ensure that First Nations Peoples have a voice in decisions that affect them.
  • Find out more at: https://greens.org.au/sites/default/files/2019-04/Greens%202019%20Policy%20Platform%20-%20World%20Class%20Universal%20Health.pdf

THREE: IMPROVING ACCESS TO SOCIAL SERVICES AND EMPLOYMENT

A person’s health is influenced by their home, school, workplace, community and experiences of social institutions and systems[5]. Household income differences between First Nations and non-Indigenous peoples contributes to almost 14% of the overall health gap, followed by differences in employment and hours worked (12%), and level of school completed (8.7%). The

Australian Greens will address these causes by:

  • Allocating a proportion of the Community Child Care Fund (CCCF) for quality community-controlled and culturally safe integrated early years services[6]. The CCCF provides grants to child care services to help improve access in disadvantaged, regional and remote communities.
  • Funding unlimited free undergraduate university and TAFE. This will make higher education more accessible for all, including First Nations peoples[7][8].
  • Improving access to and the quality of our social safety net by increasing the single rate of Newstart and Youth Allowance by $75 per week[9].
  • Abolishing punitive measures including income management, the Community Development Program and work for the dole[10].
  • Increasing the number of Indigenous Rangers to 5,000 by 2025. The Indigenous Rangers Program has been a resounding success. For every $1 invested, it returns $3 in environmental and socioeconomic benefits[11] .
  • Allocating a proportion of our $200 million Survivor Grant fund to First Nations community-controlled specialist frontline services working with family violence survivors
  • Adopting a housing first policy by setting aside $500 million per year to fund transitional housing and crisis services. We will work with First Nations organisations to ensure access to culturally appropriate crisis housing and long-term housing options for women and children experiencing family violence.

[1] AIHW, Australia’s Health 2018

https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/7c42913d-295f-4bc9-9c24-4e44eff4a04a/aihw-aus-221.pdf.aspx?inline=true  

[2] AIHW, Australia’s Health 2018

https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/7c42913d-295f-4bc9-9c24-4e44eff4a04a/aihw-aus-221.pdf.aspx?inline=true  

[3] AIHW, Australia’s Health 2018 https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/7c42913d-295f-4bc9-9c24-4e44eff4a04a/aihw-aus-221.pdf.aspx?inline=true  4https://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-13/budget-2014:-$534-cut-to-indigenous-programs-and-health/5451144 

[4] Find out more at:

[https://greens.org.au/sites/default/files/2018-12/Greens%202019%20Policy%20Platform%20-%20Justice%20for%20First%20Nat​                    i ons%20Peoples.pdf  

 

[5] AIHW, Australia’s Health 2018 https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/7c42913d-295f-4bc9-9c24-4e44eff4a04a/aihw-aus-221.pdf.aspx?inline=true  

[6] Find out more at: https://greens.org.au/sites/default/files/2019-04/Greens%202019%20Policy%20Platform%20-%20Child%20care.pdf  

[7] Find out more at​https://greens.org.au/sites/default/files/2018-12/Greens%202019%20Policy%20Platform%20-%20Free%20TAFE%20and%20Uni_

[8] .pdf  

[9] Find out more at: https://greens.org.au/sites/default/files/2019-04/Greens%202019%20Policy%20Platform-%20World%20Class%20Social%20Servic es.pdf  

[10] Find out more at: https://greens.org.au/sites/default/files/2019-04/Greens%202019%20Policy%20Platform-%20World%20Class%20Social%20Servic es.pdf  

[11] Find out more at:

https://greens.org.au/sites/default/files/2019-04/Greens%202019%20Policy%20Platform-The%20Nature%20Fund.pdf 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #AusVotesHealth #VoteACCHO : @RenBlackman CEO @GidgeeHealing #ACCHO Mt Isa : Highlights Inequality and climate change: the perfect storm threatening the health of our #Remote communities

 

“ Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services have a long history of working holistically and innovatively to address the wider determinants of health, and Gidgee Healing incorporates legal services, knowing that legal concerns “cause a lot of worry for families”

However, many of the levers for addressing the determinants of health lie outside of the health sector’s control.

 What would help Gidgee Healing clients includes increases to Newstart and other social security payments, with a loading for remoteness.

We would also like to see better access to education and training for remote communities, many of which do not have high schools.

As well, Blackman would like a “whole of government” approach to addressing the social determinants of health, as was recommended in 2008 by the World Health Organisation commission on social determinants of health.

My job is challenging enough at the best of times. But climate change and extreme weather events, such as recent flooding that cut road access to many remote communities for several weeks, are making it ever-more difficult “

Renee Blackman runs Gidgee Health ACCHO health service covering a vast chunk of north-west Queensland – about 640,000 sq km, an area larger than Spain – that provides services to about 7,000 Aboriginal people in communities from Mount Isa to the Gulf.

Reporting in this series is supported by VivCourt through the Guardian Civic Journalism Trust

Written by Melissa Sweet for The Guardian

While the cultures and circumstances of these communities are diverse, Blackman says they share a common health threat: that the harmful impacts of poverty are magnified in remote locations.

Blackman, a Gubbi Gubbi woman and CEO of an Aboriginal community-controlled health service Gidgee Healing, sees poverty contributing to poor health in remote communities in many ways.

People cannot afford healthy foods, to access or maintain housing, to buy vital medications, or to travel to regional centres such as Cairns or Townsville for surgery that would help them or their children, she says.

But mostly, she says, poverty means people have more pressing priorities than whether their diabetes is being well controlled.

“None of that matters if the priority is to put food on the table first, or a roof over the table,” she says. “Worrying about medication or a specialist appointment or an allied health wraparound service isn’t a priority.”

Blackman says she gets really frustrated when health groups put out simplistic messages for people to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables. It reminds her that so much health debate is far removed from the realities of people living in poverty.

Renee Blackman interviewed by NACCHO TV in 2016

Likewise, there is also a disconnect between much of the mainstream debate about health, which tends to focus on funding of medical services and hospitals, and the evidence about what matters most for people’s health.

The Western Australian government’s recent Sustainable Health Review cites US research suggesting that only 16% of a person’s overall health and wellbeing relates to clinical care and the biggest gains, especially for those at greatest risk of poor health, come from action on the social determinants of health. These are “the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age”, and are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources.

In the case of Gidgee Healing’s clients, the determinants of health include the ongoing legacy of colonisation, such as poverty and racism, as well as protective factors such as connection to culture and country.

Tackling the social determinants of health is critical to address health inequities, which arise because people with the least social and economic power tend to have the worst health, live in unhealthier environments and have worse access to healthcare.

A study cited in the last two editions of Australia’s Health (in 2016 and 2018) estimates that if action were taken on the social determinants to close the health gap between the most and least disadvantaged Australians, half a million people could be spared chronic illness, $2.3bn in annual hospital costs saved and pharmaceutical benefits scheme prescriptions cut by 5.3 million.

In the absence of such action, she says Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services have to work hard and be creative in the face of government silos in their efforts to provide holistic services.

Blackman’s job is challenging enough at the best of times. But climate change and extreme weather events, such as recent flooding that cut road access to many remote communities for several weeks, are making it ever-more difficult.

“You have got these massive weather events sweeping through our communities, decimating structures, infrastructure – which means health services,” she says. “If your health service is down, you can’t provide any type of healthcare; it’s almost like you are operating under war conditions sometimes, because things get totally obliterated and you have got to build back from scratch, yet you’ve got people who need your assistance.”

Blackman and many other health professionals are seeing the impact of a perfect storm threatening the health of some of Australia’s most disadvantaged communities. Climate change is exacerbating the social and economic inequalities that already contribute to profound health inequities.

Blackman describes elderly Aboriginal people with multiple health problems stuck in inadequate housing without air-conditioning during increasingly frequent extreme heatwaves. Sometimes it is so hot, she says, the bitumen melts, making it difficult for her health teams to reach communities in times of high need.

As well, patients are presenting to Gidgee Healing clinics with conditions such as dehydration that might be preventable if they could afford their power bills and had appropriate housing.

The mental health impacts are also huge, Blackman says, mentioning the deaths of hundreds of thousands of livestock during the floods. “This is devastation, this is loss, this is grief, we are already facing a suicide crisis in the north-west across all of the community, including the Aboriginal community,” she says. “You’re talking about a region that already has depleted access to mental health professionals.”

Welcome to our special NACCHO #Election2019 #VoteACCHO resource page for Affiliates, ACCHO members, stakeholders and supporters. The health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is not a partisan political issue and cannot be sidelined any longer.

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

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

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

More info HERE 

NACCHO Acting Chair, Donnella Mills

A multiplier effect

Hurricane Katrina is often held up as a textbook example of how climate change hits poor people hardest, and not only because the poorest areas in New Orleans were worst affected by flooding. Much of the planning and emergency response catered to the better off – those with cars and the means to safely evacuate and arrange alternative accommodation.

As Sharon Friel, professor of health equity at the Australian National University, outlines in a new book, Climate Change and the People’s Health, most of those who died because of Hurricane Katrina came from disadvantaged populations. These were also the groups that suffered most in the aftermath, as a result of damage to infrastructure and loss of livelihoods.

“It was also lower-income groups, and in particular children and the elderly, who were at increased risk of developing severe mental health symptoms compared with their peers in higher income groups,” Friel writes.

It is not only the direct and indirect impacts of climate change that worsen health inequities; policies to address climate change can have unintended consequences. Friel cites international evidence that the distribution of green spaces in cities to promote urban cooling and health tends to benefit mainly white and affluent communities.

Friel’s book outlines myriad ways in which climate change interacts with other social determinants of health to create a multiplier effect that deepens and compounds health inequities. Yet policymakers have been slow to respond, although such concerns were clearly identified more than a decade ago, in the landmark WHO report on the social determinants of health, which said it was important to bring together “the two agendas of health equity and climate change”.

While Friel says the relationships between climate change and health inequity are “messy and complex”, she argues that understanding there are common determinants of both problems provides an opportunity to “kill two birds with one stone”.

Friel calls for intersectoral action, with a focus on equality, environmental sustainability and health equity, to tackle the underlying “consumptagenic system” that drives both problems. This system is “a network of policies, processes and modes of understanding and governance that fuels unhealthy, inequitable and environmentally destructive production and consumption”.

An unfair burden

In Victoria, a large community health service provider called Cohealth has had processes in place for at least five years to work with at-risk groups during extreme weather events, in recognition of the need to address climate change as a health threat, especially for disadvantaged populations. During heatwaves, the service checks on homeless people, public housing residents and people with mental illnesses to ensure they can take steps to stay safe.

“The growing frustration of people in the health sector is, this work is eating into our budgets, it’s occupying the time of our staff – and yet there is little or no policy recognition of the way health resources are being taken to address these problems,” says Cohealth chief executive, Lyn Morgain.

She adds that local governments and service providers have been left to carry an unfair burden due to inaction on climate and health by governments, especially the federal government.

Morgain, who is also chair of the Social Determinants of Health Alliance and a board member of the Australian Council of Social Service, notes that Acoss has been championing the need to apply an equity lens to climate policy, to assess whether new policy proposals across a range of portfolios advantage or disadvantage low-income households.

Kellie Caught, senior advisor on climate and energy at Acoss, is calling for the next federal government to invest in vulnerability mapping to identify communities most at risk from climate change, in order to support development of local climate adaptation and resilience plans.

Governments also need to invest in building the resilience of community organisations such as those providing disability, aged care, meals on wheels and services for homeless people, to ensure they have the capacity to undertake disaster management and resilience planning, and continue operating through extreme weather events, she says.

Acoss is advocating for mandatory energy-efficiency standards for all rental properties, for state and federal governments to invest in upgrading energy efficiency and production in all social and community housing, and for a fund to help low-income earners such as pensioners upgrade their homes’ energy efficiency, as well as programs for remote and Indigenous communities.

It is more than a decade since policymakers were presented with evidence showing that such measures bring concrete health benefits for low-income households.

A widely cited randomised trial, published in 2007 in the BMJ, found that insulating low-income households in New Zealand led to a significantly warmer, drier indoor environment, and resulted in significant improvements in health and comfort, a lower risk of children having time off school or adults having sick days off work, and a trend for fewer hospital admissions for respiratory conditions.

“Interventions of this kind, which focus on low-income communities and poorer quality housing, have the potential to reduce health inequalities,” found the researchers.

A big silent killer’

The health of people in Burnie in north-west Tasmania is shaped by rates of poverty, unemployment and poor educational outcomes that are worse than the state’s average.

At the public hospital, emergency physician Dr Melinda Venn is reminded every day how people who are poorer and sicker have difficulty accessing the services they need. She describes seeing patients who struggle to feed their families, or buy medications and who often can’t afford to put petrol in their cars to get to the doctor.

Her prescription for what would help her community’s health and wellbeing is similar to Renee Blackman’s in north-west Queensland. It includes wide-ranging action to address poverty, including through raising the Newstart allowance and more generally ensuring liveable incomes, as well as access to affordable fresh food, public transport and higher education.

Venn also stresses the importance of better funding for preventative health measures and primary healthcare. “Every day we see people come to the emergency department, either because they can’t afford to get into the GP or they can’t get into

Dr Nick Towle, a medical educator at the University of Tasmania who helped organise a recent Doctors for the Environment Australia conference in Hobart, where delegates declared a climate emergency, says that addressing the intertwined issues of health inequities and climate change will require massive transformation in how governments operate. They must move beyond the current siloed approaches whereby, for example, the housing portfolio can be reluctant to invest in improving housing if savings are to the health portfolio.

Towle says a systems approach would reimagine urban development so that communities are within cycling or walking distance of local food production, green spaces and infrastructure such as shops, primary healthcare and aged care centres, and with active and passive solar a requirement for all new developments.

Like Venn, Towle stresses the need to invest far more in primary healthcare and the prevention of chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, lung and cardiac disease, which are more common in poorer communities, and make people less resilient to the effects of heat, which he says “is emerging as a big silent killer”.

Back in Mount Isa, Renee Blackman stresses the importance of local action in responding to both health inequities and climate change. Local governments, especially Indigenous local governments, should be given more support for tackling these issues, she says.

“At least talk to the people it’s going to affect,” she says. “As an Aboriginal organisation, we would never tread on someone else’s Country, without first asking, what do you need?”

An assessment of the major parties’ track records and election promises shows Australia has a better chance of acting on poverty and climate change as critical health equity concerns if there is a change of government.

The Acoss’s election policy tracker suggests the Greens have the best policies for addressing poverty and climate change, while the Climate and Health Alliance scorecard gives the Greens top marks (8 out of 8), followed by Labor (4.5 out of 8) and the LNP (zero out of 8).

The Consumers Health Forum of Australia scorecard gives the Greens’ health policies the highest rating (21 out of a potential score of 37), followed by Labor (16/37) and the LNP (7/7). The Public Health Association of Australia has welcomed Labor’s and the Greens’ commitments on preventative health, while the Australian Health Care Reform Alliance has called on both major parties “to follow the lead of the Greens and commit to health policies that deliver both equity and efficiency”.

Like many, the Consumers Health Forum is disappointed in the lack of focus on primary healthcare, saying “the absence of a transformational agenda for primary care is a missed opportunity this election”. Meanwhile, the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association scorecard records the Liberal National party as having no explicit commitment to health equity and, days out from an election, the Rural Doctors Association of Australia says the Greens are the only party to have addressed rural health issues so far. Some health organisations have not yet released an election scorecard.

Reporting in this series is supported by VivCourt through the Guardian Civic Journalism Trust