NACCHO Aboriginal Health Promotion  “Live Healthy. Live Long. Live Strong.” @KenWyattMP Officially launches the world’s first, Indigenous exclusively health-focussed television network – Aboriginal Health Television (AHTV) @TonicHealth_AU

” Engaging with our people in a culturally sensitive way is vital and SWAMS is always looking for new and innovative ways to do this on a large TV screen in our waiting rooms.

 After all we service more than 10,000 clients and average 50 new patients every month. Delivering important national and local health campaign messages and promotions via a digital TV channel saves lives. 

We can then follow up the patients with advice, clinical options and promotional material. We know that giving patients advice in their own language assists with their understanding of their health conditions and what services they can request from our clinical team.

Aboriginal Community Control even in health messaging is important and we will certainly make use of the offer to create our own unique promotional content.

I welcome the assistance provided from NACCHO to the Aboriginal Health Television Network about our needs, expectations and hopes that this service will help thousands of patients obtain the care they deserve in our health settings and WA hospitals.

South West Aboriginal Medical Service (SWAMS) CEO Lesley Nelson ( and NACCHO board member ) is proud that SWAMS is one of the first locations in Australia to have AHTV. See Full Speech Part 2 below 

  • Community Member Greg Vinmar
  • Federal Member for Forrest and Chief Government Whip, the Hon. Nola Marino MP
  • NACCHO Board Member for WA and South West Aboriginal Medical Service CEO, Lesley Nelson
  • Tonic Health Media Executive Director, Dr Norman Swan
  • Federal Minister for Indigenous Health, the Hon. Ken Wyatt AM, MP   (Front)

Media Coverage view HERE

Read previous NACCHO articles about Aboriginal Health Television (AHTV)

View Aboriginal Health Television (AHTV) website

www.aboriginalhealthtv.com.au

“The new network is an exciting step forward, built on local engagement, including local production of health and wellbeing stories, to reach the hearts and minds of our people and our families,

AHTV is a truly unique, ground-up opportunity to connect at the point of care and build stronger, healthier communities,”

Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt AM spoke about the importance of AHTV from the South West Aboriginal Medical Service (SWAMS) in Bunbury, Western Australia, which is one of first 50 initial locations to install AHTV. It is expected the network will be broadcasting in 100 locations by May 2019. See full press release Part 3

WATCH AHTV HERE

Today the world’s first, Indigenous exclusively health-focussed television network – Aboriginal Health Television (AHTV) was officially launched by the Federal Minister for Indigenous Health, the Hon. Ken Wyatt AM, MP.

The Federal Government in July 2018 committed $3.4 million over three years to develop the targeted, culturally relevant AHTV network, which is expected to reach a First Nations’ audience of over 1.2 million people a month.

“The fundamental idea behind AHTV is to provide engaging, appropriate and evidence informed health content to Aboriginal people while they are waiting to see their health professional,” says Dr Norman Swan, Co-Founder of Tonic Health Media who is developing this not for profit network.

“We have evidence that this period in the waiting area is a time when people are most open to information which can improve their health and offer relevant questions to ask their health professional when they see them in the next few minutes.

“Our aim is to offer AHTV as a free, fully maintained service to all Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) across Australia – around 300 locations. And it is already being rolled out, with SWAMS as one of our first. We know that our targeted messaging can make a big difference.

There’s nothing like knowledge to give people control over their decisions.

“AHTV, guided by its Advisory Group of highly respected Aboriginal health leaders and researchers, will continue to work closely with Aboriginal Peak Health Bodies and ACCHOs, to develop and deliver culturally relevant health messaging and lifestyle content.

“We are also partnering with third party content producers who specialise in Indigenous content to acquire and produce culturally relevant content,” Dr Norman Swan said.

Tonic Managing Director Dr. Matthew Cullen says the partnership is an important step towards Tonic’s goal of improving health outcomes for all Australians.

“AHTV provides a unique opportunity to communicate with Aboriginal audiences at the point of care when patients, their families, carers and health service providers are strongly focussed on health and wellbeing,” said Dr Cullen.

Aboriginal Health TV Advisory Group member, Associate Professor Chris Lawrence, says the delivery of a culturally relevant TV network that connects with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will improve health outcomes.

“Australia has always been a world leader in health promotion. AHTV signals a new era in how health promotion messages are told and delivered to one of the world’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations.

“AHTV builds on this using digital technology to help close the gap, and improve the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians,” said Associate Professor Lawrence.

These sentiments were echoed by South West Aboriginal Medical Service (SWAMS) CEO Lesley Nelson who is proud that SWAMS is one of the first locations in Australia to have AHTV.

“Health promotion is a huge part of what we do at SWAMS, and we welcome any opportunity to communicate these important health messages to our clients,” Ms Nelson said.

“The fact that the content has been tailored to suit our local Aboriginal community means that our clients will benefit from health information that is relevant, culturally sensitive and meaningful to them. I strongly encourage Aboriginal Medical Services nation-wide to jump on board this fantastic initiative,” Ms Nelson added.

Jake Thomson, a proud Aboriginal man is playing a lead role in bringing AHTV to Indigenous communities. Belonging to the Wiradjuri Nation and growing up in Western Sydney, Jake is the Community Relationships Manager for AHTV.

“AHTV not only offers culturally relevant content, but it gives a voice to every community. By having the information they need, it will enable our people to consciously make the right choices, which in turn will lead to better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Jake said.

And that’s exactly the aim of AHTV. Its tagline “Live Healthy. Live Long. Live Strong.” is the message they are here to deliver.

Part 2 : South West Aboriginal Medical Service (SWAMS) CEO Lesley Nelson ( and NACCHO board member ) is proud that SWAMS is one of the first locations in Australia to have AHTV.

It is always a pleasure to welcome the Indigenous Health Minister to our South West Aboriginal Medical Service and staff from the Aboriginal Health Television Network. (Acknowledge any other VIPs in the audience).

Minister, this world first Aboriginal Health Television Network will assist our 70 staff who are based in six clinics to discuss with our patients’ topics like diabetes, dental health, sexual health, tobacco cessation, men’s and women’s health and heart health.

Engaging with our people in a culturally sensitive way is vital and SWAMS is always looking for new and innovative ways to do this on a large TV screen in our waiting rooms. After all we service more than 10,000 clients and average 50 new patients every month.

Delivering important national and local health campaign messages and promotions via a digital TV channel saves lives. We can then follow up the patients with advice, clinical options and promotional material.

We know that giving patients advice in their own language assists with their understanding of their health conditions and what services they can request from our clinical team.

Aboriginal Community Control even in health messaging is important and we will certainly make use of the offer to create our own unique promotional content. I welcome the assistance provided from NACCHO to the Aboriginal Health Television Network about our needs, expectations and hopes that this service will help thousands of patients obtain the care they deserve in our health settings and WA hospitals.

On behalf of the South West Aboriginal Medical Service and NACCHO I welcome the launch of this new world first service in our community by the Minister.

Part 3 NEW TV NETWORK CHANNELS GOOD HEALTH TO FIRST AUSTRALIANS

A new digital television network now rolling out across the nation aims to help Close the Gap in health equality by revolutionising the way hundreds of thousands of First Australians receive health information.

Today’s official launch of the Aboriginal Health TV (AHTV) network at the South West Aboriginal Medical Service in Bunbury, Western Australia, is backed by a three-year, $3.4 million commitment by the Liberal National Government, to ensure First Australian patients can access relevant health stories and advice at local treatment centres.

“The new network is an exciting step forward, built on local engagement, including local production of health and wellbeing stories, to reach the hearts and minds of our people and our families,” said Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt AM.

“AHTV is a truly unique, ground-up opportunity to connect at the point of care and build stronger, healthier communities.”

The TV programs will be broadcast at Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services around Australia.

Tonic Health Media (THM), the nation’s largest health and wellbeing network, is producing and commissioning targeted video content for AHTV, which is expected to be viewed by up to 1.2 million patients each month.

The programs on the new digital network feature issues including smoking, eye and ear checks, skin conditions, nutrition, immunisation, sexual health, diabetes, drug and alcohol treatment services and encourage the uptake of 715 health checks.

To ensure these important health messages reach as many people as possible content will also be repackaged for social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

“South West Aboriginal Medical Service has been chosen as one of AHTV’s initial trial sites,” said Member for Forrest Nola Marino.

“This will add to the fantastic range of services that SWAMS already provides for the local community here in the South West.”

AHTV will be installed and maintained at no cost to local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and plans to be self-sufficient within three years.

“It is expected the network will be broadcasting in 100 locations by May 2019, with the overall rollout planned for approximately 300 centres nationwide,” Minister Wyatt said.

“AHTV programming will also be available on Tonic Health Media’s existing platform which broadcasts in mainstream health services, meaning these important messages have the potential to reach the 50 per cent of our people who use non-Aboriginal medical services.”

Content licensing partnership agreements have been signed with ABC Indigenous and NITV and negotiations are underway with third-party production groups specialising in local Indigenous content.

The Liberal National Government’s AHTV commitment is part of the $3.9 billion dedicated to improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people announced in the 2018-19 Budget.

For more details on the new network, see www.aboriginalhealthtv.com.au

NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health News : Minister @KenWyattMP will provide $1 million over 2 years to @BushTVMedia @ErnieDingo1 to deliver its Camping On Country program, to address health and wellbeing challenges in a culturally safe and meaningful way.

Ernie Dingo believes light moments are important even when talking about serious topics. In one candid exchange with a man who insisted doctors were unnecessary, Dingo shared the story of his decision to allow a doctor to examine his prostate.

“I told the men that I thought ‘Ah well, who is going to know?’ and they had a good laugh,” he said.

Dingo remains vigilant about his health. A dad of six, including three-year-old twin boys, he said being a father and grandfather made him want to encourage men to take care of themselves.

“We have to be around for our kids, and their kids,” 

Actor Ernie Dingo has created a confronting, humorous and bracingly honest reality series about Indigenous men that has captured the attention of federal Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt.

Dingo, a Yamitji man from the Murchison region of Western Australia, became a household name in Australia as the presenter of lifestyle program The Great Outdoors between 1993 and 2009. But his retreat from public life coincided with a struggle against depression that he said made him want to help other Indigenous men.

From The Australian See in full Part 2 below 

Ernie Dingo’s campfire chats a dose of reality TV

 ” I’ve been in film & tv for 40 years that’s long enough! Its time for me to go bush & work with my Countrymen.

No point in having influence if you can’t use it to make the world a better place for our mob!

Follow 

A new health initiative that places culture and traditional knowledge systems at the centre of its program aims to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and ensure they have a strong voice in health and wellbeing services in their own communities.

The Federal Government will provide $1 million over two years to Bush TV Enterprises to deliver its Camping On Country program, to address health and wellbeing challenges in a culturally safe and meaningful way.

Speaking at the launch on the Beedawong Meeting Place in WA’s Kings Park: (From left) Murchison Elder Alan Egan; Ernie Dingo; Ken Wyatt; Kununurra Elder Ted Carlton.

Respect for culture has a fundamental role in improving the health of our men, who currently have a life expectancy of 70 years, more than 10 years shorter than their non-Indigenous counterparts.

Camping On Country is based on the premise that working with local men as the experts in their own health and community is critical in Closing the Gap in health equality.

We need every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander man to take responsibility for their health and to be proud of themselves and their heritage — proud of the oldest continuous culture on Earth, and the traditions that kept us healthy for the past 65,000 years.

Each camp will focus on specific topics including:

  • Alcohol and drug dependency
  • Smoking, diet and exercise
  •  Mental health and suicide

A traditional healer and an Aboriginal male health worker are assigned to each camp to conduct health checks and provide one-on-one support to men, which includes supporting men through drug or alcohol withdrawals.

Traditional yarning circles are used to discuss health and wellbeing issues as well as concerns about employment, money, housing and personal relationships.

Well-known actor, television presenter and Yamatji man Ernie Dingo developed the Camping On Country program with his BushTV partner Tom Hearn, visiting 11 communities and conducting small camps with groups of men at four sites across remote Australia in 2018.

The plan is to conduct 10 camps a year, with the initial focus on communities in need in Central Australia, the Kimberley, Arnhem Land, the Gulf of Carpentaria and the APY Lands.

The program puts culture and language at the centre of daily activities and also uses the expertise and knowledge of local men’s groups, traditional owners and local Aboriginal organisations.

A video message stick will be produced during each camp and made available to all levels of government associated with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

The message stick information will also be used by health providers to develop holistic, culturally appropriate programs with men and their communities.

The $1 million funding will also support Bush TV Enterprises to partner with a university and Primary Health Alliances to conduct research to track improvements in remote men’s health and enhance health and wellbeing services.

Bush TV Enterprises is an Aboriginal-owned community agency specialising in grassroots advocacy and producing and distributing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories.

Our Government has committed approximately $10 billion to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health over the next decade, working together to build strong families and communities.

Part 2 From The Australian  

Ernie Dingo’s campfire chats a dose of reality TV

Dingo, a Yamitji man from the Murchison region of Western Australia, became a household name in Australia as the presenter of lifestyle program The Great Outdoors between 1993 and 2009. But his retreat from public life coincided with a struggle against depression that he said made him want to help other indigenous men.

The 62-year-old has partnered with documentary-maker Tom Hearn to make four short films from fireside yarns with indigenous men in some of Australia’s most remote towns and communities.Mr Wyatt believes the program, called Camping on Country, has the potential to change lives. He has commissioned 20 more camps around Australia over the next two years at a cost of $1 million.

“We talk about everything,” Dingo told The Australian. “You want to see the way the men sing and talk once they feel safe.”

Camping On Country could ultimately drive health policy, as Dingo listens to men talk about alcohol and drug dependency, smoking, diet, exercise, mental health and suicide. Mr Wyatt will announce his support for the camps today and hopes that they can help close the health gap between indigenous and non-indigenous men. Aboriginal men die an average 10 years earlier than other Australian men, and generally their rates of cancer, heart disease and mental illness are higher.

An Aboriginal male health worker will be at each camp providing health checks and support, including to anyone experiencing drug or alcohol withdrawals. Dingo and Hearn will make a short film of each camp through production company Bush TV. The federal funding of $1 million covers an independent assessment of the overall program, ­including whether it makes a difference to the health of men who take part.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #findyour30 #getactive #lovesport #sport2030 @senbmckenzie launches #MoveitAUS a $28.9m grants program to achieve a goal of reducing inactivity amongst our population by 15% over the next 12 years :applications close 18 February 2019

 ” The Move It AUS – Participation Grant Program provides support to help organisations get Australians moving and to support the aspiration to make Australia the world’s most active and healthy nation.

If successful, applicants will receive grants up to $1 million to implement community-based activities that align to the outcomes of Sport 2030. ” 

How to apply for funding HERE

Photo above : Check out the very active Deadly Choices mob 

Or view HERE

“The nation’s first-ever sports plan – Sport 2030 – sets a goal to ensure Australia is the world’s most active, healthy nation and the Sports Participation Grants Program is part of our ongoing commitment to achieving this goal,

Our goal is to get more Australians more active more often.

We have set the aspiration, put out a call to action and are supporting this with a significant investment to unlock ideas and passion through our partners and communities.

We know that through increased participation, we have a larger pool from which the new elite athletes of the future will come from.

We want Australians to heed advice from the health experts – adults should “Move It’ 30 minutes a day and children 60 minutes a day.”

Minister for Sport Senator Bridget McKenzie has today 7 January 2019 launched a $28.9m grants program which will enable sport and physical activity providers to get Australia’s population moving. 

The government Move It AUS – Participation Grants Program, to be managed by Sport Australia, aims to help Australians reach the goal set in the government’s Sport 2030 report to reduce inactivity amongst the population by 15% over the next twelve years.

The four year program is part of the 2018-19 government Budget investment of over $230 million in a range of physical activity initiatives.

  • Get inactive people moving in their local community
  • Build awareness and understanding of the importance of physical activity across all stages of life
  • Improve the system of sport and physical activity by targeting populations at risk of inactivity, across all life stages
  • Delivering ongoing impact through the development of sector capability (Stream 2 only)

What types of programs are we looking for?

Programs that:

  • Activates available research (through delivery) which results in the development of positive physical activity experience for one or more of the targeted population groups.
  • Engages Australians that are currently inactive to increase physical activity levels in local communities. This includes women and girls, early years (age 3-7) – focus on the development of Physical Literacy, youth (ages 13-17), people from rural and remote communities, people with disability, people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, low-medium income households or low socio economic status (SES).
  • Employs behaviour change principles and practices in their implementation and delivery.
  • Addresses common barriers to participation (cost, time, access, delivery method) and employs common drivers (eg: product design, market insights, communication, workforce and delivery method)
  • Activates the “Move it AUS” campaign within target population groups.
  • Directly addresses priority initiatives in Sport 2030.

The Department of Health’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines advise adults aged 18-64 should accumulate 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity or 1.25 to 2.5 hours of vigorous activity each week. Children should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day.

National, State and Local Government sports organisations and physical activity providers are encouraged to apply for the grants, with key targets including inactive communities, increasing activity for women and girls and addressing the barriers related to participation in rural, remote and low socio-economic locations.

The Sports Participation Grants Program follow the launch of the Better Ageing Grants, aimed at Australians over 65, and the Community Sporting Infrastructure Grants, all aimed at helping Australians ‘Move It’ for life – and have the opportunity and facilities to ensure that happens.

Applications for the Sports Participation Grants Program open on Monday 7th January 2019 and close on the 18th of February 2019. Guidelines and details on the application process will be available on Monday 7th January at sportaus.gov.au/participationgrants

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #SocialDeterminants #refreshtheCTGRefresh @KenWyattMP announces 4 year$18.6 million evaluation into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary healthcare : Designed for faster progress in #Closingthegap in health equality.

” A top priority has been placed on ensuring local communities that are involved in receiving and providing primary healthcare have a strong voice throughout the process,’

Federal Minister for Indigenous Health Ken Wyatt

From Dr Evelyn Lewin RACGP NewsGP 

A four-year $18.6 million evaluation into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary healthcare aims to produce sustained improvements in service delivery and health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

A main focus of the Federal Government program will be considering how Commonwealth investment in the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme (IAHP) links with the broader health system.

This is designed to help improve healthcare access and drive faster progress in closing the gap in health equality.

With $3.6 billion being invested in the IAHP across four years (2018–19 to 2021–22), this evaluation will help maximise the value and impact of health funding and guide program design.

The evaluation also aims to learn how well the primary healthcare system is working for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, demonstrate the difference the IAHP makes, and inform efforts to accelerate improvement in health and wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The evaluation will establish up to 20 location-based studies to collect information from various Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services around the country.

‘The project is another important step in assessing the impact on First Peoples’ health from the provision of effective, high-quality, culturally appropriate healthcare,’ Minister Wyatt said.

According to a report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW), The health and welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: 2015, 3% of the Australian population (just over 760,000 people) are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The report states that one in four (24%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15 and over assessed their health as ‘fair or poor’ in 2012–13, making them 2.1 times as likely as non-Indigenous Australians to report such results.

The AIHW report also noted that 39% of the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians health outcomes can be explained by social determinants

NACCHO Aboriginal #RefreshtheCTGRfresh and #FASD2018 @GregHuntMP and @KenWyattMP unveil a new National Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Strategic Action Plan 2018- 2028 and more than $7 million in new funding.

“Success is underpinned by a team effort, with collaboration between families, communities, service providers and governments.

FASD requires a national approach, linking in closely with local solutions. We are acknowledging the scale of the issue in Australia and intensifying efforts to address it.”

The Minister for Indigenous Health and Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt AM, said the Government’s approach to FASD was to invest in activities which have been shown to be effective.

“This plan will show us the way forward to tackle the tragic problem of FASD – guiding future actions for governments, service providers and communities in the priority areas of prevention, screening and diagnosis, support and management, and tailoring needs to communities.

Alongside the plan’s release, I am pleased to announce a new investment of $7.2 million to support activities that align with these priority areas.

This funding will enable work to start immediately and help protect future generations and give children the best start possible.

Minister for Health Greg Hunt said the Government is committed to reducing the impact of FASD on individuals, families and communities.

Download a PDF copy of Plan 

National Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Strategic Action Plan 2018-2028

The forum delegates agreed that there was an urgent need for action to prevent FASD in our Top End communities, and across the Northern Territory.

It is essential that our responses do not stigmatise women or Aboriginal people.

It is important that we don’t lay blame, but instead work together, to support our women and young girls.

Everyone is at risk of FASD, so everyone must be informed the harmful effects of drinking while pregnant.

Our men also need to step up and support our mothers, sisters, nieces and partners, to ensure that we give every child the best chance in life.”

A landmark Top End Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) forum* was held in Darwin on 30-31 May 2018

Read over 25 NACCHO Aboriginal Health and FASD articles published over 6 years

The Federal Government is stepping up its fight against Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) today by unveiling a new national action plan and more than $7 million in new funding.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is the term used to describe the lifelong physical and neurodevelopmental impairments that can result from fetal alcohol exposure.

FASD is a condition that is an outcome of parents either not being aware of the dangers of alcohol use when pregnant or planning a pregnancy, or not being supported to stay healthy and strong during pregnancy.

This funding will enable new work to get underway and build on proven programs – to help protect future generations and give children the best possible start in life.

Key Points of action plan

FASD will be tackled across a range of fronts – including prevention, screening and diagnosis, support and management, and priority populations at increased risk of harm.

PREVENTION: $1.47 million including new consumer resources and general awareness activities – including national FASD Awareness Day, translation of awareness materials into a variety of First Nations languages, and promotion of alcohol consumption guidelines, and bottle shop point of sale warnings.

SCREENING: $1.2 million to support new screening and diagnosis activities, which will include reviewing existing tools and developing new systems and referral pathways, to assist professionals in community settings.

MANAGEMENT: $1.2 million goes to management and support activities, including tailored resources for people working in the education, justice and police sectors.

LOCAL TARGETING: $1.27 million to develop targeted resources, to meet local cultural and community needs.

BUILDING ON SUCCESS: $1.55 million to continue proven activities – with support for Australia’s FASD Hub, a one-stop shop containing the FASD Register and public awareness campaigns.

The Strategic Action Plan also establishes an expert FASD Advisory Group – which will report to the National Drug Strategy Committee on the progress being made, while promoting successful models and highlighting emerging issues and evidence.

From the FASD Workshop in Perth this week 

The plan is committed to breaking FASD’s impact on

  • Encounters with the law
  • Family breakdowns
  • Deaths in custody
  • Suicides and chronic health conditions

FASD requires a national approach, linking in closely with local solutions.

We are acknowledging the scale of the issue in Australia and intensifying efforts to address it.

The activities and actions outlined in the priority areas of the Plan are intended to guide future action – they are not compulsory and can be adopted as needed, along with other interventions and programs, based on local needs.

Activities should be evidence informed and based on best available research and data – actions should be tailored to individual communities and regions.

Since 2014, the Liberal National Government has provided almost $20 million in direct funding to tackle

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #NACCHOagm2018 Report 4 of 5 : Minister @KenWyattMP full text keynote speech launching @AIHW  report report solely focusing on the health and wellbeing of young Indigenous people aged 10–24

” Culturally-appropriate care and safety has a vast role to play in improving the health and wellbeing of our people. In this respect, I want to make special mention of the proven record of the Aboriginal Community Health Organisations in increasing the health and wellbeing of First Peoples by delivering culturally competent care.

I’m pleased to be here at this conference, which aims to make a difference with a simple but sentinel theme of investing in what works, surely a guiding principle for all that we do

Providing strong pointers for this is a new youth report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Equipped with this information, we can connect the dots – what is working well and where we need to focus our energies, invest our expertise, so our young people can reap the benefits of better health and wellbeing “

Minister Ken Wyatt launching AIHW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Adolescent and Youth Health and Wellbeing 2018 report at NACCHO Conference 31 October attended by over 500 ACCHO delegates 

In Noongar language I say, kaya wangju. I acknowledge the traditional custodians on the land on which we meet and join together in acknowledging this fellowship and sharing of ideas.

I acknowledge Elders, past and present and I also want to acknowledge some individuals who have done an outstanding job in the work that you all do and I thank you for the impact that you have at the local community level: John Singer, chair of NACCHO; Pat Turner AM, CEO of NACCHO; Donnella Mills; Dr Dawn Casey; Dr Fadwa Al-Yaman; Professor Sandra Eades; Donna Ah Chee; LaVerne Bellear; Chris Bin Kali; Adrian Carson – and I’m sorry to hear that Adrian’s not with us because of a family loss – Kieran Chilcott; Raylene Foster; Rod Jackson; Vicki Holmes; John Mitchell; Scott Monaghan; Lesley Nelson; Julie Tongs; Olga Havnen.

All of you I have known over a long period of time and the work and commitment that you have made to the pathways that you have taken has been outstanding. I’d also like to acknowledge Dr Tim Howle, Prajali Dangol, and Helen Johnstone, the report authors.

I’m pleased to be here at this conference, which aims to make a difference with a simple but sentinel theme of investing in what works, surely a guiding principle for all that we do.

Providing strong pointers for this is a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

I understand this is the very first study by the Institute that focuses solely on First Nations people aged 10 to 24.

Download a copy of report aihw-ihw-198

As such, it is a critical document.

Firstly because it puts at your fingertips high quality, targeted research about our young people.

Secondly, it gives us a clear understanding of where they are doing well, but also the challenges young people still face.

And thirdly, equipped with this information, we can connect the dots – what is working well and where we need to focus our energies, invest our expertise, so our young people can reap the benefits of better health and wellbeing.

I’m always passionate about all young people having the best start in life and marshalling the human resources necessary so that this care extends right through to early adulthood, laying strong foundations for the rest of their lives.

I want to run through some of the key findings of this report and then talk about Closing the Gap Refresh in our Government’s commitment to and support for our young people. I’m pleased some real positives have been identified.

The report found a majority of the 242,000 young First Australians, or 63 per cent, assessed their health as either excellent or very good. Further, 61 per cent of young people had a connection to country and 69 per cent were involved in cultural events in the previous 12 months.

As the oldest continuous culture, we know that maintaining our connections to country and our cultural traditions is a key to our health and wellbeing. Education is another important factor in our ability to live well and reach our full potential.

In the 20 to 24 age group, the number of young people who have completed Year 12 or the equivalent has increased from 47 per cent in 2006 to 65 per cent in 2016. Smoking rates have declined and there is also an increase in the number of young people who have never taken up smoking in the first place.

Eighty-three per cent of respondents reported they had access to a GP and between 2010 and 2016, the proportion of young people aged 15 to 24 who had an Indigenous health check – that’s the MBS Item 715 – almost quadrupled from 6 per cent to 22 per cent. These are some of the encouraging results, but challenges remain.

In 2016, 42 per cent of young First Australians were not engaged in education, employment or training. Although there has been a decline in smoking rates for young people, one in three aged between 15 and 24 was still smoking daily.

Sixty-two per cent of our young people aged 10 to 24 had a longer-term health challenge such as respiratory disease, eye and vision problems, or mental health conditions. These statistics inform us, and, critically in the work we are doing, point to an evidence-based pathway forward.

I know you’ll be interested to know that the Prime Minister has now confirmed the refresh of the Closing the Gap will be considered at the next COAG meeting on 12 December.

Closing the Gap requires us to raise our sights from a focus on problems and deficits to actively supporting the full participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the social and economic life of the nation. There is a need to focus on the long term and on future generations to strengthen prevention and early intervention initiatives that help build strong families and communities.

The Government has hosted 29 national roundtables from November 2017 to August 2018 in each state and territory capital city and major regional centres. We’ve also met with a significant number of stakeholders. In total, we reached more than 1200 participants. More than 170 written submissions were also received on the public discussion paper about Refresh.

The Refresh is expected to settle on 10 to 15 targets. These targets are aimed at building our strengths and successes to support intergenerational change. Existing targets on life expectancy, Year 12 enrolment, and early childhood will continue.

Action plans will set out the concrete steps each government will take to achieve the new Closing the Gap targets, and we have to hold state and territory governments to account. The plans to be developed in the first half of 2019 will be informed by the lived experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, community leaders, service providers, and peak bodies.

Dedicated and continuous dialogue along with meaningful engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities is fundamental to ensuring the refreshed agenda and revised targets meets the expectations and aspirations of First Australians and the nation as a whole.

These actions will be backed by positive policy changes in both prevention and treatment, such as the introduction from tomorrow of the new Medicare Benefits Schedule item to fund delivery of remote kidney dialysis by nurses and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and practitioners, further improving access to dialysis on country.

The COAG health ministers in Alice Springs just recently on 3 August met with Indigenous leaders and asked for their views on a range of issues, and all of the leaders in attendance had an incredible impact on each state and territory Minister.

I know that because I attended the Ministers’ dinner later in which the discussion came to the very issues that were raised by our leaders from all over the nation.

And COAG, the next morning, made the decision that Aboriginal health will be a priority on the COAG agenda for all future meetings, and that whoever the Minister for Indigenous Health is will be ex officio on the Health Ministers’ Forum to inform and to engage in a dialogue around the key issues that were identified, not only by the leadership, but by the evidence of the work that we do; and there are six national priorities now that COAG will turn its mind to, the COAG health ministers.

Over the next decade, the Australian Government has committed $10 billion to improve the health of First Australians.

This is a substantial sum of money, but we are only going to achieve better health and wellbeing outcomes if we work and walk together. We have to build mutual trust and respect in all that we do, and I include in this every state and territory system.

We have to increase cultural capability and responsibility in all health settings and services. We must support and encourage the development of local and family-based approaches for health. As I’ve said before, we need every one of our men and women to take the lead and perpetuate our proud traditions that have kept us healthy for 65,000 years.

Culturally-appropriate care and safety has a vast role to play in improving the health and wellbeing of our people. In this respect, I want to make special mention of the proven record of the Aboriginal Community Health Organisations in increasing the health and wellbeing of First Peoples by delivering culturally competent care.

And while they’re widely canvassing the importance of supporting the growth and potential of children and young adults, I would like to make special mention of the support required for our senior people as well, our Elders.

We must ensure that all older First Nations Australians who are eligible for age or disability support can access the care they deserve; either through the My Aged Care System or the National Disability Insurance Scheme. With a holistic grassroots approach of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, I believe ACCHOs should work to ensure that our older, Indigenous leaders receive assessments and support options that are available.

In August, as I indicated, I met with Indigenous leaders as part of the COAG Health Council Roundtable. Coming out of this was not only a resolution to make First Peoples health a continuing council priority, but a commitment to develop a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Medical Workforce plan. I see this as being more about Aboriginal doctors, nurses and health workers working on country and in our towns and cities. It’s also about building capacity of health professionals across the entire health system to provide culturally safe services.

I was talking with Shelly Strickland some time ago, and she asked me a couple of questions, and I said to her: watch the movie Hidden Figures.

And at the time, I know she left me thinking what the hell is he talking about and why would you recommend a movie? When you look at that movie, it was about Afro-American women who put man on the moon.

The movie is based on the work of the women who gave the scientists the solutions to putting a rocket into space, landing man on the moon, and bringing them back; it was an untold story. And there are multiple layers when you look at that movie of overt racism. They were not allowed to use the same toilets as their white counterparts, they had to run two car parks away in any condition to use a toilet.

When something went wrong, people looked at them and saw them as the fault. But what they did very superbly was take their knowledge, apply science, apply the thinking that was needed, and demonstrated mathematically that man could land on the moon.

Not one NASA, non-Indigenous or non-American Afro-American had reached that solution. Those four women – I think it was four – provided the solution, but their story was never told. And they were the true leaders of space adventure and discovery. If they had not done the thinking and the tackling of the issue, then the solution would never have been reached. There are parallels in Aboriginal health.

We think of GP super clinics – they were modelled on our AMSs, about a holistic approach. There are other elements of what you do, and what we as a people do, that health systems have taken note of. But what we have to be better at is sharing where we have leadership.

I look at the work that Donna Murray is doing with Allied Health Staff – the outcomes that she achieves, they are stunning.

The work which she puts into helping make the journey a positive journey achieves outcomes that are disproportional to the work that we do as a government in many other areas in mainstream.

And we do lead – and if you haven’t seen that movie, you have to look at it and think of the parallels that our people went through. But, I think the other most salient point is, is that it was the Afro-American women who were the backbone of the space and science discovery program of America.

And I would like to acknowledge our women as well. I think the NAIDOC theme is one of the best themes I have seen in a long time; and I’ve been around a while. And I see it in health where our women play a very pivotal role and are the backbone of the frontline services that are delivered. Men always gravitate to the top; we tend to do that.

But, I do see that the actual hands-on work is done by our women, and so I thank you for that, because the progress we’ve made is because of the way in which you, like those Afro-American women, have helped shape the destiny and future. And I think of some of the people that I’ve known over the years who would be in a similar category.

And certainly, I’ll single out one because she was a great friend and taught me a lot, was Naomi Myers, whose leadership and dedication was parallel to that of the women in that movie Hidden Figures.

While the Medical Health Workforce Plan will be positive for Aboriginal Torres Islander jobs across Australia, it has particular potential for tackling chronic disease and improving the lives of our people in remote communities.

We are all well aware of the importance of health and wellbeing of our young children. There is ample evidence that investment in child and family health supports the health and development of children in the first five years; setting strong foundations for life.

And Kerry Arabena’s work certainly epitomises that along with many others. Good health and learning behaviours set in the early years continue throughout a young person’s life. Young people are more likely to remain engaged in education and make healthy choices when they’re happy, healthy and resilient, and supported by strong families and communities that have access to services and support their needs.

Connected Beginnings program is using a collective impact placed based approach to prepare children for the transition to school so they are able to learn and thrive. The program is providing children and their families with access to cohesive and coordinated support and services in their communities.

The Australian Nurse Family Partnership Program targets mothers from early pregnancy through to the child’s second birthday, and aims to improve pregnancy outcomes by helping women engage in good preventive health practices, supporting parents to improve their child’s health and development, and helping parents develop a vision for their own child’s future; including continuing education and work. Increasingly, research is also highlighting the long term value of investing in youth.

This investment benefits young people now as they become adults, and as they then have children of their own.

So I want to focus on some of the things that we are doing that is important, the take up of MBS 175, access to MBS items.

We’re improving the Practice Incentives Program, Indigenous Health Incentive which promotes best practice and culturally safe chronic disease care. We are reducing preventable chronic disease caused by poor nutrition through the EON Thriving Community programs in remote communities.

We’re tackling smoking rates through the Tackling Indigenous Smoking Program; and encouragingly, youth had the biggest drop. And we’re prioritising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health in the first round of funding under the Million Minds Research Mission.

More broadly, for our First Australians and the wider population, we are investing in services for the one in four who experience mental illness each year.

And this also includes through Minister Hunt funding to headspace Centres, Orygen, beyondblue’s new school-based initiative BU, Digital Mental Health child, and youth mental health research and working alongside Greg has been a tremendous opportunity, because I’ve been able to get into his ear about the need for him also to consider our people in key initiatives that he launches, and he’s been a great ally.

And our work on the 10-year National Action Plan for Children’s Health continues. I want to continue setting strong foundations for making sure our people have access to culturally safe and appropriate health services.

Let me also just go quickly to the report. I had a look at the report online, and I was impressed with the way in which the writers – and FAD were in AIHW and have pulled together this one and have taken elements out of the two major better health reports.

And it was great to see our profiling, in some cases being better, in some cases being challenging. But this is a good guide for all of us to use and I commend everybody who’s been involved, and it gives me great pleasure to launch the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Adolescent and Youth Health and Wellbeing 2018 report.

So, congratulations to all of those involved and congratulations to each and every one of you who have contributed to this report in the data that you provide, the work that you do but your commitment to our people. Thank you.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #ElderCare funding up to $46 million : Applications close on 26 Nov 2018: Donna Ah Chee CEO @CAACongress welcomes @KenWyattMP announcement of increased funding to assist Aboriginal people growing old with their families in their own communities


Improvements in Aboriginal health have more of our people living into old age than there were even a decade ago and necessitates a need to meet the increasing demand for these types of services.

Being on country as you grow old is a very strong cultural obligation for Aboriginal people and for too long our people have had to move into population centres to access services.

We now have two major recent initiatives that will help our older people stay on country. Firstly, the announcement of the new Medicare item for nurse assisted dialysis on country and now this announcement from Minister Wyatt.

This continuing connection to country is vital for the spiritual foundation and quality of life of Aboriginal people.

It is a key part of keeping our older people healthy and happy.

Our people have a very strong desire to be on country when they die and announcements like this will help to make sure that people grow old and die on country and with family. We know that social isolation is very damaging to older people’s health and this will ensure people remain socially and culturally connected.

While keeping people at home with aged care packages is a key goal there are some very successful aged care facilities on country at places like Mutitjulu. This also is important for people who need this level of care

Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (Congress) Chief Executive Officer, Donna Ah Chee, welcomes the announcement of increased funding to assist Aboriginal people growing old in a well-supported way, with their families in their own communities

Originally published Talking Aged Care 

Photos above Ken Wyatt meeting with the elders from the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation in Roebourne WA 2017

Read NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Elder Care Articles HERE

Ageing First Australians living remotely will now have increased access to residential and home aged care services close to family, home or country following an announcement by Federal Government to expand their Budget initiative – the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care (NATSIFAC) program

The $105.7 million Government commitment, which will benefit more than 900 additional First Australians, is set to be expanded progressively over the next four years.

Federal Minister for Senior Australians, Aged Care and Indigenous Health Ken Wyatt announced the first round of expansion funding under the program – up to $46 million – to increase the number of home care places delivered through NATSIFAC program in remote and very remote areas.

“Aged care providers are invited to apply for funding under the expanded NATSIFAC program’s first grants round, which is designed to improve access to culturally-safe aged services in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,” the Minister explains.

“The program funds service providers to provide flexible, culturally-appropriate aged care to older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people close to home and community.

“Service providers can deliver a mix of residential and home care services in accordance with the needs of the community.”

Minister Wyatt reiterates the importance of home care in enabling senior Australians to receive aged care to live independently in their own homes and familiar surroundings for as long as possible, and says the initiative is all about “flexibility and stability”.

“It is improving access to aged care for older people living in remote and very remote locations, and enables more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to receive culturally-safe aged  care services close to family, home or country, rather than having to relocate hundreds of kilometres away,” he says.

“At the same time, it helps build the viability of remote aged care providers through funding certainty.”

Applicants can apply for new or additional home care places under the NATSIFAC program or approved providers can apply to convert their existing Home Care Packages, administered under the Aged Care Act 1997, to home care places under the NATSIFAC program.

Applications close on 26 November 2018 with more details about the expansion round available online.

GO ID: GO1606
Agency:Department of Health

Close Date & Time:

26-Nov-2018 2:00 pm (ACT Local Time)
Primary Category:
101001 – Aged Care

Publish Date:

4-Oct-2018

Location:

ACT, NSW, VIC, SA, WA, QLD, NT, TAS

Selection Process:

Targeted or Restricted Competitive

Description:

This Grant Opportunity is to increase the number of home care places under the NATSIFAC Program in remote and very remote Australia (geographical locations defined as Modified Monash Model (MMM) 6 and 7).

Eligibility:

To be eligible you must be one of the following:

Type A:

Existing NATSIFAC Program providers delivering services in geographical locations MMM 6-7

Type B:

Approved providers currently delivering Commonwealth funded home care services (administered under the Aged Care Act 1997) to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in geographical locations MMM 6-7, with up to 50 home care recipients per service, for conversion to the NATSIFAC Program

Type C:

Organisations not currently delivering aged care services in geographical locations MMM 6-7, however but existing infrastructure and the capability to deliver aged care services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Total Amount Available (AUD):

$46,000,000.00

Instructions for Lodgement:

Applications must be submitted to the Department of Health by the closing date and time.

Other Instructions:

$46 million (GST exclusive) over 4 years, 2018-2022.

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Workforce and Training News : Our peak bodies @KenWyattMP and @CPMC_Aust Building the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce and strengthening alliances to address the health priorities of Indigenous Australians.

 

” NACCHO stresses the importance of continuing to grow the depth and number of Indigenous people in the health sector.

Improving the health of our people can only occur through partnership, and integrating health care providers with community controlled services is the key.

Ms Patricia Turner, CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)

 “Background :  On 31 May 2017 the Australian Government joined with the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges, the Australian Indigenous Doctor’s Association and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation as partners to improve the good health and wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Focussing on Tier Three of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan, partners are working in collaboration to improve system performance by focussing on two key comprehensive areas for collective strategic action: increase the health workforce and embed cultural safety and competency in the system

Download a full copy of the signed agreement 

Signed Agreement

Australia’s peak bodies for Indigenous health and specialist medicine have reaffirmed their commitment to working with the Australian Government as partners in reducing the current gap in health outcomes and life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians under the Closing the Gap strategy.

Introducing the forum held on Wednesday 12th September at Parliament House, Minister Ken Wyatt AM, welcomed the opportunity to continue discussions under the National Partnership, highlighting the Australian Government’s commitment to Closing the Gap as the platform for improving the health and wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The decision by Australian Health Ministers through the Council of Australian Governments Health Council to develop a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Plan by 2019 was welcomed by the collaborative partners.

Discussing the key areas of the partnership, cultural safety and access to services remain top priorities.

The Chair of the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges (CPMC) Dr Philip Truskett AM reported that the key focus area of increasing the Indigenous specialist medical workforce by focussing on support, mentoring, role modelling was core business for Australia’s specialist Medical Colleges.

Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt AM said the collaborative group was ideally placed to play an essential role in the COAG Health Council resolution to develop a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Medical Workforce Plan – to ensure more Aboriginal doctors, nurses and health workers on country and in our towns and cities, local warriors for health among our families and communities.

Dr Kali Hayward, President Australian Indigenous Doctor’s Association (AIDA) reflected on building culturally appropriate health workforce and the need to discover champions in the system to support training.

Ms Janine Mohammed, CEO Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM) highlighted the merit in greater coordination of services to deliver improvements in health outcomes.

Mr Karl Briscoe, CEO, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers Association (NATSIHWA) highlighted the importance of building the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce and strengthening alliances to address the health priorities of Indigenous Australians.

All partners acknowledged a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Plan will form the framework for furthering collective action to increase the Indigenous health workforce and embed a cultural safety capability in Australia’s health system.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alert : Federal Indigenous Affairs Department latest shakeup brings in a former Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Ray Griggs

I am honoured and excited to be asked to lead a dedicated, talented and committed team of people working issues of such importance to our community.

I am very much looking forward to starting in the role and being able to bring my range of leadership and organisational skills to complement the team.

Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Ray Griggs has been called back by the government from his barely two-month-long retirement to take over from Andrew Tongue and will commence as the new Indigenous Affairs boss in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet on October 2.

” We have done a lot of work to integrate the program management and delivery functions of Indigenous Affairs into PM&C. Many people at the most basic level of our corporate services have done placements out on the ground to understand the nature of what it is like to be a government business manager or an Indigenous engagement officer out in remote Australia.

Some people working in back function actually used to work in Indigenous Affairs, so we have moved some people around.

At the level of policy, we are participating in deliberations of policymaking across government. We have a standing item with the heads of department — the secretaries have a standing item on Indigenous Affairs, so we have the opportunity to interact with all the agencies.

As far as skills go, we inherited all the people working on Indigenous-specific work in all of the departments. Those people maintain their links to those departments, and we encourage that as part of our work.”

Andrew Tongue, who has been Associate Secretary, Indigenous Affairs since 2015 has from this month begun an extended sabbatical from the public service. He is expected to take up a new role on his return in 2020.

As reported by the Mandarin

A shakeup inside Australia’s federal Indigenous Affairs bureaucracy will see its top official, Andrew Tongue, replaced with the recently retired Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Ray Griggs.

The appointment follows a Royal Australian Navy career that has spanned 40 years, the last seven of which on Australia’s Defence Committee as Chief of Navy and most recently Vice Chief of the Defence Force until his retirement in July.

Griggs, whose VCDF portfolio included Indigenous employment and outreach, told The Mandarin he was “honoured and excited to be asked to lead a dedicated, talented and committed team of people working issues of such importance to our community.

While former service chiefs typically remain as government advisors long after their active service, it is rare for the government to appoint a former chief to a full time non-ceremonial role. Liz Cosson, Secretary Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and Duncan Lewis, former Secretary of the Department of Defence, both reached the rank of Major General (one rank below the service chiefs) in the Australian Army before joining the Australian Public Service full time.

From ‘dysfunctional’ to ’empowering communities’

Today’s Indigenous Affairs Group is unrecognisable from when Tongue took over from Liza Carroll, the first Associate Secretary following then self-styled ‘Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs’ Tony Abbott’s restructure that brought several line agency functions into PM&C. The restructure quadruped its staff footprint overnight.

The group has seen an 80% turnover of its management layer in the last three years — those that stayed were largely the executives who started at or have spent time in regional offices.

Researchers who studied the then newly amalgamated departmentfound it had resorted to “dysfunctional” practices while it attempted to reconcile contradictory functions and establishing multiple sources of advice to Cabinet from within a single department.

Such blurring of lines, while detrimental at the time to Indigenous policy, did lead to much stronger understanding of the role of boundary spanners in government, and improved practices.

Tongue later addressed how they turned it around, declaring “PM&C capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time”:

The group also brought in more senior leaders who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, including its Deputy Secretary, Professor Ian Anderson — a Palawa man, who wears an earring, ran an Aboriginal health service, and had a long successful career as an academic with the University of Melbourne.

Education, businesses key to empowerment strategy

A substantial shift in approach followed. Closing the Gap, with a rhetoric of deficit, failure and poverty, was replaced with Closing the Gap (revamped edition), with a rhetoric of strength, success and economic empowerment.

Dr Martin Parkinson, Secretary of PM&C, argued last year, on the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum that led to the establishment of Commonwealth Indigenous Affairs, that they had reached an “inflection point”.

In the span of one generation, healthcare went from nowhere to expected as a basic right, Indigenous infant mortality rate has more than halved, more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are enrolling in university than ever before, and for university graduates from an Indigenous background, the employment gap has closed.

The challenges that remain, Parkinson argued, appear to related not to indigeneity but simple poverty and remoteness — if so, the “may require different interventions than those which we have historically directed towards Indigenous Australia, particularly remote Australia.”

“So the task for the APS, and my Department in particular, is to differentiate between the sources of challenge and disadvantage, and to recognise the diversity in both aspiration and need across the country.

“We cannot do that with a one-size-fits-all approach, which is why working with empowered communities on place-based solutions has to be a key part of our approach.”

Beyond progress on closing the employment gap via education, the other significant success has been the Indigenous Procurement Policy. The Commonwealth now spends approximately $300 million a year on Indigenous businesses, having snowballed from $60 million some four years ago and just $6.2 million in 2012-13.

Public servants in the regional network, however, are still often occupied less by a burgeoning bourgeois, and more by how to address basic deficiencies, for example menstrual products in remote schools and communities.

The 10-year remote housing agreement has also expired, along with funding, so a stop-gap measure was introduced in the last budget to support the 21% of the Indigenous population in the Northern Territory that, due to such severely overcrowded houses in remote communities, are considered homeless.

Abbott sets his own targets

NACCHO Image library Abbott and Griggs 2014

The political climate around the government’s response to the Uluru Statement, the Referendum Council and managing former prime ministers, well… one former prime minister, might be more challenging for the Indigenous Affairs group’s new boss.

Griggs will seemingly be reporting to one current Prime Minister, a Minister for Indigenous Affairs also in Cabinet, several junior ministers with overlapping jurisdiction, notably the Minister for Indigenous Health, and now the Special Envoy for Indigenous Affairs.

Tony Abbott has decided to tackle poor school attendance rates in remote communities as part of his Special Envoy role, after reportedly being given “free rein” by Prime Minister Scott Morrison. He aims to deliver his first report on progress before the end of the year. There are only five more sitting weeks before the end of the parliamentary year.

Indigenous Affairs minister Nigel Scullion did not respond to an invitation to discuss the shakeup in the portfolio.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health joins other health peak bodies @AMAPresident @RACGP @RuralDoctorsAus @NRHAlliance welcoming the reappointment of the health ministry team but #ruralhealth no longer a distinct portfolio

 ” The Chairperson of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) John Singer today joined other peak health bodies welcoming the election of Scott Morrison MP as the 30th Prime Minister of Australia and reappointments of Greg Hunt MP as the Federal Minister for Health, Ken Wyatt AM MP as the Federal Minister for Indigenous Health, and Senator Bridget McKenzie as the Federal Minister for Regional Services. “

See Part 1 NACCHO Media 

“With an election due in the first half of 2019, new Prime Minister Scott Morrison has made the right call in leaving Health in the safe hands of Greg Hunt.

A fourth Health Minister in five years would have undermined the priority that Australians place on good health policy,”

AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone see in full part 2 Below

‘Health is an integral part of any Governments agenda and I look forward to working with Minister Hunt on the future direction of healthcare in Australia,’ 

Minister Hunt has worked closely with the RACGP over the past two years, achieving positive results, including investment into general practice research, the removal of the Medicare freeze and the return of general practice training to the RACGP.’

Dr Nespolon told newsGP see in full Part 3 Below

It was only on Friday last week that rural health sector stakeholders met in Canberra, for a meeting convened by the (former) Minister for Rural Health, to discuss the issues and solutions for achieving better health outcomes for rural Australia’, 

The key message of the Roundtable meeting was very clear. The health and wellbeing issues faced by rural and remote Australia cannot be addressed using market-driven solutions that work in the cities.’

We need a genuine, high level commitment from the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments to deliver a new National Rural Health Strategy that will address the unacceptable gap in health outcomes for rural Australians. This is not the time to be relegating Rural Health to the back burner’.

National Rural Health Alliance Chair, Tanya Lehmann see in full Part 4 below

With Minister McKenzie receiving an expanded set of other portfolio responsibilities, we are worried that the significant level of focus she has given to Rural Health to-date will, due to her increased workload in other

There has never been a more important time for Rural Health to retain a distinct portfolio.

As a sector, Rural Health continues to face significant challenges, but also significant opportunities.

Rural Australians continue to have poorer health outcomes than their city counterparts, and poorer access to healthcare services.

There continues to be an urgent need to deliver more doctors, nurses and allied health professionals to rural and remote communities, with the advanced training required to meet the healthcare needs of those communities.”

Rural Doctors President, Dr Adam Coltzau see Part 5 below in full 

Part 1 NACCHO

I was very pleased to hear Mr Morrison’s at his first media conference after winning the leadership say that chronic disease was one of his top three priorities as he  ” was distressed by the challenge of chronic illness in this country, and those who suffer from it ” Mr Singer said from Hobart where he was hosting Ochre Day a National Aboriginal Men’s Health Conference opened by the Minister Ken Wyatt

“ Chronic disease is responsible for a major part of the life expectancy gap and  accounts for some two thirds of the premature deaths among our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

A large part of the burden of disease is due to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic respiratory disease and chronic kidney disease. With the Prime Ministers increased support our 302 ACCHO clinics can be reduce by earlier identification, and management of risk factors and the disease itself.

Recently I attended the Council of Australian Governments Health Council meeting in Alice Springs, when it made two critical decisions to advance First Nations health. Firstly, it has made Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health a national priority, including by inviting the Indigenous Health Minister to all future meetings.

The Council also resolved to create a national Indigenous Health and Medical Workforce Plan, to focus on significantly increasing the number of First Nations doctors, nurses and health professionals.

However, NACCHO would also share our disappointment with Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) that Rural Health, while still being an area of responsibility for Minister McKenzie, will no longer have its own distinct portfolio under the revamped Coalition Government . ”

Minister Ken Wyatt Statement

I am honoured to be appointed as the Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care and Minister for Indigenous Health in the Morrison Government. My focus will be building on the strong foundations we have in place through the 2018–19 Budget to deliver better outcomes for senior Australians and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

We are investing an additional $5 billion in aged care over the next five years — a record amount — and our investments in the health of First Australians will be more targeted and based on what we know works. Our senior Australians are among our country’s greatest treasures.

They have earned the right to be cared for with dignity through our aged care system and this is something the Morrison Government is absolutely committed to delivering.

The aged care reform agenda we are implementing has already delivered senior Australians greater choice in the care they receive, and greater scrutiny of the sector — something that will be reinforced by the new independent Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission that will open its doors on 1 January 2019.

My administrative responsibilities will not change in the Morrison Government. However, the change to the Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care reflects my focus on taking a broader, whole-of-government approach to advancing the interests of senior Australians.

Part 2 AMA 

AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, said today that the AMA is pleased that Greg Hunt has been re-appointed Minister for Health.

Dr Bartone said that the health portfolio is broad and complex, and it takes time for Ministers to get fully across all the issues and get acquainted with all the stakeholders.

“Greg Hunt has been a very consultative Minister who has displayed great knowledge and understanding of health policy and the core elements of the health system,” Dr Bartone said.

“In his time as Minister, he has presided over the gradual lifting of the Medicare freeze and the major reviews of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and the private health insurance (PHI).

“And he has acknowledged that major reform and investment is needed in general practice.

“These are all complex matters that would have been challenging for a new Minister.

“It takes months for new Ministers to gain command of the depth and breadth of the Health portfolio.

“With an election due in the first half of 2019, new Prime Minister Scott Morrison has made the right call in leaving Health in the safe hands of Greg Hunt.

“A fourth Health Minister in five years would have undermined the priority that Australians place on good health policy,” Dr Bartone said.

Dr Bartone said that the AMA looked forward to continuing its strong working relationship with the Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care, Ken Wyatt, who is also Minister for Indigenous Health.

The AMA has been advised that Senator Bridget McKenzie will retain Rural Health as part of her Regional Services, Sport, Local Government, and Decentralisation portfolio.

Part 3 RACGP 

Dr Nespolon believes Minster Hunt understands the fundamental role primary care plays in the wellbeing of all Australians and will continue to make general practice a focal point of Government health policies.

‘Health is an integral part of any Governments agenda and I look forward to working with Minister Hunt on the future direction of healthcare in Australia,’ Dr Nespolon told newsGP.

‘Minister Hunt has worked closely with the RACGP over the past two years, achieving positive results, including investment into general practice research, the removal of the Medicare freeze and the return of general practice training to the RACGP.’

Dr Nespolon said he is particularly keen to discuss matters that lie at the heart of general practice.

‘The RACGP will continue to work with Minister Hunt on our core patient priority areas, including preventive health and chronic disease management,’ Dr Nespolon said.

Minister Hunt was re-appointed to his position on the frontbench following a cabinet reshuffle that took place in the wake of last week’s Liberal Party leadership challenge. Ken Wyatt was also re-appointed as the Federal Minister for Indigenous Health and for Aged Care.

Part 3 National Rural Health Alliance 

The Ministerial line-up announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison has a glaring omission.

At a time when great swathes of rural and remote Australia are experiencing the impact of devastating drought conditions, including significant impacts on the health and wellbeing of our communities, the key portfolio of Rural Health is nowhere in sight.

The new Morrison Ministry does not include a Minister for Rural Health. That key responsibility was on Friday held by the Deputy Leader of the Nationals, Senator Bridget McKenzie. By Sunday it was gone.

‘It was only on Friday last week that rural health sector stakeholders met in Canberra, for a meeting convened by the (former) Minister for Rural Health, to discuss the issues and solutions for achieving better health outcomes for rural Australia’, National Rural Health Alliance Chair, Tanya Lehmann said.

‘The key message of the Roundtable meeting was very clear. The health and wellbeing issues faced by rural and remote Australia cannot be addressed using market-driven solutions that work in the cities.’

‘We need a genuine, high level commitment from the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments to deliver a new National Rural Health Strategy that will address the unacceptable gap in health outcomes for rural Australians. This is not the time to be relegating Rural Health to the back burner’.

‘We call upon the Morrison Government to demonstrate it is fair dinkum about improving the health and wellbeing of rural Australians by reinstating Rural Health as a Ministerial portfolio and committing to the development of a National Rural Health Strategy’, Ms Lehmann said.

The Alliance welcomes the re-appointment of the Hon Greg Hunt MP, Federal Minister for Health and the Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, Minister for Aged Care and Minister for Indigenous Health, and acknowledges their continuing contribution to addressing the health and aged care needs of all Australians. We also welcome Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie’s contribution to regional services, sport, Local Government and decentralisation, however we remain concerned that rural health, as a separate Ministerial portfolio has been overlooked.

‘While we understand Minister McKenzie will continue to be responsible for Rural Health — and we very much look forward to continuing to work with her — we are concerned that this critical area will no longer have its own dedicated portfolio’, Ms Lehmann said.

Background:

The National Rural Health Alliance is the peak body for rural, regional and remote health. The Alliance has 35-member organisations representing the peak health professional disciplines (eg doctors, nurses and midwives, allied health professionals, dentists, pharmacists, optometrists, paramedics, health students, chiropractors and health service managers), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health peak organisations, hospital sector peak organisations, national rurally focused health service providers, consumers and carers.

Some of the worst health outcomes are experienced by those living in very remote areas. Those people are:

  • 1.4 times more likely to die than those in major cities
  • More likely to be a daily smoker, obese and drink at risky levels
  • Up to four times as likely to be hospitalised

Part 5 Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) 

Ministerial reappointments welcomed, loss of Rural Health portfolio not

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed the reappointment of Greg Hunt MP as the Federal Minister for Health, Ken Wyatt AM MP as the Federal Minister for Indigenous Health, and Senator Bridget McKenzie as the Federal Minister for Regional Services.

However, the Association is disappointed that Rural Health, while still being an area of responsibility for Minister McKenzie, will no longer have its own distinct portfolio under the revamped Coalition Government.

“We strongly welcome the continuation of the federal health leadership team under the new Prime Minister, Scott Morrison” RDAA President, Dr Adam Coltzau, said.

“The Coalition has been making significant progress on important health policy issues, and looking forward there remain big reform agendas to be delivered in the health policy space, so it makes sense to have continued stable leadership here

“While we understand Minister McKenzie will continue to be responsible for Rural Health — and we very much look forward to continuing to work with her — we are concerned that this critical area will no longer have its own dedicated portfolio.

“With Minister McKenzie receiving an expanded set of other portfolio responsibilities, we are worried that the significant level of focus she has given to Rural Health to-date will, due to her increased workload in other

“There has never been a more important time for Rural Health to retain a distinct portfolio.

“As a sector, Rural Health continues to face significant challenges, but also significant opportunities.

“Rural Australians continue to have poorer health outcomes than their city counterparts, and poorer access to healthcare services.

“There continues to be an urgent need to deliver more doctors, nurses and allied health professionals to rural and remote communities, with the advanced training required to meet the healthcare needs of those communities.

“Retaining Rural Health as a distinct portfolio would assist in progressing solutions in this area.

“For example, the development of a National Rural Generalist Pathway — to deliver more of the next generation of doctors to the bush with the advanced skills needed in rural settings — would benefit greatly from continuing to receive the strong political focus of a dedicated Rural Health portfolio.

“There also continues to be an urgent need to make the most of new technologies like telehealth, to broaden access to healthcare for rural and remote Australians, in particular with their own GP.

“We strongly urge Prime Minister Morrison to consider retaining Rural Health as a dedicated portfolio under Minister McKenzie’s stewardship, to ensure the focus can remain firmly on delivering the best healthcare outcomes for rural and remote Australians.