NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: COVID-19 vaccine rollout starts today

feature tile Mon 22.2.21 text 'Australia's keenly awated COVID-19 vaccine rollout has officially begun', gloved hand with syringe in vial

COVID-19 vaccine rollout starts today

Australia’s keenly awaited COVID vaccine rollout has officially begun, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison among a select group to receive the first jabs in a televised event yesterday. Most of us will be waiting a while yet — the rollout of the Pfizer vaccine to front-line health and quarantine workers and aged-care staff officially begins today. The government has set a deadline of October to vaccinate all adults in Australia, mostly with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

To view Coronavirus updates LIVE: COVID vaccine rollout begins throughout Australia as Scott Morrison, CMO Paul Kelly receive shot click here.

NSW frontline health workers receives COVID-19 Vaccination aa the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Vaccination Hub

NSW frontline health and emergency workers are amongst the first in NSW to get the Covid-19 vaccination at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Vaccination Hub. Image source: The Sydney Morning Herald.

Birthing on country can reduce stillbirth

In Australia, there are six stillbirths to every 1000 births per year. Among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, the death toll is more than twice as high, with 13 in every 1000. Allowing women to give birth within their communities could help reduce the stillbirth rate among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers, but even culturally safe pregnancy care can help.

For 30 years, the Waminda’s Minga and Gudjara (mother and child) clinic on the South Coast of NSW has provided just that. It’s a busy clinic, according to midwife Mel Briggs. The Gumbanyngirr and Dharawl woman says it helps provide vital continuity of care for mothers throughout their pregnancy, birth, and through the child’s infancy. “It creates really good outcomes for the women, their babies and their families,” she said.

To view the article in full click here.

portrait of Mel Briggs, Waminda midwife against Aboriginal painting of silhouette of hands in a circle surrounded by Aboriginal circles in dots

Mel Briggs said supporting birthing on country practices would lead to better outcomes for mothers and babies. Image source: Brisbane Times.

Long overdue decriminalisation of public drunkenness 

The Victorian Parliament has joined almost every other Australian state in decriminalising public drunkenness. The move comes decades after it was first recommended by the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, and will allow for public drunkenness to be treated as a health issue rather than a crime in Victoria. The family of  Yorta Yorta woman Tanya Day who in 2017 died in police custody after being arrested for public drunkenness, have called it an historic day that was “tinged with much heartache and sadness”.

In a statement released through the Human Rights Law Centre, the Day family praised the move but said the work isn’t finished. The Day family said “It has been a long road for us to get to this point and it is devastating to know that if these racist laws were abolished 30 years ago, our Mum and others would still be with us today. Our lives will never be the same, but we move forward together to continue to seek justice for our mother. While this reform is a step in the right direction, the Andrews Government must now back their words with action and work with Aboriginal communities to implement a culturally safe and best practice public health response ahead of their deadline. This includes outreach services, more training for first responders and the implementation of sobering up services.”

To access the National Indigenous Times article in full click here and to view the Victorian State Government’s media release regarding the new legislation click here.

Tanya Day's family & supporters taking part in a smoking ceremony ahead of the 2019 inquest into her death in custody, 3 men & a woman holding portrait photo of Tanya Day

Tanya Day’s family and supporters taking part in a smoking ceremony ahead of the 2019 inquest into her death. Image source: The Age.

Ochre Ribbon keeps spotlight on family violence

February 12 marked the beginning of Ochre Ribbon Week, a week dedicated to ending domestic and family violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children. Now in its sixth year, Ochre Ribbon Week was established in Melbourne as an initiative of the National Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service, which comprised of 14 Aboriginal family violence services across Australia.

One of the leading voices in the Ochre Ribbon Week campaign is Djirra CEO Antionette Baybrook. Djirra works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children in Victoria to prevent and eliminate domestic and family violence. “It’s always important to keep in the front and centre of people’s minds, that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are 34 times more likely to be hospitalised because of family violence and we are 10 times more likely to die [from family violence],” said Braybrook. “Violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women is a national emergency.”

To view the National Indigenous Times article in full click here.

banner I support Ochre Ribbon Week End family violence against Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander women & children. don't silence the violence, portrait of Djirra CEO Antionette Braybrook

Djirra CEO Antionette Braybrook. Image source: National Indigenous Times.

Psychiatrists essential in suicide prevention

At a time of increasing public interest and government focus on the reduction of suicide, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) taskforce on suicide prevention has released a new position statement. The new statement, Suicide prevention – the role of psychiatry, acknowledges suicide is complex but there is substantial evidence regarding clinical and social measures which can help to prevent suicide. RANZCP President, Associate Professor, John Allan, explained that the taskforce has brought together leading psychiatrists across Australia and NZ in the field of suicide prevention, along with people with lived experience. “Suicide is one of the most troubling and difficult aspects of the work we do as psychiatrists. There is no simple answer to why someone has taken or wishes to take their life.”

To view the RANZCP’s media release click here.

Aboriginal man with head in hands

Image source: ABC News website.

Safe effective free vaccines for all

Federal Regional Health Minister, Mark Coulton, said the Australian Government is committed to providing safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines free to everyone in Australia – no matter where they live. “We are ready to roll out COVID-19 vaccines with hundreds of distribution points nationwide,” Minister Coulton said. “Further sites will be finalised in the coming weeks and will include rural, regional and remote based GP-led Respiratory Clinics, GPs, community pharmacies, state and territory vaccination clinics and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community-Controlled Health Organisation clinics. The Government’s call out to GPs and community pharmacies will strengthen the rollout and will allow people living in regional, rural and remote communities to access COVID-19 vaccinations side by side with the rest of the nation.”

To view Minister Coulton’s media release click here.

safe effective free vaccines Department of Health banner orange tick in white circle, blue background, circles with vector image of different people's heads, text ' safe effective free

Image source: Australian Government Department of Health.

COVID-19 vaccinations to be registered

Amendments to the Australian Immunisation Register Act 2015, make it mandatory for vaccination providers to report vaccinations administered to the Australian Immunisation Register and prescribe the relevant vaccines to be reported. The legislation details the data elements vaccination providers must report and the time period and manner data must be reported in. To view the legislation click here and to access the explanatory statement regarding the Australian Immunisation Register Act 2015 – Australian Immunisation Register Amendment (Reporting) Rules 2021 click here.

gloved hand holding bottle of vaccine, writing with ungloved hand

Image source: BBC News.

Pharmacists respond to COVID-19 vaccine challenge

Australia’s pharmacists are responding to the Federal Government’s call to assist in the COVID-19 vaccination program, with 1,000 pharmacists registering and more than 700 attending a Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) webinar session in preparation for involvement in Phase 1 and 2 of the vaccination rollout. The webinar – which included senior government officials leading the COVID-19 vaccination plan joining PSA President, Associate Professor Chris Freeman – provided information on the Commonwealth program, the role of pharmacists in Phase 1, the final call for Phase 2 Expressions of Interest to administer the vaccine through community pharmacy, and training and education to deliver the vaccine.

Associate Professor Freeman said the response from pharmacists to the webinar session had shown the high levels of interest and support for the COVID vaccine rollout. “Pharmacists are well placed to assist in this program and the attendance at last night’s PSA webinar clearly demonstrates the commitment of our members and desire to ensure we understand the protocols and get the right training to deliver these vaccines safely.”

To the media statement in full click here.

vaccine bottle with text 'CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 Vaccine Injection only' on bench

Image source:

Health updates to keep your mob safe

The Australian Government Department of Health has released an update for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households, communities and organisations regarding the COVID-19 vaccine roll out. To access the COVID-19 vaccines update click here and to view COVID-19 vaccination communication materials tailored to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples click here.

banner of pink, aqua, mustard, light blue coloured Aboriginal dot art, text 'February 2021, Health Updates, Health updates to keep your mob safe'

Image source: Australian Government.

Navajo Nation’s successful vaccine rollout

The Navajo Nation has been one of the hardest-hit populations in the U.S. when it comes to COVID-19 — at one point reporting the country’s highest number of cases per capita. To date, the Navajo Department of Health reports more than 1,000 confirmed deaths from COVID-19. But a bright spot has emerged: The COVID vaccine rollout in the Navajo Nation has been highly successful, already surpassing its original goal to have administered 100,000 shots by the end of February. It’s an impressive number, given that there are an estimated 175,000 people living in the Navajo Nation.

This is a far cry from the grim situation the Navajo Nation found itself in at the start of the pandemic last year. By May, CNN reported that the Navajo Nation — which spans 27,000 square miles and borders Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, making it the largest reservation in the country — had “surpassed New York state for the highest COVID-19 infection rate in the U.S.” In August, Dr. Robert Redfield, then the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that “American Indian and Alaska Native people have suffered a disproportionate burden of COVID-19 illness during the pandemic.”

To view the article in full click here.

female staff member of Northern Navajo Medical Centre receiving COVID-19 vaccine, 3 other staff in background, one taking a photo

Medical staff at the Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock, N.M., were among the first in the Navajo Nation to receive their Pfizer-BioNTech vaccinations, on Dec. 15. Image source: yahoo!life website.

Incarceration leads to further disadvantage

Keenan Mundine grew up in the Aboriginal community social housing called The Block, infamous for poor living conditions, alcohol and drug use, and violence, in Sydney’s Redfern suburb. At the age of about seven, soon after losing his parents to drugs and suicide, he was separated from his siblings and placed in kinship care. “I felt robbed of my childhood. I didn’t feel safe and it made me struggle with my living conditions and mental health. I couldn’t concentrate at school and got into lot of trouble. I spent sleepless nights contemplating what my situation would be if my parents were still alive. At the age of 14, I ended up on the streets and tried to work my way around it.” 

To view the article in full click here.

Keenan Mundine in sleeveless t-shirt standing outside The Block

Keenan Mundine outside The Block, an Aboriginal community social housing area where he grew up. Image source: Neena Bhandari, Inter Press Service.

NSW – Dubbo – Bila Muuji Aboriginal Corporation Health Service

CEO Bila Muuji Aboriginal Corporation Health Service x 1 FT – Dubbo

A position is available as a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with Bila Muuji Regional Aboriginal Health Service based in Dubbo. The CEO will plan, lead and direct the Bila Muuji Regional Aboriginal Health Service Inc to ensure the efficient and effective coordination and collaboration of provision of high quality health services to the Aboriginal communities within the region.

To view position description and to apply click here. Applications close 5:00 PM Friday 5 March 2021.Bila Muuji Aboriginal Corporation Health Service logo, Aboriginal dot art, track centre circle, black, brown, green & purpose colours

International Family Drug Support Day – 24 February

After his son Damien died of a drug-related overdose, Tony Trimingham began community work in relation to alcohol and other drugs and founded the Australian charity Family Drug Support. Trimingham brought about International Family Drug Support Day which commenced in 2016 and is held on annually on 24 February, the date of his son’s death. The day has now become an annual international event to highlight the need for families to not only be recognised and heard but to be supported and encouraged to speak about their concerns and their needs. For further information click here.grey background with names of drugs, 3 couples, male & female e.g. dad & daughter with arms around the other, text 'support the family - improve the outcome, Family Drug Support Day. let's talk in speech bubble

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: COVID-19 kept out of communities came as no surprise

feature tile text 'success of ACCHOs in keeping COVID-19 out of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities a welcome shockfeature tile text 'success of ACCHOs in keeping COVID-19 out of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities came as no surprise' Stay Home, Stay Safe, two Aboriginal figures holding a stop sign all painted on a car bonnet

COVID-19 kept out of communities came as no surprise

The latest issue of the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) The Health Advocate magazine includes NACCHO CEO Pat Turner’s oration at the 2020 Sidney Sax Award ceremony. Pat Turner said “the success of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) in keeping COVID-19 out of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities has come as a welcome shock to most. Less than 150 Aboriginal people have contracted COVID-19 Australia-wide. Our share of the COVID-19 caseload was 0.5% when our share of the national population is 3.3%. This has been a wonderful achievement.”

“But pandemics are best defeated by community based action and the very ACCHO model itself is fundamentally about community control. It was no surprise to us. And there was too much at stake for us to fail. Look at what happened to the Navajo. They have the highest death rate of any ethnic group in the USA. If the virus had got into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, the consequences would have been catastrophic with our levels of comorbidity and social disadvantage. While the press has been calling the pandemic and the measures to combat it ‘unprecedented’, the virus for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is, sadly, a familiar tale. Aboriginal people have been battling pandemics since 1788. The success of the measures put in place by our ACCHOs is well documented.”

To view Pat Turner’s speech published in The Health Advocate February 2021 in full click here.

Ltyentye Apurte No Visitors COVID-19 Community Protection Policy sign on outback dusty road

Image source: The Guardian.

ACCHO launches new outreach dental clinic

A new outreach dental clinic aimed at providing services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is set to open in Woy Woy following an increase in community demand. Local Aboriginal health service provider, Yerin Eleanor Duncan Aboriginal Health Services, will expand its dental program with the launch of the new clinic on Friday, March 5. The Gulgul Yirra Outreach Dental Clinic will be located in Woy Woy Public Hospital and will operate every second Friday.

Yerin CEO, Belinda Field, said the new clinic is the provider’s second on the Coast, following the opening of a flagship dental clinic in Wyong in 2018. “Since opening our first dental clinic in 2018, we’ve seen firsthand the need and demand for culturally appropriate dental services,” Field said. “Our Gulgul Yirra Dental Clinic in Wyong has grown exponentially and is now open five days per week, supporting almost 2,000 patients and delivering over 15,000 treatments annually. We’re thrilled to be able to expand and offer these services in a new location on the southern end of the Central Coast, making them accessible to even more of our community.”

To view the full article in the Coast Community News click here.

5 staff in purple uniforms standing at front of reception desk at Gulgul Yirra Dental Clinic in Wyong

Staff at the Gulgul Yirra Dental Clinic in Wyong. Image source: Coast Community News.

Rough sleeper numbers are back on the up

Australian governments acted to protect homeless people from COVID-19 in 2020 on an even larger scale than previously thought. In the first six months of the pandemic, the four states that launched emergency programs housed more than 40,000 rough sleepers and others. The states were anxious about rough sleepers’ extreme vulnerability to virus infection and the resulting public health risk to the wider community. NSW, Victoria, Queensland and SA acted fast to provide safe temporary housing, mainly in otherwise empty hotels.

To a great extent Australia’s homeless compared to other countries such as England reflects the country’s growing social housing deficit, as well as inadequate rent assistance and other social security benefits. All of these factors are barriers to helping low-income Australians into stable long-term housing. The fundamental flaws in Australia’s housing system have become glaringly exposed by the public health crisis of the pandemic.

To view the article in full click here.

Raymond Ward at Tent City homeless camp in Perth November 2020

Raymond Ward at the Tent City homeless camp in Perth. On any given night the homeless camp has been hosting up to 50 mostly Aboriginal homeless people such at Raymond Ward. Image source: Daily Mail Australia.

Youth perspectives on mental health

Indigenous researcher Cammi Murrup-Stewart has completed a PhD thesis investigating the links between Indigenous culture and Indigenous health. “Within the Aboriginal community, concepts such as mental health are more holistic,” she says. “We have this idea that everything is connected, and to be a well person, you need to have these positive connections with your family and community, with your physical body, and also with the land around you, which I think the Australian community is starting to understand a little bit better.”

“A lot of the research comes from a white perspective, and there’s not that much scientific evidence that has been verified by the scientific community that is based on an Aboriginal perspective,” Murrup-Stewart says. Generally speaking, the research she reviewed “definitely devalued the Aboriginal perspectives, and so missed a lot of important findings, or prioritised things that have not resulted in any positive change”.

To view the full article, Mental health and wellbeing: Listening to young Indigenous people in Narrm, published in the Monash University LENS click here.

8 Aboriginal students sitting around an outdoor table with books & water bottles

Image source: Monash University LENS website.

Visual impairment in Australia

Visual impairment is the partial or full loss of sight in one or both eyes. Visual impairment may be the result of disease or injury, may progress over time, and may be permanent or corrected with visual aids (such as glasses) or with surgery. According to self-reported data from the ABS 2018–19 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS), the prevalence of self-reported eye or sight problems among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was 38%, affecting about 307,000 people—including about 44,100 who live in Remote areas (30% of the remote Indigenous population). According to the National Eye Health Survey (NEHS), an estimated 15,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 40 and over experienced vision impairment and blindness in 2016. The leading causes of vision impairment were uncorrected refractive error (61%), cataract (20%) and diabetic retinopathy (5.2%).

To view the Australian Government Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) Eye health web report click here.

close up image of face of elderly Aboriginal stockman with felt hat, blind in one eye

Image source: The Fred Hollows Foundation website.

ACCHO CEO furious over rejected prison inquiry

Indigenous and social service advocates are angry and disappointed that a proposed investigation into systemic racism at the Canberra Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC) will not take place. Instead, Minister for Corrections Mick Gentleman replaced the Canberra Liberals motion – made on behalf of Indigenous Canberrans – with an amendment to continue a review into the ACT’s high Indigenous incarceration rates.

“I’m furious, to be quite honest,” Julie Tongs OAM, CEO of Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Service, said. “But I’m not surprised that the motion was watered down. This Labor-Green Government are progressive on selective issues. Unfortunately, Aboriginal disadvantage isn’t one of them. It reinforces the belief across the Aboriginal community that their issues and concerns are not a priority with this so-called progressive government.” Ms Tongs called the amendment “a cover-up”, and called for Mr Gentleman to resign.

To access the article in full click here and to view a previous Canberra Weekly article regarding the proposed investigation into racism at AMC click here.

portrait image of Julie Tongs OAM CEO Winnunga ACT

Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service CEO Julie Tongs OAM. Image source: ABC News website.

Big boost for Victorian health infrastructure

The Andrews Labor Government is supporting Victorian hospitals, community health services and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) with $320 million in funding to upgrade vital health infrastructure. Minister for Health Martin Foley has announced submissions for the new $200 million Metropolitan Health Infrastructure Fund (MHIF) and the fifth round of the $120 million Regional Health Infrastructure Fund (RHIF) have opened, ensuring health services across the state can continue to provide world-class healthcare for all Victorians. Established as part of the Victorian Budget 2020–2021, the MHIF will fund construction, remodelling and refurbishment projects, equipment, information and communication technology and other vital upgrade works to meet service demand, and improve safety and infection prevention and control measures at Melbourne’s busiest hospitals and community health services.

To view the Victorian Minister for Health’s media release click here.

: Landmark mural by Aboriginal artists, Ray Thomas, Kulan Barney and Ruby Kulla Kulla, in partnership with world famous street artist Adnate, to mark the 20th anniversary of the Victorian Aboriginal and Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO), which proclaims its mission of Strong Culture, Thriving Communities.

Landmark mural by Aboriginal artists, Ray Thomas, Kulan Barney and Ruby Kulla Kulla, in partnership with world famous street artist Adnate, to mark the 20th anniversary of the Victorian Aboriginal and Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO), which proclaims its mission of Strong Culture, Thriving Communities. Image source: Croakey.

Minimum alcohol price curbs problem drinking

The “floor price” for alcohol introduced by the NT in 2018 reduced the consumption of cask wine by half, without significantly impacting sales of other types of alcohol, according to a new analysis of the policy’s effectiveness. On October 1, 2018, the NT introduced a minimum price of A$1.30 per unit (equivalent to 10 grams of pure alcohol or one “standard drink”) on alcohol, in a bid to tackle problem drinking. The price was chosen to target cheap wines that have historically been an issue throughout the NT, while not influencing other liquor types.

Alcohol has been ranked as the most harmful drug in Australian communities, and the greatest harm of all comes from heavy drinking. In Australia an estimated three-quarters of all alcohol is consumed by the top 20% of its heaviest drinkers, a group that the alcohol industry depends on and actively targets, labelling them as super consumers. Nowhere in Australia are the harms of alcohol more stark than in the  NT where alcohol-attributable harm costs the community an estimated A$1.4 billion a year. Alcohol-related deaths in the territory are 2–10 times higher than the national average.

Considering the effectiveness with which this policy has reduced consumption of cask wine in the NT, it is time for other state and territory governments to consider following suit.

To view the article in full click here.

image of bladder of cask wine

Cask wine consumption decreased by half in the year following the NT’s introduction of minimum pricing. Image source: Croakey.

Remote training scheme vacancies

The Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS) is a unique Commonwealth-funded Fellowship program offering distance education and training to allow registrars to stay in their rural or remote community and continue to provide vital healthcare services while progressing to Fellowship. It’s not too late to secure a training position with the RVTS for the 2021 intake.  Round 4 Applications are now open, with training to commence in April 2021.

Positions are available nationally, for training in the AMS and Remote training streams. In addition, there are Targeted Recruitment positions available in selected areas of high workforce need across Australia, offering exciting opportunities for GP training and employment.

For more information about the RVTS and to check your eligibility and apply click here. Applications close Sunday 21 February 2021.RVTS Remote Vocational Training Scheme Ltd logo sun rising on horizon red yellow Aboriginal art vector image

NSW bush’s health battles substantial

A parliamentary inquiry into regional and rural healthcare has received over 700 submissions, highlighting issues such as chronic doctor shortages, a lack of resources and a system that is overstretched. The submissions have revealed harrowing stories, such as a hospital requesting patients bring their own bandages and doctors allegedly trying to mend broken bones over videolink. Wee Waa Chamber of Commerce wrote that a lack of healthcare is “literally killing the town”, and Gunnedah Shire Council said doctors are so overstretched they are essentially “running a crisis medical service.”

A submission by the Riverina Murray Regional Alliance (RMRA), which incorporates the communities of Tumut and Wagga Wagga among others, said it was founded in 2015 in response to the reduction of government services in the area. RMRA held a Healing Forum in 2017 which identified intergenerational trauma as a key issue, with one impact of this being drug and alcohol addiction and its effect on local communities, such as poor physical and mental health, family violence and poor education outcomes. “A need was identified for services to be provided by Aboriginal people to Aboriginal people, to ensure that our communities are connected to them,” the submission reads. “This includes the involvement in Aboriginal people in the design and delivery of services they received.”

To view the full article in the Tumut and Adelong Times click here.

map of Riverina Murray Regional Alliance area & RMRA logo Aboriginal painting of a blue snake against yellow background

Riverina Murray Regional Alliance made a submission to the parliamentary inquiry into regional and rural health care.

NSW – Narooma – Katungul ACRH&CS

Dentist x 1 FT or PT – Narooma – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are strongly encouraged to apply

Katungul Aboriginal Corporation Regional Health and Community Services (KACRHCS) is seeking applications for the role of Dentist to work either Part Time or Full Time. KACRHCS is a not for profit organisation providing culturally attuned, integrated health and community services on the Far South Coast of NSW. Katungul is managed by a CEO reporting to an elected Board of Directors.

The Dentist performs preventative and restorative oral procedures to ensure the highest standards of dental health and dental care for Aboriginal clients. This role includes the provision of culturally appropriate clinical dental care, oversight of laboratory conditions and requirements, and community health promotion and health education activities to improve oral health status.

You can view the job advert here and access the position description here. Applications close 5:00 PM Monday 1 March 2021.Katungul logo black duck flying in front of boomerang shape with orange & yellow Aboriginal dot art, silhouette of man, woman & two chilren, text 'Koori Health In Koori Hands', at bottom of the circle with the duck & 'Katungul' at the top of the circle

National Condom Day – Sunday 14 February 2021

A day that began with an American AIDS support group in the late 1980s, as a way of promoting condom use and safer sex practices, National Condom Day has now become an annual highlight on the Australian sexual health calendar. National Condom Day is an Australia state-wide event and takes place on the 14 February ‘Valentine’s Day’ each year.

It’s is a day where we are reminded that condoms are still the best way to stop the transmission of STI’s and HIV, and also help prevent unplanned pregnancy.

If you’re going to get it on, get it on.

red cardboard with cut out raised hearts bottom half rectangle, black top half of rectangle & image of yellow condom packet in the middle

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: COVID-19 vaccine promising but safety is key

feature tile 11.11.20 COVID-19 vaccine promising but safety is key, image of needle going into an arm

COVID-19 vaccine promising but safety is key

Early results of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine trial are promising, and highlight the unprecedented levels of cooperation around the world to defeat the virus, AMA President, Dr Omar Khorshid, said today. Releasing a new AMA policy statement, Dr Khorshid that winning the trust of the public will be key to the successful rollout of any COVID-19 vaccine in Australia. “Regulators are working hard to streamline approval processes so that any successful vaccines can be distributed as quickly as possible,” Dr Khorshid said.

“Australia has a strong record on vaccine safety, due in great part to the rigour of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in assessing all medications before they are released to the Australian public. While we support the TGA’s efforts to speed up its approval processes in this case, given the scale of the pandemic, it must still apply its usual criteria to assess the safety, quality and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. This is critical to winning public confidence. Instead of making any COVID-19 vaccine compulsory, extensive efforts should be made to foster trust in the community and encourage its voluntary uptake.”

To view the AMA’s statement on vaccination for COVID-19 click here and to view the AMA’s media release relating to the new COVID-19 vaccine click here.

Right Tracks program promotes health

In Central Australia, the Right Tracks program is helping local young people in Alice Springs and surrounding areas to keep their health in check and create positive change. The Aboriginal-led program, originally founded by Ian McAdam and Rob Clarke, and now run in partnership between Central Australian Football League, Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (Congress), Australian Drug Foundation (ADF) Goodsports Program is designed to support young people through a targeted intensive support environment using sport as a key hook.

“There’s two parts to our program: one is sport and the other side is about health. During the day, we concentrate on getting our football teams that are lined up with our program to start thinking about doing a lot of health programs with our participants,” says Ian. As part of the program, participants complete a 715 health check with Congress, the local Aboriginal community controlled health service, or their local health clinic in some remote cases.

The annual health check is designed to support the physical, psychological and social wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and is free at Aboriginal Medical Services and bulk billing clinics nationally.

For further information click here.

Aboriginal man with Right Tracks Program shirt holding football, standing on football field

Ian McAdam, RIght Tracks Program coordinator. Image source: 33 Creative.

Doing things ‘the Aboriginal way’ crucial

Dr Finlay has taken heart from the “great successes” in the fight to restrict the spread of COVID-19. “The theme of NAIDOC Week is Always Was, Always Will Be … but this is not just about land, it is about doing things in an Aboriginal way,” she said. “We’ve seen particularly with the COVID virus, when things have been done in an Aboriginal way that have been led by Indigenous people, we’ve had massive success.

To view the full article click here.

portrait shot of Dr Summer May Finlay, vice-president for Public Health Association of Australia's ATSI Health

portrait shot of Dr Summer May Finlay, vice-president for Public Health Association of Australia’s ATSI Health. Image source: Illawarra Mercury.

Lifeline supports suicide monitoring system

John Brogden, Chairman, Lifeline Australia, has welcomed the launch of the NSW Government’s state-wide monitoring system as a significant step toward saving lives. “The introduction of a suicide and self-harm monitoring system will greatly improve the way suicide prevention services can respond to suicide risk. Quite simply, access to this information will help us save lives.” Mr Brogden said. “This is a hopeful step, especially for communities who are grappling with rising loss of life. It will give us greater insight into where the immediate and heightened risk is occurring, enabling us to put in place preventative measures that will reduce the risk of harm as soon as it is identified.”

Suicide Prevention Australia, CEO, Nieves Murray has also welcomed the monitoring system “this is a significant moment in suicide prevention for NSW. Organisations working directly with people in crisis will benefit from the NSW Suicide Monitoring and Data Management System as they will better understand why suicides occur and how to prevent them.”

To view Lifeline’s media release click here and to view the Suicide Prevention Australia’s media release click here.

Aboriginal woman sitting on wooden bench in garden, head in hands

Image source: SBS website.

NT liquor legislations ill-conceived

The NT Government has introduced legislation that gives Woolworths the power to circumvent the independent Liquor Commission and build one of the largest bottle shops in the country within walking distance of three dry Aboriginal communities, Bagot, Kulaluk and Minmarama. The Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT (AMSANT) has expressed deep concerns that landmark NT alcohol reforms will be undermined by ill-conceived liquor legislation.

To view AMSANT’s media release click here.

Aboriginal hands holding can of Bundaberg Rum & cigarette

Image source: ABC News website.

Health sector employee pandemic entitlements extended

On 8 April 2020 the Fair Work Commission issued a decision on pandemic leave for Health Sector Awards, inserting additional measures (known as “Schedule X”) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Schedule X was incorporated into the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services Award 2020. Unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave at half pay has been extended under this Awardsuntil further order of the Fair Work Commission.

For further information click here.

Sunrise Health Service worker checking heart of patient

Barunga Healthcare worker Desleigh Shields. Image Source: ABC News website.

Medical research priorities 2020–2022

Legislation has been passed detailing the Australian Medical Research and Innovation Priorities for the period 2020-2022. Included among the priorities is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, specifically Indigenous leadership and Indigenous-led priority setting to drive health-related research to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and to close the gap on health mortality and morbidity. To view the legislation click here.

image from a clip about the role of Lowitja Institute, words 'good decisions grow from great research' Aboriginal dot painting

Image source: Lowitja Institute website.

Calls for environmental health research

Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities) recently used the occasion of International One Health Day (4 November) to call for further research and understanding into the complex and interconnected relationships between human, animal, and environmental health. One Health is both an international movement and approach to designing and implementing programs, policies, legislation and research in which multiple disciplines collaborate to achieve better health outcomes for humans, animals and the environment. 

Recent events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, which is believed to have originated as a virus carried by bats, have highlighted the important role that changing interactions between people, animals and the environment can play in the occurrence of new diseases, and the vital need for improved understanding of these relationships.

To view the full article click here.

vet operating on dog, two additional medical staff and 4 Aboriginal children looking on

Image source: Vet Practice website.

Web-app to combat ICE use

The South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) has developed a web-app designed to combat harmful methamphetamine (ice) use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and is asking for help to promote the web-app. The web-app, called We Can Do This is part of a study entitled Novel Interventions to Address Methamphetamine Use in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities (NIMAC). To view the study click here and to view SAHMRI’s media release about the web-app click here.

shadow of person smoking drug ICE

Image source: SBS website.

Midwife program incorporates smoking ceremony

Thirty babies have taken part in an Indigenous smoking ceremony on the Gold Coast — the first time the traditional event has been held for infants in the city. The ceremony is part of a new program at Gold Coast University Hospital that aims to dismantle institutional racism and help First Nations families connect with their culture.

It is also leading to better health outcomes for newborns. Bundjalung woman Purdey Cox and her husband David, who are proud parents of six-month-old son Boston, said the smoking ceremony was a special moment for them. “It’s really important for us because you don’t always get to connect with community,” Mrs Cox said.

To view the full article click here.

smiling face of Aboriginal baby being held by mother

Six-month-old Boston Cox at the Gold Coast’s first smoking ceremony for Indigenous babies. Image source: ABC News website.

Healing Our Way podcast for youth

The Healing Foundation has  launched a new podcast series on intergenerational trauma from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective to tell the story of the healing needed for all Australian communities. The podcast touches on sensitive and confronting themes around trauma and gives young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people a chance to share their thoughts about intergenerational healing and the concept of truth telling.

In launching the first episode, The Healing Foundation Chairman Professor Steve Larkin said it would provide listeners a chance to hear the real stories and lived experience of Stolen Generations survivors and their descendants as they discuss their journeys and thoughts about how we can continue to heal our communities. “Historical injustice is still a source of intergenerational trauma for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and we see it playing out in families and communities across the country,” Professor Larkin said. “Truth telling has an impact on every aspect of the lives of our Stolen Generations survivors, their families and communities and this podcast will help people to understand the stories and experiences, the real stories of our people.

To view the full article click here.

painting of 10 Aboriginal figures with outline of red heart on chests against landscape

Image source: ABC Education website.

2021 Indigenous Medical Scholarships

Applications are now open for the 2021 AMA Indigenous Medical Scholarship, a program that has supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to study medicine since 1994. Previous recipients of the $10,000 a year scholarship have gone on to become prominent leaders in health and medicine, including Associate Professor Kelvin Kong, Australia’s first Aboriginal surgeon. “This Scholarship is a tangible step towards growing the Indigenous medical workforce,” AMA President, Dr Omar Khorshid, said today. “At the end of 2019, there were just over 600 Indigenous doctors in the medical workforce, which is about 0.5 per cent of the workforce. This is a slight improvement on previous years, but to reach population parity of 3 per cent, the number should be closer to 3600.”

To view the AMA’s media release, including details of how to apply for the scholarships click here.AMA Indigenous Medical Scholarship banner, Aboriginal dot painting top right of image

NSW – Newcastle – The University of Newcastle

The University of Newcastle is seeking to recruit for the following roles within the School of Nursing and Midwifery teaching team:

FT Senior Lecturer in Nursing

FT Lecturer in Nursing

FT Lecturer in Midwifery

For job descriptions click on the title of the role above and for applications click here.  Applications for all three positions close Wednesday 25 November 2020.University of Newcastle logo white on black vector of horse head and external image of the uni

ACT – Canberra – Tjillari Justice Aboriginal Corporation

Family Support Case Worker

Tjillaria Justice Aboriginal is recruiting a Family Support Case Worker (FSCW) to deliver services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families through an intensive case management process. The FSCW will provide information and support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to develop strong family relationships through engagement with community service providers and arrange trauma counselling in the community.

For more information about the position  click here. Applications close COB 25 November 2020.Tjillari Justice Aboriginal Corporation logo, vector image of pick lollipo surrounding by coloured dots yellow, red, blue, orange, purpleAustralia-wide – CRANAplus

On-call (after hours) Psychologist – flexible, work from home opportunity

CRANAplus is currently seeking psychologists to join its ‘pool’ of contractors to support on-call rosters available with CRANAplus’ Bush Support Line. The Bush Support Line is a flagship service provided by CRANAplus and offers phone counselling (psychological services) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to Health Professionals and their families across Australia, working in remote or rural communities.

The CRANAplus Bush Support Line service structure allows its on-call psychologists to be located anywhere in Australia. Rosters are forecasted for three-month periods that offers advanced notice and flexibility regarding shifts engaged. There are no minimum or maximum requirements and employees can nominate shifts as they suit.

CRANAplus advocates for, and serves, a diverse Australia, and genuinely encourages applications from CALD backgrounds and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people. To discuss this opportunity or provide your resume contact Katherine Leary via the CRANAplus website. CRANAplus logo & image of 4-wheel drive in outback

Feature tile - Halls Creek 'Heart of Gold' town entry sign

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: Halls Creek leaders recall day COVID-19 came to town

Feature tile - Halls Creek 'Heart of Gold' town entry sign

Halls Creek leaders recall day COVID-19 came to town

When coronavirus came to the small outback town of Halls Creek in WA it was “like a bomb went off”, according to Brenda Garstone, CEO of the Yura Yungi Aboriginal Medical Service. “We all had to run for cover,” she said. “We were scrambling. We didn’t know where to go, or what to do.” The WA Department of Health had warned that any community transmission in towns with remote communities would be devastating for the populations. When four healthcare workers at the local Halls Creek hospital returned positive tests, all at once, residents refused to attend the healthcare clinic for fear of picking up the virus, local shops emptied and Aboriginal men from the town’s night patrol went door to door, trying to communicate the seriousness of what was unfolding. While the outbreak was quickly contained, tensions in the small town have still not eased, with the community now fully aware of the threat COVID-19 poses.

To view the full article click here.

Halls Creek 'Heart of Gold' town entry sign

Image source: ABC News website.

Groundbreaking FASD diagnostic framework

Long wait times and centralised specialist doctors have left families in rural and remote areas waiting up to three years for a diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). But now a group of doctors, academics and Indigenous elders have come together in north-west Queensland to create a unique diagnostic tier system for the disorder. Local Indigenous leaders and Mount Isa rural doctor Marjad Page, a Kalkadoon, Waanyi and Ganggalidda man, wrote a dreamtime story to explain not only the disorder but the medical process to local Indigenous families. “The program is run from the Aboriginal medical service here in Mount Isa called Gidgee Healing, so it’s run out of a culturally appropriate medical service for the region,” Dr Page said.

To read the full article click here.

Gidgee Healing Dr Marjad Page portrait photo & Gidgee Healing logo

Dr Marjad Page. Image source: ABC News – ABC North West Queensland.

Six steps to stopping germs video launch

Australia is the only developed country still with high levels of trachoma and almost all cases occur in  remote Aboriginal communities. The Ending Trachoma project, which is run out of the Public Health Advocacy Institute of WA at Curtin University, aims to reduce the incidence of trachoma and skin infections in ‘trachoma at risk’ Aboriginal communities in remote WA through implementing environmental health strategies. They have developed a short video (see below) showing the importance of personal hygiene using ‘Milpa’s Six Steps to Stop Germs’ message. The video features women from the Nollamarra Football Team together with their children. It was developed by the Indigenous Eye Health at the University of Melbourne, with extensive input from Aboriginal community members and services in WA, SA and the NT. The message aims to encourage everyone, particularly kids, to stay healthy and strong and eliminate trachoma and other infectious diseases through following six steps.

For more information about the project click here.

COVID-19 offers unexpected opportunity to quit smoking

Smokers are worried. A respiratory disease is running rampant across the globe and people with unhealthy lifestyle habits appear to be especially vulnerable. Smokers hospitalised with COVID-19 are more likely to become severely unwell and die than non-smokers with the disease. At any point in time, most smokers want to quit. But COVID-19 provides the impetus to do it sooner rather than later. A recent study has found the proportion intending to quit within the next two weeks almost tripled from around 10% of smokers before COVID-19 to almost 30% in April. This heightened interest in quitting in the face of COVID-19 represents a unique opportunity for governments and health agencies to help smokers quit, and stay off smoking for good.

To view the full article in The Conversation click here.

two hands breaking cigarette in half

Image source: The Conversation.

Adolescent “never smoked” rate rises

Using data from the Australian Secondary School Students’ Alcohol and Drug Survey, a Prevention Centre PhD project led by Christina Heris found that the proportion Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adolescents who have never smoked rose from 49% in 2005 to 70% in 2017. Additionally, rates of low smoking intensity increased by 10% from 67% in 2005 to 77 % in 2017 meaning that, overall, the number of cigarettes smoked in a day has decreased amongst smokers in the 12–17 age group.

Prevention Centre investigator Professor Sandra Eades, a Noongar woman, who supervised Christina’s project said “It’s fantastic to see that tobacco control is working for all students, including driving down rates among Aboriginal young people. But we know that young Aboriginal people experience more of the risk factors for smoking such as stress, racism and disadvantage. There is a need for governments to address these broader determinants.”

To view the full article click here.

Aboriginal child holding & looking atan unlit cigarette

Image source: Deadly Vibe.

Original articles sought for inaugural HealthBulletin

The Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet is welcoming submissions from researchers, practitioners and health workers of original articles (not published elsewhere) for inclusion in their inaugural edition of the next generation of the Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin. They are seeking submissions that provide examples of research on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, including policies, strategies and programs that have the potential to inform and support everyday practice.

For further information about how to submit papers click here.

Australian Indigenous HealthInforNet HealthBulletin Call for papers banner

Image source: Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet website.

National COVID-19 healthcare worker guidelines

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a higher prevalence of respiratory conditions, many of which share symptoms with COVID-19. Healthcare workers examining a patient with respiratory symptoms are at risk of spreading infection between patients with the highest risk of transmission likely during throat and nose examination including when a swab is being collected.

Griffith University researchers have helped develop national guidelines to minimise healthcare workers’ risk of acquiring and spreading infection while examining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients with respiratory symptoms. “These new guidelines aim to provide resources and support healthcare teams in prevention and management of COVID-19,’’ said Associate Professor Jing Sun from the School of Medicine who led the project.

For more information about the new national guidelines click here.

health professional in PPE removing swab from text tube

Image source: Flinders University website.

PPE innovation needed in remote health services

Clinicians, service providers and researchers have issued an urgent call for an Australian innovation in personal protective equipment (PPE) –  the ventilated hood – to be made available to remote health services, saying that without the hoods, the risk of coronavirus transmission within remote healthcare services and communities is grave.

To read the full article click here.

woman in hospitals bed under COVID-19 hood

Image source: Sydney Morning Herald.

JT Academy offers free employment advertising

Lendlease and JT Academy are encouraging all local employers to utilise the JT Academy FREE employment functions and resources. All you need to do is send the details of any job vacancies you have and let them help you find the best candidates – they will advertise your vacancy on their fully functioning job board for free!

This unique collaborative employment initiative, directed by Managing Director, Johnathan Thurston is fast becoming one the most ambitious employment initiatives Far North Queensland has ever seen. It harnesses the unique strengths of both Lendlease and JT Academy, who together are striving to provide direct job opportunities for local jobseekers.

For more information visit the JT Academy website here.

Jonathan Thurston in suit smiling, Job Board advertisement

Image source: Twitter #jtacademy.

Funding still required for rehab services

Weigelli Centre Aboriginal Corporation Inc Chairperson Ray Harris and CEO Daniel Jeffries have doubled down on the need for more funding to be made available for rehab services, saying revenue streams remained of concern with no additional recurrent funding available for rehab services. The Weigelli Centre and other services across the sector need additional funding to address the increasing need for drug and alcohol treatment services. The continuing challenges remain for services to provide support and assistance to Aboriginal individuals, families and their communities.

To read the full article in the Cowra Guardian click here.

Weigelli Centre Aboriginal Corporation metal sign

Image source: Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council of NSW website.

CHF Big Ideas Competition

Do you have an idea which is going to change the way healthcare is delivered?

What about an idea which will transform how the health system works?

Consumers Health Forum (CHF) of Australia is invites you to send in videos of your ideas for innovation in health, to be part of the Big Ideas Forum at their Australian and NZ Shifting Gears Summit in March 2021. Your big idea could be something totally new, or it might be an example of something that has worked well in your community that could be expanded or tried in other places. You may like to base your idea on one or more of the key shifts highlighted in CHF’s 2018 White Paper Shifting Gears: Consumers Transforming Health. To view the White Paper click here.

For more information about the CHF Big Ideas Competition click here and for details about the CHF Summit 2021 click here.

4 people, each holding speech bubbles: Big Idea, Brain Storm, Think Different, Be Creative

Image source: Consumers Health Forum of Australia website.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: Career Pathways Report commissioned by Lowitja Institute, led by AMSANT, UNSW released on #IndigenousPeoplesDay

Career Pathways Report commissioned by Lowitja Institute, led by AMSANT, UNSW released on #IndigenousPeoplesDay

Working for our people: what helps build a stronger Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce?

The Career Pathways Project (CPP) commissioned by Lowitja Institute and led by Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT) and the University of New South Wales (UNSW) was released on World Indigenous People’s Day 2020 on 9 August.

The CCP focuses on providing insights and guidance to enhance the capacity of the health system to retain and support the development and careers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the health workforce.

For more information and to go through the report click here.


Kids ear health resource developed by AHCWA

The Aboriginal Health Council of WA (AHCWA) ear health team has developed a new and innovative health promotion resource for children and youth called Simon Says. The first issue of Simon Says is an ear health brochure designed to support, teach and empower Aboriginal children with chronic ear conditions.

To access the brochure click here.

Cartoon characters, a man and three children with 'Keep your ear clean with good hygiene' speech bubble.

Image Source: AHCWA Clean Ears Brochure.

Aboriginal men’s experiences during partner’s pregnancy

A study looking at Kimberley Aboriginal men’s experience during their partner’s pregnancy “When I got the news”: Aboriginal fathers in the Kimberley region yarning about their experience of the antenatal period was recently released. The study explores Aboriginal men’s perceptions of being an expecting father, their social and emotional wellbeing, and their experience with health providers.

Plain language reports of the study for community and staff:

To view the full report click here.

Photo of Aboriginal man and pregnant partner

Image Source: NITV News.

National Pancreatic Cancer Roadmap initiative

Cancer Australia is commencing the National Pancreatic Cancer Roadmap initiative, to improve outcomes for people affected by pancreatic cancer, one of Australia’s deadliest cancers. In developing the Roadmap, Cancer Australia will seek broad public consultation and collaborate with key stakeholders, including consumers, to build on the efforts and expertise of the non-government sector.

A key focus of the consultation phase will be engagement with targeted population groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, rural and remote and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Further details will be provided through the National Pancreatic Cancer Roadmap website in the near future.

National Pancreatic Cancer Roadmap banner

Image Source: Australian Government Cancer Australia.


IAHP Yarnes Project Year One Report

A Year One Site Engagement Report of the evaluation of the Australian Government’s Investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care through the Indigenous Australian’s Health Programme (IAHP Yarnes) has been released. The report provides an overview of the site engagement processes and outcomes of IAHP Yarnes. The short name for the evaluation, ‘IAHP Yarnes’, stands for yarning, action, reflection, national evaluation, systems.

A full copy of the Year One Report can be accessed here.

IAHP Yarnes banner

Job Alerts

VIC – Melbourne

FT Fundraising Coordinator x 1 (6 months)

Children’s Ground is seeking applications by 5pm Monday 24 August 2020 for a Fundraising Coordinator to lead the development and implementation of a digital fundraising strategy so that Children’s Ground may continue to be sustainable into the future.

You can visit the Children’s Ground website here and apply for the Fundraising Coordinator position here.

Children's Ground purpose statement.

WA – Perth

Derbal Yerrigan Health Service Aboriginal Corporation are seeking applications for six (6) positions, including:

Click on the job title for further details. Applications for the above four (4) positions are due by 5pm Friday 14 August 2020.

Click on the job title for further information. Applications for the above two (2) positions are due by 5pm Monday 17 August 2020. Derbal Yerrigan Logo

NACCHO Events Alert #NAIDOCWeek Always Was, Always Will Be: Two Star-studded virtual concerts to celebrate our mobs culture I. #VicNAIDOC2020Concert Archie Roach plus friends 2. @CAAMA Music Paul Ah Chee

“There’s no doubt this has been a tough year, with bushfires and coronavirus taking their toll on Aboriginal communities.”

“NAIDOC Week may be postponed, but we’re still taking the opportunity to maintain community connections and celebrate Aboriginal culture.”

“The event will be more than just good fun – it’s a chance to highlight the talented performers right across the country and provide a lifeline to the struggling arts industry.”

Victorian Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Gabrielle Williams announced a variety performance event will be live streamed on Saturday – what would have been the penultimate day of the landmark week-long celebration.

“This year’s NAIDOC theme – ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’, is particularly apt and relevant in this unprecedented time and the rescheduling is aimed at protecting our Elders and those in our communities with chronic health issues from the disastrous impacts of COVID-19.

We would like to recognise and acknowledge the work of our affiliates and our 143 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) have put in during this pandemic to protect our communities and ensure our culture will live on.”

(NACCHO) Chair Donnella Mills says postponing NAIDOC Week 2020 from July to November this year was a small price to pay for protecting our people and safeguarding our culture.

Read full press release

Join CAAMA Music July 10 for a very special set from Paul Ah Chee – Live from the CAAMA Studio. See Part 2 Below

Part 1

The Victorian Government is putting together a star-studded virtual concert to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture following the postponement of NAIDOC Week.

The Vic NAIDOC 2020 Concert: Always Was, Always Will Be

Will be held at Hamer Hall and while closed to the public, Victorians can live stream all the action from 6.30pm AEST on the Victoria Together website and other social platforms

Streaming on Saturday 11 July, 6.30pm
Running time: Approximately 2 hours

The concert will be hosted by comedians Shiralee Hood and Dion Williams and feature artists including Uncle Archie Roach, Troy Cassar-Daley, Allara, Lady Lash and Mau Power.

NAIDOC Week was scheduled to be held from 5 to 12 July this year, but for the first time in its 64-year history, has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It is traditionally marked each July to honour and pay tribute to Aboriginal culture, history and achievement, with celebrations held across the country.

It is now expected to be scheduled in November.

The Government is investing $150,000 to hold the virtual concert, with support from the Victorian Aboriginal community and the arts sector, including Arts Centre Melbourne.

Part 2

Join CAAMA Music July 10 for a very special set from Paul Ah Chee – Live from the CAAMA Studio. From this gig you can expect to hear some of his new material from his upcoming solo proejct as well as some stripped back Amunda classics.

Tune in here on FB or listen in at

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Research Alerts : Download @AIHW Report Indigenous primary health care results : Our ACCHO’s play a critical role in helping to improve the health of our mob

 ” Comprehensive and culturally appropriate primary health care services play a key role in improving the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians through prevention, early intervention, health education, and the timely identification and management of physical and psychological issues. “

Download the 77 Page AIHW Report HERE


Primary health care organisations play a critical role in helping to improve the health of Indigenous Australians.

In 2018–19:

To this end, the Australian Government provides funding through the IAHP to organisations delivering Indigenous-specific primary health care services (referred to hereafter as organisations).

These organisations, designed to be accessible to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients, are administered and run by:

  • Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations (ACCHOs)
  • state/territory/local health services
  • non-government organisations (NGOs), such as women’s health services (a small proportion of services).

They vary in size, location, governance structure, length of time in operation, workforce composition, sources of funding, the services they offer, the ways in which they operate (for example, stand-alone or part of a consortium), and the needs of their clients.

What they all share in common is a holistic approach to meeting the needs of their Indigenous clients, which often involves addressing a complex mix of health conditions.

Each organisation provides contextual information about their organisation to the OSR once each financial year (covering the period July–June). The OSR includes all activities of the funded organisations, regardless of the percentage of those activities funded by IAHP.

This chapter presents a profile of organisations delivering Indigenous-specific primary health care services, including staffing levels, client numbers, client contacts, episodes of care and services provided. It excludes data from organisations that received funding only for maternal and child health services.

Trends over time are presented where possible, noting that the organisations providing data can vary over time which may limit comparability for some purposes (see Technical notes and Glossary for more information). Also, in 2018–19, the OSR collection underwent significant change and was scaled back to include only ‘core’ items. Plans are underway to reintroduce key items in a staged approach over the next few years.

The following boxes show key results for organisations providing Indigenous-specific primary health care in 2018–19.

Clicking HERE will go to more information on the selected topic.

Aboriginal Health #CoronaVirus Alert No 84 : June 26 #KeepOurMobSafe #OurJobProtectOurMob : Dr Mark Wenitong and Summer May Findlay : ” Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations are taking a leading role in COVID‐19 health communication”

ACCHOs, as comprehensive healthcare services whose core business is population‐level health, have the skills, expertise and knowledge to create and execute appropriate COVID‐19 prevention messages.

Part of their success has been the trust that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people place in them primarily because they deliver culturally appropriate service. In a time of crisis, they are best placed to deliver health promotion and crisis communication to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

ACCHOs and their peak bodies, therefore, need to be resourced appropriately to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the best possible information to reduce the risk to themselves, their families and their communities. ” 

Dr Mark Wenitong and Summer May Findlay : Originally published HERE

For research references or Download

ACCHO COVID19 communications

Noting all images and videos below added by NACCHO

Health communication during a health crisis, such as the COVID‐19 pandemic, is vital to reduce the impact on populations. To ensure the communication is effective, audience segmentation is required with specific resources that have been developed for each segment.

In addition, the messages need to be clear, mutual trust between the communicator and the audience needs to be developed and maintained, and resources should focus on cultural values.

The evidence around effective crisis communication indicates that it needs to be timely, clear, concise and appropriate to the target audience. Communication is particularly important for those at higher risk during the crisis, such as people who are immunocompromised, the elderly, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are at increased risk from COVID‐19 due to a range of factors associated with higher rates of non‐communicable diseases and a lack of access to health services in remote communities.

Additionally, there are socio‐cultural factors that put Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at risk, such as high mobility for family or cultural reasons.

Despite the increased risk to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from COVID‐19, there has been little specific communication tailored for them from governments since the pandemic commenced.

This is despite the overwhelming evidence that health promotion messages need to be tailored for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

To fill the gap, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) have demonstrated their capacity to deliver scientifically valid, evidence‐based and culturally translated COVID‐19 prevention messages.

The ACCHO sectors’ understanding of population health has led to a strong history of culturally centred health promotion and social marketing materials.

Even before the World Health Assembly declared COVID‐19 a global pandemic (11 March ACCHOs and their peak bodies had developed messages for their communities.

The ACCHO sectors’ communications on COVID‐19 have been produced in addition to their usual service delivery and using existing funding.

NACCHO first communique January 28 : Since then 84 COVID-19 Alerts 

Read over 84 NACCHO COVID-19 News Alert January to June 2020

Effective social marketing campaigns segment a target audience and develop resources that are culturally appropriate. Culturally appropriate resources include target specific language choices, imagery and an understanding of culturally specific behaviour change motivations.

Four examples of ACCHOs that have delivered tailored resources include the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW (AH&MRC), Apunipima Cape York Health Council (Apunipima), Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA) and National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO).

See NACCHO COVID-19 updates and infomation

Each of the examples provided resources that were tailored specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by including Aboriginal vernacular, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and some included Indigenous languages.

Additionally, the material reflected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s kinship structures by promoting self‐isolation and good hygiene as a way of taking care of family and community.

AHMRC Website 

The AH&MRC, the NSW ACCHO peak body, has disseminated existing and new resources promoting COVID‐19 prevention online via their website, Facebook Twitter YouTube and Instagram

Additionally, they created the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service Pandemic Response Tool Kit. The materials were either resources developed by their member services (ACCHOs) or mainstream materials that have been repurposed and contextualised for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Apunipima ACCHO Website

Apunipima, a Cape York ACCHO in Queensland has also been communicating with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about how to protect themselves from COVID‐19 via Facebook and TikTok, and by distributing printed resources.

The first Facebook post (6 March 2020) used simple, evidenced‐based prevention messages about handwashing. Subsequently, they produced infographics and short localised video updates.


AHCWA Website

AHCWA, the Western Australian ACCHO peak body, has also developed infographics promoting prevention measures such as hand washing and COVID‐19 symptoms.

AHCWA resources and updates have been published on their website.


NACCHO, the national ACCHO peak body has been amplifying communications from ACCHOs and the jurisdictional affiliates, such as the AH&MRC and AHCWA.

They have shared these resources via their website, the NACCHO communique, their Facebook page and Twitter.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #InternationalWomensDay #EachforEqual #IWD2020 : Our tribute to our 10 Women NACCHO Board of Directors and 71 #ACCHO CEO’s of our majority female workforce

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

2.NT: Donna Ah Chee Central Australian Aboriginal Congress

3.NSW: LaVerne Bellear Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service

4.TAS: Raylene Foster Tasmanian Aboriginal Corporation

5.NT: Olga Havnen Danila Dilba Health Service

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

7.SA: Willhelmine Lieberwirth South Australia

8.WA: Lesley Nelson South West Aboriginal Medical Service

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

10. QLD: Gail Wason Mulungu Primary Health Care Service

International Women’s Day 2020 campaign theme is #EachforEqual

An equal world is an enabled world.

Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.

We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements.

Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender equal world.

Let’s all be #EachforEqual.

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

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

Recently NACCHO CEO Pat Turner told a women’s leadership summit (Pictured above in centre )

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

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

See previous NACCHO #IWD Tribute HERE 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3.NSW: LaVerne Bellear CEO Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service

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

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

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

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

4.TAS: Raylene Foster Tasmanian Aboriginal Corporation

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

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

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

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

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

See Website 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7.SA: Willhelmine Lieberwirth South Australia 


A Kokatha and Antakirinja woman, Wilhelmine honours her rich family ancestry. She has worked in human services roles, most recently as an Aboriginal Cultural Consultant with Child and Family Health Services and has been instrumental in the Safely Sleeping Aboriginal Babies in South Australia.

Wilhelmine and her family have lived in Whyalla for generations and have been active participants advocating on local health matters, including supporting the local ACCHO Nunyara Aboriginal Health Service Inc.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10 .QLD: Gail Wason Mulungu Primary Health Care Service

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

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

CEO Gail Wason.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s all about changing and improving lives.

To learn more about Mulungu Aboriginal Corporation Medical Service visit

NACCHO Affiliates and Members Deadly Good News : #National Watch @NACCHOChair 2019 Year in Review Video #NSW Katungul Tharawal ACCHO’s #VIC @VAHS1972 #QLD @Apunipima @DeadlyChoices #NT @Kwhb_OneShield @CAACongress #WA @TheAHCWA #ACT @nimmityjah #Tas #SA Port Lincoln ACCHO

1.1 National : NACCHO Chair and CEO 2019 Year in Review

1.2 National : NACCHO Communique number 2833 ” The Last Post “

2.1 NSW : Katungul ACCHO in Bega buys building to provide culturally safe place health and community services to the Aboriginal community

2.2 NSW : Tharawal ACCHO Art Therapy Program: Creating a Safe Place for Community Members to Heal

3.1 VIC : VAHS holds its annual Youth Leadership Camp to build their leadership skills and increase their knowledge on primary health care.

3.2 VIC : A partnership between the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital and the Victorian Aboriginal Health Services (VAHS) has created the nation’s first specialist eye clinic that sits within a community controlled organisation

4.1  QLD : Apunipima ACCHO reports Santa sighted in Aurukun FNQ

4.2 Qld :  Deadly Choices 200 seniors representing 30-plus teams Deadly Choices – IUIH Shield Indigenous Seniors Games

4.3 QLD : Lizzie Adams CEO Goolburri ACCHO to stand for local government elections

5.SA : With Port Lincoln ACCHO support local Aboriginal Youth shine at Nunga Next Generation Carnival

6.ACT : The ACT Justice Reinvestment Trial : A process and outcome review of Yarrabi Bamirr at Winnunga ACCHO

7.1 NT : Katherine West Health Board helps the mums and their bubs at play group at Lajamanu School tie dye their own ”What’s your Smoke Free Story?” t-shirts.

7.2 NT Ampilatwatja Health Centre Aboriginal Corporation history in the making as we welcome our first ever Cert 4 AHP (Aboriginal Health Practitioner)

7.3 NT : Congress Alice Springs helpd to film Milpa the Trachoma Goanna (Clean Faces, Strong Eyes) and Drum Atweme.

8. WA : AHCWA Sexual Health Project Officer Veronica shares her NACCHO conference highlights and a little about the training program she delivers called “The Birds & the BBV’s”.

9.TAS : Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre is excited to present this interactive map of the Aboriginal names of over 180 places in lutruwita.

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

Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media 

Mobile 0401 331 251 

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

1.NACCHO Chair and CEO 2019 Year in Review

On behalf of NACCHO, the Board and our team, we wish you a safe, happy and healthy festive season.

2019 has been a great year as we continue to see growth and welcome new funding. We have developed into a strong and influential voice, not only in health but in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs more broadly.

View the full report HERE

We thank you for your ongoing support and commitment to improving health outcomes for our people and look forward to working with you in 2020!

Yours sincerely Donnella Mills and Pat Turner

Chair and CEO

1.2 National : NACCHO Communique number 2833 ” The Last Post “

After 2,833 Aboriginal Health Alert post over 7 and half years from NACCHO media will cease publishing from this site as from today 20 December 2019 and resume mid January 2020 with posts from

For historical and research purposes all posts 2012-2019 will remain on

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

I personally thank all the NACCHO Members and readers who have supported me over this journey

See you in the new format in 2020

For further info contact Colin Cowell NACCHO Social Media Media Editor

2.1 NSW : Katungul ACCHO in Bega buys building to provide culturally safe place health and community services to the Aboriginal community.

Aboriginal health and well-being services in the region are about to be supercharged with an aged care facility in Bega being re-purposed into an Aboriginal health clinic.

The vacant Casuarina facility on Bega Street, Bega, operated by Sapphire Coast Community Aged Care has been sold to Katungul, the region’s Aboriginal community-controlled health organisation.

“We’re so excited to officially share with the community that we have invested in this space. We have so many ideas for this new premises,” says Joanne Grant, Katungul Acting CEO.

“It has so much potential to serve our local community, filling the many service gaps we may have here on the south coast.”

Residents of Casuarina moved out just before Christmas 2017, into new, more modern accommodation at Hillgrove House in Bega.

Built in 1979, the building is designed around four main houses, each house consisted of a lounge and dining areas with its own domestic sized kitchen and a total of 31 motel type suites where residents were provided with care and support.

For two years the well-loved and care for building has sat empty – screaming potential to a range of community organisations.

Under the control of Katungul since Friday (December 13) tradesmen are currently swarming the building getting it ready for its new future – providing health and community services to the Aboriginal community.

Ms Grant says the scale of the building will also provide an opportunity for Katungul to address community needs which aren’t yet being met.

“The thing I’m most excited about however is creating a culturally safe place for our community and a place the Aboriginal community can call their own,” she says.

“I envision the facility as a hub for dynamic collaboration between other like-minded services for the betterment of the health and wellbeing of our broader community.”

The past five years has seen Katungul grow from the strength to strength serving the Bega Valley and Eurobodalla through clinics in Batemans Bay, Narooma, and Bega. Plans for the future take in communities as far away as Young, Yass, Queanbeyan, Goulburn, and Cooma.

Under the control of Katungul since Friday (December 13) tradesmen are currently swarming the building getting it ready for its new future. Photo: Ian Campbell.

Katungul Chairman Ronald Nye Senior believes the new space goes beyond offering health and care services.

“We are confident this Bega Street premises will take on a new cultural significance for the local Aboriginal community offering not only a great sense of pride but a culturally safe environment to access holistic health services.”

The new building offers Katungul a 300% increase in clinic capacity plus the ability to offer both community services and clinical services from one singular location.

Currently, Katungul offers a bulk-billing medical clinic with outreach services including; dental clinics via a touring dental van, eye health services including Aboriginal eye health specialists and visiting optometrists and ophthalmologists, maternal and infant health services, National Disability Insurance Scheme support services, mental health support services including an in-house psychologist, alcohol and other drug use support, social and emotional wellbeing services and cultural programs.

Staff are currently moving from their Gipps Street premises to the new Bega Street site; despite the heavy loads being lifted and shifted, all staff are wearing big smiles and are buzzing about the opportunity the Casurina building offers.

Services from Bega Street will start on January 6 with a smoking ceremony on January 15.

2.2 NSW : Tharawal ACCHO Art Therapy Program: Creating a Safe Place for Community Members to Heal

The Art Therapy Program was created by Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation in 2013 for the purpose of providing community members with a safe place to yarn.

It is a non-clinical setting where vulnerable members of the community can open up about their struggles without feeling judged and discriminated against.

The Program also creates a space for community members to express their feelings, using art as a medium. Through art, participants can explore the issues that have affected them in their life and begin viewing them from a different perspective to promote acceptance and healing.

See Photos of all the art HERE

‘We decided there was a need for some of the clients that suffer with mental health in the community. They would disengage with a lot of services, so we thought that we’d look at some ideas and see what they were interested in. We did try a couple of things, but we found that the art therapy really kicked off.’ –

Dannielle Gillette, Mental Health Worker at Tharawal

A large component of Aboriginal peoples social and emotional wellbeing is feeling connected to culture and community.

The Program covers both bases, incorporating traditional Aboriginal art and creating connections between community members who are part of the Program. For generations Aboriginal people have used art for storytelling and to chronicle knowledge of their land and mob.  The Tharawal Art Therapy Program teaches community members traditional art from their Nation, helping them to go back to their family roots.

‘I feel more culturally connected. My mother is Anglo-white, we weren’t really cultural cause my dad was in an orphanage for stolen generations, so we didn’t know much. By coming here, I feel I’m connected. I’m able to connect with him even though we don’t know… Where his mum, where his dad is.’ – Joanne, Tharawal Art Therapy Program Class Member

On Wednesday the 16th of October 2019, during Tharawal’s celebration of Mental Health Week, the Art Therapy Program presented The Journey 2020 Calendar, made up of artworks from 12 of the class members.

The artists each used different symbols and totems originating from their local community to create beautiful artworks layered with meaning. The artworks were all uniquely different, using traditional styles and emotive colours to communicate the individual journey of each of the class members.

‘We made the Calendars with the group to show them what great artists they all are, and they should all be so proud.’ – Ondra Challinger, Tharawal Art Therapy Program Coordinator

The CEO of Tharawal, Darryl Wright and Program Coordinators Danielle Gillette and Ondra Challinger presented the artworks back to the artists. It was an emotional presentation, with artists sharing their struggles with mental health and how they had affected their life trajectories.

Mental health issues that deeply effect Aboriginal communities including domestic violence, suicide and drug and alcohol addiction were themes explored in the artworks. While usually these issues are approached with shame and stigma, many of the artists were proud of the struggles they had faced and overcome in their lives. Through owning their stories and connecting to culture and community, the class members have been able to grow and heal together.

Danielle presenting The Journey 2020 Calendar created by the Tharawal Art Therapy Class

Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation is selling The Journey 2020 calendars for $20 each. The funds raised from calendar sales will go towards purchasing resources for the Program. The Journey 2020 Calendars are a thoughtful Christmas gift option for family and friends. Don’t miss out!

Please contact Ondra ( or Danielle ( to learn more.

3.1 VIC : VAHS holds its annual Youth Leadership Camp to build their leadership skills and increase their knowledge on primary health care.

Day 1 – VAHS Youth Leadership Camp.

Over 35 young Aboriginal people from Melbourne and Gippsland are attending.

All week, this group of young people will build their leadership skills and increase their knowledge on primary health care.

See all 20 Day 1 Photos HERE

Day 2

It’s a hot one at the camp, the students ready for a swim. We knew some students will forget their towels for the VAHS Leadership Camp……that’s why VAHS created and gave every young person a new beach towel for the camp.

Day 3 for the VAHS Youth Leadership Camp – Cultural Workshops with Uncle Wayne Thorpe.

The workshop was to identify your role and responsibility as a Aboriginal Person in today’s Society.

Best question all young people at the camp had to think hard about……’Are you going to be Deadly or Demben in life?’

See all Day 3 Photos HERE

3.2 VIC : A partnership between the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital and the Victorian Aboriginal Health Services (VAHS) has created the nation’s first specialist eye clinic that sits within a community controlled organisation.

Servicing the First Nations community in Fitzroy, the clinic is delivering gold standard and culturally safe services to those in need of specialist eye care and holds brand new equipment purchased with funding from the Victorian Government.

VAHS has had a relationship with the Australian College of Optometry for two decades, which has enabled the expansion of optometry services within the organisation.

Article originally published in NIT

In the past year, VAHS has worked closely with the Eye and Ear Hospital and the College of Optometry to establish the new ophthalmology clinic.

VAHS General Manager of Operations, Gavin Brown, said VAHS has been a vibrant part of life for the First Nations community in Fitzroy and that this new clinic enables the organisation to continue the work they do.

“Fitzroy is our stomping ground and a spiritual home for a lot of people. We have a relationship with a few hospitals in the area, that have been built over those 46 years,” Mr Brown said.

“The services that are provided and the results are wonderful … It is an amazing program, and we have a lot of visiting specialists. This is a real model for us on how we can do things in our service and have the … relationships outside for the things that are beyond our capability in terms of surgery and so on.”

Many staff within the clinic are of non-Indigenous heritage, however the partnership has enabled teaching and better understanding of how to deliver a culturally safe service.

Dr Rosie Dawkins is a non-Indigenous woman working as the clinic’s Consultant Ophthalmologist.

“Rosie is our ophthalmologist … she has a wonderful understanding. It is wonderful when you get non-Aboriginal people who are the right fit, and have that respect and have a comprehension of our culture and way of life and have respect for community controlled health organisations as well,” Mr Brown said.

Dr Dawkins noted the power of the clinic within VAHS.

“It’s shifting power … the community is in control of who comes, how the clinic runs, and the doctors are there to meet the health needs of the community, as the community sees fit,” Dr Dawkins said.

The Consultant Ophthalmologist said the relationship between VAHS and the hospital has enabled a better understanding of the community.

“For the hospital, people have often been thinking … why can’t we get people from Fitzroy to come to the hospital? … But the question is, why do we expect people to come to these institutions?

“The reasons for people unwilling to go to mainstream services, and not everyone is … are well understood, but we need to do something about it. But we can only do that through partnership, so the [Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation] must be willing and the hospital must be willing.

“We’re hoping that this kind of model of gold standard care can apply to everything at the ACCHO and can be a model that other hospitals and ACCHOs could use.”

Mr Brown said the clinic is already having a visible change within community.

“It is very rewarding because a lot of eye health issues, as people know, are curable. You see within a week that someone has their sight back or improved sight – you see the changes it makes in our people’s lives,” Mr Brown said.

With 46 years of service under their belt, VAHS hopes to keep providing community with extensive, culturally safe services that not only maintain healthy lifestyles, but inspire and empower the community.

“The community controlled organisations have been a big part of our lives [since the 1980s] so we are connected. We are so fortunate to have that era of empowerment and building in our community,” Mr Brown said.

“Times change and nowadays whilst we still have that political voice, it’s a lot more intricate in running a large service. We are always striving to improve and we’re always striving to maintain that voice that can be out there with people and government.”

By Rachael Knowles

4.1  QLD : Apunipima ACCHO reorts Santa sighted in Aurukun FNQ

Last Friday the Aurukun Community Christmas Party was held at the Wo’uw Ko’alam Community Centre.

A large crowd of 350 thoroughly enjoyed themselves, particularly all the children who received presents!

Apunipima staff who attended: Vincent Koomeeta, Kim Janus, Dr Darren Fahroedin, Dr Babak Azari and Maggie Robson (pictured above )

Santa had fun dancing with the children and then handing out presents to every child from every age group up to 12 year olds… we can confirm Santa was very tired by the end of the night!!

Another highlight from the night was hearing the beautiful Rochelle Pitt Music perform Carols to the community.

Watch Apunipima ACCHO 2019 Year in Review in 60 Seconds

4.2 Qld :  Deadly Choices 200 seniors representing 30-plus teams Deadly Choices – IUIH Shield Indigenous Seniors Games

A collective 200 seniors representing 30-plus teams from drought-stricken communities including Charleville, Cunnamulla, Quilpie, Mitchell and from across the Darling Downs, joined  coastal and City dwellers from Gympie, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, all competing for Statewide honours at this year’s Deadly Choices – IUIH Shield Indigenous Seniors Games at Willawong.

View over 22  Photos of the Event

To ensure the long trip to Brisbane is made all the more worthwhile, Deadly Choices Ambassadors including Australian league legends Steve Renouf, Preston Campbell, Petero Civoniceva, Willie Tonga and Brenton Bowen, plus Olympic sprinter Patrick Johnson and International natural bodybuilder champion Rhonda Purcell were on hand to ensure healthy competition and banter.

Not since 35 teams assembled for the huge 2018 Commonwealth Games commemorative Seniors Games event in Brisbane, have event organisers seen such a wide assortment of regional teams.

The Seniors Games concept has as its key directives to promote social inclusion among the elderly, while encouraging a healthy, active lifestyle and to ensure regular medical health checks are undertaken by participants. This is a pre-requisite of participation.

4.3 QLD : Lizzie Adams CEO Goolburri ACCHO to stand for local government elections 

5.SA : With Port Lincoln ACCHO support local Aboriginal Youth shine at Nunga Next Generation Carnival

Aboriginal youth from Port Lincoln community travelled to Adelaide to take part in the Nunga Next Generation Carnival held at Alberton Oval on December 6 and 7, which included the Next Generation football competition organised by the Port Adelaide Football Club.

The Port Lincoln Community worked together with many services such as Port Lincoln Aboriginal Health Services, Port Lincoln Aboriginal Community Council, Port Lincoln City Council, West Coast Youth and Community Support and Mallee Park Football Club along with many individuals and families who volunteered their time over the weekend.

The young footballers did the community proud with a team of 23 young men participating in the football carnival and winning it.

The team was coached by Graham Johncock with Hippy Wanganeen Jnr as assistant coach, Ronald Carbine as team manager and Alan Dodd III (CJ) as supporting team assistant.

The team played well after travelling throughout Friday and on arrival in Adelaide had their first game at Alberton Oval that night.

They took out the trophy on Saturday after defeating Koonibba in the final game.

Jace Burgoyne (Son of Ex Port Adelaide Power player) was judged best in final and best player overall.

His skill and football knowledge was a standout throughout his performances over the weekend and will no doubt follow in his father’s footsteps.

The players had a great time, caught up with friends and family, supported each other and come home winners in more ways than one.

6.ACT : The ACT Justice Reinvestment Trial : A process and outcome review of Yarrabi Bamirr at Winnunga ACCHO

The Minister for Justice Shane Rattenbury today released an evaluation of the Winnunga Justice Reinvestment Trial conducted by the Australian National University Centre for Social Research and Methods.

Minister Rattenbury said that the aim of the Trial, funded by the ACT Government and implemented by Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services, was to empower families to be self-reliant in navigating the system to get the right help from the right place at the right time.
“The evaluation confirmed that the Trial is meeting its objectives. It is providing strong benefits to families including keeping families together, preventing homelessness and keeping people out of prison,” Minister Rattenbury said.

During the Trial, drug and alcohol counselling, midwifery services, dental services, psychologist and psychiatrist services, and advocacy services were significantly increased for participants.

Winnunga AHCS CEO Ms Julie Tongs said ‘Winnunga is an Aboriginal community controlled and managed organisation, an integral and trusted part of the community, and this is why the JR Trial worked and could not be duplicated by a mainstream community or government service provider’.

‘The need for after-hours support continues to be an issue Winnunga has identified over many years, and it is good to see this has emerged as a key theme through the evaluation, which should be considered as an opportunity for improvement. Crisis is not limited to business hours and so after-hours support would be a logical step for support that seeks to address family and personal issues as they emerge, before they escalate further’ Ms Tongs added.

“The evaluation concluded that Winnunga provided a proactive, intensive and problem-oriented system of case management and the participants reported significant improvements in their family, personal and social well-being,” Minister Rattenbury said.
The outcomes and recommendations from the evaluation have been used to inform the funding and operating model for future service provision.

The Trial is a product of the whole-of-government commitment to the provision of intensive family-centric case management for local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families as part of the ACT Government’s Justice Reinvestment Strategy.

7.1 NT  : Katherine West Health Board helps the mums and their bubs at play group at Lajamanu School tie dye their own ”What’s your Smoke Free Story?” t-shirts.

The Kids

7.2 NT Ampilatwatja Health Centre Aboriginal Corporation history in the making as we welcome our first ever Cert 4 AHP (Aboriginal Health Practitioner)

Today is history in the making! We welcomed our first ever Cert 4 AHP (Aboriginal Health Practitioner) to the clinic! Jason King is an Alyawarr man.

From everyone here at the clinic welcome to Ampilatwatja and the clinic!

7.3 NT : Congress Alice Springs helpd to film Milpa the Trachoma Goanna (Clean Faces, Strong Eyes) and Drum Atweme.

Yesterday the ICTV crew was on set at the Alice Springs Telegraph Station & Trail Station Cafe filming with Milpa the Trachoma Goanna (Clean Faces, Strong Eyes) and Drum Atweme.

It was early start to the day to beat the 42 degrees heat but the kids were ready to go and they had so much fun! 🦎

8. WA : AHCWA Sexual Health Project Officer Veronica shares her NACCHO conference highlights and a little about the trianing program she delivers called “The Birds & the BBV’s”.

Veronica Walshe from Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia – AHCWA (AHCWA) tells us some of her NACCHO conference highlights and a little about the trianing program she delivers called ‘Birds and BBVs’. 👍

Veronica ran some workshops around the Birds and BBVs program with our young proffesionals at this years NACCHO Youth Conference which was held on the first day of our conference.

9.TAS : Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre is excited to present this interactive map of the Aboriginal names of over 180 places in lutruwita.

Click here to open the map. The map can be used on computer, phones or tablet.

To mark 2019 International Year of Indigenous languages, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre is excited to present this interactive map of the Aboriginal names of over 180 places in lutruwita.

The names are shown in palawa kani, the language of Tasmanian Aborigines.

Scroll over each name to hear it said, and open to learn some history of each name.

Only a handful of places in lutruwita still bear their original names, although in English spellings which do not convey the original sounds – Triabunna, Ringarooma, Boobyalla are some.   What seem like ‘Aboriginal names’ on signs and maps – Yolla, Marrawah, Poatina etc –  are all in English spellings too, and were plucked straight from wordlists by various municipal authorities.  None of those names are the original names for those places, and are not from the language of that place or area.

But the original names of our beautiful country have been retrieved over many years work by the palawa kani Language Program, to be spoken once again by Tasmanian Aborigines.

We are proud to now share these names with all residents of lutruwita, and beyond. We encourage you all to speak and use them to acknowledge the Aboriginal history of this island, and to honour the resilience of Aboriginal languages. The Aboriginal community makes this gesture in the spirit of generous cultural sharing: it is not an invitation to appropriate any of the names for any commercial purpose.

We ask that public uses of the names be accompanied wherever reasonably possible by the acknowledgment ‘In palawa kani, the language of Tasmanian Aborigines.’

You can learn more about the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre at

About the palawa kani Language Program and reviving the names at
About the European recorders of the names at

About Aboriginal and dual names gazetted by the Tasmanian Government at

About other names of lutruwita

This site is still a work in process, with some histories still to be added and technical glitches dealt with as they arise. More names will be added they are revived.

Please send us your feedback on any aspect of this site, as our aim is to make it as accessible and useful as possible. palawa kani Language program can be contacted at