Aboriginal Health #Budget2019 2 of 5 CEO Pat Turner NACCHO Press Release and @NACCHOChair Donnella Mills #NACCHOTV Interview : Funding for #IndigenousHealth Absent from Federal Budget

This weeks NACCHO Budget Coverage 

Post 1: NACCHO Intro #AusVotesHealth #Budget2019

Post 2: NACCHO Chair Press Release

Post 3:  Health Peak bodies Press Release summary

Post 4 : Government Press Releases

Post 5 : Opposition responses to Budget 2019 

Read all Budget 2019 Posts 

Part 1 Acting Acting Chair Donnella Mills discusses #Budget2019

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) is disappointed at the lack of funding allocated in the 2019-2020 federal budget for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services and the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector. 

The gap between the health outcomes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians will continue to persist unless there is a significant commitment to supporting the work of Aboriginal community controlled health organisations,

NACCHO has long called for an increase to the baseline funding for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to support the sustainable delivery of high quality, comprehensive primary health care services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities. 

We know that closing the gap will never be achieved until primary health care services are properly funded and our clinics have good infrastructure and are fit for purpose; until our people are living in safe and secure housing; until there are culturally safe and trusted early intervention services available for our children and their families; and until our psychological, social, emotional and spiritual needs are acknowledged and supported.

The physical and mental health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities needs to be a priority for the Australian government. Our communities suffer disproportionately higher rates of suicide, cancer, kidney disease and obesity compared to non-Indigenous Australians,”

We are disappointed that the Federal funding commitment does not match this critical need,” she said.

We call on the all political parties to put Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and full funding of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector at the heart of their election commitments. ” 

Pat Turner CEO NACCHO

Read and or DOWNLOAD Full NACCHO Budget Press Release Here

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #ClosingtheGap “ @NITV ‘The buck will stop with us’: As representatives of 40 Indigenous peak groups meet with #COAG in historic #ClosingtheGap partnership

“ It’s the first time ever that COAG has Aboriginal people as equal partners at the table negotiating how we work over the next decade to Close the Gap for our people

We’re at a crossroads, and we’ve decided to take up our rightful role.

I want our people living in safe, secure housing. I want them to have access to community-controlled health services no matter where they live. I want our people to have the best access to all education services, and I want our people to generally have the same opportunities as other Australians,” Ms Turner said.

I want our people to have full-time jobs. We’ve got to scrap the negative issues that we have deal with every day. We have to take a strengths-based approach and we have to make sure that we are getting our people out of poverty.”

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) CEO  Pat Turner.

 See NACCHO Press Release and CTG Agreement Here

“If we’re stepping up to this level than we have to take on the responsibility and be prepared to work extensively to achieve the outcomes we’re all aspiring to, and if there are changes along the way, then so be it. The buck will stop with us.”

Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory chief executive, John Paterson, said the agreement also means Indigenous groups are just as accountable as governments.

“ Labor welcomes the Closing the Gap Partnership Agreement announced by the Coalition Government and the Coalition of Peaks, made up of some 40 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander national and state /territory peaks and other organisations across Australia.

A formal agreement with First Nations organisations and providers to work together to Close the Gap is long overdue.

This announcement comes after years of delay, dysfunction and poor communication due to the failure in leadership of this government. It has been two years since the government announced a ‘refresh’ of the Close the Gap”

For Labor Party response /support see Full Press Release attached

Labor Party CTG Press Release

Representatives of around 40 Indigenous peak bodies, making up a ‘coalition of peaks’ will co-chair a new joint council alongside ministers. Picture Brisbane Yesterday

The Council of Australian Governments has unveiled an historic partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, as they look to refresh the Closing the Gap strategy and turn around a decade of disappointing results.

Our thanks to NITV for this excellent coverage Nakari Thorpe

Original article 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups have sat down with state, territory and Commonwealth ministers, for the first time, to work on Closing the Gap.

Under a ten-year agreement, Indigenous peak bodies will share ownership and accountability to deliver real, substantive change for Indigenous Australians.

The partnership marks an historic turning point for the Closing the Gap strategy, which for the past eleven years has seen dismal results in delivering better outcomes for Indigenous Australians.

Last year, just two of the seven targets were on track to being met.

Representatives of around 40 Indigenous peak bodies, making up a ‘coalition of peaks’ will co-chair a new joint council alongside ministers.

Ms Turner and Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion co-convened the first meeting in Brisbane on Wednesday.

The Morrison government is committing $4.6million over three years to fund the coalition’s secretariat work, and additional funding is expected in next Tuesday’s budget for the Closing the Gap refresh framework.

But Ms Turner warns the new coalition is not a substitute for an ‘Indigenous voice to the parliament.’

“Our focus is on the Close the Gap. We in no way are the ‘voice’ – that is a process that still has to be settled by the incoming government at the federal level,” she said.

The framework will undergo Indigenous-led evaluations every three years.

Details of new targets are expected to be revealed in mid-2019 but Indigenous groups have already flagged key areas of concern.

“We’ve got too many people in juvenile justice, we’ve got too many children being removed from their families, we’ve got so much family violence, drug and alcohol abuse.

And all those issues, this Closing the Gap can do something about,” said Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation chief executive, Muriel Bamblett.

Ms Bamblett told NITV she hopes the new agreement will bring about real outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on the ground.

“We’re tired of going to the table and saying this is wrong … We know we’ve got the answers.”

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #SelfDetermination : Our CEO Pat Turner pays tribute to her Uncle Charlie Perkins at opening of new Canberra building named in his honour

“ Even though Uncle Charlie is gone and I have left the Public Service, I can tell you that his vision of self-determination is what I have sought to achieve every day of my life.

I know that fulfilling that vision is what will Close the Gap more than anything else.

It has driven me to lead a Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations to seek a partnership with the Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments to jointly decide the next phase of Closing the Gap.

If he was here, I know Uncle Charlie would be standing with me in making sure that our peoples have to be at the table and make decisions about Closing the Gap and take responsibility for them alongside Governments.

This is a very powerful legacy of Uncle Charlie.”

NACCHO CEO Pat Turner speaking at the opening of Charles Perkins House In Canberra : See Full Speech Part 2 Below

Read yesterday Closing the Gap announcement by Prime Minister Morrison 

In 1966, Dr Charles Nelson Perkins AO was the first Aboriginal man to graduate from a university in Australia.

 Importantly Aboriginal people should be aware of this false economy which forms the basis of Aboriginal affairs in this country.

The economic lifeline is maintained only at the discretion of politicians and a fickle public.

We must therefore develop and consolidate a viable economy for our various communities and organisations that will sustain us into the future.

We must create short and long-term economic strategies now and thus create a more independent and secure base for ourselves and our children. The reality is that Aboriginal people under utilise, to put it kindly, their current economic and personnel resources. The potential for economic viability for our people is available now if only we could awake to the opportunity and not be blinded largely by employment survival economics ”

Unless the approaches to Aboriginal health are broadened to include greater attention to the health problems of adults, and are matched by broad ranging strategies aimed at redressing Aboriginal social and economic disadvantages, it is likely that overall mortality will remain high.

Dr Charles Perkins opening the Australia’s First National /International Indigenous and Economic Conference (NIBEC 1993) Alice Springs. 1993 International Year of the World’s Indigenous Peoples and Paul Keating was Prime Minister :

Read his full speech here Aboriginal people and a healthy economy

In a fitting tribute, the building where Indigenous affairs policy is developed was renamed Charles Perkins House last week, in honour of the celebrated anti-discrimination campaigner and former Department of Aboriginal Affairs secretary.

From The Madarin 

The late Dr Charles Perkins  became the first Indigenous Commonwealth secretary in 1984, after being appointed to the top job at the department where he started as a research officer in 1969. Before, during and after his career as a public servant, however, Perkins remained an activist first and foremost.

He was a major figure in the struggle for equal rights, arguing powerfully and publicly on behalf of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and leaving a towering legacy.

If Perkins had a choice between playing the role of the mild-mannered public servant to stay in the good books or speaking his mind, he chose the latter. He was famously suspended from his government job after publicly labelling the Western Australian government racist rednecks, and countless other anecdotes tell of a man whose life’s work was speaking truth to power, and never giving up on a fair go for the first Australians, above all else.

Staff of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Indigenous affairs group have long worked out of the south Canberra office block, described as “the home of Indigenous affairs” by PM&C, since prior to 2013 when they were brought together into a single structure within the central agency.

Charles Perkins House replaced the much blander “Centraplaza” at a ceremony last week, attended by relatives of Perkins and “other significant names in Indigenous Affairs” according to a brief report from the department.

A spokesperson said the new name would stand as “a reminder of his significant contribution to the Australian Public Service, Indigenous Affairs, and to Australia’s national identity”.

While it’s not a stand-alone department, the creation of the IA group marked a move back towards centralisaton from the arrangements it superseded. It has slightly more autonomy than most comparable groupings as it works under an associate secretary, the former vice-chief of the Australian Defence Force, Ray Griggs. This is one of only two such positions that currently exist in the Australian Public Service and has higher status than deputy secretaries.

Perkins’ niece Patricia Turner, a former APS deputy secretary herself and chief executive of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, did the honours with PM&C secretary Martin Parkinson and deputy secretary for Indigenous affairs, Ian Anderson.

“Dr Perkins was a proud Arrernte and Kalkadoon man and laid the foundation for the type of forward-thinking Indigenous Affairs policy we aspire to at PM&C,” Parkinson said in the statement.

Anderson said Perkins was “an inspiration to public servants and the Indigenous community alike” and noted he was one of the first Aboriginal people to receive a university degree, leader of the 1965 Australian Freedom Ride, and an influential advocate of the yes-vote in the 1967 referendum that essentially created the policy area where he would later become the chief administrator.

We’re told PM&C “worked closely with the owner of the building to secure its agreement” to rename the building and that no money changed hands with the owner, the evri group.

“The Department also engaged Dr Perkins’ family as well as key Indigenous stakeholders in the naming of the building and design of the tribute to Dr Perkins,” a spokesperson added.

Part 2 OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF CHARLES PERKINS HOUSE THURSDAY 21 MARCH 2019 PAT TURNER SPEECH

Introduction

I too want to thank Matilda for the warm welcome.  Of course I also want to pay my respects to the traditional owners and elders, past and present.

This is our national capital, which we are all proud of but it is also the traditional lands of Aboriginal people who lived here for many generations.  That they have survived and are here should also be a source of pride for all of us.

I should point out that Matilda and her family also lived in Pearce and became close personal lifetime friends with my aunty and uncle.

Can I also greet the Perkins family formally, and I am very proud that they are part of my family and that Charles Perkins was my uncle.

Uncle Charlie

My uncle Charlie was an extraordinary man.

He had many roles throughout his life and none more important than being a husband, a father, a son, a brother, an uncle, a grandfather and a part of the Arrente and Kalkadoon First Nations.

His family and his wider extended family and cultural responsibilities were at the essence of his life.

It’s important I think to say that because often the focus is on his career in the public service and the influence that he has brought to bear on Australia over the course of the 20th century.

However, he was an Aboriginal man first and foremost.  That he was so successful at that is obvious – just take a look at his family and his children.  They have been such a success and I take this opportunity to pay tribute to them.

Soccer

Uncle Charlie had other family of course and I am referring to those who lived at St Frances House in Adelaide.

Soccer was the springboard for his international travel and the experiences of living in another country.

Going overseas and, after returning to Australia, playing soccer with teams of different ethnic backgrounds, opened Uncle Charlie’s eyes to how he was viewed as an Aboriginal man among equals in this setting.

But we know, sadly, that if he was treated as an equal when he was playing soccer and recognised for being an Aboriginal man, the society in which he lived discriminated against him.

Strengths

We also know, however, that this Aboriginal man decided to do something about it.  Uncle Charlie was strong and proud.  He had many strengths

-a strong work ethic and was very disciplined in fulfilling all his roles and responsibilities.

-Because he worked hard, he expected everyone else around him to do the same.

-I also remember personally his generosity and acts of kindness to me and others.

-At work, he focused on meeting and talking directly with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples right around the country.

-He had the most extensive network of contacts that I have ever seen, from people living in the Central Australian desert through to the Prime Minister’s office and heads of corporate Australia.  He was never afraid to pick up the phone.

-Of course his leadership qualities were displayed in the Freedom Rides which others have referred to today.

Priorities for Uncle Charlie

Uncle Charlie was a successful kidney transplant recipient and it made him more driven to get a better deal for Aboriginal people throughout Australia.

In the 1960s as a University student he held a mirror up so that Australian people could see how racist they were and forced them to look at themselves.

Uncle Charlie forced our country to start taking a good hard look at itself.

Sure, many considered him controversial and a stirrer, but we loved him and applauded him for his leadership, his strength of character and his undying commitment to achieve a much better quality of life for First Nations peoples throughout this country and a full suite of our specific rights as First Nations peoples.

We know that his spirit guides us today, and that during his lifetime he taught us a great deal.

Today we all stand on his shoulder as a giant of a man whose legacy we must build upon and bring his vision into reality.

Self-Determination

That vision more than anything else was self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

By self-determination, Uncle Charlie never meant that we should be able to decide if we are part of Australia or that our development ought to be separate.

I can assure you that Uncle Charlie was a proud Australian and also saw the benefits of mainstream economic development.

What Uncle Charlie meant by self-determination was that;

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples had to be fully involved in decision making about the policies and programs of governments that affected them,
  • while we had to co-exist with non-Indigenous Australians, we had to have our own structures that allowed us the opportunity to make decisions about our priorities for development;
  • racism in all its forms against us had to be defeated; and
  • while we had to live and succeed in Australia we also had the right to have our culture and identity.

This vision became central to the outlook of a whole generation of public servants who worked in Indigenous Affairs including me.

Even though Uncle Charlie is gone and I have left the Public Service, I can tell you that his vision of self-determination is what I have sought to achieve every day of my life.

I know that fulfilling that vision is what will Close the Gap more than anything else.

It has driven me to lead a Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations to seek a partnership with the Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments to jointly decide the next phase of Closing the Gap.

If he was here, I know Uncle Charlie would be standing with me in making sure that our peoples have to be at the table and make decisions about Closing the Gap and take responsibility for them alongside Governments.

This is a very powerful legacy of Uncle Charlie.

Burn Baby Burn!

Reflections on the life of my Uncle Charlie, however, should not end without some other significant moments which many seem to have forgotten.

He had a love/hate relationship with the media, and he certainly knew how and when to cause a storm.

In some cases, I can’t help but laugh even though they were very serious at the time.  Remember the threats of protests in the lead up to the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

Uncle Charlie made a highly controversial declaration in April 2000 that Sydney would “Burn Baby Burn” during the event.

Who can forget the nationwide ruckus this caused.  Funny that we should be naming a building after the Aboriginal man who said it.

As I was walking up the steps just now, I was looking at the new sign “Charles Perkins House” and thinking to myself that I would like to spray paint in brackets “Burn Baby Burn”.

Other anecdotes

My uncle would read the press coverage every morning, and the executive soon learnt we also had to. At times I would walk into his office if I was concerned about a particular emerging issue covered in the press and indicate high level briefing may need to be prepared, and he had a very keen sense of when that was necessary and when it wasn’t. He would often say to us “Today’s news – tomorrow’s fish and chips wrapping”.

One morning we walked into his office in the executive meeting and he exclaimed the headline “Woman crawls 500m to escape croc attack”. “Geez”, he said “fancy that, crawling 500 miles!” I replied “Can’t be, must be 500 metres because she would be dead from exhaustion if she crawled 500 miles!”

Before the age of the mobile, my uncle was addicted to the phone and at home the phone and his personal phone book were forever on his side. He would flick through the phone book to decide who to ring today, and when someone answered he would say “Hello mate, Charlie here, just touching base”. Of course we all knew he was just keeping his finger on the pulse.

He always had a fire in his belly and held is back bone straight, a determination he instilled in us all. I am so proud he was my uncle.

In closing, I want to thank you personally Ian Anderson for all the effort you put into bringing this event to fruition.

It’s fantastic that Australia’s headquarters for Indigenous Affairs has been named after Uncle Charlie and well done to the Australian Government and thank you very much.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #ClosingTheGap Prime Minister Scott Morrison announces new #ClosingtheGap Partnership Agreement 2019-2029 with 40 Indigenous peak bodies able to engage and negotiate as equal partners with governments to design and monitor Closing the Gap.

“The Closing the Gap Partnership Agreement will focus all of our efforts to deliver better health, education and employment outcomes for Indigenous Australians.

It recognises that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples must play an integral part in making the decisions that affect their lives. This agreement will put Indigenous peoples at the heart of the development and implementation of the next phase of Closing the Gap, embedding shared decision making and accountability at the centre of the way we do business.

In order to effect real change, governments must work collaboratively and in genuine, formal partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples because they are the essential agents of change. The change we all want to see will only come if we work together.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the new Closing the Gap Partnership Agreement between the Federal Government, states, territories and the National Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations (Coalition of Peaks) would ensure decision makers worked closer than ever to deliver real change for Indigenous Australians.

Download the CTG FACT Sheet and Partnership Agreement from Here

CTG Final fact sheet (1)

– Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap 2019-2029[73948]

“The historic Partnership Agreement means that for the first time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, through their peak bodies, will share decision making with governments on Closing the Gap.

Closing the gap is not just about targets and programs. It is about making sure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can share in the decision making about policies and programs that impact on them and have a real say over their own lives.

The Partnership Agreement is a significant step forward in this direction and the Coalition of Peaks is looking forward to working closely with the Council of Australian Governments to honour our shared commitment to closing the gap.”

Patricia Turner (CEO of NACCHO ) on behalf of the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations said almost 40 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Bodies across Australia had come together as partners with governments on Closing the Gap. See Also NACCHO Press Release Part 2

PRIME MINISTER

THE HON. SCOTT MORRISON MP

MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS
SEN. THE HON. NIGEL SCULLION
 

PATRICIA TURNER
ON BEHALF OF THE COALITION OF ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEAK ORGANISATION

PARTNERING WITH INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIANS TO CLOSE THE GAP

Read all NACCHO COAG Articles Here 

An historic agreement is set to change the way governments and Indigenous Australians work together on Closing the Gap.

The Agreement was developed collaboratively with the Coalition of Peaks, the largest group of Indigenous community controlled organisations, and committed to by all levels of government. It builds on the December 2018 decision by the Council of Australian Governments to  establish a formal partnership on Closing the Gap between governments and Indigenous Australians.

The partnership will include a Joint Council on Closing the Gap, which for the first time will include ministers nominated by jurisdictions, together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives chosen by the Coalition of Peaks.

Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion will co-chair the first meeting of the Joint Council alongside Pat Turner, CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and on behalf of the Coalition of Peaks.

“The Joint Council represents an historic step forward in the practical working relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and governments,” Minister Scullion said.

“This is the first time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives and ministerial leaders have met formally as part of a Joint Council to progress the Closing the Gap agenda and improve the lives of Indigenous Australians no matter where they live.

“To support this historic partnership, we will deliver $4.6 million to the National Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations to ensure the representatives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are able to engage and negotiate as equal partners with governments to design and monitor Closing the Gap.

“This is a new way of doing business that reflects that the top-down approach established in 2008 while well-intentioned, did not truly seek to partner with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Australians. We enter this partnership recognising that Canberra cannot change it all and that we need more then lofty goals and bureaucratic targets.

“Finalising the refresh of the Closing the Gap framework and monitoring its implementation over the next ten years is critical to the future and prosperity of all Australians.

“We are committed to working closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia to improve the lives of Indigenous Australians.”

Patricia Turner on behalf of the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations said almost 40 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Bodies across Australia had come together as partners with governments on Closing the Gap.

The refreshed Closing the Gap framework and targets will be finalised through the Joint Council by mid-2019, ahead of endorsement by COAG. The Joint Council will meet for the first time on 27 March 2019 in Brisbane.

“Closing the gap is not just about targets and programs. It is about making sure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can share in the decision making about policies and programs that impact on them and have a real say over their own lives.

“The Partnership Agreement is a significant step forward in this direction and the Coalition of Peaks is looking forward to working closely with the Council of Australian Governments to honour our shared commitment to closing the gap.”

Part 2

Download a copy of this NACCHO Press Release

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) has welcomed the signing of an historic Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap between the Commonwealth Government, State and Territory Governments and the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Bodies.

The announcement will be made at the first Joint Council Meeting between the new partners in Brisbane

The Coalition of Peaks is made up of around forty Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled organisations that have come together to negotiate with governments and be signatories to the Partnership Agreement.

NACCHO Chief Executive, Pat Turner, said the Agreement means that for the first time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, through their peak body representatives, will share decision making with governments on Closing the Gap.

“For some time now, NACCHO, along with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations have been calling for a greater say with governments on efforts to close the unacceptable gaps in life outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the broader community,” said Ms Turner.

“The Coalition of Peaks believe that shared decision making between governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled representatives in the design, implementation and monitoring of Closing the Gap is essential to closing the gap”.

The Partnership Agreement sets out how governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peaks bodies will work together to agree a refreshed national agreement on Closing the Gap, including any new Closing the Gap targets and implementation and monitoring arrangements.

Ms Turner said the Partnership Agreement also marks the establishment of a new, Joint Council on Closing the Gap that will be co-chaired by a Minister and a representative of the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Bodies.

“We look forward to a hardworking and constructive partnership with the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments to secure better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples,” said Ms Turner.

The Partnership Agreement can be accessed at After 8.00am : https://www.naccho.org.au/ programmes/coalition-of-peaks/

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

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

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

NACCHO CEO, Pat Turner see Press Release Part 1

Download NACCHO Press Release

NACCHO CTG Day Media Release Final

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

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

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

From The Sydney Morning Herald March 21 :

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

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

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

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

From the CTG Press Release see Part 2 Below

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

ctg2019_final2_web

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part 2 CTG Press Release

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Among the case studies included in the report;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #SuicidePrevention News Alerts : #Closethegap : #NACCHO and @TheRACP Peak Health bodies call for Prime Minister and state and territory leaders to declare Aboriginal youth #suicide crisis an urgent national health priority

The recent Aboriginal youth suicides represent a national emergency that demands immediate attention.

Aboriginal community controlled health services need to be properly resourced to ensure our children are having regular health checks and to develop community led solutions.’

NACCHO CEO, Ms Patricia Turner : See NACCHO RACP press release : see Part 1 below

See all 130 + NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Suicide Prevention articles published over last 7 years 

“Funded programs are not required to demonstrate a measurable reduction in suicide and mental health risk factors, which is staggering,

We just aren’t demanding that basic level of accountability

The first priority must be analyses of suicide mortality data to identify the causal pathways,  

Suicide risk is the most complex thing to assess and monitor … communities are crying out for specialist assistance and just not getting it. “Children as young as 10 are dying by suicide … this is no longer an Aboriginal issue, it’s a national one,

Indigenous psychologist Adjunct Professor Tracy Westerman said Australia had failed to collect crucial evidence to determine what intervention strategies work. See Part 2 below 

 ” Community driven action plans to prevent suicide are extending across the Kimberley, with four more communities implementing plans to save lives and improve health and well-being.

As part of the Kimberley Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Trial, Kununurra, Balgo, Wyndham and Halls Creek now have local plans, joining Broome, Derby and Bidyadanga.

Each community receives up to $130,000 to help roll out its action plan which reflects and responds to local issues

See Minister Ken Wyatt Press Release and Communique Part 3 and 4 Below

Part 1 RACP and NACCHO Press Release

JOINT STATEMENT

HEALTH BODIES DECLARE ABORIGINAL YOUTH SUICIDE AN URGENT NATIONAL PRIORITY

  • Health bodies call for Prime Minister and state and territory leaders to declare urgent national health priority
  • Immediate investment in Aboriginal-led mental health and wellbeing services needed to stop child deaths
  • Long-term solution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander self-determination requires commitment to Uluru Statement from the Heart

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) are calling on the Prime Minister to make tackling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth suicides a national health priority.

Suicide was once unknown to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples but now every community has been affected by suicide.

In response to the recent Aboriginal youth suicides and the release of the WA Coroner’s report on the inquest into the deaths of thirteen children and young persons in the Kimberley Region, we are calling on the Prime Minister and state and territory leaders to put the issue at the top of the COAG agenda and to implement a coordinated crisis response to urgently scale up Aboriginal led mental health services before more young lives are tragically lost.

An urgent boost to Aboriginal community controlled health services is required to build on the existing range of initiatives that are being rolled out. We also call on the Government to expand upon evidence-based resilience and cultural connection programs to be adapted and attuned to local needs.

We are calling on the Federal Government to:

  • Provide secure and long-term funding to Aboriginal community controlled health services to expand their mental health, social and emotional wellbeing, suicide prevention, and alcohol and other drugs services, using best-practice traumainformed approaches
  • Increase funding for ACCHSs to employ staff to deliver mental health and social and emotional wellbeing services, including psychologists, psychiatrists, speech pathologists, mental health workers and other professionals and workers;
  • Increase the delivery of training to Aboriginal health practitioners to establish and/or consolidate skills development in mental health care and support, including suicide prevention
  • Commit to developing a comprehensive strategy to build resilience and facilitate healing from intergenerational trauma, designed and delivered in collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

RACP spokesperson Dr Mick Creati, said: “The unspeakable child suicide tragedy that has been unfolding requires a national response and the attention of the Prime Minister. Unless we see urgent boost to investment in Aboriginal-led mental health services then the deaths will continue.”

RANZCP President Dr Kym Jenkins, said: ‘We must address the factors underlying suicidality in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, including intergenerational trauma, disadvantage and distress. For this, we urgently need an increased capacity of mental health and wellbeing services to help people and communities recover from trauma and build resilience for the future.’

Part 2 Leaders urged to declare Aboriginal child suicides a ‘national crisis’

 Kate Aubusson From the Brisbane Times 20 March 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison must declare Indigenous child suicides a national emergency and overhaul current strategies, peak medical and health bodies have demanded.

The call comes in the wake of harrowing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child suicide rates, and the WA coroner’s inquest into the deaths of 13 young people, five aged between 10 and 13 years in the Kimberley region.

A joint statement from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) has urged Mr Morrison and all state and territory leaders to make Indigenous youth suicides an “urgent national health priority”.

The organisations called on the leaders to launch a “coordinated crisis response” and invest in Aboriginal-led strategies “before more young lives are tragically lost”.

In January, five Aboriginal girls aged between 12 and 15 years took their own lives.

The latest ABS data shows Indigenous children aged 10 to 14 die of suicide at 8.4 times the rate of non-Indigenous children. One in four aged under 18 who suicided were Aboriginal.

None of the 13 children who died by suicide had a mental health assessment, according to the coroner’s report.

The international journal The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health recently called Australia’s Indigenous youth suicide rate an “unmitigated crisis”.

NACCHO CEO Pat Turner said the recent Aboriginal youth suicides was “a national emergency that demands immediate attention”.

The joint statement called for Indigenous community-led solutions, long-term funding boosts to Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) for best-practice and trauma-informed mental health, suicide prevention, and drug and alcohol programs.

The organisations also pushed for more ACCHS funding to employ more psychologists, psychiatrists, speech pathologists and mental health workers, increase training for Aboriginal health practitioners to develop a comprehensive strategy focused on resilience and intergenerational trauma healing.

In September the Morrison government announced $36 million in national suicide prevention projects.

Paediatrician with Victorian Aboriginal Health Service Dr Mick Creati said Indigenous suicides could not be prevented by a “white bread psychiatry model”.

Aboriginal suicides were often radically different from those among the general population, research shows. They were more likely to be impulsive, potentially triggered by some kind of interpersonal conflict.

The crisis demanded a “different, culturally appropriate model”, Dr Creati said.

“We don’t know exactly what the right model is yet … but Aboriginal people need to be included [in their development] to make sure they are appropriate for Aboriginal populations.”

But Indigenous psychologist Adjunct Professor Tracy Westerman said Australia had failed to collect crucial evidence to determine what intervention strategies work.

“Funded programs are not required to demonstrate a measurable reduction in suicide and mental health risk factors, which is staggering,” Professor Westerman said.

“We just aren’t demanding that basic level of accountability”.

The first priority must be analyses of suicide mortality data to identify the causal pathways,  Professor Westerman said.

“Suicide risk is the most complex thing to assess and monitor … communities are crying out for specialist assistance and just not getting it. “Children as young as 10 are dying by suicide … this is no longer an Aboriginal issue, it’s a national one,” she said.

Part 3 The eighth meeting of the Kimberley Suicide Prevention Trial Working Group was held on 14 March in Broome communique

The Working Group discussed the findings of WA Coroner’s Report into suicide deaths in the Kimberley and continued its consideration of resources and strategies to support activity as part of the suicide Prevention trial.

The meeting today was chaired by the Hon Ken Wyatt, Minister for Indigenous Health (Commonwealth) and attended by the Hon Roger Cook, Deputy Premier and Minister for Health (WA State Government), Senator the Hon Patrick Dodson (Commonwealth) and Member for the Kimberley, the Hon Josie Farrer MLC (WA State Government). Apologies were received from the Hon Ben Wyatt, Minister for Indigenous Affairs (WA State Government).

The meeting was also attended by over 40 representatives from communities, organisations and government agencies.

Key messages from today’s discussion included:

  • A shared commitment to work together at all levels of government to develop place-based, and Aboriginal-led and designed responses.
  • A commitment to ongoing collaboration.
  • Acknowledgement of the good work achieved thus far – but noting more needs to be done.
  • The role of the community liaison officers on the ground across Kimberley communities was highlighted as an example of good progress – connecting services and projects with what people want.
  • The need to continue mapping services was agreed.
  • The need for holistic approaches was highlighted.
  • Community organisations are keen to work with the State and Commonwealth Governments on solutions that address the recommendations in relation to the report of the WA Coronial Inquest and all other referenced reports.

Part 4 Minister Wyatt Press release

Community driven action plans to prevent suicide are extending across the Kimberley, with four more communities implementing plans to save lives and improve health and well-being.

As part of the Kimberley Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Trial, Kununurra, Balgo, Wyndham and Halls Creek now have local plans, joining Broome, Derby and Bidyadanga.

Each community receives up to $130,000 to help roll out its action plan which reflects and responds to local issues.

However, the four new plans have a common thread – they are centred on people working and walking together on country, with a series of camps involving high-risk groups.

The camps are planned to provide a range of supports around suicide including healing and sharing and respecting cultural knowledge and traditions. They will also support close engagement with Elders.

A strong cultural framework underpins all the Trial’s activities and all the projects identified by the communities fit within the systems-based approach, guided by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP).

Nine communities are involved in the Kimberley Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Trial, with Community Liaison Officers playing a critical role.

The outcomes will contribute to a national evaluation which aims to find the most effective approaches to suicide prevention for at-risk populations and share this knowledge across Australia.

The Morrison Government is supporting the Kimberley Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Trial with $4 million over four years, from 2016-2020.

It is one of 12 Suicide Prevention Trials being conducted across the nation, with total funding of $48 million.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI): Minister @KenWyattMP announces $2.8 million national project improving people’s health through better quality control and health data collection at local ACCHO’s Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services  

 ” Improving people’s health through better quality control and health data collection at local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services is the aim of a $2.8 million national project funded by the Federal Government.

Our Government recognises the importance of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS), with data showing they provide over 2.5 million episodes of care each year for more than 350,000 people.

However, to help achieve better health outcomes as our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population grows, we need to support accountability, quality improvement and accurate data reporting.”

Minister Ken Wyatt Press Release Part 1 Below

” This National Framework for Continuous Quality Improvement in Primary Health Care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, 2018-2023 booklet is designed to provide practical support for all primary healthcare organisations in their efforts to ensure that the health care they provide is high quality, safe, effective, responsive and culturally respectful.”

NACCHO Acting Chair Donnella Mills

” NACCHO is proud of the record of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) in delivering primary health care to our community. We have learnt many lessons over the last 50 years about how to structure, deliver and improve care so that it best meet the needs of our communities across Australia.

This experience is used in the Framework to describe how to do, support and inform culturally respectful continuous quality improvement (CQI) in primary health care.”

Further resources including the Framework are available on our NACCHO website.

Direct link to PDF – https://www.naccho.org.au/wp-content/uploads/NACCHO-CQI-Framework-2019.pdf

Updated CQI pagehttps://www.naccho.org.au/programmes/cqi/

Pat Turner CEO of NACCHO see Press Release Part 2 below

 

Part 1 Ministers Press Release

In 2017, the Department of Health engaged KPMG to develop a national baseline quality audit at the individual service level to identify issues impacting on data quality and reporting and make recommendations for improvement. From February to May last year, 53 ACCHS volunteered to participate in the project.

The final report found that, despite reporting on national Key Performance Indicators and Online Services Report data collections since 2012-13 and 2007-08 respectively, only 30 per cent of the services visited were rated as having effective and mature processes in place to support and measure health data. The remaining 70 per cent were classified as needing support to improve.

The reports found characteristics of mature services include:

* Leadership focussed on a strong culture of Continuous Quality Improvement

* Clear workflows including induction, training and monitoring programs

* Resources and staff dedicated to recording and reporting health care activities

In Stage 2 of this project this year, KPMG will offer all health services not involved in Stage 1 the opportunity to participate, plus follow-up consultations for ACCHS in Stage 1 and the development of online training resources.

KPMG will also convene a national forum on best practice so ACCHS can share successful and effective reporting processes and practices with each other.

Part 2

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) has just published the National Framework for Continuous Quality Improvement in Primary Health Care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, 2018-2023.

Download the full NACCHO Press Release HERE 

al Community Controlled Health Services and Affiliates, health professional organisations and government. The project was funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health.

The CQI Framework provides principles and guidance for primary health care organisations in how to do, support and inform culturally respectful CQI.

It is designed to assist Aboriginal health services and private general practices, NACCHO Affiliates and Primary Health Networks, national and state/territory governments in their efforts to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have access to and receive the highest attainable standard of primary health care wherever and whenever they seek care.

It is relevant to clinicians, board members and practice owners, health promotion, administrative and management staff. Six case studies which illustrate how CQI has been implemented in ACCHSs are included.

NACCHO welcomes further case studies from other health services, general practice and Primary Health Networks.

Further resources including the Framework are available on the NACCHO website.

  1. Direct link to PDF – https://www.naccho.org.au/wp-content/uploads/NACCHO-CQI-Framework-2019.pdf
  2. Updated CQI page – https://www.naccho.org.au/programmes/cqi/

For further information about the CQI Framework please contact: cqi@naccho.org.au

 

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and peak bodies welcome #COAG announcement to a formal partnership approach to the #ClosingtheGap Refresh #RefreshtheCTGRefresh

“ COAG’s commitment to a genuine formal partnership approach between the government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the Closing the Gap strategy is a welcome step in the right direction

This is something that we’ve long campaigned for – because involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in decisions that affect their lives will lead to far better outcomes.

We as a sector are looking forward to working with the Prime Minister and COAG to negotiate and agree the refreshed framework, targets and action plans which will be finalised through the committee by mid-2019.

We are pleased that the Prime Minister and COAG have finally recognised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people must play an integral part in the making of the decisions that affect their lives – and it’s the only way forward to closing the gap.”

NACCHO Chief Executive Officer Pat Turner AM see COAG full communique Part 1 below

Pictures above and below taken in PM office last Thursday 6 December meeting the peaks

Download full COAG communique HERE

COAG Communique 5 Pages 12 December

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) has today welcomed COAG’s announcement to a formal partnership approach to the Closing the Gap Refresh.

Following the tireless campaigning from NACCHO and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak bodies across Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week agreed to a full partnership approach between Indigenous people and governments to agree the Closing the Gap framework and targets and to put it to COAG for their consideration.

Before the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak bodies intervened, COAG was due to settle a new Closing the Gap framework and targets without the full involvement and agreement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through their representatives.

The details of formal partnership between COAG and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will be settled in February 2019. It will include a Ministerial Council on Closing the Gap with expanded membership to include representation from COAG and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through their peak bodies.

Part 1 Closing the Gap COAG Communique

Press Conference at close of COAG today

COAG is listening to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and their peak and governing bodies. Leaders are committed to ensuring that the finalisation of targets and implementation of the Closing the Gap framework occurs through a genuine, formal partnership between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through their representatives.

This formal partnership must be based on mutual respect between parties and an acceptance that direct engagement and negotiation is the preferred pathway to productive and effective outcomes. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples must play an integral part in the making of the decisions that affect their lives – this is critical to closing the gap.

Today, COAG issued a statement outlining a strengths based framework, which prioritises intergenerational change and the aspirations and priorities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across all Australian communities.

The finalisation of this framework and associated draft targets will be agreed through a formal partnership.

Governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives will share ownership of, and responsibility for, a jointly agreed framework and targets and ongoing monitoring of the Closing the Gap agenda. This will include an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led three yearly comprehensive evaluation of the framework and progress.

The arrangements of the formal partnership between COAG and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation will be settled by the end of February 2019, and will include a Ministerial Council on Closing the Gap, with Ministers nominated by jurisdictions and representation from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The framework and draft targets will be finalised through this Council by mid-2019, ahead of endorsement by COAG. A review of the National Indigenous Reform Agreement will be informed by the framework.

Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition

COAG acknowledged the release of the Report of the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition and endorsed the concept of co-design recommended by the Committee.  COAG looks forward to discussing the work on co-design at its next meeting.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #SuicidePrevention : #ATSISPC18 #refreshtheCTGRefresh Pat Turner CEO NACCHO Setting the scene panel : Health led solutions through Aboriginal Community Controlled Health #Leadership

” It is well established that Aboriginal led solutions deliver better outcomes.

Aboriginal community-controlled health services should be funded based on need and so that they can develop comprehensive suicide prevention initiatives with the communities they service. 

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project identifies successful Indigenous community led health led responses including providing positive health messages and mental health support underpinned by a cultural framework and tackling harmful drug and alcohol use.

These initiatives can be delivered by properly funded and supported Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations.

I also believe in regular full health checks for at risk people so that critical issues that can impact on a persons wellbeing, like poor hearing, can be picked up and addressed early. 

We also know that mainstream mental health service provision for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the country is inadequate and inappropriate.

Many people feel unsafe accessing the care they need.

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations should be priortised for funding to support our own people.” 

Pat Turner AM CEO NACCHO who is working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak bodies across Australia to ask COAG for a seat at the table on the Closing the Gap Refresh: so that we get that policy right : Part 1 Below

Picture above @CroakeyNews : Prof Pat Dudgeon kicks off the keynote panel session: “Setting the scene”. #ATSISPC18. Prof Tom Calma, Prof Helen Milroy, and our CEO Pat Turner

See the #RefreshtheCTGRefresh Campaign post HERE

Read over 120 NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #SuicidePrevention articles published over last 6 years 

Suicide among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is regularly in the media and public conversations. Often the focus is on an individual completed or attempted suicide or the negative statistics.

The second National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Conference, to be held in Perth on November 20-21, will shift the focus to solutions identified by Indigenous people themselves. The program consists of only Indigenous people from Australia and internationally.

Our voices are important because it is our mob who understand what is going on in our communities best. We live and breathe it, with many of us either having considered taking our own lives, making an attempt or having had family members who have.

This is why the program includes a focus on community-based solutions. “

Summer May Finlay writes Part 2 below for Croakey 

Part 1 : Why an urgent need for action

  • Our people are more than twice as likely to commit suicide than other Australians.
  • Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men are the most at risk of suicide in Australia.
  • Those in remote area are more disproportionately affected
  • Suicide and self-inflicted injuries was the greatest burden of disease for our young people in 2011.
  • If, Western Australia’s Kimberley region was a country, it would have the worst suicide rate in the world, according to World Health Organisation statistics.
  • Rate of suicide for Aboriginal people in the Kimberley is seven times the rest of Australia.
  • This is not news to us: but it is unacceptable and it is why we are here today.

Aboriginal control

  • At the heart of suicide is a sense of hopelessness and powerlessness.
  • Our people feel this powerlessness at multiple levels, across multiple domains of our lives.
  • It is why we have the Uluru Statement from the Heart: a cry from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across the nation to have a say over matters that impact on us.
  • At the national level, it means a Voice to the Commonwealth Parliament and a full partnership between Indigenous people and governments on the Closing the Gap Refresh with COAG.
  • At the regional level, it is about the formation of partnerships – like in the Kimberley one on suicide prevention – working together and advocating as a region.
  • At the local level, it is about Aboriginal people being in control of the design and delivery of programs to their own people.
  • The importance of Aboriginal control or Indigenous led is highlighted consistently as a way to achieve better outcomes for our people.
  • This is also reinforced at the Kimberley Roundtable and in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project.
  • Community-led actions are the most effective suicide prevention measure for our people. This fundamental point cannot be ignored if the situation is to change.

Healing

  • Aboriginal suicide rates have been accelerating since 1980.
  • Aboriginal people did not have a word for “suicide” before colonisation.
  • To go forward, we must go back and identify and draw on those aspects of our culture that gives us strength and identity.
  • We also must heal by acknowledging and addressing the effects of intergenerational trauma.
  • Part of healing must include challenging the continuing impacts of colonisation on Indigenous peoples’ contemporary lives.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project identifies the success of Elder-driven, on-country healing for youth which has the dual effect of strengthening intergenerational ties as well as increasing cultural connection.
  • Red Dust Healing is another example of cultural reconnection achieving positive outcomes with people at risk.
  • The Healing Foundation also achieves similar outcomes with the same principles of empowerment and connection to culture.

A public policy crisis

  • Almost all Aboriginal people who commit suicide are living below the poverty line.
  • Other common factors are:
    • Aboriginal people who have been incarcerated and come out of prison with little to no hope on the horizon.
    • Aboriginal people who are homeless.
    • Aboriginal people who have been recently evicted from their public housing rentals.
    • Aboriginal people who are exposed to violence and alcohol misuse and suffer domestic abuse.
    • Aboriginal people who have multiple underlying health and metal health issues.
    • Aboriginal people who are young; males; and those who live in remote areas.
  • This tells us that we need a comprehensive public policy response to address suicide rates in our people – that suicide in our people is linked to our status and situation more broadly in Australia.
  • It is therefore unacceptable that the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing has been allowed to lapse and no further investment has been agreed.
  • We must overturn and replace the Community Development Program that is leaving our young people completely disengaged.
  • We must also tackle the issues that lead to the greater incarceration of our peoples, with greater investment in ear health programs, employment and education.
  • It is why we must join the call for Newstart to be raised, so that our people who cannot find work, are not living in poverty.
  • And it is why myself and NACCHO are working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak bodies across Australia to ask COAG for a seat at the table on the Closing the Gap Refresh: so that we get that policy right.
  • Whilst these matters can be overlooked in our efforts to respond to suicide in our people, and because it is difficult for governments, but they are fundamental drivers.

 .

Part 2 Follow #ATSISPC18 for news from National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Conference : From Croakey 

The second National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Conference will take place in Perth this week.

Summer May Finlay, who will cover the discussions for the Croakey Conference News Servicetogether with Marie McInerney, writes below that the focus will be on community-based solutions, as well as listening to young people and LGBTIQ+ sistergirls and brotherboys.

For news from the conference on Twitter, follow #ATSISPC18@SummerMayFinlay@mariemcinerney and @CroakeyNews.


 

Healing and support crew on hand should the be needed 

Summer May Finlay writes:

Suicide among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is regularly in the media and public conversations. Often the focus is on an individual completed or attempted suicide or the negative statistics.

The second National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Conference, to be held in Perth on November 20-21, will shift the focus to solutions identified by Indigenous people themselves. The program consists of only Indigenous people from Australia and internationally.

Our voices are important because it is our mob who understand what is going on in our communities best. We live and breathe it, with many of us either having considered taking our own lives, making an attempt or having had family members who have. This is why the program includes a focus on community-based solutions.

While the term “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander” is used as a collective term for the Indigenous nations in Australia, each community within each nation is unique – culturally, socially and historically. This means that solutions need to be tailored to each community. Again, this focus is reflected in the conference program.

That’s not to say everyone in each community has the same needs and concerns. Within communities there are sub-groups who also have distinct needs, such as young people and LGBTQI+ sister girls and brother boys.

Representation matters

Our young people and community of LGBTIQ+ sistergirls and brotherboys experience disproportionate rates of suicide. Their voices on how to address the situation are important to hear, which is why these groups are well represented at the conference, with sessions where people will share their stories of ways forward.

Dion Tatow, a conference presenter, says the focus needs to be on ways forward because being “LGBTIQ+ sistergirls and brotherboys isn’t the cause of suicide, it is the discrimination and exclusion that are the cause”.

He says: “The shame [and] secrecy. You have to hide it, so it’s not good for your own health and wellbeing.”

Tatow is an Iman and Wadja man from Central Queensland and South Sea Islander (Ambrym Island, Vanuatu) and chairperson of gar’ban’djee’lum, a Brisbane-based, independent, social and support network for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people with diverse genders, bodies, sexualities and relationships.

He believes that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations like Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) and cisgender people and mainstream organisations have a role to play in improving the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ+ sistergirls and brotherboys.

However, many health services “staff aren’t trained to deal with some LGBTIQ+ sistergirls and brotherboys’ health concerns such as gender reassignment.” This can mean LGBTIQ+ sistergirls and brotherboys can feel uncomfortable accessing a service.

Safe spaces needed

Tatow believes that ACCHOs need to step up and become “safe spaces” for LGBTIQ+ sister girls and brother boys. He says that there is a perception among LGBTIQ+ sistergirls and brotherboys that ACCHOs may be unsafe, with concerns particularly around confidentiality.

According to Tatow, the program Safe and Deadly Spaces run by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service in Brisbane (ATSICHS) is a great example of what ACCHOs can do to offer appropriate services to LGBTIQ+ sister girls and brother boys.

ATSICHS is “committed to being inclusive of all sexual orientations, gender identities and intersex variations to ensure every member our community feels safe, accepted and valued when they access our services and programs”.

Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people also have a strong presence at the conference.

Culture is Life, led by the Chief Executive Officer Belinda Duarte, has taken charge of the youth program. Culture is Life backs Aboriginal-led solutions that deepen connection and belonging to culture and country, and supports young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to thrive. This includes allowing young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to take on leadership roles.

Will Austin, 22, a Gunditjmara man, from South West Victoria who is the Community Relations manager for Culture is Life, was charged with leading development of the youth program. He believes that young people being part of the program was important because “Aboriginal leadership and expertise needs to be shared in a really inclusive way with young people through listening and reciprocity across the generations.”

Culture is key

Culture is Life, as the name implies, places culture at the centre of the work they do, and Austin sees culture as key to health and wellbeing for our young people, connecting to cultural practice in traditional and modern ways. He says:

Modern culture is marching down the street and finding the balances in different ways such as art, dance and contemporary dance, poems, song writing, music.

Our culture has been around for thousands of years and shared through our Elders. It will evolve. There is no better feeling than going out on country, dancing on country, feeling your feet on the earth your ancestors have walked on. Connecting to the ancient knowledge and using modern ways to communicate it.”

Katie Symes, Culture is Life General Manager – Marketing and Communications, also believes Culture is a key “protective factor” for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.

Will Austin and Katie Symes encourage young people at the conference to have their voices heard.

Austin said: “Don’t be shame. Make sure you step up. Make sure you contribute to the conversations…young Indigenous people are the heartbeat of the nation.”

Symes said: “It’s important for young people to be supported to cut their teeth in a really safe space.”

And the conference is designed to be just that, a safe space.

Listening with heart

Culture is Life is promoting the importance of “Listening with our hearts to the lived experiences of First Nations young people, their friends, families and communities” through its LOVE and HOPE campaign, which aims to aims to raise awareness through communicating the evidence, lived experiences and Aboriginal-led solutions. This aim is echoed through the conference.

You can watch the two campaign videos featuring young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and Professor Pat Dudgeon, chair of the conference organising committee, here and here. Also follow the campaign on social media using the hashtags #loveandhope  #culturesquad  #cultureislife.

The conference showcases evidence from research and lived experience from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and Indigenous brother and sisters from other countries. The uniqueness of the program will lend itself to a unique experience for attendees.

This conference follows the first conference held in Alice Springs in 2016 as part of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project funded by the Commonwealth Government (see this Croakey report compiling coverage of the conference).

• If you or someone you know needs help or support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 (24 hours-a-day), contact your local Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisation, call Beyondblue on 1300 22 4636 or call Q Life: 1800 184 527.

• Further reading: On World Suicide Prevention Day, calls for the Federal Government to invest in Indigenous suicide prevention.

• The feature image above is detail from an artwork on the conference website: Moortang Yoowarl Dandjoo Yaanginy: Families (Cultures) Coming Together for a Common Purpose (Sharing) Shifting SandsThe website says: “This artwork represents our people doing business on country that is recovering from colonisation; our lands taken over, our cultures decimated, and our families separated, causing hardship, despair, and loss of hope

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #refreshtheCTGRefresh Campaign : 13 peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander bodies propose meeting  with COAG reps to determine a framework for reaching agreement on a refreshed #ClosingtheGap strategy

We understand that at this stage it is intended that new Closing the Gap targets will be settled at COAG’s December meeting,

We are calling on COAG to hold off doing this and instead put in place a proper partnership mechanism with us. The new targets haven’t been published and Indigenous peaks are uncertain what the targets will be and therefore we cannot provide our support.

NACCHO and the peak bodies engaged with the process, took time to submit written submissions and attend workshops to discuss refreshing the Closing the Gap strategy earlier this year. But we can’t see how our input has been taken into account,

As a first step we propose a meeting with COAG representatives and the peak bodies to discuss a way forward that includes a genuine partnership approach.

Aboriginal people need to be at the centre of the Closing the Gap Refresh policy; the gap won’t close without our full engagement and involvement.

Having Aboriginal people involved in the design of the Refresh and proposed revised targets will lead to Aboriginal people taking greater responsibility for the outcomes. It’s been proven that Aboriginal community control is vital and delivers better outcomes for our people.” 

NACCHO Chief Executive Pat Turner AM see interview Part 3 below 

Download the NACCHO Press Release Here

NACCHO media release Refresh The CTG Refresh

Part 1 NACCHO Press Release continued 

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and other Aboriginal peak bodies across Australia have written to COAG First Ministers seeking a full partnership approach between Indigenous people and governments in refreshing the Closing the Gap Strategy, scheduled to be put to COAG for consideration in Adelaide on 12 December.

The letter, signed by 13 peak bodies, proposes an urgent meeting of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak bodies to meet with COAG representatives to determine a framework for reaching agreement on a refreshed Closing the Gap strategy.

It’s the second letter the group has written to COAG after failing to receive a response to their initial letter in early October from any government except the Northern Territory.

Part 2 Letter to Council of Australian Government First Ministers

Dear Council of Australian Government First Ministers 16/11/2018

We write again, further to our letter of 4 October 2018, concerning the Closing the Gap Refresh, a joint initiative of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), to seek a formal partnership mechanism between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and governments in the Closing the Gap Refresh policy. We have only received a response from the Northern Territory Government.

As stated in our original letter, all of us believe it is essential that agreement is reached on the Closing the Gap Refresh policy between Indigenous organisations, on behalf of communities across Australia and Australian governments. What we propose is entirely consistent with the commitment made by COAG to set a new relationship with our communities based on a partnership.

If governments alone, continue to make decisions about the Closing the Gap, without an opportunity for us to be at the table, it will not be possible to advocate with any confidence or motivate our communities to support Closing the Gap and to take joint responsibility with governments for achieving the targets.

Pictures above and below from our #refreshtheCTGRefresh Campaign

The evidence is strong that when Indigenous people are included and have a real say in the design and delivery of services that impact on them, the outcomes are far better. We are certain that Indigenous peoples need to be at the centre of the Closing the Gap Refresh policy: the gap won’t close without our full involvement and COAG First Ministers, who are responsible for the Closing the Gap framework, cannot expect us to take responsibility and work constructively with them to improve outcomes if we are excluded from the decision making.

We have proposed a reasonable way forward to Australian Governments in our original letter without making it public to give everyone a reasonable opportunity to consider it. However, we understand that it is the intention of Australian Governments to still settle on targets at the forthcoming meeting of COAG on 12 December 2018.

We also understand that implementation arrangements are to be left over for COAG to agree in 2019. We make the points that neither ourselves nor anyone else outside government have seen the proposed targets which we think is way short of being partners and transparent and we cannot see how the targets can be agreed without considering at the same time how they are to be achieved.

We assume that Australian Governments will justify agreeing to targets by referring to the consultations earlier this year. Those consultations were demonstrably inadequate. They were conducted at a very superficial level without an opportunity for Indigenous interests to be prepared for the workshops held across Australia.

They were based on a discussion paper produced by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in December 2017 and which stated that only one of the seven targets was on track which two months later was contradicted by the former Prime Minister who said that three targets were on track. Critical elements of the original Closing the Gap framework, particularly COAG’s National Indigenous Reform Agreement, were not referred to at all in the consultations and the focus was on new targets instead of how we could make sure that this time around they were achieved.

There was no independent report prepared on the outcomes of the consultations and there is no way of telling if what was said in the consultations is reflected in the proposed Refresh policy including the targets.

The consultations started far too late which has left us with 4 targets having expired in June 2018. We do not accept that we have been properly consulted let alone given the opportunity to negotiate a mechanism that allows a proper partnership to be put in place in relation to the design, delivery and monitoring of Closing the Gap.

There is a now a significant opportunity to put this disappointing process back on track and in particular to establish a robust Closing the Gap framework founded on a genuine partnership between Indigenous people and governments.

It is open to governments on 12 December 2018, to endorse a partnership approach and establish a mechanism to initiate negotiations between representatives of COAG and Peak organisations with a view to developing a genuine partnership as part of the Closing the Gap Refresh. This would be endorsed by the Peak Organisations across Australia.

Subject to COAG endorsing a partnership approach, we propose a meeting of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak bodies to meet with COAG representatives to determine a framework for reaching agreement on a refreshed closing the gap strategy.

We stand ready to do this quickly and would work with COAG on having a partnership framework in place in early 2019 with a revised approach agreed by the middle of the year.

Ms Pat Turner AM, the CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, is our contact for the purpose of responding to this vital matter and we ask that you contact her.

We look forward to working with you on the Closing the Gap Refresh through an established partnership mechanism.

Yours sincerely,

 

Part 3 Going backwards’: Aboriginal bodies take aim at Closing the Gap

Aboriginal peak organisations have slammed federal, state and territory governments for failing to give Indigenous leaders an effective role in re-energising the faltering Closing the Gap process.

In a letter written jointly to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, chief ministers and premiers, the leaders of the 13 peak bodies say they have been shut out of meaningful consultation about refreshed targets to overcome Aboriginal disadvantage.

By Deborah Snow SMH 19 November

Pat Turner, chief executive of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, said "it's all gone backwards".
Pat Turner, chief executive of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, said “it’s all gone backwards”. CREDIT:GLENN CAMPBELL

And they want the Coalition of Australian Governments – due to consider an update to Closing the Gap next month – to defer setting new targets until a fresh pact is hammered out giving “full partnership” to Aboriginal bodies.

“I think it’s all gone backwards,” the chief executive of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), Pat Turner,  told the Herald.

“In the last few years, governments seem to have dropped the ball a lot. I hope they are giving serious consideration to our letter. They can’t go on having two bob each-way. They are there to lead and they have to have a bit of backbone. [The state of] Aboriginal affairs is a national shame, it is something that they should be wanting to get fixed.”

Ms Turner said only one government – the Northern Territory – had bothered replying to the group when they first wrote a letter a month ago seeking better consultation over new targets and implementation strategies.

“NACCHO and the peak [Indigenous] bodies engaged with the process took time to submit written submissions and attend workshops to discuss refreshing the Closing the Gap strategy earlier this year” she said. “But we can’t see how our input has been taken into account.”

The peak bodies decided on Sunday to release a second letter they wrote to all governments at the end of last week.

The letter says the “disappointing” Closing the Gap process has to be put “back on track” with Indigenous people taking part in the design and delivery of services on the basis of “genuine partnership”.

“As a first step we propose a meeting with COAG representatives and the peak bodies to discuss [such an] approach” Ms Turner said.

The Herald sought a response from Aboriginal Affairs minister Nigel Scullion but was unable to contact his office on Sunday.

Closing the Gap was first conceived of a decade ago as a way to measure Aboriginal disadvantage and set clear targets to redress it.

Earlier this year a report from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet said three of seven targets were “on track”: to halve the gap in year 12 attainment and halve the gap in child mortality by 2018, and to have 95 per cent of Indigenous four-year-olds enrolled in early childhood education by 2025.

However it said that other targets, including halving the gap in reading and numeracy, and halving the gap in employment, as well as closing the gap on life expectancy, were not on track.