NACCHO Aboriginal Health #RefreshTheCTGRefresh News : Dr @mperkinsnsw #ClosingtheGap failures are firmly rooted in racism and Nicholas Biddle From @ANU_CAEPR 4 lessons from 11 years of #ClosingtheGap reports

 

1. Some targets are easier than others

2. The life-expectancy measure is unpredictable

3. On-track one year, off-track the next

4. Indigenous Australians in the city and country have different needs

5.Closing the Gap Failures are firmly rooted in racism

” Scott Morrison last week became the fifth prime minister to deliver a Closing the Gap report to parliament – the 11th since the strategy began in 2008. Closing the Gap has aimed to reduce disadvantage among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with particular respect to life expectancy, child mortality, access to early childhood education, educational achievement and employment outcomes.

Almost every time a prime minister delivers the report, he or she states the need to move on from a deficits approach.

Which is exactly what Morrison did this time. But he also did something different. Four of the seven targets set in 2008 were due to expire in 2018.

So last year, the government developed the Closing the Gap Refresh – where targets would be updated in partnership with Indigenous people.

Nicholas Biddle ANU : Four lessons from 11 years of Closing the Gap reports : See in full Part 1 Below 

Read NACCHO Closing the Gap response and download the report

” Once again, minimal progress has been made towards closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.

Racism has been mentioned as an issue, but exactly how does racism make a contribution to this “unforgivable” state of affairs ?.

The answer is in the criminal justice system. Studies have shown mass incarceration has a profoundly negative effect on the health, education, and employment of families and communities-and Indigenous Australians are the most incarcerated group on Earth.

The US, the mother of all jailers imprisoned 655 people per 100,000 in 2018. Australia imprisoned 164 non Indigenous people and 2481 Indigenous people per 100,000. Western Australian imprisoned 3663 Aboriginal people per 100,000.

In 1991, when the report on Aboriginal Deaths in Custody was handed down, 14% of all prisoners were First Nations people.  By last year, the figure was 28%. ”

Lesson 5 Dr Meg Perkins is a registered psychologist, researcher and writer : See Part 2 Below

First Published in The Conversation 

The current report and the work leading up to it has led to new targets, such as a “significant and sustained progress to eliminate the over-representation of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care” and old targets framed differently.

For example, the headline new outcome for families, children and youth is that “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children thrive in their early years”. This is on top of more specific targets such as having 95% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander four-years-olds enrolled in early childhood education by 2025 – which this year is on track.


Read more: Closing the Gap is failing and needs a radical overhaul


Looking back on the past 11 years, there are several things we’ve learned. This includes those targets that seem easiest to meet, as well changes in the demographics of the population that complicate the measuring of the targets. Below are three lessons from the last decade of the policy.

https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/74BbT/1/

1. Some targets are easier than others

The targets where there has been some success tend to be those where government has more direct control. Consider the Year 12 attainment compared to the employment targets. To increase the proportion of Indigenous Australians completing year 12, the Commonwealth government can change the income support system to create incentives to not leave school, while state and territory governments can adjust the school leaving age.

That is not to downplay the efforts of parents, teachers, community leaders, and the students themselves. But, there are some direct policy levers.

To improve employment outcomes, on the other hand, discrimination among employers needs to be reduced, human capital levels increased, jobs need to be in areas where Indigenous people live and to match the skills and experiences of the Indigenous population. These are solvable policy problems with the right settings and community engagement. But, they are substantially more complex.


Read more: Three reasons why the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians aren’t closing


2. The life-expectancy measure is unpredictable

The main target has always been related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life expectancy. The 2019 report shows the target of closing the gap by 2031 is not on track.

Unfortunately, the life expectancy target is one of the more difficult to measure, as it uses multiple datasets that are potentially affected by different ways Indigenous people are counted in the census and changing levels of identification. The most recent estimates, based on data for 2015-17, are that life expectancy at birth is 71.6 years for Indigenous males and 75.6 years for Indigenous females.

While the gaps with the non-Indigenous population of 8.6 years and 7.8 years respectively are smaller than they were in 2010-12 (the previous estimates) the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and most demographers suggest extreme caution around the interpretation of this change. The ABS writes:

While the estimates in this release show a small improvement in life expectancy estimates and a reduction in the gap between 2010-2012 and 2015-2017, this improvement should be interpreted with considerable caution as the population composition has changed during this period.

More people have been identifying as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander over recent years. What’s more, the newly identified Indigenous people tend to have better outcomes on average (across health, education, and labour market outcomes) than those who were identified previously. This biases our estimates, making it appear there is more rapid progress than there might otherwise be.


Read more: Three charts on: the changing status of Indigenous Australians


The Closing the Gap framework was implicitly designed around improving the circumstances of the 2008 Indigenous population relative to the 2008 non-Indigenous population. However, both populations have changed substantially over the intervening years. There has been a growth of the non-Indigenous population due to international migration. It is hard to measure and track differences in changing populations.

3. On-track one year, off-track the next

There is also the yearly reporting cycle. The target of child mortality, for instance, no longer appears to be on track. This is despite it being on track in previous years. Yearly fluctuations make it hard to gauge the effectiveness of long-term policy settings.

For other indicators, such as employment, the data is available far less frequently than it could be, and we are less able to judge the effect of individual policies and interventions. Having said that, in my view, the sophistication and nuance with which data in the Closing the Gap reports has been presented has improved considerably.

It seems most policies prioritise Indigenous Australians living in remote areas than those in the city. David Clode/Unsplash

4. Indigenous Australians in the city and country have different needs

This isn’t always reflected in policy settings. The current report shows many outcomes are worse in remote compared to non-remote Australia. It also makes the point (though less frequently), that the vast majority of Indigenous Australians live in regional areas and major cities. This creates a tension between relative and absolute need. Unfortunately, the policy responses of government often don’t get that balance right.

Take the signature policy proposal announced with the current report – a suspension or cancelling of HECS debt for teachers who work in remote schools. What the policy ignores is that the vast majority of Indigenous students live outside remote Australia, that outcomes for Indigenous students in non-remote areas are well behind those of non-Indigenous students, and that the schools Indigenous students attend in non-remote areas tend to be very different from those of non-Indigenous students.


Read more: Infographic: Are we making progress on Indigenous education?


Attracting and keeping more high quality teachers in remote areas is a worthwhile policy aim. Alone, it is not sufficient.

The current report and speech by the prime minister states that “genuine partnerships are required to drive sustainable, systemic change” and that the government needs “to support initiatives led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to address the priorities identified by those communities”.

These are admirable goals. But, they require significant resources, a genuine engagement with the evidence (even if it isn’t positive), taking the Uluru Statement from the Heart seriously, and real ceding of control to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

5.Closing the Gap Failures are firmly rooted in racism

Some people think Aboriginal people must be uniquely anti-social and/or make very bad choices, but research tells us the majority of people in prison are suffering from severe cognitive impairments and/or mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder and major depression.

Why are we punishing people with disabilities for behaviour that may not be intentional ?.

When we look at children in school, we find three times as many Aboriginal children are suspended from school than non-Aboriginal children. Some of the special purpose schools in NSW are filled with Aboriginal children only.

Many youth detention centres in the country have 100 per cent Aboriginal inmates. Why are so many Aboriginal children being suspended from school and set on the road to crime and punishment, and what happens to white Australian children who are not able to behave appropriately in the classroom ?.

It seems mainstream Australian children are referred to health professionals when they have difficulties at school. They are seen as suffering from learning disabilities, autism, or ADHD. Speech therapists and other allied health professionals work to help them catch up with peers and stay in school.

Due to intergenerational disadvantage, Indigenous people often don’t have the resources to find a therapist to assist their child. People born before 1972 were not guaranteed a place in school, and so grand parents may not have had much education.

Parents may have left school in Year 8 or 9 and are not familiar with developmental norms or disabilities. If they know that their child is falling behind at school, they often do not have the money to pay for expensive psychological assessments, which cannot be done in Medicare. Without an assessment, and a diagnosis , the school cannot make allowances for a child with brain-based disabilities.

The racist policies of the past have left many Aboriginal people disadvantaged when it comes to dealing with the education system. If their child is having difficulties, suspensions are often the consequence. Once suspended and out on the street, racism sets in again.

Aboriginal children are searched and arrested more often. We will never close the disadvantage gap until we can offer support to the children of young people. We need to raise the age criminal responsibility from 10 to 15 years, and spend money on supporting children, not punishing them.

Dr Meg Perkins

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health @RecAustralia and #Racism : New Australian #ReconciliationBarometer Report shows some increased support but 33% of our mob have still experienced at least one form of verbal racial abuse in the last 6 months

Significantly, almost all Australians (95%) believe that ‘it is important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have a say in matters that affect them’ and 80% believe it is important to ‘undertake formal truth telling processes’, with 86% believing it is important to learn about past issues.

But disturbingly the barometer found that 33% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have experienced at least one form of verbal racial abuse in the last 6 months.”

Reconciliation CEO, Karen Mundine launching today The 2018 Australian Reconciliation Barometer, a national research study conducted every two years to measure and compare attitudes and perceptions towards reconciliation:

Download the full Report HERE

Reconcilation Aust 158 pages Barometer -full-report-2018

Download the brochure HERE

ra_2019-barometer-brochure_web.single.page_

Download the 2018 Workplace RAP Barometer 

WorkPlace RAP Barometer -2018_-final-report

Read over 110 Aboriginal Health and Racism articles published by NACCHO in the last 7 years 

Australians’ support for reconciliation and for a greater Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander say in their own affairs continues to strengthen according to the latest national survey conducted by Reconciliation Australia.

The 2018 Australian Reconciliation Barometer, a national research study conducted every two years to measure and compare attitudes and perceptions towards reconciliation, has found that an overwhelming number of Australians (90%) believe in the central tenet of reconciliation – that the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is important.

The 2018 Barometer surveyed a national sample of 497 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and 1995 Australians in the general community across all states and territories.

Reconciliation CEO, Karen Mundine, said that this latest Barometer once again showed a steady strengthening of the indicators for reconciliation and improved relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.

“Among these indicators is the encouraging fact that 90% of Australians believe in the central tenet of our reconciliation efforts, that the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is important, and that 79% agree that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are important to Australia’s national identity,” said Ms Mundine.

“Significantly, almost all Australians (95%) believe that ‘it is important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have a say in matters that affect them’ and 80% believe it is important to ‘undertake formal truth telling processes’, with 86% believing it is important to learn about past issues.

“More Australians than ever before feel a sense of pride for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; this has risen to 62% from 50% in 2008 when the first barometer was conducted,” she said.

Conducted by Reconciliation Australia the Australian Reconciliation Barometer is the only survey undertaken in Australia which measures the progress of reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians.

Ms Mundine said she was heartened by the 2018 results which indicated that the work of Reconciliation Australia and other organisations which promoted reconciliation, the richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and the need to truthfully present Australia’s history, was having a positive impact.

“In welcoming these latest results, I must acknowledge the hard work undertaken by so many Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people to share the incredible beauty and complexity of our cultures across this continent.”

Ms Mundine said that while it was encouraging to see support for reconciliation grow again in the past two years, “there was still plenty of room for improvement”.

“Disturbingly the barometer found that 33% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have experienced at least one form of verbal racial abuse in the last 6 months.”

Ms Mundine said that there were a number of actions that should be taken to further improve the situation for Australia’s First Nations and take the next steps towards a reconciled nation.

These include:

  • Developing a deeper reconciliation process through truth, justice and healing, including supporting a process of truth telling, the establishment of a national healing centre, formal hearings to capture stories and bear witness, reform to the school curriculum, and exploration of archives and other records to map massacre sites and understand the magnitude of the many past wrongs;
  • Support for addressing unresolved issues of national reconciliation including through legislation setting out the timeframe and process for advancing the issues proposed in the Uluru Statement from the Heart;
  • Supporting the national representative body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples – and these efforts must be underpinned by the principles of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, particularly the right to self-determination;
  • Recommitting to the Council of Australian Government’s (COAG) Closing the Gap framework that involves renewing and increasing investments and national, state/territory and regional agreements to meet expanded Closing the Gap targets that are co-designed with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;
  • Investing in, and supporting, anti-racism campaigns and resources including maintaining strong legislative protections against racial discrimination and taking leadership to promote a zero-tolerance approach to racism and discrimination.

Read the Summary Report

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Racism in the #Media Debate : @ShannanJDodson Why is it more offensive to call someone #racist than to say something racist?

 ” On Monday Studio 10 co-host Kerri-Anne Kennerley berated January 26 protesters.

She questioned whether any one of them had “been out to the outback where children, babies, five-year-olds are being raped, their mothers are being raped, their sisters are being raped. They get no education.”

Fellow panellist Yumi Stynes responded by calling her out as sounding racist, which was met with a shocked “I’m offended” from Kennerley.

This situation was a common example of how deeply offended people become when they are called out for racist behaviour, which is touted as much more offensive than actually being racist.

Indigenous people have had to listen to centuries of non-Indigenous people denigrating and demonising us – that we are a problem to be fixed. The minute that is called out, there is discomfort that the status-quo is not being maintained. It is an immediate and lazy defence mechanism to be offended by being called a racist, rather than unpacking why what you’ve said is perceived as racist and challenging your own stereotypes.

There is no denying that there are social issues that plague Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities (there have been continuous protests to draw attention to this) and it is important to open people’s eyes to the everyday lived reality. But these issues are never explained in context.

They are usually delivered with broad-sweeping statements which are ill-informed by decades of deeply-embedded prejudiced reporting. Most often by non-Indigenous people with little to no knowledge of the issues and with no understanding of the historical racism underpinning it.

There is no explanation of the root of these issues, which is intergenerational trauma caused by colonisation, dispossession, the Stolen Generations, entrenched racism, discriminatory policies and poverty.

January 26 symbolises when these social issues began for our communities.

We cannot deal with the current violence, injustice and pain without looking at ourselves in the mirror and into our history.

What the media says matters. When Indigenous people are persistently portrayed as child abusers and other stereotypical labels, it feeds racist attitudes infiltrating the wider population (which have been conditioned by the media) “

Shannan Dodson is a Yawuru woman and National NAIDOC Committee member. She is Media Diversity Australia’s Indigenous Affairs advisor where she co-authored a handbook for better reporting on Indigenous peoples and issues. See this article in full Part 2 Below 

Follow Shannan @ShannanJDodson

The Australian have an article out at the moment headlined ‘Indigenous leaders back Kerri-Anne Kennerley in racism row’.

The article interviews three members of the Liberal Party for their views on it, suffice it to say that they were all pretty cool with KAK’s comments.

Apparently the Australian are the deciders on who gets to be an ‘Indigenous Leader’, so even though IndigenousX is a site that privileges Indigenous voices, we thought we’d take a different tack on this one.

We thought we’d ask some White leaders about their thoughts on the situation.”

Luke Pearson Founder #IndigenousX  : White leaders condemn Kerri-Anne Kennerley over racism row

The media should take time to reflect on their own views, biases and opinions about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and use facts and editorial judgement to challenge, rather than reinforce stereotypes.

Negative reporting is commonplace for our communities.

recent study of more than 300 articles about Aboriginal health, published over a 12-month period showed that almost 75 percent of these articles were negative. ”

“On an individual level, exposure to racism is associated with psychological distress, depression, poor quality of life, and substance misuse, all of which contribute significantly to the overall ill-health experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Prolonged experience of stress can also have physical health effects, such as on the immune, endocrine and cardiovascular systems.”

Pat Anderson is chairwoman of the Lowitja Institute, Australia’s National Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research (and a former chair of NACCHO) see her opinion article below

Read article above HERE

The media pick sides in the Kerri-Anne Kennerley racism debate

EMILY WATKINS  Crikey Media reporter

Example of #SackKAK Social media

It didn’t take long for lines to be drawn and sides to be chosen in the latest drama out of Ten’s morning panel show Studio 10.

Panellist and Logie Hall of Famer Kerri-Anne Kennerley suggested those marching to change the date of Australia Day didn’t care about social problems and crime in Indigenous communities. Guest panellist Yumi Stynes — the only non-white person on the panel — said Kennerley sounded racist.

Well! KAK was very offended (as people increasingly are when they are called “racist”).

Producers followed up yesterday by having two Indigenous guests with opposing opinions on the show — Alice Springs town councillor Jacinta Price and former Victorian MP Lidia Thorpe. Meanwhile, the commentariat has fully embraced this latest battle in the culture wars.

In KAK’s corner

Most traditional and conservative media are supporting Kennerley. Sydney’s Daily Telegraph today has come out in full support of KAK — she’s on the front page, with Indigenous leader Warren Mundine saying it’s “stupid” to call her racist. Inside the paper, an opinion piece from Jacinta Price that supports Kennerley is given prominence over a counter-opinion from retired Indigenous figure skater and archaeologist Lowanna Gibson.

 

Its editorial says Stynes “played the racism card”, while on the opposite page the cartoon shows Stynes calling a barista racist for offering her a “short black” coffee.

The Teles broadsheet stablemate The Australian has also run an opinion piece from Jacinta Price, and quotes Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt as defending Kennerley. Andrew Bolt has used his Sky News program and his blog on the Herald Sun website to support Kennerley’s position.

Over at Sydney’s 2GB, Kennerley defended herself on Ben Fordham’s programbefore KIIS’ Kyle and Jackie O called Stynes and Kennerley to talk to about the spat.

Former Studio 10 executive producer Rob McKnight published a blog post on his industry website TV Blackbox on why he would never have let Stynes on the program:

The producers and executives at 10 might be patting themselves on the back over the amount of publicity this confrontation is generating, but not all publicity is good publicity. The headlines alone are causing one of their regular presenters serious brand damage … None of these paint KAK in a good light. In fact, they are very damaging, especially when they don’t represent the point she was trying to make. Essentially, she has been thrown under a bus by a co-host and that’s not cool.”

Daily Mail Australia, which loves any kind of morning TV drama, has been dining out on the brouhaha, rewriting and churning out its own versions of all the commentary and developments.

In Stynes’ corner

Another example of Social Media activism 

Unsurprisingly, online and youth-focussed outlets have leant towards Stynes’ view

Ten’s own news website Ten Daily is leading its website on Wednesday morning with an opinion piece from Yawuru woman Shannan Dodson asking why it’s more offensive to call someone racist than it is to say something racist. See Below

Junkee‘s coverage of the story relied more heavily on social media commentary than specific criticism of Kennerley’s comments, whilePedestrian took a swing at breakfast TV more generally and and flat-out called Kennerley’s comments “racist” without qualification (which other outlets were reluctant to do).

Meanwhile, Indigenous X founder Luke Pearson has published a piece satirising The Australian‘s coverage.

Part 2 Shannan Dodson is a Yawuru woman continued from opening 

Kennerley’s comments were a veiled concern for Indigenous people to mask her discomfort with Australians protesting against a day that solidifies and elevates her status as the dominant culture.

Her response to the backlash today was to reiterate her offense at being labelled racist rather than reflecting on her own position of privilege and why her approach and words were in fact what was offensive.

She says “if you look at ‘racist’ in the dictionary it’s thinking that another racial group is superior or another group is inferior.” The idea that people believe racism is confined to calling someone a racist term fails to acknowledge that racism is systemic and institutional.

It is not a coincidence that the most recent examples of media personalities being called out for being racist have been white women (although white men often make an appearance as well) — think Sonia Kruger, Samantha Armytage, Prue MacSween.

It is because they are comfortably sitting within the hegemonic culture; that experiences all the perks of it, commonly known as white privilege. Or as sociologist Dr Robin DiAngelo puts it “the defensiveness and discomfort that white people display when their racial worldviews are challenged.”

White privilege means turning on the television and seeing people of your race widely represented. It is having your worldview from a position of power and privilege reiterated and presented above all else, without being questioned or given from a different perspective.

Aboriginal people are rarely represented in these discussions (or often just as a knee-jerk reaction if we are). The media often talks about us, laying judgement, without including us in conversations about our own lives and experiences.

The fact is a non-Indigenous person is not going to have the same experience, perspective or reality as an Indigenous person. Not just because of the racism experienced by our communities, but because the system we are living in was methodically set up to exclude and discriminate against Indigenous people.

Our experience in this country is unique to any other. Almost every Indigenous family and community has been affected by the forcible removal of Indigenous children with the purpose of assimilating us and stripping us of our identity and culture.

My own family has been impacted by the Stolen Generations; two of my aunties were forcibly removed from my grandmother and grandfather.

They were not removed for ‘their wellbeing’, they were removed due to racist policies that also saw my Anglo Grandfather jailed for 18 months for loving my Aboriginal grandmother — because it was illegal to cohabit with an Aboriginal person.

That is recent history, my aunties are still alive and that is still having a ripple effect on not only my family but our community and other Indigenous communities across the country. It is a lived real experience, one that is not just a distant memory in history books.

Where is the nuanced discussion in mainstream media when it comes to discussing the social issues we face? Why aren’t we talking about the immense trauma we are still suffering that is projected out into painful acts because the hurt is too hard to bear?

Kerri-Anne Kennerley also goes on to say “Throwing words around can be dangerous and very, very hurtful”.

I ironically agree with the sentiment. Inaccurate or inflammatory reporting from a position of power has a detrimental impact on already oppressed communities.

The media have an influential and permeating impact on how audiences understand and make sense of the world. Whether deliberate or unconscious, those working in the media have the power to influence how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are perceived and understood.

The media should take time to reflect on their own views, biases and opinions about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and use facts and editorial judgement to challenge, rather than reinforce stereotypes.

Negative reporting is commonplace for our communities.

recent study of more than 300 articles about Aboriginal health, published over a 12-month period showed that almost 75 percent of these articles were negative.

What the media says matters. When Indigenous people are persistently portrayed as child abusers and other stereotypical labels, it feeds racist attitudes infiltrating the wider population (which have been conditioned by the media) and continues to fuel prejudice, misconceptions and ignorance.

These stereotypes are internalised for our people, it creates shame and fuels pain and trauma which often isolates people from participating in mainstream society. This perpetuates the cycle of disadvantage.

We are consistently barraged with commentary about how damaged, destructive and broken we are and that we are not taking any responsibility for this. Why should we be the only ones to carry the weight of colonisation and the social impact it has had on our communities? It is our shared responsibility to dismantle the racist institutions that have systematically worked to oppress Indigenous people.

But frankly, I’m tired of carrying the weight and having to constantly justify my humanity and educate the 97 percent of Australians about why saying inflammatory, ill-informed and stereotypical things are racist.

We need more people like Yumi to step up and share the burden and call out racism in all shapes and forms.

Shannan Dodson is a Yawuru woman and National NAIDOC Committee member. She is Media Diversity Australia’s Indigenous Affairs advisor where she co-authored a handbook for better reporting on Indigenous peoples and issues. Follow Shannan @ShannanJDodson

Part 3  The truth behind Kerri-Anne Kennerley’s ‘racist’ claims on Studio 10

From Mamamia

Morning television has a reputation for being typically, well, sedate. But on Monday’s episode of Studio 10, the panel engaged in a debate that has left people fuming.

It centres around an exchange between daytime television stalwart Kerri-Anne Kennerley and presenter Yumi Stynes regarding protests that took place around the country on January 26, which called for the date of Australia Day to be changed and to highlight ongoing oppression and disadvantages experienced by First Nations people.

Kennerley’s take: “Has any single one of those 5000 people waving the flags, saying how inappropriate the day is, has any one of them been out to the outback where children, babies five-year-old’s are being raped, their mothers are being raped, their sisters are being raped, they get no education? What have you done?”

To Stynes, the comments sounded “racist”; an accusation that left Kennerley “seriously offended”.

“Just because I have an opinion doesn’t mean I’m racist,” she replied.

But Kennerley’s comments weren’t presented as an opinion – they were presented like fact. So, was she actually right? Let’s take a look

Of course, it should be noted that Kennerley was raising a question rather than making a direct accusation. But it was clearly a loaded one.

Author/filmmaker/actor Elizabeth Wymarra, who was among those to lead a protest against Kennerley outside Channel 10’s Sydney HQ this morning, argued that the premise of Kennerley’s question was not only presumptive and unfounded, but hypocritical.

Watch video 

“There was over 50,000 people that came out and marched in the Invasion Day march in Sydney, and a lot of those people were non-Indigenous people. They were non-Indigenous people who care about the oppression and discrimination of my people,” she stated in a Twitter video. “They’re in solidarity with us, unlike you, so it seems… Last time I checked, I don’t see you coming into my house, or my community, helping my people. So who are you to point fingers at people going to marches?

“You don’t know none of those 50,000 people that marched with us. You don’t know they don’t go to community.”

In remote Indigenous communities “…children, babies, five-year-old’s are being raped, their mothers are being raped, their sisters are being raped, they get no education

Breaking it down…

Sexual abuse.

Stynes’ criticism of this statement was that Kennerley was implying that “women aren’t being raped here in big cities, and children aren’t being raped here in big cities”. In other words, that sexual violence is a remote Indigenous issue rather than a national one.

That’s clearly not the case. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data indicates that one in five women around Australia have experienced sexual violence since age 15.

There is evidence that Indigenous Australians are more likely to experience sexual violence, though. According to the AIHW, in 2016 the rate of Indigenous sexual assault victims (ie. per 100,000 people) across NSW, Queensland, Northern Territory and South Australia was between 2.3 and 3.4 times higher than that among non-Indigenous victims.

When it comes to sexual violence against children, the picture is similar. In 2016 the rate of Indigenous children, aged 0–14, recorded by police as victims of sexual assault in the above states was approximately twice that of non-Indigenous children.

Importantly though, data on the sexual assault of women and children in remote Indigenous communities specifically – or “the outback”, as Kennerley put it – is not comprehensive.

Education.

The claim that there’s “no education” in outback communities is quite obviously not true. According to Creative Spirits, there are reportedly 17,000 Indigenous children attending school in remote areas.

That being said, there are barriers to accessing education in particularly remote communities. including availability of teaching staff, transport, weather cutting off roads, etc., which impacts attendance rates and outcomes for Indigenous students. For example, while attendance rates among Indigenous students in inner regional areas stood at 86.8 per cent in the first half of 2017, it dropped to 64.6 per cent in very remote areas according to government data.

But overall, nationwide stats show that the majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students attend school and are achieving national minimum standards for literacy and numeracy.

Indigenous university enrolment has also more than doubled over the past decade.

Response

Kennerley responded to that the backlash this morning on Studio 10. While again taking issue with being labelled racist, this time she made an important distinction.

She used the word “some”.

“The statement that I made was about the tragic abuse of women and children in some Indigenous communities,” she said. “Now that is a fact, it’s backed up by a lot of people. It is not a judgement, it doesn’t mean.. thinking a group is superior, or someone is inferior.”

 

NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealth and #SuicidePrevention : @ozprodcom issues paper on #MentalHealth in Australia is now available. It asks a range of questions which they seek information and feedback on. Submissions or comments are due by Friday 5 April.

 ” Many Australians experience difficulties with their mental health. Mental illness is the single largest contributor to years lived in ill-health and is the third largest contributor (after cancer and cardiovascular conditions) to a reduction in the total years of healthy life for Australians (AIHW 2016).

Almost half of all Australian adults have met the diagnostic criteria for an anxiety, mood or substance use disorder at some point in their lives, and around 20% will meet the criteria in a given year (ABS 2008). This is similar to the average experience of developed countries (OECD 2012, 2014).”

Download the PC issues paper HERE mental-health-issues

See Productivity Commission Website for More info 

“Clearly Australia’s mental health system is failing Aboriginal people, with Aboriginal communities devastated by high rates of suicide and poorer mental health outcomes. Poor mental health in Aboriginal communities often stems from historic dispossession, racism and a poor sense of connection to self and community. 

It is compounded by people’s lack of access to meaningful and ongoing education and employment. Drug and alcohol related conditions are also commonly identified in persons with poor mental health.

NACCHO Chairperson, Matthew Cooke 2015 Read in full Here 

Read over 200 Aboriginal Mental Health Suicide Prevention articles published by NACCHO over the past 7 years 

Despite a plethora of past reviews and inquiries into mental health in Australia, and positive reforms in services and their delivery, many people are still not getting the support they need to maintain good mental health or recover from episodes of mental ill‑health. Mental health in Australia is characterised by:

  • more than 3 100 deaths from suicide in 2017, an average of almost 9 deaths per day, and a suicide rate for Indigenous Australians that is much higher than for other Australians (ABS 2018)
  • for those living with a mental illness, lower average life expectancy than the general population with significant comorbidity issues — most early deaths of psychiatric patients are due to physical health conditions
  • gaps in services and supports for particular demographic groups, such as youth, elderly people in aged care facilities, Indigenous Australians, individuals from culturally diverse backgrounds, and carers of people with a mental illness
  • a lack of continuity in care across services and for those with episodic conditions who may need services and supports on an irregular or non-continuous basis
  • a variety of programs and supports that have been successfully trialled or undertaken for small populations but have been discontinued or proved difficult to scale up for broader benefits
  • significant stigma and discrimination around mental ill-health, particularly compared with physical illness.

The Productivity Commission has been asked to undertake an inquiry into the role of mental health in supporting social and economic participation, and enhancing productivity and economic growth (these terms are defined, for the purpose of this inquiry, in box 1).

By examining mental health from a participation and contribution perspective, this inquiry will essentially be asking how people can be enabled to reach their potential in life, have purpose and meaning, and contribute to the lives of others. That is good for individuals and for the whole community.

Background

In 2014-15, four million Australians reported having experienced a common mental disorder.

Mental health is a key driver of economic participation and productivity in Australia, and hence has the potential to impact incomes and living standards and social engagement and connectedness. Improved population mental health could also help to reduce costs to the economy over the long term.

Australian governments devote significant resources to promoting the best possible mental health and wellbeing outcomes. This includes the delivery of acute, recovery and rehabilitation health services, trauma informed care, preventative and early intervention programs, funding non-government organisations and privately delivered services, and providing income support, education, employment, housing and justice. It is important that policy settings are sustainable, efficient and effective in achieving their goals.

Employers, not-for-profit organisations and carers also play key roles in the mental health of Australians. Many businesses are developing initiatives to support and maintain positive mental health outcomes for their employees as well as helping employees with mental illhealth continue to participate in, or return to, work.

Scope of the inquiry

The Commission should consider the role of mental health in supporting economic participation, enhancing productivity and economic growth. It should make recommendations, as necessary, to improve population mental health, so as to realise economic and social participation and productivity benefits over the long term.

Without limiting related matters on which the Commission may report, the Commission should:

  • examine the effect of supporting mental health on economic and social participation, productivity and the Australian economy;
  • examine how sectors beyond health, including education, employment, social services, housing and justice, can contribute to improving mental health and economic participation and productivity;
  • examine the effectiveness of current programs and Initiatives across all jurisdictions to improve mental health, suicide prevention and participation, including by governments, employers and professional groups;
  • assess whether the current investment in mental health is delivering value for money and the best outcomes for individuals, their families, society and the economy;
  • draw on domestic and international policies and experience, where appropriate; and
  • develop a framework to measure and report the outcomes of mental health policies and investment on participation, productivity and economic growth over the long term.

The Commission should have regard to recent and current reviews, including the 2014 Review of National Mental Health Programmes and Services undertaken by the National Mental Health Commission and the Commission’s reviews into disability services and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The Issues Paper
The Commission has released this issues paper to assist individuals and organisations to participate in the inquiry. It contains and outlines:

  • the scope of the inquiry
  • matters about which we are seeking comment and information
  • how to share your views on the terms of reference and the matters raised.

Participants should not feel that they are restricted to comment only on matters raised in the issues paper. We want to receive information and comment on any issues that participants consider relevant to the inquiry’s terms of reference.

Key inquiry dates

Receipt of terms of reference 23 November 2018
Initial consultations November 2018 to April 2019
Initial submissions due 5 April 2019
Release of draft report Timing to be advised
Post draft report public hearings Timing to be advised
Submissions on the draft report due Timing to be advised
Consultations on the draft report November 2019 to February 2020
Final report to Government 23 May 2020

Submissions and brief comments can be lodged

Online (preferred): https://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/current/mental-health/submissions
By post: Mental Health Inquiry
Productivity Commission
GPO Box 1428, Canberra City, ACT 2601

Contacts

Inquiry matters: Tracey Horsfall Ph: 02 6240 3261
Freecall number: Ph: 1800 020 083
Website: http://www.pc.gov.au/mental-health

Subscribe for inquiry updates

To receive emails updating you on the inquiry consultations and releases, subscribe to the inquiry at: http://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/current/mentalhealth/subscribe

 

 Definition of key terms
Mental health is a state of wellbeing in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.

Mental illness or mental disorder is a health problem that significantly affects how a person feels, thinks, behaves and interacts with other people. It is diagnosed according to standardised criteria.

Mental health problem refers to some combination of diminished cognitive, emotional, behavioural and social abilities, but not to the extent of meeting the criteria for a mental illness/disorder.

Mental ill-health refers to diminished mental health from either a mental illness/disorder or a mental health problem.

Social and economic participation refers to a range of ways in which people contribute to and have the resources, opportunities and capability to learn, work, engage with and have a voice in the community. Social participation can include social engagement, participation in decision making, volunteering, and working with community organisations. Economic participation can include paid employment (including self-employment), training and education.

Productivity measures how much people produce from a given amount of effort and resources. The greater their productivity, the higher their incomes and living standards will tend to be.

Economic growth is an increase in the total value of goods and services produced in an economy. This can be achieved, for example, by raising workforce participation and/or productivity.

Sources: AIHW (2018b); DOHA (2013); Gordon et al. (2015); PC (2013, 2016, 2017c); SCRGSP (2018); WHO (2001).

An improvement in an individual’s mental health can provide flow-on benefits in terms of increased social and economic participation, engagement and connectedness, and productivity in employment (figure 1).

This can in turn enhance the wellbeing of the wider community, including through more rewarding relationships for family and friends; a lower burden on informal carers; a greater contribution to society through volunteering and working in community groups; increased output for the community from a more productive workforce; and an associated expansion in national income and living standards. These raise the capacity of the community to invest in interventions to improve mental health, thereby completing a positive reinforcing loop.

The inquiry’s terms of reference (provided at the front of this paper) were developed by the Australian Government in consultation with State and Territory Governments. The terms of reference ask the Commission to make recommendations to improve population mental health so as to realise higher social and economic participation and contribution benefits over the long term.

Assessing the consequences of mental ill-health

The costs of mental ill-health for both individuals and the wider community will be assessed, as well as how these costs could be reduced through changes to the way governments and others deliver programs and supports to facilitate good mental health.

The Commission will consider the types of costs summarised in figure 4. These will be assessed through a combination of qualitative and quantitative analysis, drawing on available data and cost estimates, and consultations with inquiry participants and topic experts. We welcome the views of inquiry participants on other costs that we should take into account.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Women’s Health : The @DebKilroy #sistersinside #Freethepeople campaign to free Aboriginal women jailed for unpaid fines has raised almost $300K : We do not need to criminalise poverty.

 

“Originally the campaign asked people to give up two coffees in their week and donate $10 so we could raise $100,000.

“However less than two days later, more than a $100,000 was raised, so the target is now to hit 10,000 donors.”

Campaign organiser Debbie Kilroy, the CEO of advocacy charity Sisters Inside, told Pro Bono News the campaign now aimed to go well beyond the 6,000 donors they had currently. See Part 1 Below 

The money will be there for any woman who’s imprisoned, and the money will be spent on the community for women who have warrants for their arrest by the police.

“Every cent will be spent for the purposes of that … particularly Aboriginal mothers are the ones we want to target and prioritise to pay those fines, so those warrants are revoked, so they don’t end up in prison.”

Ms Kilroy told the ABC the money raised by donors would be spent on supporting formerly incarcerated women and ensuring any outstanding warrants were paid so the women were not at risk of jail. See Part 2 below 

Donate at the the GOFUNDME PAGE

” NACCHO supports the abolition of prisons for First Nations women. The incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island women should be a last resort measure.

It is time to consider a radical restructuring of the relationship between Aboriginal people and the state.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their communities must be part of the design, decision-making and implementation of government funded policies, programs and services that aim to reduce – or abolish –the imprisonment of our women.

Increased government investment is needed in community-led prevention and early intervention programs designed to reduce violence against women and provide therapeutic services for vulnerable women and girls. Programs and services that are holistic and culturally safe, delivered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations.

NACCHO calls for a full partnership approach in the Closing the Gap Refresh, so that Aboriginal people are at the centre of decision-making, design and delivery of policies that impact on them.

We are seeking a voice to the Commonwealth Parliament, so we have a say over the laws that affect us. “

Pat Turner NACCHO CEO Speaking at  Sisters Inside 9th International Conference 15 Nov 2018

Read full speaking notes HERE

Part 1: The campaign was launched on 5 January with the aim of raising $100,000 – enough to clear the debt of 100 women in Western Australia who have been imprisoned or are at risk of being imprisoned for unpaid court fines.

But as of this morning 16 January the campaign has already raised $280,460, after attracting international attention.

Australie: une cagnotte pour faire libérer des femmes aborigènes

WA is the only state that regularly imprisons people for being unable to pay fines, and ALP research in 2014 found that more than 1,100 people in WA had been imprisoned for unpaid fines each year since 2010.

Under current state laws, the registrar of the Fines Enforcement Registry, who is an independent court officer, can issue warrants for unpaid court fines as a last resort.

The campaign’s crowdfunding page said this system meant Aboriginal mothers were languishing in prison because they did not have the capacity to pay fines.

“They are living in absolute poverty and cannot afford food and shelter for their children let alone pay a fine. They will never have the financial capacity to pay a fine,” the page said.

Money raised from the campaign has already led to the release of one woman from jail, while another three women have had their fines paid so they won’t be arrested.

Campaign organisers are currently working on paying the fines for another 30 women.

The success of the campaign has put pressure on the WA government to reform the law to stop vulnerable people entering jail.

Kilroy said the current law criminalised poverty and she criticised the Labor government’s inaction on the issue despite making a pledge to repeal the lawwhile in opposition.

“The government said prior to their election victory that this was one of their policy platforms, but it’s now been two years and nothing has changed,” she said.

“It’s just not good enough. It does not take that long to change the laws and so we’re calling on the government to change the law as a matter of urgency.”

A spokeswoman for WA Attorney-General John Quigley told Pro Bono News the government intended to introduce a comprehensive package of amendments to the law in the first half of 2019, so warrants could only be handed down by a court.

“These reforms are designed to ensure that people who can afford to pay their fines do, and those that cannot have opportunities to pay them off over time or work them off in other ways,” the spokesperson said.

The Department of Justice has denied the campaign’s claim that single Aboriginal mothers made up the majority of those in prison who could not pay fines.

Departmental figures provided to Pro Bono News state that on 6 January, two females were held for unpaid fines, one of whom identified as Aboriginal.

According to the department, data suggests there has not been an Aboriginal woman in jail in WA for unpaid fines since the campaign started on 5 January.

Part 2 Update from ABC Website Fewer fine defaulters now in prison: Government

The WA Department of Justice said numbers of people jailed solely for fine defaulting had fallen sharply in the past 12 months — with the average daily population falling to “single digits”.

WA Attorney-General John Quigley agreed, saying said recent figures also showed a recent drop in the number of Indigenous women in custody for fine defaulting.

Mr Quigley said the issue of fine defaulters going to prison would be addressed very soon.

“I have a whole raft of changes to the laws through the Cabinet, and [they] are currently with the Parliamentary Council for drafting to Parliament,” he said.

“I have been working assiduously with the registrar of fines … to find other ways to reduce the numbers.”

In terms of the money raised by Sisters Inside, Mr Quigley said he hoped it was being put to good use.

Ms Kilroy told the ABC the money raised by donors would be spent on supporting formerly incarcerated women and ensuring any outstanding warrants were paid so the women were not at risk of jail.

“The money will be there for any woman who’s imprisoned, and the money will be spent on the community for women who have warrants for their arrest by the police.

“Every cent will be spent for the purposes of that … particularly Aboriginal mothers are the ones we want to target and prioritise to pay those fines, so those warrants are revoked, so they don’t end up in prison.”

Call for income-appropriate fines

WA Aboriginal Legal Service chief executive Dennis Eggington said Indigenous women, and those in poverty, were disproportionately affected by the practice of jailing for fines.

“Fines do not have any correlation to someone’s income. If you get $420 on Centrelink and then face a $1,000 fine you are in real trouble and you are not going to be able to pay the fine,” he said.

A head shot of Dennis Eggington with Aboriginal colours in the background.

PHOTO Dennis Eggington for some people it’s easier to go to jail than find the money for fines.

ABC NEWS: SARAH COLLARD

“WA could lead the country at looking at a way where fines are appropriate to the income no matter the offence.”

“It’s really a matter of indirect discrimination. If women are being overrepresented in warrants of commitment, that is having a devastating impact on children and their families.”

He said there was a culture which had led to many Indigenous people feeling as though they had no choice but to go prison for fines.

“It’s much easier to do a couple of days in jail and cut your fine out than to try and find the money to pay the fine,” Mr Eggington said.

”It’s an indictment on the country; It’s an indictment on Australia as a whole that we as one of the most disadvantaged group in Australia have had to develop those ways to survive.

“It’s a terrible, terrible thing

NACCHO @RACGP Aboriginal Health Survey : 2 of 2 From now until February 2019, NACCHO and @RACGP  wants to hear from you about implementing the National Guide and supporting culturally responsive healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

In 2018–19, NACCHO and the RACGP are working on further initiatives and we want your input!

Download this post as PDF and share with your networks

 We-seek-your-input-NACCHO-RACGP-Project

What we are currently doing:

  • Conducting practice team surveys and focus groups to:
    • understand current system requirements and how they can improve identification rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients in mainstream practices and
    • integrate the key recommendations from the National Guide into clinical software
  • Establishing a Collaborative with the Improvement Foundation to conduct rapid quality improvement cycles leading to the provision of better healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • Engaging with medical software vendors to understand how we can improve identification rates and integrate the National Guide into clinical software
  • Developing resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people regarding preventive health assessments and follow up care
  • Working with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led Project Reference Group to carry out all project activities.

From now until February 2019, we want to hear from you!

Do you have ideas, solutions or examples of good practice relating to:

  • how health services can ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients receive patient centred, quality health assessments (715) that meet their needs?
  • the resources that would support mainstream general practice teams to provide culturally responsive healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people?
  • how guidelines, such as the National Guide, can be integrated into clinical software?
  • features of clinical software that will support improved identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients at your practice?
  • features of a 715 health assessment template that will support a comprehensive health assessment?

To participate in a short survey, please CLICK HERE

We also welcome your feedback and input at aboriginalhealth@racgp.org.au

With your feedback, we will:

  • understand the needs of our cohort
  • understand what works through our Collaborative model for improvement report
  • develop new resources to support you and your team with delivering better healthcare to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples regardless of where care is sought
  • share the lessons with mainstream general practice and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Early detection, preventing disease and promoting health

The National Guide is a practical resource intended for all health professionals delivering primary healthcare to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people.

Its purpose is to provide GPs and other health professionals with an accessible, user-friendly guide to best practice preventive healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

See Website

New to the third edition!

National Guide podcasts

Subscribe to the National Guide Podcast (listen to the third edition) to hear host Lauren Trask, NACCHO Implementation Officer and CQI expert, speak to GPs  and researchers on updates and changes in the third edition of the National Guide.

Downloads

 National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (PDF 9.8 MB)

 Evidence base to a preventive health assessment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (PDF 9.4 MB)

 National Guide Lifecycle chart (child) (PDF 555 KB)

 National Guide Lifecycle chart (young) (PDF 1 MB)

 National Guide Lifecycle chart (adult) (PDF 1 MB)

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Racism : 1 of 2 Medical Advisor for @RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, Dr @timsenior discusses racism in healthcare with our Social Justice Commissioner @June_Oscar AO.

 ” The fact there remains a significant health gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians is indisputable.

The reasons behind this are complex, multifactorial and often uncomfortable to discuss, but one factor that may be the most difficult to raise is the presence of racism within the Australian health system.

However, there is increasing evidence, drawn from the lived experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, that this form of racism is a barrier faced every day.

Dr Tim Senior : The RACGP has recognised the situation in its Racism in the healthcare system position statement, and recently I was also able to discuss these issues with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, and Bunuba woman from Fitzroy Crossing in the Central Kimberley, June Oscar AO.

Read over 105 NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Racism articles published over the past 7 years 

One such example is the recent online survey conducted by the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO), which found that 86% of its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents living in Victoria had personally experienced racism in a mainstream health setting. Of those polled, 88% reported incidences of racism from nurses and 74% from GPs.

When working towards closing the healthcare gap, this is a barrier that cannot be ignored.

SEE OUR NACCHO RACGP National Guide 

I’d like to start by asking, how does racism affect the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and what does this mean for their everyday lives?

Well, from what I’ve heard with a project I’m leading across the country engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls in this past year, [Wiya Yani U Thangani­ (Women’s Voices’ project)], and what I already know from engaging with communities before coming to this role [Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner], experiences with racism are just all too common.

Thank you to the women and girls who came along to our Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) session in Woorabinda . Thank you for taking the time to be part of this national conversation, a first in 32 years with our women. Your voices will join those of First Nations women and girls around the country in my first report to Federal parliament.

I’ve heard the terrible experiences Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have when they visit health services. The manner in which they’re spoken to at the first point of contact in the service, and the way they’re treated and spoken to by health professionals, whether they be nurses or doctors. And I’ve heard that concern coming from people in remote, regional locations, and cities where there’s major hospitals and services.

So it’s widespread, it’s a huge concern, and it is something we have to address.

What do people say is the effect on their health?

People feel they’re not able to access a service that they have a right to access.

What they’re made to feel is that they shouldn’t be there, that they’re not being believed, they’re not being acknowledged in a respectful way. And so people are not wanting to be in that space, and that makes them feel terribly unwell on top of their state of health and wellbeing at that time.

To be treated like that is not a very nice feeling, so people often leave health services without seeing anybody.

So people are made to compromise their health and wellbeing because of an attitude and a way of communicating and interacting – and often it is non-Indigenous people that are at the other point of this contact.

Can you tell us what stories you’ve heard through the Wiya Yani U Thangani­ (Women’s Voices’) project?

I’m hearing comments like, “We’re sick and tired of going to services when we need to see someone about a genuine concern about our health, only to be spoken to in an unwelcoming, uncaring manner”. To see health professionals that issue Panadol without assessing and conducting full observations of the individuals presenting.

And so people are turning away, and being turned away, from quality of health assessment and diagnosis – which is their right in this country.

How can we start a conversation about, or continue a conversation about, the realities of racism in Australia?

I think services need to screen the types of people who they are recruiting to these roles and place the onus on them, because they are at a critical point of service delivery.

So if they’re seeing outpatients and are the first point of contact for people coming in to the service, there’s a standard at which we want them to be operating, and policies and a scrutiny of how they are conducting themselves in this role.

We have seen in many places that there are people who have been in these roles for a long time and hold these types of attitudes that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are experiencing.

We can involve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations, particularly the community-controlled health organisations, in recruitment, and setting the recruitment protocols in places where there is a high population of Aboriginal communities and likelihood of people accessing the health service.

We have to involve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the design of service delivery.

Are there any other options that primary healthcare organisations can take to support their staff and patients to challenge racism?

I think organisations can improve on how they ensure that [Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander] people are accessing their right to quality healthcare service and delivery. We need to have people involved in the organisations that are listening to and incorporating the advice of Aboriginal members involved in that process.

How can clinicians better support their local communities and strengthen their abilities to deliver culturally appropriate healthcare?

I think many of the clinicians come from other places to live in these communities. They need to be aware of the communities and be informed, educated and orientated to the community, the environment and what the issues are.

They need to be made aware of the efforts and the history of these communities, and the long struggle it has been for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to establish these services, and know that they are not alone and disconnected in a community – they can access support if they have a question, or don’t know quite how to respond.

I think if we can establish stronger networks and relationships between health experts going into a community that they have no idea about, then the onus is on them to be informed well in advance before they get there. And once they’re in the community, they should seek out the supports that exist within the community.

Is there any other advice you have for GPs or practice staff?

GPs and health professionals need to know that people have a right to access these services; they don’t have the right to deny them access.

As citizens of this country, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a right to these services.

This interview has been slightly edited for clarity.

NACCHO Aboriginal Women’s Health #SistersInside #imaginingabolition : Our CEO Pat Turner address to @SistersInside 9th International Conference Decolonisation is not a metaphor’: Abolition for First Nations women

NACCHO supports the abolition of prisons for First Nations women. The incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island women should be a last resort measure.

It is time to consider a radical restructuring of the relationship between Aboriginal people and the state.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their communities must be part of the design, decision-making and implementation of government funded policies, programs and services that aim to reduce – or abolish –the imprisonment of our women.

Increased government investment is needed in community-led prevention and early intervention programs designed to reduce violence against women and provide therapeutic services for vulnerable women and girls. Programs and services that are holistic and culturally safe, delivered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations.

NACCHO calls for a full partnership approach in the Closing the Gap Refresh, so that Aboriginal people are at the centre of decision-making, design and delivery of policies that impact on them.

We are seeking a voice to the Commonwealth Parliament, so we have a say over the laws that affect us. “

Pat Turner NACCHO CEO Speaking at  Sisters Inside 9th International Conference 15 Nov

See Pats full speaking notes below

Theme of the day: ‘Decolonisation is not a metaphor’: Abolition for First Nations women

About Sisters Inside

  • Sisters Inside responds to criminalised women and girls’ needs holistically and justly. We work alongside women and girls to build them up and to give them power over their own lives. We support women and girls to address their priorities and needs. We also advocate on behalf of women with governments and within the legal system to try to achieve fairer outcomes for criminalised women, girls and their children.
  • At Sisters Inside, we call this ‘walking the journey together’. We are a community and we invite you to be part of a brighter future for Queensland’s most disadvantaged and marginalised women and children.

Sisters Inside Website Website 

In Picture above Dr Jackie Huggins, Pat Turner, Jacqui Katona, Dr Chelsea Bond and June Oscar, Aunty Debbie Sandy and chaired by Melissa Lucashenko.

Panel: Why abolition for First Nations Women?

Panel members:

  • Dr Jackie Huggins AM FAHA (Co-Chair, National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples)
  • Pat Turner AM (CEO, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation)
  • Dr Chelsea Bond (Senior Lecturer, University of Queensland)
  • Jacqui Katona (Activist & Sessional Lecturer (Moondani Balluk), Victoria University)
  1. Imprisonment, colonialism, and statistics
  • The Australian justice system was founded on a white colonial model that consistently fails and seeks to control and supress Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • Indigenous peoples are overrepresented in the prison system:
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults are 12.5 times more likely to be imprisoned than non-Indigenous Australians.[i]
    • Our women represent the fastest growing group within prison populations and are 21 times more likely to be imprisoned than non-Indigenous women.[ii]
  • Imprisonment is another dimension to the historical and contemporary Aboriginal experience of colonial removal, institutionalisation and punishment.[iii]
  • Our experiences of incarceration are not only dehumanising. They contribute to our ongoing disempowerment, intergenerational trauma, social disadvantage, and burden of disease at an individual as well as community level.
  1. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s experiences of imprisonment
  • The Change the Record report found that most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who enter prison systems:
    • are survivors of physical and sexual violence, and that these experiences are most likely to have contributed to their imprisonment; and
    • struggle with housing insecurity, poverty, mental illness, disability and the effects of trauma.
  • Family violence must be understood as both a cause and an effect of social disadvantage and intergenerational trauma.
  • Risk factors for family violence include poor housing and overcrowding, substance misuse, financial difficulties and unemployment, poor physical and mental health, and disability.[iv]
  • Imprisoning women affects the whole community. Children are left without their mothers. The whole community suffers.
  1. Kimberley Suicide Prevention Trial
  • The Kimberley Suicide Prevention Trial, of which NACCHO is a member, provides a grim example of the link between trauma, suicide, incarceration and the social determinants of health.
  • The rate of suicide in the Kimberley is seven times that of other Australian regions.
  • Nine out of ten suicides involve Aboriginal people.
  • Risk factors include imprisonment, poverty, homelessness and family violence.
  • Western Australia has the highest rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment.
  1. Imprisonment and institutional racism
  • The overrepresentation of Aboriginal peoples in prison systems is not simply a law-and-order issue.[v] The trends of over-policing and imprisoning of Indigenous peoples are examples of institutional racism inherent in the justice system. [vi]
  • Institutional racism affects our everyday encounters with housing, health, employment and justice systems.
  • Institutional racism is not only discriminatory; it entrenches intergenerational trauma and socioeconomic disadvantage.[vii]
  • Exposure to racism is associated with psychological distress, depression, poor quality of life, and substance misuse, all of which contribute significantly to the overall ill-health experienced by Indigenous people. We are twice as likely to die by suicide or be hospitalised for mental health or behavioural reasons.
  1. Ways forward see opening quote Pat Turner 
  2. The role of ACCHSs in supporting Indigenous women

Increasing access to the health care that people need

  • Racism is a key driver of ill-health for Indigenous people, impacting not only on our access to health services but our treatment and outcomes when in the health system.
  • Institutional racism in mainstream services means that Indigenous people do not always receive the care that we need from Australia’s hospital and health system.
  • It has been our experience that many Indigenous people are uncomfortable seeking help from mainstream services for cultural, geographical, and language disparities as well as financial costs associated with accessing services.
  • The combination of these issues with racism means that we are less likely to access services for physical and mental health conditions, and many of our people have undetected health issues like poor hearing, eyesight and chronic conditions.

Early detection of health issues that are risk factors for incarceration

  • The Aboriginal Community Controlled Health model provides answers for addressing the social determinants of health, that is, the causal factors contributing to the overrepresentation of Indigenous women’s experiences of family violence and imprisonment.
  • Aboriginal Community Controlled Health organisations should be funded to undertake comprehensive, regular health check of Aboriginal women so that risk factors are identified and addressed early.

Taking a holistic approach to health needs and social determinants of health and incarceration

  • Overall, the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health model recognises that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people require a greater level of holistic healthcare due to the trauma and dispossession of colonisation which is linked with our poor health outcomes.
  • Aboriginal Community Controlled Health is more sensitive to the needs of the whole individual, spiritually, socially, emotionally and physically.
  • The Aboriginal Community Controlled Model is responsive to the changing health needs of a community because it of its small, localised and agile nature. This is unlike large-scale hospitals or private practices which can become dehumanised, institutionalised and rigid in their systems.
  • Aboriginal Community Controlled Health is scalable to the needs of the community, as it is inextricably linked with the wellbeing and growth of the community.
  • The evidence shows that Aboriginal Community Controlled organisations are best placed to deliver holistic, culturally safe prevention and early intervention services to Indigenous women.
  1. About NACCHO
  • NACCHO is the national peak body representing 145 ACCHOs across the country on Aboriginal health and wellbeing issues. In 1997, the Federal Government funded NACCHO to establish a Secretariat in Canberra, greatly increasing the capacity of Aboriginal peoples involved in ACCHOs to participate in national health policy development.
  • Aboriginal Community Controlled Health first arose in the early 1970s in response to the failure of the mainstream health system to meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the aspirations of Aboriginal peoples for self-determination.
  • An ACCHO is a primary health care service initiated and operated by the local Aboriginal community to deliver holistic, comprehensive, and culturally appropriate health care to the community which controls it, through a locally elected Board of Management. ACCHOs form a critical part of the Indigenous health infrastructure, providing culturally safe care with an emphasis on the importance of a family, community, culture and long-term relationships.
  • Our members provide about three million episodes of care per year for about 350,000 people. In very remote areas, our services provided about one million episodes of care in a twelve-month period. Collectively, we employ about 6,000 staff (most of whom are Indigenous), which makes us the single largest employer of Indigenous people in the country.

[i] https://www.alrc.gov.au/publications/over-representation

[ii] Human Rights Law Centre and Change the Record Coalition, 2017, Over-represented and overlooked: the crisis of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s growing over-imprisonment: NB: The foreword is written by Vicki Roach, a presenter in the next session of the Abolition conference

[iii] file://nfs001/Home$/doris.kordes/Downloads/748-Article%20Text-1596-5-10-20180912.pdf – John Rynne and Peter Cassematis, 2015, Crime Justice Journal, Assessing the Prison Experience for Australian First Peoples: A prospective Research Approach, Vol 4, No 1:96-112.

[iv] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. 2018. Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia. Canberra.

[v] https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/feb/20/indigenous-incarceration-turning-the-tide-on-colonisations-cruel-third-act

[vi] ‘A culture of disrespect: Indigenous peoples and Australian public institutions’.

[vii] https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/jul/12/indigenous-women-caught-in-a-broken-system-commissioner-says

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Racism #VicVotes @VACCHO_org Survey finds 86 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in Victoria have personally experienced racism in a mainstream health setting

“Racism hinders people from actually getting good medical care, getting good health care accessing services,

The results highlight the need for government to appoint an independent health commissioner and address cultural awareness at all levels of the health system.

“There are avenues that can be taken to overcome these issues and we are here to urge they be adopted by whichever party wins government at the Victorian election later this month,

Acting CEO for VACCHO, Trevor Pearce, says incidents of racism within the mainstream health system often lead to Indigenous Australians seeking treatment much later than non-Indigenous people or avoiding it all together, contributing to the gap in health and wellbeing outcomes.

“On an individual level, exposure to racism is associated with psychological distress, depression, poor quality of life, and substance misuse, all of which contribute significantly to the overall ill-health experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Prolonged experience of stress can also have physical health effects, such as on the immune, endocrine and cardiovascular systems.”

Pat Anderson is chairwoman of the Lowitja Institute,  (and a former chair of NACCHO) see her opinion article below link ”

This article has been read over 22,000 times in past 4 years 

Read HERE 

 

Researchers have polled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Victorians about their experiences of racism at hospitals and GP clinics.

The online survey, with 120 respondents, found high levels of everyday racism in the health sector.

FROM NITV

Of those polled, 88 per cent reported incidences of racism from nurses, and 74 per cent had experienced racism when dealing with GPs.

The survey was conducted by the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and designed in partnership with Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) students.

The results revealed 86 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in Victoria have personally experienced racism in a mainstream health setting at least once, while 54 per cent said they experienced racism in hospitals every time they attended.

The survey responses showed fewer incidents of racism when interacting with dentists (48 per cent) and the ambulance service (46 per cent).

Mr Pearce attributed the lower figures to the cultural competency work VACCHO has done with Dental Health Services Victoria and Ambulance Victoria, and said it showed how working with the Aboriginal community could achieve beneficial results for everybody involved.

“This is going to require Aboriginal people not just being heard, but actions being taken on what we say. We know what is best for us, we have the answers. Pay attention to us and act accordingly,” he said.

Victoria’s health minister Jill Hennessy says the government is taking the issue seriously.

“We are ensuring our services are more responsive to the needs of Indigenous Australians, so they can get the high quality and safe care they need, when they need it – free from discrimination,” she said in a statement.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download a copy of report aihw-ihw-198

As such, it is a critical document.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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