CVD is a major cause of morbidity and mortality among Indigenous Australians : See Part 2 below
The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) is one of the largest and most comprehensive aeromedical organisations in the world. It provides primary health care through general practice and nursing clinics to people in remote and rural Australia who are beyond reasonable access to medical infrastructure in more urbanised areas.
In 2016–17, the RFDS delivered 5,615 general practice clinics to 37,689 patients and 3,429 nursing clinics to 18,909 patients.
The RFDS has established a Research and Policy Unit whose role is to gather evidence about, and recommend strategies for improving health outcomes and health service access for patients and communities cared for by RFDS programs.
This latest publication is a valuable addition to the data available for policy decisions. https://bit.ly/2HImal9
The research indicates there is an opportunity for the RFDS to review its data collection procedures and to develop a national data collection policy. This would enable better reporting of programs, facilitate direct comparisons of data across Australia, and enable better assessment of outcomes, and evaluations of, RFDS delivered programs.
More specifically, the RFDS has an opportunity to review its own data collection processes to ensure all relevant data around aeromedical transports are collected.
Data linkage between the RFDS and state, territory and national clinical datasets has commenced and as linkages grow, longitudinal data on patients initially transported by the RFDS, and treated in hospital for CVD, will enable the RFDS to access comprehensive information on a patient’s prognosis, treatment, recovery, and rehabilitation.
Data linkage with local service providers that operate in areas where the RFDS delivers services, such as local GPs, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations or local hospitals would also assist in providing a more complete picture of the health outcomes of people from remote and rural Australia.
Part 2 : 3.4 CVD in Indigenous Australians
“CVD is a major cause of morbidity and mortality among Indigenous Australians. It is more common in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, and occurs at much younger ages compared to the non-Indigenous population” (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2016b, p. 157) (Figure 3.8).
Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2016b, p. 159).
Figure 3.8 demonstrates that in 2011 the burden from CVD among Indigenous Australians was low in childhood but increased rapidly from about age 30 (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2016b).
Specifically, CHD and stroke contributed significantly to the burden of CVD from age 40 onwards (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2016b).
The burden from CHD peaked at around ages 45–54, and then declined (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2016b). The burden from stroke peaked at around ages 50–64, and then declined (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2016b).
In 2011, CVD burden was greater in Indigenous males than females (58% versus 42%), but this varied by type of CVD disease (Figure 3.9) (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2016b).
“Indigenous males experienced the majority of burden from aortic aneurysm (77%), hypertensive heart disease (72%) and CHD (67%), whereas Indigenous females experienced the majority of burden due to peripheral vascular disease (68%), rheumatic heart disease (61%), and stroke (58%)” (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2016b, p. 160).
1.National NAIDOC Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Woman’s Conference11-12 July
It is with great excitement that Ngiyani Pty Ltd as the host of the National NAIDOC Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Woman’s Conference with Project Management support from Christine Ross Consultancy proudly announce Registrations have officially OPENED. Please see the link below
The dates for the conference are the 11 – 12 July 2018 at UNSW Kensington Campus in Sydney.
Please note the $350 Conference Registration for 2 days or $175 for one day is non- refundable or transferrable.
The Conference Dinner is optional on Wednesday 11 July 2018 at 7.00 – 11.00pm cost is an additional $80.00. food and entertainment will be provided (this is an alcohol free event). The Dinner is open to all Conference Delegates including Sponsors (so blokes are welcome) Details will be posted at a later date.
You will be able to choose your Workshops when you Register so please take the time to read Workshop outlines.
This Conference is incredibly popular and seats are limited, it will book out so to ensure you don’t miss out BOOK SOON.
Please note if you wish to purchase tickets to the National NAIDOC Awards Ceremony to be held Friday 13 July 2018 in Sydney. This is a seperate event to the Conference and first release tickets go on sale through Ticketek at 9.00 am AEST on Thursday 3 May 2018.Second release tickets go on sale at 9.00 am AEST 10 May 2018. Cost of tickets is $185.00 or $1,850.00 per table.
It will be a massive week in Sydney as we celebrate the theme:
‘Because of Her, We Can’
A huge thanks to our Sponsors: Reconciliation Australia, UNSW, Rio Tinto, JobLink Plus, Lendlease, Westpac, Veolia, NSWALC, Griffith Business School, Macquarie University, Accor Hotels, Warrikal, PwC Indigenous Consulting, Gilbert and Tobin and National Library of Australia.
2. Sir Michael Marmot in Alice Springs 4 May : Health equity : Taking Action
3.National Congress Co-Chair Jackie Huggins is set to participate in #UNPFII17
Opens on 16 April 2018 with more than 1000 First Nations participants from across the globe. #CongressUN18
4.New : Finding Common Ground and a Way Forward for Indigenous Recognition
Written submissions should be received by Monday 11 June
Above NACCHO Library image
A new committee met yesterday, to further consider matters regarding recognition of Australia’s indigenous people, and will be co-chaired by Senator Patrick Dodson, Senator for Western Australia, and Mr Julian Leeser MP , Member for Berowra.
The Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition Relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples is expected to report by the end of November this year, with an interim report due in July.
The Committee is calling for submissions and is considering options for public meetings and hearings.
Co-Chairs Senator Dodson and Mr Leeser MP said: ‘As a committee, we are looking for common ground and ways forward on these critical matters for Australia’s future. We hope to hear from Australians about the next steps for recognition of First Nations peoples.
We plan to consult widely, starting with First Nations leadership. We understand that a great deal of work has already been done: the job of this committee is to build on that work and to now take the next steps.’
The Committee website has details of Committee membership, and will be the first point of information about the work of the Committee.
Written submissions should be received by Monday 11 June, to assist with planning meetings and hearings, but the Committee may accept submissions after this date.
Please contact the Committee secretariat on 02 6277 4129
7. NATSIHWA National Professional Development Symposium 2018
We’re excited to release the dates for the 2018 National Professional Development Symposium to be held in Alice Springs on 2nd-4th October. More details are to be released in the coming weeks; a full sponsorship prospectus and registration logistics will be advertised asap via email and newsletter.
This years Symposium will be focussed on upskilling our Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners through a series of interactive workshops. Registrants will be able to participate in all workshops by rotating in groups over the 2 days. The aim of the symposium is to provide the registrants with new practical skills to take back to communities and open up a platform for Health Workers/Practitioners to network with other Individuals in the workforce from all over Australia.
Building on the foundations of our membership, history and diversity, AIDA is shaping a future where we continue to innovate, lead and stay strong in culture. It’s an exciting time of change and opportunity in Indigenous health.
The AIDA conference supports our members and the health sector by creating an inspiring networking space that engages sector experts, key decision makers, Indigenous medical students and doctors to join in an Indigenous health focused academic and scientific program.
AIDA recognises and respects that the pathway to achieving equitable and culturally-safe healthcare for Indigenous Australians is dynamic and complex. Through unity, leadership and collaboration, we create a future where our vision translates into measureable and significantly improved health outcomes for our communities. Now is the time to put that vision into action.
Nominate our members’ outstanding contributions towards improving the health and life outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
We invite you to be part of the CATSINaM Professional Development Conference held in Adelaide, Australia from the 17th to the 19th of September 2018.
The Conference purpose is to share information while working towards an integrated approach to improving the outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. The Conference also provides an opportunity to highlight the very real difference being made in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health by our Members.
To this end, we are offering a mixed mode experience with plenary speaker sessions, panels, and presentations as well as professional development workshops.
The CATSINaM Gala Dinner and Awards evening, held on the 18th of September, purpose is to honour the contributions of distinguished Members to the field.
10.Study Question: What would it take to address Family Violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities?
The Australian National University is seeking partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to conduct research to find out what communities need to promote and improve safety for families. We want to partner and work with local organisations and communities to make sure the research benefits the community.
Who are we?
We work at the Australian National University (ANU). The study is led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers. Professor Victoria Hovane (Ngarluma, Malgnin/Kitja, Gooniyandi), along with Associate Professor Raymond Lovett (Wongaibon, Ngiyampaa) and Dr Jill Guthrie (Wiradjuri) from NCEPH, and Professor Matthew Gray of the Centre for Social Research and Methods (CSRM) at ANU will be leading the study.
Study Question: What would it take to address Family Violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities?
How are we going to gather information to answer the study question?
A Community Researcher (who we would give funds to employ) would capture the data by interviewing 100 community members, running 3 focus groups for Men / Women / Youth (over 16). We would interview approx. 5 community members to hear about the story in your community.
We know Family Violence happens in all communities. We don’t want to find out the prevalence, we want to know what your communities needs to feel safe. We will also be mapping the services in your community, facilities and resources available in a community. All this information will be given back to your community.
What support would we provide your service?
We are able to support your organisation up to $40,000 (including funds for $30 vouchers), this would also help to employ a Community Researcher.
Community participants would be provided with a $30 voucher to complete a survey, another $30 for the focus group, and another $30 for the interview for their time.
What will we give your organisation?
We can give you back all the data that we have captured from your community, (DE identified and confidentialised of course). We can give you the data in any form you like, plus create a Community Report for your community. There might be some questions you would like to ask your community, and we can include them in the survey.
How long would we be involved with your community / organisation?
Approximately 2 months
How safe is the data we collect?
The data is safe. It will be DE identified and Confidentialised. Our final report will reflect what Communities (up to 20) took part in the study, but your data and community will be kept secret. Meaning, no one will know what data came from your community.
Application close April 27
If you think this study would be of benefit to your community, or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Victoria Hovane, or the teamon 1300 531 600 or email email@example.com.
11.Healing Our Spirit Worldwide
Global gathering of Indigenous people to be held in Sydney
University of Sydney, The Healing Foundation to co-host Healing Our Spirit Worldwide
A global movement, Healing Our Spirit Worldwidebegan in Canada in the 1980s to address the devastation of substance abuse and dependence among Indigenous people around the world. Since 1992 it has held a gathering approximately every four years, in a different part of the world, focusing on a diverse range of topics relevant to Indigenous lives including health, politics, social inclusion, stolen generations, education, governance and resilience.
The International Indigenous Council – the governing body of Healing Our Spirit Worldwide – has invited the University of Sydney and The Healing Foundation to co-host the Eighth Gathering with them in Sydney this year. The second gathering was also held in Sydney, in 1994.
Please also feel free to tag us in any relevant cross posting: @HOSW8 @hosw2018 #HOSW8 #HealingOurWay #TheUniversityofSydney
1. Aboriginal sexual health: The Australian : Was the syphilis epidemic preventable ? NACCHO responds
2.Royal Flying Doctors Service extra 4-year funding $84 million Mental Health and Dental Services
3.Nurses PAQ continues political membership campaign spreading false and misleading information about our cultural safety
4.AMSANT has called for re-doubled efforts to implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into the care and protection of children in partnership with NT Aboriginal leaders
5.Dialysis facilities worth $17 million are sitting padlocked, empty and unused in WA’s north
6.ALRC Report into Incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.
7. Minister Ken Wyatt : Listening to Indigenous Needs: Healthy Ears Program Extended with $29.4 commitment
8.Tangentyere Alice Springs Women’s Family Safety Group visits Canberra
9.Minister Ken Wyatt launches our NACCHO RACGP National Guide to a preventative health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
10. Your guide to a healthy Easter : #Eggs-actly
1.Aboriginal sexual health: The Australian : Was the syphilis epidemic preventable ? NACCHO responds
“These (STIs) are preventable diseases and we need increased testing, treatment plans and a culturally appropriate health education campaign that focuses resources on promoting safe-sex messages delivered to at-risk communities by our trained Aboriginal workforce,”
Pat Turner, chief executive of peak body the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, is adamant about this.
7. Minister Ken Wyatt : Listening to Indigenous Needs: Healthy Ears Program Extended with $29.4 commitment
The Australian Government has committed $29.4 million to extend the Healthy Ears – Better Hearing, Better Listening Program, to help ensure tens of thousands more Indigenous children and young adults grow up with good hearing and the opportunities it brings.
8.Tangentyere Alice Springs Women’s Family Safety Group visits Canberra
This week the Tangentyere Women’s Family Safety Group from Alice Springs were in Canberra. They shared with politicians, their own solutions for their own communities, and they are making an enormous difference.
Big thanks to all the Tangentyere women who made it to Canberra.
And finally hope you had a Happy Easter all you mob ! After you have enjoyed your chocolate #Easter eggs and hot cross buns , this is how much exercise you will require to work of those Easter treats .
For medical and nutrition advice please check with your ACCHO Doctor , Health Promotion / Lifestyle teams or one of our ACCHO nutritionists
There is no reason it should have happened, especially not in a first-world country like Australia, but it has: indigenous communities in the country’s north are in the grip of wholly treatable sexually transmitted diseases.
In the case of syphilis, it is an epidemic — West Australian Labor senator Patrick Dodson described it as such, in a fury, when health department bureaucrats mumbled during Senate estimates about having held a few “meetings” on the matter.
There have been about 2000 syphilis notifications — with at least 13 congenital cases, six of them fatal — since the outbreak began in northern Queensland in 2011, before spreading to the Northern Territory, Western Australia and, finally, South Australia.
What’s worse, it could have been stopped. James Ward, of the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, wrote in mid-2011 that there had been a “downward trend” over several years and it was likely at that point that the “elimination of syphilis is achievable within indigenous remote communities”.
But governments were slow to react, and Ward is now assisting in the design of an $8.8 million emergency “surge” treatment approach on the cusp of being rolled out in Cairns and Darwin, with sites in the two remaining affected states yet to be identified.
It will be an aggressive strategy — under previous guidelines, you had to have been identified during a health check as an active carrier of syphilis to be treated. Now, anyone who registers antibodies for the pathogen during a blood prick test, whether actively carrying syphilis or not, will receive an immediate penicillin injection in an attempt to halt the infection’s geographical spread.
This is key: the high mobility of indigenous people in northern and central Australia means pathogens cross jurisdictions with impunity. Australian Medical Association president Michael Gannon calls syphilis a “clever bacterium that will never go away”, warning that “bugs don’t respect state borders”.
Olga Havnen, one of the Northern Territory’s most respected public health experts, points out that many people “will have connections and relations from the Torres Strait through to the Kimberley and on to Broome — and it’s only a matter of seven or eight kilometres between PNG and the northernmost islands there in the Torres Strait”.
“This is probably something that’s not really understood by the broader Australian community,” Havnen says. “I suspect once you get a major outbreak of something like encephalitis or Dengue fever, any of those mosquito-borne diseases, and that starts to encroach onto the mainland, then people will start to get a bit worried.”
But it is not just syphilis — indeed, not even just STIs — that have infectious disease authorities concerned and the network of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations stretched.
Chlamydia, the nation’s most frequently diagnosed STI in 2016 based on figures from the Kirby Institute at the University of NSW, is three times more likely to be contracted by an indigenous Australian than a non-indigenous one.
The rate was highest in the NT, at 1689.1 notifications per 100,000 indigenous people, compared with 607.9 per 100,000 non-indigenous Territorians. If you’re indigenous, you’re seven times more likely to contract gonorrhoea, spiking to 15 times more likely if only women are considered. Syphilis, five times more likely.
As the syphilis response gets under way, health services such as the one Havnen leads, the Darwin-based Danila Dilba, will be given extra resources to tackle it. “With proper resourcing, if you want to be doing outreach with those people who might be visitors to town living in the long grass, then we’re probably best placed to be able to do that,” she says.
But the extra focus comes with a warning. A spate of alleged sexual assaults on Aboriginal children, beginning with a two-year-old in Tennant Creek last month and followed by three more alleged attacks, has raised speculation of a link between high STI rates and evidence of child sexual assault.
After the first case, former NT children’s commissioner Howard Bath told this newspaper that STI rates were “a better indicator of background levels of abuse than reporting because so many of those cases don’t get reported to anyone, whereas kids with serious infections do tend to go to a doctor”. Others, including Alice Springs town councillor Jacinta Price and Aboriginal businessman Warren Mundine, raised the spectre of the need for removing more at-risk indigenous children from dangerous environments.
However, Sarah Giles, Danila Dilba’s clinical director and a medical practitioner of 20 years’ standing in northern Australia, warns this kind of response only exacerbates the problem. She is one of a range of public health authorities who, like Havnen, say connecting high STI figures to the very real scourge of child sex abuse simply makes no sense. They do not carry correlated data sets, the experts say.
“One of the things that’s really unhelpful about trying to manage STIs at a population level is to link it with child abuse and mandatory reporting, and for people to be fearful of STIs,” Giles says. “The problem is that when they’re conflated and when communities feel that they can’t get help because things might be misinterpreted or things might be reported, they’re less likely to present with symptoms. The majority of STIs are in adults and they’re sexually transmitted.”
Havnen says there is evidence of STIs being transmitted non-sexually, including to children, such as through poor hand hygiene, although Giles says that is “reasonably rare”. And while NT data shows five children under 12 contracted either chlamydia or gonorrhoea in 2016 (none had syphilis), and there were another five under 12 last year, Havnen points to the fact that over the past decade there has been no increasing trend in under 12s being affected. Where there has been a rise in the NT is in people aged between 13 and 19, with annual gonorrhoea notifications increasing from 64 cases in the 14-15-year-old female cohort in 2006 to 94 notifications in 2016.
In the 16-17-year-old female cohort the same figures were 96 and 141 and in the 12-13-year-old group it rose from 20 in 2006 to 33 in 2016. Overall, for both boys and girls under 16, annual gonorrhoea notifications rose from 109 in 2006 to 186 in 2016, according to figures provided to the royal commission into child detention by NT Health. Havnen describes the rise as “concerning but not, on its own, evidence of increasing levels of sexual abuse”.
Ward is more direct. Not all STIs are the result of sexual abuse, he warns, and not all sexual abuse results in an STI. If you’re a health professional trying to deal with an epidemiological wildfire, the distinction matters — the data and its correct interpretations can literally be a matter of life and death.
Indeed, in its own written caveats to the material it provided to the royal commission, the department warns that sexual health data is “very much subject to variations in testing” and warns against making “misleading assumptions about trends”. Ward says: “Most STIs notified in remote indigenous communities are assumed to be the result of sex between consenting adults — that is, 16 to 30-year-olds. Of the under 16s, the majority are 14 and 15-year-olds.” He says a historically high background prevalence of STIs in remote indigenous communities — along with a range of other infectious diseases long eradicated elsewhere — is to blame for their ongoing presence. Poor education, health services and hygiene contribute, and where drug and alcohol problems exist, sexually risky behaviour is more likely too. The lingering impact of colonisation and arrival of diseases then still common in broader society cannot be underestimated.
But Ward claims that an apparently high territory police figure of about 700 cases of “suspected child sexual offences” in the NT over the past five years may be misleading. He says a large number of these are likely to be the result of mandatory reporting, where someone under 16 is known to have a partner with an age gap of more than two years, or someone under 14 is known to be engaging in sexual activity. Ward points out that 15 is the nationwide median sexual debut age, an age he suggests is dropping. At any rate, he argues, child sex abuse is unlikely to be the main reason for that high rate of mandatory reporting in the NT.
Data matters, and so does how it is used. Chipping away at the perception of child sexual abuse in indigenous communities are the latest figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare showing the rate of removals for that crime is actually higher in non-indigenous Australia.
According to a report this month from the AIHW, removals based on substantiated sex abuse cases in 2016-17 were starkly different for each cohort: 8.3 per cent for indigenous children, from a total of 13,749 removals, and 13.4 per cent for non-indigenous children, from 34,915 removals.
Havnen concedes there is a need for better reporting of child abuse and has called for a confidential helpline that would be free of charge and staffed around the clock by health professionals.
It’s based on a model already in use in Europe that she says deals with millions of calls a year — but it would require a comprehensive education and publicity campaign if it were to gain traction in remote Australia. And that means starting with the adults.
“If you’re going to do sex education in schools and you start to move into the area about sexual abuse and violence and so on, it’s really important that adults are educated first about what to do with that information,” she says. “Because too often if you just educate kids, and they come home and make a disclosure, they end up being told they’re liars.”
These challenges exist against the backdrop of a community already beset by a range of infectious diseases barely present elsewhere in the country, including the STIs that should be so easily treatable. It is, as Havnen is the first to admit, a complex matter.
Cheryl Jones, president of the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases, says the answer is better primary treatment solutions and education, rather than trying to solve the problem after it has occurred. “For any of these public health infectious disease problems in remote and rural areas, we need to support basic infrastructure at the point of care and work alongside communities to come up with solutions,” she says.
Pat Turner, chief executive of peak body the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, is adamant about this. “These (STIs) are preventable diseases and we need increased testing, treatment plans and a culturally appropriate health education campaign that focuses resources on promoting safe-sex messages delivered to at-risk communities by our trained Aboriginal workforce,” Turner says.
The Australian Medical Association has called for the formation of a national Centre for Disease Control, focusing on global surveillance and most likely based in the north, as being “urgently needed to provide national leadership and to co-ordinate rapid and effective public health responses to manage communicable diseases and outbreaks”.
“The current approach to disease threats, and control of infectious diseases, relies on disjointed state and commonwealth formal structures, informal networks, collaborations, and the goodwill of public health and infectious disease physicians,” the association warned in a submission to the Turnbull government last year.
However, the federal health department has rebuffed the CDC argument, telling the association that “our current arrangements are effective” and warning the suggestion could introduce “considerable overlap and duplication with existing functions”.
“I think it (the CDC) might have some merit, if it helps to advocate with government about what needs to happen,” Havnen says, “but if these things are going to be targeted at Aboriginal bodies, it needs to be a genuine partnership. It’s got to be informed by the realities on the ground and what we know. That information has to be fed up into the planning process.”
“As the only Academic Health Science Centre in Australia with a primary focus on Aboriginal and remote health, we are pleased that Minister Hunt is leading on the front foot with an announcement such as this.
It’s especially pleasing that this is happening just as we are about to engage with a wide consultation between our members over health research priorities in Central Australia in the coming years—this three year commitment allows us to do this with confidence.
The Centre is already working in key areas such as endemic HTLV-1 infection, exploring the complex interplay between communicable and chronic disease as well as exploring the capacity of the primary health care sector to reduce avoidable hospitalisations,”
The Chairperson of the Central Australia Academic Health Science Centre [CA AHSC] John Paterson has welcomed the commitment over three years of significant research funding to the Centre by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt.
“Research projects that will be supported will emphasise those based on community need and initiative especially as expressed by the Aboriginal partner organisations, though this will not necessarily preclude externally identified needs.
In any case, we will focus on comprehensive approaches to consultation and participation in the ethical design of research projects, the carriage of the research, and the rapid implementation of positive research results.
A key activity will be that of building future leaders in the Aboriginal research workforce. We have already started this critical work with the first meeting of a network of more than 15 Aboriginal researchers in Central Australia.”
A health research partnership benefitting Warumungu, Arrernte (Eastern), Pintupi, Pitjantjatjarra, Arrernte (Central), Yankunytjarra, Luritja, Arrernte (Western), Warlpiri, Anmatyere, Ngaanyatjarra, Kaytetye and Alyawarre speakers across Central Australia
Press Release : Medical research to uncover better treatment for Indigenous Australians
The Turnbull Government will invest more than $6 million in a health science centre in Alice Springs which is focused on addressing health challenges faced by Indigenous Australians.
The Central Australia Academic Health Science Centre will receive $6.1 million over three years from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).
This funding will support better treatment and diagnosis of health challenges experienced by Indigenous Australians.
The Centre brings together top researchers, medical experts and local communities to look at ways to improve healthcare options for the specific health challenges facing Indigenous Australians.
The Central Australia Academic Health Science Centre is the first Aboriginal-led collaboration of its kind and demonstrates the importance of Aboriginal community leadership in research and health improvement.
These projects will directly benefit regional and remote Aboriginal communities and it is our hope that medical research will help in closing the gap on disadvantage.
The first priority project that will be supported through the Central Australia Academic Health Science Centre will be a study into addressing HTLV-1.
Additional areas that will be considered by the Centre include addressing research into ear and eye health, renal health and dialysis, children and maternity health in Indigenous communities.
Indigenous health is one of the Turnbull Government’s fundamental priorities and while progress has been made on some key indicators, with male and female life expectancy increasing and child mortality and smoking rates decreasing, more needs to be done.
Today I am also pleased to announce more than $740,000 of MRFF funding for University of Queensland researchers to undertake a world-first project, in collaboration with Aboriginal communities, to find ways to improve Aboriginal food security and dietary intake in cities and remote areas.
Poor diet and food insecurity are major contributors to the excess mortality and morbidity suffered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.
The Turnbull Government is committed to improving the health services for Indigenous Australians and we will continue to invest in better treatment, care and medical research.
1.Would your ACCHO health service like to trial a pharmacist in your health care team ?
Closing date for the Expressions of Interest is 20th March 2018
We are now seeking Expressions of Interest in the Integrating Pharmacists within Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to improve Chronic Disease Management (IPAC) project.
This is a large project that will investigate if including a non-dispensing practice pharmacist as part of the primary health care team within Aboriginal community controlled health services (ACCHSs) leads to improvements in the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
It will involve up to 22 ACCHSs invited to participate in the project from three jurisdictions- Queensland, Victoria, and the Northern Territory. The project will provide funding and support for the pharmacist to be embedded within an ACCHS.
The project aims to benefit the ACCHS sector by providing the evidence-base to better support quality use of medicines through integrated care models.
The pharmacist will provide education and shared decision making for patients and staff on appropriate medicines for people with chronic conditions.
Having a culturally responsive pharmacist integrated into ACCHSs should enable the building of relationships and trust between pharmacists, patients, ACCHS staff and the community.
This should ultimately improve medicines use and health for ACCHS patients who agree to be part of this project.
The IPAC project is a partnership between the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA), James Cook University (College of Medicine and Dentistry) the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and its state Affiliates.
The Australian Government under the Pharmacy Trials Program of the 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement has funded the project.
Pat Turner – NACCHO CEO
To express an interest please complete this quick scoping survey:
ACCHSs will be offered site agreements from April for gradual roll out of Pharmacists mid year
Closing date for the Expressions of Interest is 20th March 2018
For further information please contact NACCHO IPAC Project Coordinators firstname.lastname@example.org
Alice Nugent 0439873723 and Fran Vaughan 0417826617
2. Close the Gap Day March 15, 2018
Everyone deserves the right to a healthy future and the opportunities this afford. We are very lucky to live in a rich country with a universal health system.
However, many of Australia’s First Peoples are denied the same access to healthcare that non-Indigenous Australians take for granted. Despite a decade of Government promises the gap in health and life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and other Australians is widening.
This National Close the Gap Day, we have an opportunity to send our governments a clear message that Australians value health equality as a fundamental right for all.
On National Close the Gap Day 2017, there were more than 1100 separate events held across the country from the tip of Cape York to Southern Tasmania, and from Rottnest Island in West Australia to towns along Australia’s east coast.
With events ranging from workplace morning teas, to sports days, school events and public events in hospitals and offices around the country — tens of thousands of people took part and made a difference.
Your actions can create lasting change. Be part of the generation who closes the gap.
What is Close the Gap?
Equal access to healthcare is a basic human right, and in Australia we expect it. So what if we told you that you can expect to die a decade earlier than your next-door neighbour? You wouldn’t accept it. No-one should.
But in reality, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People can expect to live 10 years less than non-Indigenous Australians. Learn more about why the health gap exists.
Working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is one of the critical success factors. With continued support from the public, we can ensure the Australian Government continues to work with Indigenous communities, recommit additional funding and invest in real partnerships.
” From 1 February 2018, codeine will no longer be available over the counter. This means you will need to get a prescription from your ACCHO doctor to buy codeine. For people with ongoing chronic pain, there are other treatments in addition to or instead of medication that can be very helpful
There are many different ways that people can manage their pain without using codeine. Research shows low-dose codeine is not superior to over-the-counter alternatives such as a combination of paracetamol and ibuprofen for pain relief.”
From 1 February 2018 medicines containing codeine will only be available by prescription. These medications are used to treat pain. Codeine is also sometimes used in cold and flu medicines.
If you live in a rural or remote area and you think that this change will affect you, it’s a good idea to know your options and plan ahead.
If you normally take medicines with codeine for ongoing (chronic) pain you should talk to a health practitioner about your pain management options. Codeine is only recommended for a maximum of three days and is not considered an effective treatment for chronic pain.
The best place to get advice and assistance will depend on the health services available in your area and your personal preference.
Visit your health practitioner
If you have access to a local GP, they can provide information and help with managing your pain and write you a prescription if you need one. If they feel you need extra help to manage chronic pain they might refer you to see a specialist – either in person or through a service called Telehealth that is used to deliver health services across Australia without the need for travel.
Go to a community health centre or remote health service
If you don’t have a local GP, you can get advice and help at a community health centre or a remote health service in your area. Remote area nurses and registered nurses can also provide advice and, in some areas, they can write prescriptions.
Visit your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Service
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Medical services can provide holistic and culturally appropriate advice and care on all health and medical issues including pain management.
Get free advice over the phone
For free health advice 24 hours, 7 days a week, you can call Healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222. Healthdirect can provide you with advice on all health topics, including pain management. They can also help you locate your nearest health services and chemists.
One of the best ways to manage pain is to take control of it. With access to the right education and strategies, most people with chronic pain can successfully regain quality of life without the need for opioids, surgery or other invasive treatments.
You can learn more about multidisciplinary pain management through your ACCHO GP who can refer you to your nearest pain service.
Rural Doctors RDAA are working with ACRRM, CRANAplus and the National Rural Health Alliance (NRHA) to ensure that all rural doctors, rural and remote nurses and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers can access relevant training and information so they can advise and/or prescribe the best and most appropriate form of treatment available to consumers following the change
“ Well, first of all, the myth that something’s changing for people who have already required a prescription for opioids. We are more and more concerned about the use of opioids in our community. It’s not unique to Australia. So many of the people who die from heroin overdoses in the United States and Australia started off on prescription opioids. So, if anything good has come of the Guild’s advocacy on low dose codeine, it’s been shining a light on the opioid epidemic we have.
But the most important myth to bust is that – for those people who reach occasionally for one of these preparations for a headache, for backache, for period pain – an anti-inflammatory alone, paracetamol alone, is every bit as effective, and in fact it’s better, because for a lot of people codeine causes headaches, it doesn’t make them better.”
AMA President, Michael Gannon see interview in full Part 2
President of the Rural Doctors Association Australia (RDAA), Dr Adam Coltzau, said that while the up-scheduling of codeine has been well publicised, some patients will remain surprised when they can no longer buy their preferred pain medication over the counter.
“I have no doubt that starting today there will be disgruntled people who were either unaware of the coming change or who did not make plans to change their medication,” Dr Coltzau said.
“Everyone should be aware that they may consult with their pharmacist where available or where there is no pharmacist their health clinic team regarding alternative over-the-counter medications. It is imperative that consumers who have previously used over-the-counter codeine to manage pain see their health care provider regarding alternative medications or therapies that are available to them.
“And of course for those patients whose doctor or nurse practitioner recommends codeine-based products these remain available to them by prescription.
“The up-scheduling of codeine has provided a positive opportunity for both patients and prescribing practitioners to increase their knowledge of the safer and more effective pain relief medications and treatments, review their condition and re-assess their approach to management of these conditions,” Dr Coltzau said.
President of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM), Associate Professor Ruth Stewart, said that patients should start a conversation with their GP about their pain problems to find a treatment that works for them.
“There’s no clinical evidence to suggest that over-the-counter codeine products are more effective analgesics than similar medicines without codeine,” A/Prof Stewart said.
“Talking to your GP about your pain is the best way to address it, as they’re equipped to suggest a pain management strategy based on your symptoms.
“Medication alone is often not the most effective way of treating many conditions, and a multidisciplinary pain management plan will help get the best results.
“In rural and remote areas, where people may have to travel to access their health care provider to review the management of their condition, it is important for consumers to schedule a visit with their
GP or other health care provider. Where pharmaceutical services are available, consumers can take advantage of the Government’s new Pain MedCheck program that will be rolled out across community pharmacies for a one-on-one consultation with your pharmacist.
“Online resources such as http://www.realrelief.org.au can provide consumers with the facts and information on the proven alternative pain medications that are available and there may also be specialist and allied health services available via telehealth for people living in rural and remote communities,” A/Prof Stewart said.
RDAA is working with ACRRM, CRANAplus and the National Rural Health Alliance (NRHA) to ensure that all rural doctors, rural and remote nurses and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers can access relevant training and information so they can advise and/or prescribe the best and most appropriate form of treatment available to consumers following the change.
LAURA JAYES: AMA President, Michael Gannon, joins us now live from Perth. Dr Gannon, thanks so much for your time. Is the AMA on board with this decision?
MICHAEL GANNON: The AMA supports the decision made by Minister Greg Hunt, who in turn was taking the advice from the TGA, the Therapeutic Goods Administration. They’re the bureaucrats who have looked at the science and made a decision that brings Australia into line with 25 other countries.
LAURA JAYES: There’s been a bit of reaction to this, you would’ve noticed, Dr Gannon, but most people do use these codeine products in a very responsible way. Are you concerned about what this might do in regional areas, where people don’t have access to this, they have to find a GP? That might delay them in seeking this medication.
MICHAEL GANNON: Look, the Pharmacy Guild stands alone in their opposition to this change, and we’ve seen a lot of mythology out there. The important message – for people who have always required a prescription for higher doses of codeine, nothing’s changed.
Now, we’ll have more to say about that. This is a drug that is causing more harm than good in our community, and ideally over time we’ll see fewer and fewer prescriptions for opioids.
But for the lower doses of codeine that this change affects, it’s very important to deliver the message to people that there’s very clear scientific evidence that the low dose codeine-containing preparations are no more effective than the paracetamol or the anti-inflammatory alone.
That’s the message that should be delivered to a patient presenting to a community pharmacy today or in coming weeks: here’s some paracetamol, here’s some ibuprofen – it’s every bit as effective, and it’s a lot safer.
LAURA JAYES: Well, you said myth-busting; what kind of myths did you want to bust? I’ll give you the platform to do it right here and now.
MICHAEL GANNON: Well, first of all, the myth that something’s changing for people who have already required a prescription for opioids. We are more and more concerned about the use of opioids in our community. It’s not unique to Australia. So many of the people who die from heroin overdoses in the United States and Australia started off on prescription opioids. So, if anything good has come of the Guild’s advocacy on low dose codeine, it’s been shining a light on the opioid epidemic we have.
But the most important myth to bust is that – for those people who reach occasionally for one of these preparations for a headache, for backache, for period pain – an anti-inflammatory alone, paracetamol alone, is every bit as effective, and in fact it’s better, because for a lot of people codeine causes headaches, it doesn’t make them better.
LAURA JAYES: You sound like the AMA is preparing to actually look more deeply into opioids other than codeine. It seems like codeine is the first frontier. Why is codeine any worse than some of the others?
MICHAEL GANNON: Well, the reason that codeine is worse is that it’s unique amongst the opioids in that’s it’s being treated in such a permissive manner. You still need a prescription for fentanyl; you still need a prescription for oxycodone; you still need a prescription for morphine.
But if anything good has come out of this conversation in recent months, it’s been that we, as doctors – whether that’s surgeons dispensing opioids after surgery, whether it’s emergency departments dispensing them in people who have presented with trauma or some other form of pain – we need to do something, because oxycodone, fentanyl, higher doses of codeine, are also causing damage in our community.
We need to look carefully at better opioids. Codeine is very much yesterday’s drug, it would not be licensed if it was invented next week. But we need to look carefully at our prescription of other opioids and really look carefully at non-pharmacological approaches to chronic pain.
LAURA JAYES: What ones are you concerned about? Are you concerned about pseudoephedrine? Because I believe if I’ve got a bit of the flu, I go to the chemist, I get some cold and flu tablets that contain pseudoephedrine. You can certainly get through a day of work with those drugs, but are they an addictive substance? If codeine is the first one you’re concerned about, what are the next?
MICHAEL GANNON: Pseudoephedrine is not an opioid, so it’s not used for pain relief, and the main reason to be careful with its use is it’s used to cook up methamphetamine in criminal backyard laboratories.
But you raised an important issue there, the need to monitor. We support real-time prescription monitoring. We’ve been very supportive of what’s existed in Tasmania until now. State Minister Jill Hennessy in Victoria, Federal Minister Greg Hunt, have made noises about real-time prescription monitoring. We agree with the Pharmacy Guild that that’s the way forward, especially for other licit opioids that have become drugs of abuse, like fentanyl, like oxycodone.
LAURA JAYES: Okay, so those are the main concerns that are being abused if the opportunity is given?
MICHAEL GANNON: Well, we are concerned about these drugs as drugs of abuse. I mean, the evidence comes from coronial reports in Victoria and other States.
LAURA JAYES: How do people get them, though? Do they doctor shop?
MICHAEL GANNON: Well, there is no question that some people doctor shop, but that’s a pretty ambitious effort to doctor shop for 8mg codeine tablets. But there’s no question that some people, they cook up all sorts of stories, they’re very sophisticated in how they go around collecting prescriptions for codeine 30mg tablets.
We know that fentanyl patches, that people use them, and they get the drug out of the patch for intravenous or subcutaneous administration. Australia has long been a high user of opioids, we’re a big exporter of opioids, and the story of the harm they do in the community is not a new one. But this decision, it’s at least two or three years overdue, and it brings us into line with much of the rest of the developed world.
LAURA JAYES: Dr Michael Gannon, thanks so much for your time today. This is a fascinating area that I agree with you we need to look a lot more closely at. We’ll get you back another time and deep-dive into that issue. Thanks so much for your time.
“We see [more remote] people only accessing mental health services at … 20 per cent the rate of those who access services in the city.
If that’s not a crisis, I don’t know what a crisis is.
We provide 24-hour medical care to people in rural and remote Australia, but our doctors are finding themselves overwhelmed by the amount of psychological support they need to provide to their patients.
Last year the Flying Doctors saw 24,500 people to provide mental health counselling, but we could double or triple that service tomorrow and still not touch the surface,” .
The RFDS chief executive Martin Laverty said major disparities between country and city services still existed, despite numerous government reviews designed to address the problem
“Roughly half the people the Flying Doctor cares for in our health or dental clinics or transports by air or ground are Indigenous.
“The Flying Doctor RAP, agreed with Reconciliation Australia, contains tailored actions for tangible improvements in the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”
Each year, around one in five, or 960,000, remote and rural Australians experience a mental disorder. The prevalence of mental disorders in remote and rural Australia is the same as that in major cities, making mental disorders one of the few illnesses that does not have higher prevalence rates in country Australia compared to city areas.
The Royal Flying Doctor Service says mental health services in rural and remote Australia are in a state of “crisis”.
There are no registered psychologists in 15 of Australia’s rural and remote areas
“There should be no excuse in a country of universal access to healthcare,” RFDS CEO says
Mental health advocates are calling for a bigger financial commitment from the Government in this year’s budget
Data from the Department of Health showed the number of registered psychologists across the country increased in 2015/16. But there were no registered psychologists in 15 rural and remote areas.
Mr Laverty said areas like west coast Tasmania, central Australia, western Queensland and the Kimberley in Western Australia missed out.
“Areas where perhaps you’re not surprised to see that there aren’t health professionals in abundance,” he said.
“That should be no excuse in a country of universal access to healthcare.”
Mental Health Australia chief executive Frank Quinlan said doctors were not always the best people to provide mental health support.
“It is not necessarily the best way for us to be spending our resources — to have GPs with 10 years or more of training — delivering basic brief interventions and counselling interventions that could be delivered by other professionals and trained peer workers,” he said.
Suicide rates in rural areas are 40 per cent higher than in major cities, and in remote areas, the rate is almost double.
Mental health advocates call for greater commitment
The Coalition allocated $80 million for psychosocial support services in last year’s federal budget.
The program would help people suffering from severe mental illness — who are not eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) — find housing, education and better care.
But the Government will not release the money unless states and territories stump up funds too, and Mr Quinlan said that was yet to happen.
“That’s in spite of the fact that we know that with the roll-out of the NDIS and the roll-back of previous Commonwealth programs, people are already starting to fall into the gaps,” he said.
Health Minister Greg Hunt has acknowledged more assistance is needed for people in the bush.
“I do believe there is a very significant challenge and this is because there are four million Australians every year who have some form of mental health challenge and in the rural areas this is a significant challenge which is precisely why we are looking at additional services,” he said.
The Federal Government recently announced more than $100 million for the youth mental health service Headspace.
It is also spending $9 million improving tele-health services in rural areas.
But mental health advocates are calling for a bigger commitment to such initiatives in this year’s federal budget.
“The Minister — Greg Hunt — was relatively new to the ministry when the 2017 budget was released,” Mr Quinlan said.
“So I think the sector quite broadly and quite rightly, now, 12 months on, will be looking to the 2018 budget to see whether the Government is actually able to prioritise a lot of the concerns and issues that have been addressed.”
Federal Labor response ( added comment )
The Turnbull Government must break its silence over growing concerns about the quality of mental health services being delivered across Australia.
The Royal Flying Doctors Service is the latest organisation to raise the alarm about mental health service issues in rural and remote Australia. These comments today should be a wake-up call for Malcolm Turnbull.
It is vitally important the Turnbull Government gets this right. The mental health gap between the city and country is already too wide.
Today’s comments follow the Australian Medical Association’s position statement on mental health last week on the ‘gross’ underfunding of mental health services.
The Turnbull Government must prioritise greater funding for mental health services in the lead-up to the Budget.
Labor knows there is more work to be done to improve the mental health of all Australians and find ways to further reduce the thousands of lives lost to suicide each year.
It is only by working together that we will be able to finally reduce the impact of mental health issues in our society .
Mental health services need more than lip-service from Malcolm Turnbull and his Government.
” The inquiry heard the voices of Indigenous CDP participants, their organisations and other concerned Australians and revealed the deep-seated flaws with this top-down, punitive and discriminatory program.
“Labor is deeply disappointed with Minister Scullion’s response to the Senate Inquiry into the Community Development Program (CDP).
Labor secured the Inquiry into the CDP in March after communities across the Northern Territory and Western Australia told us that they were trapped in a cycle of poverty, waiting on the end of a phone line for hours and then giving up, feeling hopeless and still struggling with an infuriating bureaucratic reporting process.
Minister Scullion’s response to the inquiry has been outrageously cynical
His response to the inquiry is insulting to all the organisations and individuals who gave substantial and significant evidence to the Senate Committee, telling of disrespectful consultation, poor program design and unfair penalties that has led not to jobs, but to poverty, pain and hunger.”
Labor Press Releases see 2 Part and 4 below
” Just like it’s failed Remote Jobs and Communities Program, Labor’s partisan report into the successful Community Development Program is not accurate and does nothing to promote better employment outcomes in remote Australia.
I am committed to a broad consultation and will continue to engage on remote employment widely, including with remote communities, job seekers, the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council, Empowered Communities leaders and CDP providers.
This consultation has been ongoing since I became Minister and I will continue to consult in the months ahead,
The Remote Employment and Participation discussion paper is available at: www.pmc.gov.au/cdp.
Submissions to the consultation are open until 5:00pm EST, Friday 9 February “
Senator Nigel Scullion see Part 3.1 and 3.2 below
Part 1 : The Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT (APO NT) today welcomed the release of the Senate inquiry report into the Community Development Program (CDP), which found that ‘CDP cannot and should not continue in its current form’.
In particular, the inquiry found:
The committee is broadly supportive of an effective program for remote jobseekers that provides the opportunity for job placement and community development.
there should be a move away from the compliance and penalty model towards the provision of a basic income with a wage-like structure to incentivise participation.
a jobseeker program must create and sustain real local jobs.
A new program needs to be developed which moves away from a centralised, top-down administration in which communities are told what to do and move towards a model where the local communities are empowered to make decisions that are best for them.
It also explicitly recommends that any reform process give consideration to the APO NT model.”
“It is extremely disappointing that the Minister for Indigenous Affairs has already labelled the report misleading and partisan. On the contrary, it provides valuable evidence and recommendations that should inform the CDP reform process,” said Mr Paterson.
The Government committed to consulting with remote communities in May 2017 and just hours before the release of the senate inquiry report the Minister finally released a Discussion Paper outlining very broad reform models for CDP.
“The consultation process announced by the Minister does not answer our calls for a transparent, independent review process conducted in partnership with Indigenous people.
The review process is being conducted by the department that currently administers the program, does not appear to include any external oversight or the creation of a high level reform committee to guide and inform the process, and is being undertaken during the wet season and hot summer months when cultural business occurs in many communities,” said Mr Paterson.
“CDP affects the lives of around 29,000 Indigenous people and has caused immense harm.
We will continue to work hard to shape the development of a new program to replace CDP that is non-discriminatory, ensures access to the social security safety net, empowers local communities, creates jobs with proper entitlements, and drives development in remote communities.
In the meantime, as recommended by the Senate committee, there must be immediate reform of the compliance and penalty regime of the CDP.”
KEY FACTS ABOUT THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT SCHEME
The CDP is the main program of job related assistance for unemployed people in remote areas of Australia. It is the equivalent of jobactive (formerly JSA) and Disability Employment Services in the rest of the country.
The CDP has around 35,000 participants, around 83% of whom are identified as Indigenous.
People with full time work capacity who are 18-49 years old must Work for the Dole, 25 hours per week, 5 days per week, at least 46 weeks per year (1150 hours per year).
Under jobactive Work for the Dole only starts after 12 months, and then for 390-650 hours per year.
Despite having a caseload less than a twentieth the size of jobactive, more penalties are applied to CDP participants than to jobactive participants.
In the 21 months from the start of CDP on 1 July 2015 to the end of March 2017, 299,055 financial penalties were applied to CDP participants. Over the same period, 237,333 financial penalties were applied to jobactive participants.
Part 2 : Labor is deeply disappointed with Minister Scullion’s response to the Senate Inquiry into the Community Development Program (CDP).
Labor secured the Inquiry into the CDP in March after communities across the Northern Territory and Western Australia told us that they were trapped in a cycle of poverty, waiting on the end of a phone line for hours and then giving up, feeling hopeless and still struggling with an infuriating bureaucratic reporting process.
Minister Scullion’s response to the inquiry has been outrageously cynical.
He rebuffed Labor’s attempts to engage the Minister in a bipartisan way throughout the entire committee process.
He refused to provide a public submission to the inquiry, but then sent his own partisan, confidential, embargoed report on the eve the Senate Committee was due to report.
In an attempt to save face the on the day the Senate Committee released its report into the failed CDP the Minister released his own report – which makes recommendations for wage like conditions which parallel Labor’s report.
The Minister has claimed that only one of the public hearings of the inquiry took place in a Community Development Program Area – the fact is three of the hearings took place in a CDP region – Alice Springs, Papunya and Palm Island. Kalgoorlie also sits within one of the regions impacted by the CDP.
His response to the inquiry is insulting to all the organisations and individuals who gave substantial and significant evidence to the Senate Committee, telling of disrespectful consultation, poor program design and unfair penalties that has led not to jobs, but to poverty, pain and hunger.
The Senate inquiry heard from NGOs, community members, Indigenous leaders and employment providers who were not consulted by the Minister about the CDP.
The reality is the Minister was pushed by Labor to reform the CDP and his tardy and belated efforts to do so will leave many people in communities hungry this Christmas because of the Minister’s failure to deal with this discriminatory and punitive CDP program.
It is seriously disappointing that Minister Scullion would prefer to play political one-upmanship than address the real issue of reforming this deeply flawed, cruel and poorly administered CDP program.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions have condemned the Minister for his handling of the CDP and called for total reform:
‘This Abbott/Turnbull program should shame all Australians. Minister Nigel Scullion, whose lack of action despite a mountain of evidence that his program has failed and is causing harm, is alarmingly negligent.
We further condemn the decision of the Minister to release a review of the program.
We don’t need a review. We need the program scrapped.’
Labor could not agree more.
Part 3.1 Senator Nigel Scullion Press Release
Just like it’s failed Remote Jobs and Communities Program, Labor’s partisan report into the successful Community Development Program is not accurate and does nothing to promote better employment outcomes in remote Australia.
Of the 46 organisations or individuals who appeared before the enquiry, only around 35 per cent were Indigenous organisations based in Community Development Program areas. Even more concerning, only one of the public hearings of the enquiry took place in a Community Development Program Area.
This lack of direct feedback is reflected in the findings of the report which is based on anecdotal reports rather than proper evidence – for example claims by Labor Senators that Indigenous communities will go hungry this Christmas despite there being no evidence of changes to the revenue of remote community stores.
It is disappointing that today’s report has ignored the success of the Community Development Program:
An increase in attendance from under 7 per cent to over 70 per cent since the end of Labor’s Remote Jobs and Communities Program.
Remote job seekers have been supported into around 20,000 jobs including a remarkable 72 per cent increase in the number of 13 week outcomes and an even more remarkable 227 per cent increase in the number of 26 week outcomes in comparison to Labor’s Remote Jobs and Communities Program.
More local Indigenous organisations delivering the program with their community rather than the big mainstream non-Indigenous companies that former Minister Macklin forced on to the Remote Jobs and Communities Program.
The Government strongly believes that all Australians can make a contribution to their community and that the best form of welfare is practical support to find a job. This includes holding welfare recipients to account for turning up to their work for the dole activities and addressing the scourge of passive welfare.
Unfortunately, this report is another example of Labor’s approach to social policy – doing and saying what is needed to fend off Greens’ candidates in inner city seats rather than doing what remote communities want and need.
The Coalition Government has already committed to further reforms to the Community Development Program based on feedback from communities which called for a wages like payment, support for real jobs, more local control and more incentives to encourage job seekers to transition into work.
We will consider the recommendations of the report as part of these reforms and consult across Australia including with remote communities and Community Development Program providers and participants.
While Labor is intent on playing petty political games we are getting on with the job of making the CDP even more successful.
To read the Remote Employment and Participation discussion paper which will inform future options for improving the CDP, visit www.pmc.gov.au/cdp.
Part 3.2 Improving employment and participation in remote Australia : Senator Nigel Scullion
Thursday 14 December 2017
The Coalition Government has announced options to further improve employment and participation in remote communities with the release of a discussion paper on future arrangements for the Community Development Program (CDP).
The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, today announced the start of a formal consultation on a new employment and participation model for remote Australia.
“Supporting people in remote Australia to gain skills and find jobs delivers many benefits – for themselves, their families and the broader community,” said Minister Scullion.
“I am committed to ensuring job seekers in remote Australia are supported to get the training and work experience they need to transition into a job and make a contribution to their community.
“It is essential that reforms are developed in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and remote communities, so I encourage people to share their views.
“The discussion paper explores how to grow the remote labour market, provide more incentives to job seekers, give communities more control and greater decision-making, and improve the support available to job seekers so they can move from welfare and into work.
“Options include a tiered remote job service model that includes:
A more simplified system, relying less on a national welfare system, and more on local control and decision making.
Reinvesting any efficiencies back into communities, for example through ‘top up’ arrangements for job seekers.
A wage-based or ‘wage-like’ model providing weekly payments to job seekers.
Streaming jobseekers to enable tailored assistance according to need.
Establishing better arrangements for job training and a pathway to real employment.
Encouraging businesses to hire and invest in local people.
Delivering subsidised labour for contracting opportunities, while not crowding out existing investment and jobs.
Increasing the number of Indigenous owned and controlled organisations providing services under CDP.
Supporting Indigenous enterprise development, particularly in the delivery of Commonwealth contracts.
The consultation will help guide the development of a new employment and participation model expanding on the success of the CDP.
“The CDP has supported remote job seekers into over 21,000 jobs and overturned the failures of Labor’s Remote Jobs and Communities Program (RJCP) which saw attendance under the program drop to 6 per cent.
“However, more needs to be done to maintain the momentum to get people into work.
The discussion paper outlines three potential options to for discussion. These are an improved version of the current CDP to provide more tailored support, a model based on the CDP Reform Bill introduced in 2015 and a wage-based model.
“I am committed to a broad consultation and will continue to engage on remote employment widely, including with remote communities, job seekers, the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council, Empowered Communities leaders and CDP providers.
“This consultation has been ongoing since I became Minister and I will continue to consult in the months ahead,” Minister Scullion said today.
The Remote Employment and Participation discussion paper is available at: www.pmc.gov.au/cdp.
Submissions to the consultation are open until 5:00pm EST, Friday 9 February
Part 4 Labor Press Release
The report has called on the Government to ensure that CDP participants have the same legal rights and other responsibilities as other income support participants.
Currently CDP remote participants must do 25 hours of “work-like” activities per week to receive welfare payments. This is up to three times longer than the requirement for unemployed people living in towns.
The report also called for a new program to be developed in consultation with First Nations people, so that people doing real work in their community can be properly paid.
CDP participants do not currently receive award wages and cannot access leave, superannuation and workers compensation.
The Senate inquiry and its findings have forced the Government to review the failure of the CDP program.
Less than six weeks ago the Minister was praising CDP as a success but in a complete turnaround, reports of a CDP discussion paper released today show the Government has conceded the multiple failings of CDP.
The Minister’s belated discussion paper on proposed changes does not take into account the damage the discriminatory CDP continues to cause on communities.
The reality is many people on communities will still go hungry this Christmas because of the Minister’s failure to deal with this discriminatory and punitive CDP program.
The GOOD TUCKER app has been launched with the intention to assist people living in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to make healthier food and beverage choices at the local store.
Federal Minister for Indigenous Health, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM gave the official thumbs up to the free app today. The app allows shoppers to scan a food or beverage product’s barcode and instantly reveal if it is a healthy option, should be consumed in moderation or avoided altogether.
The app has been championed by the Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies), the University of South Australia (UnisSA) and Uncle Jimmy Thumbs Up! , which has been promoting awareness and the benefits of a healthy diet to Indigenous children for more than 10 years.
Graham “Buzz” Bidstrup, CEO of Uncle Jimmy Thumbs Up!, said there was an overwhelming need for the app.
“We know that there is over consumption of ultra-processed foods particularly in remote Indigenous Australian communities. These foods are typically energy dense and high in added sugar and salt which fuels the obesity epidemic and a raft of early onset chronic diseases.
“The GOOD TUCKER app shows at a glance how healthy or unhealthy a product is with a simple thumbs up, sideways or down message. The Thumbs rating is derived from a combination of the products’ Health Star Rating and Australian Bureau of Statistics’ discretionary food classification,” Mr Bidstrup said.
The app has been more than two years in the making with joint input from Menzies, UniSA and Uncle Jimmy Thumbs Up!.
Associate Professor Julie Brimblecombe, head of the nutrition program at Menzies, said she hoped the GOOD TUCKER app would help to tackle the significant health gap facing many people living in remote communities.
“We know that nutrition plays a huge role in contributing to poor health. Making even small changes to our diets, such as consuming a little less salt and added sugar, and eating less fat (particularly saturated fat) and energy (kilojoules) could help prevent diseases including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
This app will help people to change their shopping habits as well as generate new learning about healthy food choices for community residents and store managers,” Assoc Prof Brimblecombe said.
The GOOD TUCKER app, which is powered by the highly successful FoodSwitch app, provides Thumbs ratings for tens of thousands of products on sale in food stores all across Australia.
It also provides guidance about take-away foods, such as pizzas and burgers and other non-packaged, non-barcoded items like fresh fruit and vegetables.
Prior to the launch the app was trialled by Indigenous musicians and performers at the Bush Band Bash concert in Central Australia , Wiraduri woman, Johanna Campbell said she found it educational and easy to use and is looking forward to it being introduced into rural and remote communities across Australia.
“The GOOD TUCKER app is great. To be able to scan the barcode on a food packet to find out if it is healthy or not will be really useful. Some foods are not so obviously unhealthy, so to be able to receive a thumbs up, sideways or down will help buy healthier options at the store,” Ms Campbell said.
Dr Tom Wycherley from UniSA’s Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity (ARENA), said the app uses imagery and branding that is easily interpretable and familiar to communities.
“The GOOD TUCKER app builds on existing Thumbs Up! branding that has been seen in many communities for over 10 years and provides information in a culturally appropriate form. Early feedback is really positive but the real test now will be to see if this can noticeably change food choices.”
A full evaluation of the app is planned to take place after the release.
The GOOD TUCKER app works on:
1.Apple mobile devices that have a camera with auto-focus. Requires iOS 7.0 or later.
2.Android devices running versions 4.0.x and above that have a camera with autofocus.
As all the information is in the app there is no need for the user to be in internet or phone range to use the app
Part 2 Minister Wyatt’s Press Release :Free healthy food app dials up good tucker for remote Indigenous communities
A new mobile phone app launched today promises to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote areas make healthy food choices.
The thumbs rating is based on the Government’s Health Star Rating system and the Australian Dietary Guidelines.
“The app is named in honour of legendary singer Jimmy Little, who established the Jimmy Little Foundation and dedicated much of his life to promoting better Indigenous health,” said Minister Wyatt.
“People in remote communities can face considerable food challenges, from the combination of limited supplies, particularly the difficulty in getting fresh fruit and vegetables, and limited storage.
“Uncle Jimmy’s app will complement our work to make good food more accessible in remote areas, through the Outback Stores scheme. The accredited stores provide healthy food cheaper than in other remote area stores and implement a nutrition strategy that includes health promotion activities and cooking demonstrations.
“Improving food choices is one of the most effective ways of helping close the gap in Indigenous health, with poor diet behind 10 per cent of diseases.”
The Good Tucker app was created by the Jimmy Little Foundation, in partnership with the Menzies School of Health Research, the University of South Australia and the George Institute for Global Health.
The app links with the Health Star Ratings system, which has more than 7,500 food products displaying the Health Star Rating logo.
The GOOD TUCKER app was developed by Uncle Jimmy Thumbs Up!, The University of South Australia and Menzies School of Health Research in partnership with The George Institute, to provide a simple way for people to identify the healthiest food and drink options available in stores.
Uncle Jimmy Thumbs Up! was established in 2007 by legendary Australian entertainer Dr. Jimmy Little AO with veteran musician and founding CEO Graham “Buzz” Bidstrup.
The Thumbs Up! program uses music and new media to bring awareness of good nutrition and healthy lifestyle to Indigenous children living in regional and remote communities across Australia. Thumbs Up! engages with the whole of community, including traditional owner groups, schools, local food stores, health services and community groups.
How do I get the Good Tucker app?
iPhone1 users: Download Good Tucker from the App Store1, either online or on your device.
Android2 smartphone users: Download Good Tucker from Google Play2, either online or on your Android smartphone.
The app is free of charge. An internet connection (mobile/cellular data or Wi-Fi) is required to download it and to share information by social media and email. Standard usage charges may apply – check with your internet and mobile service providers for more information.
Once the Good Tucker app has been downloaded onto your phone you do NOT need to have phone or internet connection for it to operate. All information on products will be stored on the phone.
Australia is denying access to basic rights to equality, income and work for people in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, through a racially discriminatory social security policy.
Australia should work with Aboriginal organisations and leaders to replace this discriminatory Program with an Aboriginal-led model that treats people with respect, protects their human rights and provides opportunities for economic and community development “
36th Session of the UN Human Rights Council 20 Septembersee in full part 2 below
“The program discriminates on the basis of race, with around 83 per cent of people in the program being Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. This is a racially discriminatory program that was imposed on remote communities by the Government and it’s having devastating consequences in those communities,”
John Paterson, a CEO of the Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT, told the Council that the Government’s program requires people looking for work in remote communities to work up to 760 hours more per year for the same basic payment as people in non-Indigenous majority urban areas.
The Australian Government is denying access to basic rights to equality, work and income for people in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, through its racially discriminatory remote work for the dole program.
In a joint statement to the UN Human Rights Council overnight, the Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT and Human Rights Law Centre urged the Council to abandon its racially discriminatory ‘Community Development Program’ and replace it with an Aboriginal-led model.
Adrianne Walters, a Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, said that the program is also denying basic work rights to many people in remote communities.
“Some people are required to do work that they should be employed to do. Instead, they receive a basic social security payment that is nearly half of the minimum wage in Australia. People should be paid an award wage and afforded workplace rights and protections to do that work.” said Ms Walters.
The statement to the Council calls for the Federal Government to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on a model that treats people with respect, protects their human rights and provides opportunities for economic and community development.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote communities want to take up the reins and drive job creation and community development. Communities need a program that sees people employed on decent pay and conditions, to work on projects the community needs. It’s time for Government to work with us,” said Mr Paterson.
The Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT has developed an alternative model for fair work and strong communities, called the Remote Development and Employment Scheme, which was launched in Canberra two weeks ago with broad community support.
“The new Scheme will see new opportunities for jobs and community development and get rid of pointless administration. Critically, the Scheme provides incentives to encourage people into work, training and other activities, rather than punishing people already struggling to make ends meet,” said Mr Paterson.
The Human Rights Law Centre has endorsed the Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT’s proposed model.
“Aboriginal organisations have brought a detailed policy solution to the Government’s front door. The Scheme would create jobs and strengthen communities, rather than strangling opportunities as the Government’s program is doing,” said Ms Walters.
Part 2 36th Session of the UN Human Rights Council
Items 3 and 5
Human Rights Law Centre statement, in association with Aboriginal Peak Organisations Northern Territory, Australia
Thank you Mr President,
Australia is denying access to basic rights to equality, income and work for people in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, through a racially discriminatory social security policy.
The Council has received the report of the Special Rapporteur on Indigenous peoples’ rights following her mission to Australia in 2017. This statement addresses one area of concern in the Special Rapporteur’s report.
The Australian Government’s remote ‘Community Development Program’ requires people looking for work in remote communities to work up to 760 more hours per year for the same basic social security payment as people in non-Indigenous majority urban areas.
The program discriminates on the basis of race, with around 83 per cent of people covered by the program being Indigenous.
High rates of financial penalty are leaving families without money for the basic necessities for survival.
In addition, the program denies basic work rights. People are required to do work activities that they should be employed, paid an award wage and afforded workplace rights to do. Instead, they receive a basic social security payment that is nearly half of the minimum wage in Australia.
The program undermines self-determination and was imposed on Aboriginal communities with very little consultation.
Australia should work with Aboriginal organisations and leaders to replace this discriminatory Program with an Aboriginal-led model that treats people with respect, protects their human rights and provides opportunities for economic and community development.
Australia is a candidate for a seat on the Human Rights Council for 2018. We call on the Council and its members to urge Australia to respect rights to self-determination and non-discrimination, and to abandon its racially discriminatory remote social security program and replace it with an Aboriginal-led model.
Part 3 Fair work and strong communities
Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT Proposal for a Remote Development and Employment Scheme
NACCHO is one of the many organisations that has endorsed this scheme
All Australians expect to be treated with respect and to receive a fair wage for work. But the Australian Government is denying these basic rights to people in remote communities through its remote work for the Dole program – the “Community Development Programme”.
Around 84 per cent of those subject to this program are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Most people in remote communities have to do more work than people in non-remote non Indigenous majority areas for the same basic social security payment.
In some cases, up to 760 hours more per year.
There is less flexibility and people are paid far below the national minimum wage.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are also being penalised more because of the onerous compliance conditions.
In many cases, people are receiving a basic social security payment for work they should be employed to do.
The Government’s program is strangling genuine job opportunities in remote communities.
The Government’s remote Work for the Dole program is racially discriminatory and must be abandoned. Better outcomes will be achieved if Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are given the opportunity to determine their own priorities and gain greater control over their own lives.