NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #SDOH : Sir @MichaelMarmot Visits @CAACongress ACCHO Alice Springs : Watch 90 minute @Flinders seminar TAKING ACTION Social Justice , #SocialDeterminants and #HealthEquity @baumfran

“What I have seen in Alice Springs are examples of good news stories – committed people, adequately resourced, who are engaged with the Indigenous community, doing good things”

Professor Sir Michael Marmot visited Alice Springs  last week to speak at a seminar ( View 90 minute broadcast Part 1 below ) and witness Congress Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service’s work in reducing the impact of disadvantage and the effects this has on health outcomes for Aboriginal people.

Picture above Sir Michael at the CAAC health clinic Areyonga, NT

Sir Marmot, Director of the University College London’s Institute of Health Equity and a leading researcher on health inequality issues, is a powerful international advocate for the social determinants of health.

Principal Investigator of the Whitehall Studies of British civil servants, Sir Marmot has investigated the reasons for the striking inverse social gradient in morbidity and mortality.

1.Flinders University Lecture

Kath Martin welcome to Arrernte Country

Why treat people and send them back to what made them sick !

Watch Sir Michaels 90 minute presentation here

Noting that it will start at the 15 Minute mark

“Welcome to my fantasy land & let’s imagine a fairer world”, closing words from … such wonderful, inspiring, lecture

Read background to Fantasy Land

2.Alcohol & overcrowding – Sir Michael Marmot talks on the NT health challenge       

Overcrowded houses and alcohol ravaging families are just some of the many challenges which face the health system in the Northern Territory.

But how well is the Territory tackling these issues?

Paul Serratore speaks with Sir Michael Marmot, a professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London, to find out.

Listen Here

3. Sir Marmot visited Congress specifically to learn how Aboriginal Community Controlled health services improve the lives of Aboriginal people.

“Importantly, through our use of data we have been able to clearly demonstrate to Sir Marmot how effective Congress is as a leading Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service” Congress CEO, Donna Ah Chee, said.

“The way we collect and use data is building an evidence base about what works, and he commented on the importance of this approach. He was also clear that one of the key ways that health services implement a social determinants approach is by providing Aboriginal employment and in this regard, he was very impressed with the current 50% Aboriginal employment rate and strategic target of 60%.

He was impressed that there are so many good things happening in Aboriginal health as compared with the doom and gloom he had previously heard about.”

“This has been a fantastic opportunity to show case the great work of Congress to an internationally renowned advocate for social determinants of health” Ms Ah Chee said.

“We are very pleased that Sir Marmot will be taking what he has learnt here to the rest of the world.”

 Local Aboriginal health worker, Sarah and , in local health clinic Areyonga, NT

Downtown Areyonga/Utju – an Aborigine population of about 150, with a well-resourced health centre

NACCHO Research NEWS : Indigenous Health Minister @KenWyattMP AM officially launches @MurdochUni #NgangkYira an Australian-first centre to boost Aboriginal health by fast-tracking social and cultural research.

“This unique centre aligns strongly with the Turnbull Government’s holistic, whole-of-life approach to improving First Peoples’ health.

Ngangk Yira means ‘rising sun’ in Noongar and aims to expose and reduce the broader social inequities that affect the health of many of our people.

Targeting and understanding the social and cultural determinants of health is crucial, because these factors can account for up to half the life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.”

Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt AM has officially launched an Australian-first centre to boost Aboriginal health by fast-tracking social and cultural research.

See Murdoch University press Release part 2 below

See the research projects seek to close the gap in Aboriginal health Part 3 Below

Hear from Professors Rhonda Marriott and Fiona Stanley, and meet Aboriginal midwife Valerie Ah Chee in the Ngangk Yira launch video

https://player.vimeo.com/api/player.js

Minister Wyatt said Murdoch University’s Ngangk Yira Aboriginal Health and Social Equity Research Centre promises new methods of tackling Closing the Gap challenges.

Minister Wyatt said the new centre would focus on practical health solutions, including research into the importance of cultural respect, education and equality.

“Ngangk Yira’s Birthing on Noongar Boodjar study has already revealed a shortage of culturally secure maternity care in hospitals,” Minister Wyatt said.

“The centre’s work is about giving children the best start in life and the opportunity to reach their full potential as they grow into adults.”

Minister Wyatt is Patron of the new centre. Co-Patron is Fiona Stanley AC.

Research will be conducted by Aboriginal researchers, in partnership with other Australian and international experts in maternal health, youth resilience and mental health.

Ngangk Yira studies will be carried out in close consultation with Aboriginal elders.

Part 2

Murdoch University is this week launching an Aboriginal health research centre – the first of its kind in Australia – to address the urgent and complex ‘wicked’ problems affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and social equity.

The Ngangk Yira Research Centre for Aboriginal Health and Social Equity will focus on translational research that provides practical solutions to improve health, educational and social outcomes for Aboriginal families and their communities.

Led by Aboriginal maternal and child health academic Professor Rhonda Marriott, the Centre has as patrons eminent child and Aboriginal health advocate Professor Fiona Stanley AC and Federal Minister for Indigenous Health Hon Ken Wyatt, MP.

Research is conducted by Aboriginal researchers in partnership with leading WA and international, maternal health, youth resilience and mental health experts and services and with the close involvement of community elders and stakeholders.

Taking a connected life course approach from pregnancy, to young adulthood, and parenthood the Centre’s research recognises that a strong start in life is fundamental for healthy and resilient children, families and communities, Professor Marriott said.

“To grow strong Aboriginal communities, we must start at the beginning by supporting mothers and families every step of the journey from pregnancy. Even before a baby is born, the environment  has a big impact on lifelong social, physical and emotional health,” Professor Marriott said.

Murdoch University Vice Chancellor Professor Eeva Leinonen said Ngangk Yira’s work had the potential to transform the real-life experiences of Aboriginal families and their communities.

“We will be pioneering the practical changes that will change the life course of the next generation of Aboriginal youth, and informing key changes to state and national policy, practice and education to support these outcomes,” Professor Leinonen said.

Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt said: “The work of this centre will help to push out life expectancy and is likely to reduce the prevalence rates of renal disease and many of the later chronic conditions because children will grow up healthy and resilient. Like a house, a solid foundation gives strength to the structure and, equally, the foundation of life and being born healthy and well means that your life’s journey will be stronger and longer.”

A recently completed four-year NHMRC-funded Ngangk Yira project, Birthing on Noongar Boodjar, highlighted a shortage of high-quality, culturally secure maternity care in WA hospitals that was critical to improved maternity care and childbirth outcomes for Aboriginal mothers and their babies.

Other projects underway include the Baby Coming – You Ready program that provides a mental health screening tool for postnatal depression to assist young parents during pregnancy and their babies first year.  This is expected to bolster the social and emotional wellbeing of new parents and support improved birth and developmental outcomes for their babies.

The Indigenous Young People’s Resilience and Wellbeing project is a long-term study of Aboriginal youth aged 15 to 18 to better understand factors affecting their resilience and wellbeing and to improve youth services and community programs to address these.

Parental mental health and its impact on children’s mental health will also be examined through a population-based Linked Data Project that will study the type, scale and timing of mental health problems in young Aboriginal people and their families. Data will be used to address some critical gaps in support for mental health development in “the critical first 1001 days” of a child’s life.

This research is expected to improve knowledge of the mental and physical health of Aboriginal children in Western Australia, pregnancy outcomes, child abuse and neglect, disability, contact with the juvenile justice system and education.

The Centre’s work to identify ways to make Aboriginal families healthier and more resilient is also supported by strong partnerships with academics and experts in NSW, Canada and the UK, along with the Telethons Kids’ Institute, the University of Notre Dame and international universities.

To learn more about Ngangk Yira click here.

Part 3 About Ngangk Yira

Murdoch University’s Ngangk Yira Research Centre supports the University’s commitment to improving Aboriginal health, wellbeing and social equity through innovative and translational research.

Ngangk Yira’s research takes a connected approach from pregnancy, young adulthood, to parenthood and the transition to older adulthood, recognising the evidence that a strong start in life is fundamental for healthy and resilient children, families and communities.

Aboriginal researchers lead the Centre’s projects in partnership with non-Aboriginal colleagues and with the close involvement of community elders.

Its work is already pioneering the practical changes that will change the life course of the next generation of Aboriginal youth and which will inform translatable outcomes to state and national policy, practice and education.

Upcoming studies will help better identify and address risk factors for mental wellbeing in mothers and young families and look at ways to build resilience in Aboriginal youth.

Ngangk Yira brings together an experienced team of researchers, led by Professor Rhonda Marriot. Professor Fiona Stanley and the Federal Minister for Indigenous Health, the Hon Ken Wyatt, are patrons of the Centre.

Ngangk Yira

Ngangk means both ‘mother’ and ‘sun’. Alongside the Noongar word Yira, the meaning expands to: the rising sun (ngangk yira). Together, they have added spiritual meaning for the sun’s giving of life to all things in its passage across the sky.

Our research projects seek to close the gap in Aboriginal health

Birthing on Noongar Boodjar

Since 2014, researchers at Murdoch University have been collecting data to better understand the cultural needs of Aboriginal women and different meanings of ‘cultural security’ when Birthing on Country.

Interviews with Aboriginal mothers, senior women and elders examined what women want and expect from their maternity health services. An understanding of the knowledge and experience of midwives in supporting Aboriginal women’s maternity care was also gained.

The study found that more Aboriginal midwives and culturally secure models of care in WA hospitals are critical to closing the gap in maternity care and childbirth outcomes for Aboriginal women and families. Both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal participants identified the negative impact of racism and racial stereotyping on Aboriginal women’s birthing experiences.

The research recognised that better access to Aboriginal staff and family support during pregnancy and childbirth helped empower Aboriginal mothers.

Learn more in our news story, and the Ngangk Yira brochure.

Baby Coming – You Ready?

Perinatal mental health issues such as depression and anxiety can result in detrimental impacts on pregnancy and postnatal periods. Baby Coming – You Ready? was designed by Aboriginal men and women to assist young parents during pregnancy and their child’s first year.

It is different from other mental health screening and assessment tools because it’s a shared assessment between the client and the clinician, with a goal to bringing clarity to complex situations. The model encourages self-evaluation and reflection and fosters an understanding for both users.

This web-based interactive app will do much more than screen for perinatal depression. It will use visual images on a touch screen device to portray emotions, circumstances and events, both positive and challenging, that a mother or father-to-be may be experiencing.

Baby Coming – You Ready? is expected to see improvements in attendance at antenatal appointments, bolstering the social and emotional wellbeing of expectant and new parents, and better birth and development outcomes for babies.

Learn more in the Ngangk Yira brochure.

Indigenous Young People’s Resilience and Wellbeing (2017 – 2020)

Launched in the second half of 2017, this project is a longitudinal study of Aboriginal youth across two sites; one here in Noongar country and one in the Gamilaroi nation in New South Wales.

The project is expected to enhance understanding of Aboriginal youth and improve our knowledge of their resilience and wellbeing.

Learn more in the Ngangk Yira brochure.

Linked Data Project

Parental mental health and its impact on children’s outcomes will be examined through data collected between 1990 – 2015. The data will be used to study the type, scale and timing of mental health problems in young people and their families, and address critical gaps in mental health, with a focus on the “critical 1001 day” period for children.

Key outcomes will include improved knowledge of the mental and physical health of Aboriginal children in Western Australia, pregnancy outcomes, child abuse and neglect, disability, contact with the juvenile justice system and education.

Learn more in the Ngangk Yira brochure.

Helping to build healthy and resilient communities

Learn more about our first complete project, the four-year Birthing on Noongar Boodjar, and Baby Coming – You Ready?, Ngangk Yira’s aim to find meaningful solutions to real problems.

Hear from Professors Rhonda Marriott and Fiona Stanley, and meet Aboriginal midwife Valerie Ah Chee in the Ngangk Yira launch video.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Conferences and events : 2018 SAVE A DATE : #CongressUN18 #WeAreIndigenous #BecauseOfHerWeCan #NACCHOagm2018 , @NATSIHWA , @AIDAAustralia , @CATSINaM @HOSW8 @hosw2018 #HOSW8 #HealingOurWay

Download PDF copy 2018 Calendar

NACCHO Save a date Master 17 April

1.National NAIDOC Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Woman’s Conference 11-12 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

https://www.ngiyani.com/because-of-her-we-can/

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

Opens on 16 April 2018 with more than 1000 First Nations participants from across the globe.

 

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.

For background:

Please contact the Committee secretariat on 02 6277 4129

or via email at jsccr@aph.gov.au

Interested members of the public may wish to track the committee via the website.

WEBSITE

Click on the blue ‘Track Committee’ button in the bottom right hand corner and register

5. 2018 NACCHO Annual Members’ Conference and AGM SAVE A DATE

Follow our conference using HASH TAG #NACCHOagm2018

This is Brisbane Oct 30—Nov 2

The NACCHO Members’ Conference and AGM provides a forum for the Aboriginal community controlled health services workforce, bureaucrats, educators, suppliers and consumers to:

  • Present on innovative local economic development solutions to issues that can be applied to address similar issues nationally and across disciplines
  • Have input and influence from the ‘grassroots’ into national and state health policy and service delivery
  • Demonstrate leadership in workforce and service delivery innovation
  • Promote continuing education and professional development activities essential to the Aboriginal community controlled health services in urban, rural and remote Australia
  • Promote Aboriginal health research by professionals who practice in these areas and the presentation of research findings
  • Develop supportive networks
  • Promote good health and well-being through the delivery of health services to and by Indigenous and non-Indigenous people throughout Australia.

More Info soon

6. NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health Ochre Day

Hobart  Aug 27 –28

More Info soon

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.

We look forward to announcing more details soon!

8.AIDA Conference 2018 Vision into Action


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.

AIDA Awards
Nominate our members’ outstanding contributions towards improving the health and life outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

9.CATSINaM Professional Development Conference

Venue: Hilton Adelaide 

Location:  233 Victoria Square, Adelaide, SA 

Timing: 8:30am – 5:30pm

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.

More info

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 facts.study@anu.edu.au.

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
 
Gawuwi gamarda Healing Our Spirit Worldwidegu Ngalya nangari nura Cadigalmirung.
Calling our friends to come, to be at Healing Our Spirit Worldwide. We meet on the country of the Cadigal.
 
In November 2018, up to 2,000 Indigenous people from around the world will gather in Sydney to take part in Healing Our Spirit Worldwide: The Eighth Gathering.
 
A global movement, Healing Our Spirit Worldwide began 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
 

NACCHO Media Alerts : Top 10 Current Aboriginal Health News Stories to keep you up to date

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.

Read full article in Easter Monday The Australian or Part B below

2.Royal Flying Doctors Service extra 4-year funding $84 million Mental Health and Dental Services

Read full press release here

 

3.Nurses PAQ continues political membership campaign spreading false and misleading information about cultural safety

SEE NACCHO Response

SEE an Indigenous Patients Response

See Nurses PAQ Misleading and false campaign

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

Read full AMSANT press Release

Listen to interview with Donna Ah Chee

Press Release @NACCHOChair calls on the Federal Government to work with us to keep our children safe

#WeHaveTheSolutions Plus comments from CEO’s @Anyinginyi @DanilaDilba

4.Dialysis facilities worth $17 million are sitting padlocked, empty and unused in WA’s north

Read full Story HERE

6.ALRC Report into Incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People;

Read Download Full Transcript

Senator Patrick Dodson

Download the report from HERE

Community Groups Call For Action on Indigenous Incarceration Rates

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.

Read Press Release HEAR

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.

Read Download the Press Release

TANGENTYERE WOMEN’S FAMILY SAFETY GROUP (FED

9. Minister Ken Wyatt launches our NACCHO RACGP National Guide to a preventative health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Read press releases and link to Download the National Guide

10. Your guide to a  healthy Easter : #Eggs-actly  

And finally hope you had a Happy Easter all you mob ! After you have enjoyed your chocolate 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

 

Part B Full Text The Australian Article Easter Monday

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.”

Olga Havnen, CEO of the Danila Dilba Health Service, says transmission is complex issue in Australia’s indigenous communities.
Olga Havnen, CEO of the Danila Dilba Health Service, says transmission is complex issue in Australia’s indigenous communities.

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.

Children play AFL in Yeundumu. Picture: Jason Edwards
Children play AFL in Yeundumu. Picture: Jason Edwards

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.

Areyonga is a small Aboriginal community a few hours drive from Alice Springs.
Areyonga is a small Aboriginal community a few hours drive from Alice Springs.

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.

Sisters play in the mud after a rare rain at Hoppy's 'town camp' on the outskirts of Alice Springs.
Sisters play in the mud after a rare rain at Hoppy’s ‘town camp’ on the outskirts of Alice Springs.

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.”

Minister @KenWyattMP launches NACCHO @RACGP National guide for healthcare professionals to improve health of #Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients

 

All of our 6000 staff in 145 member services in 305 health settings across Australia will have access to this new and update edition of the National Guide. It’s a comprehensive edition for our clinicians and support staff that updates them all with current medical practice.

“NACCHO is committed to quality healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, and will work with all levels of government to ensure accessibility for all.”

NACCHO Chair John Singer said the updated National Guide would help governments improve health policy and lead initiatives that support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

You can Download the Guide via this LINK

A/Prof Peter O’Mara, NACCHO Chair John Singer Minister Ken Wyatt & RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel launch the National guide at Parliament house this morning

“Prevention is always better than cure. Already one of the most widely used clinical guidelines in Australia, this new edition includes critical information on lung cancer, Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and preventing child and family abuse and violence.

The National Guide maximises the opportunities at every clinic visit to prevent disease and to find it early.It will help increase vigilance over previously undiagnosed conditions, by promoting early intervention and by supporting broader social change to help individuals and families improve their wellbeing.”

Minister Ken Wyatt highlights what is new to the 3rd Edition of the National Guide-including FASD, lung cancer, young people lifecycle, family abuse & violence and supporting families to optimise child safety & wellbeing : Pic Lisa Whop SEE Full Press Release Part 2 Below

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) have joined forces to produce a guide that aims to improve the level of healthcare currently being delivered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and close the gap.

Chair of RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Associate Professor Peter O’Mara said the third edition of the National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (the National Guide) is an important resource for all health professionals to deliver best practice healthcare to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

“The National Guide will support all healthcare providers, not just GPs, across Australia to improve prevention and early detection of disease and illness,” A/Prof O’Mara said.

“The prevention and early detection of disease and illness can improve people’s lives and increase their lifespans.

“The National Guide will support healthcare providers to feel more confident that they are looking for health issues in the right way.”

RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel said the RACGP is committed to tackling the health disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

“The National Guide plays a vital role in closing the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health disparity,” Dr Seidel said.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should have equal access to quality healthcare across Australia and the National guide is an essential part of ensuring these services are provided.

“GPs and other healthcare providers who implement the recommendations within the National Guide will play an integral role in reducing health disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, and ensuring culturally responsive and appropriate healthcare is always available.”

The updated third edition of the National Guide can be found on the RACGP website and the NACCHO website.

 

Free to download on the RACGP website and the NACCHO website:

http://www.racgp.org.au/national-guide/

and NACCHO

Part 2 Prevention and Early Diagnosis Focus for a Healthier Future

The critical role of preventive care and tackling the precursors of chronic disease is being boosted in the latest guide for health professionals working to close the gap in health equality for Indigenous Australians

The critical role of preventive care and tackling the precursors of chronic disease is being boosted in the latest guide for health professionals working to close the gap in health equality for Indigenous Australians.

Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM, today launched the updated third edition of the National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“Prevention is always better than cure,” said Minister Wyatt. “Already one of the most widely used clinical guidelines in Australia, this new edition includes critical information on lung cancer, Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and preventing child and family abuse and violence.

“The National Guide maximises the opportunities at every clinic visit to prevent disease and to find it early.

“It will help increase vigilance over previously undiagnosed conditions, by promoting early intervention and by supporting broader social change to help individuals and families improve their wellbeing.”

The guide, which was first published in 2005, is a joint project between the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners RACGP).

“To give you some idea of the high regard in which it is held, the last edition was downloaded 645,000 times since its release in 2012,” said Minister Wyatt.

“The latest edition highlights the importance of individual, patient-centred care and has been developed to reflect local and regional needs.

“Integrating resources like the national guide across the whole health system plays a pivotal role in helping us meet our Closing the Gap targets.

“The Turnbull Government is committed to accelerating positive change and is investing in targeted activities that have delivered significant reductions in the burden of disease.

“Rates of heart disease, smoking and binge drinking are down. We are on track to achieve the child mortality target for 2018 and deaths associated with kidney and respiratory diseases have also reduced.”

The National Guide is funded under the Indigenous Australian’s Health Programme as part of a record $3.6 billion investment across four financial years.

The RACGP received $429,000 to review, update, publish and distribute the third edition, in hard copy and electronic formats.

The National Guide is available on the RACGP website or by contacting RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health on 1800 000 251 or aboriginalhealth@racgp.org.au.

 

 

 

Press Release @NACCHOChair calls on the Federal Government to work with us to keep our children safe #WeHaveTheSolutions Plus comments from CEO’s @Anyinginyi @DanilaDilba

” The sexual abuse of any Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal children has got to stop.

 It is not acceptable and in no way can our communities, the Australian community at large or Governments at all levels condone this continuing.

 I welcome a thorough investigation by the Northern Territory Child Abuse Taskforce and Children’s Commissioner into this grave allegation.”

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation(NACCHO ) Chair John Singer said he is deeply concerned that some of our  children are being sexually interfered with.

Download Press Release NACCHO Calls on the federal government to work with us to keep our children safe – FINAL

 “According to media reports last this week, a four-year-old boy from the community of Ali Curung in the Northern Territory has been taken to Alice Springs for medical care after he was allegedly sexually assaulted on the weekend and police are investigating.”

See The Guardian article Part 2 Below

” High levels of disadvantage, alongside “vulnerable and very impoverished” communities, was putting children at risk.

What’s really tragic is that we’ve known about them [problems] for well over a decade and more, and there’s been very little sustained, concerted effort to deal with them,

What’s absolutely needed are more of the early intervention and prevention programs, better parenting programs, and a better level of education and awareness about child.”

Chief executive of the Danila Dilba Aboriginal Medical Service, Olga Havnen, is unsurprised by the most recent incident : Interview ABC

 ” The community was devastated, but not surprised by the latest allegations, and there had been a feeling of “absolute hopelessness” as community leaders beared witness to social dysfunction, alcohol abuse and child protection problems.

They are issues which are attribute to overcrowded public housing.

Resourcing across all sectors and services is what’s needed to support vulnerable families,

I think it’s just been a build-up of years and years of neglect and limited resources.”

At least 40 extra houses were needed in the area to reduce overcrowding, and reduce the risk for children.

It just allows for an explosion, if you like, to further dysfunction of Aboriginal families.

[It] just leads to total hopelessness… creating such incidents as what’s happening now where our children are being harmed.”

Barb Shaw, the chief executive of the Anyinginyi Health Aboriginal Corporation, which takes in Ali Curung.

Interview ABC

Photo: Children in the Barkly region have been calling for change. (ABC News: Jane Bardon

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Media Alert March 20

CEO Pat Turner , Olga Havnen CEO Danila Dilba and James Ward appear on #Sunrise to respond to Indigenous child protection issues #wehavethesolutions

#WeHaveTheSolutions :Government must take off the blinkers over these issues, show leadership and take the actions outlined.

1.Immediate Government action to assist families to keep their children safe. We know these are complex issues requiring urgent responses but the abuse still continues.

2.We need a comprehensive approach to child and community safety with a focus on prevention and community education.

3. Establishing a Confidential Child Help Line within Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services by regions which is a no-brainer for any government to fund and implement in this budget cycle.

In getting better rates of disclosure, we can respond to both victims and offenders.  This is particularly important when young people are perpetrators so that they can be held to account for their behaviour and receive appropriate rehabilitation and behavioural change programs.

4.Extra resources should also be made immediately available for wrap around Families and Children Support services to work with traumatised children and their families. This requires a multi-disciplinary professional team to provide full assessment and treatment programs in our local communities. A health-led therapeutic model will deliver much better outcomes for our people.

Often as the academic evidence now suggests, perpetrators have themselves often been abused and they too require treatment not punitive punishment regimes or they will not be rehabilitated and will re-offend.

5.National plan to redress the Social Determinants of Health in Aboriginal communities throughout Australia.[1]

6.Liquor licenses :The NT Government needs to take a good hard look at the total number of liquor licenses granted and curtail them to stop the flow of alcohol. People must come before profits. The grog is killing our people and our children are exposed to the results of that every day.

Those dry communities are to be  commended for their efforts to control alcohol consumption, but the sheer number of liquor outlets at Roadhouses on the Highway and in the closest towns undermines their efforts to live safe and peacefully in their local community. Government must take off the blinkers over these issues, show leadership and take the actions outlined,” said Mr Singer.

Part 2 Boy, 16, charged with rape of four-year-old boy in remote Northern Territory community

Helen Davidson in The Guardian

Noting NACCHO press release was published in online article

A 16-year-old boy has been charged over the alleged rape of a four-year-old boy in a remote Northern Territory community.It is at least the second such incident in the Barkly region, after a two-year-old girl was sexually assaulted in Tennant Creek last month.

The 16-year-old is scheduled to appear in the Alice Springs youth court on Tuesday, to face one charge of sexual intercourse without consent.

The NT police child abuse taskforce was investigating the alleged attack, which reportedly occurred on Sunday, and said it was not seeking anyone else in relation to the matter.

The territory families minister, Dale Wakefield, said a full team of staff was on the ground as part of the child abuse taskforce.

“They are working alongside police and engaging with the family and the community,” she said.

“We have also spoken to the children’s commissioner and will keep her informed of any developments.

“It is heartbreaking for any child anywhere to be harmed. Every child deserves a childhood where they are safe and given pathways to reach their full potential.”

A 24-year-old charged with sexually assaulting a two-year-old in Tennant Creek is scheduled to appear in court in April.

That alleged incident prompted emergency measures by NT authorities, including the immediate deployment of extra Territory Families department staff and the implementation of strict alcohol restrictions on Tennant Creek.

The community where the latest alleged assault happened is one of about 100 in the NT with restrictions or bans on drinking alcohol.

Steve Edgington, the mayor of Tennant Creek, said there had been “immediate learnings” after the alleged assault in his town.

Edgington said there was a clear need to decentralise government resources and divert them to identified hotspots of disadvantage.

“What needs to be done is a full audit of where these particular incidents are happening,” he said.

“I’m sure they’re happening elsewhere. We need to allocate resources to where these incidents are, tackling issues from the ground up. It’s just critical – children need to be safe in our communities.”

Edgington said most resources in the Barkly region were based in Tennant Creek and there were a number of small remote communities nearby where governments could look at what resources were allocated for child protection and welfare, housing, and other areas.

On Monday the NT chief minister, Michael Gunner, said extra Territory Families staff had been deployed to the community and the incident would also be referred to the children’s commissioner.

“This is an extremely disturbing incident,” he told the ABC. “Every child, no matter where they live, deserves to be in a safe environment.”

[1] http://www.who.int/violenceprevention/publications/en/index.html and Canadian Red Cross, Ten Steps to Creating Safe Environments, 2nd Edition How organizations and communities can prevent, mitigate and respond to interpersonal violence 2011

NACCHO and @RACGP Aboriginal Health #Housing #Crisis #ClosetheGap #Socialdeterminants Overcrowding leads to poorer health outcomes for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

 ” In the first of a series focusing on the coming third edition of the National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, newsGP examines the effects of overcrowding on health outcomes “

Download Brochure

National-Guide-prerelease-info-Flyer-2017

Many households in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are deemed overcrowded, a situation that can lead to a wide range of health problems.

Author of RACGP article Morgan Liotta

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the RACGP’s National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (the National Guide) and the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research’s working paper, The scale and composition of Indigenous housing need, define overcrowded households as those that do not meet the following requirements:

  • No more than two persons per bedroom
  • Children aged <5 years of different sexes may reasonably share a bedroom
  • Children aged ≥5 years of opposite sex should have separate bedrooms
  • Children aged <18 years and the same sex may reasonably share a bedroom
  • Single household members aged >18 years should have a separate bedroom, as should parents or couples

The National Guide reveals that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families living in overcrowded circumstances are more susceptible to contracting infections through lack of hygiene from poor sanitation and close contact with others.

Added by NACCHOFor example, situations in which several people are sharing a single bathroom, and the bore water supply (on which many remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities depend) struggles to maintain appropriate levels, result in inadequate fresh water for basic cleaning. Another example is the ease with which an infection can spread via bed linen when several children are sharing a bedroom.

Chronic ear infections (eg otitis media), eye infections (eg trachoma), skin conditions (eg crusted scabies), gastroenteritis, respiratory infections (overcrowding has been identified as a risk factor for pneumococcal disease), and exacerbation of family violence and mental health issues are all potential outcomes from overcrowded environments.

In remote areas, overcrowded households (more than two children aged <5 years) are associated with a 2.4-fold increased risk of the youngest child having otitis media.

According to the Systematic review of existing evidence and primary care guidelines on the management of otitis media in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations, these high rates of infection could be prevented if overcrowding in Aboriginal communities was improved.

Overcrowding can also present as an environmental stressor for people living in such households, including from issues such as a lack of privacy, which can have an impact on mental health. Research from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that 14% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote areas cited overcrowding at home as this type of stressor, compared to 9% of those living in non-remote areas.

In addition, the Y health – Staying deadly: An Aboriginal youth focussed translational action research project addresses overcrowding as a potential factor when exploring issues of Aboriginal youth mental health.

However, other significant factors to recognise are that some houses need to accommodate for overcrowding due to extended family visits to deal with illness, mourning a death in the family, or sometimes for cultural reasons.

Various government strategies are in place to combat the negative impacts of overcrowding, including the National partnership agreement on remote Indigenous housing, funded by the Federal Government. This policy aims to assess the current state of poor housing conditions in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, as well as issues of housing shortage and homelessness.

These strategies are working towards improving housing conditions in rural and remote areas, a key part in helping to close the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians.

NACCHO and the RACGP’s National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, provides further information on overcrowding in the following chapters:

  • Hearing loss
  • Eye health
  • Respiratory health – Pneumococcal disease prevention
  • Mental health
  • The health of young people

How to access the National Guide:

The third edition of the National Guide will be available early 2018.

Free to download on the RACGP website and the NACCHO website:

www.racgp.org.au/national-guide/ and www.naccho.org.au

For further information, contact

RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health on 1800 000 251

or aboriginalhealth@racgp.org.au

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #ClosingTheGap #Socialdeterminants and Remote #Housing crisis : @ANU_CAEPR ” Three Billboards Outside Canberra ” Michael Dillon

 

Three Billboards on the Road Back to Where We Came From

” The bottom line on this issue is that despite the ongoing failure to Close the Gap due to lack of an effective strategy tying resources to objectives, and the evidence of the Commonwealth’s own statistics that the most intensive disadvantage is in remote regions, the Commonwealth continues to dance around the crucial issue of funding social housing in remote communities.

The policy rationale for cutting funding does not exist, the administrative and political processes associated with deciding future arrangements are either neglected or deliberately short-circuited.

The government and in particular Minister Scullion appears incapable or unwilling to provide funding certainty to state governments, Indigenous citizens, and the public at large, and it seems probable that both Ministers Wyatt and Scullion have misled the Parliament in asserting unequivocally that funding levels have not been cut. Time will tell.

We appear to be heading back to where we came from, with every prospect that housing conditions in remote Australia will worsen, overcrowding will worsen, and as a result so too will the associated consequences for health and economic participation.

The already deep levels of disadvantage amongst our most disadvantaged citizens will only get worse.

We don’t need public billboards to tell us that.”

Michael Dillon is a visiting fellow at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research at the ANU. He was most recently the CEO of the Indigenous Land Corporation, and veteran of Indigenous policy in government.

This article was first published on Dillon’s blog A Walking Shadow: Observations on Indigenous public policy and institutional transparency. It has been edited here for length by Pro Bono

 ” Closing the Gap in health disadvantage requires action on many fronts.

One of these is to improve living conditions for Indigenous people. Housing facilities needs to improve to raise Indigenous health outcomes.

I have been to many communities where the housing for Indigenous people is actually a driver of poor health and creates a cycle of disadvantage .

 Ministers from South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia have recently expressed concern that the Federal government will not renew the current Commonwealth State funding agreement for Indigenous Housing.

We call on the Federal government to invest in remote Indigenous housing.”

 Mr John Singer, Chairperson of NACCHO

Read full NACCHO Article HERE  or

Download the NACCHO Press Release HERE

NACCHO URGES FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO INVEST IN INDIGENOUS HOUSING 5 2018

Read 100 NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Social Determinants articles

The recent film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri describes a mother’s frustration at the lack of progress of the local authorities in solving the murder of her daughter, and her actions in bringing attention to the inexplicable dereliction by authorities through posting giant signs on a local road.

I can’t afford to rent three billboards, but can post three more modest brief “billboard signs” here.

There have been three developments in the last few weeks in relation to the future of the remote housing program worth signposting.

Download Letters to Minister Scullion from NT WA SE Qld Re Indigenous Remote Housing Funding

Billboard One: Closing the Gap

The prime minister’s Closing the Gap Statement, released last Monday, includes two salient sets of information.

First, throughout the report, it is made clear in relation to virtually every target that the results in remote areas significantly lag the rest of the country.

In relation to child mortality, the Northern Territory rate is around double the national Indigenous rate.

In relation to early childhood education: “The gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children attending early childhood education programs was largest in remote (6 percentage points) and very remote (11 percentage points) areas.”

In relation to education: “Indigenous attendance is lower in remote areas than non-remote areas, and the attendance gap remains larger in remote areas.” Moreover, “there has been no meaningful improvement in any of the states and territories. In the Northern Territory the Indigenous attendance rate fell from 2014 (70.2 per cent) to 2017 (66.2 per cent).”

In relation to literacy and numeracy: “Outcomes also vary significantly across regions, with outcomes for Indigenous students substantially worse in remote areas.”

In relation to employment, the Indigenous employment rate fell over the past decade, from 48.0 per cent in 2006 to 46.6 per cent in 2016, with “the employment rate falling in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory but stable or rising in the other states.”

In relation to life expectancy, the report notes: “Over the period 2012 to 2016, Indigenous mortality rates varied across the jurisdictions. The Northern Territory had the highest Indigenous mortality rate (1,478 per 100,000 population) as well as the largest gap with non-Indigenous Australians, followed by Western Australia (1,225 per 100,000).”

These statistics speak for themselves, yet nowhere does the report attempt to comprehensively lay out a holistic strategy for dealing with remote issues. This is a major gap in the government’s approach to closing the gap.

It amounts to an admission of failure by the present government that remote policy issues are too hard, too difficult and ultimately insoluble.

Second, on page 112, the only reference to Indigenous housing totals just two paragraphs, reproduced in full below:

“Good quality housing underpins all of the Closing the Gap targets in health, education and employment, as well as community safety.

“The Australian government has invested $5.5 billion over the past 10 years to improve the quality of housing in remote communities. This has seen percentage of houses that are overcrowded drop from 52 per cent to 37 per cent. Tenants now have rights and responsibilities they didn’t previously have and the system of housing operates as a genuine public housing system.”

This is an extraordinarily paltry level of analysis and attention for an area of government investment which is crucial to the quality of life in remote communities.

I can’t help but note that the actual figure is $5.4 billion after the government’s 2015 budget cuts, but what’s $95 million between friends? Prime ministerial accuracy is clearly a second order priority. Despite the progress made, and the fact that the Closing the Gap report demonstrates that the most intense disadvantage amongst Indigenous citizens occurs in remote areas, the government appears to be laying the groundwork for its comprehensive disestablishment.

The Closing the Gap report does lay down two key metrics for the future of the remote housing program: first, will the government commit to a 10 year investment, and secondly, will it invest $550 million per annum in the program.

Billboard Two: Recent parliamentary questions on remote housing

In response to a number of questions in the Senate on 12 February, Minister Scullion clarified a number of points which have so far been unclear and not announced.

In response to a question from Senator Dodson: “Has your government taken a decision to end the decade-long Commonwealth investment in remote Indigenous housing agreed in the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing?” (link to the full answer here)

Senator Scullion said: “No, we’re not walking away from that at all, Senator Dodson. But one of the things you need to know, which I haven’t had the opportunity to personally come round and explain yet, is that since Christmas we’ve been doing some calculations about why it is that the clear calculations we did about 10 years, which are about numbers — how many houses we need to invest in and predictions of population — haven’t quite got there and we now need another little addition.”

He added: “A national partnership involves every state and territory. It is self-evident that New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria are no longer in it. So now we’re moving to a bipartisan approach. [I assume he means bilateral approach]. We’ve made the announcement with the Northern Territory and we’re still in discussions with the other states and territories. But fundamental to this is ensuring that the states and territories are held to account, and those opposite should ensure that they are holding them to account in each of their jurisdictions.”

Senator Dodson also questioned a comment made in the previous week in the House of Representatives: “Minister Wyatt, declared: ‘The funding has not been cut. It has not been reduced. Senator Scullion is in ongoing negotiations with the relevant ministers.’ Is the minister correct?”

Senator Scullion said: “Yes, he is. We have done an independent inquiry, which you would have a copy of, that shows what is required now, and our investment in the national partnership over a decade reduced the overcrowding significantly but we still have some work to do. So it’s about that actual number, and we are negotiating, continuing to negotiate, with the states and territories about that number. But we now need the states and territories to transition to take on their own responsibilities of public housing, and we need to ensure that when the states and territories are allocating public housing—because, whether you’re in Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia or the Northern Territory, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are still members of a state or territory. We’re not walking away at all, but we are ensuring, and those on the other side should encourage, that each of the state and territory governments stand ready to take on their responsibilities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in their jurisdiction.”

He said he would be “meeting shortly with the ministers for housing in South Australia and in Western Australia”.

In response to a question from Senator McCarthy, and an interjection from Senator Wong the following exchange took place:

“Senator Scullion: If I can just clarify again, I am not withdrawing from this process.

“Senator Wong: Well how much money are you putting in? The funding is ending. How much are you putting in?

“Senator Scullion: We have indicated that we’ve undertaken in the Northern Territory, because that’s the only bilateral that’s been finished, to put in $120 million a year and that the Northern Territory would be matching it. So, that is the way it’s going. We are looking to the states and territories, who I suspect actually withdrew. So in the places where we’re requiring NPRH to be built, there was a decision by those jurisdictions to act by not spending a cent of the funds that the Commonwealth invests and that they should invest in remote communities. We’ve yet to find out if that is the case. I hope I’m wrong, but I have seen absolutely no evidence to demonstrate that they have taken any other course. (Time expired)

“Well, we’re certainly not walking away from funding remote housing. And can I say that there is another issue about jurisdiction. They are now being required to put this in a fund that is managed between the state, the Commonwealth and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Now, I guess that hasn’t been accepted well. We’re just supposed to put it straight into the coffers.”

It seems to me that there are a number of issues here.

The first is that it is clear that the National Partnership approach (and thus the 10 year timeframe) is dead, and the Commonwealth is moving to shorter bilateral agreements. The rationale offered by Minister Scullion (that only four states are involved) does not withstand scrutiny. The NT has previously had a National Partnership agreement with the Commonwealth on its own; there has never been a requirement for all jurisdictions, or even most, to be involved in National Partnership agreements.

The second relates to the assertion of both Minister Wyatt and Scullion that the funding has not been cut. In the absence of an actual formal announcement, it is impossible to definitively determine the accuracy of these statements, but for the ministers’ statements to be accurate (and thus not to mislead the Parliament) the government will need to put $550 million per annum on the table (ideally for 10 years). Minister Scullion does admit that the level of remote housing need in the NT is around half the national need, and has allocated $120 million per annum for an unspecified period there. This suggests that the national allocation will be in the region of $240 million per annum, well below the $550 million required for both Ministers’ statements to be accurate.

The third is that the establishment of a “fund” which is managed by the Commonwealth, the states, and Indigenous representatives is a return to a proposal originally floated by the Giles government in the NT, and which looks very much like the pre-NPARIH model known as IHANT.

The problems faced by IHANT were that resources were extremely limited and did not match the needs, and the representative nature of its membership meant that funding was spread thinly across more than 60 locations, with little focus on asset management, poor economies of scale, and thus minimal continuity of work for the firms involved in construction. I provided a critique of this approach in this post from July 2016.

Finally, it is clear that the minister has adopted a bizarre (or even mischievous) approach of dealing with jurisdictions sequentially and without formally writing to state ministers to outline the Commonwealth’s proposed approach. It is unacceptable and deeply troubling that the Commonwealth has adopted an administrative and political process which means that states such as WA or SA have not been formally approached about the future funding arrangements for a major capital intensive investment program that ends in less than five months’ time.

Billboard Three: appalling process supporting retrograde policy

The recent review of remote housing for which the minister’s department provided the secretariat, stated in its final report that it had invited public submissions.

Following Senate Estimates in October 2017, Senator McCarthy placed a question on notice (Question no.253 link here) seeking details of the invitation notice requesting public submissions.

In a belated response on 2 February 2018, the department and minister provided an answer to the Senator’s question in the following terms:

“PM&C advertised for public submissions on its website between 9 December 2016 and 6 January 2017 (copy at Attachment A). Further, PM&C emailed approximately 100 stakeholders on 2 December 2016, and a further eight on 5 December 2016, inviting them to submissions.

“The expert panel is seeking submissions on how Indigenous housing investment could be improved and made more sustainable. We want to hear from Indigenous communities and businesses, housing service providers, peak bodies, land councils and state governments on what has worked well and what could be done better. We also want to hear about how to get better community involvement, including local Indigenous employment and business engagement in housing. We are looking for practical ideas based on your extensive experience with the legislative, regulatory, operational and policy frameworks that underpin Indigenous housing.

“If you would like to make a submission, please send it to the review secretariat at TheReview@pmc.gov.au by 16 December 2016.

“Alternatively, for short submissions you are welcome to provide input through this web form or complete our survey questionnaire.”

The department’s answer is too cute by half. In other words, the notice requesting submissions (which appears merely to have been posted unannounced on the department’s website) mentions particular stakeholder groups, but nowhere mentions public submissions, and asks for submissions by 16 December, but was only posted on 9 December 2016, thus giving members of the public a scant seven days to make a submission.

As it turns out, and unsurprisingly, it appears from the appendices that only organisations and individuals invited to make submissions actually did so. I previously posted regarding the numerous deficiencies in the review report, which is relevant because it should provide the analytic and factual foundations for the Commonwealth’s policy going forward. The deliberate avoidance of public input merely exacerbates the previous critique, and undermines the reviews legitimacy as an independent policy document.

This is a further example of the government’s disrespectful approach to seeking community input into the policy, and appears designed to ensure that public input was not provided. The chaotic and disorganised administrative processes around both the review and the subsequent negotiations with the states at best reflect poorly on the department and the minister, and at worst, appear to amount to a deliberate attempt to avoid any opportunity for public input and potential criticism of the government’s retrograde policy in relation to remote housing.

Conclusion

The bottom line on this issue is that despite the ongoing failure to Close the Gap due to lack of an effective strategy tying resources to objectives, and the evidence of the Commonwealth’s own statistics that the most intensive disadvantage is in remote regions, the Commonwealth continues to dance around the crucial issue of funding social housing in remote communities.

The policy rationale for cutting funding does not exist, the administrative and political processes associated with deciding future arrangements are either neglected or deliberately short-circuited. The government and in particular Minister Scullion appears incapable or unwilling to provide funding certainty to state governments, Indigenous citizens, and the public at large, and it seems probable that both Ministers Wyatt and Scullion have misled the Parliament in asserting unequivocally that funding levels have not been cut. Time will tell.

We appear to be heading back to where we came from, with every prospect that housing conditions in remote Australia will worsen, overcrowding will worsen, and as a result so too will the associated consequences for health and economic participation. The already deep levels of disadvantage amongst our most disadvantaged citizens will only get worse. We don’t need public billboards to tell us that.

About the author: Michael Dillon is a visiting fellow at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research at the ANU. He was most recently the CEO of the Indigenous Land Corporation, and veteran of Indigenous policy in government. Previously, Michael has been a deputy secretary for FaHCSIA as well as senior roles for Aboriginal organisations in East Kimberley and Central Australia, the Northern Territory Government, AusAID and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

This article was first published on Dillon’s blog A Walking Shadow: Observations on Indigenous public policy and institutional transparency. It has been edited here for length.


Michael Dillon  |   |  @ProBonoNews

Michael Dillon is a visiting fellow at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research at the ANU

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Housing and #Socialdeterminants Debate : @NACCHOChair urges Federal Government to invest in remote housing

Closing the Gap in health disadvantage requires action on many fronts.

One of these is to improve living conditions for Indigenous people. Housing facilities needs to improve to raise Indigenous health outcomes.

I have been to many communities where the housing for Indigenous people is actually a driver of poor health and creates a cycle of disadvantage .

 Ministers from South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia have recently expressed concern that the Federal government will not renew the current Commonwealth State funding agreement for Indigenous Housing.

We call on the Federal government to invest in remote Indigenous housing.”

 Mr John Singer, Chairperson of NACCHO see in full Part 1 below

Picture above : The community of Mimili in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands, an Aboriginal local government area in northwest South Australia. Picture: Lyndon Mechielsen

Download the NACCHO Press Release HERE

NACCHO URGES FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO INVEST IN INDIGENOUS HOUSING 5 2018

 

 ” The Federal Coalition Government of Malcolm Turnbull has turned its back on the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Housing (NPARH) – leaving Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland facing a funding shortfall totalling hundreds of millions of dollars.

The pre-Christmas decision of Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion leaves some of Australia’s most vulnerable communities with dramatically reduced funding for housing and other essential services – creating an increased risk of marginalisation.

Notably, the decision flies in the face of the Commonwealth’s own review into remote housing and directly contravenes the ‘Closing the Gap’ report which clearly states that safe and appropriate housing is fundamental to achieving the COAG targets.

The Commonwealth had previously committed $776 million over two years to the NPARH but will now only fund the Northern Territory component of the agreement. Mr Scullion is a NT Senator. “

Download the WA QLD and SA press release or read in full Part 2 below

21 Dec Combined WA QLD SA Response to Aboriginal Housing CRISIS

”  Any decision to cut funding by the Turnbull government will contribute to an increase in chronic disease, and inevitably lead to poorer health outcomes, more indigenous deaths and widening of the gap between the general community and indigenous communities.

Safe and healthy housing is fundamental to the wellbeing of all Australians and contributes to providing shelter, privacy, safety and security, supports health and education, and has a significant impact on workforce participation.

Malcolm Turnbull and Minister Nigel Scullion must take immediate steps to ensure the continuation of funding for remote and indigenous housing. Failure to do so will be another example of a government that is out of touch and only concerned with their internal disputes and dysfunction.

Rather than $65 billion in tax cuts for big business and the banks, the Turnbull government should immediately commit to the recommendations in its own report and close the gap by continuing funding of the National Partnership on Remote Housing.”

Download Federal Labor Party press release or read in full part 3 below  

22 Dec Federal Labor Response to Aboriginal Housing CRISIS

We share the concern of state governments, the Close the Gap campaign and the National Congress of First Peoples at the recent cuts by the Australian Government to the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Housing’

The cut will see funding from the federal government drop from $776 million over two years to just $100 million, with that $100 million going only to the Northern Territory.

Our major concern is that overcrowded housing in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is the primary cause of rheumatic fever in Australia.

Indigenous Australians suffer from this completely preventable disease at 26 times the rate of non- Indigenous Australians. Australia is one of the few countries in the world where rheumatic fever is still a serious problem, and it’s a national disgrace.”

Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association Strategic Programs Director Dr Chris Bourke

Full Press Release 22 Dec AHHA Response to Aboriginal Housing CRISIS

 ” Misleading and outrageous statements from Western Australian Labor Housing Minister Peter Tinley as well as South Australian Labor Housing Minister Zoe Bettison are undermining good faith negotiations between the Commonwealth and state governments about the future of remote housing.

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said despite claims by the state Labor ministers, and despite the fact that housing still remains a state responsibility (last time we checked) no announcement or decision has been made by the Commonwealth Government to cease funding for remote housing.

“It is complete and utter nonsense to suggest that Commonwealth funding for housing is ceasing. This is a fiction created by certain Labor state ministers who are clearly trying to abrogate their own responsibility to their Indigenous housing tenants and it should be called out “

 Download Minister Nigel Scullion Press Release or read in full Part 4 Below

21 Dec Response from Minister Scullion Aboriginal Housung Crisis

Part 1 NACCHO press release 8 January 2018

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) which represents 143 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations across Australia today urged the Federal government to invest in remote Indigenous housing.

Mr John Singer, Chairperson of NACCHO said, “the recent review of the current agreement provided to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet highlights the key role of safe and effective housing for Indigenous health.

In fact, it makes this point in its very first sentence,” said John Singer. The review documents progress in the provision of Indigenous housing by the current funding agreement.

It stresses the need for funded long-term maintenance programs to sustain the gains made as well as further investment to address the continued need.

It also proposes ways to better monitor whether new funding is making a difference.

As acknowledged by the Turnbull government last month in their publication My Life, My Lead housing is just one well known and understood social cultural determinant factor along with education, employment, justice and income that impact on a person’s health and wellbeing at each stage of life.

“NACCHO believes that the evidence both in Australia and from international experts such as the UN Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples is very clear, that a lack of adequate and functional housing as well as overcrowding remains a significant impediment to improving all aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. It is critical to fix this situation now,” said John Singer

Background 1 : My Life My Lead – Opportunities for strengthening approaches to the social determinants and cultural determinants of Indigenous health: Report on the national consultations December 2017, 2017 Commonwealth of Australia December 2017.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : @KenWyattMP #MyLifeMyLead Report: Tackling #SocialDeterminants and Strengthening Culture Key to Improving #Indigenous Health

 Background 2 : Housing Issues Background ( PMC Charts above )

SOURCE PMC

Housing is an important mediating factor for health and wellbeing. Functional housing encompasses basic services/facilities, infrastructure and habitability.

These factors combined enable households to carry out healthy living practices including waste removal; maintaining cleanliness through washing people, clothing and bedding; managing environmental risk factors such as electrical safety and temperature in the living environment; controlling air pollution for allergens; and preparing food safely (Bailie et al. 2006; Nganampa Health Council 1987; Department of Family and Community Services 2003).

Children who live in a dwelling that is badly deteriorated have been found to have poorer physical health outcomes and social and emotional wellbeing compared with those growing up in a dwelling in excellent condition (Dockery et al. 2013).

Comparisons between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children in the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) show improvements in housing can be expected to translate into gains for Indigenous children’s health, social and learning outcomes (Dockery et al. 2013).

As expected, housing variables are closely associated with socio­ economic status, including: crowding, renting rather than owning, and being in financial stress (see measures 2.01 and 2.08).

Infectious diseases are more common in households with poor housing conditions. For example, trachoma and acute rheumatic fever are present almost exclusively in the Indigenous population in remote areas (see measures 1.06 and 1.16). Domestic infrastructure, along with overcrowding and exposure to tobacco smoke increases the risk of otitis media in children (Jervis-Bardy et al. 2014) (see measures 1.15, 2.01 and 2.03).

Background 3  NPARIH/NPARH

  • The Commonwealth Government provided $5.4 billion over ten years to 2018 through the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing and the National Partnership for Remote Housing. This was a one-off National Partnership Agreement to assist states to undertake their own responsibilities for the delivery of housing to reduce overcrowding and increase housing amenity.
  • Expires 30 June 2018

Part 2 WA SA and QLD Govt : Commonwealth abandons indigenous Australia; axes remote housing deal

  • ​Federal Government’s decision will create a shortfall of hundreds of millions of dollars
  • States demand Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister reverse decision
  • McGowan Government calls on Federal WA Ministers, Julie Bishop, Christian Porter, Mathias Cormann and Michaelia Cash to exert influence in Turnbull Cabinet

The Federal Coalition Government of Malcolm Turnbull has turned its back on the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Housing (NPARH) – leaving Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland facing a funding shortfall totalling hundreds of millions of dollars.

The pre-Christmas decision of Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion leaves some of Australia’s most vulnerable communities with dramatically reduced funding for housing and other essential services – creating an increased risk of marginalisation.

Notably, the decision flies in the face of the Commonwealth’s own review into remote housing and directly contravenes the ‘Closing the Gap’ report which clearly states that safe and appropriate housing is fundamental to achieving the COAG targets.

The Commonwealth had previously committed $776 million over two years to the NPARH but will now only fund the Northern Territory component of the agreement. Mr Scullion is a NT Senator.

Housing Minister Peter Tinley has demanded senior figures in the Turnbull Cabinet from WA – notably Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop, Attorney-General Christian Porter, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, Jobs and Innovation Minister Michaelia Cash and Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt, as well as WA’s Nationals Party, stand up for their State and get the decision reversed.

The original 10-year NPARH, brokered by the Federal Labor Rudd government, has seen an average annual Federal Government contribution of about $100 million to WA.

A recent expert panel review commissioned by the Federal Government acknowledged the Federal Government had an ongoing role as a key funding partner with the States and Territory for housing in remote communities.

Comments attributed to Housing Minister Peter Tinley:

“This latest decision, especially the way the Turnbull Government has tried to sneak it through during the festive season, is absolutely appalling and demonstrates its lack of concern for indigenous Australia.

“The Commonwealth has a responsibility to support Australians living in isolated and remote areas. They cannot just walk away from this duty of care.

“This situation is yet another test for those Western Australian MPs with senior positions in the Turnbull Cabinet who are habitually missing in action when it comes to protecting the interests of WA.

“Further, all Western Australian Nationals MPs, both State and Federal, need to stand up for regional WA and send a clear message to their Canberra colleagues that these cuts are unacceptable. WA Nationals leader Mia Davies must outline her position.

“I sincerely hope the Liberals and Nationals will step up their game and get this decision reversed.

“The McGowan Government inherited a financial disaster from the previous Liberal National Government that governed WA so incompetently for eight years.

“Because of that mess, there is no way we can afford to pick up a funding shortfall from the Commonwealth that will equate to hundreds of millions of dollars over the coming years.

“The Commonwealth has a responsibility to help fund essential services in remote communities and in doing so to protect an important element of our national cultural heritage.

“If Turnbull, Scullion and the rest of them fail to fulfil this fundamental duty they will be demonstrating to the entire nation, and to other countries around the globe, exactly how much they value Australia’s First People.”

Part 3 Federal Labour CUTTING REMOTE HOUSING FUNDING UNFAIR AND UNJUSTIFIED

Media reports and comments by the Western Australian Housing Minister Peter Tinley indicate that the Turnbull government is proposing massive cuts to the National Partnership on Remote Housing, which has replaced the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing and the Remote Housing Strategy (2008- 2018).

The reports indicate that the financial commitment by the Commonwealth will be reduced from $776 million to $100 million and will only be available to remote communities in the Northern Territory.

The Turnbull government must immediately clarify these reports and, if true, reconsider this cruel and outrageous cut to housing and homelessness funding in remote and indigenous communities.

In recognition of the serious problems in indigenous housing, $5.4 billion of funding has been invested since 2008 by Commonwealth governments in an attempt to close the gap in indigenous housing.

The Turnbull government’s own remote housing review demonstrated that this long term strategy had delivered over 11,500 more liveable homes in remote Australia, 4000 new houses, and 7500 refurbishments. This has resulted in a significant but necessary decrease in the proportion of overcrowded households.

The report also estimates that an additional 5500 homes are required by 2028 to reduce levels of overcrowding in remote areas to acceptable levels. The report shows that 1,100 properties are required in Queensland, 1,350 in Western Australia, and 300 in South Australia by 2028 to address overcrowding and meet population growth.

“If these reports are true, remote communities in Western Australia will continue to be overcrowded for the decade to come,” Senator Dodson said.

The report debunks the myth that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families cause the majority of damage to remote indigenous housing. The report shows that only nine percent of household damage is caused by tenants, with the majority of damage coming from lack of programmed maintenance and in 25 per cent of cases the cause is poor specifications or faulty workmanship in the original build.

Rather than cutting funding, the Turnbull government’s own report has concluded that capital plans should be set for a minimum five years. This is on the basis that government procurement practices would support small, emerging businesses, and provide greater opportunities for training and employment of local people.

Key recommendations to the government in the report include:

  • That there be a recurrent program funded to maintain existing houses, preserve functionality and increase the life of housing assets.
  • The costs of a remote Indigenous housing program to be shared 50:50 between the Commonwealth and the other jurisdictions.
  • Investment for an additional 5500 houses by 2028 is needed to continue efforts on closing the gap on indigenous disadvantage.
  • Additional recommendations include improved governance structures, increased transparency, the development of the local workforce, and tenancy education programs.

The report also found overcrowding and poor quality housing leads to poor health outcomes and makes it harder to manage chronic disease. In addition, the report indicates that indigenous communities experience high rates of infectious diseases.

As such, any decision to cut funding by the Turnbull government will contribute to an increase in chronic disease, and inevitably lead to poorer health outcomes, more indigenous deaths and widening of the gap between the general community and indigenous communities.

Safe and healthy housing is fundamental to the wellbeing of all Australians and contributes to providing shelter, privacy, safety and security, supports health and education, and has a significant impact on workforce participation.

Malcolm Turnbull and Minister Nigel Scullion must take immediate steps to ensure the continuation of funding for remote and indigenous housing. Failure to do so will beanother example of a government that is out of touch and only concerned with their internal disputes and dysfunction.

Rather than $65 billion in tax cuts for big business and the banks, the Turnbull government should immediately commit to the recommendations in its own report and close the gap by continuing funding of the National Partnership on Remote Housing.

Part 4 Minister Scullion More Labor lies on remote housing

Thursday 21 December 2017
Misleading and outrageous statements from Western Australian Labor Housing Minister Peter Tinley as well as South Australian Labor Housing Minister Zoe Bettison are undermining good faith negotiations between the Commonwealth and state governments about the future of remote housing.

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said despite claims by the state Labor ministers, and despite the fact that housing still remains a state responsibility (last time we checked) no announcement or decision has been made by the Commonwealth Government to cease funding for remote housing.

“It is complete and utter nonsense to suggest that Commonwealth funding for housing is ceasing. This is a fiction created by certain Labor state ministers who are clearly trying to abrogate their own responsibility to their Indigenous housing tenants and it should be called out for what this is,” Minister Scullion said today.

“In fact, the Commonwealth commenced discussions with Western Australian Government officials only yesterday about a future funding contribution to remote Indigenous housing – clearly the hapless Peter Tinley is unaware of what his own department is doing.

“It is disappointing that after the first day of discussion, this incompetent Minister has decided to play politics rather than work cooperatively on future funding arrangements.

“The Commonwealth already supports public housing, which is a state and territory responsibility, to the tune of $6 billion per year including $1.5 billion per annum in direct payments to states and around $4.5bn per annum through Commonwealth rent assistance.

“The states should prioritise some of the social housing funding for remote Indigenous residents. Why is there one standard for Indigenous residents and another for non-Indigenous residents?

“The National Partnership on Remote Housing was always scheduled to cease on 30 June 2018. Under the NPARH the Commonwealth paid the states $5.4 billion to reduce overcrowding yet they abjectly failed to achieve this – this is why we are once again in negotiation with the states.

“But the Commonwealth does not believe that the Western Australian Government should not take it’s responsibility for housing in Indigenous communities just like it does for housing of every other citizen in its state.

“Why is there one approach for Indigenous citizens and another for every other community?”

In contrast, the Northern Territory Government has taken responsibility and committed ongoing funding to remote Indigenous housing. That commitment, and the severe overcrowding in the Northern Territory, has meant the Commonwealth has been able to offer longer term funding.

Instead of playing politics with ‘indigenous Australia’, Peter Tinley and Zoe Bettison should take the time to work constructively with the Commonwealth on future funding arrangements.

Background on NPARIH/NPARH

  • The Commonwealth Government provided $5.4 billion over ten years to 2018 through the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing and the National Partnership for Remote Housing. This was a one-off National Partnership Agreement to assist states to undertake their own responsibilities for the delivery of housing to reduce overcrowding and increase housing amenity.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health CEO Pat Turner 20 minute Interview with @abcspeakingout where she offers some guarded optimism and some advice for 2018.

“I think everything is so low, bottom of the scale, that 2018 can only be better in my view.

“I think that what our people and our communities have to do is just take total control of their own affairs. Don’t wait for government, don’t wait for them to provide the solutions. Work it out ourselves and just move on.”

Pat Turner AM CEO NACCHO 20 Minute interview ABC Speaking Out

” Despite there being a number landmark occasions in 2017, one of the country’s most senior Aboriginal Bureaucrats says there has been little to celebrate in the Indigenous Affairs sector in 2017.

In a frank and honest Discussion, Pat Turner, CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) reflects on the key advances and shortcomings over the past 12 months.

We talk Aboriginal Health, Northern Territory Royal Commission, Deaths in Custody and Indigenous funding.”

On Speaking Out with Larissa Behrendt

Duration: 20min 40sec

Listen HERE

 
2017 forced us to ask how far we have come in Indigenous affairs

2017 was a year of several significant anniversaries in Indigenous affairs.

The 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum.

The 25th anniversary of the High Court’s Mabo decision.

The 20th anniversary of the Bringing Them Home report.

The 10th anniversary of the NT Intervention.

An auspicious combination of anniversaries, each giving pause to reflect on the impacts of these events, and to ask the obvious question — how far have we come in 50 years? In 25, 20 or 10 years?

The age-old Western belief in the inexhaustible march towards progress would make many assume that these issues have been addressed, or at the very least improved.

This belief is evident every time you see someone say, “I can’t believe this is happening in 2017!” in reference to something they believe should now be a relic of a bygone era.

It was hoped that 2017 would enter the history books as another significant year in Indigenous affairs, with the passing of a referendum to ‘recognise’ Indigenous people in the Australian constitution.

Not only did this not come to pass, but the relationship between government and Indigenous groups feels like it may have reach a new low, unseen in decades.

Australia’s most successful referendum

In 1967 Australia passed its most successful ever referendum, with 90.77 per cent of Australians voting “Yes for Aborigines”. This allowed for Aboriginal people to be counted in the census, and the Federal Government was given the power to make laws for Indigenous people.

Right Wrongs

Up until that point, Indigenous people were the responsibility of the states, who each had their own laws and legislation defining and controlling the lives of Aboriginal people.

Fifty years later, many people believe that this momentous occasion gave Indigenous people citizenship rights and the right to vote. It did not.

It was also believed that the Federal Government would use their new powers solely to the benefit of Indigenous people. This too would prove to be false.

Larissa Behrendt wrote in detail about these myths as part of the ABC’s Right Wrongs site, which explored the impacts of the 1967 referendum.

Twenty-five years later, in 1992, the High Court handed down the Mabo decision determining that Australia was not Terra Nullius in 1770 when Captain Cook claimed the east coast of Australia.

Terra Nullius was the legal justification for the very existence of the Australian state, so it as hoped this decision would bring about significant Aboriginal land rights.

But it led to Native Title legislation instead.

The Mabo case itself took over a decade, and the man who instigated it, Eddie Koiki Mabo, would not live to see its conclusion.

Twenty-five years later though, his family are still fighting to keep his story alive and strong.

Bringing Them Home

Bringing Them Home was the name of the final report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families.

It was tabled in Parliament on the May 26, 1997. The following year this date would become known as Sorry Day, and would provide a call to action for governments to implement the 54 recommendations of the report.

The surviving members of the Stolen Generations still hold the stories from that shameful era. And members of each new generation of Aboriginal people forcibly removed from their families have their trauma compounded by this unaddressed history.

The recommendations from the Bringing Them Home report are still largely unimplemented, and the rate of child removal has steadily grown in the 20 years since.

The rate has doubled in the past decade, and every other month we see a headline warning of a “second Stolen Generation”. It’s a news story that has been on repeat for almost 20 years.

The NT Intervention

The NT Intervention has largely failed to bring about positive changes around the issues raised in the Little Children Are Sacred report, which was used as the key justification for the NT Emergency Response Act.

A group of eminent Australians from law, health, academia and the arts have called on the Federal Government to bring an immediate end to the Northern Territory Intervention and Stronger Futures policies.

Listen to Speaking Out

This disconnect between stated goals of respect, inclusion and Closing the Gap, and the actions and outcomes actually achieved, has come to embody Indigenous affairs in 2017.

This has been personified by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, since he took over the reins of government in September 2015. The end of 2017 seems to show a very different Mr Turnbull than the one who shed tears for the Stolen Generations at the start of 2016.

Despite his inclination to open Indigenous affairs speeches speaking in Indigenous languages, this has failed to translate to an ability to listen to Indigenous people. Given the long history of government failure to listen to Indigenous peoples, few held out hope that Mr Turnbull would make good on his stated desire to do things with Indigenous people, instead of to them.

At the release of the ninth Closing the Gap report, six of the seven targets were not on track to meet their goals.

“It has to be a shared endeavour. Greater empowerment of local communities will deliver the shared outcomes we all seek,” Mr Turnbull said, at the time.

Now, months before the 10th report is due, the Federal Government has put out a call for community input into Closing The Gap.

This prompted Referendum Council member Megan Davis to ponder on Twitter: “If they didn’t listen to what community said on Uluru and meaningful recognition, why would the government listen to input on this?”.

The call for consultation coincides with a decision to remove over $600 million in federal funds for remote housing.

Safe and appropriate housing is regarded as an essential criteria for governments to meet the Closing the Gap targets.

While 2017 may not have given much hope for the immediate future of Indigenous affairs, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation chief executive officer Pat Turner, offered some guarded optimism and some advice for 2018.