- Let communities control their own destiny
- 2023 HIV Awareness Week Trivia Champions
- Experts respond to NDIS review recommendations
- Cultural lens on pandemic preparedness
- Fewer complaints about bad behaviour
- ALP and NZ U-turn on Indigenous affairs
- Sector Jobs
The image in the feature tile is from the Carbal Medical Services (Qld) website, Aboriginal Health Workers – Improving Crucial Health Outcomes In Our Community webpage here.
The NACCHO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health News is a platform we use to showcase the important work being done in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, focusing on the work of NACCHO, NACCHO members and NACCHO affiliates.
We also share a curated selection of news stories that are of likely interest to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector, broadly.
Let communities control their own destiny
Canberra’s most senior public servant has urged his colleagues to relinquish power over Indigenous funding decisions and allocations to First Nations communities themselves. Professor Glyn Davis, who is secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, told the Institute of Public Administration Australia on Tuesday this week (5 December 2023) that giving Indigenous communities budgets and control over their employment, health and housing services would close the gap better than Canberra bureaucrats.
In the wake of the failed Voice referendum, the federal public service boss told sector leaders he expected a more hybrid delivery of Indigenous services to evolve after repeated failures of private models tackling Indigenous disadvantage. Professor Davis said that after 40 years of increased outsourcing, the future of public administration was now up for debate. “Empowered communities provide a vital way to address consistent program failure,” he said. “We will never close the gap if public servants in Canberra think we can solve the housing, employment and educational challenges of (Indigenous communities).
Professor Davis’ comments follow a damning Productivity Commission draft report on the Closing the Gap Indigenous program, which was highly critical of federal attempts to work more collaboratively with communities. The report described engagement as “tokenistic”, citing unrealistic time frames for meaningful community input from agencies, who provided limited feedback on how input had shaped policy decisions.
To view the National Indigenous Times article Let Indigenous communities control their destiny, Canberra’s top public servant says full click here.
2023 HIV Awareness Week Trivia Champions
Yesterday’s 2023 HIV Awareness Week Trivia competition was a resounding success – 36 teams registered and 19 teams completed all trivia questions on the day. Some interesting results from the quiz included:
- 10/19 teams successfully answered the question: What is unusual about an echidna’s penis? 1. It is wider than it is longer 2. It can rotate 360 degrees 3. It has four heads 4. It is green
- 4/19 teams were able to correctly answer one of the more difficult questions: What is the name of the HIV surface protein that binds with the CD4+ Receptor of the human immune cells? 1. P17 2. P24 3. Gp120 4. Gp41
- only one question got 19/19 correct responses: There is often no sign or symptoms that you have HIV, and many people with HIV feel well for years? True or False
- only 3/19 were able to correctly answer the following two questions: 1. What is the most consumed manufactured drink in the world? 2. How many vaginal tunnels does a female Koala have?
Everyone put your hands together for AWAHS – Albury Wadonga Aboriginal Health Service, who are the 2023 HIV Awareness Week TRIVIA CHAMPIONS!
In second place we have Wurli Wonderers – Wurli Wurlinjang Health Service, Katherine, NT
And bronze goes to ST Mob – Central Australian Aboriginal Congress – Santa Teresa Clinic, NT
We asked you all to show up in your best sexual health costumes and you took us seriously! But there could only be one winner… a big shout out to Wurli Wurlinjang Health Service who took home Best Costume (voted by Dr Dawn Casey, NACCHO Acting CEO).
Congratulations also to Ord Valley Aboriginal Health Service for winning Best Prop for Dinosaur Bone (which can’t be posted here – if you know, you know 🦴).
VOTING is now open for People’s Choice, using this link.
We hope you all had a fabulous time, and we can’t wait for next year! 🤩
Experts respond to NDIS review recommendations
Findings from an extensive review of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), available here, have been released with ideas on how to transform it. Scott Avery, Policy and Research Director, First Peoples Disability Network said “the barometer for judging the NDIS review is the extent to which it advances a vision for a disability services sector that is anti-ableist and anti-racist, and accommodates a First Nations culture inclusive of people with disability in both word and action.”
Mr Avery said “There is one overarching recommendation that is specific to First Nations people with disability which is for the establishment of an alternative commissioning process to be creating in partnership with First Nations representatives, communities, participants and relevant government agencies. This can be read alongside the recommendations of the disability royal commission to make the NDIS more inclusive of First Nations decision-making in its governance and leadership.”
To view The National Tribune article Recommendations to reboot the NDIS have finally been released. 5 experts react in full click here. Below is the The Hon Bill Shorten MP, Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Minister for Government Services address to National Press Club of Australia yesterday on “The NDIS Review”.
Cultural lens on pandemic preparedness
The success of Indigenous communities and health services in protecting Elders during the first waves of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia is known all over the world. What we know less about are the experiences and perspectives of those who were shielded. An interesting research project, presented at the recent HEAL 2023 Conference, sought to capture some of these experiences using yarning circle workshops. The research team, led by Professor Pat Dudgeon AM and Professor Helen Milroy AM from the Bilya Marlee School of Indigenous Studies, at the University of WA, also sought and received insights about how future public health responses could be improved. Their findings will help form a submission to an ongoing inquiry into Australia’s COVID-19 response.
At the HEAL 2023 Conference, Amie Furlong, from the University of Canberra, and Selina Edmonds, chair of the Miya Kaadadjiny (Learning Sanctuary) Community Centre in WA, delivered a joint presentation based on research undertaken to gain a better understanding about measures to keep Aboriginal Elders safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Older people are more likely to be negatively impacted by COVID-19, and previous research and experience on disasters has shown that pandemic responses need to be “fair, equitable and dignified for Aboriginal people”, Edmonds told the conference.
Aboriginal people have often been left out of critical planning and decision-making in the past, Edmonds said. It is important to include their voices in disaster response and management plans. Furlong said the lessons from this research will help provide practical suggestions and lessons learned about the pandemic for governments and organisations working in public health and emergencies.
To view the Croakey Health Media article Bringing a cultural lens to pandemic preparedness: Aboriginal Elders share their learnings from COVID in full click here.
Fewer complaints about bad behaviour
To view the Medical Forum article Fewer complaints about bad behaviour in full click here.
ALP and NZ U-turn on Indigenous affairs
The Voice referendum dominated the national discourse for much of this year. The result was a major setback for the government. Where does that leave the PM’s policy on Indigenous affairs? When asked about his commitment to the Uluru Statement from the Heart on 15 October, he simply expressed his respect for the outcome of the referendum. There was no mention of treaty or truth telling.
No doubt ALP strategists are currently considering their political options. It would be surprising if they weren’t also analysing NZ’s latest election. The previous Labour government took many steps aimed at improving the lives of Indigenous NZers. These included establishing a separate Māori Health Authority, commissioning He Puapua (a report on meeting the goals in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples), promoting the use of the Māori language, and pursuing ‘co-governance’ (the sharing of certain governance arrangements between Māori and non-Māori). However, many of these steps proved controversial and were opposed during the election by National, ACT, and NZ First.
The election was a disaster for the Labour government. Its support crashed to just 27%, down from 50% in 2020. The number of its parliamentary seats nearly halved. There are many explanations offered for this wipeout – but the explanation that may trouble the ALP in Australia’s post-referendum environment is that significant sections of the kiwi electorate rejected Labour’s progressive agenda on Māori issues. Given the Voice referendum and the kiwi election, ALP strategists may worry that pursuing too progressive an Indigenous agenda in Australia could come at a significant electoral cost.
To view the Pearls and Irritations John Menadue’s Public Policy Journal article The ALP and NZ’s U-turn on Indigenous affairs in full click here.
Sector Jobs – you can see sector job listings on the NACCHO website here.
Advertising Jobs – to advertise a job vacancy click here to go to the NACCHO website current job listings webpage. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find a Post A Job form. You can complete this form with your job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.