NACCHO Aboriginal Health Research News : Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre gives the team a real identity says @kathleenclapham and @DrMLongbottom

” It will give us an identity. Rather than being the team that works in the corner of AHSRI, we are the Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre.

Identity has finally been won and Indigenous health Professor Kathleen Clapham couldn’t be happier.

“Ngarruwan is the sea, the salt water over a long distance, it connects our communities down the coast, it connects us with our international partners.

Ngadju is fresh water, Kath [Prof Clapham] is a fresh-water woman. The name represents all of our team, it’s also about the sustenance that water provides us; water is life.

To start to explore the conundrum of the inequalities which exist, let’s look at the root causes of those.

Let’s not try to blame individuals, let’s look honestly at the history of Australia and our region, let’s look at the structures that sustain the inequalities.”

Researcher Dr Marlene Longbottom said the name Ngarruwan Ngadju had special meaning for all team members

NEW HOME: Dr Marlene Longbottom and Professor Kathleen Clapham at the Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre launch at the UOW Innovation Campus. Picture: Robert Peet

Press Release : Identity has finally been won and Indigenous health Professor Kathleen Clapham couldn’t be happier.

So too are her fellow University of Wollongong researchers involved in the Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre.

On Friday the team of eight finally had a place to call home.

Previously they had been working at the Australian Health Services Research Institute (AH SRI) at the Innovation Campus.

The centre’s new digs are in the same building but importantly the researchers have their own dedicated space.

The team’s research focuses on the health and wellbeing of South Coast Indigenous communities.

They aim to identify what’s working well, and bring evidence to light in the broader community.

Researcher Layne Brown has been evaluating a program run by the Coomaditchie United Aboriginal Corporation at Kemblawarra.

The program works with kids at risk of being suspended or leaving education. It supports cultural teaching and provides academic, living and social skills. It connects young people with their family and their community.

The team also addresses issues of inequality, such as Indigenous life expectancy and suicide rates.

Launch of Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Research Centre and the launch of Active & Safe: Preventing Unintentional Injury to Aboriginal Children and Young People guidelines.

Working in partnership with Aboriginal communities is the only way to tackle the high rates of injury for Aboriginal children reportActive and Safe‘ finds

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are still dying from unintentional injuries at the same rate as 15 years ago, a new report has highlighted. Yet death rates for non-Aboriginal children have halved in the same period.

The report – Active and Safe – by The George Institute, The Australian Health Services Research Institute, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, Kidsafe NSW and the Australasian Injury Prevention Network calls for injury prevention in Aboriginal communities to be made a priority.

The report provides a set of NSW Health funded guidelines developed from research undertaken in 2016.

Australian and NSW data show rates of injury to Aboriginal children to be consistently higher than for non-Aboriginal children, with the mortality rates for Australian children from injury-related causes almost five times higher and hospitalisation rates two times higher than the rate for non-Aboriginal children.

The guidelines are intended to assist a number of stakeholder groups working in Aboriginal child injury prevention including: Aboriginal community controlled organisations, non-government organisations; researchers and government policy makers.

“We need the government to work alongside and be guided by Aboriginal communities to build on community strengths and promote the resilience of Aboriginal children, families and communities in injury prevention,”

said Keziah Bennett-Brook, Manager of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Program at The George Institute.

“The new guidelines have a strong focus on practical implementation and will be a valuable tool for policy makers, researchers and practitioners,” she said.

The guidelines were also developed and designed to complement the Australia edition of the Child Safety Good Practice Guide which provides practitioners, decision-makers, and legislators with an evidence-focused resource on which they can base their work, funding and recommendations.

The Active and Safe guidelines are being released today to coincide with the launch of the Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre located within the Australian Health Services Research Institute at the University of Wollongong and led by Professor Kathleen Clapham.

Download the full report ‘Active & Safe: Preventing unintentional injury to Aboriginal children and young people in NSW’(PDF 2.4 MB)




Aboriginal Health Researchers Challenge : Just in time for #LowitjaConf19 “The Blackfulla test” 11 reasons that Indigenous health research grant/publication should be rejected. @drcbond @Lisa_J_Whop @IndigenousX

 ” Our present and persisting ill-health as First Nations peoples is not because of a lack of research, or a lack of white knowing and control over our lives, in fact, it is a product of it.

Transformative health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will only come about through foregrounding Indigenous sovereignty, both politically and intellectually.  

If you are a non-Indigenous health researcher feeling triggered by this article, please don’t run to the nearest Indigenous person for validation.

 They are already giving you a lot of free labour (whether they are the admin officer, the research assistant or, by some miracle, the lead CI).

This article was written to free them up to do the work their people need them to do, not burden them with more of your feelings.”

Just in time for the Lowijta International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference (18-20 June) Authors Chelsea Bond, Lisa Whop and Ali Drummond bring you this thought provoking Aboriginal research challenge

Originally published by IndigenousX see full press release below or Here

Download the full program

2019 Lowitja Program

Or access digital program

The digital program is available HERE. This version of the program will allow you to search all presentations including posters, their abstracts, and presenter bios.

This will be the up-to-the-minute version of the conference program. You will also be able to tailor the program to your preference.

Press Release

With increasing financial investment and commitment to Indigenous health via the National Health and Medical Research Council and Closing the Gap since 2002 and 2007 respectively, every man and their dog, or rather every white saviour and their intentions are all up in our grants, discovering the solutions to our problems (or the next problem to the problem).

What has resulted is a whole lot of noise published in the name of knowledge production, of which the benefit to Indigenous peoples and our health remains questionable, despite the emergence of Indigenous health researchers during this time.

This is most likely because so much of our intellectual and emotional labour is taken up reviewing and remedying highly problematic research grants and publications about us, that serve little purpose beyond the next academic promotion of the lead chief investigator (who typically isn’t Indigenous).

But never fear, we are here to help.

As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health researchers, working across varying health research contexts, we’ve pretty much read it all and we have devised a foolproof test to tell you if what you’re reading is worth the paper it’s written on, or the research grant that funded it.

Also, it might come in handy the next time that special someone asks for your ‘cultural advice’ on their research grant or publication.

The extra bonus is, you can then use all that spare time writing your own research grant, of which you will lead. No more being the bridesmaid – this is your time to shine.

Below is the Blackfulla Test; 11 of the most common violations found in Indigenous health research grants or publications.

That paper or proposal you are reading fails if it:

  1. Includes “intentions”. Typically, intentions are referenced as “good” or “well” and something of which is exclusively possessed by non-Indigenous peoples. Non-Indigenous authors will often argue that “intentions” are worth mentioning so as not to alienate the (white) readership, but its inclusion, even in the supposed ‘objective’ research, make clear that this is a “settler move to innocence”rationalising making a career from the problem of Indigenous health, while never actually fixing it. Also, these are the same people who supervise Indigenous PhD students and tell them they can’t use Standpoint Theory (incl. Indigenous, or Indigenous Women’s) because it is biased and not scholarly. This manoeuvre sustains neo-Missionary narratives from which they build research careers and research centres.
  2. Makes no mention of “colonisationbecause that would be “too political” they say.   Please refer above for why this is problematic, and what enables it. The health sciences have always operated as an apparatus of colonial control in the regulation and surveillance of Black bodies and the production of racialized knowledges, both via biological and culturalist explanations. It cannot continue to claim to be an innocent observer when it has and continues to be complicit. Also, if colonisation is referenced as a past event, rather than an ongoing process, it doesn’t count.
  3. Makes no mention of “race or racism…because settlers and their feelings. But look if they can’t get what’s wrong with writing about racialized health inequalities while insisting that race isn’t real as a system of oppression or a category of analysis then they need to stop now and go do a systematic review of systematic reviews.
  4. Refers to “our indigenous” (sic). This is a kind of double whammy, the possessive pronoun is not a mark of inclusion, rather it works in the Distinguished Professor Aileen Moreton-Robinson “white possessive logics” kind of way. The lower case I is an all too frequent, but a deliberate grammatical error. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and Indigenous people are proppa nouns and as such should be capitalised.
  5. Refers to ATSI people *shudder*. For the people at the back, we are First Nations peoples, we are not an acronym.
  6. Prefaces some statistic with “alarming” or “appalling. Much like #1, this is a settler pearl clutching moment in which they can position themselves as the only possible saviour for the native folk. Worse still, it is also used in research grant applications providing the moral imperative for investing in said research, which has no specific Indigenous health application. Yes we didn’t think it possible, but some have taken “Black window dressing” to a whole new level.
  7. Refers to Indigenous peoples primarily in terms of “risk” and “vulnerabilityor worse describes Indigeneity as the risk factor. *Clears throat*. Send them back to #3 and tell them to slap themselves for not believing us when we said they need to deal with race.
  8. Includes the phrase “strength-based” without naming any specific strengths of Indigenous peoples, cultures or communities. Strengths based requires a reimagining of Indigeneity which renders Black excellence blatantly visible. This requires more than inverting proportions, in fact it requires reconfiguring the problematic assumptions of Indigeneity apparent in that seemingly objective research question sissy.
  9. Is concerned with monitoring or illuminating understandings of “poor” individual health behaviours of Blackfullas in such a way that is completely divorced from the social, political, historical, and economic context in which they occur. Describing or rather dismissing that context as ‘complex’ and then suggesting the solution is one of education, awareness raising, health literacy, or more research is gammon.
  10. Acknowledges the advisory role that Indigenous people have played, often as “cultural mentors” and typically at the end of the publication somewhere (some might name them, while others may refer to the committee or “the community” more broadly which operates to include anyone and no one in particular). Indigenous Health Research which insists that Blackfullas can only ever be the (cultural) advisor and never the author, need to be cancelled.
  11. Has no first author Indigenous publications on their reference list. How one can operate in a space in which Indigenous people have made such a profound contribution and not cite the intellectual labour that mob have made has a real kind of Terra Nullius vibe. See #2 and our point about colonisation being an ongoing process, even in health research. Also refer them to Rigney’s articulation of “intellectual nullius”.

Well did you pass the test ?

NACCHO Our Members #Aboriginal Health Deadly Good News Stories : Features National @NACCHOChair @KenWyattMP #NSW @ahmrc #RedfernAMS #KatungulACCHO#VIC @VACCHO_org #QLD @QAIHC_QLD @DeadlyChoices #WA @TheAHCWA #WirrakaMayaACCHO #NT @CAACongress

1.1 National : Minister’s ongoing talks about the Closing the Gap refresh

1.2 National : CEO Pat Turner presents at international Conference in New Zealand about developing a  ” Roadmap to end RHD “

1.3 National : Our Deputy CEO Dawn Casey co chair Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care Systems Evaluation: Health Sector Co-design Group (HSCG) Download Communiqué for February 2019

2.1 NACCHO joins Redfern AMS congratulating Aunty Dulcie Flower OAM  on receiving an Order of Australia Medal (OAM)

2.2 NSW : Download the 75 Page AH&MRC report om World No Tobacco Day and the work being done by Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) in tobacco control.

2.3 NSW : Katungul ACCHO Fathers and Sons video launched

3.VIC : VACCHO SEWB Gathering for members , training ,celebrating culture and spending time together.

4.1 QLD : QAIHC  Mobile health scoping study to address cardiovascular disease risk factors

4.2 QLD : The Deadly Choices Maroons health campaign being implemented by Community Controlled Health Services throughout Queensland kicks in over coming weeks

5.1 WA : AHCWA recently delivered our Aboriginal Health Worker Immunisation Course at the Bega Garnbirringu Health Service in Kalgoorlie.

5.2 WA : Alfred Barker Chairperson of Wirraka Maya working to educate and support men about the role they can play in preventing FASD

6.NT : Congress ACCHO Alice Springs Medical Director on Queens Birthday Honour List

How to submit in 2019 a NACCHO Affiliate  or Members Good News Story ?

Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media 

Mobile 0401 331 251 

Wednesday by 4.30 pm for publication Thursday /Friday


1.1 National : Minister’s ongoing talks about the Closing the Gap refresh

Our Acting NACCHO Chair Donnella Mills and representatives of the Coalition of Peaks met in Canberra this week with Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt for constructive and positive ongoing talks about the Closing the Gap refresh and the Partnership Agreement with the Coalition of Peaks.

1.2 National : CEO Pat Turner presents at international Conference in New Zealand about developing a  ” Roadmap to end RHD “

Our CEO Pat Turner presenting powerful case studies at Indigenous Cardiovascular Health Conference in NEW Zealand this – keeping governments accountable to community priorities in health

Developing a new Roadmap to end RHD Pat talked about the partnership of NACCHO with the RHD coalition

1.3 National : Our Deputy CEO Dawn Casey co chair Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care Systems Evaluation: Health Sector Co-design Group (HSCG) Download Communiqué for February 2019

The Department of Health commissioned a national evaluation of the Australian Government’s investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care, which occurs primarily through the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme.

This evaluation is occurring over four years from 2019-2022 and includes the evaluation team working closely with a Health Sector Co-Design Group (HSCG).

The HSCG’s third meeting in February was the first meeting in the implementation phase of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care Systems Evaluation.

After an Acknowledgement of Country and a welcome by the acting co-chairs – Dr Casey and Ms Young – members were invited to discuss what was ‘top of mind’ coming into the meeting.

Download Communique HSCG Meeting No.3 Communique – 2019_05_31

2.1 NACCHO joins Redfern AMS congratulating Aunty Dulcie Flower OAM  on receiving an Order of Australia Medal (OAM)

On behalf of the Aboriginal Medical Service Board, Staff and Community we wish Aunty Dulcie Flower congratulations on receiving an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) on the weekend.

Aunty Dulcie is an AMS founding member, volunteer, a staff member and continues today as a long standing board member.

Dulcie was instrumental in the development of the Aboriginal Health Worker Program, which ensures our communities are advocated and cared for by appropriately skilled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce staff.

Read Dolcie’s interview about Indigenous rights activism HERE

Dulcie has had distinguished career as a Registered Nurse and Lecturer, an activist and mentor, but above all a friend to many.

Congratulations Aunty Dulcie!

2.2 NSW : Download the 75 Page AH&MRC report om World No Tobacco Day and the work being done by Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) in tobacco control.

Around the world last month, activities for World No Tobacco Day 2019 put the spotlight on “tobacco and lung health”, aiming to increase awareness of tobacco’s impact on people’s lung health and the fundamental role lungs play for the health and well-being of all people.

The campaign also served as a call to action, advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption and engaging stakeholders across multiple sectors in the fight for tobacco control.

In Australia, the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW (AH&MRC) sponsored an innovative Twitter Festival, hosted by Croakey Professional Services, to profile the work being done by Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) in tobacco control.

Download the report from Here


Or from Croakey

NACCHO social media contribution page 11 -15

2.3 NSW : Katungul ACCHO Fathers and Sons video launched

Katungul Koori Connections Officer Wally Stewart talking about last years Father & Sons Camp; a fantastic program that brings people back to country, helping to keep culture alive and encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Music created by participants of the Katungul Music/Dance program run by Sean Kinchela & Wally Stewart.

Video courtesy of Afterglow. We’d like to thank them for their generosity & partnership – S


3.1 VIC : VACCHO SEWB Gathering for members , training ,celebrating culture and spending time together.

VACCHO’s Whitney Solomon, ETU Program Coordinator SEWB, delivering Ice Prevention training to Victoria’s awesome SEWB Aboriginal Health Workers at VACCHO’s SEWB Gathering

Proud Waywurru woman Sam Paxton from Djimba (in red), guides SEWB Aboriginal Health workers through a yarning circle at our SEWB Gathering

Proud Wagiman man Nathan Patterson from Iluka Art & Design [-o-] leads a painting workshop while proud Gunditjmara woman Laura Thompson from The Koorie Circle teaches SEWB Aboriginal health workers to create contemporary Aboriginal designed and inspired jewellery made from sustainably sourced timber.

So it’s not all work at our SEWB Gatherings, it’s also about celebrating culture and spending time together.

4.1 QLD : QAIHC  Mobile health scoping study to address cardiovascular disease risk factors

“This type of m-health innovation has the potential to provide culturally responsive and appropriate primary health care that can be embedded in our models of care.

Preliminary data suggest m-health technology can increase engagement and ownership throughout the patient journey and facilitate sustainable positive heath behaviour changes.

As cardiovascular disease remains a leading cause of disease for First Nations Peoples, we are committed to exploring options that empower individuals to improve the management of their health, as well as improve access to health services.”

Chief Executive Officer of QAIHC, Neil Willmett, is excited about the potential the app has to improve health care access and health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with hypertension.

The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples taking antihypertensive medication has increased, indicating a rise in the number of people at risk of cardiovascular disease.

The Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have partnered on a mobile health (m-health) scoping study for the screening and management of cardiovascular disease.

CSIRO have developed an app that can be customised for blood pressure monitoring and are interested in learning how it could work within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Organisation (ATSICCHO) sector’s models of care. Specifically, CSIRO and QAIHC are seeking input from the sector about how m-health could help manage risk factors for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with cardiovascular disease.

An m-health based model of care could facilitate blood pressure and medication management in people who have been diagnosed with hypertension, reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Additionally, the scoping study will assess how a m-health based model of care could be adapted or enhanced to support preventative health interventions addressing cardiovascular disease risk factors such as increasing physical activity, improving dietary intake, and reducing smoking rates.

Between April and June 2019, QAIHC and CSIRO are conducting consultations to seek input from regional, remote, and urban ATSICCHOs on the use of m-health for the management of risk factors for people with cardiovascular disease. This feedback will be used to inform development of the hypertension m-health app.

Outcomes of the scoping study will be shared with the ATSICCHO Sector in the coming months.

4.2 QLD : The Deadly Choices Maroons health campaign being implemented by Community Controlled Health Services throughout Queensland kicks in over coming weeks

Two legends of QRL, supporting our state-wide Deadly Maroons campaign.
Book in now for your health check, at a participating AMS and score one of these deadly shirts.

“ The Deadly Maroons health campaign is being implemented by Community Controlled Health Services throughout Queensland and further strengthens delivery of our Deadly Choices messages which aim to empower our people to take control of their health – to stop smoking, to eat healthier and exercise more,”

Institute for Urban Indigenous Health CEO Adrian Carson

The Deadly Choices – Deadly Maroons State-wide preventative health campaign moves full throttle over coming weeks, with a host of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women featuring for Queensland in the annual State of Origin match on Friday June 21 in Sydney, before the men do battle in Perth on Sunday June 23.

Fans will have the opportunity to mix and mingle with all the NRLW superstars this weekend during the QRL’s traditional pre-Origin Fan Day on Sunday at South Pine Sporting Complex at Brendale, where the Deadly Maroons team will also be out in force.

NRLW forward mainstay Tallisha Harden, who was a standout in the Indigenous All Stars match earlier in the year, has made a speedy recovery from ankle surgery to earn her place in the side and is hoping to turn the tables on the Blues this year.

Former Jillaroo and World Cup winner, Jenni-Sue Hoepper returns to the representative scene following an extended maternity break, while livewire centre Amber Pilley caps off a stellar 12 months, earning her first Queensland cap after an NRLW Premiership-winning season with the Brisbane Broncos.

There’s been considerable talk surrounding the injection of Stephanie Mooka, who was a standout at the recent NRLW National Championships and is likely to form a formidable centre pairing with Pilley.

All four proud, Indigenous women advocate the importance of healthy living and are supportive of the Deadly Maroons program, which helps promote healthy lifestyle choices among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“The Deadly Maroons campaign is an amazing partnership initiative between the Queensland Rugby League and the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health’s Deadly Choices preventative health program,” confirmed Harden.

“As a speech pathologist with the Institute, a representative of the Deadly Maroons and a Deadly Choices Ambassador, I’ve seen first-hand how these programs make a positive difference in the lives of so many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“Winning next Friday is what we’re all about when we go into camp this weekend, but I also know all the girls are aware of the Deadly Maroons campaign and are looking forward to supporting this deadly promotion.”

The support of the women is matched by an unwavering commitment among the men’s team who have already generated immense interest right across Queensland.

“The Deadly Maroons health campaign is being implemented by Community Controlled Health Services throughout Queensland and further strengthens delivery of our Deadly Choices messages which aim to empower our people to take control of their health – to stop smoking, to eat healthier and exercise more,” added Institute for Urban Indigenous Health CEO Adrian Carson.

“Football is so much more than a game – it is a vehicle to drive important health messages for our people and to encourage our people to access their local Community Controlled Health Services for support to make deadly choices, including completing a regular Health Check.

“Our Deadly Choices shirts have played a key role in driving demand for preventative health care, contributing to an incredible 4000% increase in Health Checks in South East Queensland and leading to the expansion of Deadly Choices across Queensland, with support from Queensland and Australian Governments.”

“Through Deadly Choices, we’re making a real difference in closing the health and life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and with the support and commitment of the QRL, and ongoing support from Queensland and Australian Governments, momentum will be enhanced over coming years.”

5.WA : AHCWA recently delivered our Aboriginal Health Worker Immunisation Course at the Bega Garnbirringu Health Service in Kalgoorlie.

The training is run in conjunction with the Communicable Disease Control Directorate Department of Health and is a nationally accredited immunisation course that provides Aboriginal Health Practitioners with the knowledge and skills to promote and safely immunise clients across all ages.

For more information on the course, contact our Immunisation Coordinator, Stacee Burrows at

5.2 WA : Alfred Barker Chairperson of Wirraka Maya working to educate and support men about the role they can play in preventing FASD

Meet Alfred Barker. He’s a Traditional Owner and the Chairperson of Wirraka Maya, where he works to educate and support men about the role they can play in preventing FASD, through supporting their partners not to drink during pregnancy. “‘Grog before, during and after pregnancy is no good for Dad, Mum and bub’.

6.NT : Congress ACCHO Alice Springs Medical Director on Queens Birthday Honour List

“Congress is very proud to have Dr Sam’s outstanding contribution recognised on the 2019 Queens Birthday Honours list with an OAM” 

Congress Chief Executive Officer, Donna Ah Chee.

Congress Medical Director, Dr Sam Heard has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal in the Queen’s Birthday honours, for his contribution to Medicine. Dr Heard was recognised for his work as a GP across the Northern Territory and his tireless commitment to the education of doctors and other medical staff for over 20 years, particularly through extensive training of GP registrars.

He served 9 years as Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Regional Director and 10 years as Chair of Northern Territory General Practice Education.

As Congress’ Medical Director, Dr Heard is applying his wealth of knowledge and experience to assist Congress in the vital work we are doing in Aboriginal health especially in the recruitment, retention and training of our current and future medical workforce.

 Dr Heard provides clinical leadership to Congress’ 14 clinics in Alice Springs and across six remote Central Australian communities.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Racism : Aboriginal Health promotion footage use by Sunrise Breakfast Show @sunriseon7 could be seen by some in the Yirrkala community as “damaged goods” says judge


“ The group alleges that by using the footage in conjunction with the discussion on child abuse, Sunrise implied they abused or neglected children.

They also claim Seven breached their confidence and privacy in using the footage, originally filmed for the promotion of Aboriginal health, for its unintended purpose; and that the network breached Australian consumer laws by acting unconscionably.

Yolngu woman Kathy Mununggurr and 14 others filed the lawsuit in February, claiming they had been defamed after blurred footage of them was broadcast in the background of the panel discussion.

Watch CEO Pat Turner , Olga Havnen CEO Danila Dilba and James Ward appear on #Sunrise to respond to Indigenous child protection issues #wehavethesolutions March 2018

Plus Read Extra Coverage HERE

Aboriginal children shown in footage that accompanied a breakfast television segment on child abuse in Indigenous communities could be seen by some in the community as “damaged goods”, a judge has said.

A group of Aboriginal people from a remote community in the Northern Territory is suing Channel Seven over the Sunrise “Hot Topics” panel discussion hosted by Samantha Armytage on March 13 last year.

Originally published HERE

The segment followed public commentary by then-Assistant Minister for Children David Gillespie on non-Indigenous families adopting at-risk Aboriginal children and featured commentator Prue MacSween, who said a “fabricated PC outlook” was preventing white Australians from adopting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

“Don’t worry about the people that would cry and hand-wring and say this would be another Stolen Generation. Just like the first Stolen Generation where a lot of people were taken because it was for their wellbeing … we need to do it again, perhaps,” MacSween said during the discussion, which also featured Brisbane radio host Ben Davis.

The segment sparked an intense backlash, including protests outside the Sunrise studios at Sydney’s Martin Place and condemnation from the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

During a strike-out application brought by Seven on Wednesday, Seven’s barrister, Kieran Smark, SC, said there were issues with claiming those in the footage could be identified.

But Justice Steven Rares said Aboriginal communities in remote parts of Australia, particularly the Northern Territory, were “much more integrated than the suburbs of this country”.

“You’ve got a whole community up there, most of whom will be able to recognise each other, some of whom watch Sunrise,” Justice Rares said.

The group from the Yirrkala community allege the children in the footage were also defamed, but Mr Smark said a reasonable person would not shun and avoid a person they perceived to be a child victim of assault.

Mr Smark said ordinary people would react to victims of abuse with sympathy and it would be “counter-intuitive” to avoid them.

But Justice Rares said members of the community “might not be as sympathetic as you say”.

“The fact is imputations of abuse reflect on, as I understand it as a member of the community, whether you want to associate with people who are victims of abuse, because they are going to be disturbed by that abuse,” Justice Rares said.

“People are not going to associate with people they feel are damaged goods.”

Justice Rares said Aboriginal people had “by far” the highest rates of incarceration in Australia and many of those imprisoned came from traumatised backgrounds.

He dismissed Seven’s application to strike out the group’s pleadings.

Barrister Louise Goodchild, representing the group, said interpreters would need to be brought down for the trial and foreshadowed expert evidence in relation to cultural shame being heard.



NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #SocialMedia #MentalHealth #SuicidePrevention : Is your mob safe online ? New Report: Urges parents and communities to seek support with children’s online safety

Kids are growing up in two worlds, the real world and an online world. Just like we protect kids from dangers in the real world, it’s important to protect their safety in their online world too.

Many of our mob are unsure how to help keep their kids safe online. These resources are designed to educate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents and carers of children aged 5 – 18 about the importance of starting the chat with young people around online safety.

Visit Be Deadly Online to find out more about the big issues online, like bullying, reputation and respect for others “

Download StarttheChatandStaySafeOnlinepdf

Start the Chat

Download Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Resources Here

“eSafety has built engaging and award-winning educational content to help adults understand the issues and trends so they can have informed conversations with young people about what they are doing and experiencing online.

There is no substitute for being as engaged in our kids’ online lives the way we are in their everyday lives.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to parenting in the digital-age. Our materials seek to accommodate these differing parenting styles and are tailored to be used in accordance with your child’s age, maturity and level of resilience,” 

eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant

Download the Report eSafetyResearchParentingDigitalAge

Parents are the first port of call for most young people affected by negative experiences online but less than half of parents feel confident to manage the situation, according to new research issued yesterday.

The report, Parenting in the digital age, conducted by the eSafety Commissioner (eSafety) explores the experience of parents and carers raising children in a fast-paced connected world.

eSafety found only 46% of Australian parents feel confident in dealing with online risks their children might face, with only one third (36%) actively seeking information on how to best manage situations like cyberbullying, unwanted contact or ‘sexting’ and ‘sending nudes’.

According to the eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, the findings reinforced the importance of providing resources to support parents and carers in managing conversations about online safety.

“We know dealing with online issues can be challenging for many parents. The issues are complex, nuanced and ever-changing and are different from what we experienced growing up,” says Inman Grant.

“The research shows 94% of parents want more information about online safety. This is why it is critical to equip parents and carers with up to date resources and advice on how to keep our children safer online. Australian parents need to know they are not alone in navigating this brave new online world and that there is constructive guidance to help them start the chat.”

Starting the chat, an important part of growing up safe online

“Everyone has a role to play in further safeguarding our children online and we are seeking the help of all parents, carers, educators, counsellors and anyone else that has a connection to a child or young person to answer this call.”


Starting the chat with teens, key to online safety (Stars Foundation)

The report also uncovered the varied parenting styles used to help manage online safety in the home. Parents with older children were more likely to favour an open parenting style, providing guidance and advice, while parents with younger children were more likely to adopt a restrictive approach by controlling online access and setting rules around internet-use.

“There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to parenting in the digital-age. Our materials seek to accommodate these differing parenting styles and are tailored to be used in accordance with your child’s age, maturity and level of resilience,” adds Inman Grant.

Now is the time to start the chat.

Visit for a free copy of the report, as well as tools, tips and advice for parents, carers and educators to help manage these conversations, including tailored information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as well as resources in various translated languages.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #ClosingTheGap : Aboriginal owned health promotion company @SparkHealthAus denied right to use Aboriginal flag and use of word ‘gap’for #ClothingTheGap : @theprojecttv


“ The flag represents much more than just a business opportunity. 

It’s been an important symbol to Aboriginal people for a really long time, a symbol of resistance, of struggle of pride, and that’s why we’ve got such a strong attachment.

One ( of the two companies ) is an international worldwide company [pursuing us] for using the word ‘Gap’ and the other is for trying to share our culture.

The purpose of Spark Health is to improve Aboriginal peoples lives.”

Spark Health founder and Gunditjmara woman Laura Thompson spoke to the The Australian and the ABC describing the two-pronged attack after the Koori Mail broke the story 

Koori Mail reporter Darren Coyne worked really hard over the past few weeks to break an important story about copyright of the Aboriginal flag : See Page 3 June 5 Edition

Read Download HERE 

Six weeks, six deadly health dares, six workouts, one grouse piece of merch! Spark Health Australia are proud to work with the ACCHOHealth Services team at the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-Op in Geelong to deliver ‘I Dare Ya’, a six week health and well-being program

An Aboriginal business is fighting for the right to feature the Indigenous flag in its “Clothing the Gap” fashion designs, while also fending off a copyright attack from a global retail giant.

Spark Health, which is an Aboriginal-owned health promotion business, has been told by US-based retailer GAP INC that it cannot use the word “Gap’’ in its fashion line, which plays on the phrase “Closing the Gap’’ that is used to describe the efforts to improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – FEBRUARY 20: Gap clothing is displayed at a Gap store on February 20, 2014 in San Francisco, California. Gap Inc.

To add to its woes, the Preston-based profit-for-purpose outfit has been sent a “cease and desist” letter by Queensland-based WAM Clothing over its use of the Aboriginal flag in its clothing designs.

The copyright of the Aboriginal flag is owned by its designer, Harold Thomas, a Luritja man, who has licensed its use in clothing exclusively to WAM.

Ms Thompson said she wrote to Mr Thomas requesting permission to use the Aboriginal flag in August last year.

She said she was happy to pay a fee in order to replicate the design.

An online petition started by Spark Health, criticising the exclusive licensing of the flag to a non-indigenous company, has gathered more than 20,000 + signatures so far.

Sign the petition or see Part 3 Below

“This is a question of control,” the petition reads.

“Should WAM Clothing, a non-indigenous business, hold the monopoly in a market to profit off Aboriginal peoples’ identity and love for ‘their’ flag?”

Spark Health director of operations, Sarah Sheridan, who is not indigenous, said WAM was exploiting Aboriginal Australia.

“Non-indigenous Australians must listen to, and support the voices of Aboriginal people and back their self-determination,” she said.

“Rather than exploiting them in the way that WAM clothing currently are.”

A WAM spokesperson said it was obligated to enforce the copyright.

“In addition to creating our own product lines bearing the Aboriginal flag, WAM Clothing works with manufacturers and sellers of clothing bearing the Aboriginal flag — including Aboriginal-owned organisations — providing them with options to continue manufacturing and selling their own clothing ranges bearing the flag, which ensures that Harold Thomas is paid a royalty,” the spokesperson said.

WAM provided a statement from Mr Thomas, in which he said, as the designer, it was up to him to decide who could use the Aboriginal flag.

“As it is my common law right and aboriginal heritage right … I can choose who I like to have a licence agreement to manufacture and sell goods which have the Aboriginal flag on it,” he said.

WAM Clothing was co-founded by Ben Wootzer, whose previous company Birubi Art was found to be in breach of Australian consumer law after selling over 18,000 Aboriginal such as boomerangs and didgeridoos were in fact made in Indonesia.

GAP Inc did not respond to The Australian’s request for comment.

Part 2

New licence owners of Aboriginal flag threaten football codes and clothing companies

Indigenous reporter Isabella Higgins

From the ABC News

The Aboriginal flag is unique among Australia’s national flags, because the copyright of the image is owned by an individual.

A Federal Court ruling in 1997 recognised the ownership claim by designer Harold Thomas.

The Luritja artist has licensing agreements with just three companies; one to reproduce flags, and the others to reproduce the image on objects and clothing.

WAM Clothing, a new Queensland-based business, secured the exclusive clothing licence late last year.

Since acquiring it, the company has threatened legal action against several organisations.

The ABC understands WAM Clothing issued notices to the NRL and AFL over their use of the flag on Indigenous-round jerseys.

A spokesman for the NRL said the organisation was aware of the notices, but would not comment further.

The ABC has contacted the AFL, but no official response has been received.

WAM Clothing said simply it was “in discussions with the NRL, AFL and other organisations regarding the use of the Aboriginal flag on clothing”.

The Aboriginal flag has been widely used on the country’s sporting fields, carried by Cathy Freeman in iconic moments at the 1994 Commonwealth Games and 2000 Sydney Olympics.

It only became a recognised national flag in 1995 under the Keating government, but had been widely used by the Aboriginal community since the 1970s.

The Torres Strait Islander flag was also recognised as a national flag at this time, but the copyright is collectively owned by the Torres Strait Regional Council.

The move to adopt both flags as symbols of state was somewhat controversial at the time, with the then opposition leader John Howard opposing the move.

PHOTO: Indigenous artist Harold Thomas is the designer of the Aboriginal flag. (ABC News: Nick Hose)

Former head of the Australian Copyright Council Fiona Phillips said there could be an argument for the Government or another agency buying back the copyright licence from Mr Thomas.

“The fact that the flag has been recognised since 1995 as an official Australian flag takes it out of the normal copyright context and gives it an extra public policy element,” she said.

She said it was an image of significance to a large part of the nation and it was important there was some control to avoid potential exploitation.

“It’s quite unusual for copyright to be held by an individual and controlled by an individual rather than a government or statutory authority who, maybe for policy reasons, has other interests in mind,” Ms Phillips said.

“There has to be a way that Mr Thomas can be remunerated fairly but where other people can also have access to the flag.”

Fight to stop flag ‘monopoly’

A Victorian-based health organisation, Spark Health, which produces merchandise with the flag on it, was issued with a cease and desist notice last week and given three business days to stop selling their stock.

The flag represents much more than just a business opportunity, the organisation’s owner, Laura Thompson said.

“It’s been an important symbol to Aboriginal people for a really long time, a symbol of resistance, of struggle of pride, and that’s why we’ve got such a strong attachment,” Ms Thompson said.

PHOTO: Laura Thompson was given three days to cease and desist selling her merchandise. (ABC News: Loretta Florance)

The organisation started an online petition, that has attracted about 13,000 signatures, calling on Mr Thomas to stop the exclusive licensing arrangements.

“We want flag rights for our people, we’ve fought enough, we’ve struggled, we don’t want to struggle to use our flag now,” Ms Thompson said.

“We don’t want anyone to have a monopoly over how we use the Aboriginal flag. The fact they’re a non-Indigenous company doesn’t sit well with me.

WAM Clothing said it would work with all organisations, and provide them with options to continue manufacturing their own clothing ranges bearing the flag.

“WAM Clothing has obligations under its Licence Agreement to enforce Harold Thomas’ Copyright, which includes issuing cease and desist notices,” a spokeswoman for the company said.

Mr Thomas said it was his “common law right” to choose who he enters licensing agreements with.

PHOTO: Spark Health produced a range of clothing featuring the Indigenous flag to help fund its community programs. (ABC News: Loretta Florance)

Wiradjuri artist Lani Balzan designed the NRL’s St George Illawarra Indigenous jersey for four years.

She said it was a disappointing development and will make her reconsider her designs for the football club and other institutions in the future.

“Schools, when they buy their uniforms through me, we put the Torres Strait and the Aboriginal flag on both shoulders, so I don’t know if we will be allowed to do that anymore,” she said.

“It’s not just the flag, it’s what represents them and our culture and who we are, to have some non-Indigenous company get copyright, it’s really upsetting.

“It’s disappointing because it’s coming down to money and the flag doesn’t represent money, it represents us as Aboriginal people, and our culture and who we are.”

Conduct of WAM director’s former business ‘unacceptable’

One of the directors of WAM Clothing, Benjamin Wooster, is the former owner of the now defunct Birubi Arts, a company taken to court over its production of fake Aboriginal art.

In October last year, the Federal Court found Birubi Arts was misleading customers to believe its products were genuine, when in fact they were produced and painted in Indonesia.

At the time, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said Birubi’s conduct was “unacceptable”.

Weeks later Birubi Arts ceased operating, and the next month the director and a new partner opened a new business, WAM Clothing.

Birubi Arts company sold more than 18,000 fake boomerangs, bullroarers, didgeridoos and message stones to retail outlets around Australia between July 2017 to November 2017.

The case is due before court again this week, for a penalty hearing, which some lawyers expect could see a hefty fine handed down that could run into the millions.

The company is now in the hands of liquidators, and the ABC understands it “doesn’t have any capacity” to pay further debts.

The director of WAM Clothing is also in charge of another company, Giftsmate, which has the exclusive licence with Mr Thomas to reproduce objects with the Aboriginal flag on it.

Mr Thomas reiterated his support for all the companies he worked with.

“It’s taken many years to find the appropriate Australian company that respects and honours the Aboriginal flag meaning and copyright and that is WAM Clothing,” Mr Thomas said.

“I have done this with Carroll & Richardson [flag licensee], Gifts Mate and the many approvals I’ve given to [other] Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal organisations.”

Part 3 Join us in the fight for #FlagRights, for #PrideNotProfit.

We’ve always said that our products are conversation starters. We never thought as tiny little Aboriginal-led business that we’d come under scrutiny for celebrating the Aboriginal Flag or using the word ‘gap’ in our name as we try to self-determine our futures while we work towards adding years to peoples lives.

Show your support, sign the petition

Part 4


Aboriginal Health and #ChronicDisease 1 of 2 #SaveADates Submissions Close 15 July for Reviewing the Practice Incentives Program Indigenous Health Incentive (PIP IHI). Register for Workshops 17 June to 3 July #NSW #QLD #VIC #SA #WA #NT#ACT

NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealth #SuicidePrevention @NMHC Communique : @GregHuntMP roundtable meeting to review investment to date in mental health and suicide prevention : #TimeToFixMentalHealth #TomCalma @AUMentalHealth @FrankGQuinlan @PatMcGorry @amapresident @headspace_aus

” Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, hosted a Government-led roundtable this week to review investment to date in mental health and suicide prevention, to hear from the sector on current gaps and priorities, to understand what is and is not working, and to advise on the upcoming national forum on youth mental health and suicide prevention.

Minister Hunt and Prime Minister Scott Morrison are committed to working towards zero-suicide for all Australians, including our youth.

From the National Mental Health Commission 6 June 

( The Indigenous ) Suicide rates are an appalling national tragedy that is not only depriving too many of our young people of a full life, but is wreaking havoc among our families and communities.

As anyone who has experienced a friend or family member committing suicide will know, the effects are widespread and devastating and healing can be elusive for those left behind.

It is time that we draw a line under this tragic situation that is impacting so significantly on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities  “

Noting Professor Tom Calma AO was a participant in the meeting via telephone link and opened the meeting with a discussion on Indigenous suicide. 

See this quote and 140 Plus Aboriginal Health and Suicide Prevention articles published by NACCHO in last 7 Years 

Those in attendance welcomed the Government’s commitment, with a number noting that suicide prevention needs to be a priority across all age groups, especially those groups with the highest suicide rates.

The conversation covered a range of key issues, challenges and opportunities for reform and action. Particular discussion points included:

  • Social determinants of mental health: there is a fundamental need to focus on the social determinants of mental health for all Australians, noting and emphasising the range of factors that contribute to distress in young Australians. This is an important factor for all young people and communities, with particular reference to the factors impacting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and youth.
  • The impact of trauma and disadvantage: conversation centred on the impacts of trauma and disadvantage and the importance of supporting, for example, young people in out-of-home care, those living in poverty and individuals who are in the justice system.
  • Support for children and families: in order to improve the lives of young Australians, there is a need to better support children and families in the early years. This includes support for neurodevelopmental disorders. In the same way headspace has been developed for young people, there was a suggestion that mental health services focused on children and families could show real benefits.  There is strong support for a focus on prevention
  • Support for Schools: a continued need was highlighted around the role of, and support for, schools, including primary schools and early learning centres. Schools are a critical component of a ‘whole of community’ approach in building supportive environments for children and young people.   It was suggested that for families who may not seek services but who were in need a way of ‘connecting’ may be through digital tools, to identify and support children and parents in those families.
  • Impact on youth: young people can be seriously impacted and influenced by the suicide death of other young people who are their friends, peers, family members or celebrities. More timely and sophisticated data and comprehensive local responses are needed to assist in the reduction of risk for further lives being lost following a suicide.
  • Data: The importance of being able to collect, analyse and provide accurate data was highlighted.  This data is significant across mental health services and particularly for suicide prevention, treatment and support services.
  • Service reform: there is a need for service reform to better respond to people with mental health concerns that are too complex to be managed by a GP at a primary health care level but not so acute as to require specialist tertiary mental health services. While there are some good programs and services to build upon, there is a lack of equity across all regions and access remains a key issue for those requiring psychological and other services. We also need to integrate mental health services with drug and alcohol services.
  • Workforce development: there is an urgent need to focus on training and supporting the diverse professionals working with those at risk of or with mental health issues – health and allied health staff, drug and alcohol workers, school counsellors, psychologists, peer workers and many others. The role of peer workers was recognised as being a critical one and this must be included in all workforce development strategies and initiatives.
  • Peer and carer support: many families and peers supporting those who are in suicidal distress and/or living with challenging mental health and drug and alcohol concerns needed immediate and quality support themselves as they are also at risk for mental ill-health. Families and friends are the largest non-clinical workforce providing care and support for Australians and there is an immediate need to provide better supports for them.
  • Regional and national leadership: while attendees were supportive of regional planning and action, it was suggested that stronger guidance at a national level was needed in order to ensure equity and quality of service responses across the country, with a recognition of the importance of the role of Primary Health Networks.  Further work is needed to ensure that the roles and responsibilities of all governments were clarified, together with accountability. The Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, and particularly the Suicide Prevention Implementation Plan, are key drivers for clearer accountability and integrated and coordinated responses.
  • Funding models: there was discussion on how best to fund services across the range of needs, including the current review of Medicare and the role of private health insurance.

A collective agreement and strong commitment was reached that a collaborative approach is vital to achieving improved mental health outcomes for all Australians, including children and youth.

There is significant support for a 2030 Vision for mental health and suicide prevention, to be led by the Commission and to ensure that the systematic changes required to best service the community can be identified, prioritised and achieved. This Vision would be look beyond the current plans and strategies.

Attendees acknowledged the commitment to mental health and quality program responses in recent years, together with the increased funding in the 2019/20 federal budget for expanded youth and adult mental health services in the community, together with initiatives to strengthen the collection of critical data around suicide and mentally healthy workplaces.  They also noted the current enquiries being undertaken by the Productivity Commission and the Victorian Royal Commission.  However, there needs to be an increased focus on longer term systems reform.  The Commission has been tasked with taking a leading role in this and will work closely with the sector to develop a reform pathway.

Participants embraced the importance of hope, recognising not only the significant investment to date but that youth mental health services in Australia have been copied by other nations.  There is strong support for improvements in mental health and suicide prevention across all levels of government and community.

As outlined by the Minister for Health, this was an opportunity to review the current status and continue this important discussion.  It is one of many conversations that will continue with the sector at organisational, group and individual levels.

The Commission will provide updates in sector engagement and discussions as they occur.

Lucy Brogden

Chair, National Mental Health Commission

Christine Morgan

CEO, National Mental Health Commission


NACCHO Our Members #Aboriginal Health Deadly Good News Stories : Features #WNTD2019 @TISprogramme Photos from @NACCHOChair #NSW @ahmrc @ReadyMob @Galambila #Redfern ACCHO @awabakalltd #VIC @VACCHO_org #QLD @Apunipima @DeadlyChoices #SA @AHCSA_ #WA @TheAHCWA #NT @CAACongress @Kwhb_OneShield

For World No Tobacco Day 31 May NACCHO celebrates and highlights examples of the great work many of our Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services throughout Australia are doing in tobacco control.


2.New South Wales



5.Western Australia

6.South Australia


8.Northern Territory


10. Sista Quit

How to submit in 2019 a NACCHO Affiliate  or Members Good News Story ?

Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media 

Mobile 0401 331 251 

Wednesday by 4.30 pm for publication Thursday /Friday


On World No Tobacco Day NACCHO participated in the National #CommunityControl Twitter Festival that spotlighted the work of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in tobacco control.

The Festival was sponsored by the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW (AH&MRC) and hosted by Croakey Professional Services.

For full Croakey coverage of the event

Read the first one here

The second one here

And the third here

During the period when Croakey was publishing about the Twitter Festival (13 May-3 June 2019), 299 Twitter accounts sent more than 2,000 tweets using the #CommunityControl hashtag, creating more than 17 million Twitter impressions.

See the Symplur Analytics here, and the Twitter transcript here.

Read all NACCHO Smoking articles HERE 

2.New South Wales



It’s vital that brief tobacco interventions are embedded into routine health care and checks. Our staff love to yarn with community to help them quit. You can read about the #ATRACYarning Tool here: 

We have developed the #ATRAC Yarning Tool which has been incorporated into smoking cessation programs across the country. The tool has assisted many health workers to initiate meaningful smoking cessation discussions with clients.

2.2 Redfern ACCHO

2.3 Ready Mob Coffs Harbour to Port Macquarie

The Tackling Indigenous Smoking program team Ready Mob is a federally funded program based out of Galambila Aboriginal Health Service in Coffs Harbour, covering the Mid North Coast region from Coffs Harbour through to Port Macquarie.

My name is Kristy Pursch and my ancestral ties are to the Butchulla people of Fraser Island in Queensland. I have lived in NSW for the past 20 years and brought my children up in beautiful Gumbaynggirr country for the past 14 years.

Ready Mob is an acronym for Really Evaluate and Decide Yourself, Make Ourselves Better which is all about self determination, we don’t tell our mob what to do we just provide the tools and education so that people can make their own informed decisions.

Our strategy to work in and with our local communities is to use local places and local faces. Our relationships in communities are paramount to our effectiveness as a health promotion program.

There are 8 people in our team and all are Aboriginal people with the majority working within their own ancestral lands. This connection and investment in our own local people is integral at ensuring our approach is both determined by and effective for our local mob.

Second and third hand smoke causes just as much damage to small lungs as smoking resulting in more acute respiratory infections, severe asthma attacks and can cause middle infections.

Encouraging our smokers to ‘take a look around and see, who are you sharing your smoke with?’ A non shame based campaign encouraging introspection and positive decision making especially around the impacts smoking causes to those around you.

As with all our campaigns the call to action is to seek quit support by calling the Quitline or visiting your GP and local Aboriginal Medical Service

2.4 Tharawal ACCHO Dr Tim Senior

And working in #communitycontrol means they know the service is set up for them, and they have friends and relatives employed there and on the board! And we have staff and programs that will help.

So for example, I have access to free nicotine replacement, as well as the medicines on the PBS. And especially important are our health workers and our mums and bubs and social and emotional wellebeing programs. And dentists.

Fundamentally, my goal as a GP in #CommunityControl is to enable people to make decisions about their life, NOT tell people what to do. (We’ve tried that for >200 yrs. It doesn’t work!)

And having a relationship with a patient, means the discussion we have can be very practical.

I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t know that smoking is bad for them. But stress, poverty, boredom, habit, socialising underscored by addiction are all reasons people continue to smoke.

We can offer practical advice for all of these things, in complete confidence, with onward referral as appropriate

FYI, these are the smoking cessation guidelines.

2.5 Awabakal ACCHO

2.6 Yerin ACCHO Gosford 



3.2 Goolum Goolum Aboriginal Co-Operative

World No Tobacco Day @ Goolum. Great day, great feed and celebrating #smokefreemob champions.


4.1 Apunipima ACCHO Cape York

Last week TIS Health Workers Brett and Clara celebrated WNTD in Kowanyama with a morning tea and an educational stall

4.2 Deadly Choices 

5.Western Australia

5.1 AHCWA 

5.2 Join the TIS team now at Wirraka Maya for World no Tobacco Day.

Have your Smoke reading taken, along with Quit Smoking support and information.


6.South Australia


AHCSA Staff came together to raise awareness about World No Tobacco Day today and joined the mob by taking the 2019 Puyu Blasters Pledge.

Are you interested in taking the pledge? Follow the link to find out how..

6.2 Tackling Tobacco Team – Nunkuwarrin Yunti

The Tackling Tobacco Team helped the team and kids of Playford and was given the chance to have a hit of tennis with the Deadly and Legendary Evonne Goolagong-Cawley. The ‘Come and Try’ clinics are for 5 to 15 year old boys and girls, with an emphasis on having fun and being healthy!

6.3 AHCSA Puyu Blaster

Today the Puyu Blaster and the Aboriginal Dental Program visited Berri Primary School to celebrate World No Tobacco Day this week. We look forward to coming back. Thanks for having us!

Who are the Puyu Blasters?

We all are!

Puyu Blasters is a community based approach to addressing the issue of smoking within our communities.

The Puyu Blasters Team is hosted by the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia and it’s Tackling Indigenous Smoking (TIS) Program.

The AHCSA TIS Program has been funded to support regional approaches to reducing the gap in prevalence of smoking among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People compared to that among non-Indigenous, through;

  • Reducing uptake of smoking
  • Increasing smoking cessation and
  • Reduced exposure to environmental tobacco smoke

7.Tasmania ( TBC )

8.Northern Territory

8.1  Congress Alice Springs

Our Health Promotions team would like to thank everyone who came down to Araluen Park on Saturday to participate in the World No Tobacco Day Colour Smash Fun Run/Walk.

To View all Facebook Photos 

We had a massive turn out and all had a lot of fun!

#filltheskywithcolournotsmoke #smokefreethewaytobe

8.2 Katherine West Health Board

The Quitskills Team would like to acknowledge the traditional people of the Katherine region for welcoming the Quitskills educators onto their country to deliver smoking cessation training.

We would also like to acknowledge the hard work of the team from Katherine West Health Board whose aim is to provide a holistic clinical, preventative and public health service to clients in the Katherine West Region of the Northern Territory of Australia.

We wish you the greatest success in achieving your aim.

Smoke breath 🤢
Keep your breath fresh by staying smoke free!

Yarn with your local Health Centre about how to quit smoking
What’s Your Smoke Free Story?

8.3 Danila Dilba ACCHO

On May 31 Danila Dilba Community Services and Northern Territory Government AOD teams set up information stalls around Darwin and Palmerston for World No Tobacco Day. Thank you to everyone who popped in for a yarn! If you are ready to start your quit journey or thinking about quitting smoking, contact your local Danila Dilba Clinic and book an appointment with a GP, Aboriginal Health Practitioner or Tobacco support team.

Make every day World No Tobacco Day! #Notobacco #WorldNoTobaccoDay#KickinTobacco #LiveLongLiveStrong


10. Sista Quit

Our new centre in Coffs Harbour will support excellence in we are seeking three full-time researchers (as many as possible to be Indigenous) and offering Indigenous PhD scholarship – get in touch

See details here on NACCHO Communique 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Promotion #ClosingTheGap and the #AHW Workforce : Download Research : How can we make space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community health workers in health promotion ?

“Too many white Australians think the door opens to opportunity from the outside, when you’ve got to be let into the door from the inside’.

Noel Pearson, Aboriginal activist, The Australian, 7 May 2015. (Bita, 2015)

 “ The ‘AHW’ role was first established in the Northern Territory and recognized by the Western health system in the 1950s (Topp et al., 2018).

It was formally incorporated into Australia’s national health system in 2008 (National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association, 2016).

Individuals can become an AHW if they are pursuing or hold a Certificate III, IV or higher degree diploma in, for example, primary health care, public health or a specific area of practice such as mental health.

In the mainstream health care sector, AHWs serve in ‘health worker’ or ‘outreach’ roles, providing clinical services, community outreach and education to improve access, health outcomes and the cultural appropriateness of services (McDermott et al., 2015).

Some also have specified AHW positions in prevention and health promotion. But the delivery of Indigenous health promotion in Australia is best exemplified by the work of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs).

ACCHOs are primary health care services operated by the local Aboriginal community that they serve (NACCHO, 2018).

Their approach to providing comprehensive and culturally competent services draws on the cultural knowledge, beliefs and practices of their communities, and aligns with the Ottawa Charter principles aimed at enabling communities to take control of their own health care needs (WHO, 1986).

 AHW positions within ACCHOs may, therefore, reflect the full range of role types outlined in Table 1.

It is primarily within ACCHO-developed community programmes that other types of CHW roles and models for their delivery have been implemented, for example, lay-leader or peer-to-peer education models (McPhail-Bell et al., 2017).

 Yet many of these initiatives are only documented in programme reports within the ‘grey literature’ with much of the work undertaken in Aboriginal health promotion remaining under-researched and underreported ” 

Read over 290 Aboriginal Health Promotion articles published by NACCHO over the past 7 years 

Read this full research paper online HERE

Article Contents

Download the PDF Copy

Aboriginal Health Workers and Promotion

Photo top banner

 ” Mallee District Aboriginal Services health promotion co-ordinator Emma Geyer and MDAS regional tackling Indigenous smoking worker Nathan Yates are on the lookout for a local “deadly hero”. Picture: Louise Barker

MALLEE District Aboriginal Services (MDAS) is on the hunt for a “deadly hero” who will be the face of a campaign to encourage more Indigenous residents to visit the service for regular health check-ups.

MDAS regional tackling indigenous smoking worker Nathan Yates said the overarching aim of the campaign was to boost the health of the local indigenous population.

“Deadly Choices in our terminology is about making a good choice so for this it’s about making really healthy lifestyle choices because it’s all about trying to bridge the gap between life expectancy of indigenous and non-indigenous people,” Mr Yates said

Picture and story originally published Here


Despite a clear need, ‘closing the gap’ in health disparities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities (hereafter, respectfully referred to as Aboriginal) continues to be challenging for western health care systems.

Globally, community health workers (CHWs) have proven effective in empowering communities and improving culturally appropriate health services.

The global literature on CHWs reflects a lack of differentiation between the types of roles these workers carry out.

This in turn impedes evidence syntheses informing how different roles contribute to improving health outcomes.

Indigenous CHW roles in Australia are largely operationalized by Aboriginal Health Workers (AHWs)—a role situated primarily within the clinical health system.

In this commentary, we consider whether the focus on creating professional AHW roles, although important, has taken attention away from the benefits of other types of CHW roles particularly in community-based health promotion.

We draw on the global literature to illustrate the need for an Aboriginal CHW role in health promotion; one that is distinct from, but complementary to, that of AHWs in clinical settings.

We provide examples of barriers encountered in developing such a role based on our experiences of employing Aboriginal health promoters to deliver evidence-based programmes in rural and remote communities.

We aim to draw attention to the systemic and institutional barriers that persist in denying innovative employment and engagement opportunities for Aboriginal people in health.

Kirstin Kulka prepares fruit and salad wraps for children at Coen.

Selected extracts

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures in Australia are acknowledged to be the oldest living cultures in the world (Australian Government, 2017a), maintaining thriving and diverse communities for over more than 60 000 years, and implementing land management practices that are exemplary in their sustainability and productivity (Pascoe, 2018).

Hereafter, we use the term Aboriginal to describe the many different clans that make up this diverse peoples, including those from the Torres Strait. Following the British invasion and subsequent colonization of Australia, Aboriginal people across the nation suffered a sudden and complete rupture to all aspects of life including kinship, language, spirituality and culture.

The resulting health disparities experienced by Aboriginal people since colonization, and the inequalities that contribute to them, are well documented (AIHW, 2015). Despite the preponderance of evidence as to these inequities there has been only marginal progress in implementing effective strategies to improve health (McCalman et al., 2016).

Not enough research has focused on how Aboriginal knowledge is reflected in health programmes and services, and there are continued calls for Aboriginal people to be leaders of health-promoting endeavours (National Congress of Australia’s First People, 2016; NHMRC, 2018).

However, combatting systemic racism and reorienting the institutions of the dominant non-Aboriginal culture—i.e. government, health care, education—to include Aboriginal people in decision making and to enable their leadership is proving to be an ongoing challenge in both global and local health settings (George et al., 2015). The opening quote of this paper draws attention to this often-contested issue.

Community ownership of decision making for health has long been recognized as key to addressing the social determinants of health that underlie health disparities (WHO, 1978). Internationally, community health workers (CHWs) enable community involvement in health systems—particularly among minority communities—and contribute to positive health outcomes in a variety of settings (Goris et al., 2013; Kim et al., 2016).

In the USA, for example, the Indian Health Service has funded American Indian ‘Community Health Representatives’ since 1968 (Satterfield et al., 2002).

These health workers provide links between communities and health services, and build trust, relationships and culturally appropriate education and care. Maori CHWs play a similar bridging role in New Zealand by linking community members with health interventions and clinical services, providing health education and also working alongside traditional healers and supporting tribal development (Boulton et al., 2009).

In Australia, CHWs are largely operationalized as Aboriginal Health Workers (AHWs), although there is considerable variation in the kinds of roles they perform. The result is that some AHWs experience inflated role expectations that can contribute to unmanageable workloads and stress, reduced job satisfaction, and barriers to integration with other members of the health workforce (Bailie et al., 2013; Schmidt et al., 2016).

Yet variations in role definition for CHWs, and the associated problems, are not unique to Australia (Topp et al., 2018) and are well documented in the broader global CHW literature (Olaniran et al., 2017; Taylor et al., 2017). This variation is problematic as it impedes research into how CHWs influence health outcomes.

In this paper, we explore the lack of differentiation in the global literature between the types of CHW roles both internationally and within the Australian context. Differentiating the various types of CHW roles has enabled us to articulate the need for a specific community health promotion role, one that is distinct from, but complementary to, that of AHWs in clinical settings.

The impetus for writing this paper came from the experiences of two of the authors (NT and JG), an Aboriginal and a non-Aboriginal woman, who have worked in partnership for more than 15 years delivering and evaluating health promotion programmes in Australia.

The challenges we experienced in creating Aboriginal CHW-type positions within two mainstream health promotion programmes caused us to question whether the focus on AHW roles had created unintended barriers to involving Aboriginal people in other opportunities to address health.

By detailing our experience in creating community-based, Aboriginal CHW positions in health promotion, we aim to draw attention to the systemic and institutional barriers that impede expanding employment opportunities for Aboriginal people wanting to work in health.

The National Tackling Indigenous Smoking Workers Workshop was held from Tuesday 2 April to Thursday 4 April 2019 in Alice Springs. This workshop was one of the largest gatherings of TIS workers, partners, experts and supporters of the TIS program.


Broadly, CHWs are individuals who may or may not be paid, who work towards improving health in their assigned communities and who often share some of the qualities of the people they serve. These may include similar cultural, linguistic or demographic characteristics; health conditions or needs; shared experiences or simply living in the same area.

However, the degree to which CHWs demographic or experiential profiles ‘match’ the target population also varies. And while most bring cultural and community knowledge to the role, many CHWs have little or no training in Western medicine or in navigating its health systems prior to becoming CHWs (Olaniran et al., 2017).

There is less agreement on the specifics of the CHW role including what they do, how they are trained, how these parameters link to outcomes, and even the titles they are given. One review evidenced 120 terms used to describe CHW roles including variants of ‘lay health educators’, ‘community health representatives’, ‘peer advisors’ and ‘multicultural health workers’ (Taylor et al., 2017).

Syntheses of literature on CHWs illustrate that the tasks they undertake are highly varied but often inadequately or inconsistently defined (Jaskiewicz and Tulenko, 2012; Kim et al., 2016). These issues, coupled with a general lack of contextual information about the role of CHWs, make it difficult to determine patterns or predictors of success.

This lack of clarity is documented as an ongoing barrier to the sustainability of CHW programmes, sometimes causing negative impacts on the workers themselves including burnout due a lack of appropriate training and mentoring support (Jaskiewicz and Tulenko, 2012; Schmidt et al., 2016). One review concluded that ‘the [CHW] role can be doomed by overly high expectations, lack of clear focus, and lack of documentation’ [(Swider, 2002), p. 19].

Previous research has classified CHW roles into typologies of main tasks and activities performed (Olaniran et al., 2017; Taylor et al., 2017). These include providing: (i) social support, (ii) clinical care, (iii) service development and linkages, (iv) health education and promotion, (v) community development, (vi) data collection and research and (vii) activism.

In practice, CHW activities overlap substantially, and tasks regularly extend across categories—both formally and informally (Jaskiewicz and Tulenko, 2012). In Table 1, we present different CHW role types alongside the theoretical models that underpin each.

Linking roles to theory can help differentiate and specify the mechanisms by which CHWs are meant to influence health through the core tasks they perform, and the specific skills related to each task.