Aboriginal Health #obesity : 10 major health organisations support #sugartax to fund chronic disease and obesity #prevention

Young Australians, people in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and socially disadvantaged groups are the highest consumers of sugary drinks.

These groups are also most responsive to price changes, and are likely to gain the largest health benefit from a levy on sugary drinks due to reduced consumption ,

A health levy on sugary drinks is not a silver bullet – it is a vital part of a comprehensive approach to tackling obesity, which includes restrictions on children’s exposure to marketing of these products, restrictions on their sale in schools, other children’s settings and public institutions, and effective public education campaigns.

We must take swift action to address the growing burden that overweight and obesity are having on our society, and a levy on sugary drinks is a vital step in this process.”

Rethink Sugary Drink campaign Download position statement

health-levy-on-sugar-position-statement

Read NACCHO previous articles Obesity / Sugartax

Amata SA was an alcohol-free community, but some years earlier its population of just under 400 people had been consuming 40,000 litres of soft drink annually.

See NACCHO Story

SBS will be showing That Sugar Film this Sunday night 2 April at 8.30pm.

There will be a special Facebook live event before the screenings

 ” The UK’s levy on sugar sweetened beverages will start in 2018, with revenue raised to go toward funding programs to reduce obesity and encourage physical activity and healthy eating for school children.

We know unhealthy food is cheaper and that despite best efforts by many Australians to make healthier choices price does affect our decisions as to what we buy.”

Sugar tax adds to the healthy living toolbox   see full article 2 below

 ” Alarmingly, with overweight becoming the perceived norm in Australia, the number of people actively trying to lose weight is declining.   A recent report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that nearly 64 per cent of Australians are overweight or obese.  This closely mirrors research that indicates around 66 per cent of Americans fall into the same category.

With this apparent apathy towards personal health and wellbeing, is it now up to food and beverage companies to combat rising obesity rates?

Who is responsible for Australia’s waistlines?  Article 3 Below

Ten of Australia’s leading health and community organisations have today joined forces to call on the Federal Government to introduce a health levy on sugary drinks as part of a comprehensive approach to tackling the nation’s serious obesity problem.

The 10 groups – all partners of the Rethink Sugary Drink campaign – have signed a joint position statement calling for a health levy on sugary drinks, with the revenue to be used to support public education campaigns and initiatives to prevent chronic disease and address childhood obesity.

This latest push further strengthens the chorus of calls in recent months from other leading organisations, including the Australian Medical Association, the Grattan Institute, the Australian Council of Social Services and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

Craig Sinclair, Chair of the Public Health Committee at Cancer Council Australia, a signatory of the new position statement, said a health levy on sugary drinks in Australia has the potential to reduce the growing burden of chronic disease that is weighing on individuals, the healthcare system and the economy.

“The 10 leading health and community organisations behind today’s renewed push have joined forces to highlight the urgent and serious need for a health levy on sugary drinks in Australia,” Mr Sinclair said.

“Beverages are the largest source of free sugars in the Australian diet, and we know that sugary drink consumption is associated with increased energy intake and in turn, weight gain and obesity. Sugary drink consumption also leads to tooth decay.

“Evidence shows that a 20 per cent health levy on sugar-sweetened beverages in Australia could reduce consumption and prevent thousands of cases of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke over 25 years, while generating $400-$500m in revenue each year to support public education campaigns and initiatives to prevent chronic disease and address childhood obesity.

“The Australian Government must urgently take steps to tackle our serious weight problem. It is simply not going to fix itself.”

Ari Kurzeme, Advocacy Manager for the YMCA, also a signatory of the new position statement, said young Australians, people in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and socially disadvantaged groups have the most to gain from a sugary drinks levy.

The Rethink Sugary Drink alliance recommends the following actions to tackle sugary drink consumption:
• A public education campaign supported by Australian governments to highlight the health impacts of regular sugary drink consumption
• Restrictions by Australian governments to reduce children’s exposure to marketing of sugar-sweetened beverages, including through schools and children’s sports, events and activities
• Comprehensive mandatory restrictions by state governments on the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages (and increased availability of free water) in schools, government institutions, children’s sports and places frequented by children
• Development of policies by state and local governments to reduce the availability of sugar-sweetened beverages in workplaces, government institutions, health care settings, sport and recreation facilities and other public places.

To view the position statement click here.

Rethink Sugary Drink is a partnership between major health organisations to raise awareness of the amount of sugar in sugar-sweetened beverages and encourage Australians to reduce their consumption. Visit www.rethinksugarydrink.org.au for more information.

The 10 organisations calling for a health levy on sugary drinks are:

Stroke Foundation, Heart Foundation, Kidney Health Australia, Obesity Policy Coalition, Diabetes Australia

the Australian Dental Association, Cancer Council Australia, Dental Hygienists Association of Australia,  Parents’ Voice, and the YMCA.

Sugar tax adds to the healthy living toolbox 

Every day we read or hear more about the so-called ‘sugar tax’ or, as it should be more appropriately termed, a ‘health levy on sugar sweetened beverages’.

We have heard arguments from government and health experts both in favour of, and opposed to this ‘tax’. As CEO of one the state’s leading health charities I support the state government’s goal to make Tasmania the healthiest population by 2025 and the Healthy Tasmania Five Year Strategic Plan, with its focus on reducing obesity and smoking.

However, it is only one tool in the tool box to help us achieve the vision.

Our approach should include strategies such as restricting the marketing of unhealthy food and limiting the sale of unhealthy food and drink products at schools and other public institutions together with public education campaigns.

Some of these strategies are already in progress to include in our toolbox. We all have to take some individual responsibility for the choices we make, but as health leaders and decision makers, we also have a responsibility to create an environment where healthy choices are made easier.

This, in my opinion, is not nannyism but just sensible policy and demonstrated leadership which will positively affect the health of our population.

 Manufacturers tell us that there are many foods in the marketplace that will contribute to weight gain and we should focus more on the broader debate about diet and exercise, but we know this is not working.

A recent Cancer Council study found that 17 per cent of male teens drank at least one litre of soft drink a week – this equates to at least 5.2 kilograms of extra sugar in their diet a year.

Evidence indicates a significant relationship between the amount and frequency of sugar sweetened beverages consumed and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  We already have 45,000 people at high risk of type 2 diabetes in Tasmania.

Do we really want to say we contributed to a rise in this figure by not implementing strategies available to us that would make a difference?

I recall being quite moved last year when the then UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said that he wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t act on reducing the impact of sugary drinks.

“I am not prepared to look back at my time here in this Parliament, doing this job and say to my children’s generation… I’m sorry. We knew there was a problem with sugary drinks…..But we ducked the difficult decisions and we did nothing.”

The UK’s levy on sugar sweetened beverages will start in 2018, with revenue raised to go toward funding programs to reduce obesity and encourage physical activity and healthy eating for school children. We know unhealthy food is cheaper and that despite best efforts by many Australians to make healthier choices price does affect our decisions as to what we buy.

In Mexico a tax of just one peso a litre (less than seven cents) on sugary drinks cut annual consumption by 9.7 per cent and raised about $1.4 billion in revenue.

Similarly, the 2011 French levy has decreased consumption of sugary drinks, particularly among younger people and low income groups.

The addition of a health levy on sugar sweetened beverages is not going to solve all problems but as part of a coordinated and multi-faceted approach, I believe we can effect change.

  • Caroline Wells, is Diabetes Tasmania CEO

3. Who is responsible for Australia’s waistlines? from here

Alarmingly, with overweight becoming the perceived norm in Australia, the number of people actively trying to lose weight is declining.   A recent report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that nearly 64 per cent of Australians are overweight or obese.  This closely mirrors research that indicates around 66 per cent of Americans fall into the same category.

With this apparent apathy towards personal health and wellbeing, is it now up to food and beverage companies to combat rising obesity rates?

Unfortunately it is not clear cut.  While Big Food and Big Beverage are investing in healthier product options, they also have a duty to shareholders to be commercially successful, and to expand their market share. The reality is that unhealthy products are very profitable.  However companies must balance this against the perception that they are complicit in making people fatter and therefore unhealthier with concomitant disease risks.

At the same time, the spectre of government regulation continues to hover, forcing companies to invest in their own healthy product ranges and plans to improve nutrition standards.

The International Food and Beverage Alliance (a trade group of ten of the largest food and beverage companies), has given global promises to make healthier products, advertise food responsibly and promote exercise. More specific pledges are being made in developed nations, where obesity rates are higher and scrutiny is more thorough.

However companies must still find a balance between maintaining a profitable business model and addressing the problem caused by their unhealthy products.

An example of this tension was evident when one leading company attempted to boost the sale of its healthier product lines and set targets to reduce salt, saturated fat and added sugar.  The Company also modified its marketing spend to focus on social causes.  Despite the good intentions, shareholders were disgruntled, and pressured the company to reinstate its aggressive advertising.

What role should governments play in shaping our consumption habits and helping us to maintain healthier weights? And should public policy be designed to alter what is essentially personal behaviour?

So far, the food and beverage industry has attempted to avoid the burden of excessive regulation by offering relatively healthier product lines, promoting active lifestyles, funding research, and complying with advertising restrictions.

Statistics indicate that these measures are not having a significant impact.  Subsequently, if companies fail to address the growing public health burden, governments will have greater incentive to step in.  In Australia, this is evident in the increased political support for a sugar tax.  The tax has been debated in varying forms for years, and despite industry resistance, the strong support of public health authorities may see a version of the tax introduced.

Already, Australia’s food labelling guidelines have been amended and tightened, and a clunky star rating system introduced to assist consumers to make healthier choices. Companies that have worked to address and invest in healthy product ranges must still market them in a responsible way. Given the sales pressure, it is tempting for companies to heavily invest in marketing healthier product ranges.  However they have an obligation under Australian consumer law to ensure products’ health claims do not mislead.

We know that an emboldened Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is taking action against companies that deliberately mislead consumers.  The food industry is firmly in the its sights, with a case currently underway against a leading food company over high sugar levels in its products. This shows that the Regulator will hold large companies to account, and push for penalties that ‘make them sit up and take notice.’

At a recent Consumer Congress, ACCC Chair Rod Sims berated companies that don’t treat consumers with respect.  He maintains that marketing departments with short-term thinking, and a short-sighted executive can lead to product promotion that is exaggerated and misleading.  All of which puts the industry on notice.

With this in mind, it is up to Big Food and Big Beverage to be good corporate citizens.  They must uphold their social, cultural and environmental responsibilities to the community in which they seek a licence to operate, while maintaining a strong financial position for their shareholders. It is a difficult task, but there has never been a better time for companies to accept the challenge.

Eliza Newton, Senior Account Director

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Reform : @KenWyattMP Shortfall on Indigenous health targets prompts new reform drive

 

” The Department of Health has moved to evaluate the effectiveness of primary health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including the $3.4 billion Indigenous Australians’ Health Program, established in 2014 as a key component of a 10-year health plan

A focus on how well the health system is working for consumers is critical to inform and bring about real change to improve service delivery and health outcomes

There also remain potentially significant groups of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who are not receiving access to the services they need … If health equality is to be achieved, the speed and scale of transformational change needs to considerably increase.”

A department spokeswoman told The Weekend Australian Picture above Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt. Picture: Kym Smith

The government has moved to target the socio-economic ­determinants of health for policy revisions. Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt has called on communities to contribute to discussions through the My Life, My Lead consultations.

Further reforms are likely from next year

The Australian Government is committed to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and communities, and other stakeholders to improve progress against the goals to improve health outcomes for Indigenous Australians, and is  welcoming participation in the IPAG Consultation 2017 from a broad range of stakeholders.

You can have your say by taking part in the online submission to the IPAG consultation 2017.

The online submission will be open from Wednesday 8 March 2017 and will close 11.59 pm Sunday 30 April 2017.

The failure to adequately improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health has prompted the Turnbull government to order a sweeping review of its multibillion-dollar primary health programs.

Malcolm Turnbull’s recent update on Closing The Gap initiatives showed little improvement in indigenous health and a consistently dire outlook, at a time health systems and budgets are under strain.

The target of closing the life expectancy gap — 16 years for ­indigenous women and 21 years for indigenous men — will not be reached by 2031. While the chronic diseases death rate has improved, cancer deaths still rise and smoking rates are too high.

Documents provided to companies interested in conducting the independent review reveal the department’s frustration at the lack of improvement and the need to reassess the approach to serving indigenous communities.

“While some inroads are being made, Australia is not on track to achieve the COAG targets to close the gap — either in health or a number of other related areas,” the documents state. “There also remain potentially significant groups of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who are not receiving access to the services they need … If health equality is to be achieved, the speed and scale of transformational change needs to considerably increase.”

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : Our #ACCHO Members Good News Stories from #NT #WA #VIC #SA #NSW #QLD #TAS

1. Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS)

2. Queensland :  Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH)

3.NSW Katungul Aboriginal Corporation Community and Medical Service

4.Northern Territory : AMSANT Central Australian Aboriginal Congress Alice Springs

5.Western Australia : Wirraka Maya Health Service

6. Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre

 For NACCHO the acceptance that our Aboriginal controlled health services deliver the best model of integrated primary health care in Australia is a clear demonstration that every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person should have ready access to these services, no matter where they live.

 Lets celebrate and share our ACCHO’s success

How to submit 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 each Thursday

1. Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS)

Major Mural for VAHS – originally published in the Koori Mail

A huge mural has been completed on the two-storey Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) building in the Melbourne suburb of Preston.

The mural, at the busy Bell Street/Plenty Road intersection, tells a story of struggle, loss and hope.

Supported by Darebin Council and VAHS, the mural pays tribute to the services’s history of working with Darebin’s Indigenous community and families and saving lives.

It was painted by 2013 Victorian Aboriginal artist of the year Ray Thomas (Gunnai Nation) and internationally renowned mural artist Matt Adnate.

VAHS acting chief executive Michael Graham said the mural represented a journey of self-determination in both holistic health and equality for Aboriginal people.

“The mural includes an Aboriginal community march depicting the faces of the people who campaigned hard to establish VAHS and to fight for recognition of, and equality for, Aboriginal people,” he said.

“Passersby can take a photo of themselves or friends in between the people on the mural at the march.”

Mother and daughter Nikita Rotumah and Yindi are featured on one side of the mural. They represent the importance of support in good health outcomes. The mural also features a poem by creative writer and VAHS employee Joanne Dwyer, written for the 40th anniversary of VAHS. It reads :

Many, many years ago some Elders decided,

That their people needed a meeting place,

Where they could come and be united.

Their aim was community control,

To make decisions of their own,

But it was more than just a meeting place,

For many it was home.

The VAHS was established in 1973 to address the specific medical needs of Victorian Aboriginal communities. The organisation has expanded over the past 40 years to provide a range of medical, dental and social services.

2. Queensland :  Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH)

“Evaluation of this unique model of pregnancy care has shown that women able to access the program engage with health services earlier in their pregnancy and more often,” Mr Carson said.

“They are also less likely to smoke during their pregnancy and are more likely to deliver their bub at the right gestation and at a healthy weight.

“Having the resources to establish this Hub has been integral to our ability to double the number of women able to access this program each year – and it means that we can link more women in with the IUIH Model of Care, a wrap-around service providing accessible and efficient primary health care to our community in South East Queensland.”

IUIH CEO Adrian Carson said the Hub’s establishment would significantly improve the wellbeing of mothers and their children in South East Queensland.

Photo above : Renee Blackman from Brisbane ATSICHS, Chelsea and Health Minister Cameron Dick visiting the Salisbury Mums & Bubs Hub today. Read IUIH press release here : http://bit.ly/2o30kyw

Mums and Bubs Hub closing the gap

Health Minister Cameron Dick today joined the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) at the official opening of the Birthing in Our Community (BiOC) Mums and Bubs Hub, which offers antenatal and family support services to improve the health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers and their babies.

Mr Dick said the BiOC program was aimed at closing the gap in maternity and birthing outcomes and giving Indigenous infants the best possible start in life.

He said the Hub was established with the help of $3 million of Palaszczuk Government funding for the BiOC program over two years.

“This integral funding has supported the expansion of the program through additional staff to help more mothers and their babies,” Mr Dick said.

“More employees at the Salisbury hub will allow a doubling of the number of women in the program from about 100 per year to about 200 per year.

“The funding has also helped move the program from the Mater Mother’s Hospital (MMH) to establish it at a more accessible location – Salisbury.”

He said the MMH program was limited by its location, due to issues such as parking, transport and logistical barriers to accessing primary care services.

“The new location with expanded services, and the collaborative approach that drives the BiOC, will help us to reach the Close the Gap target for child mortality rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies,” Mr Dick said.

“Through the BiOC program every woman has their own midwife on-call 24/7, and a support team that includes Indigenous health workers, Indigenous student midwives, doctors, and other health professionals.

“The hub will provide continuity of care through pregnancy, birth and labour care, up to six weeks postnatal care, birthing support, Stop Smoking in its Tracks incentive program, perinatal mental health, breastfeeding support and family support services.”

He said research funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council found 97.8 per cent of the women supported by the BiOC program had five or more antenatal visits and only 4 per cent had birthed a low weight baby (less than 2500gms).

Other encouraging improvements between women in the BiOC program and Indigenous women across Australia include:

  • 80 per cent of women in BiOC had their first antenatal visit in the first trimester of pregnancy, compared with the national Indigenous average of 52 per cent
  • 36 per cent of women in BiOC smoked during pregnancy, compared with the national Indigenous average of 48 per cent
  • 7 per cent of women in BiOC gave birth preterm, compared to the national Indigenous average of 14 per cent.

IUIH CEO Adrian Carson said the Hub’s establishment would significantly improve the wellbeing of mothers and their children in South East Queensland.

“Evaluation of this unique model of pregnancy care has shown that women able to access the program engage with health services earlier in their pregnancy and more often,” Mr Carson said.

“They are also less likely to smoke during their pregnancy and are more likely to deliver their bub at the right gestation and at a healthy weight.

“Having the resources to establish this Hub has been integral to our ability to double the number of women able to access this program each year – and it means that we can link more women in with the IUIH Model of Care, a wrap-around service providing accessible and efficient primary health care to our community in South East Queensland.”

3.NSW Katungul Aboriginal Corporation Community and Medical Service

 ” This year, Katungul Aboriginal Corporation Community and Medical Service has been welcomed to the Dalang Project.

“Dalang” is a Dharug word for learning and the Dalang Project has four key outcomes:

  • Improve Aboriginal oral health and prevent obesity in Aboriginal communities
  • Improve local capacity and provide employment for Aboriginal people 
  • Provide a positive learning experience for new graduates in Aboriginal health 
  • Strengthen the evidence in Aboriginal health promotion and early intervention.

“Oral health promotion interventions are more likely to be effective in Aboriginal communities if they achieve community ownership of the intervention or program. ”

Indigenous children on the Far South Coast should have great smiles and healthy teeth thanks to an innovative project funneling resources and training into the local Katungul Aboriginal Corporation Community and Medical Service.

The Dalang Project combines oral health service delivery, with graduate training and delivery of oral health promotion and obesity prevention in Aboriginal communities, and the project is made possible by the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health in the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Sydney.

Rachael Moir is senior project officer Oral Health (Research) at the Poche Centre and visited Katungal medical centre at Narooma last week to catch up with the recent graduates and see the project being implemented in the region.

“It is really exciting to be working with the team at Katungul and we look forward to the year ahead,” Ms Moir said.

The staff at Katungul Medical Service are very grateful for the support and the project as allowed dental therapist Kylie Tran to move and practise in Narooma for 12 months.

Working alongside her is dental assistant Stephanie Morris, who already has her Certificate III in Oral Health and is now working on her Certificate IV, while trainee dental assistant Jaydean Lonsdale is now working on her Certificate III.

Katungal’s dental coordinator Yvonne Stewart said the Dalang Project had allowed these two local women to receive training and start working on improving the health of their fellow Koori people.

“It’s contributing to the oral health of our people from Batemans Bay to Eden and the whole catchment areas of Katungal,” Mrs Stewart said.

“Their primary focus is working on the dental van that will visit as many schools as possible over the next 12 months while we have our dental therapist here.”

Mrs Stewart said Katungul medical service was very grateful for the support of the Poche Centre and the Dalang Project, which meant not only were people being treated but that young people were being educated about how to take care of their teeth and oral hygiene.

“We’re very grateful as it has enabled us to deal with the very high need that people have for dental treatment,” she said. “All our children need a lot more dental treatment.”

Ms Moir explained the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health was established and funded by philanthropists Greg Poche AO and Kay Van Norton Poche in 2008.

The Poches, along with their friend and co-founder Reg Richardson AM, had seen an opportunity for the skills, expertise and resources of the University of Sydney to be harnessed to improve Aboriginal Health.

The focus for the Poche Centre is on “Healthy Kids, Healthy Teeth and Healthy Hearts” and its approach is to ensure each project is guided by the principles of respect and collaboration; following a collective impact process; and incorporating service delivery, service learning, workforce development and research, Ms Moir said.

“Our work is informed by evidence about what works, both from a community capacity building perspective and a prevention, early intervention, treatment and rehabilitation perspective,” Ms Moir said. “As always we work in partnership with communities, Aboriginal health services and local organisations to develop unique responses that meet the particular needs of the communities.”

The Dalang Project is a collaboration between Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District (NBMLHD), Centre for Oral Health Strategy (COHS), the Rotary Club of Sydney and the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health.

In February, seven oral health therapy graduates were allocated to a host Aboriginal Medical/Health Service. Majority of the graduates moved away from their family and friends and will embed themselves into their new communities for one year.

This year, Katungul Aboriginal Corporation Community and Medical Service has been welcomed to the Dalang Project.

“Dalang” is a Dharug word for learning and the Dalang Project has four key outcomes:

  • Improve Aboriginal oral health and prevent obesity in Aboriginal communities
  • Improve local capacity and provide employment for Aboriginal people
  • Provide a positive learning experience for new graduates in Aboriginal health
  • Strengthen the evidence in Aboriginal health promotion and early intervention.

“Oral health promotion interventions are more likely to be effective in Aboriginal communities if they achieve community ownership of the intervention or program. In order to provide sustainable and long term oral health promotion in these communities, a large proportion of time will be dedicated to community consultation with each community to identify what type of oral health promotion strategies are needed and culturally competent; and to ensure community ownership of the program,” Ms Moir said.

“Healthy teeth are extremely important for overall health. This is why our Heathy Teeth strategy covers the full spectrum: from influencing oral health policy to delivering oral health services, building capacity within communities, and promoting oral health.”

4. AMSANT and Congress Alice Springs

Close the Gap event in Alice Springs – just some of the moments captured by Patrick Johnson

With Normie Gee and Elisabeth Heenan in Alice Springs.

5. Western Australia : Wirraka Maya Health Service

Wirraka Maya Health Service is leading the fight against FASD in the Pilbara.

Picture: Courtney Fowler

Wirraka Maya Health Service is leading the fight against Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in the Pilbara, raising awareness through a two-month project with a leading FASD consultant on an issue which is a having devastating impact on the community.

FASD occurs when pre-born babies are exposed to alcohol in the womb.

It can cause facial abnormalities, growth deficiencies, skeletal deformities, organ deformities, central nervous system handicaps and behavioural problems in later life and its impact on Pilbara children, while not statistically documented, is suspected to be widespread.

Bringing more than 20 years experience working in the US, Canada and India, Carolyn Hartness is working closely with Pilbara Aboriginal medical services, a Telethon Kids research team and remote communities.

She said increasing awareness of the vast spectrum of disorders associated with FASD was crucial to better prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disorders.

“I will provide training and consultation in any way I can to keep the message out there that FASD is with us, it’s going to stay with us and people need to be educated,” Ms Hartness said.

“There is a lot of turnover in the health services — that means when we educate people. We can’t think the job is done, we have to continue to educate workers regularly.

“I’m hoping we can train people who are really interested in keeping the information out there and confident enough to facilitate discussions about the topic.

“This is a community issue; the recognition of it has to be a community-driven intervention.”

For many Pilbara health, childcare workers and police, tackling FASD is one of the Pilbara’s most important social issues.

Wirraka Maya chief executive June Councillor said the effects of fetal alcohol exposure were life-long and could include poor health, developmental and educational outcomes.

Senior Sergeant Dean Snashall said because people with FASD were less likely to engage at school, they had a higher likelihood of ending up in the judicial system.

“Often people with FASD have problems educationally, are less likely to go to school and therefore more likely to (play truant) or on the streets when they should be in school,” he said.

“By nature, that leaves them at risk to harming themselves or at risk of committing criminal offences.

“Ninety per cent of crime in the Pilbara is alcohol or drug related … it would be fair to say many of the kids we deal with could be FASD children.”

The Telethon Kids Institute has been studying the spectrum disorder in the WA youth justice system, but a lack of FASD clinics had prevented authorities getting a grip on numbers.

Ms Hartness said when she became aware of FASD in the 1990s, she realised there was a clinical reason behind many of the problems she was seeing within the native American community in the US.

“This is why these kids are in prison, this is why grandparents are coming to parenting classes (instead of parents), this is why all these kids in classes (are restless and can’t learn) … I was just amazed,” she said.

Yet, while FASD is the most common preventable cause of intellectual impairment in developed countries, affecting up to five per cent of people, there still has not been enough research conducted into its various disorders, Ms Hartness said.

She said the biggest challenge was the lack of funding for FASD research and programs and the fact at this stage there was no single tool available to diagnose those with the disorder.

She also said FASD was not just an issue for indigenous communities — research showed it was a wider societal problem.

“Now the research shows, more than likely the next woman in America to have an affected kid is a white professional and educated woman,” she said.

“And a lot of that is the glass of wine (she might have) with dinner every night.”

Ms Hartness said while 80 per cent of women quit drinking during pregnancy, it was the 20 per cent who found it hard to stop that needed help.

She also said the alcoholic drinking women did in the weeks or months before they realised they were pregnant could also play a critical role in causing FASD.

Ms Hartness added the best way to avoid putting a fetus at risk of FASD was by carefully planning pregnancies to avoid the effects of the initial period drinking before women realise they were with child.

“I’m not asking everyone to quit drinking. I am just saying let’s plan pregnancies and let’s be sober during the pregnancy,” she said.

Ms Councillor said although there was a long road ahead in the fight against FASD, Wirraka Maya’s programs were making a difference in the Pilbara community.

“We have established the FASD network, that is a forum or a vehicle to bring people together across the services, across the community to talk about FASD and some of the strategies that we need to put in place to address it and prevent it,” she said.

“We have got our primary health care that we provide to the community, we also provide social and emotional wellbeing programs to the community and that includes family and domestic violence, indigenous family hearings so child sexual abuse, severe mental illness through our personal helpers and mentors program.

“Fetal alcohol goes across all of the whole spectrum and we have them all those services in the one place … we are very well placed in the community to be able to be leading the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder strategy.

“It is quite a broad project, but I think it is important that we do it because for us to make a difference in the future, we have to start now.”

6. Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre

Penalty for deliberate damage to Aboriginal relics in Tasmania jumps to $1.6m

The penalty for deliberately damaging Aboriginal relics will jump from $1,570 to a maximum of $1.57 million under new legislation tabled by the Tasmanian Government.

The Aboriginal Relics Amendment Bill 2017, which aims to remove or amend outdated elements of the 1975 act, also removes the 1876 “cut-off” date for what is considered Aboriginal heritage.

The date marks the death of prominent Aboriginal woman Truganini, inferring that anything made after that date had no heritage value.

Under the changes, a new Aboriginal Heritage Council will be established and the time available for commencing prosecutions will be extended from six months to two years.

The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (TAC) chief executive Heather Sculthorpe welcomed parts of the bill, but said it did not go far enough.

“There are two good things about the Relics Amendment,” she said.

“One is they have removed 1876 as the cut-off date beyond which there can be Aboriginal heritage, and secondly, they have significantly increased the penalties for offences under the act,” she said.

“But on the other hand they have removed the offences of strict liability and they have enabled only two years for a prosecution to be brought — that is better than the six months that it was, but we have urged the Government to say that there should be no time limit.”

Ms Sculthorpe said it was “contradictory” of the State Government to introduce stronger protections for Aboriginal relics, while also trying to reopen four-wheel drive tracks in the Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area on Tasmania’s west coast, an area of Indigenous significance.

“What they have not done is look at all the other ways Aboriginal heritage needs to be protected,” she said.

“On the one hand they are amending the relics act, then … they are determined to let four-wheel drive vehicles run amok in takayna [Tarkine].

“Then they are acquiring land to put a cable car on kunanyi [Mount Wellington], as well as to cut down trees and destroy much of the pristine nature of takayna.”

The TAC called on the State Government to increase penalties under the Aboriginal Relic Act 1975 last year, after vandals defaced “priceless” Indigenous rock art believed to be up to 8,000 years old in Tasmania’s Central Highlands.

The ancient ochre paintings in a rock shelter had been scratched with a rock.

Ms Sculthorpe said charges had still not been laid.

Under the current legislation, the maximum penalty for offences against the act is 10 penalty units ($1,570) or up to six months’ jail.

Under the changes, maximum penalties for deliberate acts related to harming relics will be 10,000 penalty units ($1.57 million) for companies and 5,000 penalty units ($785,000) for individuals .

The maximum penalties for reckless or negligent offences will be 2,000 penalty units ($314,000) for companies and 1,000 penalty units ( $157,000) for individuals.

For “lesser offences” the maximum penalty will be 100 penalty units ($15,700) for companies and 50 penalty units ($7,850) for individuals.

Driving over middens to attract fine

Tasmanian Regional Aboriginal Communities Alliance (TRACA) co-chair Rodney Dillon said the changes were overdue and would better protect Indigenous sites under threat from four-wheel drives.

“This act will support us in stopping those sites from being destroyed. If people are going to drive over middens these penalties apply,” he said.

Heritage Minister Matthew Groom said if the legislation was enacted it would be the most significant advancement in the protection of Aboriginal heritage in 40 years.

“It has resulted from consultation with the Aboriginal community,” he said.

“We recognise up front that there will be many people that will think this legislation does not go far enough.

“But what we have seen time and time again where previous governments have sought to do this in one go is that it has failed.”

Government showing ‘two faces’: Greens

Greens leader Cassy O’Connor said the Government was showing “two faces” on Aboriginal heritage.

“You have got this Government with two faces; it says it wants to reset the relationship with Aboriginal Tasmanians and protect Aboriginal heritage, but it wants to unleash four wheel drives in the Tarkine,” she said.

“It just does not make sense, and Aboriginal Tasmanians are not buying it.”

Mr Groom said the Government stood by its position on the Arthur-Pieman Conservation Reserve.

“We have stated very clearly that we believe that there should be access to the Arthur-Pieman but that it should be done in a way which is consistent with the proper protection of natural and cultural values in that area,” he said.

In February the ABC reported volunteers from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (TAC) and the Wilderness Society found middens, artefact scatters and stone tools in the wilderness region in Tasmania’s north-west.

Following the find, the TAC called for the area to be declared a national park to better protect the sites.

The legislation is expected to be debated next month.

State government’s proposed amendments to the Aboriginal Relics Act 1975 met with lukewarm reception from Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre

The state government’s positive changes to the Aboriginal Relics Act are undermined by its disregard for Indigenous Tasmanians, a leading voice in the Indigenous community says.

While she applauded the government’s efforts to amend the Aboriginal Relics Act 1975 so that it was more sensitive to indigenous heritage, Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre chief executive Heather Sculthorpe said the changes did not accord with some of the government’s other policies.

“Whilst they’re bringing in small amendments to the Relics Act, they’re continuing with their determination to open tarkayna [the Tarkine] to 4WD tracks, which will … wreck aboriginal heritage,” Ms Sculthorpe said.

“They’re still chopping down trees in tarkayna … to offend us as the owners of tarkayna.”

The Aboriginal Relics Amendment Bill 2016 seeks to better protect aboriginal heritage in Tasmania.

Some of the amendments the bill proposed were: changing the name of the original act to ‘Aboriginal Heritage Act’; removing a reference to the year 1876 as the so-called cut-off date for aboriginal heritage; increasing penalties for damaging aboriginal heritage; and removing the six-month time limit for the prosecution of offences.

Environment Minister Matthew Groom said the Hodgman government was committed to “reset[ting]” the state’s relationship with the Tasmanian aboriginal community.

He said the government would further consult the aboriginal community to resolve any remaining issues with the act.

NACCHO #JobAlerts Aboriginal Health : #Mawarnkarra #Durri #Nganampa Health @Apunipima @UrapuntjaAMS

Help Close the Gap and create healthy futures for our mob

This weeks featured jobs on our NACCHO Job Alert

1.Remote Area Nurses & Nurse-Midwives Nganampa Health Council SA

2. Aboriginal Health Worker – Full Time :Durri ACMS NSW

3. Teacher Aboriginal Health (Practitioner) Port Macquarie NSW

4. Indigenous Health Promotion Officer Mawarnkarra Health Service WA

5. Apunipima Cape York Health Council : Chief Executive Officer Closing 31 March

6. Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Worker : Illawarra Aboriginal Medical Service

7.Urapuntja Health Service :  3 positions currently available : No closing date

How to submit a Indigenous Health #jobalert ? 

NACCHO Affiliate , Member , Government Department or stakeholder

If you have a job vacancy in Indigenous Health 

 Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media

Tuesday by 4.30 pm for publication each Wednesday

1.Remote Area Nurses & Nurse-Midwives Nganampa Health Council SA

Remote Area Nurses & Nurse-Midwives

Exciting and varied opportunities for Registered Nurses and Nurse – Midwives to join a highly recognised Aboriginal Health Service. If you have recent Medical/ A&E and Clinical experience, are passionate about making a difference and looking to be remunerated for your efforts – then read on..

Your new company

Nganampa Health Council is an Aboriginal owned and controlled health organisation operating on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in the far north-western region of South Australia. The APY Lands cover roughly 103,000 square km, with a population of approx. 3,000 Anangu people. The region is freehold land controlled by the Anangu people.

Across this area, Nganampa Health operates seven clinics, an aged care facility and assorted health related programs including aged care, sexual health, environmental health, health worker training, dental, women’s health, male health, children’s health and mental health.

Nganampa Health Council is widely recognised as being an exemplar Aboriginal health service in the country. Their successes include significantly reducing the rates of sexually transmitted infections, increasing birth weights through their antenatal program, consistently keeping childhood immunisation rates at 100% and providing high quality residential and respite aged care at their Tjilpiku Pampaku Ngura aged care facility.

Further information can be found at www.nganampahealth.com.au

Your new career

Nganampa Health Council has opportunities for full-time clinic-based Registered Nurses and Registered Midwives to join their clinical teams, based in remote South Australia.

In these highly varied roles, you will be responsible for delivering primary health care according to the CARPA Standard Treatment Manual, and assisting in the early detection and management of chronic illness as part of a multi-disciplinary team. 

Working under the direction of the Medical Director and Clinical Service Manager, some of your areas of responsibility will include:

  • Working collaboratively with Medical Officers, Anangu Health Workers and other health staff to provide primary health care;
  • Treating acute illness and chronic medical conditions, and managing computerised recalls and patient follow-up care;
  • Child health monitoring and immunisations;
  • Patient health education;
  • Assessment and referral of social welfare issues;
  • Public health screening for STI, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis A, B & C;
  • Public health surveying and programs;
  • Antenatal and post natal care;
  • General education support for Anangu Health Workers; and
  • Day-to-day administration of the clinics.

On offer is an extremely attractive salary package circa $204,581 – $238,133, commensurate with remote area experience, (this includes estimated non-cash benefits of $37,615 – $47,141).

Successful candidates will also be supplied with rent-free modern accommodation, including all rent, electricity, gas and basic essentials! Benefits include:

  • District allowance;
  • Work allowance;
  • Superannuation;
  • Annual retention bonus;
  • Leave loading;
  • Annual airfare;
  • 12 days study leave;
  • Recreation leave allowance;
  • 12 weeks annual leave; and
  • Assistance with relocation costs (negotiable)

About you

Candidates need to be adaptable and flexible individuals who can display the initiative, discretion and cultural sensitivity needed to support and drive the organisation’s objectives and values. Your ability to communicate and participate effectively within a cross-cultural, multi-disciplinary health team will be a must.

Individuals who are open to change, accepting of Aboriginal people, comfortable living in a remote environment and who are willing to learn the ways of the people will be well suited to these roles. The ability to work under Aboriginal management and control will also be highly regarded, as will a demonstrated understanding of issues affecting Aboriginal health, the principles of Primary Health Care and relevant legislation. No two days will be the same and as a result, highly resourceful candidates will thrive!

To be considered, you will:

  • Be a Registered Nurse or an RN / Registered Midwife, and be registered with the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA);
  • Have a minimum of three years post graduation/ post bridging course, along with recent acute Medical / A&E experience;
  • Have demonstrable experience working in a clinical environment and hospital-based general nursing experience in the past 5 years (both of which are essential);
  • Ideally hold post basic nursing qualifications in Emergency Care, Critical Care and or rural and remote area Nursing (not essential);
  • Be able to demonstrate a sound professional clinical background and an ability to manage their own tasks; and
  • Have a good degree of computer literacy — health records and organisational documentation is computerised

Midwives must have done some acute general work within the past 5 years.

These positions are based in busy community clinics that are open from 9am to 5:30pm Monday to Friday. Nurses do provide an after hours on-call service, and you will require advanced nursing clinical skills including excellent clinical assessment skills and confidence in managing diversity in presentations — trauma, acute and chronic medical conditions — across all age groups.

The successful candidates must also be willing to undergo a Police Check and a Working With Children Check. A manual driver’s licence is essential and it would be advantageous to have experience with 4WD vehicles, although a 2 day 4WD training course is provided in your orientation week.

If you have a diverse background in clinical experience, including in clinical acute medicine, A&E, paediatrics and/or Aboriginal health care – then we want to hear from you!

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are strongly encouraged to apply.

To receive regular updates from Nganampa Health including future job opportunities, follow Nganampa Health Council on Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nganampa-Health-Council/306940186003663

Apply Now

2. Aboriginal Health Worker – Full Time :Durri ACMS NSW

Position designated under Section 14 of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1997 NSW

For over 30 years, Durri Aboriginal Corporation Medical Service has provided essential and culturally appropriate medical, preventive, allied and oral health services to Aboriginal communities.  Located in Kempsey and surrounds and the Nambucca Valley on the Mid North Coast of NSW. Durri is committed to making health care and education accessible to improve the health status and wellbeing of our communities.

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Health Professional to join the dedicated and passionate team at our Nambucca Heads outreach clinic.

This challenging role would suit an experienced and motivated Aboriginal Health Worker/Practitioner, AHPRA registered or willingness to obtain required credentials with a desire to achieve positive outcomes in Indigenous Health.   You will work with a dedicated team of GPs, Nurses, Allied Health practitioners and healthcare workers in the delivery of a wide range of health services.

The successful candidate will enjoy access to beautiful beaches, World Heritage Rainforest and relaxed lifestyle of the Mid North Coast whilst making a real difference in the community.

Above award pay rates and a Monday to Friday work week, make this an attractive and rewarding opportunity.  Benefits include 9.5% superannuation, attractive salary sacrifice, training and access to an employee assistance program.

To apply go to our website: http://www.durri.org.au and download a copy of the Application Pack.  Email this with your resume not exceeding 4 pages, and your submission addressing each of the selection criteria to hr@durri.org.au, or mail to:

Application

Chief Operations Officer

Durri Aboriginal Corporation Medical Services

PO Box 136

KEMPSEY  NSW  2440

Applications close: 05.04.2017 at 5.00 pm

Applications that do not attach a completed selection criteria submission will not be considered

3. Teacher Aboriginal Health (Practitioner) Port Macquarie NSW

North Coast TAFE is seeking a Teacher of Aboriginal Health (Practitioner) with current industry experience and knowledge to be based in Port Macquarie.
This position is an Aboriginal identified position in accordance with Part 9A of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977. Aboriginal applicants must demonstrate Aboriginality.
If you are interested in sharing your talents by teaching, and if helping people, building relationships and making a difference is important to you, then this is for you!

You will love this position if you:

 

  • Like to share your passion and expertise in Aboriginal Health
  • Are a respected industry professional with strong, established, local industry networks in the Hastings and Manning Valley
  • Have the ability to work closely with organisations to assist with their learning needs in conjunction with head teachers and teachers
  • Have experience coaching, mentoring and training existing staff, or trainees in the workplace
  • Are committed to building links within Aboriginal Health

Summary and purpose of position:
The role of the TAFE teacher as a professional educator is to help, construct, guide and enhance the educative process. The teacher delivers educational programs and facilitates learning, enabling students to achieve their desired outcomes.
The role of the teacher involves a broad range of activities which directly and indirectly support learning through the delivery of educational programs and include:

 

  • Providing appropriate variety and flexibility in educational practice
  • Contributing to decision making that affects the learning environment
  • Liaising with local industry, other educational providers and the community to ensure that education and training are relevant and responsive to needs
  • Participating cooperatively in the development and implementation of agreed quality improvement processes by reflecting on experience, their own performance and an evaluation of processes and program outcomes.

If you have…

 

  • Demonstrated high level written and oral communication skills and proven ability to communicate effectively
  • Capability to facilitate learning in an adult environment and hold the TAE40110 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAE)
  • Commitment to quality customer service
  • Strengths in problem solving and change management

… We would love to hear from you!

North Coast TAFE is an award winning provider of quality vocational education and training (VET) and one of the largest regional training providers in Australia.
This is a unique opportunity to join our innovative team and dynamic organisation while also enjoying the spectacular lifestyle of North Coast NSW.

Location: Port Macquarie

Status: Full Time for 2 years


Closing date: Monday 3 April 2017, 11:59 pm

 

Learn more: Information regarding the position is available by clicking the following link: Information Package

Important Information:
•Applicants are required to apply on-line
•Applicants are required to address the selection criteria
For any additional information regarding this position please contact Heidi Groves, Talent Resourcing Officer on 02 6588 8053

If you experience difficulties whilst submitting your application online at JobsNSW please contact the Support Team on 1800 562 679.

NOTE: It is an offence for a person convicted of a serious sex offence to apply for this position. Relevant screening checks will be conducted.
This is a child-related position. Applicants must have a valid and current Working with Children Check (WWCC) Clearance as a condition of employment. To apply for a WWCC Clearance, please visit the Children Guardian’s website at http://www.kids.nsw.gov.au/

APPLY HERE

4. Indigenous Health Promotion Officer Mawarnkarra Health Service WA

We are seeking an Indigenous Health Promotions Officer to enhance the holistic primary health care services provided to the Aboriginal people of the West Pilbara, by undertaking activities aimed to develop & implement a coordinated team-based approach to Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander health, as well as facilitate working relationships and communication exchange between mainstream organisations, Aboriginal Medical Services, and their peak bodies.

The successful applicant must be willing to travel on a regular basis therefore will need to hold a “C” class driver’s license. The skills required include the ability to complete reporting duties into various computer programs, taking initiative and working within a team environment. Excellent communication, interpersonal skills and organisational skills is also mandatory. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are strongly encouraged to apply.

 

Interested applicants are encouraged to request a copy of the Position Description and Selection Criteria from our Human Resources team on (08)9182 0801 or via emailmailto:hrofficer@mhs.org.au

5. Apunipima Cape York Health Council : Chief Executive Officer

Apunipima Cape York Health Council is committed to the delivery of comprehensive primary health care services to ensure positive health outcomes for the people of Cape York. By tailoring its focus to each individual community, this organisation provides holistic health services, supporting individuals and families across the region. As part of their commitment to the region, the Board of Directors is seeking to appoint a new CEO to lead the organisation with a focus on continued and sustainable growth.

Based in Cairns and managing a diverse team of over 160 staff delivering services to 11 remote Cape York Communities, this role will focus on harnessing the organisation’s 23 years of experience in advocacy and service delivery as well as seeking new opportunities to support the existing client base.

The CEO will be particularly focused on developing the organisation’s capability and driving outcomes to achieve a more innovative primary health care health service. Key to the role are strong people leadership, commercial decision making in a not for profit environment, and the ability to build and maintain high level relationships to maximise the benefit to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community as well as the individuals utilising its services.

Apunipima Cape York Health Council is looking for an Executive with a proven commercial success, strong stakeholder engagement and outstanding leadership skills. The successful applicant will be required to demonstrate a commitment to ensuring improved outcomes for the people of Cape York as well as experience in the management of health services or related industries.

Confidential enquiries can be directed to Ryan Webster on 07 3003 7731.

To apply or request an information pack please email executiveqld@chandlermacleod.com

Applications close on Friday 31st March 2017.

Reference Number: 183587A_148904451643755
Contact Details: Ryan Webster

6. Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Worker : Illawarra Aboriginal Medical Service

The Illawarra Aboriginal Medical Service provides health and community services to the local Indigenous community.

The AOD Worker will work in a highly skilled team to deliver quality care to drug and alcohol clients.

Essential criteria:

  • Minimum of Certificate IV in Alcohol and Other Drugs
  • Minimum 2 years’ experience working in the Community Services field specific to Alcohol and Other Drugs
  • Demonstrated knowledge of case management
  • Demonstrated knowledge of treatment models
  • Proven ability in delivering presentations and facilitating group work
  • Proven ability in counselling single clients, couples and families, inclusive of youth
  • Demonstrated ability to use computer programs such as Microsoft Office, as well as the ability to gain necessary skills to utilise position specific programs
  • Current Drivers Licence
  • Working with Children Check

Desirable:

  • Knowledge of local AOD issues in Indigenous people

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are encouraged to apply.

To apply for this position, please forward your Cover Letter, Selection Criteria Statement and Resume to klawlor@illawarraams.com.au.

Applications will close at 5pm on Friday 31 March 2017
A criminal record check will be carried out on successful applicant.
Applications that do not address the Selection Criteria will not be considered.
Previous applicants need not apply.

7.Urapuntja Health Service :  3 positions currently available

The Urapuntja Community is situated on the Sandover Highway some 280 km north east of Alice Springs. Urapuntja Community comprises 16 Outstation communities spread out over some 3230 square km of desert. There are some 900 people who are mainly Anmatyerre and Alyawarra speaking people. Distances to the outstations vary from 5 to 100 kms from the clinic.

Note to above :

Urapuntja Health Service Aboriginal Corporation is celebrating 40 years of service. To mark the occasion we are planning events on the 28th of July 2017. We are also on the hunt for photo’s and stories documenting our history and would greatly appreciate you forwarding this to anyone you may know that has contributed to the success of our service.
For further information and to register interest please contact 40years@urapuntja.org.au

Urapuntja Health Service developed from many years of negotiations by Aboriginal people to have their own health service.

Urapuntja is a community controlled health service with a Board of Directors which is elected from and by the community at the Annual General Meeting held each year. The Directors meets regularly to discuss issues and make decisions relevant to the Organisation.

POSITIONS AVAILABLE

Remote Area Midwife
Location Amengernternenh Community, Utopia, NT
12 month limited term contract full time (38 hours p.w.)
Download Job and Person Specification

General Practitioner
Location Amengernternenh Community, Utopia, NT
12 month limited term contract full time (38 hours p.w.)
Download Job and Person Specification

Remote Area Nurse
Location Amengernternenh Community, Utopia, NT
12 month limited term contract full time (38 hours p.w.)
Download Job and Person Specification

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #disability and @NDIS : Your Top 10 Questions answered about the National Disability Insurance Scheme

What is the NDIS?

Will the NDIS mean more or less support?

Is the NDIS diagnosis based or needs based?

Am I eligible for the NDIS?

Where is the NDIS available now?

What supports does the NDIS cover?

How does the NDIS process work?

I have an NDIS plan. What’s next?

When will the NDIS be here for all Australians?

Where can we get more help

Full details below or download Help Guide Here :

NDIS your Questions answered Download

By any measure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities are some of the most disadvantaged Australians, often facing multiple barriers to their meaningful participation within their own communities and the wider community.

The prevalence of disability amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is significantly higher than the general population. The Productivity Commission’s Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Report released mid- November 2014, highlighted that almost half of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population have some form of disability or long term health condition, twice the prevalence of disability experienced by other Australians.

The First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN) welcomes the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and recognises its huge potential to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people greater access to disability support “

Damian Griffis is the CEO of the First Peoples Disability Network, an national organisation of and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, families and communities with lived experience of disability.

Ten-point plan for the implementation of the NDIS in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities HERE

See full article here or 2 below

  ” The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is the most significant policy reform for people with a disability since the Disability Services Act 1986 (DSA). The NDIS has proven potential to enable people with disabilities to live good lives.

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) reports that around 5% of NDIS participants are of Indigenous heritage.

The NDIA has branded the new scheme as a way of expanding individual and family choice in the services and supports people with disabilities can access. As we have noted previously, individual ‘choice’ requires ‘opportunities’ to exist in local communities. The more remote or rural a community the fewer opportunities available. As such, limited ‘opportunities’ in communities lead to limited ‘choice’ for Indigenous people with disability on NDIS plans who live in rural or remote communities.”

Dr John Gilroy and Associate Professor Jennifer Smith-Merry’s 

Originally published in Croakey  see full article 1 below

Dr John Gilroy is a Koori man from the Yuin Nation, and a doctor of sociology in Indigenous health, specialising in disability studies.

Every Australian Counts

NDIS: Your Questions Answered

The NDIS was launched in trial sites on 1 July 2013. The Scheme is being progressively rolled out over the next few years across Australia. In each State or Territory, the roll out will be staged to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible. Everyone who needs the NDIS will have access by 2020.

Download the Every Australian Counts NDIS: Your Questions Answered

NDIS your Questions answered Download

Endeavour Foundation Discover. This guide has been developed for individuals, families and people with an intellectual disability who are about to navigate the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).Note not an NDIS publication

NDIS 168 Page

What is the NDIS?

The existing disability system throughout Australia is inefficient, fragmented, unfair, underfunded and leaves most people with disability without the support they need. Plus, people with disability and their families don’t get enough say in the type of supports they receive.

The NDIS stands for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. It’s a new government policy that aims to transform the way Australia supports people with permanent and significant disability.

The foundations of the NDIS are built on two key pillars:

It’s a universal system. The NDIS is a national program similar to Medicare. It will provide supports to all eligible Australians ensuring people with disability and their families get the support they need when they need it.

It’s about more choice and control. The NDIS is based on the idea that people with disability and their families should be empowered to set their own goals and choose their own supports. This is achieved by giving them control over their own support budget.

Will the NDIS mean more or less support?

Under the existing disability system around 220,000 Australians receive funded disability supports. Under the NDIS approximately 460,000 people will receive funded supports, and the average support package will almost double from $18,000 to $35,000.

The NDIS is about making sure you have the right support in the right place at the right time to help you participate in the community and economy. If your needs change over time, you can have your plan reviewed and level of support adjusted. You will have complete choice and control over what’s in your plan and who provides your supports so you can make the most of your package.

Is the NDIS diagnosis based or needs based?

Needs based. The NDIS does not have a list of conditions that automatically include or exclude you from support. It’s based on what you need to live a full life, and how much your disability affects your ability to carry out everyday activities. In the case of children, it’s about whether a disability is likely to be permanent or result in a developmental delay.

This is a big change from the existing system where children without a diagnosis often miss out on funding or their parents are forced to lie about their disability to get support.

Am I eligible for the NDIS?

To access the NDIS you must:

have a significant and permanent disability – this includes people with psychosocial disability

be an Australian citizen, permanent resident or a New Zealand citizen on a Protected Special Category Visa

enter the Scheme before you turn 65.

If you’re unsure whether you meet the above criteria, a good yardstick is if you’re currently receiving funded support, you can expect to be eligible for the NDIS. For individuals who may benefit from early intervention, the eligibility criteria to access the NDIS is more flexible.

Where is the NDIS available now?

The NDIS is being introduced in stages throughout Australia. Existing service users and new participants will enter the scheme progressively. Full scheme transition began in July 2016 in many parts of Australia. There’s still a few more years until it will be here for everyone. The best way to find out when the NDIS is coming to you is by visiting the government’s website: www.ndis.gov.au

As the NDIS rolls out, local offices will open. Here are the current office locations:

Australian Capital Territory

Offices in:

Belconnen, Braddon, Tuggeranong and Woden

New South Wales

Offices in:

Bankstown, Batemans Bay, Bega, Blacktown, Campbelltown, Charlestown, Chatswood, Gosford, Katoomba, Liverpool, Maitland, Moree, Newcastle, Parramatta, Penrith, Tamworth, Taree and Windsor.

Northern Territory

Office in:

Tennant Creek

Queensland

Charters Towers, Palm Island and Townsville

South Australia

Offices in:

Elizabeth, Modbury, Murray Bridge, Noarlunga, Port Adelaide and St Marys

Tasmania

Offices in:

Devonport, Hobart and Launceston

Victoria

Offices in:

Colac, Corio, Darebin, Geelong and Greensborough

Western Australia

Midland

What supports does the NDIS cover?

The types of supports you might get include therapies such as physiotherapy, mobility and technological aids and home modifications.

And it’s not just about covering the ‘essentials’ – your plan could include things such as recreational activities, developing skills like shopping or cooking and help with finding a job. No two people are exactly the same, so neither are the supports in their plan. The NDIS is about you living the life you want – not just getting by.

Some of the supports the NDIS will cover include:

Transport assistance

Therapies

Guide & assistance dogs

Case management

Crisis/emergency support

Personal care

Support for community inclusion

Respite

Specialist employment services

Specialist housing support

Domestic assistance

Aids, equipment, home & vehicle modifications

How does the NDIS process work?

Step one to accessing the NDIS is to find out if you are eligible. Remember, under the new system more people with disability will receive funded supports than ever before. If you are already using disability services and supports you will be contacted by the NDIS or a representative when it’s time to transition. Others may need to present proof of disability such as a statement from your doctor explaining your disability and how it affects your life. The Access checklist on the NDIS website is a good place to start; http://www.myplace.ndis.gov.au/ndisstorefront/ndis-access-checklist

Step two is to start the planning process by talking to the NDIS or one of their representatives. The idea is to talk through your support needs and goals together and come up with the best ways that are reasonable and necessary to meet these goals. And you don’t have to do it alone – you can invite a family member or friend or support worker to come along too. Together with the planner you will develop a support package.

Every Australian Counts tip: Think about your planning meeting as the chance to get the most out of your NDIS support package – the more time you spend preparing, the better your plan will be. So before your meeting, think about what you’ll need to live the life you want. It can also be helpful to chat to your family and carers about what’s missing in your current supports, activities and plans.

I have an NDIS plan. What’s next?

At your NDIS planning meetings you will come up with how to put your plan into action. Most importantly, that means coming up with the supports and services you need to live your life to the full.

This means that for the first time ever, you can decide exactly where your supports come from. This can be through the service providers you’re using now, finding completely new ones, or even self-managing your supports – it’s completely up to you!

If you disagree with an NDIS assessment or are unhappy with your support package, you have the right to ask for a review from the NDIS. You also have the right to get an advocate, friend or independent representative to help you out in this process.

Every Australian Counts tip: The NDIS was set up to give you the power to choose your own supports and service providers. You can do your own research or get help from advice and advocacy organisations. It can also be useful to talk to other people with disability, family members or carers about what works or doesn’t work for them. Remember, your plan is not a one-off decision. If or when your needs change, so can your plan.

When will the NDIS be here for all Australians?

The NDIS will be here for all Australians who need it (460,000 people) no later than 30 June 2019. Rollout information and timetables can be found online: www.ndis.gov.au

Ten ways the NDIS will benefit all Australians.

It’s a national system. If you, or someone you love, is born with a disability or acquires one later in life, you all no longer run the risk of falling through holes in Australia’s safety net based on what state or territory you live in.

People with a disability and their families and carers can participate in the social, economic, and cultural life of the nation with the supports and programs they choose.

Families will be able to access support and services for assistance in meeting the needs of their family member with a disability, reducing physical, emotional and financial stress.

The NDIS is based on equality. You will be able to equally access existing services regardless of when and where your disability was acquired.

There will no longer be an expectation of unpaid care as the norm.

As a Medicare-type system, the NDIS will provide people with a disability and their families and carers with the regular care, support, therapy and equipment they need from a secure and consistent pool of funds for these services and support.

It focuses on early intervention and delivering supports which produce the best long term outcomes, maximising opportunities for independence, participation and productivity.

Each NDIS plan is individualised and person-centred. Support is based on the choices of the person with a disability and their family.

The NDIS is fiscally responsible. It is not welfare but an investment in individual capacity leading to more positive results for people with a disability, their families and carers.

All Australians benefit from the NDIS because disability can affect anyone, anytime. Everyone will benefit from a more inclusive, more diverse community. Every Australian Counts will keep you up to date with all the NDIS news, information, stories and experience on our website; everyaustraliancounts.com.au

Where can I find out more?

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

http://fpdn.org.au/

For everybody

www.everyaustraliancounts.com.au

The Every Australian Counts website is an online hub for the disability community that’s packed with useful information, videos and news.

www.ndis.gov.au

The official NDIS website includes an access checklist, factsheets and information to help prepare you for the NDIS.

For people with disability

www.afdo.org.au

The Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) represents people with disability. They can connect you with advocacy support.

For carers

www.carersaustralia.com.au

Carers Australia is the national peak body representing carers. Through their website you can access carer support and services.

For disability support workers

www.ndp.org.au

Proposed Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation NDIS Network

Localised, community-based services from John Gilroy article

Research shows that Aboriginal community controlled organisations are an essential component of addressing the health and social needs of Indigenous communities. In a recent review of existing community-based mental health services, Jen Smith-Merry found that the services offered for Indigenous people were most successful when developed by local communities or ‘localised’ and adapted carefully (and genuinely) to community needs.

John Gilroy’s research shows the important role of Indigenous community controlled organisations in forming relationships and referral pathways to disability services. These organisations function as the “social glue” between Indigenous communities, and disability and community organisations.

Expressions of Interest

Joe Archibald the NDIS Manager at Galambila ACCHO at Coffs Harbour is looking to establish a network of ACCHO NDIS health workers :

Express interest in this group EMAIL JOE HERE

Contact

NDIS must promote and support community-based programs to meet Indigenous people’s needs.

Dr John Gilroy and Dr Jennifer Smith-Merry write:

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is the most significant policy reform for people with a disability since the Disability Services Act 1986 (DSA). The NDIS has proven potential to enable people with disabilities to live good lives.

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) reports that around 5% of NDIS participants are of Indigenous heritage.

The NDIA has branded the new scheme as a way of expanding individual and family choice in the services and supports people with disabilities can access. As we have noted previously, individual ‘choice’ requires ‘opportunities’ to exist in local communities. The more remote or rural a community the fewer opportunities available. As such, limited ‘opportunities’ in communities lead to limited ‘choice’ for Indigenous people with disability on NDIS plans who live in rural or remote communities.

Services, supports and capacity building

The original inquiry into the NDIS identified the importance of a balance between an individualised support system and the block-funding of services and programs to ensure efficient and effective roll-out of the NDIS. The work that we have been involved in supports this view, arguing that Indigenous people should be able to utilise services at their own pace that meet their cultural and personal needs rather than being pushed through a government imposed time-frame.

The government has released the policy framework for NDIS Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC), and the subsequent Commissioning Framework. The ILC, formally Tier 2 of the NDIS, provides funding for the development of programs to help connect people with the disability, health and social supports, and services that are appropriate for them. It also supports capacity building for communities, organisations and individuals, that is not tied to a person’s individualised funding package. In doing this, it aims to also offer support for those who are not eligible for individualised funding packages.

Ensuring equal access and resourcing

There is growing concern that services for the most disadvantaged of the population of people with disabilities may become under-resourced or absent in light of the NDIS roll-out. There is much evidence that this disadvantage is heightened by geographic location, such as very remote communities. The ILC has been designed to provide the opportunity for the needs of these groups to be better met, but only if there is a proactive prioritisation of their needs.

Informed by several of our existing research and community projects, below we present some recommendations for the government, regarding the types of block-funded programs and services needed in local Indigenous communities to ensure that they benefit from the NDIS roll-out.

We preface these recommendations with the observation that there is a big problem with the implementation of the ILC, as the funding has been severely curtailed in its first stages. Bruce Bonyhady, former chair of the NDIS, warns that the current funding for community inclusion programs is: “not sufficient and means that one of the key foundations on which the NDIS is being built is weak”. This funding gap needs to be addressed immediately as there will be significant benefit to indigenous communities if the funding targets appropriate areas.

Crisis Intervention Services

Disability services providers have reported that many Indigenous people engage in the formal services system only when the quality or quantity of family and kinship care is depleted. As such, a large proportion of Indigenous people engage in the disability services sector when in a crisis situation.

Crisis services should be made more disability inclusive, and should act as a channel for encouraging the utilisation of appropriate individualised funding package supports. Targeted capacity building programs are also needed, to enable families and kinship groups to provide support. Such programs should be individualised and culturally and contextually appropriate. Block-funded models enable organisations that have established rapport with communities, to deliver such services in a culturally appropriate manner.

Transition support services

While many Indigenous people only engage with services at times of crisis, the impact of the services provided during crises can be sustained as the crisis abates. The most effective way of doing this is by supporting individualised transition support services which help people to re-establish their lives. This could involve connecting people with appropriate individualised support packages or funding of ‘peer support’ or community buddy programs.

Case Management and advocacy services.

Some bureaucrats wrongly use the terms “case management” and “advocacy” synonymously. The major difference between these two service types is that formal advocates are called upon when a person feels that their human rights have been violated. In comparison, case managers are typically called upon to assist people to join up services and supports by navigating the complex bureaucracy of the formal service systems, including health and disability.

It is pivotal to have a balance of these two service types under the NDIS to enable people with disabilities access to supports that foster the protection of their human rights and enable them to navigate the NDIS bureaucracy.

Early Childhood Intervention

There is limited research focused on the needs of Indigenous children with disability. A recent study found that young children with cognitive impairment are at risk of social exclusion, and need interventions to promote inclusion in family and cultural events as they age.

The government has identified early childhood intervention (ECI) as an area for block-funding investment, in recognition that the market-based principles of the NDIS could not work for this service type. ILC block funding can be used for early intervention and allows novel or creative community-based solutions to develop. This will allow the development of services which may meet local needs but are not ‘standard’ service types. Evidence-based practice is great if the evidence is there, but it should not be a straight-jacket, limiting what is possible.

Localised, community-based services

Research shows that Aboriginal community controlled organisations are an essential component of addressing the health and social needs of Indigenous communities. In a recent review of existing community-based mental health services, Jen Smith-Merry found that the services offered for Indigenous people were most successful when developed by local communities or ‘localised’ and adapted carefully (and genuinely) to community needs.

John Gilroy’s research shows the important role of Indigenous community controlled organisations in forming relationships and referral pathways to disability services. These organisations function as the “social glue” between Indigenous communities, and disability and community organisations.

Workforce Training and Development

The efficiency and effectiveness of the NDIS requires a healthy, vibrant workforce. There are many reports examining what the disability services workforce looks like. However, the roll out of the NDIS will completely reshape the workforce.

National Disability Services are managing a workforce development fund to explore ways to build a workforce that can sustain the NDIS. NDS will need to explore ways to build the number and proportion of Indigenous people working in the sector and also explore successful ways to build a workforce that is culturally competent in supporting Indigenous people and their families.

The CEO of First Peoples Disability Network, Damian Griffis, told ABC Lateline in 2015 that Indigenous people are already working as informal disability workers, stating “There are a lot of Indigenous people that by any other definition would be called support workers today, but they need to be valued and respected for that work and they are already in existence.”

Research shows that over 10% of Indigenous people have provided unpaid assistance to a person with a disability. Agencies could pilot approaches to recruit and train family members that balance people’s human rights with individual duty-of-care in the context of the NDIS.

Translation and Interpreter Services

There are many regions of Australia where the English is a second or third language. Notwithstanding that, there are many Indigenous peoples who require hearing or communication supports. Interpreter and translation services are under-resourced and in high need across the country. It would be discriminatory for NDIS users to have to use their packages to access these service types as this would deplete the funding available for other services in comparison with other NDIS participants. These services should instead be funded at a community level either through the ILC or a specialised program.

Foster Social and Cultural Capital Building

There exists plethora of research showing the important role played by Indigenous community controlled organisations in the health and community services sector. Such organisations provide the opportunities needed to bring together Indigenous people with disability to have their voices heard as a collective. For example, the many NDIS specific gatherings around Australia have brought together Indigenous people with disability to share their stories and experiences. This knowledge should be valued and harnessed. One way that this could take place is through ILC funding of community-based peer-support programs.

The roll out of the NDIS has enabled Indigenous community controlled organisations and services to continue working in local communities. Such organisations and services are being supported to provide services and supports under the NDIS in NSW. Block-funding will enable Aboriginal community controlled organisations to continue their role in representing their communities whilst supporting NDIS participants.

Interagency Networks and Engagement

Jen Smith-Merry’s Research to Action Guide produced for the Centre for Applied Disability Research showed that interagency forums do help with linking across organisations and sectors, but that this is most effective when it happens organically and collaboratively rather than being mandated. Through sharing stories and good practice, interagency forums help disparate actors to understand the different practices and knowledges operating in sectors outside of their own.

 There is evidence of a conflict at the interface of the formal service system and Indigenous communities in how disability is defined and conceptualised. A recent report concluded that many Indigenous people find the definition of disability to be stigmatising. Rather than trying to ascertain how Indigenous peoples define disability, the focus of scholarly exploration should be on ways to bridge the cultural interface in how disability is defined and embodied as a social construct.

Great work has been undertaken by National Disability Services, to foster relationship building between the disability services sector and local Indigenous programs, by implementing the principles of interagency commissioning. Sadly, the government did not extend the funding for these networks to continue. This is a significant problem that won’t be immediately fixed by an underfunded ILC.

A healthy balance

The NDIS is a huge win for the disability rights movement. The new scheme provides an opportunity to address the equality and equity gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people with disabilities. However, there needs to be a balance between block-funding and the individualised packages provided by the NDIS, so that the scheme can meet its full potential. The examples given here provide some ideas for how ILC funding might work, but only dialogue with consumers and communities will point us truly in the right direction.

*Dr John Gilroy is a Koori man from the Yuin Nation, and a doctor of sociology in Indigenous health, specialising in disability studies. He is a Senior Lecturer and Indigenous Stream Lead at the Centre for Disability Research and Policy, University of Sydney

*Associate Professor Jennifer Smith-Merry’s research focuses on the implementation of policy in service settings, and consumer experiences of this. She is Mental Health Stream Lead at the Centre for Disability Research and Policy, The University of Sydney.

Ten-point plan for the implementation of the NDIS in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities

Introduction

By any measure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability are amongst some of the most disadvantaged Australians; often facing multiple barriers to meaningful participation within their own communities and the wider community.

The prevalence of disability amongst Aboriginal and Torres Islander people is significantly higher than of the general population. Until recently, the prevalence of disability in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities has only been anecdotally reported. However, a report by the Commonwealth Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision made the following conclusions:

The proportion of the indigenous population 15 years and over, reporting a disability or long-term health condition was 37 per cent (102 900 people). The proportions were similar in remote and non-remote areas. This measure of disability does not specifically include people with a psychological disability. [note 1]

The high prevalence of disability, approximately twice that of the non-indigenous population, occurs in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities for a range of social reasons, including poor health care, poor nutrition, exposure to violence and psychological trauma (e.g. arising from removal from family and community) and substance abuse, as well as the breakdown of traditional community structures in some areas. Aboriginal people with disability are significantly over-represented on a population group basis among homeless people, in the criminal and juvenile justice systems[note 2], and in the care and protection system (both as parents and children).[note 3]

The advent of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) presents an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities to engage – many for the first time – with the disability service system in a substantive way. Currently, most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities remain at the periphery of the disability service system. This continues to occur for a range of reasons some of which are well established. However, one factor that remains little understood is the reluctance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities to identify as people with disability. This preference to not identify presents a fundamental barrier for the successful implementation of the NDIS. The First Peoples Disability Network (Australia) (FPDN) argues that it has a central role in addressing not only this fundamental barrier but also in facilitating the roll out of the NDIS more broadly into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

FPDN argues passionately that for positive change to happen in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability, the change must be driven by community itself. It cannot be imposed, implied, intervened or developed with well-meaning intention from an external service system that the vast majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities have little or no experience of in the first place.

Throughout many communities across the country, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability are supported and accepted as members of their communities. However, many communities lack the resources to adequately support people with disability. Furthermore, the service system tends to operate from a ‘doing for’ as opposed to ‘doing with’ approach, which only further disenfranchises communities because they simply do not feel that they can self-direct their future. The NDIS does have the potential to address some of these concerns by giving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability the opportunity to self-direct their funding, for instance. The challenge in this area will be that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability have had little or no experience in self-managing funds.

It must be remembered that in many ways the social movement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability is starting from an absolute baseline position. This is reflected, for example, by the fact that few Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability have an understanding of the language of the disability service system. It is the view of FPDN that the application of the NDIS in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will need to have a different look and approach to what is advocated for with regard the rest of the Australian population. It may be that the application of the NDIS in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities takes a longer process. But the FPDN argues that it is critical to get it right as it is the experience of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that they are usually the first to be blamed when new programs are not taken up by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

FPDN has developed a 10-point plan for the implementation of the NDIS in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities. The development of this 10 point plan is based upon extensive consultation as well as drawing upon the decade long experience of the FPDN in advocating for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders people with disabilities.

The plan was launched in May 2013 at Parliament House, Canberra.

Ten-point plan

  • Recognise that the starting point is the vast majority of Aboriginal people with disability do not self-identify as people with disability. This occurs for a range of reasons including the fact that in traditional languages there are no comparable words for disability. Also, many Aboriginal people with disability are reluctant to take on the label of disability; particularly when they already experience discrimination based on their Aboriginality. In many ways disability is a new conversation in many communities. In these instances the NDIS is starting from a baseline position. As a consequence change in this area is likely to happen on a different timeline to that of the mainstream NDIS.
  • Awareness raising via a concerted outreach approach informing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability, their families and communities about their rights and entitlements, and informing Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities about the NDIS itself and how to work this new system effectively. There is no better way to raise awareness then by direct face-to-face consultation. Brochures and pamphlets will not be appropriate as this is a new conversation in many communities.
  • Establish the NDIS Expert Working Group on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People with disability and the NDIS. In recognition of the fact that there is a stand-alone building block for the NDIS focused upon Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability, FPDN views it not only as critical but logical that a specific Expert Working Group be established to focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability. The new working group would operate in the same way the four current working groups do, that is it would be chaired by two members of the National People with Disability and Carers Council. To ensure its effectiveness but also critically to influence prominent Aboriginal leaders as well as the disability sector, members would be drawn from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in community leadership positions, as well as involving prominent disability leaders. The FPDN believes such an approach is warranted not only because of the degree of unmet need that is well established but also because this has the potential to be a very practical and meaningful partnership between government, the non-government sector, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
  • Build the capacity of the non-Indigenous disability service system to meet the needs of Aboriginal people with disability in a culturally appropriate way. Legislate an additional standard into the Disability Services Act focused upon culturally appropriate service delivery and require disability services to demonstrate their cultural competencies.
  • Conduct research on the prevalence of disability and a range other relevant matters. Critically, this work must be undertaken in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability to ensure a culturally appropriate methodology. There remains very little reference material about disability in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. This needs to be rectified to ensure that we are getting a true picture of the lived experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability.
  • Recognise that  a workforce already exists in many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities that does important work, often informally. This work needs to valued and recognised, with the potential for employment opportunities in some communities.
  • Recognise that it’s not always about services. Many communities just need more resources so that they can continue to meet the needs of their own people with disabilities. There may be perfectly appropriate ways of supporting people already in place, however what is often lacking is access to current technologies or appropriate technical aids or sufficient training for family and community members to provide the optimum level of support.
  • Recruitment of more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into the disability service sector.
  • Build the capacity of the social movement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with disability by supporting existing networks and building new ones in addition to fostering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders with disability. These networks play a critical role in breaking down stigma that may exist in some communities but are also the conduits for change, and will be integral to the successful implementation of the NDIS in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ‘Launch’ sites focused upon remote, very remote, regional and urban settings. It is critical that this major reform be done right. Therefore it is appropriate to effectively trial its implementation. To this end, FPDN can readily identify key communities that would be appropriate as trial sites.

 

 

Aboriginal Health #18C #RDA and International Day for the Elimination of #Racial Discrimination 21 March

  ” In an extraordinary case of timing, the Coalition will debate on March 21 (today ) removing protections in Australia’s race hate laws on what is also the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.”

James Massola Canberra Times 21 March HERE

  ” The theme in 2017 for is Racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration.

Australia has continuing challenges regarding racial abuse and discrimination, evidenced for example by the disproportionate incarceration rates for Indigenous Australians, the current Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory and the treatment of asylum seekers in detention centres both onshore and offshore.”

Posted 20 March Australian Parliament Website see in full below

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination \

“ Surveys suggested racism was already a near-universal experience for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, with 97% having experienced it in the past year and more than 70% reporting eight or more incidents in that period. Almost one-third said they had experienced racism in the health setting.

By settings standards of conduct, the law had an important role in containing the spread of racism and race hate, and described the watering down of sections 18c & d of the RDA as a “major risk” for the effective implementation of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023.

The Plan envisages a health system free of racism, offering effective, high quality, appropriate and affordable health services to Indigenous Australians “

Matthew Cooke Chair of NACCHO

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #FU2racism :

Research shows majority of Australians believe #18C protections should stay

” Groundhog Day this week and that hoary old favourite of the clearly oppressed and downtrodden right-wing commentariat, section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Let’s start with the latter, which is a touchstone for conservatives who, as Attorney-General George Brandis once put it, want to enshrine their legal rights to be bigots.

Put aside for a minute that none of the people who claim 18C is the gravest threat to free speech Australia has ever faced can actually answer the following question: “What exactly is it that you want to say, but the law as it stands prohibits you from saying now?”

Paul Syvret is assistant editor at The Courier-Mail 21  March

Instead realise that the RDA has some fairly iron-clad protections in the form of section 18D.

This is a section you don’t often hear the free-speech warriors discussing a lot, and it reads as follows:

“Section 18C does not render unlawful anything said or done reasonably and in good faith:

(a) in the performance, exhibition or distribution of an artistic work; or

(b) in the course of any statement, publication, discussion or debate made or held for any genuine academic, artistic or scientific purpose or any other genuine purpose in the public interest; or

(c) in making or publishing: (i) a fair and accurate report of any event or matter of public interest; or (ii) a fair comment on any event or matter of public interest if the comment is an expression of a genuine belief held by the person making the comment.”

As Queensland MP and deputy chairman of the bipartisan Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights Graham Perrett points out, that committee – after a 112-day inquiry with 11,000 submissions – decided NOT to recommend any changes to the RDA.

As the forests of newsprint continue to be devoted to lionising The Australian’slate and controversial cartoonist Bill Leak, an aggressive crusader for repealing section 18C, Perrett has this to say: “The untimely passing of cartoonist Bill Leak is very distressing for his family and friends.

“Most Australians, including me, recognise his undoubted creative talent. Nevertheless, Mr Leak’s cartoons are not relevant to any discussion about changing section 18C.

“Indeed, the legislation makes it very clear that Leak’s cartoons would not be caught by section 18C due to the exemptions in section 18D.”

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

 

The United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed with a series of worldwide events on 21 March every year.

Proclaiming the Day on 26 October 1966, the General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination (resolution 2142 (XXI)).The date of 21 March was chosen to commemorate that day in 1960 when police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid ‘pass laws’.

Since those earlier days, the UN observes there has been progress:

… the apartheid system in South Africa has been dismantled. Racist laws and practices have been abolished in many countries, and we have built an international framework for fighting racism, guided by the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The Convention is now nearing universal ratification, yet still, in all regions, too many individuals, communities and societies suffer from the injustice and stigma that racism brings.

The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination was adopted on 21 December 1965 and entered into force on 4 January 1969.

2017 theme: Racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration

Every year the International Day is held under one specific theme. The theme in 2017 is Racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration.

Racial and ethnic profiling is defined as ‘a reliance by law enforcement, security and border control personnel on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin as a basis for subjecting persons to detailed searches, identity checks and investigations, or for determining whether an individual is engaged in criminal activity’ according to a report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism of 20 April 2015.

Refugees and migrants are particular targets of racial profiling and incitement to hatred. In the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants adopted in September 2016, United Nations Member States strongly condemned acts and manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance against refugees and migrants, and committed to a range of steps to counter such attitudes and behaviours, particularly regarding hate crimes, hate speech and racial violence.

Campaigns and events

The UN is promoting the following campaigns and events in relation to the International Day:

Together is a United Nations initiative to promote respect, safety and dignity for refugees and migrants. It was initiated during the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants on 19 September 2016.

Stand up for someone’s rights today is a campaign launched by the UN Human Rights Office on Human Rights Day, 10 December, 2016. It aims to: encourage, support and amplify what you do in your everyday life to defend human rights.

The Week of solidarity with the peoples struggling against racism and racial discrimination begins on 21 March each year. It was first established as part of the Programme for the Decade for Action to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination adopted by the General Assembly in 1979 (A/RES/34/24).

To commemorate the 2017 International Day, on 17 March the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva held a debate on racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration. In New York. there will be a General Assembly plenary meeting in observance of the International Day, on 21 March 2017.

Australia’s action

In Australia the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) was a landmark in race relations. The Act was a legislative expression of a new commitment to multiculturalism and it reflected the ratification by Australia of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

As the first Commonwealth legislation concerning human rights and discrimination, the Racial Discrimination Act set an important precedent. As described by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam at a ceremony for its proclamation in October 1975, the Act was ‘a historic measure’, which aimed to ‘entrench new attitudes of tolerance and understanding in the hearts and minds of the people’.

Since 1999, 21 March in Australia has also been celebrated as Harmony Day. Timed to coincide with the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Harmony Day is dedicated to celebrating Australia’s cultural diversity. Harmony Day events are supported by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and each year a wide range of community sporting and cultural organisation have held events including sporting activities, food festivals, dance and music performances  or simply bringing people together to talk and share stories.

While Harmony Day has shifted Australia’s commemorative focus to the more positive celebration of cultural diversity and racial harmony, the UN International Day with its focus on the prevention and eradication of racism is still relevant. Australia has continuing challenges regarding racial abuse and discrimination, evidenced for example by the disproportionate incarceration rates for Indigenous Australians, the current Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory and the treatment of asylum seekers in detention centres both onshore and offshore.

Parliament too, has more recently been involved in a debate on whether racial vilification laws impose unreasonable restrictions on freedom of speech and the Joint Standing Committee on Human Rights has recently completed an inquiry into free speech and Australia’s laws against racial vilification.

The Australian Human Rights Commission’s view, which was also supported by the majority of submissions to the Committee, is that ‘the laws against racial vilification have served Australia well over the last 20 years in sending the message that racial abuse will not be tolerated in our multicultural society’. Ultimately, there was no consensus from the Committee on whether any reform was necessary and, for the moment, the laws remain as they are.

NACCHO #ClosetheGap Aboriginal Health : Read Download Top 10 Press releases #Closethegapday

 

In this NACCHO Alert you can read /download Close the Gap Press Releases from

1.AMA 2.NACCHO 3.RACGP 4. FVLPS/#JustJustice 5. Healing Foundation

6.Pallative Care 7.Labor Party 8.Stroke Foundation

9.NSW Aboriginal Land Council .10. Australian Psychological Society (APS) is

Please note  :  Only a selection and in no particular order from hundreds released

” The Close the Gap Campaign 2017 Progress and Priorities Report, released today, shows that, despite their best efforts, all Australian governments are failing in their endeavours to meet their own targets in closing the gap – but we can turn this around,” Dr Gannon said.

The AMA believes that positive progress can be made if governments work directly with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and better understand the approaches that they know work in their own communities.”

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, said today that genuine cooperation between all political parties and across all levels of government is needed if Australia is to achieve significant improvements in closing the gap in life expectancy and health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians

Photo above All AMA Presidents from all states and Territories met at Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service (AHS) for Close the Gap Day Event : Winnunga is an Aboriginal community controlled ACCHO primary health care service for Canberra and the ACT community

Read full article here

2.NACCHO

” Hard figures and targeted investment, not rhetoric, are key to solving indigenous disadvantage, Aboriginal health leader Pat Turner said as she called for at least 4000 homes to be built in remote Australia to help tackle the ­problem.”

As published in The Australian

Ms Turner, chief executive of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Care Organisation, said indigenous health problems would be ­addressed only through “far greater ­investment … in the physical environment including safe houses, communities and roads.

“I would estimate there are 4000 dwellings required in remote Australia alone.

“We have not had this investment,” she said. “We need to take account of the factors that contribute to good health: housing, education, employment and access to justice.

“And why hasn’t there been far greater innovation, why is the passing on of knowledge of language and culture not recognised as legitimate work? This sounds fuzzy, but it’s not. We know that around 30 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health problems are to do with social and cultural factors.

“The context of people’s lives is what matters most in determining health outcomes, and that is something that individuals are unlikely to be able to control. We ask that the federal government replace its rhetoric about economic empowerment with significant public policy initiatives that produce specific outcomes.”

Close the Gap Campaign

Download CTG Press Release : 17.03.16 MR for CTG Progress & Priorities report launch FINAL

Download PHAA Press Release :PHAA CTG 2017

Close the Gap Campaign report: Australia ‘going backwards’ in fight to end Indigenous disadvantage

Download the Press Release NACCHO CTG 2017

A peak Northern Territory  Aboriginal community controlled  health organisation which  was on track  to close  the life expectancy gap between First Nations peoples and other Australians  has challenged Governments to listen to what programs really work… and then give their people the capacity to deliver them.

Speaking to CAAMA  on  National Close the Gap Day  Donna Ah Chee CEO of the Alice Springs based Central Australian Aboriginal Congress , AMSANT Chair and NACCHO Board member  was scathing in her criticism of Government and  its inability to actually listen to what her people have been saying for decades.

Listen here :

Download the report HERE CTG Report 2017

3.RACGP

The RACGP recognises the importance of supporting our members to be great doctors for all Australians, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

 We are committed to developing culturally safe GPs and practice staff so that they are able to work effectively in the cross-cultural context and in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities. ”

RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel said the organisation was an active member of the Close the Gap Steering Committee, proudly committed to ending the health gap by 2030.

Download the Press release RACGP CTG 2017

4.FVPLS / #JustJustice

” We know being incarcerated affects someone’s health and yet it is not one of the Closing the Gap targets. It’s Close the Gap Day and the Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee’s Progress and Priorities report 2017 has been released.

The 2017 report calls for a social and cultural approach and covers many issues, including justice. This is the fourt report from the Steering Committee to call for Justice Targets.

Since 2004, there has been a 95 per cent increase in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in custody. Over the same time, we have seen the crime rates decrease across the country.

Urgent action is required to reduce incarceration if we are ever to see life expectancy parity between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.

Despite the urgency of the need, and the calls by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations for an urgent response to this need, there has been no indication that governments are responding with the level of urgency required.”

Summer May Finlay from Croakey : Read Full report HERE

5. Healing Foundation

 “The social determinants of health need to be realigned in a cultural context of understanding the impact of trauma for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and how to overcome – to heal – from this. Focusing on changing just economic or education levels alone will not fix the profound challenges we face without also giving people the opportunity to improve their social and cultural connectedness and feel greater inclusion.”

Meanwhile, Richard Weston, CEO of the Healing Foundation, writes in The Guardian of the vital importance of trauma-informed practices and services, as well as for broadening discussion of the social determinants of health.

6.Palliative Care Australia

While this report doesn’t address palliative care, it is important that all people with a life-limiting illness are able to access palliative care.

“We understand that while some parts of the country offer exceptional levels of palliative care, culturally appropriate care is still not done well everywhere in Australia. We need to see that good work spread,” Ms Callaghan said.

“Community-based local approaches to end-of-life care are preferred, which leads to a significant role for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals in the delivery of quality end-of-life care.

“It is also very important that non-Indigenous health professionals develop culturally safe practice through education or training and appropriate engagement with local Indigenous communities.

“Culturally safe palliative and end-of-life care means that providers or practitioners must understand how these communities want health care to be provided

Download the Press Release Pallative Care CTG 2017

7. Labor Party

 ” The 2017 Close The Gap Progress and Priorities Report reiterates the need for all levels of Government to recommit and refocus, Labor stands ready to work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and their Communities.”

Labor is committed to working in a bi-partisan way, striving for the best possible outcomes for Australia’s First Peoples. Labor recognizes the importance of relationships that harness the knowledge, creativity and innovation that community controlled originations bring to driving decisions; strong relationships, working in partisanship, is the only way forward.

“Genuine partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations, are essential to improving the quality of life for our First Peoples. As stated in the Report, the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples cannot be considered at the margins”,

Senator Dodson said.

Download the Press Release Labor Party CTG 2017

8.Stroke Foundation

 ” Currently, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people suffer stroke at a younger age, are more than twice as likely to be hospitalised with a stroke and 1.4 times as likely to die from stroke as non-Indigenous Australians. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders experience multiple risk factors for stroke and cardiovascular disease and there are significant challenges around identifying and managing that risk. 

As a healthcare community we need to come together to close the stroke gap which is claiming the lives of too many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The Stroke Foundation is committed to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations to improve the health outcomes of Indigenous communities.”

By Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan

Today is Close the Gap day – a national movement demanding equal access to healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Most Australians enjoy one of the highest life expectancies of any country in the world – but this is not true for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can expect to live 10 –17 years less than fellow Australians.  The mortality rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is on par with some of the world’s most impoverished nations. The United Nations Report, The State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (2009) indicated Australia and Nepal have the world’s worst life expectancy gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people – we must do better.

Here at the Stroke Foundation we believe everyone should have the opportunity to lead a healthy life and have access to best practice healthcare. While Australia has made some big strides towards improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, as a nation we have a long way to go.

Equal access to healthcare is a basic human right. Everyone in Australia should have the opportunity to live a long and healthy life. It is time our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities get the health care and support they need and deserve.

The facts

• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are more than twice as likely to be hospitalised with stroke.
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are 1.4 times as likely to die from stroke as non-indigenous Australians.
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are 1.5 times as likely as non-Indigenous people to be obese – seven in 10 adults are overweight or obese.
• Two in five indigenous Australians smoke daily, 2.6 times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians.
• More than half of Indigenous Australians (over 15) put themselves at risk of harm by drinking alcohol.
• 64 percent of Indigenous adults do not get enough exercise.
• 85 percent on Indigenous children and 97% of Indigenous adults do not eat enough fruit and vegetables.
• One in five Indigenous adults have high blood pressure.
• One in four Indigenous adults have abnormal or high cholesterol levels

– See more at: https://strokefoundation.org.au/

9.NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can expect to live 10 to 17 years younger than other Australians and the data on preventable illness and infant mortality is an appalling reminder of the challenges we face.

“The inequalities in health are a generational challenge and we have to continue the fight because the lives of our children depend on it.

“Positive change is possible – particularly when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations are driving those changes.

“Solutions that are generated by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are a key part of any efforts to Close the Gap on health and living standards in Australia.”

Further progress to Close the Gap can be made if Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are able to drive change, the Chair of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) Roy Ah-See said today

Please note the above NACCHO TV was recorded when Roy was Chair of Yerin ACCHO

Download Press release NSW Land Councils CTG 2017

10. Australian Psychological Society (APS)

” There is a need for more community-based, culturally appropriate mental health services that include strengthening culture and identity, and that are delivered by culturally responsive health professionals “

Leading Aboriginal psychologist and Chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Mental Health (NATSILMH) Professor Pat Dudgeon FAPS, agrees that building on social and emotional wellbeing and cultural strengths is the foundation for improving Indigenous health and preventing suicide.

Picture : Our NACCHO CEO Pat Turner as a contributor to the report attended the launch pictured here with Senator Patrick Dodson and co-author Prof. Pat Dudgeon

 Download Press Release dAustralian Psycholigical Society CTG 2017

 

#ClosetheGap NACCHO Chair Matthew Cooke and Minister @KenWyattMP #ClosetheGapDay Press Releases

  

“ Close the Gap Day is a day to acknowledge the critical role Aboriginal medical services and health professionals must play in turning around the significant health gap 

Last month, the government said it was committed to a new partnership with Aboriginal groups who presented the Redfern Statement to the Prime Minister, and the Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt said Primary Health Networks must start working properly with ACCHOs.

“Yet right now just three or four of the 31 Primary Health Networks are genuinely working with theACCHO sector and the bulk of funding is going to mainstream services that are not showing results.

“Today, it’s time to remind governments of all levels that Aboriginal people must be equal partners in every single program and policy that affects them. It’s time for action not just more words.”

NACCHO Chair Matthew Cooke pictured above with Minister Ken Wyatt at the launch of NACCHO Healthy Futures last December

Download todays 2017 Close the Gap Report HERE : CTG Report 2017

Download copy NACCHO Healthy Futures Report Card Here

“As Minister for Indigenous Health it is my job to work for better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in this country.

Today, is National Close the Gap Day. We all want health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that are equal to those of non-Indigenous people.

Vaccination coverage rates are the highest ever among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children entering school and since 2009 there has been an increase in children fully immunised – particularly at five years of age – from 76.8 per cent in 2008 to 95.2 per cent in 2016.

I want to acknowledge the role the Aboriginal Medical Services and State and Territory health systems for supporting the Commonwealth to achieve these figures.

Increasing immunisation is part of Closing the Gap and is community-driven, tailored, innovative and sensitive to individual and community needs “

The Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP  Minister for Indigenous Health see full story article 2 below

Close the Gap Day: a greater role for Aboriginal health services essential

Close the Gap Day is a day to acknowledge the critical role Aboriginal medical services and health professionals must play in turning around the significant health gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation said today.

NACCHO Chair Matthew Cooke said after a decade of the Close the Gap campaign, programs andprojects managed by Aboriginal services on the ground in local communities are the only model proven to be making inroads in closing the Indigenous health gap.

In the past 12 months, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations provided almost 3 million episodes of care to over 340,000 clients and employed 3,300 Indigenous staff across Australia.

“Despite endless reports, studies and recommendations – just one in seven of the targets under the Closing the Gap Strategy are on track to be met by 2030,” Mr Cooke said.

“The lives of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people are still on average 10 years shorter, we have far higher incidences of chronic diseases such as Diabetes and cancer and our children have less access to good quality education than the average non-Indigenous Australians.

“The evidence tells us that Aboriginal people respond best to health care provided by Aboriginalpeople or controlled by the Aboriginal community.

“Last month, the government said it was committed to a new partnership with Aboriginal groups who presented the Redfern Statement to the Prime Minister, and the Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt said Primary Health Networks must start working properly with ACCHOs.

“Yet right now just three or four of the 31 Primary Health Networks are genuinely working with theACCHO sector and the bulk of funding is going to mainstream services that are not showing results.

“Today, it’s time to remind governments of all levels that Aboriginal people must be equal partners in every single program and policy that affects them. It’s time for action not just more words.”

Mr Cooke said at least one-third of the health gap can be attributed to the social and cultural determinants of health.

“If we are serious about improving health outcomes for Aboriginal people, governments at all levels must do more to join the dots between education, housing, employment and other determinants and make sure that Indigenous led solutions are at the centre of strategies that make those links.”

The political needle recently swung to the issue of childhood vaccination with a call for parents to do their own research before deciding if they would or should immunise their children.

The issue of childhood vaccination is too important to be left hanging as just another claim by a politician in a “post-truth” world where facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.

I believe it is important for parents to be fully informed of the medical facts before they make what can be life or death decisions affecting their children – and the children of others.

Immunisation is the most significant public health intervention in the past 200 years because it provides a safe and effective way to prevent the spread of many diseases that cause hospitalisation, serious ongoing health conditions and sometimes death.

Since the introduction of vaccination for children in Australia in 1932 deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases have fallen by 99 per cent despite a threefold increase in the Australian population.

As Minister for Indigenous Health it is my job to work for better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in this country.

Today, is National Close the Gap Day. We all want health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that are equal to those of non-Indigenous people. Until that happens we cannot claim to have a truly universal health system that meets the needs of all Australians.

This year’s Closing the Gap Report has mixed results and provides us with an opportunity to consider our course and reinvigorate our commitment to this fundamental task. We are making some strides in tackling Indigenous health issues, however, we have to do more.

Immunisation rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are improving. Five-year-old Indigenous children have higher immunisation coverage than non-Indigenous five-year-olds.

In December 2016, Australian Immunisation Register data showed that 95.20 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged five were fully immunised compared with 93.19 per cent of all children of the same age.

These statistics confirm that we have nearly achieved the 2023 goal of 96 per cent of children aged five being fully immunised.

Vaccination coverage rates are the highest ever among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children entering school and since 2009 there has been an increase in children fully immunised – particularly at five years of age – from 76.8 per cent in 2008 to 95.2 per cent in 2016.

I want to acknowledge the role the Aboriginal Medical Services and State and Territory health systems for supporting the Commonwealth to achieve these figures.

Immunisation is one of the key goals of the Implementation Plan of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023, which guides national action on Closing the Gap on health

Immunisation is critical for the health of children and the wider community. Interventions within the first three years of life have been shown to have the greatest impact on health and life outcomes.

There is a close relationship between health and educational outcomes. Developmental delays, including sight and hearing issues, and early incidence of chronic diseases directly impact a child’s ability to grow and learn.

I recently announced $27 million for children and maternal health programs. This funding will go towards services such as antenatal and postnatal care, breastfeeding assistance, health and development checks and also ensuring children are properly immunised.

When I was a teacher I saw children with measles. I suffered from whooping cough and ended up with lung damage and I do not want to see children compromised because of a philosophical stance that some parents may have because they are influenced by Doctor Google or misinformation from anti-vaxxers.

It’s not just about protecting your child, it is about protecting other children who use child health centres or childcare. The more people who are vaccinated the fewer opportunities a disease has to spread.

The success of the National Immunisation Program and policies such as No Jab, No Pay has not happened by accident. It is backed by science and virtually every medical and health expert in Australia.

Increasing immunisation is part of Closing the Gap and is community-driven, tailored, innovative and sensitive to individual and community needs. We want to see parents empowered by information, supported by appropriate services and accessing care in ways that suit them.

Increasing immunisation coverage is the result of community action and I want to see that continue.

Our #ACCHO Members #Closethegap Good News Stories from #NT #WA #VIC #SA #NSW #QLD #TAS

1.Northern Territory : Central Australian Aboriginal Congress Alice Springs

2.Western Australia : Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service (GRAMS). 

3.Victoria: Victorian Aboriginal Health Service Healthy Lifestyle Team

4. Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia

5. NSW : Awabakal Medical Service

6.Queensland : Deadly Choices Brisbane  

7. Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre

 Our #ACCHO Members #CloseTheGapDay Good News Stories from #NT #WA #VIC #SA #NSW #QLD #TAS

 “For NACCHO the acceptance that our Aboriginal controlled health services deliver the best model of integrated primary health care in Australia is a clear demonstration that every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person should have ready access to these services, no matter where they live.

We can more than double the current 140 Aboriginal medical services that will improve health outcomes. Governments at all levels need to make a massive long term investment to redress the social and cultural determinants of health, which are responsible for more than 30 per cent of ill health in our communities.”

On Close the Gap Day lets celebrate our success

How to submit 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 each Thursday

1.Northern Territory : Central Australian Aboriginal Congress Alice Springs

When Congress started 40 years ago, infant mortality rates were around 170 deaths per 1,000 live births and now they are around 12 . Our babies are no longer dying from easily preventable causes and the challenge has moved to the promotion of healthier development.

 

More than 300 staff are able to provide more than 160,000 episodes of care each year to about 12,000 Aboriginal people living in Alice Springs and in six remote community clinics in Central Australia.”

The Congress’s Chief Executive Officer, Ms Donna Ah Chee, says there has been a 30% decrease in all cause mortality for Aboriginal people in the NT since 2001
Download the Report Here : CPHC Congress Final Report
 

The benefits of ‘Aboriginal health in Aboriginal hands’ has received endorsement from a wide-ranging investigation of Australian primary health care services.

The Central Australian Aboriginal Congress in Alice Springs stood out as a leader in the delivery of comprehensive primary health care in a study by Flinders University researchers at the Southgate Institute for Health, Society, and Equity.

Southgate director Professor Fran Baum says the service’s strengths include its ability to provide a one-stop-shop and outreach services, along with free medicines and support, and advocacy on community issues such as improved access to health services, alcohol and early childhood.

Professor Baum says the strengths of Aboriginal community-controlled primary health care service model emerged clearly as part of the six-year study.

“In fact, this model when done well could be described as a world leader in the global push under the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for Universal Health Coverage,” Professor Baum says.

“The Congress was the best example of all six services studied because it so effectively provides the community with self-determination, and greater control over their own health and health care rather than other more top-down programs run by government and other agencies.

“The genius of the Aboriginal community-controlled model is that it is able to take the best of a strong medical model of care and combine it with a social health model.”

Southgate senior research fellow Toby Freeman says the research bears out other commentary about the need for more Aboriginal community controlled primary health care services and other Aboriginal controlled organisations.

“As chronic disease in Australia continues to rise, and accessibility of health care becomes a greater concern, the research points to the importance of safeguarding and looking at alternative models of health care,” Mr Freeman says.

“We have found Aboriginal community controlled health services can comprehensively help people to tackle ill health and promote good health in the community.”

Read the article “Case Study of an Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Service in Australia: Universal, Rights-Based, Publicly Funded Comprehensive Primary Health Care in Action”

at https://www.hhrjournal.org/2016/12/case-study-of-an-aboriginal-community-controlled-health-service-in-australia-universal-rights-based-publicly-funded-comprehensive-primary-health-care-in-action/ .

The findings have also been the subject of a report “Aboriginal Health in Aboriginal Hands” by Dr Pamela Lyon, at

http://www.flinders.edu.au/medicine/fms/sites/southgate/documents/CPHC%20Congress%20Final%20Report.pdf

2.Western Australia : Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service (GRAMS). 

Past CEO Terry Brennan, current CEO Deborah Woods with MC for the event and respected elder Dr Richard Walley OAM

CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE: A $3.8 million Centre of Excellence for Aboriginal Health has been officially opened by the Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service (GRAMS) on 9 March

It’s been developed in partnership with the WA Centre for Rural Health and will combine clinical primary health care with training, workforce development and research opportunities.

CEO Deborah Woods says the new facility will allow GRAMS and other registered providers to deliver new training opportunities for people working in Aboriginal health.

“It will help us create a future workforce with cultural and practical skills to work within Aboriginal organisations and with Aboriginal colleagues, patients and community,” Ms Woods said.

“The aim is also to get people to reconsider the aim of taking on tertiary education in the health sector particularly in areas that are of great need for Aboriginal people.

“For example doctors, we’ve done extremely well in the recruitment and the education of Aboriginal people to go on and become medical doctors and there’s been a huge influx, but we also need people to look and consider physiotherapy, speech therapy, dentistry and so all of those other allied health areas, there is a great demand for those type of skills in the organisation.”

Background

GRAMS Centre of Excellence in Aboriginal Primary Health Care and Training was developed with the purpose of maintaining Aboriginal community input and control over all GRAMS operations. We aim to increase staff and community understanding of the GRAMS mission, vision and values as well as preparing plans for the future growth of the organisation.

The Centre was developed in partnership with Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service (GRAMS) and the WA Centre for Rural Health (WACRH) and will enable both organisations to create a centre of excellence that blends clinical primary health care with training and research opportunities. It offers three pillars of service delivery: Family Health (child and maternal health); Social, Emotional and Wellbeing and Chronic Disease care.

The Centre includes a newly built training area in which GRAMS and registered training providers can deliver new training opportunities for people working in Aboriginal health. This will provide opportunities to upskill local Aboriginal health staff to more advanced professional roles as well as opportunities for training non-Aboriginal providers in a high functioning Aboriginal community controlled health service in how to best support Aboriginal people in managing their health.

The Centre is located at the GRAMS premises on Rifle Range Road in Geraldton.

The Centre of Excellence achievements to date are as follows:

  • Established a new clinic in Mt Magnet
  • Increased services to the Murchison and Gascoyne districts
  • Improved coordination and quality of clinical services
  • The receipt of funds to expand the GRAMS Rifle Range Road building to develop the Centre of Excellence
  • Partnerships developed with WA Centre for Rural Health (WACRH) supporting the development of the Centre of Excellence in Aboriginal Primary Health Care and Training
  • Improved business management systems and processes
  • Recognition of GRAMS leadership role in research and research translation
  • Implementation of an after-hours service
  • Increased state and national recognition of GRAMS strengths and achievements
  • Increased specialist services
  • Demonstrated improved service partnerships with other health stakeholders through achievements of the Yamatji Regional Forum

3.Victoria: Victorian Aboriginal Health Service Healthy Lifestyle Team

DEADLY DAN – Number 2!

Deadly Dan dropped into the VACSAL Statewide Basketball Carnival on Day One to spread the word about Staying Smoke Free, eating lots of fruit and veg, getting moving and drinking water.

#DeadlyDan#StaySmokeFree#vahshlt

Check us out and LIKE on FACEBOOK

4. Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia

With smoking a well known habit for many people. the Aboriginal Health Council recently sent its Tackling Indigenous Smoking Team, the Puyu Blasters, to a recent McRitchie Park Fun Day.

Originally posted

The community initiative aims to provide regional level engagement with communities through smoking education and raising awareness to reduce Indigenous smoking rates in regional and remote communities in South Australia.

The group put together a smoking survey with the aim of collecting evidence of smoking prevalence in communities (how many smokers and non-smokers) and how many know the dangers of smoking and the existence of environmental smoke or second hand (passive) smoking.

Tackling Indigenous Smoking Project Officer Zena Wingfield said the surveys help to provide the group with a snapshot of the community in terms of what they know about smoking.

“The questions in the survey are not confronting or judgmental about people’s smoking habits,they are probing questions aimed at finding out what people know about smoking,” she said.

“They also aim to uncover what measures people take to provide a smoke free space for the vulnerable; children, pregnant women and those with respiratory issues for example asthma.

“ We also find what the community’s knowledge is of changing laws about smoking in public spaces, for example, outdoor eatery’s, public transport stops and sporting fields/playgrounds.”

The five key areas of the Tackling Indigenous Smoking initiative are:

  • Quality and reach of community engagement
  • Organisations involved in tobacco reduction in the region
  • Building a capacity to support quitting
  • Referrals to appropriate quitting support
  • Supporting smoke-free environment

Those who completed the group’s smoking surveys at the McRitchie Park Fun Day were entered into a draw to win a Coles voucher for their age group.

Alice Abdulla received the $100 Coles voucher for the Family survey, while Jasmine Abdulla won a $50 Coles voucher for completing the Youth Survey.

The Puyu (translation ‘Smoke’) Blasters Programme has project officers based in 5 regional areas in South Australia – Whyalla, Port Augusta, Yalata, Port Lincoln and Coober Pedy.

There are an additional 4 project officers based in Adelaide who travel around to small regional areas and work with local schools, youth, health and community groups.

To get in contact with Ms Wingfield for a support referral or advice to quit smoking, or to organise an educational session, you can reach her on  (08) 8649 9900 or at zena.wingfield@nunyara.org.au.

You can follow the Puyu Blasters on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PuyuBlastersAHCSA/.

5. Awabakal 40 th Anniversary Dinner

Over our 40 years, Awabakal has called many different sites ‘home’, from Newcastle University, Carrington and the corner of Hunter and Tutor Street in Newcastle CBD.

This journey has led us to settle at our current site in Wickham which has been used as a multi-purpose community hub during this time.

We are proud to now have the addition of three more Awabakal sites – our Medical Centre in Hamilton and our Early Learning Centres in Glendale and Wickham. It has been wonderful to see our organisation grow over the past four decades and we look forward to what the future holds for Awabakal.

#ThrowbackThursday #tbt #40years

40 years respecting the past, leading the future – the legacy lives on

Since 1977, Awabakal has been providing primary health care, aged care, children and family services to Indigenous people living throughout the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Port Stephens and Hunter Valley regions. Our legacy lives on through the services we provide.

More info

6. Queensland Deadly Choices

Great to have a visit from the Deadly and talented artist Chern’ee Sutton last week. Chern’ee’s artwork once again appeared on this year’s NRL Indigenous All Stars shirt.

Be quick book in for your health check at your local participating AMS and get a limited edition DC All Stars inspired health check shirt. To locate your nearest clinic visit www.iuih.org.au/clinics

7. Tasmania Aboriginal Centre ( TAC )

NACCHO #ClosetheGapday Editorial Comment and Download #CTG 2017 Progress and Priorities Report

 ” Achieving health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will be impossible without a sincere, committed effort to understand and address racism in this country. That is why the Close the Gap Campaign continues to call for a national inquiry into the prevalence of racism and its impact.

The old cliché about persisting with the same failure in the hope of a different outcome is sadly the lived reality of much of the government policies regarding our people.

It is time to do something different.”

NACCHO CEO Pat Turner AM and Co- Chair Close the Gap Campaign

Opinion editorial 16 March see below in full ” It’s time to re-think Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health

Closing the gap in health equality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians is an agreed national priority but governments are failing to meet nearly every key measure. This has to change.”

That’s the blunt assessment delivered by Close the Gap Campaign co-chairs, Jackie Huggins and Patricia Turner :

Photo : NACCHO CEO Pat Turner and #CTG co chair Dr Jackie Huggins launch 2017 #CloseTheGap Progress & Priorities Report

Dr Huggins, who is also co-chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, and Ms Turner, who is chief executive of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, released the Close the Gap Campaign 2017 Progress and Priorities Report in Sydney today (  16 March ) to mark National Close the Gap Day.

Download the report HERE     CTG Report 2017

CTG 2017 report : 15 Recommendations :  “We have the Solutions

New Engagement ( The remaining 12 below )

  1. The Federal, State and Territory governments renew the relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, by engaging with sector leaders on the series of calls in the Redfern Statement, and that they participate in a National Summit with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders in 2017, to forge a new path forward together.
  2. The Federal Government restore previous funding levels to the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples as the national representative body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and work closely with Congress and the Statement signatories to progress the calls in the Redfern Statement.
  3. The Federal Government hold a national inquiry into racism and institutional racism in health care settings, and hospitals in particular, and its contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inequality, and the findings be incorporated by the Department of Health in its actioning of the Implementation Plan of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023.

It’s time to re-think Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health

Op-ed by Patricia Turner, CEO, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and co-chair of the Close the Gap Campaign.

Today [16 March 2017] is National Close the Gap Day. It is a day to acknowledge our resilience and a day to focus attention on the significant gap in health equality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians.

The facts are indisputable. Governments at all levels are failing Australia’s First Peoples. We have shorter lifespans and we are sicker and poorer than the average non-Indigenous Australian.

The Close the Gap Campaign began in 2006. One of the Campaign’s first accomplishments was to convince the Federal Government of the need to plan and set targets to improve health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

We’ve now had almost a decade of Closing the Gap Strategy by successive federal governments. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s most recent report to Parliament, in February 2017, was not good news. Most of the Closing the Gap targets are unlikely to be met by 2030. Frustratingly, child mortality rates are going backwards.

Today, the Close the Gap Campaign’s Progress and Priorities Report 2017 reflects on the continuing failure of the Government’s Closing the Gap Strategy and outlines a series of recommendations that can begin to turn the tide.

As a co-chair of Close the Gap Campaign and CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, I see the impact of a lack of coordination between federal, state and territory governments on addressing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

The Federal Government’s recent announcement to refresh the strategy is timely and a dialogue should begin with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak health organisations on how to address the health challenges our people face.

We expect much more from the state and territory governments. The Federal Government has a clear leadership role but the states are simply not doing enough to address inequality in their jurisdictions.

New arrangements between state, territory and federal governments must begin with a clear focus on addressing the social and cultural determinants of health.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs should not be managed in siloes. Instead, we need to take account of the factors that contribute to good health: housing, education, employment and access to justice. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders from across these sectors are already working together to make these policy connections – governments must follow suit.

Cultural determinants matter. There is abundant evidence about the importance of self-determination, freedom from the grind of casual and systemic racism, discrimination and poverty. For over 200 years we have been burdened with laws, systems and institutes that perpetuate disadvantage.

But our cultures and traditions still endure; we remain the traditional custodians of the land you walk on.

Last year, 140 Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations (ACCHOs) provided nearly 3 million episodes of care to over 340,000 clients by more than 3,000 Indigenous staff. It is clear that putting Aboriginal health in Aboriginal hands works.

Recently, Flinders University highlighted the success of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress in Alice Springs, noting its ability to provide a one stop-shop with outreach services, free medicine and advocacy.

The benefits of having Aboriginal health in Aboriginal hands are evident in other case studies which show reductions in the numbers of young smokers, increased immunisations rates, and increased numbers of child health checks in our local communities.

The Federal Government’s rhetoric about economic empowerment and opportunity should be replaced with significant public policy initiatives and the delivery of specific outcomes. Politicians often speak about the optimism, resilience and determination of our people but how about speaking today, right now, about meaningful actions, engagement and self-determination for us all.

CTG 2017 report 15 Recommendations :  “We have the Solutions

Prime Minister, and all Members of Parliament I say to you that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the solutions to the difficulties we face.

Consider for a moment the 2.5 million episodes of care delivered to our people by Aboriginal Community Controlled Heath Organisations each year.

This community-controlled work is echoed by many of our organisations here today, and amplified by countless individual and community efforts working for change.

Imagine this work stretching out over decades as it has.

We need a new relationship that respects and harnesses this expertise, and recognises our right to be involved in decisions being made about us.

A new relationship where we have a seat at the table when policies are developed.”

Dr Jackie Huggins Redfern Statement Parliamentary Event, 14 February 2017

Reinvigorating the national approach to health inequality

4.     State and Territory governments recommit to the Close the Gap Statement of Intent, and develop and implement formal partnerships with the Federal Government with agreed roles, funding and accountability with the provision of annual reports on their efforts to close the gap from each jurisdiction.

 

5.     The Federal, State and Territory governments work together to develop a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Strategy to meet the vision of the National Health Plan.

Social and Cultural Determinants of Health

6.     The Federal Government develop a long-term National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social and Cultural Determinants of Health Strategy.

Implementation Plan

The Implementation Plan is a major commitment by the Federal Government and must be adequately resourced for its application and operation. As such, the Government should:

7.     Identify geographic areas with both high levels of preventable illnesses and deaths and inadequate services, and development of a capacity-building plan for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) in those areas.

8.     Fund the process required to develop the core services model and the associated workforce, infrastructure, information management and funding strategies required.

9.     Ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health funding is maintained at least at current levels until the core services, workforce and funding work is finalised, when funding should be linked directly with the Implementation Plan.

10. Ensure the timely evaluation and renewal of related frameworks upon which the Implementation Plan relies.

 

11. Finalise and resource the National Plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing. This plan should incorporate and synthesise the existing health, mental health, suicide and drugs policies and plans – and should be an immediate priority of all governments.

12. Ensure that the consultation process for the next iteration of the Implementation Plan be based on genuine partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, in a way that is representative and properly funded so that First Peoples can be full and equal development partners.

Primary Health Networks

13. The Federal Government mandate formal agreements between Primary Health Networks (PHNs) and ACCHOs in each region that:

a.     specify Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership on Indigenous issues and identify the specific roles and responsibilities of both the PHNs and the ACCHOs.

b.     include workforce targets for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals and include mandatory Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation on the clinical committees of every PHN.

14. The Federal Government mandate ACCHOs as preferred providers of health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people provided through PHNs.

15. The Federal Government develop and implement agreed accountability, evaluation and reporting arrangements to support the provision of primary health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in each PHN area.[i]

Summary

The Campaign believes that the PHN program has the potential to make a significant positive difference in health outcomes for all Australians if they are culturally safe and properly engaged with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community within their network area.

The ability of PHNs to deliver culturally safe, high-quality primary health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will be seen in the lived experience of the people.

Engagement

It is essential that Federal Government ensure that the PHNs are engaging with ACCHOs to ensure the best primary health care is afforded to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as well as the broader community. Competitive tendering processes for PHNs that award contracts to organisations that are able to write the best proposal may well be at the expense of organisations that can provide the best services in terms of access, quality and outcomes.

However, formal partnerships between PHNs and ACCHOs should reduce rather than exacerbate current funding inequities and inefficiencies.

It is the Campaign’s view that ACCHOs must be considered the ‘preferred providers’ for health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Where there is either no existing ACCHO or insufficient ACCHO services, capacity should be built by the establishment of new ACCHOs or within existing ACCHOs (or have capacity development of existing ACCHOs) within the PHN area to extend their services to the identified areas of need.

Where it is appropriate for mainstream providers to deliver a service, they should be looking to partner with ACCHOs to better reach the communities in need.[i]

The Campaign welcomes the collaboration between the Department of Health and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation to develop the Primary Health Networks (PHNS) and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOS) – Guiding Principles which are intended to provide:

…guidance for actions to be taken by each party across six key domains: Closing the Gap; cultural competency; commissioning; engagement and representation; accountability, data and reporting; service delivery; and research.[ii]

Having a shared understanding of the key domains of focus and the principles of engagement and collaboration are a good start, however, more can be done to formalise the relationship between PHNs and ACCHOs.

Cultural Safety

The need for culturally safe services, with safe spaces that support the holistic concept of health is well established.

ACCHOs continue to be the exemplar for cultural safety standards as they are, by their very existence, best placed to respond to the health needs of the community based on implicit cultural understanding.[iii]

Again, it is encouraging to see some indications that the PHNs are looking to incorporate culturally safe practices as evidenced by the Guiding Principles document between PHNs and ACCHOs. The Guiding Principles state:

‘An understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is important to partners who wish to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people effectively and as equals.

Underpinning the Guiding Principles is a shared knowledge that will ensure:

  • respectful culturally sensitive consultation
  • recognition that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes will be achieved when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people control them, and
  • that commissioned service delivery will be a strengths-based approach reflecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.’[iv]

Respect of culture must be embedded in all PHN practice and management, from formalised cooperation with ACCHOs, the delivery of services and the investments made in the non-Indigenous workforces so that they understand and value Cultural Safety and its importance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people seeking care.

 The Close the Gap Campaign

Close the Gap Campaign co-chair Jackie Huggins highlighted the resilience of Indigenous people and cautioned against feeling disheartened by the slow pace of change.

“When Tom Calma started the Close the Gap Campaign in 2006, he set a 25-year goal to achieve health equality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples,” Dr Huggins said.

This was an intentionally ambitious time frame. Nevertheless, Tom and the other early Campaign members knew that every inch the gap closed between First Australians and non-Indigenous Australians translated into lives saved and lives improved.

The Australian community agreed. Since then more than 220,000 Australians have signed the close the gap pledge for change.

“Despite the significant challenges we face to make health equality a reality in this country, it is the commitment of the hundreds of thousands of people that have pledged their support to closing the gap that give us courage and strength to press on.

“In communities across Australia we are seeing more and more of our people rising above the obstacles of institutional racism, generational trauma and low expectations to become nurses, doctors, social workers, youth workers, health workers, administrators, teachers and community leaders.

Our people, with the support of the many non-Indigenous people committed to health equality, are best placed to lead the changes needed today, tomorrow and over the next decade,” Dr Huggins said.