NACCHO Aboriginal Health : Five things wrong with government Aboriginal Cultural Safety and Security policies


 ” Australian organisations seeking to be culturally safe and secure would have little confidence in Australian Governments’ policy documents to provide them with high-quality evidence for restructuring organisational governance.

I have assessed the various current Australian policies (listed below) around Aboriginal cultural safety and security.

Why would organisations follow guidelines that have no underlying evidence base, are not endorsed by Aboriginal community organisations, and have no assessment of their effectiveness for improving Aboriginal cultural ”

Dr Mark Lock  is a researcher who studies committees professionally and he’s looking at ways Aboriginal people can make their voices heard. “In my research, covering 53 towns around Hunter New England Local Health District, currently I have 2,500 committees and about 3,500 people,” Mr Lock said. It’s a surprising statistic.

“Aboriginal people sit on many different committees and I want to know: Where is my voice? Where is Aboriginal voice? How do Aboriginal people influence decision-making processes through sitting on all these different types of committees? Contact

See the recent full ABC Meet the Mob interview below

Five things:

1) No endorsement from any peak Aboriginal organisation (except Victoria – Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency),

2) No detail about the developmental process, with statements such as “thanks to the many people who were involved in developing this framework”,

3) Limited evidence base for the long list of domains, strategies, and actions, 4) No key performance indicators for measurement, and

5) No evaluations to assess their effectiveness.

Those policies evaluated

  1. Cultural Respect Framework for ATSI Health 2016 – 2026 (AHMAC)
  2. Aboriginal Cultural Security Framework 2016-2026 (Northern Territory)
  3. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Capability A Framework for Commonwealth Agencies (Australian Public Service Commission, 2015)
  4. Towards Culturally Appropriate and Inclusive Services 2014-2018 (Australian Capital Territory)
  5. A Framework for Working Effectively with Aboriginal People (Agency for Clinical Innovation, NSW Health, 2013)
  6. WA Health Aboriginal Cultural Learning Framework 2012-2016 (Western Australia)
  7. Respecting the Difference-An Aboriginal Cultural Training Framework for NSW Health (NSW Health, 2011)
  8. Queensland Health ATSI Cultural Capability Framework 2010-2033 (Queensland)
  9. Aboriginal Cultural Competence Framework (Victoria, 2008) and Matrix (2009)
  10. Aboriginal Cultural Respect Framework 2007-2012 (South Australia)

 NACCHO RESEARCH See our Cultural Safety posts

Download the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association FACT SHEET


The National Cultural Respect Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health 2016–2026 (the Framework) was recently launched by the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council .

This ten year framework seeks to guide delivery of culturally safe, responsive, and quality health care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.

Download the COAG Cultural Respect Framework here :


The recent full ABC Meet the Mob interview 

“I got a cheque for three dollars when I was a little boy. I don’t know who did that but I really value that three dollars. It came through good committee processes about giving financial independence to Aboriginal people.”

Mark Lock is a researcher who studies committees professionally and he’s looking at ways Aboriginal people can make their voices heard.

“In my research, covering 53 towns around Hunter New England Local Health District, currently I have 2,500 committees and about 3,500 people,” Mr Lock said.

It’s a surprising statistic.

“Aboriginal people sit on many different committees and I want to know: Where is my voice? Where is Aboriginal voice? How do Aboriginal people influence decision-making processes through sitting on all these different types of committees?

“They’re all connected because the chairperson of one committee will be a member of another committee, and the chairperson of that committee will be a member of another committee. It’s a network perspective like a spider’s web of committees.”

Mr Lock is keen to find out how policy makers make decisions.

“How do they say, ‘Oh, Aboriginal priorities, close the gap, number one. There’s an Aboriginal voice coming from Boggabri. I need to give that priority over anybody else’s voice.’ I don’t know how it happens and that’s what I’m investigating,” he said.

“There’s many more committees out there operating in our communities and that’s a fantastic thing, but with a population with high needs and so few people, how can their voice be better heard in all the noise? That’s what I want to try and get to.”

Mr Lock’s journey into this unique field of research started with a humble trophy from his grandmother that still sits in his office at the Hunter Medical Research Institute.

“My grandmother, Marjorie Woodrow, gave this to me in 1978 when I got straight As as a little boy in Narromine. I grew up in the same class as Glenn McGrath, that’s my brush with fame. We played cricket together,” Mr Lock said.

“To me, a little boy at the time, I felt so proud that Nan acknowledged this and said, ‘Go and get educated like white fellas and do good for our mob.’ I am 46-years-old now and that was when I was 12-years-old. It’s propelled me to this point always.”

Being a blackfella is not straightforward for Mr Lock.

“I’ve always been challenged about blackness and I’m always being challenged about, ‘Am I good enough to be a blackfella because I don’t look like blackfella? It’s constantly a battle to maintain identity, but I’m very strong about it now,” he said.

“My mob is the Ngiyaampaa mob out from Murrin Bridge, and on my website profile, you’ll see I don’t identify as Aboriginal because Aboriginal is a Latin term imposed upon us by Europeans.

“I’ve got all these mixed ancestries; convict, Latvian, Ngiyaampaa. But my history is very strongly of growing up around my Aboriginal family in country New South Wales and all the stories around that.”

Mr Lock lives in Newcastle but he has lived in many different places.

“I moved 28 times by the time I was 21. We went all over, in caravans, tents on river banks, wherever we could live,” he said.

“It started out with Nan who was always moving around with her children because she didn’t want them taken away by the welfare agencies, and it just transferred on to how we lived. I actually thought it was quite normal.

“When I met my wife Steph in Newcastle 26 years ago I thought she was a weirdo because she had only ever lived in the one place. No. It turns out that my story is not normal – 28 moves by the time I was 21!

“Moving is common in Aboriginal communities. People just move around. I think it’s related to that history of not having a solid root, of a solid foundation where you grew up, where you sang songs, where you sat by the fire, where you went fishing.”

Mr Lock travelled the country as a child and travelled the world as an adult, living in far-east Russia with his wife.

“I wanted to send a really clear message that I’m going to support my wife and I support women in this country. She’s an engineer. I was a stay-at-home dad looking after the kids,” he said.

“She has lived in Gabon, China, all over the place. She’s a fantastic engineer and we made a decision together that her career was the most important career.

“I said okay. Not only that; it’s not a token thing but it’s a serious issue for me, to promote that positive bias towards women, I changed my last name too.”

So Mark Lutschini took his wife’s surname and became Mark Lock

Mark Lock applies his independent thinking to his research.

He employs two full-time social media experts to publish findings as an ongoing part of his research process, rather than leaving it all to be published at the end of the process.

“My social media researchers have Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Pinterest because Aboriginal voice is expressed in different ways; images, video, writing in different forms,” Mr Lock said.

“We write many blogs. We tweet a lot. We also write journal articles. They capture as I gather the data for the study. I send it to them and then tweet about it to people who are interested in the study.”

Mr Lock would like to see committees take up social media to be more transparent.

“If you’re sitting down with a bunch of people around a table making decisions, why not write minutes, post them on a website so anyone in the community can access the minutes of the meeting?” he said.

And Mark’s personal experience on committees?

“I try to avoid committees. I was in the public service for 10 years and they were very debilitating. Dreadfully boring and often times you just want to go to sleep.”

Hosted by Jill Emberson, Mornings presenter on 1233 ABC Newcastle, Meet the Mob is a weekly profile of Aboriginal people in the Hunter region of New South Wales.

You can listen to each Meet the Mob interview by clicking on the audio player or you can download each interview as an mp3 by right clicking on the blue heading under the audio.



NACCHO Aboriginal Health Debate 3 of 3 @BillShortenMP speech #ClosingtheGap Our future is your future.


Shadow minister for human services Linda Burney MHR ,Senator Pat Dodson , Senator Malarndirri McCarthy, Jenny Macklin and leader of the opposition Bill Shorten signing the Redfern statement

See also Mondays 20 Feb press release and ACCHO visit


Labor sets up Indigenous caucus in push to improve representation across all parties


” Bill Shorten  pointed  to the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations around this country and the magnificent work they are doing to improve the health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people right around this country.

They are the best examples of comprehensive primary health care in the nation. What we do not want is for them to be white-anted by some competitive-funding model, which has the potential to happen.

So I say to the government: invest in what we know works. I am sure that if we do that, we can get better outcomes all round.

I note also—and the Leader of the Opposition spoke about this today—that there are programs that actually do work well.

The Deadly Choices program through the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health, which the member for Blair referred to—a highly progressive organisation—started with four health clinics in Brisbane and now has 18, delivering comprehensive primary health care across the urban population of Brisbane for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people—some 50,000 to 60,000 people.  The number of health checks is increasing.”

Mr SNOWDON (Lingiari) (17:21):

Can I firstly acknowledge the traditional owners of this great land that we are on, the Ngunawal and the Ngambri people, and acknowledge the traditional owners of all Aboriginal lands—all Aboriginal nations—right around this country, most particularly in my own electorate of Lingiari, which traverses 1.34 million square kilometres, one-sixth of Australia’s landmass, and has a sizeable proportion of the remote Aboriginal population.

Mr SHORTEN (Maribyrnong—Leader of the Opposition) (12:23):

I acknowledge the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples, traditional owners of the land upon which we meet. I pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging.

This tradition of recognition goes back millennia. This parliament and the nation we call home is, was and always will be Aboriginal land. Where we are, so too are Aboriginal peoples: from the Noonga near Perth to the Eora of Sydney, the Nunga of Adelaide, the Kulin around Melbourne, the Palawah of Tassie, the Murri of Brisbane and Torres Strait Islanders. We are one country, enriched by hundreds of nations, languages and traditions.

After the last election, I took on the shadow ministry for Indigenous affairs. My family and I went back to Garma to listen and learn. I have met with Northern Territory leaders, defending the young men being abused in juvenile detention.

I travelled to Wave Hill to commemorate the courage of Vincent Lingiari and the Gurindji. And I have looked to my Indigenous colleagues for their wisdom. They are as inspirational as they are modest: a Wiradjuri woman in the House, a shadow minister; a Yanuwa woman in the Senate, heading our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander caucus committee; and a Yawuru man, the father of reconciliation, I look to him as my mentor and assistant shadow minister.

I also recognise the member for Hasluck, Ken Wyatt, and congratulate him on his historic appointment, and I recognise too Senator Lambie.

I will never forget walking into Cairns West Primary on Djabugay Country on the first day of last year’s election campaign and I saw the wide-eyed smiles of so many young Aboriginal students as I introduced them to Senator Patrick Dodson.

The value of role models, of the next generation seeing faces like theirs in places of power, cannot be underestimated. It should not be the exception. We should make it the rule.

In the Labor Party, we are doing better than we have, but what we did before was simply not good enough and I want us to improve, not just at the federal level but at every level of government.


There are so many First Australians in the galleries today. You are friends and your peers would elevate and enrich our parliament with your talent, whichever party you choose. I look forward to the day, and can imagine the day, when one of the First Australians is our Prime Minister or, indeed, our head of state.

As the Prime Minister mentioned, the Referendum Council are continuing their important community conversations. After the Uluru gathering, it will be time for the parliament to step up and draw upon these consultations and to finally agree a set of words to put to the Australian people.

I believe, and let me be clear, that this parliament, this year, should agree on a way forward—not a vague poetic statement meaning nothing and offending no-one by saying nothing; a meaningful proposition that every Australian can understand and, I remain confident, Australians will overwhelmingly support.

Recognition is not the end of the road, but it should be the beginning of a new, far more equal relationship between the first peoples of this nation and all of us who have followed. And that is where the listening and the learning must reach beyond the walls of this chamber.

I do not seek to present a balance sheet of the good and the bad—not a list of top-down programs imperfectly managed; not the same old story of reports written but not read. Instead, I believe in a new approach.

We must forget the insulting fiction that the First Australians are a problem to be solved and, instead, have a new approach to listen to people who stand on the other side of the gap; a new approach that, from now on, the First Australians must have first say in the decisions that shape their lives; a new approach that means a stronger voice for the National Congress of Australia’s First People and the resources to make it happen; a new approach to extend ourselves beyond handpicked sources of advice; a new approach to be in the places where our First Australians live and work and play, from Mount Druitt to Logan, in the APY Lands and East Arnhem.

Not treating local consultation as a box to be ticked but applying the wisdom of people who know. Understanding and recognising there are many Aboriginal nations across this country: Waanyi and Warlpiri, Badi Badi and Gumatj, Tharawal and Kuarna, Yorta Yorta and Narrunga. And all of these nations have the right to have control of their future. The change required is deeper and more profound than where we visit and who we talk to, though.

I believe that First Australians want a way to be heard in a voice that they are in control of. I want Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to know that Labor hears you.

We understand the need for a structure that is not at the mercy of the cuts or seen as a gift of largesse; a voice that cannot be kicked to the curb by change of government or policy; an entity that recognises culture, kinship, identity, language, country and responsibility; the pride that comes from knowing who you are, where you come from and the values you stand upon; and a system where culture is central and fundamental. And have no doubt; this can be done.

We see it when a Pitjantjatjara person seeks out a local healer, a ngangkari, in addition to a GP—when they see both the GP and the local healer; because spiritual wellbeing cannot be treated by a packet of Panadol alone. We see it in the Koori Court in Parramatta, using diversionary sentencing as an alternative to incarceration. The elders sit on the bench alongside the judges and ask the right questions of young people.

They give the young people a sense of belonging and, if these young people muck up, the elders address them with that straight-talking freedom of family and culture, a frankness and reassurance, that even the judge can learn from.

There at this court, the police, the prosecution and the defence show sensitivity to culture, yet still deal with the young person who has behaved in an antisocial way.

This cross-cultural approach enhances the system, bringing Aboriginal cultures to the centre, allowing justice to be done without diminishing the individual or denying identity. It Australianises justice and makes it work better.

We also see it in the best of Australian theatre and art and in education and literature. And if we can accept the value and richness of Indigenous cultural genius and allow it to impact and transform our justice system and the arts, we can do this with the Australian parliament too. In this the people’s place, we can grow an enhanced respect for the first peoples for their unique societies, for their values and for their experiences.

At Redfern, Paul Keating threw down a gauntlet to us, the non-Aboriginal Australians.

He posed a question that we had never asked: how would I feel if this were done to me? That question still stands before Australia, 25 years later. How would we feel if our children were more likely to go to jail than to university? .

How would we feel if the life expectancy of our families was 20 years shorter than our neighbour? How would we feel if, because of our skin, we experienced racism and discrimination? And how would we feel if every time we offered a solution, an idea or an alternative approach, we were patronisingly told ‘the government knows best’?

This is about our ability to walk in another’s shoes. So our test, as a people and as a parliament, is not just to craft a new response but also to rediscover an old emotion, to recapture the best of Australian compassion, to wake up our brotherhood and sisterhood and recapture our love for our fellow human being and our dedication to our neighbours, as we saw with Weary Dunlop’s devotion to his troops—the love of others over risk to self; with Fred Hollows’ life of service; and with Nancy Wake’s courage. It is actually a spirit we see in millions of ordinary Australians: carers, teachers, volunteers and emergency service personnel. It is the story that Pat told me about the matron at his school demanding that that young boy have sheets on his bed like every other young boy. It is about the lady in Casterton who said that no-one was going to treat Pat any different to any other boy.

Courage comes in all forms, and it is the spirit we need. There is a spirit of courage which lurks in the hearts of all Australians. There is that sense that we, at a certain point, will be pushed no further, that we will not stand for it any more.

It is that spirit to reject discrimination, to reject inequality and to simply say, ‘This cannot continue and Aboriginal people should not put up with the rubbish anymore.’ So my message today is not just for the people in this chamber but for the first peoples of this nation.

We seek your help. We seek your partnership. We seek your inspiration and your leadership, because things cannot continue as they are.

The audit of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy tells a worrying tale, a familiar tale. It is concern about consultation and cuts. But it speaks, though, of a problem—perhaps it is called paternalism—of a slide backwards. We see too often—and this is not a comment on the coalition or Labor; it is a comment about parliament—the legitimate cynicism of our First Australians towards the efforts of this place.

There are problems written across the land, in suburbs and remote communities, in our schools and hospitals, in women’s refuges, in the courts of our country and in the targets that we fall short of today. We see it in the staggering 440 per cent increase in Aboriginal children in out-of-home care.

It has been 20 years since Bringing them home, that report which brought tears to this chamber. It is nine years since Kevin Rudd and Jenny Macklin’s apology to the stolen generations—and I wish to acknowledge former Prime Minister Rudd’s presence here today in the gallery, visiting his former workplace. I say this, Kevin: you can take well-deserved pride in your leadership on the 2008 apology.

But now we have more Aboriginal children than ever growing up away from home and away from kin, culture and country. We know that many members of the stolen generation are still living with the pain of their removal and the harm done by years of having their stories rejected and denied.

That is why I applaud the state governments of New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania, who are already taking steps towards providing reparations to families torn apart by the discrimination of those times. Decency demands that we now have a conversation at the Commonwealth level about the need for the Commonwealth to follow the lead on reparations. This is the right thing to do. It is at the heart of reconciliation: telling the truth, saying sorry and making good.

The Closing the Gap targets were agreed by all levels of government—not just the Commonwealth; the states and the local government—in partnership with Aboriginal people. The targets were driven by the understanding: that your health influences your education, that your education affects your ability to get a job, and that good jobs make thing better for families, relationships and communities. The Closing the Gap framework is an intergenerational commitment to eroding centuries of inequality.

It outlives governments and parliaments and prime ministers and opposition leaders—but it also requires renewal. This year, many of the current targets are due to be renegotiated. And there are also new areas that we must consider. Labor continues to demand a justice target, because incarceration and victimisation are breaking families and communities across this country.

Today we propose a new priority on stronger families—adding a target for reducing the number of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care. The Secretariat for National Aboriginal and Islander Chid Care has shone a light on this shame: one in three children in statutory out-of-home care are Indigenous. And Indigenous children are nearly 10 times more likely to be removed by child protection authorities than their non-Indigenous peers.

Labour will listen to and will work with SNAICC—and, most importantly, the communities themselves—to look at new models and new approaches.

Breaking this vicious cycle of family violence, of women murdered and driven from their homes, of unsafe communities, of parents in jail and kids in care, requires more from us than doubling down on the current system.

We need to learn from places like Bourke and Cowra and their focus on justice reinvestment—on prevention, not just punishment; from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who are making men face up to their responsibilities, forcing a change in attitudes and supporting great initiatives such as the ‘No More’ campaign. And that should be our story across the board: in preventative health, in education, in employment and in housing. It is time for humility—to admit that we don’t have the answers here; to go out and seek them.

It is time for truth-telling. Our ancestors drove the first peoples of this nation from their bora ring; we scattered the ashes of their campfires. We fenced the hunting grounds; we poisoned the waterholes; we distributed blankets infected with diseases we knew would kill. And there has been plenty of damage done in different ways with better intentions—by the belief that forced assimilation was the only way to achieve equality.

So today, I come here not to tell but to ask, because where we have failed the first Australians have succeeded. On the road to reconciliation, it is our first Australians who have led the way: giving forgiveness as we seek forgiveness; standing up and walking off at Wave Hill Station, for their right to live on their land in their way; Charles Perkins and the Freedom Riders, who opened the eyes of a generation to racism and poverty; Jessie Street, Faith Bandler, Chicka Dixon, Joe McGinniss and countless others who rallied support for the 67 Referendum under the banner ‘Count us Together’; and Eddie Mabo, who told his daughter Gail: ‘One day, all Australia is going to know my name’.

The success of Aboriginal leadership can be found in every corner of the country. I have seen it with my own eyes: the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, providing essential primary care; marvellous Indigenous rangers, in Wadeye and Maningrida, the Central Desert and the Kimberley, working on country and on the seas and waterways, doing meaningful jobs for good wages; the Families as First Teachers program, which has given culturally-appropriate support to over 2,000 young families, helping with health and hygiene and preparing for early childhood education; Money Mob, teaching budgeting and planning skills; Deadly Choices, through the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health in Brisbane, improving preventive health; the Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre in Darwin; the Stars Foundation, inspiring Indigenous girls, modelling the success of the Clontarf Academy for Boys; and there is the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience, connecting Aboriginal university students with high achievers at school.

On every issue, at every age, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are demonstrating that solutions are within their grasp. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people know what needs to be done. What they need from this parliament is recognition, respect and resources.

We cannot swap the tyranny of bureaucracy for funding cuts and neglect. The people on the frontline—the elders, the leaders, the teachers and health-care workers—know what to do. We need to take the time to listen. We need to respect the right of Aboriginal voices to make decisions and to control their own lives—to give them their own place and space. They just need us to back them up.

Fifty years ago, Oodgeroo wrote: … the victory of the 1967 Referendum was not a change of white attitudes. The real victory was the spirit of hope and optimism …We had won something. … We were visible, hopeful and vocal.

All too rarely—before and since—has that been the story for Aboriginal people. Instead, it has been a tale of exclusion: exclusion from opportunity, from the pages of our history, and exclusion from the decisions that govern their lives.

It is time to write a new story. And it is a story of belonging, because Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples belong to a proud tradition, of nations who fought the invaders; brave people who fought, and died, for their country, at Passchendaele, Kokoda and Long Tan, and now in the Middle East and Afghanistan; who have fought and continue to fight for justice, for land, for an apology, for recognition.

You belong to a tradition of sporting brilliance, in the face of racism from opponents, teammates, administrators and even spectators. You belong to humanity’s oldest continuous culture—more famous around the world than ever before. You do not belong in a jail cell for an offence that carries an $80 fine. You do not belong strapped into a chair with a hood on your head. You do not belong in the back of a windowless van, away from your family and loved ones. You do not belong in a bureaucrat’s office begging for money. You do not belong on the streets with nowhere to go.

You belong here, as members of parliament, as leaders of this nation. You belong in the Constitution, recognised at last. You belong in schools, teaching and learning. You belong on construction sites, building homes, gaining skills. You belong on country, caring for land. You belong here, growing up healthy, raising your children in safety, growing old with security. You belong here, strong in your culture, kinship, language and country. You belong here, equal citizens in this great country, equal partners in our common endeavour. This is your place. This is our place.

Our future is your future.

As Senator Dodson has said to me, ‘Let’s go. The best advice: let’s get on with it.’ As he would say, in the language of his people, ‘Wamba yimbulan.’

NACCHO Aboriginal Children’s Health @KenwyattMP Part 2 of 2 #ACCHO Providers who will be delivering the Primary Health Care and New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services are:


” The $27 million would be invested over the next 18 months in Primary Health Care services and New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services under the Indigenous Australians’ Health Program.

These services include: comprehensive primary health care; antenatal and postnatal care; information about baby care; assistance with breastfeeding, nutrition and parenting; monitoring developmental milestones, immunisation status and infections; and health checks and referrals for treatment for Indigenous children before starting school.”

The Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM, MP

See list below that includes many of our ACCHO member


NACCHO welcomes $27 million for early childhood health

The peak body for Aboriginal controlled community health organisations today welcomed an extra $27 million over the next 18 months for programs to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Strait Islander children and mothers.

The funding announced by Indigenous Health Minister, Ken Wyatt, will be provided to 18 medical services in NSW, Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia.

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Chair, Matthew Cooke, welcomed the Minister’s announcement that Aboriginal medical services would receive most of the additional funding.

Mr Cooke said funding indigenous led solutions was critical to making significant gains in closing the indigenous health gap, including reversing the slide in infant mortality rates highlighted in last week’s Closing the Gap report.

“Maternal and early childhood health programs that are culturally appropriate, co-ordinated and delivered by Aboriginal health professionals working on the ground in local communities are essential to giving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children the best possible start in life,” Mr Cooke said.

“This announcement will fund services such as antenatal and postnatal care, information about baby care, support for breastfeeding, nutrition and parenting, monitoring milestones, immunisation and health checks to make sure children are healthy and ready to learn when they start school.

“This funding is an encouraging and welcome sign that the government has listened to Aboriginal people over the last week and recognises that we must be equal partners in addressing issues that affect our communities.”

The new funding will be invested under the Indigenous Australians’ Health Program.

Aboriginal controlled community health organisations that will receive the new funding include:

  • Bulgarr Ngaru Medical Aboriginal Coprporation (NSW
  • Armajun Health Service Aboriginal Corporation (NSW)
  • Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service Ltd (NSW)
  • Mt Isa Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services Ltd (QLD)
  • Townsville Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation for Health Service (QLD)
  • Mulungu Aboriginal Corporation Medical Centre (QLD)
  • South East Tasmanian Aboriginal Corporation (TAS)
  • Tasmania Aboriginal Centre (TAS)
  • Moorditj Koort Aboriginal Corporation (WA)
  • GP Down South Ltd (WA)

Minister’s Press Release

New funding of $27m for child and maternal health programs and primary health care will help keep Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children healthy and ready to learn when they start school and ensure they are properly immunized.

“These targeted grants will help improve the health and life expectancy, as well as early childhood health and development, of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through better access to effective and high-quality health services,” Mr Wyatt said.

“The health providers will be delivering services in culturally-appropriate ways.

“This is in addition to our 2014-15 Budget announcement of $54 million over three years to 2018 for an additional 51 New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services sites to improve child and maternal health.

“Together, this represents a significant investment in the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.”

PDF printable version of $27 million for better Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes – PDF 254 KB

The providers who will be delivering the Primary Health Care and New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services are:

State Region Successful applicant/s
NSW North Coast Bulgarr Ngaru Medical Aboriginal Corporation – Primary Health Care and New Directions: Mothers and Babies Service
Hunter New England and Central Coast Armajun Health Service Aboriginal Corporation – Primary Health Care

New England North West Health Ltd (HealthWISE New England North West) – Primary Health Care

Hunter New England Local Health District (Tamworth Nundle Community Health Service) – New Directions: Mothers and Babies Service

Western NSW Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service Limited (Brewarrina AHS) – Primary Health Care
South Eastern NSW Grand Pacific Health Limited (Grand Pacific Health NSW) – Primary Health Care
Qld Western Queensland Mount Isa Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services Limited (Gidgee Healing) – Primary Health Care and New Directions: Mothers and Babies Service
Northern Queensland Queensland Health Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service (Community Health Mossman) – Primary Health Care

Townsville Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation for Health Service – New Directions: Mothers and Babies Service

Mulungu Aboriginal Corporation Medical Centre – Primary Health Care

Tas North Western Tasmania Rural Health Tasmania Inc. – Primary Health Care and New Directions: Mothers and Babies Service
Southern Tasmania South East Tasmanian Aboriginal Corporation – New Directions: Mothers and Babies Service

Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre – Primary Health Care

WA Perth South Moorditj Koort Aboriginal Corporation – Primary Health Care

GP Down South Ltd (Down South and Nidjalla Waangan Mia) – Primary Health Care

Arche Health Limited (Perth South WA) –
Primary Health Care

Country WA WA Country Health Service (Great Southern Aboriginal Health Service and
Wheatbelt Aboriginal Health Service) – Primary Health CareBoab Health Services Pty Ltd – Primary Health Care


NACCHO Aboriginal Health debate 2 of 3 : Prime Minister’s Parliament speech ” We must embark on a new approach to #closingthegap on Indigenous disadvantage.


“ The national interest requires a re-commitment to the relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.  But there can be no relationship without partnership.

And there can be no partnership without participation—we heard that very eloquently this morning at the Redfern Statement breakfast.

I firmly believe that people must be involved in the process in order to be engaged in the outcomes. It has to be a shared endeavour;


We have made great gains in improving the key factors that influence the health of Indigenous children. But we are also reminded of the fragility of life, and the heavy burden of responsibility of families, communities and governments. I am very saddened and disappointed that the target to halve the gap in Indigenous child mortality is not on track, with the 2015 data being just outside the target.

We must redouble our efforts to reduce smoking rates during pregnancy, continue to improve immunisation rates, lift rates of antenatal care, reduce fetal trauma, and keep our children safe. Rates of attending antenatal care in the important first trimester are highest in outer regional areas and lowest in major cities.

Ken Wyatt as the Minister for Indigenous Health, a field in which he has had many decades of experience, will work wisely and collaboratively with our state and territory counterparts, and the community health sector, to get this target back on track.

We have seen improvements in reducing mortality from chronic diseases; however, the mortality rates from cancer are rising. The overall mortality rate has declined by 15 per cent since 1998, and life expectancy is increasing. However, it is not accelerating at the pace it should and, therefore, as in previous years, this target is not on track. “

CLOSING THE GAP Report 2017 Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth—Prime Minister) (12:01): Yanggu gulanyin ngalawiri, dhunayi, Ngunawal dhawra. Wanggarralijinyin mariny bulan bugarabang.

Download the Prime Minister Closing the Gap Report Here


NACCHO Response Press Release



Read or Download all a copy of all speeches


Please note

NACCHO will be publishing Bill Shortens #closingthegap speech Tuesday 21 February

Today, we are meeting together on Ngunawal land and we acknowledge and pay our respects to their elders past and present. And we pay our deep respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people gathered here today—including our Aboriginal members of parliament—and all across Australia, who have been the custodians of these lands and whose elders hold the knowledge of their rich and diverse cultures.

I also welcome the first ministers and their representatives from the states and territories who have gathered with us today to demonstrate that the responsibility—indeed, the opportunity—for closing the gap in partnership with our communities rests with all levels of government and with all Australians

The lives, the occupations and the dreams of Aboriginal and Torres Islander Australians are as diverse as those of all other Australians and stretch across this vast land, from the most remote communities to the heart of our capitals, to our national parliament.

Our First Australians are showing that they can do anything, as they inspire us with their resilience, their courage and their enterprise.

Last year, Chris Sarra proposed three principles that would help make a difference in Indigenous policy. He said: ‘Do things with us, not to us, bring us policy approaches that nurture hope and optimism, and acknowledge, embrace and celebrate the humanity of Indigenous Australia.’

I am pleased that Chris has agreed to join the new Indigenous Advisory Council, along with Andrea Mason, Susan Murphy, Ngiare Brown, Roy Ah-See and Djambawa Marawili. And I want to thank Warren Mundine and the retiring members for their work.

Nothing brought a quiet moment of humanity to the 2016 election campaign more than the handing of the title deeds to Belyuen elder Raylene Singh, 37 years after the Larrakia people submitted a claim to what had always been theirs. For families like Raylene’s, despite their old people passing on before the Kenbi land claim was settled, the past continues to live in the present.

Acknowledging past wrongs enables healing to begin. We saw that with the National Apology to the Stolen Generations—delivered by Prime Minister Rudd, who also joins us today—and the ninth anniversary of that moment in history was recognised yesterday here in the House. Acknowledgement requires the humility of acceptance of the truth.

On that hot, dry day on the shores of the Cox Peninsula in Darwin, we acknowledged that the Larrakia people had cared for their country for tens of thousands of years, that their songs had been sung since time out of mind, and that those songs held and passed on the knowledge of Larrakia customs and traditions.

Acknowledgement is the seed from which hope and healing grow. It is that acknowledgement that 50 years ago saw the Australian people vote overwhelmingly to change our Constitution so that the Commonwealth could assume powers in relation to our First Australians. And while many issues divide us in this place, we are united in our determination to ensure that our Constitution is amended once again to recognise our First Australians. Changing the Constitution is neither easy nor a task for the faint hearted.

The Referendum Council will conclude its consultations this year so that then parliament can complete the work of formulating and presenting the recognition amendments.

The success of the 1967 referendum also meant that First Australians were counted equally in our official population alongside all other others in the census. This provided our first understanding of the survival and the resilience of our Indigenous peoples, but also the depth of that gap between their situation and that of other Australians.

The leaders of those times challenged us to think well past statistics: the Freedom Riders like Charles Perkins; Vincent Lingiari and his fellow workers at the Wave Hill ‘walk-off’; and Eddie Mabo and his fight for native title. Theirs are the shoulders among many upon which a new generation of Indigenous leaders stand today.

And last night the Prime Minister’s courtyard was abuzz with enthusiasm, with positivity and with the hope of leaders challenging us to again think past the statistics. Bright, determined women and men stood tall as successful people in their fields of work, proud of their heritage and anchored in their culture.

While we must accelerate progress and close the gap, we must also tell the broader story of Indigenous Australia, not of despondency but of a relentless and determined optimism; that being Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander means to succeed, to achieve, to have big dreams and high hopes, and to draw strength from your identity as an Indigenous person in this country.

As Prime Minister, I will continue to tell these stories, to talk about the strengths of our First Australians.

We have among us five Indigenous members of parliament, who bring the same pride, the same strength, here to our democracy: Ken Wyatt, the first Indigenous member of the House of Representatives, and now the first Indigenous minister to be appointed in a Commonwealth government; as well as Linda Burney, Senator Pat Dodson, Senator Malarndirri McCarthy and Senator Jacqui Lambie.

Yet, even with the determination of our First Australians to create a better future, even with successive Commonwealth and state governments investing more resources and even with tens of thousands of dedicated Australians seeking to contribute and engage, we still are not making enough progress.

We have come a long way since the referendum, but we have not come far enough. I present today to the parliament and to the people of Australia the ninth Closing the Gap report. This report demonstrates that all Australian governments have much more work to do.

The proportion of Indigenous 20- to 24-year-olds who has achieved year 12 or equivalent is 61.5 per cent—up from 45.4 per cent in 2008. This target is on track to halve the gap. A new target for Indigenous four-year-olds enrolled in early childhood education is 95 per cent by 2025. The data shows that in 2015, 87 per cent of all Indigenous children were enrolled in early childhood education the year before full-time school.

We have seen improvements in reading and numeracy for Indigenous students but this target is not on track. Last year, 640 more children needed to read at the year 3 benchmark to halve the gap. This year, that figure is around 440. The literacy gap is narrowing and achievable, and through the individualised learning plans agreed at COAG, first ministers have committed to improve these results.

The national school attendance is also not on track. Around 20 per cent of the gap in school performance between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students can be explained by poor attendance. But there are examples of real progress with families and communities.

In the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, the APY Lands, principal Matt Greene spoke to me of the fierce rivalry in community football. But he said he was more interested and focused on the fierce rivalry to attain school attendance targets. And with the help of our Remote School Attendance Strategy, championed by Minister Nigel Scullion, Matt is driving cultural change in Fregon. The strategy is working. RSAS schools showed a higher attendance rate in 2016 compared to 2013.

The employment target is not on track either, but 57.5 per cent of those living in major cities are employed. Five thousand Indigenous job seekers have been placed in to real jobs through our Vocational Training and Employment Centres network. Almost 500 Indigenous businesses were awarded more than $284 million in Commonwealth contracts thanks to our Indigenous Procurement Policy. I want to thank state and territory governments for agreeing to explore similar procurement policies to help the Indigenous business sector thrive.

Mr Speaker, a telling point: the data tells us there is no employment gap between Indigenous Australians and non-Indigenous Australians with a university degree—a reminder of the central importance of education.

If we look at the long-term intergenerational trends, we see that Indigenous life expectancy is increasing, babies are being born healthier, more people are studying and gaining post-school qualifications and those adults are participating in work. These are achievements that families, elders and communities can be proud of.

But incarceration rates and rates of child protection are too high. Sixty-three per cent of Indigenous people incarcerated last year were in prison for violent offences and offences that cause harm. Central to reducing incarceration is reducing the violence and, of course, protecting the victims of violence.

Our Third Action Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children includes measures to support Indigenous victims, and stop the cycle of reoffending.

Our Prison to Work report commissioned in last year’s Closing The Gap speech has since been delivered, and adopted by COAG. Working in partnership with Kuku Yalanji man, Jeremey Donovan, we have gained important insights into the cycle of incarceration. In response, COAG agreed to better coordination of government services especially in-prison training and rehabilitation, employment, health and social services.

Children should always be treated humanely and with love, especially when they are in custody. The confronting and appalling images of children shackled and in spit hoods shocked our nation, and as Prime Minister I acted swiftly.

While the work of the royal commission into juvenile justice and child protection continues, governments across Australia are taking steps to ensure children are always treated appropriately.

To provide independent oversight, this government will ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).

I am pleased to inform the House that Bunuba woman, June Oscar AO, has been appointed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner. The first woman to take on this role.

June brings tremendous knowledge, and has been a formidable campaigner against alcohol abuse, shining a light on the devastating consequences of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

The issues are complex, and, as we know, the solutions are not simple.

Indigenous Affairs is an intricate public policy area. It requires uncompromised collaboration with Indigenous people, and national leadership. And it needs buy-in from states, communities and most importantly families.

I am pleased that COAG has agreed to progress renewed targets in the year ahead, and I invite the opposition and the crossbench to participate, particularly the Indigenous members of parliament.

The national interest requires a re-commitment to the relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

But there can be no relationship without partnership.

And there can be no partnership without participation—we heard that very eloquently this morning at the Redfern Statement breakfast.

I firmly believe that people must be involved in the process in order to be engaged in the outcomes. It has to be a shared endeavour.

Greater empowerment of local communities will deliver the shared outcomes we all seek.

The government is reforming the way the Indigenous Affairs portfolio operates—moving from transactional government, to enablement, from paying for services to linking funding to outcomes, and from a one-size-fits-all mindset for program design, to local solutions.

Indigenous families and communities must be at the centre of this approach.

We have started the journey, but there is much more work to do.

I welcome Professor Ian Anderson into my department who will play an important role in leading this new way of working, along with people like Anne-Marie Roberts, who leads a team of passionate and committed staff working in communities across the nation.

The Indigenous-led Empowered Communities model is now in eight regions across the country. I met their leaders last month, and it is clear this approach is generating strong Indigenous governance, and empowering Indigenous people to partner with government and companies.

These models, and others such as Murdi Paaki in Western New South Wales, and Ceduna in South Australia, are being driven by local Indigenous leaders.

Where communities are ready, we will work with them to build capacity and ensure more responsibility for decision making rests as close to the community as possible.

My confidence comes from seeing firsthand how this approach is working at the community level.

I have met mothers, like Norma and Lena from Western Australia, who have lost children to suicide. These women have bravely shared their stories, working tirelessly with leaders like Pat Dudgeon, Gerry Georgatos and Adele Cox to find locally-driven solutions.

I met Corey McLennan, and the leaders of Ceduna and the Far West Coast as well as Ian Trust from the Kimberley, who have co-designed the trial of the new Cashless Debit Card with the government.

We hosted Charlie King and the No More campaign to end violence against women. In an historic display of support parliamentarians—all of us—linked arms and walked with Charlie to end this scourge of violence against women.

And I could tell dozens more stories of self-reliance from Fregon, Redfern, La Perouse, Scotdesco, Brisbane, Darwin, Perth—it is a very long list, as we know.

We can learn as much from these successes, as we can from the failures.

But, to do so we must have a rigorous evaluation of programs so we know what is working and what is not.

We will expand the Productivity Commission to include a new Indigenous Commissioner to lead the commission’s work of policy evaluation.

And the government will invest $50 million for research into policy and its implementation; this will be designed in partnership and with the guidance of the Indigenous Advisory Council.

So much is published about Indigenous communities and, as many Indigenous Australians have said to me, not nearly enough is published for Indigenous communities.

So the data and research we have, and the evidence we need to build, will be made available to Indigenous communities to empower leadership and support community-led programs. It will assist government in its next phase of Closing The Gap, which must focus on regional action and outcomes.

And I ask that you seek out people like those I had the honour of addressing last night—everyday Indigenous Australians achieving extraordinary things.

Like the Kongs—a family of firsts. Marilyn and Marlene were the first Indigenous medical graduates at Sydney University. Marlene became a GP and public health expert; Marilyn became the first Indigenous obstetrician and their brother Kelvin, the first Indigenous surgeon in Australia.

I ask that we share these stories and those of the entrepreneurs, lawyers, the scientists, the teachers, the nurses, the servicemen and servicewomen, the social service workers, the writers, the accountants, the public servants, and the ministers, members and senators. Again, their callings and achievements are as diverse, as magnificent and as inspiring as those of other Australians.

Let us tell the stories of Indigenous achievement and hard work, because those stories are true markers of progress. They inspire and encourage and they make a difference. This parliament has the opportunity, using the knowledge and wisdom of Indigenous people, to embark on a new approach to closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.

My government will not shy away from our responsibility and we will uphold the priorities of education, employment, health and the right of all people to be safe from family violence. We will not waver in our quest to achieve these outcomes, but we will have the humility to admit that we must travel this road together, with open hearts and a determination to ensure that our First Australians and all Australians will be able here, more than anywhere, to be their best and realise their dreams.

Next Aboriginal Health Newspaper closing in the next few weeks

24 Pages lift out Koori Mail 5 April

Info and bookings



NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Obesity #junkfood : 47 point plan to control weight problem that costs $56 billion per year


 ” JUNK food would be banned from schools and sports venues, and a sugar drink tax introduced, under a new blueprint to trim the nation’s waistline.

The 47-point blueprint also includes a crackdown on using junk food vouchers as rewards for sporting performance and for fundraising.

State governments would be compelled to improve the healthiness of foods in settings controlled by them like hospitals, workplaces and government events.

And they would have to change urban planning rules to restrict unhealthy food venues and make more space for healthy food outlets. “

Originally published as Move to ban junk food in schools

Updated Feb 21 with press release from Health Minister Greg Hunt See below

The Australian Government is taking action to tackle the challenge of obesity and encourage all Australians to live healthy lives

“In my view, we should be starting to tax sugary drinks as a first step. Nearly every week there’s a new study citing the benefits of a sugary drinks tax and and nearly every month another country adopts it as a policy. It’s quickly being seen as an appropriate thing to do to address the obesity epidemic.”

A health economist at the Grattan Institute, Stephen Duckett, said the researchers had put together a careful and strong study and set of tax and subsidy suggestions.see article 2 below  

One hundred nutrition experts from 53 organisations working with state and federal bureaucrats have drawn up the obesity action plan to control the nation’s weight problem that is costing the nation $56 billion a year.

The review of state and federal food labelling, advertising and health policies found huge variation across the country and experts want it corrected by a National Nutrition Policy.

The nation is in the grip of an obesity crisis with almost two out of three (63 per cent) Australian adults, and one in four (25 per cent) Australian children overweight or obese.

Obesity is also one of the lead causes of disease and death including cancer.

More than 1.4 million Australians have Type 2 diabetes and new cases are being diagnosed at the rate of 280 per day.

Stomach, bowel, kidney, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, oesophagus, endometrium, ovary, prostate cancer and breast cancer in postmenopausal women have all been linked to obesity.

Half of all Australians are exceeding World Health Organisation’s recommendations they consume less than 13 teaspoons or sugar a day with most of the white stuff hidden in drinks and processed food, the Australian Bureau of Statistics Health Survey shows.

Teenage boys are the worst offenders consuming 38 teaspoons of sugar a day which makes up a quarter of their entire calorie intake.

Dr Gary Sacks from Deakin University whose research underpins the obesity control plan says it’s time for politicians to put the interests of ordinary people and their health above the food industry lobbyists

“It’s a good start to have policies for restricting junk foods in school canteens, but if kids are then inundated with unhealthy foods at sports venues, and they see relentless junk food ads on prime-time TV, it doesn’t make it easy for them to eat well,” he said.

That’s why the experts want a co-ordinated national strategy that increases the price of unhealthy food using taxes and regulations to reduce children’s exposure to unhealthy food advertising.

The comprehensive examination of state and federal food policies found Australia is meeting best practice in some areas including the Health Star Rating food labelling scheme, no GST on basic foods and surveys of population body weight.

While all States and Territories have policies for healthy school food provision they are not all monitored and supported, the experts say.

Jane Martin, Executive Manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition and a partner in the research, said a piecemeal approach would not work to turn the tide of obesity in Australia.

“When nearly two-thirds of Australians are overweight or obese, we

know that it’s not just about individuals choosing too many of the wrong foods, there are strong environmental factors at play – such as the all pervasive marketing of junk food particularly to children,” she said.

The new policy comes as a leading obesity experts says a tax on sugary drinks in Australia would be just as logical as existing mandatory controls on alcohol and tobacco

Professor Stephen Colagiuri from the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre claims a ‘sugar tax’ help individuals moderate their sugary beverage intake, in much the same way as current alcohol, tobacco, and road safety measures like seat belts and speed restrictions preventing harmful behaviours.

The UK will introduce a sugar tax next year and in Mexico a sugar tax introduced in 2014 has already reduced consumption of sugary drinks by 12 per cent and increased the consumption of water.

Australian politicians have repeatedly dismissed a sugar tax on the grounds it interferes with individual rights.

However, Professor Colagiuri says “individual rights can be equally violated if governments fail to take effective and proportionate measures to remove health threats from the environment in the cause of improving population health.”

Originally published as Move to ban junk food in schools

ARTICLE 2 Australia would save $3.4bn if junk food taxed and fresh food subsidised, says study 


O as published in the Guardian

Australian researchers say subsidising fresh fruit and vegetables would ensure the impact of food taxes on the household budget would be negligible. Photograph: Dave and Les Jacobs/Getty Images/Blend Images

Health experts have developed a package of food taxes and subsidies that would save Australia $3.4bn in healthcare costs without affecting household food budgets.

Linda Cobiac, a senior research fellow at the University of Melbourne’s school of public health, led the research published on Wednesday in the journal Plos Medicine.

Cobiac and her team used international data from countries that already have food and beverage taxes such as Denmark, but tweaked the rate of taxation and also included a subsidy for fresh fruit and vegetables so the total change to the household budget would be negligible.

They then modelled the potential impact on the Australian population of introducing taxes on saturated fat, salt, sugar and sugar-sweetened beverages, and a subsidy on fruits and vegetables. Their simulations found the combination of the taxes and subsidy could result in 1.2 additional years of healthy life per 100 people alive in 2010, at a net cost-saving of $3.4bn to the health sector.

“Few other public health interventions could deliver such health gains on average across the whole population,” Cobiac said.

The sugar tax produced the biggest gains in health, followed by the salt tax, the saturated fat tax and the sugar-sweetened beverage tax.

The fruit and vegetable subsidy, while cost-effective when added to the package of taxes, did not lead to a net health benefit on its own, the researchers found.

The researchers suggest introducing a tax of $1.37 for every 100 grams of saturated fat in those foods with a saturated fat content of more than 2.3%, excluding milk; a salt tax of 30 cents for one gram of sodium above Australian maximum recommended levels; a sugar-sweetened beverage tax of 47 cents a litre; a fruit and vegetable subsidy of 14 cents for every 100 grams; and a sugar tax of 94 cents for every 100ml in ice-cream with more than 10 grams of sugar per 100 grams; and 85 cents for every 100 grams in all other products.

The taxes exclude fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and many dairy products.

“You need to include both carrots and sticks to change consumer behaviour and to encourage new taxes,” Blakely said. “That’s where this paper is cutting edge internationally.

“We have worked out the whole package of taxes with minimal impact on the budget of the household, so you can see an overall gain for the government. The government would be less interested in the package if it was purely punitive, but this provides subsidies and savings to health spending that could be reinvested back into communities and services.”

He said taxing junk foods also prompted food manufacturers to change their products and make them healthier to avoid the taxes.

“For those who might say this is an example of nanny state measures, let’s consider that we don’t mind asbestos being taken out of buildings to prevent respiratory disease, and we’re happy for lead to be taken from petrol. We need to change the food system if we are going to tackle obesity and prevent disease.”

A health economist at the Grattan Institute, Stephen Duckett, said the researchers had put together a careful and strong study and set of tax and subsidy suggestions. “This is a very good paper,” he said.

“In my view, we should be starting to tax sugary drinks as a first step. Nearly every week there’s a new study citing the benefits of a sugary drinks tax and and nearly every month another country adopts it as a policy. It’s quickly being seen as an appropriate thing to do to address the obesity epidemic.”

A Grattan Institute report published in November found introducing an excise tax of 40 cents for every 100 grams of sugar in beverages as part of the fight against obesity would trigger a 15% drop in the consumption of sugary drinks. Australians and New Zealanders consume an average of 76 litres of sugary drinks per person every year.

In a piece for the Medical Journal of Australia published on Monday, the chair of the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges, Prof Nicholas Talley, wrote that “the current lack of a coordinated national approach is not acceptable”.

More than one in four Australian children are now overweight or obese, as are more than two-thirds of all adults.

Talley proposed a six-point action plan, which included recognising obesity as a chronic disease with multiple causes. He also called for stronger legislation to reduce unhealthy food marketing to children and to reduce the consumption of high-sugar beverages, saying a sugar-sweetened beverage tax should be introduced.

“There is evidence that the food industry has been a major contributor to obesity globally,” he wrote. “The health of future generations should not be abandoned for short-term and short-sighted commercial interests.”

Press Release 21 February Greg Hunt Health Minister

The Australian Government is taking action to tackle the challenge of obesity and encourage all Australians to live healthy lives.

PDF printable version of Turnbull Government committed to tackling obesity – PDF 269 KB

The Turnbull Government is taking action to tackle the challenge of obesity and encourage all Australians to live healthy lives.

But unlike the Labor Party, we don’t believe increasing the family grocery bill at the supermarket is the answer to this challenge.

We already have programmes in place to educate, support and encourage Australians to adopt and maintain a healthy diet and to lead an active life – and there’s more to be done.

Earlier this month, the Prime Minister flagged that the Government will soon be announcing a new focus on preventive health that will give people the right tools and information to live active and healthy lives. This will build on the significant work already underway.

Yesterday, we launched the second phase of the $7 million Girls Make Your Move campaign to increase physical activity for girls and young women. This is now being rolled out across Australia.

Our $160 million Sporting Schools program is getting kids involved in physical activity. Already around 6,000 schools across the country have been involved – with many more to come. This is a great programme that Labor wants to axe.

Our Health Star Rating system helps people to make healthier choices when choosing packaged foods at the supermarket and encourages the food industry to reformulate their products to be healthier.

The Healthy Weight Guide website provides useful advice including tips and tools to encourage physical activity and healthy eating to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

The Healthy Food Partnership with the food industry and public health groups is increasing people’s health knowledge and is supporting them to make healthier food and drink choices in order to achieve better health outcomes.

We acknowledge today’s report, but it does not take into account a number of the Government programs now underway.

Obesity and poor diets are complex public health issue with multiple contributing factors, requiring a community-wide approach as well as behaviour change by individuals. We do not support a new tax on sugar to address this issue.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are already effectively discounted as they do not have a GST applied.

Whereas the GST is added to the cost of items such as chips, lollies, sugary drinks, confectionery, snacks, ice-cream and biscuits.

We’re committed to tackling obesity, but increasing the family’s weekly shop at the supermarket isn’t the answer

NACCHO CEO Press Release #ClosingtheGap : Aboriginal led solutions the key to closing the health gap #Redfernstatement


The Prime Minister committed to working with our people this morning and from this date on we expect nothing less,

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.”

NACCHO  CEO  Pat Turner Press Release : 

Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten receive the Redfern statement, a blueprint for improvement in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs, before the release of the Closing the Gap report. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian

Download :  naccho-1702-mr-naccho-response-to-closing-the-gap

ICYMI Todays other NACCHO posts below

NACCHO Aboriginal Health download the #ClosingtheGap report #Redfernstatement Post 4 of 5

Today’s Closing the Gap Report demonstrates the need to more than double the network and reach of Aboriginal controlled medical services to Close the Gap in health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

National Aboriginal and Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), CEO, Pat Turner, said despite some improvement in education outcomes, only one out of seven Closing the Gap targets is on track ( see ABC link below )


The 9th Closing the Gap Report shows there have been small improvements over time in some areas of health but we are not on track to Close the Gap in average life expectancy and the gap in deaths from cancer is widening.

“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.

“Early childhood education delivered in a culturally respectful manner by our own people, trained to work locally in their communities must be a priority.”

Ms Turner said current Commonwealth Government policies remain disconnected and siloed.

“In 2017 we need to see greater connectivity across all government portfolios at the Ministerial and departmental levels and more accountability from state and territory governments for the funding they receive to improve the lives of Aboriginal people.

“In every jurisdiction we see inconsistent data collection.  In 2017, with such innovative information technology available, all governments should implement open, transparent, consistent data collection and reporting to ensure their accountability to the Australian people at large.

“NACHHO stands ready, willing and able to work with everyone to negotiate better solutions to public policy and program investments that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people”



ICYMI todays posts

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Redfernstatement 1 of 5 posts : PM to release #closingthegap report today

NACCHO #closingtheGap Aboriginal Health and the #Redfernstatement Its time for this new approach

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Redfernstatement #closingtheGap Post 3 of 5 : New relationship with government is desperately needed

NACCHO Aboriginal Health download the #ClosingtheGap report #Redfernstatement Post 4 of 5

NACCHO SNAPSHOT progress Against Health Targets:

We are not on track to close the gap in life expectancy by 2031.

Over the longer term, Indigenous mortality rates have declined significantly by 15 per cent since 1998.

There have been significant improvements in the Indigenous mortality rate from chronic diseases, particularly from circulatory diseases (the leading cause of death) since 1998.

However, Indigenous mortality rates from cancer (second leading cause of death) are rising and the gap is widening.

There have been improvements in health care access and reductions in smoking which should contribute to long-term improvements in the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Working collaboratively across governments, the health sector and with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities on local and regional responses is central to the Government’s approach to improve life expectancy.


See ABC Website for all Targets

Indigenous Australians don’t live as long as other Australians. Their children are more likely to die as infants. And their health, education and employment outcomes are worse than non-Indigenous people.

Australia has promised to close this gap on health, education and employment. But a new report card finds we are failing on six out of seven key measures.

Target: To close the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation (by 2031).

  • Progress: Indigenous Australians die about 10 years younger than non Indigenous Australians, and that hasn’t changed significantly.
  • With increasing life expectancy in the non-Indigenous population, to close the gap “Indigenous life expectancy would need to increase by 16 years and 21 years for females and males respectively”.
  • That means gains of at least 0.6 years per annum, but in the five years to 2012 there was only a gain of 0.8 years for men and 0.1 for women — a fraction of what is needed.
  • The mortality rate (the number of deaths per 100,000 people in a year) for Aboriginal people is 1.7 times that of the Australian population, and that hasn’t changed since 1998.

Target: To halve the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five within a decade (by 2018).

  • Progress: There has been no significant decline in child mortality rates since 2008, and child mortality rates actually increased slightly from 2014 to 2015.
  • In 2015, there were 124 Indigenous child deaths. This was four deaths outside the range of the target and an increase of six deaths since 2014.
  • Between 2011 and 2014 Indigenous children aged 0-4 were more than twice as likely to die than non-Indigenous children.

Advertising and editorial wanted for the April 5  #Closingthegap  #Redfernstatement edition ?


NACCHO has announced the publishing date for the 9 th edition of Australia’s first national health Aboriginal newspaper, the NACCHO Health News .

Publish date 6 April 2017

Working with Aboriginal community controlled and award-winning national newspaper the Koori Mail, NACCHO aims to bring relevant advertising and information on health services, policy and programs to key industry staff, decision makers and stakeholders at the grassroots level.

And who writes for and reads the NACCHO Newspaper ?


While NACCHO’s websites ,social media and annual report have been valued sources of information for national and local Aboriginal health care issues for many years, the launch of NACCHO Health News creates a fresh, vitalised platform that will inevitably reach your targeted audiences beyond the boardrooms.

NACCHO will leverage the brand, coverage and award-winning production skills of the Koori Mail to produce a 24 page three times a year, to be distributed as a ‘lift-out’ in the 14,000 Koori Mail circulation, as well as an extra 1,500 copies to be sent directly to NACCHO member organisations across Australia.

Our audited readership (Audit Bureau of Circulations) is 100,000 readers

For more details rate card

Contact : Colin Cowell Editor

Mobile : 0401 331 251

Email  :

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Redfernstatement 1 of 5 posts : PM to release #closingthegap report today


NACCHO schedule of todays Redfern Statement and PM Closing the Gap report  releases

  1. The Australian Closing the Gap coverage released 6.00am
  2. Redfern Statement Breakfast launch Parliament House : Press Release 7.30am
  3. Redfern Statement New Relationships with government released + video  8.30 am
  4. PM Closing the Gap Report to Parliament Released 12.05 pm
  5. Responses to report from other sources from 2.00 pm

Photo above  : From the heart of govt, Indigenous staff met  last night  ahead of the 2017 Report

 ” According to The Australian Malcolm Turnbull will deliver a bleak ninth annual Closing the Gap report today, with an ­acknowledgment that efforts to reduce indigenous disadvantage remain starkly inadequate.

The report follows a succession of independent surveys critical of the government’s ­approach to indigenous affairs. And it comes as Kevin Rudd, who delivered the inaugural 2008 report, gave an address in Canberra last night in which he described the yearly review as “a political disaster for the government of the day, for governments of whichever political persuasion”.

Attempting to limit the scale of that disaster, the Prime Minister refused to release any advance detail of the report other than a general admission of there being insufficient progress.

Last year’s report found just two of seven targets on track: child mortality and Year 12 attainment. Another target, early ­education (“95 per cent of all indigenous four-year-olds enrolled in early childhood education by 2025”) was reported on for the first time last year.

Today’s report will show improvements in the proportion of indigenous 20 to 24-year-olds achieving Year 12 or equivalent, improvements in health, and reading and numeracy advances.

However, Mr Turnbull is expected to emphasise in his speech to parliament the importance of better research and evaluation of Closing the Gap criteria, and may announce details of a “refresh” of the exercise already under discussion by the Council of Australian Governments.

He will also likely emphasise programs such as Empowered Communities, a detailed rethink of how indigenous policy is enacted which has yet to win full government support. It is designed to put Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at the centre of regional decision-making.

Recent Productivity Commission and National Audit Office reports have been either gloomy about indigenous affairs or critical of government policy. The Audit Office’s review this month of the Abbott government’s 2014 landmark $4.8 billion Indigenous ­Affairs Strategy found policy had been poorly conceived and ­hastily implemented.

Funding allocations under the system had also been unpredictable and opaque, leaving some of the very organisations contributing to Closing the Gap outcomes unable to function properly.

In November, the Productivity Commission reported alarming increases in imprisonment rates, mental health problems and self-harm. It found only 34 of 1000 indigenous programs, worth a total $5.9bn, had been properly evaluated. While there were ­improvements in child mortality rates, educational outcomes and household income, rates of community violence were unchanged.

Speaking at the Australian National University last night on the ninth anniversary of the apology to the Stolen Generations, Mr Rudd said the indigenous child removal rates must be addressed through “immense co-operation across government departments (and) Aboriginal organisations being given responsibility for child welfare” in a policy shift that was “going to cost money”.

Tony Abbott last night described as “regrettable” Mr Turnbull’s decision not to follow his lead and spend time in an indigenous community every year

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NACCHO Aboriginal Health #ACCHO Member News : Funding boost for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in NSW #Yerin #Armajan


“The aim of the funding is to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with access to primary health care services that are culturally appropriate and safe.

Our services designed in collaboration with our local community so they are sensitive to specific needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at the local level.”

Belinda Field, Yerin CEO -NACCHO Member : Yerin Aboriginal Health Services Inc. is a community controlled integrated primary health care service located at Wyong on the NSW Central Coast, Darkinyung country. 

Pictured above L-R Kamira Farm (Natalie), The Glen (Joe Coyte), Yerin (Belinda Field), HNECCPHN (Richard Nankervis)


“It’s a special meeting place that should be respected and cherished by the local Aboriginal community.

Its a place of learning , wellbeing and healing. And it belongs to you, the mob. It’s worth protecting,”

Armajan practice manager Dr Gleeson described an Aboriginal controlled health service as a contemporary sacred site. Armajun Aboriginal Health Service will be Walcha’s primary health care provider for Aboriginal people in the 2017-2018 year, after receiving almost $2.6 million of federal funding : see Article 2 below

Article 1 Eleanor Duncan Aboriginal Health Centre

Funding for Aboriginal health services on the NSW Coast are to receive a large boost thanks to significant new funding from the Primary Health Network (PHN).

Speaking this morning at the Eleanor Duncan Aboriginal Health Centre Richard Nankervis, CEO for the PHN said” The Primary Health Network is pleased to be providing more than $2.7M in funding to three of the leading primary health care providers on the Coast, namely Ngaimpe Aboriginal Corporation (operating The Glenn), Kamira and Yerin Aboriginal Health Services”.

“We look forward to working with these organisations to improve access to culturally appropriate primary health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and help close the gap in Aboriginal health disadvantage.”

The programs being funded cover a wide variety of primary health care services including care coordination, drug & alcohol rehabilitation and mental health programs such as peer navigation, counselling and suicide prevention.

Joe Coyte CEO of the Glen said, “We’re delighted that the PHN has recognised the fantastic outcomes we have been achieving at the Glen and they are supporting us to deliver these vital services. The funding will allow us to empower more Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal men take control of their lives and to become active members back in their families and the community as a whole.”

Kamira CEO, Catherine Hewett said, “This new funding is providing us with necessary funds to extend the reach of our services and help us provide more opportunities for Aboriginal women to access quality treatment.

We are looking forward to working with more women and helping them build strong relationships with their family and significant others so they have the necessary foundations for a long and lasting recovery”.

Funding for all of these programs and services have been allocated through the PHN’s commissioning process. The commissioning of health services is undertaken following a transparent tendering process that is informed by the PHN’s baseline needs assessment and associated market analysis. Commissioning is a holistic process that enables the PHN to plan and contract health care services that are appropriate and relevant to the needs of local communities

Article 2  : Armajun to take over local Aboriginal health services

A meeting was held in the offices of Amaroo  recently between the Walcha Aboriginal community and two representatives from Armajun Aboriginal Health Service.

Armajun chief executive officer Debbie McCowen and practice manager GP Keith Gleeson addressed the group to explain what services Armajun offered and find out what was needed in Walcha.

“We don’t believe in telling communities what they need,” said Ms McCowen.

“Our purpose today is to ask you what you think you need and outline what services we have and then investigate what we can do to provide anything else you might need.”

Armajun Aboriginal Health Service will be Walcha’s primary health care provider for Aboriginal people in the 2017-2018 year, after receiving almost $2.6 million of federal funding.

The Inverell-based company provides medical services out of the old Medicare Local building in Rusden Street, Armidale.

Mrs McCowen said the new funding secured Armajun’s services to Armidale and the region.

“This means we’re here to stay,” she said.

Armajun recently formed a regional advisory committee to inform the Inverell-based board on important local issues.

Amaroo chief executive Mark Davies and Kerry Griffin will represent Walcha.

The federal government cut more than $2 million from Aboriginal health provider, HealthWISE’s budget.

HealthWISE New England North West had been servicing more than 7500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the region with about $2.6 million of Commonwealth funding.

But late last year the government announced HealthWISE would only receive $477,053 for the 2017-2018 year. “The level of funding received is insufficient [for us] to continue the same level of services across the region,” chairwoman Lia Mahoney told Fairfax Media at the time.

Meeting attendees raised concerns regarding the inadequate transport service between Walcha and  Armidale.

While Mr Davies queried whether a doctor who only treated Aboriginal patients would become an issue in the community, the mayor, Eric Noakes, and other attendees said it would not.

Dr Gleeson said they would not do anything without the agreement of other medical services in Walcha.

Dr Gleeson described an Aboriginal controlled health service as a contemporary sacred site.

“It’s a special meeting place that should be respected and cherished by the local Aboriginal community.

Its a place of learning , wellbeing and healing. And it belongs to you, the mob. It’s worth protecting,” he said.

Have you got a similar good news story about one of our ACCHO members ?


NACCHO has announced the publishing date for the 9 th edition of Australia’s first national health Aboriginal newspaper, the NACCHO Health News .

Publish date 6 April 2017

Working with Aboriginal community controlled and award-winning national newspaper the Koori Mail, NACCHO aims to bring relevant advertising and information on health services, policy and programs to key industry staff, decision makers and stakeholders at the grassroots level.

And who writes for and reads the NACCHO Newspaper ?


While NACCHO’s websites ,social media and annual report have been valued sources of information for national and local Aboriginal health care issues for many years, the launch of NACCHO Health News creates a fresh, vitalised platform that will inevitably reach your targeted audiences beyond the boardrooms.

NACCHO will leverage the brand, coverage and award-winning production skills of the Koori Mail to produce a 24 page three times a year, to be distributed as a ‘lift-out’ in the 14,000 Koori Mail circulation, as well as an extra 1,500 copies to be sent directly to NACCHO member organisations across Australia.

Our audited readership (Audit Bureau of Circulations) is 100,000 readers

For more details rate card

Contact : Colin Cowell Editor

Mobile : 0401 331 251

Email  :

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : Parliamentary Speech @DaveGillespieMP Why we need a Rural / Remote Health Commissioner


” Around one third of Australians live outside metropolitan areas, and about two per cent of the population live in remote and very remote locations.

Compared to metropolitan areas, rural and remote Australians generally:

  • Experience higher rates of chronic disease;
  •  Have a shorter life expectancy;
  •  Face higher health risk factors such as higher rates of smoking, drinking and obesity;
  •  Have lower incomes, and fewer educational and employment opportunities;
  •  Are, on average, an older population with a greater proportion living with a disability;
  •  Face some higher living costs, difficulties sourcing fresh food, harsher environmental conditions and relative social isolation;
  •     Have higher rates of preventable cancers such as melanoma and lung cancer; and
  •  Have lower levels of health literacy.

For those living in rural, regional and remote Australia, finding services can often be difficult, if not impossible.

 People living in these communities make an enormous contribution to our national economy, and to the culture and character of Australia. Access to a quality standard of health care is what they deserve and are entitled to expect.”

The Hon Dr David Gillespie MP  Assistant Minister for Health pictured above with former Minister for Rural Health, Senator Fiona Nash, now Deputy Leader of the Nationals  ” who made this bold and historic commitment.”

Download the Ministers Press Release HERE : press-release-rural-health-commissioner

I am proud to introduce the Health Insurance Amendment (National Rural Health Commissioner) Bill, which amends the Health Insurance Act 1973 for the purpose of establishing Australia’s first National Rural Health Commissioner.

This, Mr Speaker, is an incredible and historic occasion.

Watch NACCHO TV Here

An historic occasion for the Coalition, the National Party, and the third of our population that call regional, rural and remote Australia home.

This, Mr Speaker, is an historic occasion for our nation.

Improving access to quality health care for people, no matter where they live is a priority of this Coalition Government.

As a medical practitioner, who has worked for more than 20 years as a doctor in regional Australia, I am so proud and privileged to be here today to deliver this crucial commitment.

From my professional background, I understand the many pressures facing our hard working members of the broad health sector.

Our doctors, our nurses, dentists and allied health workers.

Our Indigenous health workers, mental health workers, our midwives – we understand these people, what they are up against and we understand the needs of Australians in regional, rural and remote Australia.

We understand that it takes a toughness and a boldness, coupled with a deep sensitivity, to work in health in rural and remote areas.

Since Australia’s pioneering days, before telecommunications, we found ways to overcome isolation between the new colonies. We did that – we are a nation that has overcome geographic challenges, having one of the largest land-masses in the world, and the largest search and rescue regions in the world.

As our Deputy Prime Minister, the Leader of the National Party, says, ‘we will continue to make sure that for the people out there doing it tough, that you don’t make their life tougher.’

And it was the then Minister for Rural Health, Senator Fiona Nash, our Deputy Leader of the Nationals who made this bold and historic commitment.

Mr Speaker, I commend to the house these two incredible leaders, who are champions for regional and rural communities in their own right.

As a member of the National Party and the Assistant Minister for Health, I have reiterated that this Government is committed to bridging the city-country divide.

For more than 20 years I served in areas many hours’ drive away from a major metropolitan city. I was a consultant specialist Gastroenterologist through regional hospitals for much of this time, and I have felt the demand that is on regional health services and staff.

The common problems encountered in the bush necessitate the development and application of a dedicated framework which supports a nationally coordinated approach that is also adaptable to local conditions.

Our commitment today is to ensure that regional, rural and remote communities will have a champion to advocate on their behalf so they are able to receive the support they need to deliver health services to local people.

This is guided by a deep lying principle that every Australian should have the right to access a high quality standard of health care, no matter where they live.

To this end, this Bill will pave the way to establish Australia’s first-ever National Rural Health Commissioner. The Commissioner is an integral part of our broader agenda to reform rural health in this nation.

Establishing this role will be achieved by amending the Health Insurance Act 1973, which will provide for the Commissioner to be a statutory position, enabling them to carry out their duties independently and transparently.

The Commissioner will work with regional, rural and remote communities, the health sector, universities, specialist training colleges and across all levels of government to improve rural health policies and champion the cause of rural practice.

The position will be independent and impartial. A fearless champion.

The Commissioner will be someone who has extensive experience within the rural health sector, who is capable of collaborating and consulting closely with a broad range of stakeholders, and who has a passion for improving health outcomes in regional, rural and remote Australia.

The Commissioner will be appointed for a period of two years, with a reappointment up until 30 June 2020.

As a part of the role, the Commissioner will be required to submit a report to the responsible Minister. This will outline findings and recommendations for consideration by Government.

The Commissioner will not be able to delegate his or her powers to anyone else, they will not hold any financial delegation powers, nor will they have any specific employment powers.

The Commissioner will be assisted by staff from the Department of Health throughout the duration of their term.

Once appointed, the Commissioner’s first priority will be to develop National Rural Generalist Pathways. The aim of these Pathways will be to address the most serious issue confronting the rural health sector- the lack of access to training for doctors in regional, rural and remote communities. Attracting and retaining more doctors and health professionals into country areas is essential if we are to improve access to health care in the bush.

Rural Generalists are faced with a unique set of challenges, and the Commissioner will examine these while developing the generalist pathways.

It is widely recognised that Rural Generalists often have advanced training and a broader skill-set than is required by doctors in metropolitan centres. In many instances, they perform duties in areas such as general surgery, obstetrics, anaesthetics and mental health. They not only work longer hours but are frequently on-call afterhours in acute care settings, such as accident and emergency hospital admitted patient care.

However, despite the Rural Generalists’ multidisciplinary skill-set, demanding workload and geographic isolation, there is no national scheme in place which properly recognises this set of circumstances.

In developing the National Rural Generalist Pathways, the Commissioner will consult with the health sector and training providers to define what it means to be a Rural Generalist.

The Commissioner will also examine appropriate remuneration for Rural Generalists, to ensure their extra skills and working hours are recognised. By addressing these areas, the Pathways will help to encourage more doctors to practice in regional, rural and remote Australia.

While the development of the Pathways will be the Commissioner’s first priority, the needs of nursing, dental health, Indigenous health, mental health, midwifery and allied health stakeholders will also be considered.

Health care planning, programs and service delivery models must be adapted to meet the widely differing health needs of rural communities and overcome the challenges of geographic spread, low population density, limited infrastructure and the significantly higher costs of rural and remote health care delivery.

In rural and remote areas, partnerships across health care sectors and between health care providers and other sectors will help address the economic and social determinants of health that are essential to meeting the needs of these communities.

The Commissioner will form and strengthen these relationships, across the professions and for communities.

Mr Speaker, it is worth noting that this Government’s commitment has been shared and welcomed by the sector. These are organisations that have been crucial in its development and I would like to thank:

 Allied Health Professionals Australia

 Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine

 Australian Indigenous Doctors Association

 Australian Medical Association Council of Rural Doctors

 Australian Rural Health Education Network

 Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives

 CRANAplus

 Federal Council of the Australian Dental Association

 Federation of Rural Australian Medical Educators

 Indigenous Allied Health Australia=

 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers Association

 National Rural Health Alliance

 National Rural Health Student Network Executive Committee

 Rural Doctors Association of Australia

 Rural Faculty of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners

 Rural Health Workforce Australia

 Services for Australian and Rural and Remote Allied Health

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank the Health Workforce Division within my Department who have assisted in developing this important initiative of our Government.

In addition to establishing the role of the Commissioner, this Bill also contains two other amendments to the Health Insurance Act 1973.

It will repeal section 3GC of the Act, to abolish the Medical Training Review Panel. In October 2014, members of the Medical Training Review Panel identified an overlap between their functions and those of the National Medical Training Advisory Network.

Part of the advisory network’s functions is to provide advice on medical workforce planning and medical training plans to inform government, employers and educators.

Given this focus, it was agreed that the advisory network could pick up the panel’s annual reporting obligations on medical education and training, and that the panel’s role would cease. This measure will simplify legislation in the Health portfolio.

The other amendment will be the repeal of section 19AD of the Act. This will not affect any medical practitioner subject to the legislation, and will not affect the operation of any current workforce or training programs.

It will remove a burdensome and ineffective process which required a review every five years of the operation of the Medicare provider number legislation, subsections 19AA, 3GA and 3GC of the Health Insurance Act 1973.

Previous reviews have not resulted in operational improvements to the legislation. Furthermore, recent developments in systems supporting Medicare provider number legislation and processes are not captured by Section 19AD. Repealing this ineffectual measure in the Act is a necessary measure.

To sum up, this Bill is an important step forward for regional, rural and remote health in Australia.

This Coalition Government recognises the value of our rural communities and the special place they hold within the fabric of this country.

People living in these communities make an enormous contribution to our national economy, and to the culture and character of Australia. Access to a quality standard of health care is what they deserve and are entitled to expect. The key is to recruit and retain more doctors and health professionals outside of the major cities, and that will be the focus of the National Rural Health Commissioner.

With the appropriate training opportunities, recruitment, remuneration and ongoing support, the Government is confident that more people will be encouraged to pursue a rewarding career in rural health.

Regional, rural and remote health is built on the commitment, the expertise and the courage of its workforce. We have some of the most resilient and passionate people working in this sector. The formation of the Commissioner will help to provide the rural health workforce with the support it needs to carry out its vitally important work.

Finally, I, together with the Commissioner will champion the incredible and rewarding opportunities of a career in rural medicine. We will do our best to hear you, to listen to you, and to make the necessary steps for our health system to work better for you.

Our Coalition Government looks forward to working closely with the National Rural Health Commissioner to ensure we can improve access to health services for all the men and women who call regional, rural and remote Australia home.

I commend this Bill to the House.


NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Racism : Download report – Racism remains a barrier to reconciliation


“Our Australian Reconciliation Barometer findings show that in the six months prior to the survey, 46 percent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, experienced at least one form of racial prejudice.

“This is up from 39 percent in 2014, and is two and a half times higher than an Australian from the general community, of whom only 18 percent had had such experiences,”

Reconciliation Australia Chief Executive Officer, Mr Justin Mohamed ( and former Chair of NACCHO )

1.Download full report here ra_arb-2016_-full-report_final-1

2.Download Overview brochure ra_arb-2016_overview-brochure_web-1

Read over 7o articles NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Racism

Almost half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have described experiencing racism according to the findings of Reconciliation Australia’s latest Australian Reconciliation Barometer survey.

The Australian Reconciliation Barometer is a national research study conducted every two years to measure and compare attitudes and perceptions towards reconciliation in both the general Australian community, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Other key findings of the survey reveal that:

  • Many Australians (57% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and 39% Australians in the general Australian community) agree Australia is a racist country.
  •  Almost half (46%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians say they trust other Australians, but only 1 in 5 (19%) of the general Australian community think Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians trust them.
  • Almost all Australians (97% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and 89% Australians in the general community) believe the relationship is important.
  • Most Australians agree that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are important to Australia’s national identity (93% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and 77% Australians in the general community).

“What we’re seeing since the first survey in 2008 just after the National Apology to Stolen Generations is that whilst we’ve maintained a lot of goodwill since then, we aren’t moving fast enough on issues of racism and trust. This is holding all Australians back from having positive relationships with each other,” Mr. Mohamed added.

“Part of the problem that our State of Reconciliation in Australia report uncovered last year is that we aren’t addressing racism at an institutional level. Attempts to weaken legal protections under the Racial Discrimination Act are ongoing; Australia is yet to implement its international obligations under the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and the Australian Constitution still allows for racial discrimination in our nation’s founding document.”

“The reality is, that unless goodwill is followed through with significant reform at an institutional level, Australia will continue to fall short of its full potential as a reconciled nation.”

Minister for Indigenous Affairs

Nigel Scullion

Australian Reconciliation Barometer Report Response

9 February 2017

Reconciliation Australia’s biennial Australian Reconciliation Barometer has been released today, providing a snapshot of views on the relationship between First Australians and the wider Australian community.

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said the report showed some encouraging signs but there was still a lot more work to be done.

“It is very pleasing that most Australians surveyed believe reconciliation is important and that itis possible for all Australians to be united,” Minister Scullion said.

“Almost everyone – 97 per cent of those surveyed – believed that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are important to Australia’s identity, and that more Australians in the general community now accept key facts about Australia’s past. This is extremely important going forward.

“Sadly, of those surveyed, almost half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people said theyexperienced at least one form of racial prejudice in the six months prior to the survey.

“Although there are notable improvements across the last two reports, there is still more Australia can do. There is a lot of goodwill out there and with further education we can ensure our First Australians enjoy respectful relationships to the same extent as fellow Australians.

“Australian businesses are leading the way through their commitments in Reconciliation Action Plans. Individuals in communities can also take a proud stand against racism.

“The Coalition Government is pleased to support Reconciliation Australia and the work it undertakes to increase the understanding of relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and fellow Australians within businesses and communities throughout Australia.”