NACCHO Aboriginal Health #SocialDeterminants and #ClimateChange : How the @Walgett_AMS community members and market garden are at risk from high sodium in water in drought-stricken NSW town

Unfortunately in our community and particularly Aboriginal people, they have a high incidence of chronic disease,

I believe we are going to have an increase in chronic disease here, particularly from the water consumption,

In my life here in Walgett for 40 odd years, it’s the first time I’ve never drank straight from the tap.

I just worry for people who have to drink straight from the tap.”

Chief Executive of the Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service, Christine Corby, said high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes were common health issues:

The Australian guidelines do state that medical practitioners who are concerned about people with hypertension should advise that people drink water with no more than 20 milligrams of sodium per litre. The Walgett drinking water is about 15 times that amount … so we need to be thinking about action to address that

Salt of the earth see Part 2 below

” It’s part of good health, it’s part of healthy living, it’s part of prevention and treatment of chronic disease.

For now, the garden has an exemption from the town’s level-5 water restrictions, I’m not sure how long that would last. And even with the exemption, the bore water on offer may not be suitable for gardens.

The research that we’ve received from the University of New South Wales has indicated the long-term effects, the quality of the plants, they will deteriorate, the nutrients will be reduced so it doesn’t work,

“In the long term we can’t sustain the garden.”

The Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service runs a community garden which provides fresh produce for its chronic-disease clients.

Christine Corby said the garden was crucial to these people

The Garden was featured recently in our #refreshtheCTGrefresh campaign

Part 1 : Walgett has always been a river town, perched near the junction of the Barwon and the Namoi rivers.

But with the drought biting hard, the water from those rivers isn’t making it to this northern New South Wales town.

See original ABC post here

With nothing to pump from the local weir, Walgett is the latest town forced to go underground for water.

It is now on an emergency supply of bore water, and many locals are worried it is damaging their health.

PHOTO: The Barwon River at Walgett is just a series of stagnant pools at the moment. (ABC: Danielle Bonica)

Dharriwaa Elder, Thomas Morgan, said the water was no good for drinking.

“Too much salt in it,” he said. “The kids, my grandkids, they’re starting to spit it out, they don’t like it.”

Elder Rick Townsend lives near the water treatment plant.

“I get the smell of it every morning and it’s the foulest smell,” he said.

“I don’t drink it, not at all. I drink the water at the hospital, tank water. Or I’ll buy the water in the supermarkets.”

Dharriwaa Elders Clem Dodd, Thomas Morgan, Rick Townsend and Richard Lake are concerned that the town’s emergency bore water isn’t healthy for people to drink.

Another local, Chantelle Kennedy, said most people were avoiding the tap water. “Most of us go to IGA and buy packs of 24 bottles for $20. It’s dear,” she said.

“A lot of people have been buying fizzy drinks because of the water. Some of them come out and buy hot drinks, which is cheaper than buying water.”

Part 2 : Salt of the earth

The bore water is from the Great Artesian Basin, and tests have shown the sodium levels in the water exceeded Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

Associate Professor Jacqui Webster, from the George Institute for Global Health, said the sodium levels were concerning.

“The sodium levels in the Walgett water supply are at 300 milligrams per litre and the Australian drinking water guidelines are 180 milligrams per litre, so that’s substantially higher,” she said.

Dr Webster said the guidelines for sodium in drinking water were based on taste rather than health.

But she said high sodium levels did pose serious health risks, particularly for people with underlying health problems.

“The Australian guidelines do state that medical practitioners who are concerned about people with hypertension should advise that people drink water with no more than 20 milligrams of sodium per litre,” she said.

“The Walgett drinking water is about 15 times that amount … so we need to be thinking about action to address that.”

Dr Webster said those who avoided salty drinking water by drinking alternatives such as soft drinks were solving one problem and creating another.

“If they are drinking the water it’s potentially a problem but if they are substituting it with other things that is also a cause for concern,” she said.

“Indigenous communities are suffering from greater incidences of diabetes, obesity and hypertension,” she said.

“In general people get a disproportionate amount of salt from processed foods in communities where there is limited access to fresh foods, so compounding that with sodium from the water supply is a problem, and it’s something we need to be looking into.”

PHOTO: Chief Executive of the Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service, Christine Corby, says the community garden may be forced to close if the town’s water situation doesn’t improve.(ABC Western Plains: Jessie Davies)

Part 3 Community veggie garden under threat

The Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service runs a community garden which provides fresh produce for its chronic-disease clients.

Christine Corby said the garden was crucial to these people.

“It’s part of good health, it’s part of healthy living, it’s part of prevention and treatment of chronic disease,” she said.

For now, the garden has an exemption from the town’s level-5 water restrictions, but Ms Corby said she was not sure how long that would last. And even with the exemption, the bore water on offer may not be suitable for gardens.

“The research that we’ve received from the University of New South Wales has indicated the long-term effects, the quality of the plants, they will deteriorate, the nutrients will be reduced so it doesn’t work,” she said.

“In the long term we can’t sustain the garden.”

 

‘It’s going to keep everyone alive’

Walgett’s mayor, Manuel Martinez, said the shire commissioned the town bore to provide water security in the event of shortages just like this one.

“Two years ago, we had the foresight to sink a bore. We’re drought-proofing our whole shire,” Cr Martinez said.

“This is Australia. We’re in a drought and until the drought breaks, that’s the only water supply we’ve got.”

“It’s going to keep everyone alive, and that’s what we’re here to do,” he said.

“The sodium level is a bit high, higher than normal, higher than preferred, but it’s within the guidelines and it’s the same level it is with other bores.

“I’ve lived in Lightning Ridge for the last 32 years with only bore water. Most of outback Queensland is on the Artesian Basin.”

Cr Martinez said that as soon as there was water in the rivers again, Walgett would be back on river water — or at least on a mixture of river and bore water.

He said the bore water was a short-term emergency supply.

“I’m not doubting what they say, long-term effects of anything can be harmful, especially sodium or salt in the water system,” he said.

Part 4 The upstream imbalance

PHOTO: Elders in Walgett say locals are sad and sorry that pastimes like fishing and swimming in the river are no longer possible. They’re concerned the river is dry not just because of drought but because of mismanagement and water use upstream. (ABC: Danielle Bonica)

Many residents in Walgett believe it is not just the drought that is to blame for the dry rivers.

They say the waterways have not being managed properly and that too much water is being taken out upstream.

Chairman of the Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service, Bill Kennedy, said it was hard when people saw so much water in the rivers not far up the road.

“We’ve lived through droughts before but there was always some water, and some running water,” he said.

“I guess progress has changed all that with irrigators, farming, and especially cotton further up the river.

“I was driving to Tamworth, Newcastle last week and there’s water in the rivers further up at Gunnedah, Narrabri, Wee Waa.

PHOTO: Chairperson of Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service Bill Kennedy. (ABC Western Plains: Jessie Davies )

The mayor agreed, and said it was frustrating to see so much water upstream in both rivers.

“Even in this present time now you’ll see irrigators spraying all their crops,” Cr Martinez said.

“You’ve got a town with no water supply and you go 30kms up the road and irrigators are pumping”

Cr Martinez said the last two water releases from Lake Keepit were supposed to flow down as far as Walgett but they never made it.

“It’s beyond council’s control … we can only apply to push, to get another release, and try and get water to make it down to us.”

He said there was another water release from Lake Keepit on its way and hopefully this one will make it all the way to Walgett.

Spirits at low ebb

Many people in this community were deeply saddened by the state of the two rivers here.

Elder Rick Townsend says it was the worst dry spell anyone could remember.

“It’s a pretty bad state of affairs,” he said.

“It’s the worst I’ve ever seen it in all my life that I’ve lived here.”

For countless generations, the rivers have been a place to meet, fish and swim. But locals said at the moment that was simply not possible.

“There’s no fish or anything in the river any more,” says another Elder, Thomas Morgan.

“People used to come down here and fish every day, catch heaps of fish and crayfish. [They would] come with their kids and spend a good day here with them and be happy, and now they can’t do that.”

PHOTO: Dharriwaa Elders Group chairperson Clem Dodd. (ABC Western Plains: Jessie Davies )

For Clem Dodd, a spokesman for the Dharriwaa Elders Group, the implications for the community were dire.

“This place will be a ghost town before long,” he said.

“If there’s no water, everything’s going to die. There’ll be nothing here for people — they’ll all be moving out.”

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Obesity : #refreshtheCTGrefresh : Download the Select Committee into the #Obesity Epidemic in Australia 22 recommendations : With feedback from @ACDPAlliance @janemartinopc

The Federal Government must impose a tax on sugary drinks, mandate Health Star Ratings and ban junk food ads on TV until 9 pm if it wants to drive down Australia’s obesity rates, a Senate committee has concluded.

The Select Committee into the Obesity Epidemic, comprising senators from all major parties and chaired by Greens leader Richard Di Natale, has tabled a far-reaching report with 22 recommendations.”

See SMH Article Part 1 below

Download PDF copy of report

Senate Obesity report

Extract from Report Programs in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

The committee heard that Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) run effective programs aimed at preventing and addressing the high prevalence of obesity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Ms Pat Turner, Chief Executive Officer of National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), gave the example of the Deadly Choices program, which is about organised sports and activities for young people.

She explained that to participate in the program, prospective participants need to have a health check covered by Medicare, which is an opportunity to assess their current state of health and map out a treatment plan if necessary.

However, NACCHO is of the view that ACCHOs need to be better resourced to promote healthy nutrition and physical activity.

Access to healthy and fresh foods in remote Australia

Ms Turner also pointed out that ‘the supply of fresh foods to remote communities and regional communities is a constant problem’.

From NACCHO Submission Read here 

Recommendation 21 see all Recommendations Part 2

The committee recommends the proposed National Obesity Taskforce is funded to develop and oversee culturally appropriate prevention and intervention programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Recommendation 22

The committee recommends the Commonwealth develop additional initiatives and incentives aimed at increasing access, affordability and consumption of fresh foods in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“Unhealthy weight is a major risk factor for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Preventing obesity in children is particularly important, as it is difficult to reverse weight gain once established,” 

Chair of the Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance Sharon McGowan said limiting unhealthy food marketing would reduce children’s exposure to unhealthy food and its subsequent consumption.See in full Part 3

“Obesity in this country has reached epidemic proportions, but it is not a problem without a solution. Today’s report demonstrates a willingness from representatives across all political parties to investigate the systemic causes of obesity and develop a way forward.”

A key recommendation from the Inquiry’s report is the introduction of a tax on sugary drinks; something the OPC has led calls for, and which has been supported by around 40 public health, community and academic groups in the Tipping the Scales report.

Jane Martin, Executive Manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition, said that when two thirds of Australians are overweight or obese, the Inquiry’s comprehensive report provides an acknowledgement of the scale of the problem and a blueprint for tackling it .See part 4 Below for full press release

Part 1 SMH Article 

About 63 per cent of Australian adults are overweight or obese.

In a move that will likely delight health groups and enrage the food and beverage industries, it has recommended the government slap a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), saying this would reduce sugar consumption, improve public health and push manufacturers to reformulate their products.

“The World Health Organisation has recommended governments tax sugary drinks and, at present, over 30 jurisdictions across the world have introduced a SSB tax as part of their effort and commitment toward preventing and controlling the rise of obesity,” the report said.

While health groups, such as Cancer Council, have demanded a 20 per cent levy, the committee suggested the government find the best fiscal model to achieve a price increase of at least 20 per cent.

“The impacts of sugary drinks are borne most by those on low income and they will also reap the most benefits from measures that change the behaviour of manufacturers,” it said.

About 63 per cent of Australian adults and 27 per cent of children aged 5 to 17 are overweight or obese, which increases the risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

At the heart of the report is the recognition of the need for a National Obesity Taskforce, comprising government, health, industry and community representatives, which would sit within the Department of Health and be responsible for a National Obesity Strategy as well as a National Childhood Obesity Strategy.

“Australia does not have an overarching strategy to combat obesity,” it said.

“Many of the policy areas required to identify the causes, impacts and potential solutions to the obesity problem span every level of government.”

The committee has also urged the government to mandate the Health Star Rating (HSR) system, which is undergoing a five-year review, by 2020.

The voluntary front-of-pack labelling system has come under fire for producing questionable, confusing ratings – such as four stars for Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain – and becoming a “marketing tool”.

“Making it mandatory will drive food companies to reformulate more of their products in order to achieve higher HSR ratings,” the report said.

“The committee also believes that, once the HSR is made mandatory, the HSR calculator could be regularly adjusted to make it harder to achieve a five star rating.”

Pointing to a conflict-of-interest, it has recommended the HSR’s Technical Advisory Group expel members representing the industry.

“Representatives of the food and beverage industry sectors may be consulted for technical advice but [should] no longer sit on the HSR Calculator Technical Advisory Group,” it said.

The government has also been asked to consider introducing legislation to restrict junk food ads on free-to-air television until 9pm.

The group said existing voluntary codes were inadequate and also suggested that all junk food ads in all forms of media should display the product’s HSR.

The committee is made up of seven senators – two  Liberals, two Labor, one each from the Greens and One Nation and independent Tim Storer.

The Liberals wrote dissenting statements, saying a taskforce was unnecessary, HSR should remain voluntary, there shouldn’t be a sugar tax, and current advertising regulations were enough.

“No witnesses who appeared before the inquiry could point to any jurisdiction in the world where the introduction of a sugar tax led to a fall in obesity rates,” they said.

Labor senators also said there was no need for a sugar tax because there isn’t enough evidence.

“Labor senators are particularly concerned that an Australian SSB would likely be regressive, meaning that it would impact lower-income households disproportionately,” they said.

Committee chair, Dr Di Natale said: “We need the full suite of options recommended by the committee if we’re serious about making Australians happier, healthier, and more active.”

Part 2 ALL 22 Recommendations

Recommendation 1

The committee recommends that Commonwealth funding for overweight and obesity prevention efforts and treatment programs should be contingent on the appropriate use of language to avoid stigma and blame in all aspects of public health campaigns, program design and delivery.

Recommendation 2

The committee recommends that the Commonwealth Department of Health work with organisations responsible for training medical and allied health professionals to incorporate modules specifically aimed at increasing the understanding and awareness of stigma and blame in medical, psychological and public health interventions of overweight and obesity.

Recommendation 3

The committee recommends the establishment of a National Obesity Taskforce, comprising representatives across all knowledge sectors from federal, state, and local government, and alongside stakeholders from the NGO, private sectors and community members. The Taskforce should sit within the Commonwealth Department of Health and be responsible for all aspects of government policy direction, implementation and the management of funding

Recommendation 3.1

The committee recommends that the newly established National Obesity Taskforce develop a National Obesity Strategy, in consultation with all key stakeholders across government, the NGO and private sectors.

Recommendation 3.2

The committee recommends that the Australian Dietary Guidelines are updated every five years.

Recommendation 6

The committee recommends the Minister for Rural Health promote to the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation the adoption of the following changes to the current Health Star Rating system:

  • The Health Star Rating Calculator be modified to address inconsistencies in the calculation of ratings in relation to:
  • foods high in sugar, sodium and saturated fat;
  • the current treatment of added sugar;
  • the current treatment of fruit juices;
  • the current treatment of unprocessed fruit and vegetables; and
  • the ‘as prepared’ rules.
  • Representatives of the food and beverage industry sectors may be consulted for technical advice but no longer sit on the HSR Calculator Technical Advisory Group.
  • The Health Star Rating system be made mandatory by 2020.

Recommendation 7

The committee recommends Food Standards Australia New Zealand undertake a review of voluntary front-of-pack labelling schemes to ensure they are fit-forpurpose and adequately represent the nutritional value of foods and beverages.

Recommendation 8

The committee recommends the Minister for Rural Health promote to the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation the adoption of mandatory labelling of added sugar on packaged foods and drinks.

Recommendation 9

The committee recommends that the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council work with the Department of Health to develop a nutritional information label for fast food menus with the goal of achieving national consistency and making it mandatory in all jurisdictions.

Recommendation 10

The committee recommends the Australian Government introduce a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, with the objectives of reducing consumption, improving public health and accelerating the reformulation of products.

Recommendation 11

The committee recommends that, as part of the 2019 annual review of the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice, Free TV Australia introduce restrictions on discretionary food and drink advertising on free-to-air television until 9.00pm.

Recommendation 12

The committee recommends that the Australian Government consider introducing legislation to restrict discretionary food and drink advertising on free-toair television until 9.00pm if these restrictions are not voluntary introduced by Free TV Australia by 2020.

Recommendation 13

The committee recommends the Australian Government make mandatory the display of the Health Star Rating for food and beverage products advertised on all forms of media.

Recommendation 14

The committee recommends the proposed National Obesity Taskforce is funded to develop and oversee the implementation of a range of National Education Campaigns with different sectors of the Australian community. Educational campaigns will be context dependent and aimed at supporting individuals, families and communities to build on cultural practices and improve nutrition literacy and behaviours around diet, physical activity and well-being.

Recommendation 15

The committee recommends that the National Obesity Taskforce, when established, form a sub-committee directly responsible for the development and management of a National Childhood Obesity Strategy.

Recommendation 16

The committee recommends the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) consider adding obesity to the list of medical conditions eligible for the Chronic Disease Management scheme.

Recommendation 17

The committee recommends the Australian Medical Association, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and other college of professional bodies educate their members about the benefits of bariatric surgical interventions for some patients.

Recommendation 18

The committee recommends the proposed National Obesity Taskforce commission evaluations informed by multiple methods of past and current multistrategy prevention programs with the view of designing future programs.

Recommendation 19

The committee recommends the proposed National Obesity Taskforce is funded to develop and oversee the implementation of multi-strategy, community based prevention programs in partnership with communities.

Recommendation 20

The committee recommends the proposed National Obesity Taskforce develop a National Physical Activity Strategy.

Recommendation 21

The committee recommends the proposed National Obesity Taskforce is funded to develop and oversee culturally appropriate prevention and intervention programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Recommendation 22

The committee recommends the Commonwealth develop additional initiatives and incentives aimed at increasing access, affordability and consumption of fresh foods in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

Part 3 Protect our children chronic disease groups support calls to restrict junk food advertising

Junk food advertising to children urgently needs to be better regulated.

That’s a recommendation from the Senate report on obesity, released last night, and a message that the Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance strongly supports.

Chair of the Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance Sharon McGowan said limiting unhealthy food marketing would reduce children’s exposure to unhealthy food and its subsequent consumption.

“Unhealthy weight is a major risk factor for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Preventing obesity in children is particularly important, as it is difficult to reverse weight gain once established,” Ms McGowan said.

Ms McGowan said one in four children are already overweight or obese, and more likely to grow into adults who are overweight or obese with greater risk of chronic disease.

“While there are multiple factors influencing unhealthy weight gain, this is not an excuse for inaction,” she said. “Food companies are spending big money targeting our kids, unhealthy food advertising fills our television screens, our smartphones and digital media channels.

“Currently, self-regulation by industry is limited and there are almost no restrictions for advertising unhealthy foods online – this has to stop.

“We need to act now to stem this tide of obesity and preventable chronic disease, or we risk being the first generation to leave our children with a shorter life expectancy than our own.”

The Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance also welcomed the Report’s recommendations for the establishment of a National Obesity Taskforce, improvements to the Health Star Rating food labelling system, development a National Physical Activity Strategy and introduction of a sugary drinks levy.

“We support the recent Government commitment to develop a national approach to obesity and urge the government to incorporate the recommendations from the Senate report for a well-rounded approach to tackle obesity in Australia,” Ms McGowan said.

Part 4

Sugary drink levy among 22 recommendations

The Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) has welcomed a Senate Inquiry report into the Obesity Epidemic in Australia as an important step toward saving Australians from a lifetime of chronic disease and even premature death.

Jane Martin, Executive Manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition, said that when two thirds of Australians are overweight or obese, the Inquiry’s comprehensive report provides an acknowledgement of the scale of the problem and a blueprint for tackling it.

“Obesity in this country has reached epidemic proportions, but it is not a problem without a solution. Today’s report demonstrates a willingness from representatives across all political parties to investigate the systemic causes of obesity and develop a way forward.”

A key recommendation from the Inquiry’s report is the introduction of a tax on sugary drinks; something the OPC has led calls for, and which has been supported by around 40 public health, community and academic groups in the Tipping the Scales report.

“Sugar is a problem in our diets and sugary drinks are the largest contributor of added sugar for Australians. Consumption of these beverages is associated with chronic health conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, some cancers and tooth decay,” Ms Martin said.

“We have been calling for a 20% health levy on sugary drinks for a number of years, but Australia continues to lag behind 45 other jurisdictions around the world that have introduced levies. When sugary drinks are often cheaper than water, it’s time to take action.”

The report also calls for a review of the current rules around junk food advertising to children.

Ms Martin insisted any review should prioritise an end to the advertising industry’s selfregulated codes.

“We know industry marketing is having a negative effect; it directly impacts what children eat and what they pester their parents for. It’s wallpaper in their lives, bombarding them during their favourite TV shows, infiltrating their social media feeds and plastering their sports grounds and uniforms when they play sport,” Ms Martin said.

“With more than one in four Australian children overweight or obese, it’s time for the Government to acknowledge that leaving food and beverage companies to make their own sham rules allows them to continue to prioritise profits over kids’ health.”

While the Inquiry’s report calls for a National Obesity Strategy, a commitment announced by the COAG Health Ministers earlier this year, Ms Martin stressed that this must be developed independently, without the involvement of the ultra-processed food industry, which has already hampered progress to date.

“The OPC, along with 40 leading community and public health groups, have set out clear actions on how best to tackle obesity in our consensus report, Tipping the Scales. These actions came through strongly from many of the groups who participated in the inquiry and we are pleased to see them reflected in the recommendations.

“The evidence is clear on what works to prevent and reduce obesity, but for real impact we need leadership from policy makers. We need to stop placing the blame on individuals. The Federal and State governments must now work together to push those levers under their control to stem the tide of obesity.”

The senate inquiry report contains 22 recommendations which address the causes, control of obesity, including:

  • The establishment of a National Obesity Taskforce, with a view to develop a National Obesity Strategy
  • Introduction of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages
  • The Health Star Rating system be made mandatory by 2020
  • Adoption of mandatory labelling of added sugar
  • Restrictions on discretionary food and drink advertising on free-to-air television until 9pm
  • Implementation of a National Education Campaign aimed at improving nutrition literacy and behaviours around diet and physical activity
  • Form a sub-committee from the National Obesity Taskforce around the development and management of a National Childhood Obesity Strategy

BACKGROUND:

On 10 May 2018, the Senate voted to establish an inquiry to examine the impacts of Australia’s obesity epidemic.

The Select Committee into the obesity epidemic was established on 16 May 2018 to look at the causes of rising levels of obese and overweight people in Australia and how the issue affects children. It also considered the economic burden of the health concern and the effectiveness of existing programs to improve diets and tackle childhood obesity. The inquiry has received 145 submissions and has published its full report today.

The Committee held public hearings from public health, industry and community groups. The OPC provided a submission and Jane Martin gave evidence at one of these sessions.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #SocialDeterminants #refreshtheCTGRefresh @TonyAbbottMHR Statement to parliament with 6 key recommendations on remote school attendance and performance

” Why don’t the objective outcomes for Aboriginal Australians match those of everyone else – and what can be done to close this gap?

Amidst all our glittering successes as a nation, this is the one question that’s haunted us, almost since the very first Australia Day; and it always will, until it’s fixed.”

The Hon Tony Abbott MP address to Parliament 6 December 

Download a copy of Improving education outcomes for Indigenous children

Watch speech HERE

Watch SkyNews Interview HERE

Back when prime minister, I used to observe, that to live in Australia is to have won the lottery of life – and that’s true – unless you happen to be, one-of-those whose ancestors had been here for tens of thousands of years.

That’s the Australian paradox. Vast numbers of people from around the world would literally risk death to be here, yet the first Australians often live in the conditions that people come to Australia to escape. We are the very best of countries; except for the people who were here first.

And this gnaws away, a standing reproach to idealists and patriots of all stripes. As long as many Aboriginal people have third world lives, and are on average poorer, sicker, and worse housed by-a-vast-margin than the rest of us, we can indeed be – as we boast – the most successful immigrant society on earth; except, ahem, for those who have been here the longest.

You can appreciate my reservations, then, when the Prime Minister asked me to be his “special envoy” on indigenous affairs. How could a backbench MP make a-difference-in-six-months to a problem that had been intractable for two hundred years? Yet perhaps someone who’s been wrestling with this for a quarter century, and may have spent more time in remote Australia than any other MP, except the few who actually live there – but isn’t dealing with every lobby and vested interest as the PM, the minister and the relevant local member invariably are – can bring fresh eyes to an old problem and perhaps distinguish the wood from the trees.

Amidst all the generally depressing indicators on indigenous Australia, this one stands out. Indigenous people who finish school and who complete a degree have much the same employment outcomes and life expectancies as other comparable Australians. And it stands to reason…that to have a decent life, you’ve got to have a job; and to have a job, you’ve got to have a reasonable education. As prime minister for indigenous affairs this, always, was my mantra: get the kids to school, get the adults to work, and make communities safe.

So the Prime Minister and I soon agreed: that as special envoy, my task was to promote better remote school attendance and performance because this is our biggest challenge.

Around the country, school attendance is about 93 per cent. That’s 93 per cent of all enrolled students, on average, are there on any given day. But for Aboriginal kids, school attendance is just 83 per cent. In very remote schools – where the pupils are mostly indigenous – attendance is only 75 per cent, and only 36 per cent of remote students are at school at-least-90-per-cent-of-the-time, which is what educators think is needed for schooling to be effective. Not surprisingly, in remote schools, only 60 per cent of pupils are meeting the national minimum standards for reading.

Now, it’s not lack of money that’s to blame. On average, spending on remote students is at least 50 per cent higher than in metropolitan schools. A key factor is the high turnover of teachers, who are often very inexperienced to start with. In the Northern Territory’s remote schools, for instance, most teachers have less than five years’ experience and the average length of stay in any one school is less than two years.

Of course, every teacher in every school is making a difference. Even a transient teacher in a poorly-attended school is better than leaving Aboriginal people without the means of becoming successful citizens in their own country. And even attending a struggling school is better than missing out on an education. Our challenge as a government, as a parliament, as a nation, is to-do-more-to-ensure that kids in remote schools are getting the best possible education, because it’s only once we’re doing our job that we can expect parents to do theirs and send their children to school.

Posing this simple question – how do we get every child to go to school every day – prompted one teacher, an elder, who’d been at Galiwinku School since the 1970s, to sigh that she’d been asked the same question for 40 years…. And pretty obviously, that’s because after-all-that-time the answer still eludes us.

And yes, if there were more local jobs and a stronger local economy; if housing wasn’t as overcrowded; if family trauma weren’t as prevalent, and sorry business so frequent; if the sly grogging and all night parties stopped; if there were more indigenous teachers and other successful role models; if pupils didn’t have hearing problems or foetal alcohol syndrome; and maybe if indigenous recognition had taken place; and land claims had been finalised….it might be easier.

In their own way, these all feed into the issue; but if we wait for everything to be addressed, little will ever be achieved. There are all sorts of reasons why a particular child might not be at school on any one day but there’s really nothing that can justify (as opposed, sometimes, to explain) the chronic non-attendance of so many remote indigenous children.

After this latest round of visits and discussions, I can readily understand the despondency people in this field sometimes wrestle with; but there are more grounds for optimism and less reason to be resigned-to-failure than ever before. Yes, some of the federal government’s remote school attendance teams are a glorified bus service; but others are deeply embedded in the school and in the community and can explain almost every absence. Yes, too many remote schools still have very high staff and principal turnover; but there are also hundreds of dedicated remote teachers who have made their work a calling or a mission, rather than just a job or even a career.

Yes, there’ve been plenty of policy flip-flops over-the-years as new governments and new ministers try to reinvent the wheel; but in most states and territories there are now ten-year strategies in place with a stress on staff continuity, on closely monitoring each pupil’s progress and movement, on back-to-basics teaching, on community involvement, and on getting mothers and their new babies straight into the school environment: strategies that have outlived changes of government and minister.

In other words, there’s finally broad agreement on what needs to be done – at least for schools – and a collective official determination to see-it-through for the long term, rather than be blown-off-course by each you-beaut-new-idea.

In all the remote schools that I’ve just visited, culture is respected – and in many of them teaching is bi-lingual, at least in the early years – while teachers still strive to enable proud indigenous people to flourish in the wider world, not just the community they’re born into.

Many fret that progress is stalled or even in reverse – because the world only changes for the better, person-by-person, school-by-school, and community-by-community; and, at this level, there can often be two steps back for every step forward. But while little ever improves as fast as we’d like, it was gratifying to see that the Opal fuel, I introduced as health minister, has all-but-eliminated petrol sniffing in remote Australia. And the larger communities of the APY Lands, with just one exception, now have what-they-all-lacked-a-decade-ago, the permanent police presence that I’d tried to achieve as the relevant federal minister. The Lands are still off-limits-without-a-permit to most Australians, but at least Pukatja now has a roadhouse!

And at least some remote community leaders haven’t shirked the “tough love” conversation that’s needed with their own people; and have accepted restrictions on how welfare can be spent, with the debit card in Kununurra, Ceduna and Kalgoorlie; and the Family Responsibilities Commission in many of the communities of Cape York.

On my recent swing through remote schools, all classrooms – every one of them – were free of the defeated teachers, the structure-less lessons and the distracted pupils that were all-too-prevalent some years back on my stints as a stand-in teacher’s aide; even if actual attendance rates still left much to be desired.

In all the bigger schools, there’s now the Clontarf “no-class-no-footy” programme for the boys and, increasingly, a comparable Girls Academy too. Who would have thought that Kununurra, Coen and Hope Vale schools would have concert bands that any school could be proud of! In Coober Pedy, I helped to wrap books as gifts for the children who regularly attended school; and in Aurukun, handed out satchels to the students going on excursion to the Gold Coast as a reward being at school all the time.

I’m much-more-confident-than-I-expected-to-be that, left to their own devices, the states and territories will manage steady if patchy progress towards better attendance and better performance. But what will be hard to overcome, I suspect, is communities’ propensity to find excuses for kids’ absences; and school systems’ reluctance to tailor-make credentials and incentives for remote teachers. This is where the federal government could come in: to back strong local indigenous leadership ready to make more effort to get their kids to school; and to back state and territory governments ready for further innovation to improve their remote schools.

While all states and territories provide incentives and special benefits for remote teachers, sometimes these work against long-term retention. In one state, for instance, the incentives cease once a teacher has been in a particular school for five years. In others, a remote teaching stint means preferential access to more sought-after placements, so teachers invariably leave after doing the bare minimum to qualify.

There should be special literacy and numeracy training (as well as cultural training) before teachers go to remote schools, where English is often a second or third language. And there should be substantially higher pay in recognition of these extra professional challenges. And because it can take so long to gain families’ trust, there should be substantial retention bonuses to keep teachers in particular remote locations.

We need to attract and retain better teachers to remote schools. And we need to empower remote community leadership that’s ready to take more responsibility for what happens there. The objective, is not to dictate to the states their decisions about teacher pay and staffing but to work with them so that whatever they do is more effective. It’s not to impose new rules on remote communities but to work in partnership with local leaders who want change for the better.

Where local leaders are prepared to accept measures that should create a better environment for school attendance, like the debit card or the Family Responsibilities Commission, the government should be ready to offer extra economic opportunity or better amenities. If local communities have a project, and would like federal government support, and are prepared to accept that with rights come responsibilities, they should make contact to explore what we might all do better.

For instance, at Borroloola, when I wanted to talk school attendance, locals only wanted to talk housing. And I well and truly got their point, once I’d seen the near-shanties that people were living in; and new houses, I’m pleased to say, are now on their way. On future visits, no one should have poor housing as an on-going reason for kids missing school; because if government wants communities to lift their game, we have to be ready to lift ours too.

As the national government, we should be prepared to make it easier for state and territory action to attract and retain better teachers; and we should reinforce the self-evident maxim that every kid should go to school every day: not by taking away the states’ and territories’ responsibility for managing schools; and not by imposing a “punishment agenda” but by making good policy and strong local leadership more effective.  After all, good government – certainly good, sensible small-c conservative government – means a clear objective, plus reasonable, do-able means of moving towards it.

As envoy, my job is to make recommendations rather than decisions: recommendations with a good chance of success because they’re consistent with the government’s values and its policy direction.

6 Major Recommendations 

First, the government should work with the states and territories (whose responsibility it is to pay teachers) to increase substantially the salary supplements and the retention bonuses (if any) currently paid to teachers working in very remote areas.

Second, and this is just a federal responsibility, the government should waive the HECS debt of teachers who, after two years’ experience in other schools, teach in a very remote school and stay for four years.

Third, communities ready to consider the debit card or arrangements akin to it, in order to boost local pupils’ capacity to attend school, should have fast-tracked Indigenous Advancement Strategy projects as a reciprocity measure – a form of mutual obligation, if you like, between government and communities.

Fourth, the Remote School Attendance Strategy should be funded for a further four years, but with some refinements to obtain more local school “buy-in” and better community “intelligence”, and to encourage engagement with local housing authorities and police, where needed.

Fifth, the Good-to-Great-Schools programme, that’s reintroduced phonics and disciplined learning to quite a few remote schools, should be funded for another year to enable further evaluation and emulation.

And sixth, the government should match the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation’s private and philanthropic funding on an on-going basis. Officialdom never likes selective schemes that send people to elite schools, but this one is undoubtedly working to lift people’s horizons, to open people’s hearts and to create an indigenous middle class with the kinds of networks that people in this parliament, for instance, can invariably take for granted.

These recommendations will now be considered through the government’s usual policy making processes and I look forward to ministers’ announcements in due course; and, in some cases, before Christmas.

In every state and territory, it’s compulsory for school age children to be enrolled and not to miss school without a good excuse. For a host of understandable reasons: such as schools’ reluctance to be policemen, the disruption that unwilling students can create in class, the difficulty of holding parents responsible for teenagers’ behaviour, and the cost to family budgets, these truancy laws are rarely enforced, even though there should be direct consequences for bad behaviour – not just the long-term cost to society of people who can’t readily prosper in the modern world.

Most jurisdictions are once-more ready to impose fines on consistently delinquent parents and guardians but fines are often ineffective when gaol is the only mechanism for making people pay. Hence my final recommendation is that all debts-to-government, including on-the-spot fines – and not just those to the Commonwealth – should be deductible from welfare payments.

Finally, I thank the Prime Minister for the opportunity he’s given me. I thank the Ministers for Indigenous Affairs and for Education (who’ve magnanimously put up with an intruder on their patch); and the Prime Minister and Cabinet staff I’ve been working with (in Canberra and in the regional networks) for the past three months. I thank the Northern Territory, South Australian and Western Australian education ministers and their officials, and Queensland officials for their discussions and for facilitating community visits. And I thank the schools and communities of Warruwi, Galiwinku, Nhulunbuy, Yirrkala, Borroloola, Koonibba, Yalata, Coober Pedy, Pukatja, Broome, Kununurra, Coen, Aurukun, Hope Vale, Palm Island and Cherbourg for making me welcome.

However long my public life lasts; in government, or out of it; in the parliament, or out of it; I intend to persevere in this cause. Some missions, once accepted, can never really cease. Of course, the future for Aboriginal people lies much more in their own hands than in mine; but getting more of them to school, and making their schooling more useful, is a duty that government must not shirk. An ex-PM has just one unique trait, and that’s a very big megaphone, that I will continue to use, to see this done. This is my first statement to parliament on remote school attendance and performance…but it certainly won’t be my last word on this absolutely vital subject.

NACCHO Aboriginal Childrens Health #PesterPower and #Nutrition # Obesity #Sugar : Our Biggest food and beverage companies slammed at Fame and Shame Awards : Our mob need to make @DeadlyChoices #healthyfoods

“ When around 40 per cent of the energy in the average Australian child’s diet comes from junk food, it’s time for the Government to stop leaving industry to make its own sham rules,”

 This type of unhealthy food marketing is undermining efforts by parents, schools and communities to encourage healthy habits.

We know marketing works; it directly impacts what children eat and what they pester their parents for.”

Jane Martin, executive manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition, said the industry had no shame and would always put profits ahead of children.

Smoke and Mirrors award: Nestle for “Add more milk” Milo campaign

Digital Ninja: McDonald’s for its “Happy Land” app

Pester Power: Coles Little Shop

Foul Sport: PepsiCo for its Gatorade “The Game is Never Over” campaign

Parents’ Choice Award for Food: Former MasterChef contestant Alice Zaslavsky’s the “Phenomenom” campaign

FROM NEWS LTD

Read over 60 NACCHO Aboriginal Health Nutrition Obesity and Sugar articles published over past 7 years 

Nestle has taken out the gong for a “misleading children’s campaign” at an annual awards event exposing the worst of junk food marketing.

Stealing the crown from last year’s “winner” Kellogg’s, the world’s largest food and beverage company took out the Smoke and Mirrors category at the 14th national Parents’ Voice Fame and Shame Awards in Victoria today.

Nestle was pulled up for its campaign calling on children to “add more to milk” with MILO, failing to mention it contained 9g of added sugar.

Nestlé nutritionist Megan Nader told news.com.au Milo does contain some sugar, “although some is naturally occurring and it is not all added.”

“Its main role is to support kids’ meeting dairy and nutrient intakes by adding extra calcium, protein, iron and vitamin D to a glass of milk,” she said.

And, despite its huge popularity, it was the Coles Little Shop campaign that claimed the Pester Power award for featuring products that appeal to children such as Nutella, Tim Tam and Oak chocolate milk.

Nicole French, a parent member of Parents’ Voice, said that the level of pestering the Little Shop campaign encouraged in children was almost unprecedented.

“Through play with these products, our children learn unhealthy habits that may last a lifetime,” Ms French said.

Nestle was shamed for its ‘Add more milk’ campaign at the national Parents’ Voice Fame and Shame Awards.

Coles’ Little Shop campaign got the Pester Power award.

But Coles said it was “blown away with customer engagement and feedback to Little Shop”.

“They told us it made them excited to shop and it appealed to customers of all ages. Whether they were collecting for themselves, their family members, neighbours or work colleagues, “Little Shop brought people together and they had a lot of fun with it,” the spokeswoman said.

“We saw schools using them as teaching aids, they were being used as fun accessories, and we’re even hearing that customers will be using them as elves on shelves this Christmas.”

McDonald’s also copped flak at the awards that aim to promote a healthy lifestyle for children. The “Happy Land” app received the Digital Ninja award for being the digital media campaign “most obviously targeting children and driving unhealthy participation in the brand”.

Parents’ Voice campaigns manager Alice Pryor slammed the campaigns for not “contributing to healthier futures for our kids”.

In the drinks category, Gatorade copped the The Foul Sport award for its “The Game is Never Over” campaign featuring AFL’s Scott Pendlebury.

“Parents are fed up with sports drinks such as Gatorade marketing to kids via their sporting heroes,” Ms French said, explaining “nine teaspoons (36g) of added sugar per 600ml bottle — Gatorade is more likely to lead to weight gain than sporting prowess.”

McDonald’s Happyland app copped the Digital Ninja award.

Already, more than 70 per cent of Aussie children are not meeting the national physical activity recommendation — and junk food marketing isn’t helping, experts claim.

PepsiCo got the Foul Sport award for its Gatorade “The Game is Never Over” campaign

Parents’ Voice also commended those encouraging a healthier lifestyle.

Former MasterChef contestant Alice Zaslavsky was awarded the Parents’ Choice Award for Food, for her “The Phenomenom” campaign featuring springboard videos and interactive lessons for children.

The Parents’ Choice Award for Physical Activity went to VicHealth for the “This Girl Can” campaign for inspiring women and girls to embrace a variety of physical activities to get them moving every day.

“We continue to be shocked by the amount of junk food and drink ads aimed at children. 1 in 4 Australian kids are above a healthy weight. This targeting of Australian kids must end,” Ms Pryor said.

News.com.au has contacted McDonald’s and PepsiCo for comment.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Jobalerts as at 4 December #refreshtheCTGRefresh : This week features #VIC Rumbalara ACCHO #NSW South Coast AMS #NT Sunrise ACCHO @MiwatjHealth @CAACongress #QLD @Wuchopperen @Deadlychoices @ATSICHSBris @IUIH_ @Apunipima

 

This weeks #ACCHO #Jobalerts

Please note  : This is last Job Alert for 2018 ,we will resume this service Wednesday 23 January 2019

Before completing a job application please check with the ACCHO that the job is still open

1.1 Job/s of the week 

1.2 National Aboriginal Health Scholarships 

AMA Indigenous Medical $10,000 Scholarship 2019 Applications close 31 January 2019.

2.Queensland 

    2.1 Apunipima ACCHO Cape York

2.2 IUIH ACCHO Deadly Choices Brisbane and throughout Queensland

    2.3 ATSICHS ACCHO Brisbane

3.NT Jobs Alice Spring ,Darwin East Arnhem Land and Katherine

   3.1Congress ACCHO Alice Spring

   3.2 Miwatj Health ACCHO Arnhem Land

   3.3 Wurli ACCHO Katherine

   3.4 Sunrise ACCHO Katherine

4. South Australia

4.1 Nunkuwarrin Yunti of South Australia Inc

5. Western Australia

  5.1 Derbarl Yerrigan Health Services Inc

  5.2 Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services (KAMS)

6.Victoria

6.1 Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS)

6.2 Mallee District Aboriginal Services Mildura Swan Hill Etc 

6.3 : Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-Operative 2 POSITIONS VACANT

7.New South Wales

7.1 AHMRC Sydney and Rural 

8. Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre ACCHO 

9.Canberra ACT Winnunga ACCHO

10. Other : Stakeholders Indigenous Healt

Over 302 ACCHO clinics See all websites by state territory 

NACCHO Affiliate , Member , Government Department or stakeholders

If you have a job vacancy in Indigenous Health 

Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media

Tuesday by 4.30 pm Tuesday 22 January for publication each Wednesday 23 January 2019

1.1 Jobs of the week 

General Manager Clinics and Services  : Danila Dilba ACCHO Darwin 

This position is responsible for leading the design, development and delivery of quality, culturally sensitive, comprehensive primary health care clinical services at DDHS Health Clinics and contribute to DHSS whole of services aimed at improving the health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents.

See DDHS Website 

For further information please contact Sarah Giles on 0429 022 272 or email sarah.giles@ddhs.org.au

APPLICATIONS CLOSE: 10 DECEMBER 2018 (5pm)

All applicants must apply via the online portal (link below) ensuring they address the Selection Criteria and include current resume/CV.

All Employees must hold a current Drivers Licence, be willing to undergo a Police Check and be able to obtain Ochre card clearance.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are strongly encouraged to apply

Download Position Description

Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-operative ACCHO Shepparton Victoria : Family Partnership Worker – Australian Nurse Family Partnership Program (ANFPP)

Full time position – 38 hours per week

We advertise this position as an Identified Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander position only in line with ‘special measures’ under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 Section 12 example 1.

This role exist to support women pregnant with an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander baby and their families using a therapeutic, partnership approach. The program supports voluntary clients to improve their personal health and wellbeing, environmental health, increase their self- efficacy and improve the health and development of their children.

Further information on the Australian Nurse Family Partnership Program (ANFPP) can be found of the following website: http://www.anfpp.com.au

Minimum qualifications required to be considered for this position include: Minimum Cert III in Community Service or equivalent would be highly advantageous.

Salary Packaging is a benefit available for Part or Full Time Employees

Your application will need to include a copy of your Victorian Employee Working with Children Check and a police check obtained within the last 2 months. For consideration for an interview, you must obtain a Position Description from Marieta on (03) 5820 6405 or email: marieta.martin@raclimited.com.au or download the Position Description from www.rumbalara.org.au/vacancies and address the Key Selection Criteria, include a current resume, copies of qualifications and a cover letter.

Applications close at 4pm on Wednesday, 19th December 2018 and are to be addressed to:

Human Resources Dept.

Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-Operative PO Box 614 Mooroopna Vic 3629

Justice, AOD and Family Violence Programs and Services now have the following vacancies based at the High Street, Shepparton office

Senior Alcohol and Other Drugs Worker (Counsellor)

Full time position – 38 hours per week

As part of a multi-disciplinary team, you will have a strong understanding of the complexities of AOD and / or mental health and the various service systems that clients interface with as well as the advocacy required in these systems. More importantly, you must be able to demonstrate a knowledge of alcohol and other drug issues impacting on Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people.

You will provide intensive case management and wrap-around services aimed to minimise substance related harm and / or the impacts of trauma engendered mental health issues by maximising the client’s strengths, self-reliance, self-care and participation.

As well, your responsibilities will include, but not be limited to: competently and confidently initiating, supporting and/or coordinating best practice treatment and care models that enhance healthy lifestyle choices and the client’s physical as well as mental health and wellbeing; high quality, comprehensive needs assessments, treatment and support services to clients and their families including family inclusive practices and comorbid principles; high risk assessments and holistic responses between identified partner agencies through case discussion aimed to enhance treatment outcomes.

Minimum qualifications required to be considered for the AOD positions are: Tertiary qualification in AOD, Mental Health, Counselling, Social Work or a related discipline.

The usual mandatory terms and organisational conditions apply to this vacancy including holding a valid Victorian Employee Working with Children Check and a police check obtained within the last 2 months.

For consideration for an interview, you must obtain a Position Description from Marieta on (03) 5820 6405 or email: marieta.martin@raclimited.com.au and address the Key Selection Criteria. Include a current resume, copies of qualifications and a cover letter.

Applications should be addressed to Human Resources, Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative Ltd., Wyndham Street, Shepparton and must be received by HR no later than 4pm on Wednesday 12 December 2018

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community are encouraged to apply

Dietitian Sunrise ACCHO Katherine NT

 

  • Are you a Dietitian looking for a new opportunity to grow and develop your skills? Join this reputable Aboriginal Health Service!
  • Attractive remuneration package circa $61,777 to $98,396 plus generous allowances and salary sacrifice options!
  • Amazing work/life balance, giving you the chance to explore the wondrous Australian outback! 

About the Opportunity

Sunrise Health Service now has a rewarding opportunity for a Dietitian to join their dedicated, multidisciplinary team. This role is being offered on a full-time basis and is located in Katherine, NT.

Reporting to the Dietitian/Nutritionist Cluster Leader your primary responsibility will be to provide public health nutrition and dietetic services and will contribute to the planning, implementation and evaluation of programs that will improve nutritional status for members of the community.

Key responsibilities include:

  • Liaising with health centre staff and clients to support processes for targeted interventions, including group sessions and activities;
  • Working with the Population Health Team to implement and evaluate community nutrition programs;
  • Acting as the primary source of specific nutrition knowledge and contributing to the professional development of others in the area of nutrition;
  • Developing and implementing activities that aim to improve nutritional status across the region; and
  • Ensuring that all reporting requirements are well planned, coordinated and submitted.

About You

Sunrise Health Service is seeking an individual with strong knowledge and understanding of remote and/or Aboriginal communities are essential, while previous experience living and working in a remote and/or Aboriginal community would be an advantage.

The successful candidate must be degree qualified in Human Nutrition and Dietetics and hold (or be eligible to hold) an Accredited Practising Dietitian status. Previous experience working as a practising dietitian will be ideal.

You must have an understanding of the principles of primary health care in a remote and multidisciplinary environment. Excellent communications skills are a must, including well developed cross-cultural interpersonal abilities and the ability to practice in a sensitive and culturally safe manner; you will understand and adhere to the principles of Aboriginal community control of health services.

The successful candidate should be prepared to undertake considerable travel into remote communities surrounding Katherine, as such an unrestricted drivers licence will be essential.

To be considered, you must be willing to undergo a Police Check and Working with Children Check prior to commencing employment.

About the Benefits

This is a rewarding role that offers you the opportunity to advance your career as part of a highly respected organisation. In addition, you will receive ongoing professional training opportunities to ensure your future career excels.

Your dedication will be rewarded with an attractive remuneration package circa $61,777 – $98,396 (commensurate with qualifications and experience) plus a range of benefits including:

  • 6 weeks leave per year;
  • Up to 10 days study leave;
  • Salary packaging options; and
  • Travel allowances.

Additionally, working at Sunrise Health Service and living in the Katherine region has lifestyle benefits that are unique to the Northern Territory. With Australia’s most stunning landscapes on your doorstep and an incredible outdoor lifestyle on offer, the Northern Territory is the place to be to make the most of life’s adventures.

About the Organisation

Sunrise Health Service Aboriginal Corporation’s main purpose is to improve the health and wellbeing of the people in the region east of Katherine in the Northern Territory using a holistic approach that includes a high standard of medical care, the promotion of social justice and the overcoming of the sickness that affects so many people in the region. This is done through the organisation’s health clinics and health education, mixing together traditional Indigenous culture and the best of mainstream medicine.

Sunrise Health Service Aboriginal Corporation works in partnership with Northern Territory PHN (NT PHN), who provide support services to health professionals and organisation across the Northern Territory. NT PHN offers support and assistance to eligible nurses and allied health professionals who are relocating them to the NT for the purposes of employment.

Most importantly, the Sunrise approach involves community people taking part in controlling their own health. Everything from financial management and governance, staff selection and service delivery priorities are directed by the organisation’s Aboriginal Board and Community Health Committees. The organisation proudly boast ISO 9001 and AGPAL accreditation.

Sunrise provides a fulfilling and stimulating work environment in a diverse range of areas for those seeking a career in Indigenous Health.

Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to directly impact the provision of Aboriginal primary health care services 

Apply Now!

Preservation Caseworker x 4 Full Time based in Nowra, Goulburn and Far South Coast

Applications Close 14 December 2018

PURPOSE OF THE POSITION

The Preservation Caseworker is required to work as part of a responsive and dedicated Preservation team who are responsible for providing case management and support to achieve outcomes for families with children and young people who are at risk of entering Out of Home Care (OOHC).

The Caseworker will provide intensive support services to vulnerable children, young people, and their families in order to identify and/or reduce risks, allowing families to maintain the care of their child/children.

The Caseworker will work with and support families in order to prevent children and young people entering statutory OOHC by planning and implementing strategies to build their parenting capacity to provide safe and nurturing environments free from risk of harm.

SELECTION CRITERIA

Qualifications, Knowledge and Experience

Essential

* Tertiary qualifications in Social Work, Welfare, Community Services or related fields, or willingness to obtain tertiary qualifications in the above fields.

* Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of the issues affecting Aboriginal communities, families and children specifically in to Aboriginal children and young people who are at risk of entering statutory OOHC.

* Experience working within a case management model and/or OOHC.

* Highly developed analytical case work skills.

* Demonstrated capacity to work autonomously in developing and managing detailed, effective family action plans for multiple families simultaneously.

* Demonstrated ability to be adaptable to changing circumstances and organisational requirements, and contribute to the needs of an expanding organisation.

* Proficient computer literacy and the ability to use basic computer programs and all Microsoft Office applications.

* Clear Working with Children Check and National Police History Check.

* Current Drivers Licence.

Desirable

* *Aboriginality.

* Demonstrated knowledge of relevant legislation, NSW Child Safe Standard for Permanent Care and the Family Community Services Permanency Support Program.

* Demonstrated Knowledge, experience and training in family preservation and restoration.

PERSONAL QUALITIES AND ATTRIBUTES

* Highly developed organisational skills and the ability to manage time effectively and efficiently, including the ability to prioritise competing demands.

* High level of interpersonal skills, ability to communicate effectively with demonstrated ability to apply these across a culturally diverse caseload.

* Highly developed written and verbal communication skills.

* Effective conflict resolutions skills, negotiation, mediation and decision making skills.

For a full Position Description and an Application form, please email hr@southcoastams.org.au

Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health & Community Services LTD.

Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health & Community Services is a community controlled health service providing holistic health care to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities of the ACT and surrounding areas. The Service manages approximately 30 programs through various funding agreements and employs more than 70 staff offering salary sacrifice pursuant to tax department regulations and organisational policy.

Child and Adolescent Psychologist

The role of the Child and Adolescent Psychologist is to enhance the clinical services offered at Winnunga AHCS through working in collaboration with the multidisciplinary team in the delivery of psychology services to young clients and their families. This includes work on an individual basis to provide high level clinical consultations and therapeutic support to children, adolescents and their families to address mental health and wellbeing needs.

We are seeking an experienced Child and Adolescent Psychologist to work within our Clinical and Social Health Team. The successful applicant will have registration as a psychologist with AHPRA, eligible for a Medicare provider number have sound clinical assessment and treatment skills and competency in evidence-based psychological treatments. Experience in trauma informed practice and experience working with and understanding and commitment to the philosophy and practice of an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service and the ability to work sensitively and effectively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Previous experience working in mental health and a demonstrated ability to work in a multidisciplinary team is desirable.

A current driver’s licence is essential.

A copy of the position descriptions and selection criterias may be obtained by calling Roseanne Longford on 02 62846259 or email to Roseanne.Longford@winnunga.org.au Applications should be addressed and mailed to Julie Tongs, CEO, Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service 63 Boolimba Cres Narrabundah ACT 2604 or by email to Roseanne.Longford@winnunga.org.au

WORKING WITH VULNERALBLE PEOPLE CHECK (WWVPC)

All people employed at Winnunga are required to provide their WWVPC registration, or to carry out a WWVPC pursuant to the Working With Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Act

1.2 National Aboriginal Health Scholarships 

AMA Indigenous Medical $10,000 Scholarship 2019 Applications close 31 January 2019.

This Scholarship is open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are currently studying medicine at an Australian university.

For the purposes of this Scholarship, an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person is someone who is of Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent, who identifies as an Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person and is accepted as such by the community in which he or she lives or has lived.

Applicants will be asked to provide a letter from an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander community organisation supporting their claim.

The Scholarship commences no earlier than the second year of the recipient’s medical degree.  To receive the Scholarship, the recipient must be enrolled at an Australian medical school at the time of application, and have successfully completed the first year of a medical degree.

However, students who are in their first year of medicine are eligible to submit an application for their second year.  Results for the first year will be sought before any award is made.

In awarding the Scholarship, preference will be given to applicants who do not already hold any other scholarship or bursary.

The Scholarship will be awarded on the recommendation of a selection panel drawn from the AMA’s Taskforce on Indigenous Health.  Selection of the Scholarship recipient will be based on:

  • satisfactory academic performance judged on results achieved;
  • reports from referees familiar with applicant’s work and suitability for a career in medicine; and
  • a statement provided by the applicant describing his or her aspirations, purpose in studying medicine, and the uses to which he or she hopes to put his or her medical training.

Each applicant will be asked to provide a curriculum vitae (maximum two pages) including employment history, the contact details of two referees, and formal proof of full-time enrolment in a medical course for the 2019 academic year.

The Scholarship will be awarded for a full course of study, subject to review at the end of each year.  The Scholarship may be withheld or terminated if a Scholarship holder’s performance in any semester is unsatisfactory. The final decision to withhold or terminate a Scholarship is at the discretion of the AMA..

The value of the Scholarship in 2019 will be $10,000 per annum, paid in a lump sum.

Please note that it is the responsibility of applicants to seek advice from Centrelink on how the Scholarship payment may affect ABSTUDY or any other government payment.

Applications close 31 January 2019.

The Indigenous Peoples’ Medical Scholarship Trust Fund was established in 1994 with a contribution from the Australian Government.   In 2016, the Trust Fund became The AMA Indigenous Medical Scholarship Foundation.  The Foundation is administered by AMA Pty Ltd.

The Australian Medical Association would like to acknowledge the contributions of the following donors:  Reuben Pelerman Benevolent Foundation; the late Beryl Jamieson’s wishes for donations towards the Indigenous Medical Scholarship; Deakin University; The Anna Wearne Fund and B B & A Miller, sub-funds of the Australian Communities Foundation.

Apply HERE 

Wuchopperen Health Service ACCHO CAIRNS 

Wuchopperen Health Service Limited has been providing primary health care services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for over 35 years. Our workforce has a range of professional, clinical, allied health, social emotional wellbeing and administration positions.

  • We have two sites in Cairns and a growing number of supplementary services and partnerships.
  • We have a diverse workforce of over 200 employees
  • 70 percent of our team identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people

Our team is dedicated to the Wuchopperen vision: Improving the Quality of Life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. If you would like to make a difference, and improve the health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, please apply today.

Expressions of Interest

We invite Expressions of Interest from:

  • Aboriginal Health Workers
  • Clinical Psychologists
  • Dietitians
  • Diabetes Educators
  • Exercise Physiologists
  • Medical Officers (FAACGP / FACCRM)
  • Registered Nurses
  • Midwives
  • Optometrists
  • Podiatrists
  • Speech Pathologists

In accordance with Wuchopperen’s privacy processes, we will keep your EOI on file for three months.

 Current Vacancies

Chief Financial Officer

‘Keeping Our Generations Growing Strong’ Wuchopperen is a Community Controlled Aboriginal Health Organisation providing holistic health care services

See WEBSITE 

There are 2 JOBS AT Apunipima Cairns and Cape York

The links to  job vacancies are on website

 


www.apunipima.org.au/work-for-us

As part of our commitment to providing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community of Brisbane with a comprehensive range of primary health care, youth, child safety, mental health, dental and aged care services, we employ approximately 150 people across our locations at Woolloongabba, Woodridge, Northgate, Acacia Ridge, Browns Plains, Eagleby and East Brisbane.

The roles at ATSICHS are diverse and include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Aboriginal Health Workers
  • Registered Nurses
  • Transport Drivers
  • Medical Receptionists
  • Administrative and Management roles
  • Medical professionals
  • Dentists and Dental Assistants
  • Allied Health Staff
  • Support Workers

Current vacancies

NT Jobs Alice Spring ,Darwin East Arnhem Land and Katherine

3.1 There are 8 JOBS at Congress Alice Springs including

 

More info and apply HERE

3.2 There are 19 JOBS at Miwatj Health Arnhem Land

 

More info and apply HERE

3.3  JOBS at Wurli Katherine

More info and apply HERE

3.4 Sunrise ACCHO Katherine

Sunrise Job site

4. South Australia

   4.1 Nunkuwarrin Yunti of South Australia Inc

Nunkuwarrin Yunti places a strong focus on a client centred approach to the delivery of services and a collaborative working culture to achieve the best possible outcomes for our clients. View our current vacancies here.

 

NUNKU SA JOB WEBSITE 

5. Western Australia

5.1 Derbarl Yerrigan Health Services Inc

Derbarl Yerrigan Health Services Inc. is passionate about creating a strong and dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander workforce. We are committed to providing mentorship and training to our team members to enhance their skills for them to be able to create career pathways and opportunities in life.

On occasions we may have vacancies for the positions listed below:

  • Medical Receptionists – casual pool
  • Transport Drivers – casual pool
  • General Hands – casual pool, rotating shifts
  • Aboriginal Health Workers (Cert IV in Primary Health) –casual pool

*These positions are based in one or all of our sites – East Perth, Midland, Maddington, Mirrabooka or Bayswater.

To apply for a position with us, you will need to provide the following documents:

  • Detailed CV
  • WA National Police Clearance – no older than 6 months
  • WA Driver’s License – full license
  • Contact details of 2 work related referees
  • Copies of all relevant certificates and qualifications

We may also accept Expression of Interests for other medical related positions which form part of our services. However please note, due to the volume on interests we may not be able to respond to all applications and apologise for that in advance.

All complete applications must be submitted to our HR department or emailed to HR

Also in accordance with updated privacy legislation acts, please download, complete and return this Permission to Retain Resume form

Attn: Human Resources
Derbarl Yerrigan Health Services Inc.
156 Wittenoom Street
East Perth WA 6004

+61 (8) 9421 3888

 

DYHS JOB WEBSITE

 5.2 Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services (KAMS)

Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services (KAMS)

https://kamsc-iframe.applynow.net.au/

KAMS JOB WEBSITE

6.Victoria

6.1 Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS)

 

Thank you for your interest in working at the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS)

If you would like to lodge an expression of interest or to apply for any of our jobs advertised at VAHS we have two types of applications for you to consider.

Expression of interest

Submit an expression of interest for a position that may become available to: employment@vahs.org.au

This should include a covering letter outlining your job interest(s), an up to date resume and two current employment referees

Your details will remain on file for a period of 12 months. Resumes on file are referred to from time to time as positions arise with VAHS and you may be contacted if another job matches your skills, experience and/or qualifications. Expressions of interest are destroyed in a confidential manner after 12 months.

Applying for a Current Vacancy

Unless the advertisement specifies otherwise, please follow the directions below when applying

Your application/cover letter should include:

  • Current name, address and contact details
  • A brief discussion on why you feel you would be the appropriate candidate for the position
  • Response to the key selection criteria should be included – discussing how you meet these

Your Resume should include:

  • Current name, address and contact details
  • Summary of your career showing how you have progressed to where you are today. Most recent employment should be first. For each job that you have been employed in state the Job Title, the Employer, dates of employment, your duties and responsibilities and a brief summary of your achievements in the role
  • Education, include TAFE or University studies completed and the dates. Give details of any subjects studies that you believe give you skills relevant to the position applied for
  • References, where possible, please include 2 employment-related references and one personal character reference. Employment references must not be from colleagues, but from supervisors or managers that had direct responsibility of your position.

Ensure that any referees on your resume are aware of this and permission should be granted.

How to apply:

Send your application, response to the key selection criteria and your resume to:

employment@vahs.org.au

All applications must be received by the due date unless the previous extension is granted.

When applying for vacant positions at VAHS, it is important to know the successful applicants are chosen on merit and suitability for the role.

VAHS is an Equal Opportunity Employer and are committed to ensuring that staff selection procedures are fair to all applicants regardless of their sex, race, marital status, sexual orientation, religious political affiliations, disability, or any other matter covered by the Equal Opportunity Act

You will be assessed based on a variety of criteria:

  • Your application, which includes your application letter which address the key selection criteria and your resume
  • Verification of education and qualifications
  • An interview (if you are shortlisted for an interview)
  • Discussions with your referees (if you are shortlisted for an interview)
  • You must have the right to live and work in Australia
  • Employment is conditional upon the receipt of:
    • A current Working with Children Check
    • A current National Police Check
    • Any licenses, certificates and insurances

6.2 Mallee District Aboriginal Services Mildura Swan Hill Etc 

MDAS Jobs website 

6.3 : Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-Operative 2 POSITIONS VACANT

.

http://www.rumbalara.org.au/vacancies

7.New South Wales

7.1 AHMRC Sydney and Rural 

Check website for current Opportunities

 

8. Tasmania

 

 

TAC JOBS AND TRAINING WEBSITE

9.Canberra ACT Winnunga ACCHO

 

Winnunga ACCHO Job opportunites 

10. Other : Stakeholders Indigenous Health 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Workforce #refreshtheCTGRefresh : @IAHA_National and @HealthInfoNet Launch at #IAHA_Forum18 the first film in a series titled ‘Leading in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health

“Sharing the films with our communities, stakeholders and our International guests will showcase the commitment our workforce has in addressing racism in the health and education sectors, valuing and respecting the critical role that allied health graduates and students can play

The purpose of the video project was to capture stories and vital information from allied health students and graduates on their successes, challenges and career development enablers.”

 IAHA CEO, Donna Murray pictured below at launch with HealthInfoNet Director, Professor Neil Drew

Last Friday Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA) and the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet (HealthInfoNet) released the first of a series of films (funded by BHP) showcasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health professionals.

The films are focused on promoting allied health workforce development including allied health careers, support available and needed for success with individuals sharing their experiences from a cultural and professional perspective who are contributing to an inter-professional leadership approach to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Watch HERE

The first film titled ‘Leading in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health’ was launched at the International Indigenous Allied Health Forum in Sydney – the first event of its kind hosted by IAHA.

The Forum is hosting many First Nations visitors, welcomed from North America, Canada, the Pacific, and New Zealand. The film demonstrates the importance of investing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the allied health workforce and how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graduates and students are leading in the sector

Ms Murray said “These stories will be key resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals and communities considering a health career and for employers looking to improve their cultural safety and responsiveness in ensuring high quality services and workforce development strategies, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples”.

“IAHA has had a long standing partnership with HealthInfoNet, who have been a significant leaders in sharing and supporting Indigenous Health research and policy and are vital partners in transforming systems” said Ms Murray.

HealthInfoNet Director, Professor Neil Drew, said “We were delighted to work with IAHA, to meet inspiring people who are shaping their journeys in different ways and different professions, but who will actually deliver the improvements in health that have been talked about for so long.  We’re proud to be delivering resources to support them and increase their impact in and for communities.

We’ve been developing a strong in-house film capability. The team co-created the films with IAHA and we are delighted the first in the series has been shared today, with an Australian and international audience”.

The rest of the series will be released throughout 2019 and will be available on the IAHA website https://iaha.com.au/ and the IAHA YouTube channel and the HealthInfoNet site https://healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/learn/health-facts/multimedia-knowledge-exchange-products/

NACCHO Promotion Watch NACCHO TV 

VIEW HERE 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #RefreshtheCTGRefresh #ClosingTheGap : @ABSStats Release : #Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life expectancy lowest in remote and very remote areas

“Today’s figures show that life expectancy estimates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians remain lower than for the non- Indigenous population.

The life expectancy at birth of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men in 2015-2017 was 8.6 years lower than for non-Indigenous men, while that of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women was 7.8 years lower than that of non-Indigenous women”

The life expectancy at birth for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in 2015-2017 was 71.6 years for men and 75.6 years for women, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

See ABS Website 

“However, life expectancy within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population varied considerably, with the lowest life expectancy experienced by those living in the more remote parts of the country” said Anthony Grubb, Director of Demography at the ABS.

“Life expectancy at birth for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote and very remote areas was 65.9 years for men and 69.6 years for women, while those living in major cities had the highest life expectancy (72.1 years and 76.5 years for men and women respectively).”

“Today’s figures show that life expectancy estimates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians remain lower than for the non- Indigenous population. The life expectancy at birth of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men in 2015-2017 was 8.6 years lower than for non-Indigenous men, while that of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women was 7.8 years lower than that of non-Indigenous women”.

These differences were more marked in remote and very remote areas, where the difference in life expectancy at birth for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population compared with the non-Indigenous population was 13.8 years for men and 14.0 years for women.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in the Northern Territory and Western Australia had the lowest life expectancy estimates.

Today’s release suggests the differences in life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians narrowed slightly over the five-year period since 2010-2012.

LIFE EXPECTANCY AT BIRTH, Remoteness Areas – 2015-2017(a)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Non-Indigenous
Difference between non-Indigenous and Aboriginal and 
Torres Strait Islander life expectancy at birth(b)

MALES


Major Cities
72.1
80.7
8.6
Inner and Outer Regional
70.0
79.1
9.1
Remote and Very Remote
65.9
79.7
13.8

FEMALES


Major Cities
76.5
83.7
7.2
Inner and Outer Regional
74.8
82.8
8.0
Remote and Very Remote
69.6
83.6
14.0

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MALES AND FEMALES


Major Cities
-4.4
-3.0
. .
Inner and Outer Regional
-4.8
-3.7
. .
Remote and Very Remote
-3.8
-3.9
. .

.. not applicable.
(a) Based on the average number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths registered in 2015-2017 adjusted for under/over identification of Indigenous Status in registrations, and final Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population estimates for 30 June 2016 based on the 2016 Census.
(b) Differences are based on unrounded estimates. 

LIFE EXPECTANCY AT BIRTH, States and Territory – 2015-2017(a)

LIFE EXPECTANCY AT BIRTH
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Non-Indigenous
Difference between non-Indigenous and Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander life expectancy at birth(b)
years
years
years

MALES


NSW
70.9
80.2
9.4
Qld
72.0
79.8
7.8
WA
66.9
80.3
13.4
NT
66.6
78.1
11.5
Aust.(c)
71.6
80.2
8.6

FEMALES


NSW
75.9
83.5
7.6
Qld
76.4
83.2
6.7
WA
71.8
83.8
12.0
NT
69.9
82.7
12.8
Aust.(c)
75.6
83.4
7.8

(a) Based on the average number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths registered in 2015-2017 adjusted for under/over identification of Indigenous Status in registrations, and final Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population estimates for 30 June 2016 based on the 2016 Census.
(b) Differences are based on unrounded estimates.
(c) These life expectancy estimates are calculated taking age-specific identification rates into account. 

Further details are available in Life Tables for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2015-2017 (cat. no. 3302.0.55.003).

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health @IndigenousPHAA #Prevention : Download @_PHAA_ Report : Saving lives a million at a time: Australia’s #top10publichealth successes over the last 20 years

As we edge closer to the federal election, it’s critical our parties consider what public health successes we must achieve next, and how they can lead on issues such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, obesity, nutrition, environmental and ecological issues such as climate change, and advancing health equity.”

PHAA CEO Terry Slevin

Today the Public Health Association Australia (PHAA) launched its new report, the Top 10 Public Health Successes Over the Last 20 Years at Australian Parliament House.

PHAA CEO Terry Slevin stated, “Public health initiatives have prevented an extraordinary amount of ill health and death in our communities – there is a saying in our field that nurses and doctors save lives, and public health professionals also save lives – they just do so a million at a time.”

The report has been compiled by Australia’s leading public health experts, and the top ten achievements are presented in no particular order as they are all considered to have been of equal importance to Australian public health.

The top ten public health successes include:

  • Folate: reduced neural tube defects
  • Immunisation and eliminating infectious disease
  • Containing the spread of HPV and its related cancers
  • Oral health: reduced dental decay
  • Reduced incidence of skin cancer
  • Tobacco control: reduced deaths caused by smoking
  • Reduced the road death and injury toll
  • Gun control: reduced gun deaths in Australia
  • Contained the spread of HIV
  • Prevented deaths from bowel and breast cancer

Download the PHAA report HERE 

PHAA Top 10 Public Health Successes_FINAL

“This report paints a clear picture of exactly which programs and initiatives have had the greatest impact – from cancer screening to vaccines, from road safety to tobacco control. These have all saved thousands of lives and protected the health of millions of Australians.”

“Public health is about preventing or minimising harm – it is always better than cure. We aim to intervene before illness, death or injury occurs, creating safe and healthy environments for all Australians. This is why in public health, we’re for birthdays,” Mr Slevin said.

“We aspire to give Australians more birthdays (five more for each person is our starting goal) and other important celebrations – weddings, births, graduations – all of the significant milestones we value in life. Perhaps most importantly, we want Australians to be healthy enough to really enjoy these extra years and milestones,” Mr Slevin said.

“So the next question we ask is, who will be the policy leaders and decision makers to help us achieve this aspiration? The report acknowledges key decision makers at the federal, state and territory government levels who were instrumental in making the top ten public health successes happen.”

“As we edge closer to the federal election, it’s critical our parties consider what public health successes we must achieve next, and how they can lead on issues such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, obesity, nutrition, environmental and ecological issues such as climate change, and advancing health equity.”

The UK has just released a new preventive health vision statement proving that western conservative governments can prioritise prevention. This is key not just because it is the most effective form of public health practice, but also the most economically sound.

“Preventive public health measures are often cheap to implement and more than pay for themselves through reduced health care costs and increased productivity through keeping people out of hospitals.”

“Public health investment in Australia currently amounts to less than 2% of the national health budget, and has been generally declining since at least 2001. It is essential we allocate adequate resources to public health programs and initiatives to build a healthier population, stem the tide of chronic disease that is enveloping the nation, and reduce future health expenditure,” Mr Slevin said.

“We owe it to ourselves and to our children to look back in twenty years’ time and say we did all we could.”

NACCHO Aboriginal #SexualHealth #UandMeCanStopHIV Check out #ACCHO Events this week @atsihaw and we cover Minister @KenWyattMP Launches new TV and Social Media campaign to tackle First Nations #HIV

 

” A new television, social media and community campaign has been launched during Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week, to increase understanding of HIV and reduce new cases among First Nations people.

Part of a $3.4 million project funded by the Federal Government, through the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), the campaign aims to capitalise on a reduction in new HIV diagnoses last year.”

To view or download the new campaign resources visit see link below 

Check out over NACCHO 40 Aboriginal Sexual Health Articles like this HERE 

 “ Each year in the first week of December, to coincide with World AIDS Day, we host Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week – “ATSIHAW”.

The inaugural ATSIHAW was held in November 2014 to get a conversation going in our community about HIV prevention and the importance of regular testing for HIV.

The theme of ATSIHAW is “U AND ME CAN STOP HIV”.

ATSIHAW has proven itself to be a popular event – engaging our communities, as well as HIV researchers, doctors, health workers and policy-makers. Each year ATSIHAW events that aim to promote awareness of HIV are run in local community based organisations. Engagement is continuing to grow with the number of events reaching over 60 during the week of ATSIHAW in 2016.

ATSIHAW 2018 will run from 27 November to 1 December 2018, with the official launch at Parliament House, Canberra, on 27 November 2018. Senator Dean Smith hosted the launch, in his capacity as Chair of the Parliamentary Liaison Group on HIV/AIDS, Blood Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmitted Diseases.” 

ATSIHAW community events and activities are held across Australia

See full list of events below or HERE 

The campaign has First Nations voices and people speaking directly to First Nations people – communicating with cultural understanding, to help ensure these lifesaving messages get through.

To view or download the new campaign resources visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCizXGcmiz9tKjrf6BvdMlOQ 

In 2017 there were 31 new HIV cases diagnosed in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – 30 per cent less than in 2016 – but HIV among First Australians remains too high.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are disproportionately affected by HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

At 4.6 cases per 100,000, the per capita rate of HIV infection last year was still 1.6 times the rate for the non-Indigenous Australian-born population.

Although the majority of HIV cases in First Australians are in men who have sex with men, compared to other Australians, First Nations people are six times as likely to contract HIV as a result of injecting drugs, and more likely to contract it from heterosexual sex.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are also more likely to have undiagnosed HIV.

This is particularly concerning as international evidence shows that people diagnosed with HIV who receive appropriate treatment can reduce HIV to levels so low that it is undetectable.

This reduces the risk of transmission significantly. This is known as ‘Treatment as Prevention’, and it is essential that it is better promoted and understood in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

VIEW HERE

As well as the SAHMRI education campaign, our Government is funding awareness raising about the use of HIV medicines to prevent HIV transmission – known as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP.

We have committed $1.2 million over five years for education and awareness activities about PrEP for both doctors and other prescribers, and affected communities, including First Australians.

Since April, PrEP had been available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, making it affordable for all. If taken daily, PrEP has been shown to be highly effective in protecting people from contracting HIV.

The Government will provide an estimated $180 million a year in subsidies for PrEP to reduce HIV, especially among First Australians, some migrant groups, and gay and bisexual men.

To continue the fight against HIV – among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and across the whole country – we will shortly be announcing new national Blood Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmissible Infections strategies.

To view or download the new campaign resources visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCizXGcmiz9tKjrf6BvdMlOQ 

ACT

NATSISN (National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Network)

HIV and community – Awareness event
26 Nov – 3 Dec
Department of Health foyer
51 Ellerston Ave
Isabella Plains ACT 2905

Contact: Kartika Medcraft kartika.medcraft@health.gov.au
Awareness of rise of HIV/ STI in indigenous community, local services and prevention campaigns


Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services

Community BBQ
3-Dec
Winnunga Aboriginal Health Service
63 Boolimba Cres
Narrabundah ACT 2604

HIV Awareness

Contact: Christine Saddler, christine.saddler@winnunga.org.au

New South Wales

Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council of New South Wales (AH&MRC)

Redfern AMS
28 Nov – 5 Dec at Redfern AMS
U and Me can stop HIV

Raising awareness, treatment and support options for clients and families

Contact: Sophie Scobie: sscobie@ahmrc.org.au


Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council of New South Wales (AH&MRC)

Rural Doctors Network

28 Nov – 5 Dec Rural Doctors Network – Conf. stall
U and Me can stop HIV
Raising awareness, treatment and support options for clients and families to GPs

Contact: Angela Draper adraper@ahmrc.org.au


Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council of New South Wales (AH&MRC) – Tharawal AMS

U and Me can stop HIV
28 Nov – 5 Dec Tharawal AMS

Raising awareness, treatment and support options for clients and families

Contact: Pauline Weldon-bowen pbowen@ahmrc.org.au


Albury Community Health

596 Smollett Street Albury NSW 2640

STIGMA Performance
8-Dec 7:20pm
Hothouse Theatre

Examining the prejudices, discrimination and stigma experiences by people living with HIV

Contact: Helen Best helen.best@awh.org.au


Bega Sexual Health Clinic (SERH, SNSWLH)

4 Virginia Drive Beg NSW 2550

You and Me can Stop HIV
29 and 30 November 10:00 – 2:00
SERH foyer and Bega AMS Katungul waiting room

Promote HIV prevention, testing and treatment
HIV prevention, safe sex promotion, promote HIV testing. Promote awareness of HIV treatment to prevent transmission and PeP and PrEP

Contact: Fiona Mckenna fiona.mckenna@health.nsw.gov.au


Griffith Community Health Centre Sexual Health

39 Yambil Street Griffith NSW 2680

World AIDS Day community Event
1-Dec 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Memorial Gardens Griffith

Remembrance and raising awareness of stigma of positive people. Community engagement and prevention, testing and treatment of HIV in the local region
Contact: Sally Davoren sally.davoren@health.nsw.gov.au


HARP Unit M & SNSW LHD

Level 3, 34 Lowe Street Queanbeyan NSW 2620

Displays and Information Stalls – U and Me can stop HIV, come have a yarn
10am – 2pm on 23 Nov – 30 Nov
Queanbeyan Hospital Foyer and Goulburn Community Health Centre.

Prevention, testing and treatment and information of HIV to local community members and health care workers. 
Discussions on our free and confidential services in the local area which offers, information, screening, treatment and support

Contact: Kevin Schamburg  kevin.schamburg@health.nsw.gov.au


Illawara Aboriginal Medical Service

2/30 Princess highway Dapto NSW 2530

U and Me can stop HIV BBQ
29-Nov at Illawarra Aboriginal Medical Service (Wollongong)

Raising awareness, treatment and support options for clients and families

Contact: Debbie Gaudie dgaudie@illawarraamd.com.au


MLHD Brookong Centre Sexual Health

79 Brookong Avenue Wagga Wagga NSW 2650

Distribution to local Aboriginal services during week
26 Nov – 31 Nov at local Aboriginal and youth based services
That as a community we can all do our part in ending HIV as well as show our support for people living with HIV

Contact: Janine Sutton janine.sutton@health.nsw.gov.au


Aboriginal Health Goulburn

Aunty Jeans Goulburn
6-Dec 10:00am – 2:00pm
Bourke Street Health Service

HIV prevention and awareness for the local Aboriginal community

Contact: Rick Shipp richard.shipp@health.nsw.gov.au


Orange Aboriginal Medical Service

27-31 Perc Griffith Way Orange NSW 2800

HIV awareness week
28 Nov – 5 Dec
Orange Aboriginal Medical Service

Get tested more treatment options

Contact: Michael Halls michaelh@oams.net.au


Riverina Aboriginal Medical & Dental Corp

14 Trail Street Wagga Wagga NSW 2650

Yandarra
11-Nov 8:30 – 4:00
Jack mission Oval, Ashmont

Caring for our community for 30 years

Contact: Latoya Terry latoya.terry@rivmed.org


SNSWLHD – Eurobodalla

2 River street Moruya NSW 2537

1 December from 9:00 – 1:00
Batemans Bay and Moruya WAD Roadshow

Promotion and availability of HIV testing and treatment services in Eurobodalla 

Contact: Will Hooke william.hooke@health.nsw.gov.au


South East Regional Hospital, Health NSW

4 Virginia Drive Bega NSW 2550

Awareness of HIV
1-Dec 9:00am
Foyer of hospital

Heighten awareness

Contact: Jo Donovan, joanne.donovan@health.nsw.gov.au


Yoorana Gunya Aboriginal Family Healing Centre

40-70 Church Street Forbes NSW 2871

Health Awareness Day
14-Nov Main Street, Forbes
Knowledge of what testing can be done for HIV? AIDS and treatment

Contact: Deanne Anderson dee@yooranagunya.com.au

Northern Territory

Marthakal Homelands Health Service

World AIDS Day
1-Dec at Mapurrui Health Clinic

We want to tell people about HIV – encourage testing & promote prevention

Contact: Peter Malavisi: health.manager@marthakal.org


Royal Darwin Hospital – SHBBVU

Royal Darwin Hospital, Tiwi NT

Raising Awareness among community and staff around reducing the risk of infection.
29th Nov from 10am – 12:00pm at the Royal Darwin Hospital

Contact: Letishia Parter: letihsia.parter@nt.gov.au


Royal Darwin Hospital – SHBBVU

Royal Darwin Hospital, Tiwi NT

ATSIHAW BBQ 

Raising Awareness
Friday 30th Nov 7am- 9am – Casuarina shopping centre (Woolworth’s side under the carpark)
The Darwin Sexual Health Blood Borne Virus Unit will have an ATSIHAW BBQ in the Casuarina shopping centre carpark with the Larrakia Nations HEAL program for the homeless from 7am-9am. 
Come along learn about HIV and grab some free ATSIHAW merchandise.

Contact: Letishia Parter: letihsia.parter@nt.gov.au


Central Australian Aboriginal Congress

32 Priest Street Alice Springs NT 870

Health Promotion event 
30-Nov 10:00am
Congress main clinic

Safe sex, preventative programs and health promotion including other services

Contact: Natalee Norsworthy: natalee.norsworthy@caac.org.au

Queensland

Gar’ban’djee’lum Network

Brown Sugar
30-Nov 7:00pm til late
Australian National Hotel, 867 Stanley St, Woolloongabba QLD 4102
Raise awareness of HIV/AIDS and positive sexual health. 
Condoman and Lubelicious will be handing out condom and lube packs

Contact: ddtat64@gmail.com


 Giradula

 

50 George Street Bowen QLD

Together as a community we can stop HIV
29-Nov at Collinsville Town Park
To encourage all of community to be aware of HIV and how as a community we can stop HIV

Contact: Leanne Prise: lprise@girudala.com.au


Giradula

50 George Street Bowen QLD

Together as a community we can stop HIV
27-Nov at Proserpine Town Park

To encourage all of community to be aware of HIV and how as a community we can stop HIV

Contact: Leanne Prise: lprise@girudala.com.au


Mamu Health Service 23 Glady Street Innisfail QLD

HIV awareness week 
7-Dec at Main Clinic, Innisfail

Keep you clean, palya, Keep you safe

Contact: Teayana Salter: tsalter@mamuhsl.org.au


Giradula, Bowen QLD

Together as a community we can stop HIV
28-Nov at Bowen Town Square

To encourage all of community to be aware of HIV and how as a community we can stop HIV

Contact: Leanne Prise: lprise@girudala.com.au


Mens and Womens Health Torres NPA

WAD Ball
1-Dec evening
Thursday Island Bowling Club

To inform and educate the indigenous and non-indigenous people living in the Torres Strait communities about the risks involved with unsafe sex, having more than one partner and the importance of regular screening and testing. We need to let the community know about the importance of knowledge and understanding in regard to sexual health, also the Men’s and Women’s health staff will be promoting HIV Awareness Week leading up to world AIDS day

Contact: Sandra or Richard: sandra.gregson@health.qld.au or Richard.Mola@health.qld.gov.au

South Australia

Aboriginal Health Council of SA

220 Franklin Street Adelaide SA 5000

HIV is Everybodys business!
You and me can stop HIV
Information Stall 28 Nov – 5 Dec all day
Reception area of Aboriginal Health Council of SA

Contact: Sarah Betts: sarah.betts@ahcsa.org


Ceduna Koonibba Aboriginal Health Service

1 Eyre Highway Ceduna SA 5690

CKAHSAC HIV awareness day
HIV day 22-Nov 10:30am – 1:00pm

Contact: Con Miller con.miller2@ckahsac.org.au


Drug and Alcohol Services SA

91 Magill Road Stepney SA 5069

ATSIHAW promotion through our clean needle exchange program 
26-Nov from 9:00am  at 91 Magill Road Stepney 
Promoting ATSIHAW to all clean needle program clients, making them aware of the importance of the week

Contact: Kendall Robertson kendall.robertson@sa.gov.au


Nunkuwarrin Yunti

182 – 190 Wakefield St Adelaide SA 5000

ATSIHIV awareness week 
31 Nov – 4 Dec 9:00am – 5:00pm at Nunkuwarrin Yunti Health Service 
You and Me can stop HIV

Contact: Jorge Carvajal jorgec@nunku.org.au


Pangula Mannamurna Aboriginal Corporation

191 Commercial St West Mt Gambier SA 5291

Community Awareness 28 Nov – 5 Dec 9am – 5pm 
Pangula Mannamurna reception area and clinic treatment room 
By getting information out to all community in the hope to raise awareness and start the conversation

Contact: Narelle Winterfield narelle@pangula.org.au


Pika Wiya

40-44 Dartmouth Street Pt Augusta SA 5700

Lets talk about HIV
28-Nov Pika Wiya Health Service – Well Womens House
A lot of education on HIV, risk what treatment, STI’s, give out pamphlets

Contact: Kerryn Dadleh kerryn.dadleh@pikawiya.org.au


SAMESH

57 Hyde street Adelaide SA 5000

ATSIHAW Red Ribbon Appeal
28-Nov 7:00am – 9:00am
Adelaide Railway Station and Tram stops 
Aboriginal people are effected by HIV percentage wise more than the rest of the population.

Contact: Daniel Jeffries daniel.jeffries@samesh.org.au


SIN

220 South Rd Mile End SA 5031

HIV awareness week at SIN 
28 Nov – 5 Dec daily 
HIV awareness, decreasing stigma

Contact: street@sin.org.au


Tullawon

303 Tullawon Square, Yalata Community Ceduna SA 5690

HIV awareness day 
10-Dec Yalata Clinic 
With HIV awareness we can prevent disease prevalence

Contact: Natasha Desai natashad@tullawon.org.au


Nungay Night 2018 – Get your Glitter on Gurl

Saturday 24th November 2018 at Chateau Apollo, 74 Frome Street, Adelaide

Black n Deadly Live Acts, food, drinks, laughs, DJ
Special guests, door prizes and silent auction
Due to Adult Themes, the event is 16+

Order your tickets here:  https://www.feast.org.au/events/nungay-night/

Victoria

Mallee District Aboriginal Services (MDAS)

9 Nolan Street Kerang VIC 3579

HIV Awareness and Support Services
U and Me can stop HIV BBQ Event 
30-Nov 11:30am at MDAS Kerang

Contact: Melanie Lane mlane@mdas.org.au


Mallee District Aboriginal Services (MDAS)

70 Nyah Road Swan Hill VIC 3585

HIV statistics and stigma, sexual health and support services
U and me, HIV community BBQ 
30-Nov 12:00pm at MDAS Community Hall

Contact: Djallarna Hamilton dhamilton@mdas.org.au


Victorian Aboriginal Health Service

186 Nicholson Street Fitzroy VIC 3065

HIV & AIDS Awareness day 
30-Nov 9:00 – 5:00 at VAHS Medical clinic 
Fitzroy HIV and awareness information

Contact: Jermaine Charles jermaine.charles@vahs.org.au


Thorne Harbour Health

Level 5, 615 St Kilda road Melbourne VIC

HIV awareness 
30-Nov 11:00 – 1:00 at Dandenong Aboriginal Health Service 
Be aware of the rising rates of HIV in the Aboriginal community and the new options for prevention, care and treatment

Contact: Peter Waples-Crow peter.wapless-crowe@thorneharbour.org

Western Australia

Aboriginal Health Council of WA
450 Beaufort Street Highgate WA

Be STI and BBV free
Encouraging health checks in your people, normalising STI and BBV testing with any presentation, showing the new animation for STI/BBV including what HIV and AIDS is
26/27/28 Nov 9:30 – 10:30 at  AHCWA offices for staff inviting DYHS and MC staff

Contact: Jen Needham jennifer.needham@ahcwa.org


Bega Gambirringu

16-18 Mcdonald Street Kalgoorlie WA 6430

HIV awareness week at Bega
Testing availability at Bega – confidentiality and culturally appropriate
3 – 7 Dec 8:30am – 4:30pm at the Aboriginal Health Service Courtyard at Bega

Contact: Alicia Sheridan alicia.sheridan@bega.org.au


Bega Gambirringu

16 – 18 McDonald Street Kalgoorlie WA 6430

HIV Awareness
10-Nov 8:30am at the Community Health Service HIV awareness within the indigenous community of the goldfields

Contact: Sonia Talamo robert.bell@bega.org.au


DAHS

1 Stanley Street Derby WA 6728

World AIDS Day 
7-Dec 8am – 12:30pm at DAHS waiting room 
World AIDS day messages/ yarning. We can walk hand in hand together

Contact: Theresa Kitaura traceyk@dahs.org.au


Derbal Yerrigan Health Service

156 Wittenoom Street East Perth WA 6004

No shame in getting a test 
19-Nov 12:00pm Derbarl Yerrigan Aboriginal Health Service 
No shame in getting a test

Contact: Jarrod Minnecon jarrod.minniecon@dyhs.org.au


Great southern Aboriginal Health Service

61 Serpentine Road Albany WA 6330

Family Fun Day 
28-Nov 11:00 – 2:00pm at the local Park 
To increase community awareness of HIV and other BBVS and STI’s and to promote safer sex and injecting practices and testing and treatment

Contact: Megan Robson megan.robson@health.wa.gov.au


Nullagine Clinic

Cooke Street Nullagine WA 6758

Random talks at the clinic when people present daily opening hours 
Informal meetings to be held at Nullagine Clinic Screen and stay safe. 
Protection

Contact: Mary Anne Hanson mary-anne.hanson@health.wa.gov.au


Ord Valley Aboriginal Health Service

1125 Ironwood Dr Kununurra WA 6743

Yarning HIV over Billy Tea 
27-Nov tbc at Ski Beach, bush location 
General education regarding HIV/ AIDS – so many young peoople have never hear of HIV much less understand it

Contact: Jane Anglis jane.a@ovahs.org.au


Pilbara Population Health

62 Balmoral Road Karratha WA 6714

School HIV awareness day in class with Girls Academy/ CLONTARF indigenous students at Karratha Senior High School 
The focus will be on de-stigmatising HIV and the testing process. 
How pilbara polulation health has free and easy testing available as well as free access to clean needles and condoms.

Contact: Chantelle Pears chantelle.pears@health.wa.gov.au


WACHS Public Health Karratha Health Campus 

63 Balmoral Road Karratha WA 6714

School Health Promotion 
26-Nov all day School, community HIV education including prevention and safe sex messages

Contact: Jan Marie Grantham jan-marie.grantham@health.wa.gov.au.

NACCHO @TonicHealth_AU Aboriginal Health TV and #refreshtheCTGRefresh : Aboriginal health messages need to be made with us rather than for us to #closethegap

 ” Health education needs to lift our spirit, give optimism, and focus on “we” not “you”.

We are communal people, and we want to know the data from our community, not focus on what individuals can do for their health. Such data are regularly reported in mainstream press and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports – but those for whom these data are most relevant miss out.

We want to know what we can do as a community, working together with health providers, to understand, be empowered and respond positively to important health knowledge. Giving us population-level data gives us a chance to be in charge of determining both problems and solutions.”

From the Conversation Nov 22 see community authors 

 “I agree. Excellent piece. It’s exactly what we aspire to and the technology allows specificity. “

Dr Norman Swan from Tonic media reviewing article : Tonic Health Media is the communications powerhouse built by ABC medical broadcaster Norman Swan and psychiatrist and health services entrepreneur Matthew Cullen.

“Over the next three years $3.4 million has been committed to develop the Aboriginal Health TV network, which will deliver health and wellbeing messages through Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.

Content will be developed by the Aboriginal Health TV Network in partnership with local Aboriginal health services, to ensure it is culturally appropriate and relevant. The Aboriginal Health TV Network will also use mobile solutions and social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to expand the platform’s reach and promote engagement.

Board members are respected members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health community, including Dr Mark Wenitong from Apunipima Cape York Health Council, Donna Ah Chee from the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, Adrian Carson from the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health, Professor Sandra Eades from the University of Melbourne and Associate Professor Dr Christopher Lawrence from the University of Technology Sydney ”

From NACCHO Communique July 23 

 

” This is a unique opportunity to connect with First Nations audiences at the point of care. The Aboriginal Health TV Network will be developed by reputable health communications company, Tonic Health Media, as a not-for-profit enterprise, with oversight from its Indigenous Advisory Board.”

Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt

Watch NITV News video HERE 

“We have had positive feedback that patients are more assertive when they see and talk about the programs, and a lot of discussion among patients themselves especially when they can relate to the programs,”

At Sydney’s inner-city Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service, where the system has been under trial for the past year, clinic co-ordinator Maree Tohi is convinced it drives change

Australian First Nations people waiting for appointments at Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations around the country will now see culturally relevant and locally produced content on the waiting room TVs.

Aboriginal Health TV, which launched in October, provides messages about leading health issues including smoking, eye and ear checks, skin conditions, nutrition, immunisation, sexual health, diabetes and drug and alcohol treatment services. It will also be repackaged for social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

The program is funded by a A$3.4 million government grant over three years, and will be delivered by Tonic Media, the communications company founded by ABC media journalist Norman Swan. It will be seen in 302 ACCHO clinics

 

Part 1 Aboriginal health messages need to be made with us rather than for us

 

In our small community in Arnhem Land, Yilpara, we have no TV reception. We welcome this opportunity to share our knowledge about how to make and deliver health messaging. But the practical reality is that this network will need to be accessible beyond the reach of TV reception.

The program’s aim – to help close the gap in Indigenous health literacy – is important, and knowledge is the critical first piece of the puzzle. We also need mechanisms in place to support healthy living.

Our small community of Yilpara in East Arnhem Land. Google maps

Local content, in language

The extent to which availability of day-to-day health knowledge is taken for granted in mainstream Australia, and is missing from remote settings, cannot be understated.

Health education is usually given by busy staff in English, which may be the wrong languagefor the patient. It’s often delivered without the basic principles of two-way learning: empathy and respect. So knowledge about health does not reach us.

The disempowering effect of lack of knowledge, and the downstream impacts on health behaviours and outcomes, underpins the disadvantage of First Nations people.

To succeed, the Aboriginal Health TV programming needs to be delivered in our languages. In our community, as in many other remote communities, our traditional Aboriginal languages are still strong – we speak our language every day, in everything we do.

Culturally responsive approaches also must be used when bringing information about issues like smoking, eye and ear checks, immunisation, nutrition and drug and alcohol treatment services.

We have our own ways of understanding illness and health. Only by using our own words, metaphors that are meaningful to us, and a communication style that is respectful, can we hear the messaging from health professionals. This means the health messages need to be made with us rather than for us.

Tailored messaging using local footage offers the best chance of engaging viewers. We need to help make the stories if our communities are to trust and understand the information.

Respecting First Nations people

We still also need to go a step deeper than just using simple terms and our languages.

When Aboriginal radio first started in our community, it was all negative health messages that made us feel bad. We wondered what it was there for: why would the people making the programs want the listeners to feel bad? This bad feeling is more than just emotional; it affects us physically and makes us lose confidence.

Health education needs to lift our spirit, give optimism, and focus on “we” not “you”.

We are communal people, and we want to know the data from our community, not focus on what individuals can do for their health. Such data are regularly reported in mainstream press and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports – but those for whom these data are most relevant miss out.

We want to know what we can do as a community, working together with health providers, to understand, be empowered and respond positively to important health knowledge. Giving us population-level data gives us a chance to be in charge of determining both problems and solutions.

Beyond TV and Aboriginal health centres

Television is an effective medium for conveying public health knowledge, including to Indigenous populations and children.

In New Zealand, a series of culturally-appropriate television commercials providing public health education about rheumatic fever (a bacterial infection which often leads to rheumatic heart disease) are screened, targeting the most at-risk Māori and Pasifika populations. The health messaging is effective, with research finding the commercials to be the primary source of knowledge about rheumatic fever among at-risk children.

But in remote Aboriginal communities, where some of the greatest disparities in health outcomes such as rheumatic heart disease (a chronic disease where there is damage to the heart valves) are experienced, knowledge is craved but hard to come by.

In our home community we have one radio station, but no TV, no internet in our homes, no newspapers. We want to be able to access the new Aboriginal Health TV – but we will need the information in the right way.


Read more: Why are Aboriginal children still dying from rheumatic heart disease?


Social media is likely to be an effective strategy for Aboriginal Health TV programming.

Social media, such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, has great potential for targeted health messaging; Indigenous Australians have a strong presence on social media in areas where internet is accessible. Lessons from using social media to convey stop smoking messagingwill be informative for the Aboriginal Health TV network.

But it’s important that messaging on social media also be positive and lift our confidence.

Another factor affecting the reach of Aboriginal Health TV network is type of clinic that broadcasts its content. If the network only reaches community-controlled health care services, as was originally proposed, half the Aboriginal population will miss out because they are serviced by government clinics.

Aboriginal Health TV programming should be rolled out in all Aboriginal health centres, whether government- or community-controlled.

Better food and housing

Knowledge is only one cog in the behaviour change wheel. The wheel won’t turn without other core elements to support healthy living. If opportunities are limited to eat well, exercise, or avoid the transmission of infections, no amount of knowledge or motivation will work.

Effective messaging that leads to local motivation to advocate for improved resources must then be supported by external agencies: better food in the shops; enough houses for the number of people; and improved access to building maintenance to combat the ill health effects of crowding.


Read more: Indigenous voices are speaking loudly on social media but racism endures


When researchers from Menzies School of Health Research starting working with us on rheumatic heart disease, we explained that the children needed better nutrition. We started a lunch club to provide healthy lunches to our school children, supported by the local employment program and our health service. Now we’re working with the local store owner to improve food supplies.

Health behaviour change is a long-term strategy

For knowledge to pass into culture, become embedded as a culturally owned phenomenon and passed on to others, it takes years, if not generations. In the western world, it took around a century from the discovery of germs as the cause of disease until communicable disease rates reached their modern-day lows.

Rheumatic fever, caused by human-to-human transmission of streptococcal infection, remained a leading cause of child hospitalisation for all families in Australia into the 1940s. It is now rare in mainstream Australia, while First Nations communities have world-leading rates of rheumatic fever in 2018.

We need culturally-appropriate knowledge in language of how to stop rheumatic fever – and the programming of Aboriginal health TV could help deliver this information to First Nations people.

The Aboriginal Health TV network also presents opportunities for:

  • community members to share testimonials
  • public health officials to provide alerts about outbreaks
  • health care providers to give education about prevention and management of common conditions
  • researchers to share outcomes of studies; especially local research which community members themselves many have participated in.

We want the Aboriginal Health TV network to be a way for knowledge to reach us in a way that builds our confidence. We look forward to working out solutions together. We want our children to understand how to stay strong.