NACCHO Aboriginal Health #HaveYourSayCTG #ClosingTheGap New @OxfamAustralia report shows #self-determined First Peoples like our ACCHO’s are In Good Hands : Download HERE

“ Not only will this give First Peoples a sense of empowerment, control and indeed sovereignty, as the case studies in this report show, this approach will also help to address the systemic disadvantage that is a consequence of Australian history.

Sadly, Australia’s current approach lags well behind similar countries in closing the health and well-being gaps endured by First Peoples around the world.

Oxfam Australia is calling on State and Federal governments to empower and fund local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations to allow them to build on traditional knowledge and culture when delivering services,” 

National Manager for Oxfam’s First Peoples’ Program, Ngarra Murray, said preferencing Aboriginal organisations was essential in working towards a future underpinned by the principles of self-determination, community-control and effective service delivery to the First Peoples of Australia.

Download the Report HERE 

2019-AP-001-IN_GOOD_HANDS_FINAL_FA_WEB

“We walk and work in two worlds . We have a far better grasp of the issues faced by these communities. We shouldn’t be overlooked because we are an Aboriginal medical service.”

Acting Chief Executive Jo Grant says in the report that Katungul ACCHO staff had a much deeper understanding of the issues facing the Aboriginal people of the region

Government policies that empower local Aboriginal communities and build on traditional knowledge and culture to deliver services generally produce better results and should become the policy norm in Australia, according to a landmark report released today by Oxfam Australia.

The report, In Good Hands, shows how programs that embrace the principle of self-determination have been rolled out extensively in the United States and other countries with similar historical settings, with better outcomes for Indigenous people than those achieved in Australia.

However, the report also demonstrates that successive Australian governments have instead taken a top- down approach and ignored advice from their own experts on how to effectively tackle the systemic disadvantage and poverty that afflicts too many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

The Oxfam report captures numerous case studies that demonstrate why community-based services are best placed to respond to the complex needs of First Peoples.

The unique network of more than 145 Aboriginal medical services is a prime example of how trusted organisations that are grounded in community and culture deliver results that improve health outcomes – and at the same time can reduce the demand on the hospital system.

The report cites new data showing an impressive 30 per cent reduction in preventable hospitalisations in the region where Katungul Aboriginal Medical Service operates on New South Wales’ south coast in the six years to 2016-17, compared with a rise of 20 per cent for the entire NSW population.

In Western Australia, the Ngalla Maya employment service has placed more than 300 ex-prisoners into jobs by taking an approach that is grounded in traditional culture.

Former prisoner and now Chief Executive Mervyn Eades explained: “The cultural stuff, mentoring, that is the heart of our project.

We talk a lot about culture. A lot of the young ones don’t have identity in heritage and the self-worth in being part of the oldest culture in the world; they haven’t been taught and told, the stories haven’t been handed down to empower them.”

The report highlights that despite these results, many Aboriginal organisations are forced to navigate a never- ending treadmill of grant applications and changing funding streams to keep their lights on and staff paid.

“Oxfam Australia is calling on State and Federal governments to empower and fund local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations to allow them to build on traditional knowledge and culture when delivering services,” Ms Murray said.

Have your say about what is needed to make real change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mob #HaveYourSay about #closingthegapCTG

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people know what works best for us.

We need to make sure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth voices are reflected and expertise is recognised in every way at every step on efforts to close the gap in life outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.’

‘The Coalition of Peaks is leading the face to face discussions, not governments.

The Peaks are asking Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth to tell us what should be included in a new Closing the Gap agreement and we will take this to the negotiating table.’

There is a discussion booklet that has background information on Closing the Gap and sets out what will be talked about in the survey.

The survey will take a little bit of time to complete. It would be great if you can answer all the questions, but you can also just focus on the issues that you care about most.

To help you prepare your answers, you can look at a full copy here

The survey is open to everyone and can be accessed here:

https://www.naccho.org.au/programmes/coalition-of-peaks/have-your-say/

NACCHO #WorldMentalHealthDay Part 2 of 2 : @TheAHCWA Leaders in Aboriginal health and legal services express great concern over inadequate access to mental health support services and the unacceptable #suicide and self-harm rates within Aboriginal communities.

 

AHCWA has major concerns with the lack of culturally secure mental health support services for Aboriginal people and communities, experiencing crisis and trauma on a daily basis”

Chair of the Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA), Vicki O’Donnell expresses great concern over inadequate access to mental health support services across WA, and the unacceptable suicide and self-harm rates within Aboriginal communities. See Press release Part 1 below

“It’s the highest rate of suicide in the State this calendar year,”

Speaking at a press conference in Geraldton last week , Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service board chair and former NACCHO Deputy Chair Sandy Davies said the two suicides were among seven deaths this year, which included children as young as 12. Watch Press Conference Part 2 Below

Picture Above : National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project co-ordinator Gerry Georgatos, director Megan Krakouer, National Justice Project principal solicitor George Newhouse, Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service board chair Sandy Davies and Aboriginal Legal Service of WA chief executive Dennis Eggington at ;last weeks press conference in Geraldton. Credit: Tamra Carr, The Geraldton Guardian

Read over 230 Aboriginal Mental Health articles published by NACCHO over past 7 years 

Read over 150 Aboriginal Health and Suicide articles published by NACCHO over past 7 years

Part 1

AHCWA is the peak body for its 23 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services across WA.

This crisis has tragically been highlighted again, with the recent suicides in the Midwest and Gascoyne regions, and the fatal shooting of an Aboriginal Mother in Geraldton who had a history of mental health, alcohol and other drug issues.

Aboriginal people continue to experience systemic racism within the Mental Health and Justice systems, resulting in poor health and wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal people, their families and communities across WA.

AHCWA provides full support to the Aboriginal Elders and Leaders who gathered in Geraldton to discuss the suicide crisis in the community and are calling for urgent reform of the Mental Health system.

AHCWA calls upon the Government to undertake the following as a matter of urgency:

  • Significant reform of the Mental Health Sector through direct engagement with Aboriginal communities and organisations.
  • Commitment of significant funding for Suicide Prevention for Aboriginal people across WA.
  • Significant investment for the delivery of culturally secure Social and Emotional Well Being services for Aboriginal people and their communities across WA.
  • Greatly improve the awareness and understanding of suicidal behaviour, mental health, alcohol and drug issues through appropriate training of Police and others who work within the justice system.
  • Review of existing sentencing laws to prevent the further breakdown of families and communities.
  • Review of the policies and procedures around the use of lethal force by Police Officers.

Part 2 Leaders in Aboriginal health and legal services have warned of a suicide crisis which they say has included two Indigenous deaths in the Mid West and Gascoyne in the past six days.

Speaking at a press conference in Geraldton  Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service board chair Sandy Davies said the two suicides were among seven deaths this year, which included children as young as 12.

“It’s the highest rate of suicide in the State this calendar year,” he said.

Calls for the State Government to make mental health reforms were top of the agenda at the conference, which comes after the death last month of Aboriginal woman Joyce Clarke.

Ms Clarke was shot in the stomach by a police officer just days after she left hospital due to a mental health incident.

Her death is under investigation, with Police Commissioner Chris Dawson promising independent oversight from the Corruption and Crime Commission and the State Coroner.

According to Ms Clarke’s family, she had a history of drug use and spent a large part of her life in prison.

National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project director Megan Krakouer said the number of Aboriginals going without access to support services was “beyond a joke”.

“People who don’t know what they’re doing in mental health programs just need to get out of the way,” she said.

“I don’t know what good all these representative bodies are doing if it’s not translating to the ground.”

The conference also called on the Government to ensure police no longer respond to mental health incidents, leaving qualified professionals to do so instead.

Speakers insisted on the repeal of mandatory sentencing laws so an offender’s individual circumstances could be taken into account.

It was also said police should never use a gun on someone who did not have a gun, and that a lifelong approach to State-delivered care needed to be adopted, from birth to old age.

Other speakers included GRAMS chief executive Deb Woods, National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project co-ordinator Gerry Georgatos, Aboriginal Legal Service of WA chief executive Dennis Eggington and National Justice Project principal solicitor George Newhouse.

At the time of Ms Clarke’s death, WA Police offered their condolences to her family and have promised a thorough investigation.

Police Commissioner Chris Dawson, who has described the incident as tragic, said eight police officers were present in Petchell Street at the time and witnesses had seen Ms Clarke with a knife before the shooting.

Ms Clarke’s death has fast-tracked the roll-out of body cameras for Mid West and Gascoyne police, who were not scheduled to receive them until 2021.

Aboriginal Health Conferences and Events #Saveadate : This week #WorldMentalHealthWeek #WorldSightDayAU @NATSIHWA #2019Footprints REGISTRATIONS open for our #NACCHOAgm19 #NACCHOYouth19 November 4 to 7 Plus #ClosingTheGap #HaveYourSayCTG #FacetoFace October dates

This week 

7-14 October World Mental Health Week

10 October World Mental Health Day  

10 October World Sight Day 

9-10 October 2019 NATSIHWA 10 Year Anniversary Conference

This Month

16 October Melbourne Uni: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Wellbeing Conference

25 October Coalition of Peaks Have Your Say Survey Closes

Next month

4 November NACCHO Youth Conference -Darwin NT

5 – 7 November NACCHO Conference and AGM  -Darwin NT

5-8 November The Lime Network Conference New Zealand

7 -11 October World Mental Health Week

October 10 — is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy. An initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health to raise public awareness of mental health issues worldwide.

Mental Health Australia is delighted to be leading the World Mental Health Day campaign in Australia.

As the peak not-for-profit organisation representing the mental health sector in Australia, Mental Health Australia has a focus on ensuring the whole community recognises the part we all play in creating a mentally healthy society.

Do You See What I See? challenges perceptions about mental illness in Australia and encourages everyone to look at mental health in a more positive light, in an effort to reduce stigma and make way for more people to seek the help and support they deserve. Help reduce stigma and make a #MentalHealthPromise today.

See 1010 Website 

NACCHO Press release will be released Thursday 10 October

10 October World Sight Day

The annual day of awareness to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment, held on the second Thursday in October each year.

This year the theme for World Sight Day is Vision First! Vision 2020 Australia will be using social media and the #WorldSightDayAU hashtag to share information about eye health and vision care and highlight the important work of the sector and our members.

To help your organisation support World Sight Day, we have created a range of images for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts, as well as key messages, which are available online at http://worldsightday.org.au/downloads/

We will also be monitoring our members’ social media pages to help promote any campaigns or events you’re running on the day.

We appreciate your support in celebrating World Sight Day 2019!

The Team at Vision2020

9-10 October 2019 NATSIHWA 10 Year Anniversary Conference

2019 Marks 10 years since the formation of NATSIHWA and registrations are now open!!!

From 9 – 10 October 2019 NATSIHWA 10 Year Anniversary Conference will be celebrated at the Convention Centre in Alice Springs

Celebrate NATSIHWA’s 10 year Anniversary National Conference ‘A Decade of Footprints, Driving Recognition’ which is being held in Alice Springs.

We aim to offer an insight into the Past, Present and Future of NATSIHWA and the overall importance of strengthening the primary health care sector’s unique workforce of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners throughout Australia.

During the 9-10 October 2019 delegates will be exposed to networking opportunities whilst immersing themselves with a combination of traditional and practical conference style delivery.

Our intention is to engage Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners in the history and knowledge exchange of the past, todays evidence based best practice programs/services available and envisioning what the future has to offer for all Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners.

Download full Conference Program 

15-17 October IUIH System of Care Conference

15 October IUIH 10 year anniversary

Building on the success of last year’s inaugural conference, the 2019 System of Care Conference will be focusing on further exploring and sharing the systems and processes that deliver this life changing way of looking at life-long health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

This year IUIH delivers 10 years of experience in improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with proven methods for closing the gap and impacting on the social determinants of health.

The IUIH System of Care is evidence-based and nationally recognised for delivering outcomes, and the conference will share the research behind the development and implementation of this system, with presentations by speakers across a range of specialisations including clinic set up, clinical governance, systems integration, wrap around services such as allied and social health, workforce development and research evidence.

If you are working in:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled health services
  • Primary Health Networks
  • Health and Hospital Boards and Management
  • Government Departments
  • The University Sector
  • The NGO Sector

Watch this video for an insight into the IUIH System of Care Conference.

Download brochure HERE IUIH System of Care Conference 2019 WEB

This year, the IUIH System of Care Conference will be offering a number of half-day workshops on Thursday 17 October 2019, available to conference attendees only. The cost for these workshops is $150 per person, per workshop and your attendance to these can be selected during your single or group registration.

IUIH are also hosting a 10 years of service celebration dinner on Tuesday 15 October – from 6.30-10pm. Tickets for this are $150 per person and are not included in the cost of registration.

All conference information is available here https://www.ivvy.com.au/event/IUIH19/

15 October IUIH 10 year anniversary

16 October Melbourne Uni: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Wellbeing Conference

The University of Melbourne, Department of Rural Health are pleased to advise that abstract
submissions are now being invited that address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and
wellbeing.

The Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Conference is an opportunity for sharing information and connecting people that are committed to reforming the practice and research of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander health and celebrates Aboriginal knowledge systems and strength-based approaches to improving the health outcomes of Aboriginal communities.

This is an opportunity to present evidence-based approaches, Aboriginal methods and models of
practice, Aboriginal perspectives and contribution to health or community led solutions, underpinned by cultural theories to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.
In 2018 the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Conference attracted over 180 delegates from across the community and state.

We welcome submissions from collaborators whose expertise and interests are embedded in Aboriginal health and wellbeing, and particularly presented or co-presented by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and community members.

If you are interested in presenting, please complete the speaker registration link

closing date for abstract submission is Friday 3 rd May 2019.
As per speaker registration link request please email your professional photo for our program or any conference enquiries to E. aboriginal-health@unimelb.edu.au.

Kind regards
Leah Lindrea-Morrison
Aboriginal Partnerships and Community Engagement Officer
Department of Rural Health, University of Melbourne T. 03 5823 4554 E. leah.lindrea@unimelb.edu.au

25 October Survey Closes  : Have your say about what is needed to make real change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people #HaveYourSay about #closingthegap

There is a discussion booklet that has background information on Closing the Gap and sets out what will be talked about in the survey.

The survey will take a little bit of time to complete. It would be great if you can answer all the questions, but you can also just focus on the issues that you care about most.

To help you prepare your answers, you can look at a full copy here

The survey is open to everyone and can be accessed here:

https://www.naccho.org.au/programmes/coalition-of-peaks/have-your-say/

The Coalition of Peaks are leading face to face meetings with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities and organisations on Closing the Gap during the month of October.

The meetings provide an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in each state and territory to tell the Coalition of Peaks and governments what changes are needed to improve their lives

October Engagement Meetings:

 

South Australia2 October – Adelaide

15 October – Ceduna

18 October – Port Augusta

23 October – Mount Gambier

 

Tasmania

11 October – Launceston

 

Western Australia

14 October – Broome

17 October – Geraldton

21 October – Kalgoorlie

23 October – Port Headland

28 October – Perth

30 October – Narrogin

 

Australian Capital Territory

17 October – Canberra

28 October – Canberra

 

Victoria15 October – Melbourne

16 October – Bendigo

17 October – Morwell

 

New South Wales

21 October – Sydney

 

Northern Territory

4 October – Katherine

11 October – Yirrkala

30 October – Darwin

 

National

23 and 24 October – Canberra

 

VIC Update

There will be three meetings held across Victoria, details are below.

Website RSVP 

City Date Venue Time
Bendigo Monday 14 October Comfort Inn Julie Anna, 268/276 Napier Street 12PM – 4PM
Melbourne Tuesday 15 October Mantra Bell City, 215 Bell Street, Preston 12PM – 4PM
Morwell Thursday 17 October Gathering Place, 99 Buckley Street 12PM – 4PM

NSW Update 

The NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Organisations (CAPO) of which NSW Aboriginal Land Council is a member, are leading the Closing the Gap engagements across the state.

28 consultations will be taking place during the month of October and early November. The consultations are an opportunity for communities to have their say on Closing the Gap.

The 2019 Closing the Gap consultation will see a new way of doing business, with a focus on community consultations. NSW is embarking on the largest number of membership consultations, more than any other state or territory, with an emphasis on hearing your views about what is needed to make the lives of Aboriginal people better.

Your voices will formulate the NSW submission to the new National Agreement. By talking to Aboriginal people, communities and organisations, CAPO can form a consensus on priority areas from NSW when finalising the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap with governments.

The discussion booklet: ‘A new way of doing business’ provides background information on Closing the Gap and sets out what will be discussed at the consultations.

The consultations are being supported by the NSW Government.

Come along and join in the conversation. The dates and locations are:

Route 1
Albury Monday 14th Oct
Deniliquin Tuesday 15th Oct
Balranald Wednesday 16th Oct
Griffith Thursday 17th Oct

Route 2
Wagga Wagga Tuesday 15th Oct
Young Wednesday 16th Oct
Queanbeyan Thursday 17th Oct
Batemans Bay Friday 18th Oct

Route 3
Dubbo Tuesday 22nd Oct
Condobolin Wednesday 23rd Oct
Cobar Thursday 24th Oct
Bourke Friday 25th Oct

Route 4
Newcastle Tuesday 22nd Oct
Central Coast Wednesday 23rd Oct
Muswellbrook Thursday 24th Oct
Tamworth Friday 25th Oct

Route 5
Broken Hill Tuesday 29th Oct
Wilcannia Wednesday 30th Oct
Menindee Thursday 31st Oct
Dareton Friday 1st Nov

Route 6
Lismore Monday 28th Oct
Coffs Harbour Tuesday 29th Oct
Kempsey Wednesday 30th Oct

Route 7
Redfern Monday 4th Nov
Mount Druitt Tuesday 5th Nov
Bathurst Thursday 7th Nov

Route 8
Moree Tuesday 5th Nov
Walgett Wednesday 6th Nov

To register your attendance at Routes 1 and 2, please do so via Eventbrite:

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/o/nsw-coalition-of-aboriginal-peak-organisations-16575398239.

Routes 3 to 8 will follow shortly.

Consultations will run from 11am – 3pm with lunch provided.

If you are unable to make the consultations, you can still have your say through an online survey. The survey closes on 25 October, 5pm.

For more information on the Closing the Gap consultations: https://www.aecg.nsw.edu.au/close-the-gap/

 

Each jurisdiction has structured the events differently, some opting for fewer large events and some opting for a larger number of smaller events.

For more information on The Coalition of Peaks, The Joint Council, The Partnership Agreement and to sign up for our mailing list, go to: https://www.naccho.org.au/ programmes/coalition-of-peaks/

4 November NACCHO Youth Conference -Darwin NT

Monday 4th November 2019 NACCHO Youth Conference *Youth Registration is Free of Charge

The central focus of the NACCHO Youth Conference Healthy youth, healthy future is on building resilience.

For thousands of years our Ancestors have shown great resolve thriving on this vast continent. Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who make up 54% of our population, now look to the example set by generations past and present to navigate ever-changing and complex social and health issues.

Healthy youth, healthy future provides us with opportunities to explore and discuss issues of importance to us, our families and communities, and to take further steps toward becoming tomorrow’s leaders. We hope to see you there!

Registrations are now open for the 2019 NACCHO Youth Conference, which will be held November 4th in Darwin at the Darwin Convention Centre.

Register More Info HERE 

5 – 7 November NACCHO Conference and AGM  -Darwin NT

 

Tuesday 5th & Wednesday 6th November 2019

7th November 2019 NACCHO AGM

This year, NACCHO’s Members’ Conference focuses on the theme –

Because of them we must: improving health outcomes for our people aged 0-29 years.

We have chosen this focus because we know that investing in the health and wellbeing of our babies, children and young people can help prevent ill health, disease and disability. Strong investment in this age group will help them to thrive, help them build strong and healthy families and communities, and help to positively influence their future health outcomes and life expectancy measures.

Because of them we must provides an opportunity to place our future generations at the forefront of our discussions, to hear about the innovative work that is happening in our community controlled and other sectors, to exchange ideas and share our knowledge.

Registrations to this year’s Youth Conference and the NACCHO National Conference will close on Sunday 20th October 2019.  Late registrations will not be accepted.

We hope you can join us!

Register HERE

If you have any questions or would like further information contact Ros Daley and Jen Toohey on 02 6246 9309 or via email conference@naccho.org.au

Conference Co-Coordinators Ros Daley and Jen Toohey 02 6246 9309

7 November

On Thursday 7 November, following the NACCHO National Members Conference, we will hold the 2019 AGM. In addition to the general business, there will be an election for the NACCHO Chair and a vote on a special resolution to adopt a new constitution for NACCHO.

Once again, I thank all those members who sent delegates to the recent national members’ workshop on a new constitution at Sydney in July. It was a great success thanks to your involvement and feedback.

5-8 November The Lime Network Conference New Zealand 

This years  whakatauki (theme for the conference) was developed by the Scientific Committee, along with Māori elder, Te Marino Lenihan & Tania Huria from .

To read about the conference & theme, check out the  website. 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #UluruStatement #FirstNationsVoice #Treaty #ClosingTheGap : Read full Speech @LindaBurneyMP HC Nugget Coombs Memorial lecture Darwin NT

Tonight it is my intention to speak about four things.

The first being a very consistent theme of mine but also one of the fundamental tenets of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and that is the importance, the art of truth-telling.

I want to secondly focus on some of the policy challenges in my Shadow Portfolio of Indigenous Australians and Families and Social Services.

Thirdly, I want to focus on what I believe to be the defining discussions for the 46th Parliament, and the enshrinement of a First Nations Voice to the Parliament.

And finally, of course, to reflect on the story, values and legacy of Herbert Cole Nugget Coombs and the lessons he leaves us for the way forward for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians alike.

However, before that, it is important from an Aboriginal worldview for you to be able to place me, and know a little of my story. In doing so I share a little of the Wiradjuri story.

The Hon Linda Burney MP, Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians Speaking in Darwin  3 rd October HC Nugget Coombs Memorial lecture 

Picture above : As a proud member of the Wiradjuri nation, Ms Burney was the first Aboriginal person to be elected to the NSW Parliament and the first Aboriginal woman to serve in the Australian House of Representatives.

Linda’s commitment to Indigenous issues spans more than 30 years.

During her state political career she served as minister in a number of senior portfolios including as minister for Community Services and later as Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

The HC Nugget Coombs Memorial Lecture is presented by The Australian National University and Charles Darwin University, and named in honour of Dr Herbert Cole (H. C., better known as “Nugget”) Coombs 1906-1997.

Nugget Coombs was an Australian economist and public servant probably best known for his role as Governor of the Reserve Bank from 1960, and who, in his post-retirement years, made a significant contribution to enhancing the rights of Australia’s Indigenous peoples, especially to land. Coombs was Chancellor of The Australian National University (ANU) from 1968-1976.

Read full Speech HERE

Ballumb ambol Larrakia yindamarra Ngudu-yirra bang marrang.

We gather this evening on the lands of the Larrakia Nation.

In acknowledging the Larrakia let us honour and remind ourselves of your care and custodianship of country.

I do this in my language – that of the Wiradjuri Nation of South West New South Wales.

Larrikia – a country that extends from Cox Peninsula in the west, to Gunn Point in the north, Adelaide River in the east and down to the Manton Dam area in the south.

Like all First Nations the Larrakia’s story is as ancient as it is modern.

Larrikia continue to practice and preserve stories and culture; and continue to care for the land and water around us. Thank you.

I recognise this evening, Richard Fejo, Chair of the Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation.

And I thank you, Bilawara Lee, for your welcome, and for having us on your country.

Welcome to country is a very old and an important ritual: Practiced for thousands of years by First Nations people when they go to other people’s countries, seeking permission, showing respect.

When we acknowledge country, remind ourselves of the three handfuls: The handful of truth; the handful of social justice for First Nations people; and the handful of equality and justice for all.

I am grateful to you all for attending the Nugget Coombs Memorial Lecture this evening. This lecture is presented in a partnership between the Australian National University and Charles Darwin University. I am acutely aware that this lecture is a major public event.

I would like to recognise and thank Professor Brian Schmidt AC, the vice Chancellor of ANU for your invitation to present tonight. I am truly touched.

Can I also recognise Professor Simon Maddocks, the Vice Chancellor of Charles Darwin University.

I wish to acknowledge Council members and staff from both universities.

Some of you I know personally.

A very, very, special recognition of Professor the Hon. Gareth Evens AC QC. Gareth, I know this is one of your final official events as Chancellor and you will receive many accolades. Let me add to them.

Tonight it is my intention to speak about four things.

The first being a very consistent theme of mine but also one of the fundamental tenets of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and that is the importance, the art of truth-telling.

I want to secondly focus on some of the policy challenges in my Shadow Portfolio of Indigenous Australians and Families and Social Services.

Thirdly, I want to focus on what I believe to be the defining discussions for the 46th Parliament, and the enshrinement of a First Nations Voice to the Parliament.

And finally, of course, to reflect on the story, values and legacy of Herbert Cole Nugget Coombs and the lessons he leaves us for the way forward for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians alike.

However, before that, it is important from an Aboriginal worldview for you to be able to place me, and know a little of my story. In doing so I share a little of the Wiradjuri story.

Wiradjuri territory is shaped like a fan. It sweeps across the catchments of the Lachlan, Macquarie and the Murrumbidgee Rivers. In the language of the Wiradjuri these three rivers are called Galari, Wambuul and Marrambidya. I am of the Marrambidya Wiradjuri.

The Wiradjuri were the first inland nation to experience the brutality of British colonisation and invasion.

The resistance of the mighty Wiradjuri leader Windradyne and his warriors was so strong that martial law was declared in Bathurst in 1823 – two thirds of the Wiradjuri around Bathurst were murdered – around 1,000 people or so – during the four months of martial law. To compound the damage even further, gold was discovered at Bathurst in 1851.

Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu describes the way of life for the Wiradjuri prior to settlers.

He says that it was possible for one to have driven a horse-led sulky though the land because of the way that the Wiradjuri had tended the land.

The wide-spread introduction of hooved animals post-settlement destroyed the top soil and destroyed the fertility of the land.

The shocking practice of poisoning flour and waterholes was first practiced on my people.

Some of the place names in my country tell the story.

Poison Waterhole Creek – near Narrandera.

Murdering Island between Griffith and Darlington Point.

The essence of Aboriginality is connection to country and where you stand in it. It also reminds us of the injustices perpetrated on the First Peoples in the so-called building of our nation. It is the telling of truth.

Nugget Coombs in my mind was one of Australia’s greatest public servants and a truth teller. I do not say this lightly. He served no less than eight Prime Ministers in one way or another: Curtin, Chifley, Menzies, Holt, Gorton, McMahon, Whitlam and Frasier.

I did not know Nugget Coombs personally – so it was important I spoke to people who knew him and worked alongside him in preparing this address.

The man we honour tonight was born at the turn of last century.

My great aunt and uncle Letitia and William Laing who raised me were born around the same time.

They were a brave, non-Aboriginal brother and sister. Neither of whom ever married.

They lived through two world wars and the depression, defining events that shaped our nation and those within it.

It shaped them well.

I know the principles that defined this generation. I am a product of them: pragmatic, frugal, compassionate, respectful, resourceful, humble and appreciative.

Nugget was also born, like me, in a small country town.

He was born in Kalamunda – a derivative of the Noongar words “a home in the forest”. Today it is a semi-rural outer suburb of Perth’s east.

Being born in the country also shapes you, as does the circumstances you were born into.

What I do love about Nugget is he didn’t mind mucking in, in fact assumed great responsibility in the home as a very young person, as I had to.

This too shapes you and is something I can very much relate to from my own experience.

Why do I share these stories? I share them because I think too often we don’t value our own story.

All of our stories make up the rich tapestry of this land.

“Why are you called Nugget?” asked Robin Hughes in a 1992 TV interview.

An 86 year old Herbert Cole Coombs replied:

Well in Western Australia, in the country, Nugget was a kind of generic name for a creature, a person or a dog or a horse you know, which was short in the legs and stocky build…

Nugget Coombs leaves a legacy as an extraordinary public servant – beyond Governor of the Reserve Bank – and an extraordinary advocate for Indigenous Australians, and held dear by us.

Patrick Dodson – who has previously delivered this oration – said of Nugget that he was a man committed to Indigenous self-determination; committed to treaty; and committed to ensuring Indigenous Australians had a choice: of economic participation as well as maintaining connection with country and culture – not one at the expense of the other.

I also spoke to Warren Snowdon who knew and worked with Nugget. Warren said that when you look at the issue of treaty and self-determination – these are not new issues. People like Nugget and Judith Wright have been championing them since the 70s, some four decades ago.

You can see, as a result of both nature and nurture, his interests, values and attitudes – of fairness, justice, equality – both socially as well as economically – which paved the way for his achievements in the advancement of Indigenous Australians.

His academic record in high school is described as unremarkable. This makes me smile when I reflect on my own school report cards.

In a July 1919 report card, he is said to not have done particularly well in his exams but possessed a good deal of ability.

He did love his cricket and Australian Rules football – and he excelled in it.

After graduating from Perth Modern, Nugget became a pupil-teacher at Busselton, which was struggling economically at the time.

He became particularly conscious of the economic challenges facing families through his students, and he developed an interest in regional development – an important experience for his life to come as a senior economist for the nation.

His classrooms for him became economic microcosms of the community – a sample size of the have and the have-nots; children of different occupations, suburbs and wealth – indicators of the wellbeing of the local community, humanised.

He understood the power of education.

He understood that the distribution of wealth was central to ensuring that individuals were able to guarantee a roof over their head, food on the table, or an education for their children – and ultimately, ensuring the peace and wellbeing of a nation.

This is something I could really relate to when I reflect on my own teaching career in the Western suburbs in the early 1980s – such disadvantage and poverty profoundly shaping my worldview.

He studied at the University of Western Australia and then the London School of Economics.

Coombs was appointed the Director for Rationing, and later Post-War Reconstruction, working directly under Ben Chifley.

In June 1944, he advocated for the end of gender discrimination in the workplace in an address to the Council for Women in War Work.

This precipitated not only economic changes, but seismic social progress too.

Nugget Coombs was appointed Governor of the Commonwealth Bank in January 1949, but less than a year later, Robert Menzies became Prime Minister.

Coombs was a Labor appointee, but was to straddle both sides of politics. And he navigated the partisan divide with success and great political dexterity – a critical point I have learnt and done.

In 1960, he was appointed the first governor of the Reserve Bank by a Menzies Government.

He was unable to ignore the troubling truth: the divide and disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

It was not until after his retirement as Reserve Bank Governor that he pursued this seriously and with full attention as a policy legacy.

Perhaps it was his growing up in both urban and regional settings; perhaps it was his ability to understand wealth distribution, and how it could be used to address social challenges; perhaps it was his unique ability to bring both sides together and navigate partisanship – but Coombs was appointed Chair of the Council for Aboriginal Affairs in late 1967 by Prime Minister Harold Holt.

Nugget’s appointment took place before the backdrop of the 1967 Referendum – a campaign that had been a decade in the making.

It followed the path of the activism and agitation that had come before it: the day of mourning protests in 1938; and Charles Perkins and the freedom rides of the mid-1960s.

And it, in turn, blazed a trail for subsequent progress and change – the parallels and echo of history that we can see in this current discussion about the Uluru Statement and a constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament.

Of course, it wasn’t always smooth sailing. Within two months of the Council’s establishment, Holt disappeared.

Nugget was then said to have clashed with Prime Minister William McMahon, who he felt was never sincerely or genuinely committed on Indigenous affairs – especially on land rights.

It was Prime Minister McMahon’s speech on 26 January 1972 – and his refusal to recognise Indigenous land rights – which led to the establishment of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in front of what is today Old Parliament House.

But perhaps one of the more notable examples of his agitation from within was the Yirrkala land dispute.

In late 1968, the Yirrkala People commenced proceedings in the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory against the Commonwealth and Nabalco Pty Ltd, a bauxite mining company who were granted mining rights by the Commonwealth on traditional lands on the Gove Peninsula.

The Department of the Interior was determined to defend the claim against the Commonwealth in the court.

Coombs however, through the Council for Aboriginal Affairs sought to take heat out of the increasingly politicised court case by urging the Commonwealth to settle the matter out of court.

Coombs had the political aptitude to see the long term political ramifications this would have, not only for Indigenous land rights, but for Indigenous-non-Indigenous relations.

And in April 1971, the court found in favour of the Commonwealth and against the traditional owner plaintiffs.

Meanwhile however, public opinion had turned in favour of the traditional owners. There was now appetite among the mainstream Australian community for some sort of recognition or compensation for traditional land rights.

Labor was elected federally.

And Gough needed Nugget’s gravitas and continuity of institutional memory – especially with Labor having been out of office for 32 years.

He was ahead of his time in every way.

He was able to envision a totally different societal order and system – one which valued the needs of an individual with, and not above, a community; one which valued the needs of a community with, and not above, the environment.

Rather, as former Governor General William Deane said he advocated for:

their right to be different… to conduct their society in accordance with their ways of thinking, educate their children in relation to that and to conduct their own ceremonies.

He believed that Indigenous Australians ought to have the opportunities to participate economically without it being at the expense of their connection to culture and country.

This is so relevant still.

These lessons from Nugget Coombs are no more relevant for us than on the question of the Uluru Statement, constitutional recognition of a First Nations Voice to Parliament and Treaty making.

When the Prime Minister appointed the first Aboriginal person to the portfolio of Indigenous Australians, he sent an important message to the Australian community –

A message that he was prepared to act on the Uluru Statement and make history.

We were all overjoyed – Ken Wyatt is a good and thoroughly decent human being.

The Uluru Statement called for three things:

  • A constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament;
  • Truth telling; and
  • Agreement making – through a Makarrata Commission.

Agreement making is, of course, code for Treaty.Labor embraces the Uluru Statement in its entirety.

The central premise of the Uluru Statement is forward looking.

On the 10th of July, when Ken Wyatt spoke at the Press Club, he set out a path for delivering on the Uluru Statement from the Heart and committed the Government to:

  • Starting a co-design process for a First Nations Voice to Parliament;
  • Establishing a Parliamentary working group – so we could move forward in the spirit of bipartisanship; and
  • Truth-telling.

Fellow travelers, it is five minutes to midnight on this issue.However, just hours after Ken delivered his speech, the Prime Minister backgrounded the media – ruling out a constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament.

He is now saying – I think – that he would support a referendum to recognise First Australians symbolically, but not enshrine a Voice.

We still don’t know how the co-design process will work.

There is still no Parliamentary Working Group.

And we don’t yet know what the Government plans to do to take the next step on truth telling.

I, along with my Labor colleagues, continue to offer bipartisanship and collaboration.

But we are running out of time – especially if the Government is to deliver on their commitment of a referendum this term.

And there is a real risk the Uluru Statement will fade into the pages of history.

That it will be remembered as a noble moment, but not a turning-point.

It really is five minutes to midnight.

The next federal election is due in the first half of 2022.

And a referendum would most likely take place by the second half of 2021.

Before holding a referendum, there would need to be time for a successful campaign.

This will take months and would need to start in 2020.

Prior to a campaign, time needs to be allowed for co-design of a voice, consultation and agreement on a question. This can’t be unreasonably rushed.

And there must be time to pass an act of parliament to set the referendum question.

It is now the final quarter of 2019 – there are already Christmas decorations in the shops.

Bipartisanship is still on the table – contingent on the broad support of First Nations people.

We will work with the Government, but we will not wait for them.

I say to the Prime Minister very directly: this could be your moment, a great legacy; something to be truly remembered by.

If a proper process of co-design is not started by early next year, Labor will start our consultations with communities across Australia on the way forward.

Because this is what we do – we listen to First Nations people.

That is why we have already stated the principles on which we think a Voice should be based.

  1. It should be democratically elected;
  2. Gender representation should be equal;
  3. Young people should be at the table;
  4. It should be advisory only and non-justiciable – in line with the Uluru Statement
  5. It must be secure and permanent.

Security of the Voice is paramount – that is why the Uluru Statement called for it to be constitutionally enshrined.Because we have seen before how easily the institutional voice of First Nations people has been taken away, by the Government of the day.

We all know what happened to ATSIC.

And in the spirit of bipartisanship – I want to set out a starting point for the co-design process the Government has promised.

This is not a policy prescription.

Ken Wyatt has said the Voice should be multi-layered. He is correct.

Its basis must be regional – a reflection of the great diversity in First Nations peoples and cultures.

As a starting point, the Voice could be based, for example, broadly on the old ATSIC boundaries.

There would need to be adjustments, of course, to accommodate existing organisations.

The regional functions of a Voice should be significant – helping to shape, co-ordinate and influence service delivery, across all levels of government.

These regional bodies could be like a clearing house – providing accountability, direction and co-ordination for service delivery.

They could be an authoritative point for consultation and help ensure the overall investment of public funds into communities gets results.

They would not be responsible for service delivery.

They could fill a gap that currently exists, give communities insight and influence.

The national Voice to Parliament could be elected from regional bodies.

At the national level, the Voice could provide the Parliament with advice on legislation and programs that impact First Nations Australians.

It would be a point of accountability of government effort.

But it could also deliver annual statements of priorities, and respond to requests from the Parliament for advice and direction.

The Voice could also scrutinise the effectiveness of programs from a First Nations perspective, something that is fundamental to practical self-determination.

And it could work in partnership with other organisations, like the Productivity Commission, universities and departments and peak First Nations organisations.

The Voice must remain grounded and accountable to the regional bodies from which it is drawn.

We need to reinvigorate our national process of truth telling.

As our holders of stories pass on, so too do the stories.

Truth telling is most effective when it is local, because that is where the stories are.

Local governments should play a big part. The surviving Local Reconciliation Groups could be renewed.

This week I was on the Eyre Peninsular in South Australia and was told the story of the Waterloo Bay massacre –

And the unveiling one year ago of a monument that tells the story of up to 200 defenceless Aboriginal people being forced off a cliff at gun point.

There was intense debate in the community about this monument – with some wanting to use the word ‘incident’ rather than ‘massacre’.

In the end, the Elliston Council decided, by a single vote, to tell the truth.

This was not easy. It was painful and difficult.

But important for the whole community.

And I am told that the process has been healing.

Without openly talking about the past, and understanding it, it is almost impossible to understand some of the barriers, the intergenerational trauma and how to move forward.

The recognition of Myall Creek massacre in the Gwyder region of News South Wales is another powerful example of the transformative power of truth.

On the 10th of July 1838, a group of Wirrayaraay people were attacked by convicts and settlers when they were preparing a meal –

They were slaughtered and their bodies burned. One boy survived.

But now, the descendants of those who murdered, and the descendants of those who were killed come together each year.

I attended the first year of the commemoration.

It is an incredibly raw, moving and brave acknowledgement that is pulling together the edges of the great tear that has occurred in that community.

Myall Creek was also the first time in Australia that perpetrators were brought to justice – they were hung.

Of course – this is not only a local responsibility.

State and federal governments need to urgently resource truth telling.

Libraries, museums and cultural institutions must be better able to help communities capture the stories that have shaped out nation.

Critical too is a national resting place, and better support for the repatriation of remains to country.

I have stood in a leaky warehouse in Adelaide, which contains a room with literally thousands of remains waiting to be taken home.

Truth telling is difficult.

But it can build for Australia a stronger, collective national pride: we are all custodians of the oldest continuing culture in the world.

It is for everyone.

The Uluru Statement also called for agreement making – for treaty.

And it requires long-term commitment.

And first, communities and governments need to be Treaty-ready.

This the work Mick Dodson and Ursula Raymond are doing here in the Northern Territory – and overseas experience shows that getting ready can take some time.

Ultimately, there will probably be many treaties. Ken Wyatt is correct about this.

The issues dealt with will be diverse – like First Nations are diverse. And agreements with state and territory governments will primarily be where the rubber hits the road.

And Victoria is already leading the way.

But this isn’t only the business of the states.

As Mick Dodson, the NT Treaty Commissioner said earlier this week:

Regarding a treaty, Mr. Wyatt says it’s important for states and territories to take the lead in treaties. I trust he’s not implying that the Commonwealth can wash its hands on treaty-making nationwide — the Federal Parliament must be involved.

In recent years, Labor has reformed our Caucus processes to strengthen the First Nations voice in our decision making.

We have a First Nations Caucus Committee, Chaired by Malarndirri McCarthy – your own Senator here in the Territory.

And I have both the Shadow portfolios of Families and Social Services and Indigenous Australians.

Warren Snowdon and Patrick Dodson are assistant shadow ministers in the portfolio.

I strive to work by these principles: mutual trust, truly listening, self-determination, investing in need, rewarding excellence, collaboration, and developing evidence-based policy.

I also seek to achieve bipartisanship wherever I can – so long as it is not a race to the bottom.

By working in this way, Labor has developed principled and evidenced positions on the future of the Community Development Program, the Cashless Debit Card and Newstart.

At Garma earlier this year, Labor Leader Anthony Albanese said:

I know there are real concerns about the CDP program. It has been punitive and unfair and has caused much hurt in communities…

That is why Labor promised before the recent election to abolish CDP and establish a new program… [and] that it might have some of the same features as the old CDEP…

We remain committed to our proposal.

More than 12 years after the Howard Government’s Northern Territory intervention, it is also clear that broad-based, mandatory income management has not worked.

And on that basis, Labor does not support the Government’s plan to roll out the Cashless Debit Card across the Territory.

A plan which could see the Minister quarantine 100 per cent of social security payments with the stroke of a pen.

The Card should be voluntary, except in certain circumstances, like child protection or family violence – it should be a case management approach.

Unless a community genuinely decides they want the Card, after an informed and proper process of consultation.

Consistent with self-determination, if a community does want to try the Card, we respect and support that.

Labor supports an increase to Newstart – and that matters to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people –

It matters too for regional economies, where so many people who must rely on Newstart live.

The work the peak organisations are doing with governments on closing the gap is really critical, and I support this process.

Labor wants to work with the peaks and the Government to make Closing the Gap meaningful and enduring.

And we look forward to being brought into the process.

The Uluru Statement is a tangible and modest ask.

And consistent with this, I have outlined some ideas today that would be a sound starting point for that discussion

Nebulous concepts like’ multi-layered’, ‘ground-up’ and ‘varied’ simply don’t cut it in the community conversations I have been part of.

People want a proposal to grab hold of, to change, and ultimately to campaign for.

They want it to be a permanent Voice.

This is why I have put forward a proposal with a clear regional basis, an electoral process and gender parity.

This is too important to descend into a political scrabble.

I offer my comments tonight in the spirit of encouragement and bipartisanship, because Labor doesn’t want the glory – we just want it to happen.

Now is the time.

The Government is clearly in search of a big story, of an agenda: and I say, take this one, it’s ready to go.

The Prime Minister has already shown leadership in appointing Ken Wyatt – and it is now Scott Morrison’s responsibility for follow-through.

The stars are aligned, in this moment.

There are advocates within conservative politics, Labor is absolutely on-board with the Uluru Statement; business is ready and willing; states are leading; and eminent legal minds like Justice Murray Gleeson have also lent their support.

Let us continue Nugget Coombs’ life’s work in striving towards justice, equality and fairness through empowering those who yearn for it.

We are standing on the shoulders of giants. Let us get on and do it.

NOTE – I wish to acknowledge the efforts of Daryl Tan in helping me to prepare this paper.

ENDS

Linda Burney MP profile image

The Coalition of Peaks will be leading #HaveYourSayCTG meetings with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities and organisations on #ClosingtheGap during the month of October.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people know what works best for us.

We need to make sure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices are reflected and expertise is recognised in every way at every step on efforts to close the gap in life outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.’

‘The Coalition of Peaks is leading the face to face discussions, not governments.

The Peaks are asking Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to tell us what should be included in a new Closing the Gap agreement and we will take this to the negotiating table.’

Acting Lead Convener of the Coalition of Peaks and Chairperson of the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body, Katrina Fanning, said we must ensure the community’s voice is truly heard and understood.

NACCHO will be updating all states and territories meeting locations and times each Tuesday ( NACCHO Save a date ) and Friday ( NACCHO Good News  )

The Coalition of Peaks are leading face to face meetings with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities and organisations on Closing the Gap during the month of October.

The meetings provide an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in each state and territory to tell the Coalition of Peaks and governments what changes are needed to improve their lives.

The Coalition of Peaks is working with the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to develop a new National Agreement on Closing the Gap for the next ten years and wants to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the country can have a say about what should be included in it.

The Coalition of Peaks is made up of around forty Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations who have come together to negotiate a new Closing the Gap agreement with governments.

The Peaks are committed to representing the views of their membership and the communities who elected them in negotiations with government.

The face to face discussions are part of comprehensive set of engagements which also includes an online survey and Peak consultations with its own membership.

The online survey is open until 25 October 2019.

A report on the engagements will be prepared by the Coalition of Peaks, to be provided to governments and made public.

The report will inform the finalisation the new National Agreement between the Coalition of Peaks and COAG.

October Engagement Meetings:

South Australia

2 October – Adelaide

15 October – Ceduna

18 October – Port Augusta

23 October – Mount Gambier

 

Tasmania

11 October – Launceston

 

Western Australia

14 October – Broome

17 October – Geraldton

21 October – Kalgoorlie

23 October – Port Headland

28 October – Perth

30 October – Narrogin

 

Australian Capital Territory

17 October – Canberra

28 October – Canberra

Victoria

15 October – Melbourne

16 October – Bendigo

17 October – Morwell

See update below for details

New South Wales

21 October – Sydney

 All NSW Regional see below

Northern Territory

4 October – Katherine

11 October – Yirrkala

30 October – Darwin

 

National

23 and 24 October – Canberra

 

Note: Each jurisdiction has structured the events differently, some opting for fewer large events and some opting for a larger number of smaller events.

Dates and locations for Queensland will be finalised soon.

For more information on The Coalition of Peaks, The Joint Council, The Partnership Agreement and to sign up for our mailing list, go to: https://www.naccho.org.au/ programmes/coalition-of-peaks/

VIC Update

There will be three meetings held across Victoria, details are below.

Website RSVP 

City Date Venue Time
Bendigo Monday 14 October Comfort Inn Julie Anna, 268/276 Napier Street 12PM – 4PM
Melbourne Tuesday 15 October Mantra Bell City, 215 Bell Street, Preston 12PM – 4PM
Morwell Thursday 17 October Gathering Place, 99 Buckley Street 12PM – 4PM

NSW Update 

The NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Organisations (CAPO) of which NSW Aboriginal Land Council is a member, are leading the Closing the Gap engagements across the state.

28 consultations will be taking place during the month of October and early November. The consultations are an opportunity for communities to have their say on Closing the Gap.

The 2019 Closing the Gap consultation will see a new way of doing business, with a focus on community consultations. NSW is embarking on the largest number of membership consultations, more than any other state or territory, with an emphasis on hearing your views about what is needed to make the lives of Aboriginal people better.

Your voices will formulate the NSW submission to the new National Agreement. By talking to Aboriginal people, communities and organisations, CAPO can form a consensus on priority areas from NSW when finalising the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap with governments.

The discussion booklet: ‘A new way of doing business’ provides background information on Closing the Gap and sets out what will be discussed at the consultations.

The consultations are being supported by the NSW Government.

Come along and join in the conversation. The dates and locations are:

Route 1
Albury Monday 14th Oct
Deniliquin Tuesday 15th Oct
Balranald Wednesday 16th Oct
Griffith Thursday 17th Oct

Route 2
Wagga Wagga Tuesday 15th Oct
Young Wednesday 16th Oct
Queanbeyan Thursday 17th Oct
Batemans Bay Friday 18th Oct

Route 3
Dubbo Tuesday 22nd Oct
Condobolin Wednesday 23rd Oct
Cobar Thursday 24th Oct
Bourke Friday 25th Oct

Route 4
Newcastle Tuesday 22nd Oct
Central Coast Wednesday 23rd Oct
Muswellbrook Thursday 24th Oct
Tamworth Friday 25th Oct

Route 5
Broken Hill Tuesday 29th Oct
Wilcannia Wednesday 30th Oct
Menindee Thursday 31st Oct
Dareton Friday 1st Nov

Route 6
Lismore Monday 28th Oct
Coffs Harbour Tuesday 29th Oct
Kempsey Wednesday 30th Oct

Route 7
Redfern Monday 4th Nov
Mount Druitt Tuesday 5th Nov
Bathurst Thursday 7th Nov

Route 8
Moree Tuesday 5th Nov
Walgett Wednesday 6th Nov

To register your attendance at Routes 1 and 2, please do so via Eventbrite:

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/o/nsw-coalition-of-aboriginal-peak-organisations-16575398239.

Routes 3 to 8 will follow shortly.

Consultations will run from 11am – 3pm with lunch provided.

If you are unable to make the consultations, you can still have your say through an online survey. The survey closes on 25 October, 5pm.

For more information on the Closing the Gap consultations: https://www.aecg.nsw.edu.au/close-the-gap/

NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Organisations (CAPO)

NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC)
NSW/ACT Aboriginal Legal Services (ALS)
Link Up (NSW) Aboriginal Corporation (Link-Up)
NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (NSW AECG)
NSW Child, Family and Community Peak Aboriginal Corporation (AbSec)
First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN)

NSW CAPO is co-chaired by the NSW Aboriginal Land Council and the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group. NSW CAPO member organisations are non-government Aboriginal peak bodies with boards that are elected by Aboriginal communities and/or organisations which are accountable to their membership.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Conferences and Events #Saveadate : This week #AIDAconf19 plus REGISTRATIONS open for our #NACCHOAgm19 #NACCHOYouth19 November 4 to 7 Plus #ClosingTheGap #HaveYourSayCTG closes 25 October

Featured this week 

4th November 2019 NACCHO Youth Conference Darwin Registrations NOW OPEN 

5th & 6th November 2019 NACCHO Members Conference Registrations NOW OPEN 

7 th November NACCHO AGM

This week 

2- 4 October  AIDA Conference 2019

9-10 October 2019 NATSIHWA 10 Year Anniversary Conference

16 October Melbourne Uni: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Wellbeing Conference

25 October Coalition of Peaks Have Your Say Survey Closes

4 November NACCHO Youth Conference -Darwin NT

5 – 7 November NACCHO Conference and AGM  -Darwin NT

5-8 November The Lime Network Conference New Zealand

Monday 4th November 2019 NACCHO Youth Conference *Youth Registration is Free of Charge

The central focus of the NACCHO Youth Conference Healthy youth, healthy future is on building resilience.

For thousands of years our Ancestors have shown great resolve thriving on this vast continent. Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who make up 54% of our population, now look to the example set by generations past and present to navigate ever-changing and complex social and health issues.

Healthy youth, healthy future provides us with opportunities to explore and discuss issues of importance to us, our families and communities, and to take further steps toward becoming tomorrow’s leaders. We hope to see you there!

Registrations are now open for the 2019 NACCHO Youth Conference, which will be held November 4th in Darwin at the Darwin Convention Centre.

Register More Info HERE 

Tuesday 5th & Wednesday 6th November 2019

7th November 2019 NACCHO AGM

This year, NACCHO’s Members’ Conference focuses on the theme –

Because of them we must: improving health outcomes for our people aged 0-29 years.

We have chosen this focus because we know that investing in the health and wellbeing of our babies, children and young people can help prevent ill health, disease and disability. Strong investment in this age group will help them to thrive, help them build strong and healthy families and communities, and help to positively influence their future health outcomes and life expectancy measures.

Because of them we must provides an opportunity to place our future generations at the forefront of our discussions, to hear about the innovative work that is happening in our community controlled and other sectors, to exchange ideas and share our knowledge.

Registrations to this year’s Youth Conference and the NACCHO National Conference will close on Sunday 20th October 2019.  Late registrations will not be accepted.

We hope you can join us!

Register HERE

2- 4 October  AIDA Conference 2019

Location:             Darwin Convention Centre, Darwin NT
Theme:                 Disruptive Innovations in Healthcare
Register:              Register Here
Web:                     www.aida.org.au/conference
Enquiries:           conference@aida.org.au

The AIDA 2019 Conference is a forum to share and build on knowledge that increasingly disrupts existing practice and policy to raise the standards of health care.

People with a passion for health care equity are invited to share their knowledges and expertise about how they have participated in or enabled a ‘disruptive innovation to achieve culturally safe and responsive practice or policy for Indigenous communities.

The 23rd annual AIDA Conference provides a platform for networking, mentoring, member engagement and the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of AIDA’S Indigenous doctor and students.

9-10 October 2019 NATSIHWA 10 Year Anniversary Conference

2019 Marks 10 years since the formation of NATSIHWA and registrations are now open!!!

During the 9 – 10 October 2019 NATSIHWA 10 Year Anniversary Conference will be celebrated at the Convention Centre in Alice Springs

Bursaries available for our Full Members

Not a member?!

Register here today to become a Full Member to gain all NATSIHWA Full Member benefits

Come and celebrate NATSIHWA’s 10 year Anniversary National Conference ‘A Decade of Footprints, Driving Recognition’ which is being held in Alice Springs. We aim to offer an insight into the Past, Present and Future of NATSIHWA and the overall importance of strengthening the primary health care sector’s unique workforce of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners throughout Australia.

During the 9-10 October 2019 delegates will be exposed to networking opportunities whilst immersing themselves with a combination of traditional and practical conference style delivery.

Our intention is to engage Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners in the history and knowledge exchange of the past, todays evidence based best practice programs/services available and envisioning what the future has to offer for all Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners.

Watch this space for the guest speaker line up, draft agenda and award nominations

15-17 October IUIH System of Care Conference

15 October IUIH 10 year anniversary

Building on the success of last year’s inaugural conference, the 2019 System of Care Conference will be focusing on further exploring and sharing the systems and processes that deliver this life changing way of looking at life-long health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

This year IUIH delivers 10 years of experience in improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with proven methods for closing the gap and impacting on the social determinants of health.

The IUIH System of Care is evidence-based and nationally recognised for delivering outcomes, and the conference will share the research behind the development and implementation of this system, with presentations by speakers across a range of specialisations including clinic set up, clinical governance, systems integration, wrap around services such as allied and social health, workforce development and research evidence.

If you are working in:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled health services
  • Primary Health Networks
  • Health and Hospital Boards and Management
  • Government Departments
  • The University Sector
  • The NGO Sector

Watch this video for an insight into the IUIH System of Care Conference.

Download brochure HERE IUIH System of Care Conference 2019 WEB

This year, the IUIH System of Care Conference will be offering a number of half-day workshops on Thursday 17 October 2019, available to conference attendees only. The cost for these workshops is $150 per person, per workshop and your attendance to these can be selected during your single or group registration.

IUIH are also hosting a 10 years of service celebration dinner on Tuesday 15 October – from 6.30-10pm. Tickets for this are $150 per person and are not included in the cost of registration.

All conference information is available here https://www.ivvy.com.au/event/IUIH19/

15 October IUIH 10 year anniversary

16 October Melbourne Uni: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Wellbeing Conference

The University of Melbourne, Department of Rural Health are pleased to advise that abstract
submissions are now being invited that address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and
wellbeing.

The Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Conference is an opportunity for sharing information and connecting people that are committed to reforming the practice and research of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander health and celebrates Aboriginal knowledge systems and strength-based approaches to improving the health outcomes of Aboriginal communities.

This is an opportunity to present evidence-based approaches, Aboriginal methods and models of
practice, Aboriginal perspectives and contribution to health or community led solutions, underpinned by cultural theories to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.
In 2018 the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Conference attracted over 180 delegates from across the community and state.

We welcome submissions from collaborators whose expertise and interests are embedded in Aboriginal health and wellbeing, and particularly presented or co-presented by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and community members.

If you are interested in presenting, please complete the speaker registration link

closing date for abstract submission is Friday 3 rd May 2019.
As per speaker registration link request please email your professional photo for our program or any conference enquiries to E. aboriginal-health@unimelb.edu.au.

Kind regards
Leah Lindrea-Morrison
Aboriginal Partnerships and Community Engagement Officer
Department of Rural Health, University of Melbourne T. 03 5823 4554 E. leah.lindrea@unimelb.edu.au

25 October Survey Closes  : Have your say about what is needed to make real change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people #HaveYourSay about #closingthegap

There is a discussion booklet that has background information on Closing the Gap and sets out what will be talked about in the survey.

The survey will take a little bit of time to complete. It would be great if you can answer all the questions, but you can also just focus on the issues that you care about most.

To help you prepare your answers, you can look at a full copy here

The survey is open to everyone and can be accessed here:

https://www.naccho.org.au/programmes/coalition-of-peaks/have-your-say/

The Coalition of Peaks are leading face to face meetings with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities and organisations on Closing the Gap during the month of October.

The meetings provide an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in each state and territory to tell the Coalition of Peaks and governments what changes are needed to improve their lives

October Engagement Meetings:

 

South Australia

2 October – Adelaide

15 October – Ceduna

18 October – Port Augusta

23 October – Mount Gambier

 

Tasmania

11 October – Launceston

 

Western Australia

14 October – Broome

17 October – Geraldton

21 October – Kalgoorlie

23 October – Port Headland

28 October – Perth

30 October – Narrogin

 

Australian Capital Territory

17 October – Canberra

28 October – Canberra

 

Victoria

15 October – Melbourne

16 October – Bendigo

17 October – Morwell

 

New South Wales

21 October – Sydney

 

Northern Territory

4 October – Katherine

11 October – Yirrkala

30 October – Darwin

 

National

23 and 24 October – Canberra

 

Each jurisdiction has structured the events differently, some opting for fewer large events and some opting for a larger number of smaller events. Dates and locations for Queensland will be finalised soon. Additional meetings will also be held in New South Wales.

For more information on The Coalition of Peaks, The Joint Council, The Partnership Agreement and to sign up for our mailing list, go to: https://www.naccho.org.au/ programmes/coalition-of-peaks/

4 November NACCHO Youth Conference -Darwin NT

The NACCHO Youth Conference will again take place the day before the Members Conference on Monday 4 November at the Darwin Convention Centre.

The conference theme is Healthy Youth – Healthy Futures and it is a day of learning, sharing, and connecting on health issues affecting young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

This year we aim to have around 80 youth delegates attend to hear from guest speakers, voice their ideas and solutions and connect with the other future leaders in the sector.

Registrations will open in early September 2019, so please encourage the young people from your community who you think will benefit attending.

I strongly encourage those who can afford it to arrange for your youth delegates to remain for the Members Conference and AGM so they can increase their understanding of the Sector as a whole and learn how to network and build useful contacts.

Register More Info HERE 

Darwin Convention Centre

Website to be launched soon

Conference Co-Coordinators Ros Daley and Jen Toohey 02 6246 9309

conference@naccho.org.au

5 – 7 November NACCHO Conference and AGM  -Darwin NT

As you may be aware, this year’s conference is being held in Darwin on Tuesday 5 and Wednesday 6 of November at the Darwin Convention Centre.

The theme for our conference is Because of Them We Must: Improving Health Outcomes for 0 to 29 Year Olds and will focus on how our Sector is working to improve the health and wellbeing outcomes for children, youth and young adults.

Clearly those in the 0 – 29 year age bracket are a significant proportion of our total population. If we can get their health and wellbeing outcomes right, we should hopefully overtime reduce the comorbidity levels which are so debilitating for so many of our older people.

Register HERE

If you have any questions or would like further information contact Ros Daley and Jen Toohey on 02 6246 9309 or via email conference@naccho.org.au

Darwin Convention Centre

Website to be launched soon

Conference Co-Coordinators Ros Daley and Jen Toohey 02 6246 9309

conference@naccho.org.au

7 November

On Thursday 7 November, following the NACCHO National Members Conference, we will hold the 2019 AGM. In addition to the general business, there will be an election for the NACCHO Chair and a vote on a special resolution to adopt a new constitution for NACCHO.

Once again, I thank all those members who sent delegates to the recent national members’ workshop on a new constitution at Sydney in July. It was a great success thanks to your involvement and feedback.

5-8 November The Lime Network Conference New Zealand 

This years  whakatauki (theme for the conference) was developed by the Scientific Committee, along with Māori elder, Te Marino Lenihan & Tania Huria from .

To read about the conference & theme, check out the  website. 

Aboriginal #MentalHealth and #Wellbeing #SuicidePrevention : NATSIMHL and @cbpatsisp #GayaaDhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration and Indigenous Governance workshop : Keynote Speech from John Paterson CEO @AMSANTaus

“ AMSANT understands that social determinants of health are critical to improving health outcomes for Aboriginal Communities and recognises the role that these determinants play in the development of mental health and harmful substance use issues within communities.

AMSANT therefore recognises that a crucial component of providing support to the delivery of AOD and Mental Health programs and services through the Community Controlled Sector is to continue to advocate and lobby for the improvement of the social determinants of health and mental health for Aboriginal people.

We understand that these determinants extend beyond issues relating to, for example, housing, education, and employment, to more fundamental issues relating to the importance of control, culture and country and the legacy of a history of trauma and loss.

Strong and empowered community governance is the backbone to community resilience and Self-Determination and leads to better health outcomes

We have great challenges and great opportunities here in the Territory and with your commitment to self-determination, Aboriginal Governance, policies and practices that do not re-traumatise, we can achieve strong outcomes together

But first we need to recognise and acknowledge the past to inform our future journey and the sometimes difficult paths we will need to take. 

We as Aboriginal people understand the inter-connectivity of all things;

Our call to action is what part will you play, where are you positioned within this connectivity to ensure health and wellbeing is strong for Gayaa Dhuwi our Proud Spirit. “

John Paterson CEO AMSANT ( Pictured above with Kerry Arabena ) Keynote speech see Part 2 Below

Have your say about what is needed to make real change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people see part 3 below #HaveYourSay about #closingthegap   

Part 1 Help close the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health gap by pledging support for the Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration.

The mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is significantly worse than that of other Australians across many indicators. In particular, the suicide rates are twice as high.

The reasons for the gap are many but include the lack of culturally competent and safe services within the mental health system, that balance clinical responses with culturally-informed responses including access to cultural healing.

To rectify this, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership is needed in those parts of the mental health system that work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.

Pledging your organisation’s or personal support for the Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration is a first step in supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership in appropriate parts of the mental health system to improve our mental health and reduce suicide.”

More info sign HERE

Or Download the 6 Page Brochure HERE

Gayaa-Dhuwi-Declaration_Proud-Spirit

Part 2

The Aboriginal Medical Services of the NT is the peak body for the community controlled Aboriginal primary health care (PHC) sector in the Northern Territory (NT). We have 25 members providing Aboriginal comprehensive primary health care (CPHC) right across the NT from Darwin to the most remote regions.

AMSANT has been established for 25 years and just recently celebrated our 25 year anniversary in Alice Springs.   AMSANT has a major policy and advocacy role at the NT and national levels, including as a partner with the Commonwealth and NT governments in the Northern Territory Aboriginal Health Forum (NTAHF).

The ACCHSs sector in the NT is comparatively more significant than in other jurisdictions, being the largest provider of primary health care services to Aboriginal people in the NT. Over half of all the episodes of care approximately 60% and contacts 65% in the Aboriginal PHC sector in the Northern Territory are provided by ACCHSs. Moreover, ACCHS deliver comprehensive primary health care that incorporates social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and AOD services, family support services and early childhood services, delivered by multidisciplinary teams within a holistic service model.

Aboriginal people experience a disproportionate morbidity and mortality burden from mental health and alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems. Nationally, mental health conditions are estimated to account for 12% of the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, with suicide contributing another 6% and alcohol another 4% (Vos et al. 2007). Tragically, from 2011-15, the Indigenous suicide rate was twice that of the non-Indigenous population (AHMAC 2017).

At AMSANT, we have come to believe that encouraging an understanding of trauma and its impact and facilitating trauma informed perspectives and ways of working – for all staff throughout our health services – can enhance service delivery and outcomes for the communities in which these services are based.

Some of the most challenging, complex and life threatening issues faced within our health services can be better understood in the context of historical and ongoing experiences of trauma. But as we understand these difficulties in relation to the stories of trauma that communities have lived through since colonisation, it is vital that we also see and understand the strengths and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities – and that we recognise the central role of connection to culture, cultural identity and cultural continuity in maintaining these strengths and keeping people well.

Many Aboriginal people in the NT are happy, engaged with their families and culture, and prepared to make a positive contribution to their communities. The physical and mental health of Aboriginal people have been maintained through beliefs, practices and ways of life that supported their social and emotional wellbeing across generations and thousands of years.

However, factors unique to the Aboriginal experience—including the historical and ongoing process of colonisation that has seen loss of land, suppression of language and culture, forcible removal of children from families, and experiences of racism—have all contributed to profound feelings of loss and grief and exposure to unresolved trauma, which continues disadvantage, poor health and poor social outcomes for far too many Aboriginal people.

This process has directly involved the disruption and severing of the many connections that are protective in maintaining strong mental health and wellbeing – Our connections to a strong spirit

Identifying the extent and impacts of poor mental health among Aboriginal people must be founded on an understanding of this context and the reality that Aboriginal understandings and experiences of mental health and wellbeing are in many ways very different to that of mainstream society.

Also in relation to health and mental health, there is an acknowledgement of the significance of the social determinants of health.  There is an understanding of how ongoing marginalisation, disempowerment, discrimination and stress contribute to poor health and mental health outcomes.

AMSANT understands that social determinants of health are critical to improving health outcomes for Aboriginal Communities and recognises the role that these determinants play in the development of mental health and harmful substance use issues within communities.

AMSANT therefore recognises that a crucial component of providing support to the delivery of AOD and Mental Health programs and services through the Community Controlled Sector is to continue to advocate and lobby for the improvement of the social determinants of health and mental health for Aboriginal people.

We understand that these determinants extend beyond issues relating to, for example, housing, education, and employment, to more fundamental issues relating to the importance of control, culture and country and the legacy of a history of trauma and loss.

Strong and empowered community governance is the backbone to community resilience and Self-Determination and leads to better health outcomes.  For this reason APONT’s Partnership Principles have been developed to improve collaboration and coordination between service providers with the aim of strengthening and rebuilding an Aboriginal controlled development and service sector in the NT.

It is widely understood that mental illness carries a certain amount of social stigma. The impact of this is magnified however for Aboriginal people, who are often subject to systemic racism and discrimination in their everyday lives.  This is demonstrated in the overrepresentation of Aboriginal young people in justice and child protection systems

Census data from June 2017 revealed that among the 964 young people in detention on an average night in Australia, 53% were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and 64% had not been sentenced. In the Northern Territory, these rates were as high as 95% for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children, with 70% not sentenced.

It is now well known that unresolved traumatic experience impacts the developing brain, causing an over-developed fear response leading to increased stress sensitivity and related symptoms can include isolation, aggression, lack of empathy and impulsive behaviour.

Often children in the youth justice system may appear to be violent, aggressive, oppositional, unreachable or disturbed, however, underlying these behaviours is the grief of a child who has had to live through experiences that no human being should ever experience especially a child who does not have the agency to repair, respond and heal, resulting in feelings of powerlessness, anxiousness, and depression.

For these reasons, having a youth justice system that incorporates punishment as a form of behavioural management will only perpetuate the child’s belief that their world is unsafe, and further compound and escalate complex and violent behaviours. If the emotional and psychological wounds do not get appropriately addressed then there is risk of a lifelong pattern of anger, aggression, self-destructive behaviours, academic and employment failures, and rejection, conflict, and isolation in every key relationship. This cycle of trauma and violence can continue across generations.

AMSANT believes that a youth justice system that is trauma informed and sits within a social emotional wellbeing (SEWB) framework would be a positive way forward in redirecting youth away from the justice system, supporting social and emotional health and aiding in community re-entry.

It is also necessary to understand and confront the cumulative impacts of institutional racialism and discriminative policies. For example, the Intervention in the Northern Territory involved the imposition of a series of punitive measures against 73 Aboriginal communities and denied opportunities for community leaders to govern their own communities. The effects of the Intervention on Indigenous people throughout the NT and the fundamental disempowerment that it represented, can hardly be overstated and is demonstrated in our continuing unacceptable disparity in health outcomes.

However Aboriginal Territorian are working together and in collaboration to overcome these disparities.  For example, here in the Territory we have the Aboriginal Health Forum which provides high-level guidance and decision-making. The Forum enables joint planning and information sharing, where partners work together in a spirit of partnership and collaboration.

Nationally AMSANT is involved through the Coalition of Peaks in developing agreed policy positions to negotiate a new National Agreement on Closing the Gap with the Council of Australian Governments or COAG.  For a long time, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have been calling to have a much greater say in how programs and services are delivered to our peoples.

See Part 3 below to have your say about what is needed to make real change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people #HaveYourSay about #closingthegap

As a result of the work of the Coalition of Peaks, we are now formally represented on the Joint Council on Closing the Gap – which is the first time an external non-government partner has been included within a COAG structure.

Finally we are seeing a change in the policy conversation on Closing the Gap, with our mob at the decision-making table.

And regionally, leadership exists throughout all of our communities.   Even without the resources and empowerment that would allow for leadership and governance to thrive, it is intrinsically there, understood and followed by the protocols of community life and our kinship systems.

Our ACCHS in the Northern Territory recognise social emotional wellbeing as holistic and interconnected which includes our cultural knowledge and practices as well as mental health and the social determinants of health.

Having control and governance over our service delivery has paved the way for innovation and best practice within our SEWB programs.

We have great challenges and great opportunities here in the Territory and with your commitment to self-determination, Aboriginal Governance, policies and practices that do not re-traumatise, we can achieve strong outcomes together

But first we need to recognise and acknowledge the past to inform our future journey and the sometimes difficult paths we will need to take.

We as Aboriginal people understand the inter-connectivity of all things;

Our call to action is what part will you play, where are you positioned within this connectivity to ensure health and wellbeing is strong for Gayaa Dhuwi our Proud Spirit.

Part 3 Have your say about what is needed to make real change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people #HaveYourSay about #closingthegap

There is a discussion booklet that has background information on Closing the Gap and sets out what will be talked about in the survey.

The survey will take a little bit of time to complete. It would be great if you can answer all the questions, but you can also just focus on the issues that you care about most.

To help you prepare your answers, you can look at a full copy here

The survey is open to everyone and can be accessed here:

https://www.naccho.org.au/programmes/coalition-of-peaks/have-your-say/

 

NACCHO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce : Donnella Mills @NACCHOChair Keynote Address at #CATSINaM19 Building a workforce and embedding #CulturalSafety : Connecting care through culture

” I’m keen to hear your ideas on how we can cooperate across the sector to develop a better workforce with cultural safety embedded throughout the hundreds of clinics and hospitals across the country.

I was impressed by the theme you chose for your conference: ‘connecting care through culture’. That simple phrase captures so much of what we do in our sector each and every day.

Cultural safety, I believe, is what makes us unique and what represents our greatest strength.

In the Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations – the ACCHOs – you have this reinforced through the operating model.

Community control’ is not just a term – it is a 48-year-old model – forged at Redern in 1971 – and now exercised in 144 local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across the country.” 

Donnella Mills Acting Chair, NACCHO Keynote address at the CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference Sydney 26 September 

I would like to acknowledge that this conference is being held on Aboriginal land. I recognise the strength, resilience and capacity of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation who are the traditional custodians of this place we now call Sydney. I pay my respects to their elders.

For those of you who don’t know me, I am a Torres Strait Islander woman with ancestral and family links to Masig and Nagir. I am the Acting Chair of NACCHO, which stands for the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation.

I thank the CATSINaM Board for inviting me to deliver this address. It is a privilege to be talking with you today and a special pleasure to be among so many hard-working and dedicated healthcare professionals.

Without you, the Health gap would be so much wider than it is now. Without you, there would be little cultural safety in our hospitals and medical services. I have seen how important your work is on the ground at Wuchopperen and in the other services I have visited. You are the backbone of Aboriginal health.

I plan to speak for about 25 minutes. That will leave us about 20 minutes for yarning at the end. I’m keen to hear your ideas on how we can cooperate across the sector to develop a better workforce with cultural safety embedded throughout the hundreds of clinics and hospitals across the country.

Community control

Our people trust us with their health. We build ongoing relationships to give continuity of care so that chronic conditions are managed and preventative health care is effectively targeted.

Studies have shown that Aboriginal controlled health services are 23% better at attracting and retaining Aboriginal clients than mainstream providers.

Through local engagement and a proven service delivery model, our clients ‘stick’. The cultural safety in which we provide our services is a key factor of our success. In this way, ACCHOs are already ‘leading the way’.

We also build partnerships that make things work. Leadership is not all about the strength to stand up on your own, it is about being smart enough to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with one another. It is about galvanising support on the ground. It is about forging alliances in the sector and building strategic partnerships at the national level.

Employment

Another strength – one that we tend to overlook – is the sheer size of our sector. Let’s have a look at the ACCHO part of it alone. It is not widely known, but the 144 ACCHOs, collectively, are the single largest employer of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia. That means that one in every 44 Indigenous jobs in Australia is at one of our health services.

If we add the Aboriginal health workers in the mainstream and the rest of the sector, these numbers become all the more impressive.

Our sector is doing more to close the employment gap than any of the employment measures dreamed up by Government agencies.

If the Government really wants to get people off welfare, don’t punish vulnerable people with cashless welfare cards, robo-debts or by sending them off to meaningless Work for the Dole activities.

Work with our sector and grow the Aboriginal workforce together. We have real jobs located in real communities. That is where the investment needs to go.

We should remind our politicians of this when they visit us.

They may see a small clinic somewhere with a few staff, but if they understood that we are part of a huge national network of Aboriginal professionals, they might take more notice of us and realise what we have to offer.

Comprehensive primary health care

Another challenge for us is continuing the development of a comprehensive primary health care model. I think we have been hearing this since the release of the National Aboriginal Health Strategy way back in 1989.

Twenty-one years later, a study concluded that ACCHOs are one of a very few settings where ‘comprehensive primary health care’ is delivered. If we keep offering a comprehensive approach for primary health care across the nation, our people will be much less likely to fall between the cracks.

We can do this through colocation of services or forming partnerships at the local level. This can include clinical care, immunisation and environmental health programs, on-site pharmaceutical dispensing and partnerships with family violence, child protection counselling and legal services.

We can also develop links with sports programs, homelessness services, dental services, aged care and disability support. None of these elements can fully succeed when they stand alone. The voluminous literature on the social determinants of health tell us that. But more importantly, it is what we all know from our own personal experiences.

You don’t need an academic to tell you that comprehensive primary health care is the best approach. We all know this intuitively and from our experiences on the ground.

I am not saying that we should all diversify or ‘dilute’ what we are doing. What I am saying is that while we focus on our core activities, we should also be taking every opportunity we can to link up with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services and programs in complementary areas.

From my own experience ….

When you think about it, it should not be hard to promote ourselves; to sell ourselves to a new Government. After all, we provide value for money. ACCHOs result in greater health benefits per dollar spent; measured at a value of $1.19 for every $1 spent.

Studies have also shown that the lifetime health impact of interventions delivered by ACCHOs is 50% greater than if these same interventions were delivered by mainstream health services. This is primarily due to improved Aboriginal access and outcomes.

I don’t need to tell you that we also have some pretty significant challenges ahead of us. And I’d like to address these now, one by one.

Remuneration

If we are serious about workforce development, then we cannot ignore the issue of wages. Correct me if I am wrong, but from what I have heard, remuneration is a big issue for nurses and midwives. The ALP, as part of its election platform in May of this year had much to say about improving wages and conditions in the childcare sector, and justifiably so. Childcare is another industry in which women dominate, but are underpaid.

We need the Commonwealth and State Governments to take a similar approach to nurses and midwives. As you all know, women make up almost 90% of all employed nurses and midwives. Representative bodies like NACCHO and CATSINaM need to work together to drive this message home to Governments across the country. Remuneration is an important aspect in attracting and retaining staff.

Vocational development

I think we need to keep improving the career development opportunities and skills acquisition not just for nurses and midwives, but for all Aboriginal health workers. Currently, there is an imbalance in the medical services in which we see more Aboriginal people on the lower levels and amongst the non-clinical staff.

The graph in my presentation shows the situation for ACCHOs. We need more Aboriginal non-clinical staff but we need even more Aboriginal clinical staff.

Recruitment

I see that CATSINaM has a proud record in increasing its membership in recent years. I think you had a record number in your 2018 Annual Report – 1,366 members – representing a jump of 35%. Clearly, you are doing something right to have recruited so many new members.

You must have won the trust of your members to have such a healthy and expanding membership base. With almost half of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwifes in Australia as your members, CATSINaM is the key organisation in addressing many of the workforce development issues in our sector.

Certainly, much more needs to be done to develop career pathways to secure more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwifes as well as more doctors and allied health professionals.

Across Australia in 2015 the AIHW reported that there were only about 180 medical practitioners, 750 allied health professionals, and 3,200 nurses (including 230 midwives) who identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people. For nurses, this represents just over 1% of all employed nurses and midwives Australia-wide.

The Northern Territory (2.4%) and Tasmania (2.2%) had the highest proportion of Aboriginal nurses and midwives, while Victoria had the lowest (0.5%). Compare these figures to our proportion of working-age Australians – close to 3.%. We should have 3% of all nurses and midwives, not 1%.

As I have already said, our sector is the largest employer of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the country.

Now, if the ACCHOs as a group employ about 6,000 staff, of which 56 per cent are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders, then we still have another 2,500 jobs in our own sector which could be filled by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

We have a significant opportunity here. Think of what we could do for our people if we filled such a large number of jobs.

Retention

A big challenge that we confront every day – particularly in the bush – is retention. Stress and burnout is a real problem as Fran Baum’s research has shown. Turnover of staff is high and vacancies remain unfilled for longer than we would like.

With so many vacancies, particularly in remote clinics, a concerted effort could also have a significant positive impact on the size and health of our workforce. It is troubling to hear of the high reported vacancy rate of 6% (i.e. about 380 vacancies at any point in time).

Nevertheless, ACCHOs are doing pretty well in comparison with mainstream and non-Aboriginal organisations. The proportion of health vacancies was 6% compared with 9% for other organisations. My guess is that it is cultural safety that explains the advantage here.

So, if we have a good model and we have sector already working hard for Aboriginal health, then how are we going?

Life expectancy target not met

If we look at just one of the ‘Closing the Gap’ targets – life expectancy – you can see how stark the differences are. According to ABS data, which probably overestimate Aboriginal life expectancy, non-Aboriginal Australians can expect to live to about the age of 82. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are lucky to make it to 72. T

hat’s a ten-year difference. We would be better off living in other countries where the life expectancy is higher. Countries – believe it or not – like Bangladesh or Azerbaijan. Life expectancy is longer in some Third World countries than it is for our people.

Funding for Aboriginal health has fallen

Despite all the words we have heard from Commonwealth and State Governments over the years about ‘Closing the Gap’, instead of increasing expenditure, Governments have actually decreased expenditure on Aboriginal health over the past decade.

Governments need to spend two to three times more on Aboriginal health if we are to have a level of funding commensurate with the actual cost of the burden of disease. This is a huge sum – about $1.4 billion per year – on one estimate.

In real terms health expenditure (excluding hospital expenditure) for Aboriginal people fell 2% from $3,840 per person in 2008 to $3,780 per person in 2016. Over the same period, expenditure on non-Aboriginal people rose by 10%. How can you expect to close the gap when you are reducing funding for our people and increasing it for the non-Aboriginal population?

If we act as one, we can turn things around.

Look at the way that the Aboriginal peaks, like NACCHO and CATSINaM, stood together to force the nine Australian governments to restart the Closing the Gap process. Before we came together and complained to them, the consultation process was expensive lip service.

Before we stood together with one voice, our separate voices were ignored. Now they are listening. Now things are back on track.

Funds are tighter than ever to procure, but, over the years, we have built a world class model of health care and there is too much at stake for us now to start drifting backwards now.

The timing is critical, especially now that we have a re-elected Government and the new arrangements in the administration of Aboriginal programs. It is great to see Ken Wyatt as the first Aboriginal Cabinet member as the Minister for Indigenous Australians.

But we need to engage as closely as we can with him and with Minister Hunt. We also need to keep the dialogue open with Senator Dodson, Senator McCarthy and the Member for Barton in NSW, Linda Burney.

There are also plenty of good Aboriginal leaders in the State and Territory Governments and I urge you to keep talking to them. It is important to have our voice heard.

Especially when we face a mainstream system that continues to overlook us; especially when we have a mainstream system that continues to patronise us. If we don’t act now and keep the pressure up, we will lose some of our recent hard-won gains.

The future

Despite the appalling funding neglect for programs and the low wages paid to our health workers, you have shone in adversity. You are resilient. You survive despite whatever circumstances you find yourselves in.

It’s self-determination and the need to control our own health programs that led to the ACCHO model of care in the first place. It is a lesson for our sector.

If the system was working now, we would have zero preventable hospital admissions. The evidence is not just here, it is overseas as well.

In Canada it has been shown that First Nations communities that transitioned from government-control to community-control of health services experienced a 30% reduction in hospitalisation rates compared with communities where government control was maintained.

In a perfect world our model of primary care through community control would also be complete. We would have full coverage across the land.

We would also have an Aboriginal NDIS workforce in fully-funded models for disability services rolled out, Australia-wide.

And of course, all this hinges on a more accountable public health system and an uncapped needs-based funding model. Who knows, if we had all these things, we may even seriously imagine a future in which we have actually closed the health gap.

With Aboriginal health in Aboriginal hands I know that we can get there eventually.

NACCHO and CATSINaM can continue to work together and to set the way forward for Aboriginal health.

But we can also show the non-Aboriginal population what is possible. It is this future that I imagine for my daughter and my own family.

I am sure that it is a vision that we all share.

Leading the way for all of Australia through cultural safety and respect.

Have your say about what is needed to make real change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people #HaveYourSay about #closingthegap

There is a discussion booklet that has background information on Closing the Gap and sets out what will be talked about in the survey.

The survey will take a little bit of time to complete. It would be great if you can answer all the questions, but you can also just focus on the issues that you care about most.

To help you prepare your answers, you can look at a full copy here

The survey is open to everyone and can be accessed here:

https://www.naccho.org.au/programmes/coalition-of-peaks/have-your-say/

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #IYIL2019 and Early Childhood Development #ClosingTheGap : @theALNF shines on the world stage for its innovative use of technology to help solve the literacy challenges facing our Indigenous communities

 

“Language gives us a sense of identity and, for many Indigenous peoples globally, storytelling is the way our culture and history is shared through the generations. With the loss of language therefore comes the loss of identity.

The importance of First Language, particularly to early childhood development, has been recognised by the United Nations and it’s especially exciting for us to win this award during the International Year of Indigenous Languages ‘

Professor Tom Calma AO, Co-Chair of ALNF and Reconciliation Australia 

“ Language is more than a mere tool for communicating with other people. People simply don’t speak words. We connect, teach and exchange ideals. Indigenous languages allows each of us to express our unique perspective on the world we live in and with the people in which we share it with.

Unique words and expressions within language, even absence of, or taboos on certain words, provide invaluable insight to the culture and values each of us speaks.

Our Language empowers us.

It is a fundamental right to speak your own language, and to use it to express your identity, your culture and your history. For Indigenous people it lets us communicate our philosophies and our rights as they are within us, our choices and have been for our people for milleniums “

Minister Ken Wyatt sharing Australia’s story on preserving and revitalising #IndigenousLanguages at @UNHumanRights Council

Read full speech Here 

Australian technology innovation shone on the world stage today when the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation (ALNF) won the MIT Solve Challenge for ‘Early Childhood Development’ in New York.

The Australian charity was selected out of 1400 entrants, and was one of 61 finalists for the global accolade which recognises innovative technology solutions for global challenges.

ALNF was awarded for its ground-breaking ‘Living First Language Platform’ (LFLP), a highly accessible, cross- platform multi-media app that preserves and revitalises Indigenous First Languages, empowering speakers with best-practice literacy tools to learn to read, write and teach in their mother tongue

The award recognises ALNF’s innovative use of technology to help solve the literacy challenges facing Indigenous communities and will see MIT Solve deploy its global community of private, public, and non-profit leaders to help ALNF build the partnerships needed to scale their work nationally and internationally.

ALNF seeks to address the lack of linguistically inclusive early education, which is recognised by communities and leaders as a major factor in low levels of attainment and engagement of Indigenous children and families in early education.

In remote areas of Australia, around two-thirds of Indigenous children speak some words of an Indigenous language, and in some communities, almost 100% of children encounter English for  the first time when they enter school. Globally, around 221 million children do not have access to education in their First Language.

See a demonstration of the ‘Living First Language Platform’ in action here

Importantly, the platform also aims to stem the rapid and ever-increasing loss of Indigenous languages. There are more than 4,000 Indigenous languages in the world and devastatingly, one is lost approximately every 14 days.

The support from the MIT Solve network will help us to continue to develop and grow the platform’s capability, ensuring a robust Early Childhood Development resource. Additional funding received from investors and donors will go directly to ALNF to enable us to work with more communities in Australia to record our own Indigenous languages and improve literacy levels.”

ALNF is currently working with five Australian Indigenous language groups on the platform, in some instances recording ancient languages for the first time.

One of these languages, Erub Mer from the Torres Strait, has only a few fluent speakers remaining. Thanks to the Living First Language Platform, more than 2000 Erub Mer words have been added to ALNF’s teaching tool by an enthusiastic community, passionate about passing their language on to the next generation.

Photos from Erub Mer workshop Kenny Bedford 

The six global challenges in the MIT Solve Challenge were determined via consultation with more than 500 leaders and experts and workshops with communities around the world. ALNF was among 61 global finalists invited to New York city to pitch their technology solution to the MIT Solve Challenge Leadership Group — a judging panel of cross-sector leaders and MIT faculty —during U.N. General Assembly Week.

In addition to today’s MIT Solve win, the ‘Living First Language Platform also won in its category of ‘Innovation in Connecting People’ at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Innovation Awards in Austin, Texas earlier this year.

For more information or to donate go to alnf.org/program/firstlanguages/.

Have your say about what is needed to make real change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people #HaveYourSay about #closingthegap

There is a discussion booklet that has background information on Closing the Gap and sets out what will be talked about in the survey.

The survey will take a little bit of time to complete. It would be great if you can answer all the questions, but you can also just focus on the issues that you care about most.

To help you prepare your answers, you can look at a full copy here

The survey is open to everyone and can be accessed here:

https://www.naccho.org.au/programmes/coalition-of-peaks/have-your-say/

NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealth Download @NMHC National Report 2019 Released today : The Australian Government encourages PHNs to position Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services as preferred providers for mental health and suicide prevention services for our mob

” Working to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is a priority area for PHNs.

The PHN Advisory Panel Report recommended that PHN funds for mental health and suicide prevention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be provided directly to Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) as a priority, unless a better arrangement can be demonstrated.

The Senate Inquiry into the accessibility and quality of mental health services in rural and remote Australia also made a similar recommendation.

PHNs should continue to work on formalising partnerships with ACCHS.

The NMHC supports the recommendations made by both these reports and recommends that the Australian Government encourages PHNs to position ACCHS as preferred providers for mental health and suicide prevention services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people “

Extract from Page 14 

Recommendation 16: The Australian Government encourages PHNs to position Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services as preferred providers for mental health and suicide prevention services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The National Mental Health Commission today released its National Report 2019 on Australia’s mental health and suicide prevention system, including recommendations to improve outcomes.

Download the full 97 Page Report HERE 

National_Report_2019

or 9 Page Summary HERE 

National Report 2019 Summary – Accessible PDF

The Commission continues to recommend a whole-of-government approach to mental health and suicide prevention.

This broad approach ensures factors which impact individuals’ mental health and wellbeing such as housing, employment, education and social justice are addressed alongside the delivery of mental health care.

National Mental Health Commission Advisory Board Chair, Lucy Brogden, said we are living in a time when we’re seeing unprecedented investment and interest in making substantial improvements to our mental health system.

“Current national reforms are key, but complex, interrelated and broad in scope, and will take time before their implementation leads to tangible change for consumers and carers,” Mrs Brogden said.

“The National Report indicates while there are significant reforms underway at national, state and local levels, it’s crucial that we maintain momentum and implement these recommendations to ensure sustained change for consumers and carers.”

National Mental Health Commission CEO Christine Morgan said the National Report findings align with what Australians are sharing as part of the Connections Project, which has provided opportunities for the Commission to hear directly from consumers, carers and families, as well as service providers, about their experience of the current mental health system.

“What’s clear is we must remain focused on long term health objectives. Implementation of these targeted recommendations will support this focus,” Ms Morgan said.

The NMHC recommendations require collaboration across the sector.  As part of its ongoing monitoring and report role, the NMHC will work with stakeholders to identify how progress of the recommendations can be measured.

For your nearest ACCHO contact for HELP