NACCHO Aboriginal Health #RefreshTheCTGRefresh News : Dr @mperkinsnsw #ClosingtheGap failures are firmly rooted in racism and Nicholas Biddle From @ANU_CAEPR 4 lessons from 11 years of #ClosingtheGap reports

 

1. Some targets are easier than others

2. The life-expectancy measure is unpredictable

3. On-track one year, off-track the next

4. Indigenous Australians in the city and country have different needs

5.Closing the Gap Failures are firmly rooted in racism

” Scott Morrison last week became the fifth prime minister to deliver a Closing the Gap report to parliament – the 11th since the strategy began in 2008. Closing the Gap has aimed to reduce disadvantage among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with particular respect to life expectancy, child mortality, access to early childhood education, educational achievement and employment outcomes.

Almost every time a prime minister delivers the report, he or she states the need to move on from a deficits approach.

Which is exactly what Morrison did this time. But he also did something different. Four of the seven targets set in 2008 were due to expire in 2018.

So last year, the government developed the Closing the Gap Refresh – where targets would be updated in partnership with Indigenous people.

Nicholas Biddle ANU : Four lessons from 11 years of Closing the Gap reports : See in full Part 1 Below 

Read NACCHO Closing the Gap response and download the report

” Once again, minimal progress has been made towards closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.

Racism has been mentioned as an issue, but exactly how does racism make a contribution to this “unforgivable” state of affairs ?.

The answer is in the criminal justice system. Studies have shown mass incarceration has a profoundly negative effect on the health, education, and employment of families and communities-and Indigenous Australians are the most incarcerated group on Earth.

The US, the mother of all jailers imprisoned 655 people per 100,000 in 2018. Australia imprisoned 164 non Indigenous people and 2481 Indigenous people per 100,000. Western Australian imprisoned 3663 Aboriginal people per 100,000.

In 1991, when the report on Aboriginal Deaths in Custody was handed down, 14% of all prisoners were First Nations people.  By last year, the figure was 28%. ”

Lesson 5 Dr Meg Perkins is a registered psychologist, researcher and writer : See Part 2 Below

First Published in The Conversation 

The current report and the work leading up to it has led to new targets, such as a “significant and sustained progress to eliminate the over-representation of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care” and old targets framed differently.

For example, the headline new outcome for families, children and youth is that “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children thrive in their early years”. This is on top of more specific targets such as having 95% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander four-years-olds enrolled in early childhood education by 2025 – which this year is on track.


Read more: Closing the Gap is failing and needs a radical overhaul


Looking back on the past 11 years, there are several things we’ve learned. This includes those targets that seem easiest to meet, as well changes in the demographics of the population that complicate the measuring of the targets. Below are three lessons from the last decade of the policy.

https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/74BbT/1/

1. Some targets are easier than others

The targets where there has been some success tend to be those where government has more direct control. Consider the Year 12 attainment compared to the employment targets. To increase the proportion of Indigenous Australians completing year 12, the Commonwealth government can change the income support system to create incentives to not leave school, while state and territory governments can adjust the school leaving age.

That is not to downplay the efforts of parents, teachers, community leaders, and the students themselves. But, there are some direct policy levers.

To improve employment outcomes, on the other hand, discrimination among employers needs to be reduced, human capital levels increased, jobs need to be in areas where Indigenous people live and to match the skills and experiences of the Indigenous population. These are solvable policy problems with the right settings and community engagement. But, they are substantially more complex.


Read more: Three reasons why the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians aren’t closing


2. The life-expectancy measure is unpredictable

The main target has always been related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life expectancy. The 2019 report shows the target of closing the gap by 2031 is not on track.

Unfortunately, the life expectancy target is one of the more difficult to measure, as it uses multiple datasets that are potentially affected by different ways Indigenous people are counted in the census and changing levels of identification. The most recent estimates, based on data for 2015-17, are that life expectancy at birth is 71.6 years for Indigenous males and 75.6 years for Indigenous females.

While the gaps with the non-Indigenous population of 8.6 years and 7.8 years respectively are smaller than they were in 2010-12 (the previous estimates) the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and most demographers suggest extreme caution around the interpretation of this change. The ABS writes:

While the estimates in this release show a small improvement in life expectancy estimates and a reduction in the gap between 2010-2012 and 2015-2017, this improvement should be interpreted with considerable caution as the population composition has changed during this period.

More people have been identifying as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander over recent years. What’s more, the newly identified Indigenous people tend to have better outcomes on average (across health, education, and labour market outcomes) than those who were identified previously. This biases our estimates, making it appear there is more rapid progress than there might otherwise be.


Read more: Three charts on: the changing status of Indigenous Australians


The Closing the Gap framework was implicitly designed around improving the circumstances of the 2008 Indigenous population relative to the 2008 non-Indigenous population. However, both populations have changed substantially over the intervening years. There has been a growth of the non-Indigenous population due to international migration. It is hard to measure and track differences in changing populations.

3. On-track one year, off-track the next

There is also the yearly reporting cycle. The target of child mortality, for instance, no longer appears to be on track. This is despite it being on track in previous years. Yearly fluctuations make it hard to gauge the effectiveness of long-term policy settings.

For other indicators, such as employment, the data is available far less frequently than it could be, and we are less able to judge the effect of individual policies and interventions. Having said that, in my view, the sophistication and nuance with which data in the Closing the Gap reports has been presented has improved considerably.

It seems most policies prioritise Indigenous Australians living in remote areas than those in the city. David Clode/Unsplash

4. Indigenous Australians in the city and country have different needs

This isn’t always reflected in policy settings. The current report shows many outcomes are worse in remote compared to non-remote Australia. It also makes the point (though less frequently), that the vast majority of Indigenous Australians live in regional areas and major cities. This creates a tension between relative and absolute need. Unfortunately, the policy responses of government often don’t get that balance right.

Take the signature policy proposal announced with the current report – a suspension or cancelling of HECS debt for teachers who work in remote schools. What the policy ignores is that the vast majority of Indigenous students live outside remote Australia, that outcomes for Indigenous students in non-remote areas are well behind those of non-Indigenous students, and that the schools Indigenous students attend in non-remote areas tend to be very different from those of non-Indigenous students.


Read more: Infographic: Are we making progress on Indigenous education?


Attracting and keeping more high quality teachers in remote areas is a worthwhile policy aim. Alone, it is not sufficient.

The current report and speech by the prime minister states that “genuine partnerships are required to drive sustainable, systemic change” and that the government needs “to support initiatives led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to address the priorities identified by those communities”.

These are admirable goals. But, they require significant resources, a genuine engagement with the evidence (even if it isn’t positive), taking the Uluru Statement from the Heart seriously, and real ceding of control to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

5.Closing the Gap Failures are firmly rooted in racism

Some people think Aboriginal people must be uniquely anti-social and/or make very bad choices, but research tells us the majority of people in prison are suffering from severe cognitive impairments and/or mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder and major depression.

Why are we punishing people with disabilities for behaviour that may not be intentional ?.

When we look at children in school, we find three times as many Aboriginal children are suspended from school than non-Aboriginal children. Some of the special purpose schools in NSW are filled with Aboriginal children only.

Many youth detention centres in the country have 100 per cent Aboriginal inmates. Why are so many Aboriginal children being suspended from school and set on the road to crime and punishment, and what happens to white Australian children who are not able to behave appropriately in the classroom ?.

It seems mainstream Australian children are referred to health professionals when they have difficulties at school. They are seen as suffering from learning disabilities, autism, or ADHD. Speech therapists and other allied health professionals work to help them catch up with peers and stay in school.

Due to intergenerational disadvantage, Indigenous people often don’t have the resources to find a therapist to assist their child. People born before 1972 were not guaranteed a place in school, and so grand parents may not have had much education.

Parents may have left school in Year 8 or 9 and are not familiar with developmental norms or disabilities. If they know that their child is falling behind at school, they often do not have the money to pay for expensive psychological assessments, which cannot be done in Medicare. Without an assessment, and a diagnosis , the school cannot make allowances for a child with brain-based disabilities.

The racist policies of the past have left many Aboriginal people disadvantaged when it comes to dealing with the education system. If their child is having difficulties, suspensions are often the consequence. Once suspended and out on the street, racism sets in again.

Aboriginal children are searched and arrested more often. We will never close the disadvantage gap until we can offer support to the children of young people. We need to raise the age criminal responsibility from 10 to 15 years, and spend money on supporting children, not punishing them.

Dr Meg Perkins

 

NACCHO #SaveaDate : This week features #WorldDayofSocial Justice @Galambila #Culture and @awabakalltd #Youth ACCHO @DjirraVIC Plus @CongressMob International Conference #HousingCrisis #WIHC2019 #Homelessness

20 February World Day of Social Justice

Download the 2019 Health Awareness Days Calendar 

21 February Galambila ACCHO Gumbaynggirr Cultural Show for Coffs Harbour Pharmacists 

22 February Awabakal ACCHO Strong Youth Launch

6 March AIATSIS Culture and Policy Symposium

9 March  Bush to Beach Project Grazing Style Light Indigenous Marathon Fundraiser

12- 13 March Overcoming Indigenous Family Violence 

14 – 15 March 2019 Close the Gap for Vision by 2020 – National Conference 2019

21 March National Close the Gap Day

21 March Indigenous Ear Health Workshop Brisbane

24 -27 March National Rural Health Alliance Conference

20 -24 May 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference. Gold Coast

18 -20 June Lowitja Health Conference Darwin

2019 Dr Tracey Westerman’s Workshops 

7 -14 July 2019 National NAIDOC Grant funding round opens

24 -26 September 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference

5-8 November The Lime Network Conference New Zealand 

20 February World Day of Social Justice

Social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations.

We uphold the principles of social justice when we promote gender equality or the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants.

We advance social justice when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability.

For the United Nations, the pursuit of social justice for all is at the core of our global mission to promote development and human dignity.

The adoption by the International Labour Organization of the Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization is just one recent example of the UN system’s commitment to social justice.

The Declaration focuses on guaranteeing fair outcomes for all through employment, social protection, social dialogue, and fundamental principles and rights at work.

2019 theme: If You Want Peace & Development, Work for Social Justice

Social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. The ILO estimates that currently about 2 billion people live in fragile and conflict-affected situations, of whom more than 400 million are aged 15 to 29.

Job creation, better quality jobs, and better access to jobs for the bottom 40 per cent have the potential to increase incomes and contribute to more cohesive and equitable societies and thus are important to prevent violent conflicts and to address post-conflict challenges.

Download the 2019 Calendar Health Awareness Days

For many years ACCHO organisations have said they wished they had a list of the many Indigenous “ Days “ and Aboriginal health or awareness days/weeks/events.

With thanks to our friends at ZockMelon here they both are!

It even has a handy list of the hashtags for the event.

Download the 53 Page 2019 Health days and events calendar HERE

naccho zockmelon 2019 health days and events calendar

We hope that this document helps you with your planning for the year ahead.

Every Tuesday we will update these listings with new events and What’s on for the week ahead

To submit your events or update your info

Contact: Colin Cowell www.nacchocommunique.com

NACCHO Social Media Editor Tel 0401 331 251

Email : nacchonews@naccho.org.au

21 February Galambila ACCHO Gumbaynggirr Cultural Show for Coffs Harbour Pharmacists 

Please join us in the evening on Thursday the 21st of February 2019 for a Gumbaynggirr Cultural Show.

Through the QUMAX program (Quality Use of Medicines for Maximised for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people), Galambila AHS will be hosting a cultural event for pharmacists, pharmacy assistants and health professionals in Coffs Harbour to learn more about our local indigenous culture. QUMAX Cultural Awareness activities aim to improve culturally sensitive care for Aboriginal clients and enhance the working relationship between Galambila and local pharmacies.

The event will be run by Clark Webb and his team at Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan Aboriginal Corporation (BMNAC). BMNAC recently won a Bronze Medal at the 2018 NSW Tourism Awards for Excellence in Aboriginal Tourism. To see more information on what this great organisation is all about, visit their website at the following link: https://bmnac.org.au/

The night will include the following:

– Traditional Welcome to Country

– Traditional fire making

– Introductory Gumbaynggirr Language Lesson

– Sharing of traditional Gumbaynggirr dreaming stories that connect participants to our local landscape

– Uses of various varieties of plants, including medicinal

– Damper and tea will be provided on the night

Please RSVP by COB on Monday 18th of February 2019 via Eventbrite. Get in quick as places will be limited!

BOOK HERE 

21 February Winyarr Dreaming Creations, Marngrook workshop 

 

The wonderful Bernadette Atkinson will be leading the way, sharing her knowledge and creativity.

To avoid missing out, please contact the Koori Women’s Place team on 03 9244 3333 or kwp@djirra.org.au

22 February Awabakal ACCHO Strong Youth Launch

Featuring MC Sean Choolburra and performances by Koori Rep, Shanelle Dargan (as seen on X-Factor) and Last Kinnection.

RSVP: 0457 868 980 or zkhan@awabakal.org by February 15.

6 March AIATSIS Culture and Policy Symposium 

Info and Register

9 March  Bush to Beach Project Grazing Style Light Indigenous Marathon Fundraiser

The Port Macquarie Running Festival is happening over the weekend of the 9th-10th March 2019. As a part of this event we are running a fundraiser to support the important work being undertaken by Charlie & Tali Maher as a part of the Indigenous Marathon Project Running And Walking group. Come along to hear from Olympians Nova Peris, Steve Moneghette & Robert de Castella while meeting members of the Indigenous Marathon Project over lunch. We hope to see you there.

All funds raised will go towards the Bush to Beach Project. The project aims
to develop a strong relationship between the Northern Territory community of
Ntaria and the coastal community of Port Macquarie, with an exchange program
occurring several times throughout the year. This will include young Indigenous
people visiting the communities and participating in running and walking events
to promote healthy living. We thank you for your support.

Guest Speakers: Olympians Nova Peris, Steve Moneghetti & Robert de Castella.

Any enquiries please get in touch with Nina Cass or Charlie Maher (ninacass87@gmail.com / charles.maher@det.nsw.edu.au)

Tickets $59 Register HERE 

12- 13 March Overcoming Indigenous Family Violence 

Djirra has been chosen to be the charity partner of the next Overcoming Indigenous Family Violence conference organised by Aventedge in Melbourne on the 12th and 13th of March.

On the first day, Tuesday 12th of March, Marion Hansen, Djirra’s chairperson, will give the opening and closing address. At 10.30am, Djirra’s CEO Antoinette Braybrook will share her experience and knowledge on Supporting Aboriginal women, their children and communities to be safe, culturally strong and free from violence.

Family violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, predominantly women and their children, is a national crisis.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and their organisations hold the solutions to ending the disproportionate rates of family violence. However this requires the support and involvement of a range of stakeholders around the country.

The 5th annual Overcoming Indigenous Family Violence Forum (Melbourne & Perth) has partnered with Djirra and brings together representatives from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Organisations, specialist family violence support and prevention services, community legal services, government, police and not-for-profit organisations.

During the course of this conference and 1-day workshop, we will explore critical issues in working to end family violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including state and federal government initiatives; how frontline services are engaging in prevention, early intervention and response; learning from the stories and experiences of survivors of family violence; working more effectively with people who use violence towards accountability and behaviour change and the impacts of family violence on children and young people.

For more information on these events, pricing and discounts click below:
Melbourne | 12th-14th March 2019
Event homepage – www.ifv-mel.aventedge.com
Register here – http://elm.aventedge.com/ifv-mel-register

Perth | 5th-6th March 2019
Event homepage – www.ifv-per.aventedge.com
Register here – http://elm.aventedge.com/ifv-per/register

 

14 – 15 March 2019 Close the Gap for Vision by 2020 – National Conference 2019

Indigenous Eye Health (IEH) at the University of Melbourne and co-host Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT), are pleased to invite you to register for the Close the Gap for Vision by 2020:Strengthen & Sustain – National Conference 2019 which will be held at the Alice Springs Convention Centre on Thursday 14 and Friday 15 March 2019 in the Northern Territory. This conference is also supported by our partners, Vision 2020 Australia, Optometry Australia and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists.

The 2019 conference, themed ‘Strengthen & Sustain’ will provide opportunity to highlight the very real advances being made in Aboriginal and Torres Strait eye health. It will explore successes and opportunities to strengthen eye care and initiatives and challenges to sustain progress towards the goal of equitable eye care by 2020. To this end, the conference will include plenary speakers, panel discussions and presentations as well as upskilling workshops and cultural experiences.

Registration (including workshops, welcome reception and conference dinner) is $250. Registrations close on 28 February 2019.

Who should attend?

The conference is designed to bring people together and connect people involved in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye care from local communities, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, health services, non-government organisations, professional bodies and government departments from across the country. We would like to invite everyone who is working on or interested in improving eye health and care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Speakers will be invited, however this year we will also be calling for abstracts for Table Top presentations and Poster presentations – further details on abstract submissions to follow.

Please share and forward this information with colleagues and refer people to this webpage where the conference program and additional informationwill become available in the lead up to the conference. Note: Please use the conference hashtag #CTGV19.

We look forward to you joining us in the Territory in 2019 for learning and sharing within the unique beauty and cultural significance of Central Australia.

Additional Information:

If you have any questions or require additional information, please contact us at indigenous-eyehealth@unimelb.edu.au or contact IEH staff Carol Wynne (carol.wynne@unimelb.edu.au; 03 8344 3984 email) or Mitchell Anjou (manjou@unimelb.edu.au; 03 8344 9324).

Close the Gap for Vision by 2020: Strengthen & Sustain – National Conference 2019 links:

– Conference General Information

– Conference Program

– Conference Dinner & Leaky Pipe Awards

– Staying in Alice Springs

More information available at: go.unimelb.edu.au/wqb6 

21 March National Close the Gap Day

 

Description

National Close the Gap Day is a time for all Australians to come together and commit to achieving health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Close the Gap Campaign will partner with Tharawal Aboriginal Aboriginal Medical Services, South Western Sydney, to host an exciting community event and launch our Annual Report.

Visit the website of our friends at ANTaR for more information and to register your support. https://antar.org.au/campaigns/national-close-gap-day

EVENT REGISTER

21 March Indigenous Ear Health Workshop Brisbane 

The Australian Society of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery is hosting a workshop on Indigenous Ear Health in Brisbane on Thursday, 21 March 2019.

This meeting is the 7th to be organised by ASOHNS and is designed to facilitate discussion about the crucial health issue and impact of ear disease amongst Indigenous people.

The meeting is aimed at bringing together all stakeholders involved in managing Indigenous health and specifically ear disease, such as:  ENT surgeons, GPs, Paediatricians, Nurses, Audiologists, Speech Therapists, Allied Health Workers and other health administrators (both State and Federal).

Download Program and Contact 

Indigenous Ear Health 2019 Program

24 -27 March National Rural Health Alliance Conference

Interested in the health and wellbeing of rural or remote Australia?

This is the conference for you.

In March 2019 the rural health sector will gather in Hobart for the 15th National Rural Conference.  Every two years we meet to learn, listen and share ideas about how to improve health outcomes in rural and remote Australia.

Proudly managed by the National Rural Health Alliance, the Conference has a well-earned reputation as Australia’s premier rural health event.  Not just for health professionals, the Conference recognises the critical roles that education, regional development and infrastructure play in determining health outcomes, and we welcome people working across a wide variety of industries.

Join us as we celebrate our 15th Conference and help achieve equitable health for the 7 million Australians living in rural and remote areas.

Hobart and its surrounds was home to the Muwinina people who the Alliance acknowledges as the traditional and original owners of this land.  We pay respect to those that have passed before us and acknowledge today’s Tasmanian Aboriginal community as the custodians of the land on which we will meet.

More info 

20 -24 May 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference. Gold Coast

Thank you for your interest in the 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference.

The 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference will bring together Indigenous leaders, government, industry and academia representing Housing, health, and education from around the world including:

  • National and International Indigenous Organisation leadership
  • Senior housing, health, and education government officials Industry CEOs, executives and senior managers from public and private sectors
  • Housing, Healthcare, and Education professionals and regulators
  • Consumer associations
  • Academics in Housing, Healthcare, and Education.

The 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference #2019WIHC is the principal conference to provide a platform for leaders in housing, health, education and related services from around the world to come together. Up to 2000 delegates will share experiences, explore opportunities and innovative solutions, work to improve access to adequate housing and related services for the world’s Indigenous people.

Event Information:

Key event details as follows:
Venue: Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre
Address: 2684-2690 Gold Coast Hwy, Broadbeach QLD 4218
Dates: Monday 20th – Thursday 23rd May, 2019 (24th May)

Registration Costs

  • EARLY BIRD – FULL CONFERENCE & TRADE EXHIBITION REGISTRATION: $1950 AUD plus booking fees
  • After 1 February FULL CONFERENCE & TRADE EXHIBITION REGISTRATION $2245 AUD plus booking fees

PLEASE NOTE: The Trade Exhibition is open Tuesday 21st May – Thursday 23rd May 2019

Please visit www.2019wihc.com for further information on transport and accommodation options, conference, exhibition and speaker updates.

Methods of Payment:

2019WIHC online registrations accept all major credit cards, by Invoice and direct debit.
PLEASE NOTE: Invoices must be paid in full and monies received by COB Monday 20 May 2019.

Please note: The 2019 WIHC organisers reserve the right of admission. Speakers, programs and topics are subject to change. Please visit http://www.2019wihc.comfor up to date information.

Conference Cancellation Policy

If a registrant is unable to attend 2019 WIHC for any reason they may substitute, by arrangement with the registrar, someone else to attend in their place and must attend any session that has been previously selected by the original registrant.

Where the registrant is unable to attend and is not in a position to transfer his/her place to another person, or to another event, then the following refund arrangements apply:

    • Registrations cancelled less than 60 days, but more than 30 days before the event are eligible for a 50% refund of the registration fees paid.
    • Registrations cancelled less than 30 days before the event are no longer eligible for a refund.

Refunds will be made in the following ways:

  1. For payments received by credit or debit cards, the same credit/debit card will be refunded.
  2. For all other payments, a bank transfer will be made to the payee’s nominated account.

Important: For payments received from outside Australia by bank transfer, the refund will be made by bank transfer and all bank charges will be for the registrant’s account. The Cancellation Policy as stated on this page is valid from 1 October 2018.

Terms & Conditions

please visit www.2019wihc.com

Privacy Policy

please visit www.2019wihc.com

 

18 -20 June Lowitja Health Conference Darwin


At the Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2019 delegates from around the world will discuss the role of First Nations in leading change and will showcase Indigenous solutions.

The conference program will highlight ways of thinking, speaking and being for the benefit of Indigenous peoples everywhere.

Join Indigenous leaders, researchers, health professionals, decision makers, community representatives, and our non-Indigenous colleagues in this important conversation.

More Info 

2019 Dr Tracey Westerman’s Workshops 

More info and dates

7 -14 July 2019 National NAIDOC Grant funding round opens 

The opening of the 2019 National NAIDOC Grant funding round has been moved forward! The National NAIDOC Grants will now officially open on Thursday 24 January 2019.

Head to www.naidoc.org.au to join the National NAIDOC Mailing List and keep up with all things grants or check out the below links for more information now!

https://www.finance.gov.au/resource-management/grants/grantconnect/

https://www.pmc.gov.au/indigenous-affairs/grants-and-funding/naidoc-week-funding

24 -26 September 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference

 

 

The 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference will be held in Sydney, 24th – 26th September 2019. Make sure you save the dates in your calendar.

Further information to follow soon.

Date: Tuesday the 24th to Thursday the 26th September 2019

Location: Sydney, Australia

Organiser: Chloe Peters

Phone: 02 6262 5761

Email: admin@catsinam.org.au

 

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 #MentalHealth : Minister @KenWyattMP and @NRL roll out the Indigenous All Stars #StateofMind mental health program @DeadlyChoices

” Mental health is about being able to work and study to your full potential, cope with day-to-day life stresses, be involved in your community, and live your life in a free and satisfying way. A person who has good mental health has good emotional and social wellbeing and the capacity to cope with change and challenges.

Feeling down, tense, angry, anxious or moody are all normal emotions for people, but when these feelings persist for long periods of time, or if they begin to interfere with their daily life, they may be part of a mental health problem.

Mental health problems can affect your feelings, thoughts and actions, and can affect your ability to function in their everyday activities, whether at school, at work, or in relationships.

If you feel you know a person whose mental health is getting in the way of their daily life, it is important to let them know you are there to support them.

Most parents can tell when something is out of the ordinary, but there are also signs that suggest a young person might be experiencing a mental health problem. “

See Part 2 Below for More INFO and Support HELP Links

Read over 200 Aboriginal Mental Health articles published by NACCHO over past 7 years 

 ” The Federal Government is investing $660,000 over three years into the National Rugby League’s (NRL) Indigenous All Stars, State of Mind program.

The initiative will deliver mental health and resilience workshops to over 500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including Indigenous All Stars players, youth summit participants and 15 grassroots clubs with a high proportion of First Nations players.

Elite players will be developed as mental health advocacy leaders within their clubs and communities, encouraging help-seeking behaviours. ”

Minister Ken Wyatt Press Release

With rugby league the most popular participation sport in First Nations communities, the NRL will leverage the game’s reach, profile, clubs and players, to help remove the stigma around mental illness.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience high, or very high, psychological distress, at a rate 2.6 times higher than the rest of the nation.

The NRL developed State of Mind in partnership with Lifeline, Kids Helpline, headspace and the Black Dog Institute.

State of Mind was promoted during the Indigenous All Stars game on Friday 15 February 2019 in Melbourne.

All Star Womens Team

The Deadly Choices and the VAHS ACCHO team set up outside of AAMI Park for the Indigenous All-Stars and visited the Fitzroy clinic

Mental health tools and resources, along with information about the program, is available on the NRL State of Mind website.

Our Government funds a number digital mental health and suicide prevention services, which support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including:

    • $34 million from 2017-19 for BeyondBlue, to provide information, resources and services on their website that support social and emotional wellbeing
    • $16.9 million from 2018-21 for MindSpot, for their free, national online clinic for the treatment of anxiety and depression
    • $6.4 million per year for headspace for their eheadspace program, which provides free, confidential and anonymous telephone and web-based support for young people aged 12 to 25 years with, or at risk of developing, mild to moderate mental illness.

If you need help now

If you are in an emergency situation or need immediate assistance, contact mental health services or emergency services on 000.

If you need to speak to someone urgently, call Lifeline on 13 11 14or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

Or contact one of our 302 ACCHO Clinics

Part 2 State of Mind 

Signs and Symptoms

It can be helpful to talk to someone about what’s going on in your life if you have noticed a change in how you are feeling and thinking. This might include:

  • Feeling things have changed or aren’t quite right
  • Changes in the way that you carry out your day-to-day life
  • Not enjoying, or not wanting to be involved in things that you would normally enjoy
  • Changes in appetite or sleeping patterns
  • Being easily irritated or having problems with friends and family for no reason
  • Finding your performance at school, TAFE, university or work is not as good as it used to be
  • Being involved in risky behavior that you would usually avoid, like taking drugs or drinking too much alcohol, or depending on these substances to feel “normal”
  • Feeling sad or ‘down’ or crying for no apparent reason
  • Having trouble concentrating or remembering things
  • Having negative, distressing, bizarre or unusual thoughts
  • Feeling unusually stressed or worried.

Metal health risk factors

A number of overlapping factors may increase your risk of developing a mental health problem. These can include:

  • Early life experiences: abuse, neglect, or the loss of someone close to you
  • Individual factors: level of self-esteem, coping skills and thinking styles
  • Current circumstances: stress at school or work, money problems, difficult personal relationship, or problems within your family
  • Biological factors: family history of mental health problems

Looking after your mental health

here are a number of things you can do to look after and maintain your mental health and wellbeing. For example, many people cope with stress by getting involved with sports, exercising, meditating, or practising yoga or relaxation techniques. Others express themselves through art, such as poetry, writing or music. What you eat might also affect your mood – a well-balanced diet will help keep you both physically and mentally healthy.

If you are concerned about your own or a friend’s mental health and wellbeing, headspace is a great place to go for help. Getting support can help you keep on track at school, study or work, and in your personal and family relationships. The sooner you get help the sooner things can begin to improve for you.

The link between good mental health and exercise

Physical exercise is good for our mental health and for our brains. Exercise seems to have an effect on certain chemicals (dopamine and serotonin) in the brain. Brain cells use these chemicals to communicate with each other, so they affect your mood and thinking. Exercise can also stimulate other chemicals in the brain (brain derived neurotrophic factors) which help new brain cells to grow and develop. Exercise also seems to reduce harmful changes in the brain caused by stress.

Any exercise is better than none. A moderate level of exercise seems to work best. This is roughly equivalent to walking fast, but being able to talk to someone at the same time. It’s recommended that if you’re aged 12-18 you need 60 minutes, or if you’re over 18 you need 30 minutes, of moderate physical exercise on most, but preferably all days. This can be done in one 30 minute session or broken up into shorter 10 or 15 minute sessions.

When you’re feeling down the last thing you might feel like doing is working out, but studies have suggested that any activity, from walking around the block to yoga to biking could contribute to improving the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Visit www.headspace.org.au for more information on all of the above topics.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Pre- #Budget2019 -2020 : #RefreshTheCTGRefresh :The following #ClosingTheGap policy proposals are informed by NACCHO’s consultations with its Affiliates and our 145 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services:

 

The proposals included in this submission are based on the extensive experience NACCHO member services have of providing many years of comprehensive primary health care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

We have long recognised that closing the gap on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and disadvantage will never be achieved until primary health care services’ infrastructure hardware is fit for purpose; our people are living in safe and secure housing; culturally safe and trusted early intervention services are available for our children and their families; and our psychological, social, emotional and spiritual needs are acknowledged and supported.=

If these proposals are adopted, fully funded and implemented, they provide a pathway forward where improvements in life expectancy can be confidently predicted. “  

Pat Turner AM NACCHO CEO on behalf of our State and Territory Affiliates and 145 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services operating 302 ACCHO Clinics

Download this 20 Page NACCHO Submission

NACCHO Budget Submission 2019-20 FINAL

NACCHO is the national peak body representing 145 ACCHOs across the country on Aboriginal health and wellbeing issues.

In 1997, the Federal Government funded NACCHO to establish a Secretariat in Canberra, greatly increasing the capacity of Aboriginal peoples involved in ACCHOs to participate in national health policy development. Our members provide about three million episodes of care per year for about 350,000 people. In very remote areas, our services provide about one million episodes of care in a twelve-month period.

Collectively, we employ about 6,000 staff (56 per cent whom are Indigenous), which makes us the single largest employer of Indigenous people in the country.

The following policy proposals are informed by NACCHO’s consultations with its Affiliates and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services:

  1. Increase base funding of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services;
  2. Increase funding for capital works and infrastructure;
  3. Improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing and community infrastructure;
  4. Reduce the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in out-of-home care and detention; and
  5. Strengthen the Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

NACCHO is committed to working with the Australian Government to further develop the proposals, including associated costings and implementation plans and identifying where current expenditure could be more appropriately targeted.

1. Increase base funding of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services

Proposal:

That the Australian Government:

  • Commits to increasing the baseline funding for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to support the sustainable delivery of high quality, comprehensive primary health care services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.
  • Works together with NACCHO and Affiliates to agree to a new formula for the provision of comprehensive primary health care funding that is relative to need.

Rationale: 

The Productivity Commission’s 2017 Indigenous Expenditure Report found that per capita government spending on Indigenous services was twice as high as for the rest of the population. The view that enormous amounts of money have been spent on Indigenous Affairs has led many to conclude a different focus is required and that money is not the answer. Yet, the key question in understanding the relativities of expenditure on Indigenous is equity of total expenditure, both public and private and in relation to need.

The Commonwealth Government spends $1.4 for every $1 spent on the rest of the population, while Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have 2.3 times the per capita need of the rest of the population because of much higher levels of illness and burden of disease. In its 2018 Report Card on Indigenous Health, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) states that spending less per capita on those with worse health, is ‘untenable national policy and that must be rectified’.1 The AMA also adds that long-term failure to adequately fund primary health care – especially Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) – is a major contributing factor to failure in closing health and life expectancy gaps.

Despite the challenges of delivering services in fragmented and insufficient funding environments, studies have shown that ACCHSs deliver more cost-effective, equitable and effective primary health care services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and are 23 per cent better at attracting and retaining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients than mainstream providers.2 ACCHSs continue to specialise in providing comprehensive primary care consistent with clients’ needs.

This includes home and site visits; provision of medical, public health and health promotion services; allied health, nursing services; assistance with making appointments and transport; help accessing child care or dealing with the justice system; drug and alcohol services; and providing help with income support.

                                                        

1https://ama.com.au/system/tdf/documents/2018%20AMA%20Report%20Card%20on%20Indigenous%20Heal th_1.pdf?file=1&type=node&id=49617, page 6.

2 Ong, Katherine S, Rob Carter, Margaret Kelaher, and Ian Anderson. 2012. Differences in Primary Health Care

Delivery to Australia’s Indigenous Population: A Template for Use in Economic Evaluations, BMC Health

Services Research 12:307; Campbell, Megan Ann, Jennifer Hunt, David J Scrimgeour, Maureen Davey and

Victoria Jones. 2017. Contribution of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to improving Aboriginal

There are limits, however, to the extent that ACCHSs can continue to deliver quality, safe primary health care in fragmented and insufficient funding environments. This is particularly challenging to meet the health care needs of a fast-growing population.3 There is an urgent need to identify and fill the current health service gaps, particularly in primary health care, and with a focus on areas with high preventable hospital admissions and deaths and low use of the Medical Benefits Scheme and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

An appropriately resourced Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector represents an evidence-based, cost-effective and efficient solution for addressing the COAG Close the Gap and strategy and will result in gains for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ health and wellbeing.

Strengthening the workforce

NACCHO welcomes COAG’s support for a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Medical Workforce Plan. A long-term plan for building the workforce capabilities of ACCHSs is overdue. Many services struggle with the recruitment and retention of suitably qualified staff, and there are gaps in the number of professionals working in the sector.

NACCHO believes that the plan will be strengthened by expanding its scope to include:

  • metropolitan based services;
  • expanding the range of workforce beyond doctors and nurses; and
  • recognising that non-Indigenous staff comprise almost half of the workforce. While Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health staff are critical to improving access to culturally appropriate care and Indigenous health outcomes, consideration to the non-Indigenous workforce who contribute to improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health outcomes should also be given.

An increase in the baseline funding for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, as set out in this proposal will enable our sector to plan for and build workforce capabilities in line with the Health and Medical Workforce Plan objectives.

2. Increase funding for capital works and infrastructure upgrades

Proposal:

That the Australian Government:

  • Commits to increasing funding allocated through the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme for capital works and infrastructure upgrades, and  Telehealth services; noting that at least $500m is likely to be needed to address unmet needs, based on the estimations of 38.6 per cent of the ACCHO sector, and we anticipate that those needs may be replicated across the sector (see Table A below).

Rationale: 

There is a current shortfall in infrastructure with a need for new buildings in existing and outreach locations, and renovations to increase amenities including consultation spaces. Additional funding is required for additional rooms and clinics mapped against areas of highest need with consideration to establishing satellite, outreach or permanent ACCHSs.

Many of the Aboriginal health clinics are 20 to 40 years old and require major refurbishment, capital works and updating to meet increasing population and patient numbers. The lack of consulting rooms and derelict infrastructure severely limits our services’ ability to increase MBS access.

Further, whilst there may be some scope to increase MBS billing rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, this cannot be achieved without new services and infrastructure. A vital priority is seed funding for the provision of satellite and outreach Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will access, and which provide the comprehensive services needed to fill the service gaps, to boost the use of MBS and PBS services to more equitable levels, and to reduce preventable admissions and deaths.

Improvements to the building infrastructure of ACCHSs are required to strengthen their capacity to address gaps in service provision, attract and retain clinical staff, and support the safety and accessibility of clinics and residential staff facilities. However, the level of funding of $15m per annum, under the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme allocated for Capital Works – Infrastructure, Support and Assessment and Service Maintenance, is not keeping up with demand.

In our consultations with Affiliates and ACCHSs, NACCHO is increasingly hearing that

Telehealth services,[1] including infrastructure/hardware and improved connectivity, is required to support the provision of NDIS, mental health and health specialist services. A total of 22 out of 56 survey responses (see Table A below) identified the need for Telehealth to support service provision.

NACCHO believes that insufficient funding to meet capital works and infrastructure needs is adversely impacting the capacity of some ACCHSs to safely deliver comprehensive, timely and responsive primary health care; employ sufficient staff; to improve their uptake of Medicare billing; and to keep up with their accreditation requirements. In January 2019, we surveyed ACCHSs about their capital works and infrastructure needs, including Telehealth services. We received 56 responses, representing a response rate of 38.6 per cent.

 

Survey respondents estimated the total costs of identified capital works and infrastructure upgrades (see Table A below). The estimated costs have not been verified; however, they do

suggest there is a great level of unmet need in the sector. Please note that not all respondents were able to provide estimates.

Table A. Estimated costs of capital works and infrastructure upgrades identified by ACCHSs

Type Number of respondents Percentage of respondents Total estimated costs
Replace existing building 43 76.7% 207,559,043
New location/satellite clinic 21 37.5% 53,480,000
Extension 24 42.8% 18,310,000
Refurbishment 29 51.7% 35,251,000
Staff accommodation 25 44.6% 39,450,000
Telehealth services 22 39.2% 6,018,763
Total estimated costs of capital works and infrastructure upgrades $361,068,806

 

37 survey respondents applied for funding for infrastructure improvements from the Australian Government Department of Health during 2017 and/or 2018. Of the 11 that were successful, four respondents stated that the allocated funds were not sufficient for requirements.

ACCHSs believe that the current state of their service infrastructure impedes the capacity of their services as depicted in Table B, below:

Table B: Impact of ACCHSs’ infrastructure needs on service delivery

Infrastructure impeding service delivery Highly affected Somewhat affected
Safe delivery of quality health care 48.1% 51.9%
Increase client numbers 74.1% 25.9%
Expand the range of services and staff numbers 83.3% 16.7%
Increase Medicare billing 66% 34%

 

An extract of feedback provided by ACCHSs relating to their capital works and infrastructure needs is at Appendix A.

3. Improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing and community infrastructure

Proposals:

That the Australian Government:

  • Expand the funding and timeframe of the current National Partnership on Remote Housing to match AT LEAST that of the former National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing.
  • Establish and fund a program that supports healthy living environments in urban, regional and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, similar to the Fixing Houses for Better Health program. Ensure that rigorous data collection and program evaluation structures are developed and built into the program, to provide the Commonwealth Government with information to enable analysis of how housing improvements impact on health indicators.[2]
  • Update and promote the National Indigenous Housing Guide, a best practice resource for the design, construction and maintenance of housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.[3]

Rationale: 

Safe and decent housing is one of the biggest social determinants of health and we cannot overlook this when working to close the gap in life expectancy.

1. Remote Indigenous Housing

The National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing 2008-2018 was a COAG initiative that committed funding of $5.4b towards new builds, refurbishments, housing quality, cyclical maintenance, and community engagement and employment and business initiatives.

In 2016, the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing was replaced by the National Partnership on Remote Housing. Under this new partnership, the Commonwealth Government committed:

  • $776.403m in 2016, to support remote housing in the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory over a two-year period; and
  • $550m in 2018, to support remote housing in the Northern Territory, over a five-year period.

New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania are not part of discussions with the Commonwealth Government on housing needs.

A review of the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing (2018) found that:

  • An additional 5,500 homes are required by 2028 to reduce levels of overcrowding in remote areas to acceptable levels
  • A planned cyclic maintenance program, with a focus on health-related hardware and houses functioning, is required.
  • Systematic property and tenancy management needs to be faster.
  • More effort is required to mobilise the local workforces to do repairs and maintenance work.[4]

There is currently a disconnect between the levels of government investment into remote housing and the identified housing needs of remote communities. This disconnect is increasingly exacerbated by population increases in Aboriginal communities.[5]

There is a comprehensive, evidence-based literature which investigates the powerful links between housing and health, education and employment outcomes.[6] Healthy living conditions are the basis from which Closing the Gap objectives may be achieved. Commonwealth Government leadership is urgently needed to appropriately invest into remote housing.

2.Environmental health

The importance of environmental health to health outcomes is well established. A healthy living environment with adequate housing supports not only the health of individuals and families; it also enhances educational achievements, community safety and economic participation.10

Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments have a shared responsibility for housing. Overcrowding is a key contributor to poor health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In addition to overcrowding, poor and derelict health hardware (including water, sewerage, electricity) leads to the spread of preventable diseases for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Healthy homes are vital to ensuring that preventable diseases that have been eradicated in most countries do not exist in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and homes.

4. Reduce the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in out-of-home care and detention

Proposals:

That the Australian Government:

  • Establishes an additional elective within the existing Aboriginal Health Worker curriculum, that provides students with early childhood outreach, preventative health care and parenting support skills
  • Waives the upfront fees of the first 100 Indigenous students to undertake the Aboriginal Health Worker (Early Childhood stream) Certificate IV course.
  • Funds an additional 145 Aboriginal Health Worker (early childhood) places across ACCHSs.

Rationale:

The overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in the child protection system is one of the most pressing human rights challenges facing Australia today.[7]

Young people placed in out-of-home care are 16 times more likely than the equivalent general population to be under youth justice supervision in the same year.[8]

Government investment in early childhood is an urgent priority to reduce the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out of home care and youth detention. Research reveals that almost half of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who are placed to out of home care are removed by the age of four[9] and, secondly, demonstrates the strong link between children and young people in detention who have both current and/or previous experiences of out of home care.[10] There is also compelling evidence of the impact of repetitive, prolonged trauma on children and young people and how, if left untreated, this may lead to mental health and substance use disorders, and intergenerational experiences of out-of-home care and exposure to the criminal justice system.15

Despite previous investments by governments, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people remain overrepresented in the children protection and youth detention systems. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Protecting Children is Everyone’s Business National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009–2020 (‘National Framework’) was established to develop a unified approach for protecting children. It recognises that ‘Australia needs a shared agenda for change, with national leadership and a common goal’.

One of the six outcomes of the National Framework is that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are supported and safe in their families and communities, with this overarching goal:

Indigenous children are supported and safe in strong, thriving families and communities to reduce the over-representation of Indigenous children in child protection systems. For those Indigenous children in child protection systems, culturally appropriate care and support is provided to enhance their wellbeing.16

Findings presented in the 2018 Family Matters Report reveal, however, that the aims and objectives of the National Framework have failed to protect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children:

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children make up just over 36 per cent of all children living in out-of-home care; the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-ofhome care is 10.1 times that of other children, and disproportionate representation continues to grow (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare [AIHW], 2018b). Since the last Family Matters Report over-representation in out-of-home care has either increased or remained the same in every state and territory.17

Furthermore, statistics on the incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in detention facilities reveal alarmingly high trends of overrepresentation:

  • On an average night in the June quarter 2018, nearly 3 in 5 (59%) young people aged 10– 17 in detention were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, despite Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people making up only 5% of the general population aged 10–17.
  • Indigenous young people aged 10–17 were 26 times as likely as non-Indigenous young people to be in detention on an average night.
  • A higher proportion of Indigenous young people in detention were aged 10–17 than non-Indigenous young people—in the June quarter 2018, 92% of Aboriginal and Torres

Strait Islander young people in detention were aged 10–17, compared with 74% of non-

Indigenous Islander young people.18

towardtraumainfo/Orygen_trauma_and_young_people_policy_report.aspx?ext=.; https://www.facs.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/421531/FACS_SAR.pdf

NACCHO believes an adequately funded, culturally safe, preventative response is needed to reduce the number and proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in child protection and youth detention systems. It is vital that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families who are struggling with chronic, complex and challenging circumstances are able to access culturally appropriate, holistic, preventative services with trusted service providers that have expertise in working with whole families affected by intergenerational trauma. The child protection and justice literature are united in that best practice principles for developing solutions to these preventable problems begin with self-determination, community control, cultural safety and a holistic response.[11] For these reasons, we are proposing that the new Aboriginal Health Worker (Early Childhood) be based within the service setting of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service.

The cultural safety in which ACCHSs’ services are delivered is a key factor in their success. ACCHSs have expert understanding and knowledge of the interplays between intergenerational trauma, the social determinants of health, family violence, and institutional racism, and the risks these contributing factors carry in increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ exposure to the child protection and criminal justice systems.

Our services have developed trauma informed care responses that acknowledge historical and contemporary experiences of colonisation, dispossession and discrimination and build this knowledge into service delivery.

Further, they are staffed by health and medical professionals who understand the importance of providing a comprehensive health service, including the vital importance of regular screening and treatment for infants and children aged 0-4, and providing at risk families with early support. Within the principles, values and beliefs of the Aboriginal community controlled service model lay the groundwork for children’s better health, education, and employment outcomes. The addition of Aboriginal Health Workers with early childhood skills and training will provide an important, much needed role in preventing and reducing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young peoples’ exposure to child protection and criminal justice systems.

 

Aboriginal Peak Organisations of the Northern Territory, Submission to the Royal  

Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory, 2017

NACCHO supports the position and recommendations of Aboriginal Peak Organisations in the NT, that:

•        Aboriginal community control, empowerment and a trauma informed approach should underpin the delivery of all services to Aboriginal children and their families. This applies to service design and delivery across areas including early childhood, education, health, housing, welfare, prevention of substance misuse, family violence prevention, policing, child protection and youth justice.

•        The Australian Government develops and implements a comprehensive, adequately resourced national strategy and target, developed in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, to eliminate the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care.

•        There is an urgent need for a child-centred, trauma-informed and culturally relevant approach to youth justice proceedings which ultimately seeks to altogether remove the need for the detention of children.

•        Early childhood programs and related clinical and public health services are provided equitably to all Aboriginal children (across the NT) through the development and implementation of a three-tiered model of family health care – universal, targeted and indicated – to meet children’s needs from before birth to school age. Services should be provided across eight key areas:  o quality antenatal and postnatal care;

o clinical and public health services for children and families; o a nurse home visiting program; o parenting programs; o child development programs; o two years of preschool; o targeted services for vulnerable children and families; and o supportive social determinants policies.

•        These services need to be responsive to, and driven by, the community at a local level.

5. Strengthen the mental health and social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Proposal:

That the Australian Government:

  • Provide secure and long-term funding to ACCHSs to expand their mental health, social and emotional wellbeing, suicide prevention, alcohol and other drugs services, using best practice trauma informed approaches.
  • Urgently increase funding for ACCHSs to employ staff to deliver mental health and social and emotional wellbeing services, including psychologists, psychiatrists, speech pathologists, mental health workers and other professionals and workers; and
  • Urgently increase the delivery of training to Aboriginal health practitioners to establish and/or consolidate skills development in mental health care and support, including suicide prevention; and
  • Return funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention, health and wellbeing and alcohol and other drugs from the Indigenous Advancement Strategy to the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme.

Rationale: 

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has estimated that mental health and substance use are the biggest contributors to the overall burden of disease for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Indigenous adults are 2.7 times more likely to experience high or very high levels of psychological distress than other Australians.[12] They are also hospitalised for mental and behavioural disorders and suicide at almost twice the rate of non-Indigenous population and are missing out on much needed mental health services.

Suicide is the leading cause of death for Aboriginal people aged 5-34 years, the second leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men. In 2016, the rate of suicide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples was 24 per 100,000, twice the rate for non-Indigenous Australians.[13] Aboriginal people living in the Kimberley region are seven times more likely to suicide than non-Aboriginal people.

Many Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services deliver culturally safe, trauma informed services in communities dealing with extreme social and economic disadvantage that are affected and compounded by intergenerational trauma and are supporting positive changes in the lives of their members. The case study provided by Derby Aboriginal Health Service demonstrates not only the impact that this ACCHS is having on its community. It also illustrates the rationale for each of the proposals described in this pre-budget submission.

Case Study: Derby Aboriginal Health Service, WA

Derby Aboriginal Health Service’s Social and Emotional Wellbeing Unit (SEWB) have partnered with another organisation to employ someone in our SEWB unit to work directly with families on issues that contribute to them losing their children to Department of Child Protection (DCP). This program is designed to help prevent the children from being removed by DCP by working one to one with families on issues such as budgeting, education, substance misuse, a safe and healthy home etc.

Our SEWB unit has a community engagement approach which involves working directly with clients and their families, counselling with the psychologist and mental health worker, the male Aboriginal Mental Health Worker taking men out on country trips as part of mental health activities for men, the youth at risk program (Shine), the Body Clinic, the prenatal program working directly with mums, dads and bubs around parenting, relationships between mums, dads and children etc. The team work directly with the community.

We are now introducing a new SEWB designed program into the Derby prison which focuses on exploring men and women’s strengths and abilities rather than looking at their deficits. Using a strengths based program was very successfully delivered with a group of 22 Aboriginal men and 16 Aboriginal women where, for many of the participants, they were told for the first time in their lives that they matter and that they have good things about them and they are strong men and women (this naturally brought in some behavior modification that they could attempt in making changes in their lives; e.g. one participant said that when he went home, he was going to make his wife a cup of tea instead of expecting her to make him tea – he said he had never thought of that before). The SEWB team presented this at the National Mental Health Conference in Adelaide, August last year.

Given the deep and respectful footprint the SEWB team has in the town and surrounding communities, they, and the people, deserve and need a new building in which to continue their important work. If we can help people deal with the issues above, then they will be much more empowered to prevent/deal with their own health issues – perhaps then we can Close the Gap.

Given the burden of mental, psychological distress and trauma that our communities are responding to and the impact this has on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ life expectancy, educational outcomes, and workforce participation, NACCHO believes it is imperative that a funded implementation plan for the National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing

2017-2023 (‘the Framework’) be developed as a priority. The following Action Areas of the Framework relate to this proposal:

  • Action Area 1 – Strengthen the foundations (An effective and empowered mental health and social and emotional wellbeing workforce);
  • Action Area 2 – Promote wellness (all outcome areas);[14] and
  • Action Area 4 – Provide care for people who are mildly or moderately ill (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with a mild or moderate mental illness are able to access culturally and clinically appropriate primary mental health care according to need).

As the above case study suggests, our trusted local Aboriginal community controlled services are best placed to be the preferred providers of mental health, social and emotional wellbeing, and suicide prevention activities to their communities. Australian Government funding should be prioritised to on the ground Aboriginal services to deliver suicide prevention, trauma and other wellbeing services. Delivering these much-needed services through ACCHSs, rather than establishing a new service, would deliver economies of scale and would draw from an already demonstrated successful model of service delivery.

Further, NACCHO believes that the current artificial distinction between separating mental health, social and emotional wellbeing and alcohol and drug funding from primary health care funding, must be abolished. Primary health care, within the holistic health provision of ACCHS, provides the sound structure to address all aspects of health care arising from social, emotional and physical factors. Primary health care is a comprehensive approach to health in accordance with the Aboriginal holistic definition of health and arises out of the practical experience within the Aboriginal community itself having to provide effective and culturally appropriate health services to its communities.

The current artificial distinction, as exemplified by program funding for ACCHS activities being administered across two Australian Government Departments, does not support our definition of health and wellbeing. It also leads to inefficiencies and unnecessarily increases red tape, by imposing additional reporting burdens on a sector that is delivering services under challenging circumstances.     

APPENDIX A

Qualitative feedback from Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services  capital works and infrastructure needs 

The following comments from ACCHSs have been extracted from a survey administered by NACCHO in January 2019:

  • Currently at capacity and as the government focusses more on Medicare earnings and less on funding we need the ability to expand into this area as well as the NDIS in order to meet our client service needs and build sustainability.
  • The facility that our service currently occupies is state government owned, on state crown land, is over 40 years old and is ‘sick’ – it is not fit for purpose with an irreparable roof, significant asbestos contamination, water ingress, mould and recurrent power outages. The maintenance costs are an unsustainable burden, it is unreliable, unsuitable and unsafe for clients and staff, and there is no room for expansion for program and community areas. We applied for funding from the Australian Government Department of Health, but the application was not successful. This figure is inclusive of early works transportable – temporary accommodation, building works, demolition works, services infrastructure, external works, design development contingency, construction contingency, builder preliminaries and margin, loose furniture and equipment, specialist/medical equipment, ICT & PABX, AV equipment, professional including.

disbursements (to be confirmed), statutory fees, locality loading, and goods and services tax.

  • We are in need of kitchen renovations to each of our community care sites that do meals on wheels. The WA Environmental Health unit has informed us that we need to upgrade all our kitchens to meet Food Safety requirements or they will enforce closure of some of our kitchens, which would then mean we are unable to do our Meals on Wheels service in some communities
  • Currently limited by space to employ support staff and increase our GP’s, our waiting room is around 3x4m and we are always having clients standing up or waiting outside until there is space for them. We currently have three buildings in the one township with two being rentals, if we could co-locate all services, we could offer a higher level of integrated care and save wasted money on rent.
  • Not currently enough space to house staff and visiting clinicians.
  • Have been applying for grants in infrastructure and included in Action Plan for quite a few years and still not successful.
  • We need a multi-purpose building to bring together our comprehensive range of services in a way that enables community to gather, express their culture and feel safe and welcome whilst receiving a fully integrated service delivery model of supports. We have more than doubled in staffing and program delivery and are still trying to operate out of the same space. The need for further expansion is inevitable and the co-operative welcomes the opportunity to bring more services to our community, but infrastructure

is a barrier and we have taken the strategic decision to acquire vacant land near our main headquarters with the view to obtaining future infrastructure funding – it is much needed.

  • The three sites we currently lease are all commercial premises and we have to make our business fit, the buildings are not culturally appropriate nor are they designed for a clinical setting.
  • For eight years we have struggled to grow in line with our community service needs and the requirement to become more self-sufficient in the face of a funding environment which is declining in real terms (not keeping pace with CPI and wages growth). Further to this, every time we add a building our running costs go up so even capital expansion comes at a cost to the organisation as it takes time to build up to the operating capacity that the new/improved buildings provide. This is the ongoing struggle in our space.
  • Our service was established in 1999 and has been operating from an 80 year old converted holiday house, with a couple of minor extensions. The clinic does not meet the contemporary set up for an efficient clinic from viewpoint of staff, medical services and for community members. Space is very limited, and service delivery is also limited due to room availability. Demand for services both for physical and mental health/SEWB is growing strongly. We have 425 Community Members (with 70 currently in prisons in our region) and our actual patient numbers accessing services over 12 months have increased 50%.
  • We never received support or funding to acquire a purpose-built facility from the outset and as there was no suitable accommodation for rent or lease, we acquired two small houses to deliver our services from. These were totally inadequate but all we could acquire at the time. We have 31 staff accommodated through three locations and require a purpose-built facility to deliver quality primary health care to our Community.
  • Over the last two years we have been able to purchase the site it is currently located on. This site is based on five contiguous residential properties, with each property containing a 2-3 bedroom, approximately 40 year old house. Two of these houses have been joined together to form the Medical Clinic, the other three houses have all been renovated and upgraded to various levels in order to make them usable by the service. The next step in the plan is to redevelop the entire site to build an all-in-one centre to replace the current four separate buildings. In our 12 years of service we have moved from renting at a number of locations to being able to purchase our current site. The current site of old, converted residential buildings while viable in the short term, does not allow for efficient use of the site nor capacity for growth. Parking is scattered around the site, staff are scattered and continually moving from building to building to serve clients. There is no excess accommodation capacity to allow for growth of services. Our intention is to re-develop the site to house all staff in one building, which will be configured for growth over the long term and allow efficient use of the available grounds for parking, an Elders shed, and so on.
  • We have run out of room. Every office is shared, including the CEO’s office. We can’t hire any staff – nowhere to house them. Whenever a visiting service is operating – GP clinic, podiatry, optometry, audiology, chiropractor etc, offices have to be vacated to house

them, displaced staff basically have nowhere to go. Fine balancing act to schedule things to displace as few people as possible.

  • We are currently located in two refurbished community buildings as there is no suitable accommodation for lease. Our organisation is growing very quickly, and we need all services located under one roof – one identity, one culture.
  • Rapidly reaching the point where services will be diminished because of failing infrastructure or insufficient housing for the nursing staff required.
  • Some clinical rooms are not fit for purpose. Clinicians working from rooms without hand washing facilities. Medical Clinic is old, out of date, some rooms not fit for purpose, ineffective air conditioning, clinical staff sharing rooms, no room for expansion, difficult to house students due to lack of appropriate space.
  • We have made a number of applications to improve infrastructure, and to replace current infrastructure, all have been unsuccessful, in some cases we have purchase buildings & land to try and demonstrate a commitment to ongoing growth and servicing of clients. We get little feedback in relation to funding applications.
  • Spread across three sites with some providers having to share rooms and staff being required to work outside on laptops at times. Desperately needing to build a purposebuilt facility in order to stop paying high amounts of rent and allow effective primary health care to an increasing client number.

Derby Aboriginal Health Service

The Derby Aboriginal Health Service (DAHS) Social and Emotional Wellbeing (SEWB) unit is housed in a 60+ year old asbestos building that was originally a family home. It has an old and small transport unit connected to the house by an exposed verandah. There are 6 staff working from the house who provide individual and family counselling and support. The clients who come to SEWB experience mental health issues, family violence, poverty, Department of Child Protection (DCP) issues around removal of children, alcohol and other drug issues and supporting those released from the Derby local Prison (approx. 200 prisoners). It is difficult to safely secure SEWB to the extent it is required given the age and asbestos nature of the building (security alarms etc). In the photos, you can see the buildings are old and are of asbestos. The transportable out the back houses the manager who is also the psychologist – this means she is in a vulnerable position when counselling should the session not go as planned (potential for a violent situation – see photo showing external verandah connecting to the donga).

The size of the house means that counselling clients privately is difficult as everything happens in close quarters. The number of clients the team work with exceeds the capacity of the building which impacts on the number of Aboriginal clients the team can help. The SEWB building has been broken into a number of times the last being during the long weekend in September 2018 where significant damage was done. Given the age of the house, during the past 18 months, parts of the internal ceiling including cornices have been falling away from the structures creating potential issues of asbestos fibre being released into the air. In addition, there are plumbing problems and the wooden floor is becoming a safety issue in one area of the building.

SEWB runs a vulnerable youth programme (the Shine Group) and a Body Shop clinic for youth who will not attend the main clinic for shame and fear reasons (special appointments are made with a doctor so that the young person doesn’t have to wait in the waiting area. In addition, a doctor runs a monthly session at the SEWB building with youth around health education and also sees them if there is a clinical need). These programmes run out of another 60+ year old asbestos family house some distance from the main SEWB house. Not only is the house not suitable but there may be security risks for the staff member working with vulnerable youth.  The Shine House was also broken into in September 2018 where significant damage was done (see photos).

The DAHS main building has no further office or other space to house staff.  This is particularly the case for 2019 as DAHS takes on new programmes (e.g. 2 staff for the new Syphilis Programme).  DAHS is acutely aware of the need to source funding to build new administration offices in order to release current admin offices for clinical and programme purposes.

DAHS requires a new or upgraded SEWB building. DAHS first applied for service maintenance funding in March 2017 but were unsuccessful. DAHS applied in June 2018 for Capital Works but were unsuccessful because it didn’t fit in with IAHP Primary Health Care as it was about mental health. DAHS also paid for an Architect to draw up the plans for a new SEWB building.  It is my view that one of the main issues is that the government separates SEWB from primary health care.

Social and emotional wellbeing issues CANNOT be separated from primary health care.  As is well known, a person’s SEWB impacts on the physical health of an individual.  Physical illhealth is frequently caused by the SEWB condition of an individual (i.e. historical and current experiences of trauma frequently commencing in the pre-natal phase of a child’s life, family violence, alcohol and other drug use, smoking, anxiety, removal of children, mental health issues etc). Aboriginal people suffer greatly from SEWB issues which impacts on their overall physical health.  Mental health in all its forms is part and parcel of physical health so it must be included in primary health care.

However, both state and commonwealth governments do not seem to prioritise or even support funding for SEWB (such as service and maintenance work, capital works or funding to continue key positions in the SEWB team – in fact, the government actively separates funding for SEWB and primary health care).  DAHS also provides clinical services to 7 remote communities most of whom are up to 400 kms away with Kandiwal Community 600kms away where we supply a fly in/fly out clinical service. There are many demands placed on a team of SEWB workers stationed in a working environment that does not allow them to function to the best of their abilities or offer increased services to our clients. Passion for the cause alone does not help in Closing the Gap. Working with one hand tied behind one’s back is not effective in reducing mental health issues and chronic diseases.

Part of an upgrade we requested was to renovate reception to make it safer for receptionist staff and to increase confidentiality when clients speak with reception staff (it also doesn’t meet the needs of disabled clients). There are a number of times throughout the year when receptionist staff are verbally abused with threats of physical harm. The current reception was designed prior to more recent events of aggression exhibited by clients under the influence of drugs.  The design now enables abusive clients to quite easily reach across the reception counter and hurt staff or can jump over the same counter to gain access to staff.  In addition, given there is no screen and the current open nature of the reception area, sharing confidential information can be compromised. DAHS applied for services and maintenance funding to make the changes but were unsuccessful.

[1] ACCHSs may apply for Telehealth funding through the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme, Governance and System Effectiveness: Sector Support activity.

[2] https://www.anao.gov.au/work/performanceaudit/indigenoushousinginitiativesfixinghousesbetterhealthprogram  

[3] http://web.archive.org/web/20140213221536/http://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/05_201 2/housing_guide_info_intro.pdf  

[4] https://www.pmc.gov.au/resourcecentre/indigenousaffairs/remotehousingreview, page 3.

[5] https://www.caac.org.au/uploads/pdfs/CongressHousingandHealthDiscussionPaperFinalMarch2018.pdf

[6] https://www.pmc.gov.au/resourcecentre/indigenousaffairs/healthperformanceframework2017report; https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2011/195/11/closinggapandindigenoushousing;  https://probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2016/02/housingkeyclosinggap/; https://ama.com.au/positionstatement/aboriginalandtorresstraitislanderhealthrevised2015; https://www.caac.org.au/uploads/pdfs/CongressHousingandHealthDiscussionPaperFinalMarch2018.pdf. 10 https://www.anao.gov.au/work/performanceaudit/indigenoushousinginitiativesfixinghousesbetterhealthprogram  

[7] Australia Human Rights Commission Social Justice and Native Title Report 2015, cited in the Australian Law

Reform Commission publication, Pathways to JusticeInquiry into the Incarceration Rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (ALRC Report 133)https://www.alrc.gov.au/publications/crossoverouthomecaredetention.

[8] https://www.alrc.gov.au/publications/crossoverouthomecaredetention; https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/06341e00a08f4a0b9d33d6c4cf1e3379/aihwcsi025.pdf.aspx?inline=true  

[9] https://www.snaicc.org.au/ensuring-fair-start-children-need-dedicated-funding-stream-aboriginal-torresstrait-islander-early-years-sector/

[10] https://www.alrc.gov.au/publications/crossoverouthomecaredetention;

https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/intersectionbetweenchildprotectionandyouthjusticesystems 15 https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/sites/default/files/publicationdocuments/cfcapracticebraindevelopmentv6040618.pdf; https://www.orygen.org.au/PolicyAdvocacy/PolicyReports/TraumaandyoungpeopleMoving

[11] http://www.familymatters.org.au/wpcontent/uploads/2018/11/FamilyMattersReport2018.pdf; Thorburn, Kathryn and Melissa Marshall. 2017. The Yiriman Project in the West Kimberley: an example of justice reinvestment? Indigenous Justice Clearinghouse, Current Initiatives Paper 5; McCausland, Ruth, Elizabeth McEntyre, Eileen Baldry. 2017. Indigenous People, Mental Health, Cognitive Disability and the

Criminal Justice System. Indigenous Justice Clearinghouse. Brief 22; AMA Report Card on Indigenous Health 2015. Treating the high rates of imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as a symptom of the health gap: an integrated approach to both; Richards, Kelly, Lisa Rosevear and Robyn Gilbert. 2011.

Promising interventions for reducing Indigenous juvenile offending. Indigenous Justice Clearinghouse, Brief 10.

[12] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. 2018. Australia’s Health 2018. Australia’s health series no. 16. AUS 221. Canberra: AIHW.

[13] Ibid

[14] Outcome areas: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and cultures are strong and support social and emotional wellbeing and mental health; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families are strong and supported; Infants get the best possible developmental start to life and mental health; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people get the services and support they need to thrive and grow into mentally healthy adults.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #RefreshtheCTGRefresh : Read and /Or Download #ClosingtheGap response Press Releases from Pat Turner NACCHO CEO @June_Oscar @congressmob @closethegapOZ @amapresident @RACGP @RecAustralia @Change_Record @Mayi_Kuwayu

Close the Gap Campaign

AMA

RACGP

Reconciliation Australia

Change the Record

AMSANT Darwin

Mayi Kuwayu /ANU

Greens

Introduction NACCHO Closing the Gap response CEO Pat Turner AM 

On the floor of Parliament yesterday, the Prime Minister spoke of a change happening in our country: that there is a shared understanding that we have a shared future- Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, together. But our present is not shared. Our present, and indeed our past is marred in difference, in disparity. This striking disparity in quality of life outcomes is what began the historic journey of the Closing the Gap initiatives a decade ago.

But after ten years of good intentions the outcomes have been disappointing. The gaps have not been closing and so-called targets have not been met. The quality of life among our communities is simply not equal to that of our non-indigenous Australian counterparts.

Yes change must come from within our communities, but change must also come from the whole of Australia. We must change together.

The time has come for our voices to be heard and for us to lead the way on Closing the Gap. We are ready for action. ”

Pat Turner AM is the CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation.

But I’m ever hopeful that change is near. I was heartened by the statement made by the Prime Minister yesterday on the floor of Parliament. For the first time, I heard a genuine acknowledgement of why the Closing the Gap outcomes seem steeped in failure. I heard an acknowledgement that until Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are brought to the table as equal partners, the gap will not be closed and progress will not be made. This is a view that our community has expressed for many years – a view I am encouraged has finally been heard.

Historically, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community leaders have not been equal decision-makers in steering attempts to close the unacceptable gaps between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and the broader community. Our struggle as community-controlled organisations to even gain a voice at the table  – let alone for governments to actually listen to us – has long been at the crux of the disappointing progress.

Last year, an accord on the first stage of the Closing the Gap Refresh languished because discussions were not undertaken with genuine input from community members. We turned an important corner in December when an historic agreement was reached to include a coalition of peak bodies as equal partners in refreshing the Closing the Gap strategy.

We now need to ensure that the agreement blossoms into genuine action.

We simply cannot let this opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of our people slip by. Government cannot be allowed to drag the chain on this until it becomes another broken promise.

We are doing the heavy lifting and have drafted a formal partnership agreement for the Commonwealth, state and territory governments to consider. We are determined to do all that we can to fulfil COAG’s undertaking to agree formal partnership arrangements by the end of February.

The agreement sets out how we all work together and have shared and equal decision making on closing the gap. We are confident that a genuine partnership will help to accelerate positive outcomes to close the gaps.

The lack of progress under Closing the Gap is the lived reality of our people on the ground everyday. They are being robbed of living their full potential. Sadly, attending the funerals of people in our community – including increasingly young people taking their own lives – is all too common.

A coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak bodies from across the nation has formed to be signatories to the partnership arrangements. We are now almost 40* service delivery, policy and advocacy organisations, with community-control at our heart. This is the first time our peak bodies have come together in this way.

Our coalition brings a critical mass of independent Indigenous organisations with deep connections to communities that will enhance the Closing the Gap efforts. We are a serious partner for government. We want to ensure our views are considered equal and that we make decisions jointly.

We cannot continue to approach Closing the Gap in the same old ways. The top-down approach has reaped disappointing results as evidenced by the lack of progress of previous strategies to reach their targets.

We must not lose sight of the most crucial point of Closing the Gap, which is to improve the everyday lives of our people. We must ensure our people are no longer burdened with higher rates of child mortality, poorer literacy, numeracy and employment outcomes and substantially lower life expectancies.

Yesterday on the floor of Parliament, the Prime Minister said that this will be a long journey of many steps. And I say, we have been walking for centuries. We have journeyed far and we will keep walking forward and climbing up until we reach a place where we are all on equal ground.

I also heard the Leader of the Opposition say that the burden of change needs to be carried by non-Indigenous Australians in acknowledging that racism still exists, that our justice system is deeply flawed and that generational trauma cannot be ignored.

Yes change must come from within our communities, but change must also come from the whole of Australia. We must change together.

The time has come for our voices to be heard and for us to lead the way on Closing the Gap. We are ready for action.

1 .Close the Gap Campaign

“We have had so many promises and so many disappointments. It’s well and truly time to match the rhetoric. We cannot continue to return to parliament every year and hear the appalling statistics,

 Last December, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), led by the Prime Minister, agreed to a formal partnership with peak Indigenous organisations on Closing the Gap.

We strongly support the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak bodies that has formed to be signatories to the partnership agreement with COAG, and for them to share as equal partners in the design, implementation and monitoring of Closing the Gap programs, policies and targets.

This partnership really does have the potential to be a game changer. It means active participation in decisions about matters that affect us. It will allow the voices of Indigenous Australians at community, local and national levels to be heard. “

The Co-Chairs of the Close the Gap Campaign, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO and the Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples Rod Little, say that commitment must be followed by action.

It was imperative for Australian governments to have an agreement in place by the end of February with the coalition of more than 40 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and justice groups, so all stakeholders can get onto the “nitty gritty” of the Closing the Gap Refresh with new targets set to be finalised by mid year. ”

National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services (FVPLS) Forum convenor Antoinette Braybrook 

Download CTG Press Release

1.Close the Gap response to CTG

2.AMA

“After more than a decade, the lack of resourcing and investment in the health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continues to see unacceptable gaps across a range of outcomes.

The lack of sufficient funding to vital Indigenous services and programs is a key reason for this.”

The AMA supports the comments made by Ms Pat Turner, CEO of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) who said: ‘While our people still live very much in third-world conditions in a lot of areas still in Australia … we have to hold everybody to account’.

Closing the Gap targets are vital if we are to see demonstrable improvements in the health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The call for a justice target and a target around the removal of Aboriginal children should be considered.

The AMA welcomes the decision of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to agree a formal partnership with us on Closing the Gap. This is an historic milestone in the relationship between Governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.” 

AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone

Download the AMA Press Release

2 AMA Closing the Gap progress disappointing

See all NACCHO AMA posts

3.RACGP

‘This year’s Closing the Gap report reminds us that whilst we are making important progress, we are still not doing enough for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

It’s critical we get this right. Our people deserve to live full and healthy lives, like every other Australian. We know the best way to achieve this is when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a say in the decisions that impact them.

Governments must acknowledge the critical role of primary healthcare and particularly the culturally responsive care offered by Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in Closing the Gap “

Chair of RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, Associate Professor Peter O’Mara, told newsGP he welcomes the Prime Minister’s commitment to establishing a formal partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the Closing the Gap Strategy.

Read full Press Release HERE

Read NACCHO RACGP articles HERE

4.Reconciliation Australia

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and peak bodies have been demanding a greater say in the policy priorities, and design and implementation of programs around the CTG since its inception over a decade ago. Today’s commitment by the Prime Minister, supported by the Opposition Leader, is welcome albeit overdue, and builds on the COAG commitment in December.

It is simple common sense that people, who live each day with the problems CTG is trying to address, will have the greatest knowledge and understanding of the causes and solutions to these problems “

Karen Mundine, CEO of Reconciliation Australia, said her organisation was disappointed by the failure but remained hopeful that a bipartisan commitment to a greater First Nations’ voice in the planned refresh of the CTG would lead to more effective programs being delivered in partnership with communities.

Download the Press Release

4.Reconciliation Aust CTG Response

5.Change the Record

 “Change the Record calls on the Prime Minister to listen to the majority of        Australians who believe governments must act to close the gap on justice, as shown by the 2018 Australian Reconciliation Barometer results.

“Almost 60% of Australians want the Federal Government to include justice in Closing the Gap, and 95% agree our people should have a say in matters that affect us,”

In the past year the Government engaged selected stakeholders in a nation-wide consultation, however many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations were excluded. Change the Record stands in support of the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled peak bodies as they push for a formal partnership agreement to finalise the Closing the Gap Refresh.

This historic step to make our peak bodies equal partners with Government is critical to our self-determination and to Closing the Gap,”

Change the Record co-chair Damian Griffis.

Download the CTG Press Release

5. Change the Record

6. AMSANT Darwin

We would have loved to be part of those discussions about what to prioritise. We absolutely support education being a top priority target, but we need to ensure we are also prioritising some of those targets such as housing.”

You are not going to get kids to go to school if they haven’t had a decent night’s sleep because of an overcrowded house, you are not going to get kids to go to school if they haven’t got food in their tummy … you ain’t going to get kids to go to school if parents are not encouraging them to go to school due to lack of support services for parents”,

John Paterson AMSANT Darwin

From SMH Interview

7.Mayi Kuwayu /ANU

 ” The refreshed targets help us focus on progress and achievement. Most of these refreshed targets are not dependent on how things are going within the non-Indigenous population (they are not moving targets) — they are absolute, fixed targets that we can work towards. For example, the old target of “halve the gap in employment by 2018” is replaced by “65 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth (15-24 years) are in employment, education or training by 2028”.

Further, the refreshed targets are evidence-based and appear to be achievable.

This is a change from the original targets which the evidence showed could never have been met. They were always going to fail. This is a problem because it has reinforced the idea held by many in the wider Australian community that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inequality was “too big of a problem” and could never be overcome. Or even worse, it supported the myth that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people themselves were the problem

Ray Lovett, Katherine Thurber, and Emily Banks are part of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Program at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, and conduct research on the social and cultural determinants of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.

Their approach is to conduct research in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, communities, and organisations, and to frame research using a strengths-based approach, where possible. Follow the program @Mayi_Kuwayu Professor Maggie Walter is the Pro Vice-Chancellor Aboriginal Research and Leadership at the University of Tasmania.

 Read Article in Full 

8.Greens

” Mr Morrison’s closing the gap address was paternalistic and patronising and a clear indication that he doesn’t get it.

Mr Morrison lectured the Parliament about co-design and collaboration but he does not practice what he preaches

The Coalition was dragged kicking and screaming to a co-design approach and the Government’s failure to listen when the process started was in fact the reason we are so delayed with the Close the Gap refresh.

You would think that he was the first person to think of collaboration and co-design!

Senator Rachel Siewert 

Download the Greens CTG Press Release

8.Greens Party CTG Response

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #RefreshTheCTGRefresh : Read or Download @billshortenmp speech plus @Malarndirri19 @LindaBurneyMP @SenatorDodson Press Release and annual #Closingthegap report to Parliament

 “So in that spirit, I welcome the new partnership between the Commonwealth, the States and the Coalition of Aboriginal Peak bodies – and the change in thinking that that represents. I’m conscious that the Peak organisations have done the heavy lifting too, to date, with limited resources.

And I congratulate them for persevering, for refusing to meekly accept the draft framework that was presented to you as a fait accompli in the past and instead, asserting your right to a permanent place at the table.

My colleagues and I deeply respect your role as advocates, as experts and as Aboriginal community-controlled organisations, committed to Closing the Gap. If we are successful at the next election, you will be central to setting policy and seeing that it is implemented, collaborating with frontline services and community leaders at local and regional level.

Partnership in action, not just words. Plainly, after ten years, refreshing the Closing the Gap targets is necessary. But this can never mean lowering our sights, reducing our targets, limiting our ambitions. ” 

Bill Shorten MP Opposition Leader Closing the Gap speech see Part 2 Below or Download 

Download Speech HERE

Bill Shorten Speech

Download CTG Report

 NACCHO Members Service 2019 CtG Report –

Watch Coverage

One day after the eleventh anniversary of the Apology to the Stolen Generations, the Prime Minister handed down his Close the Gap report – highlighting another year of stalled progress on this critical national project.

The report reminds us of the little progress we have made in addressing the structural inequalities facing First Nations peoples.

While we are pleased to see improvements in early childhood and Year 12 retention, we cannot deny the reality: only two targets out of seven are on track.

As a nation, this is an indictment upon us all.

First Nations people are frustrated, as is Labor. The Abbott- Turnbull- Morrison Government’s delay and dysfunction has no justification.

The targets have not failed. Governments have failed. It is our collective failure to not match well-intentioned rhetoric with action.

While a refresh of the Close the Gap framework is necessary, and we welcome the government new commitment to working in partnership with First Nations people, we cannot ignore the fact that until now, the government has failed to adequately engage with First Nations people.

If the government is truly committed to ensuring First Nations people have a say in matters that affect them, then they should immediately reverse their opposition to a constitutionally enshrined Voice for First Nations people.

The government has also failed to provide national bipartisan leadership on the refresh process. Labor was not consulted at any point in this process.

Whether it’s Close the Gap, the Community Development Program, the Indigenous Advancement Strategy or Constitutional Recognition, this government has constantly pursued flawed policies and failed to engage with First Nations people in their design or implementation.

Paternalism does not work. First Nations peoples must have a say in the matters that affect their lives and policies must be co-designed with full free and prior informed consent. This is how we achieve self-determination and properly address the substantial and structural inequality facing First Nations peoples.

This is how we close the gap.

If Labor is elected at the next election, a Voice for First Nations people, enshrined in our constitution, will be our first priority for constitutional reform.

Business as usual is no longer an option.

Only when First Nations people have a permanent and ongoing say in the issues that affect their lives, will we ever close the gap.

Part 2 Bill Shorten MP Opposition Leader Closing the Gap speech

I congratulate the Prime Minister on the address he’s just given. I acknowledge the traditional owners of this land and I pay my respects to elders past and present.

At the heart of reconciliation is a profound and simple truth: Australia is, and always will be, Aboriginal land. First Nations people loved and cared for this continent for millennia, long before our ancestors first arrived by boat.

They fished the rivers, hunted the plains, named the mountains, mapped the country and the skies. They made laws and administered justice here, long before this parliament stood. They fought fiercely to defend their home and they have battled bravely ever since, against discrimination and exclusion, preserving, for their children and for all of us, the world’s oldest living culture.

In addition to the acknowledgments made by the Prime Minister, I would like to specifically acknowledge the work of Prime Minister Rudd and the member for Jagajaga, Jenny Macklin, who helped initiate this annual Closing the Gap address.

Yesterday, I was consulting my Indigenous colleagues about this morning’s address. And I asked them: What could I say to prove this day has value and meaning to our first Australians, to all Australians, to people who have listened to Closing the Gap reports and speeches for 11 years running.

How do we, in this place, demonstrate this is not just an annual exchange of parliamentary platitudes and rhetoric. And Senator Malarndirri McCarthy said to me: “Just tell the truth about how you feel”.

And the truth is that feels a bit an ambiguous, doesn’t it? I feel that there is good news, but not enough good news. I feel there is hope, but not enough hope. That there is progress, but not enough progress. And I feel ambiguous, because how do you talk about the good without varnishing and covering up the bad?

How do you talk about the bad without presenting such a view that you ignore the good work? But the truth is that at this 11th Closing the Gap exchange, I’m frustrated. I suspect many members of the House feel that frustration too.

Frustration, disappointment that after a decade of good intentions, tens of thousands of well-meaning, well-crafted and well-intentioned words, heartfelt words, from five Prime Ministers, we assemble here and we see that not enough has changed. Mind you, I was halfway through expressing these views to the colleagues, when Senator Pat Dodson cut me off, and he said: “Comrade, how do you think we feel?”

And, really, that is our task, to put ourselves in the shoes of all the people who are giving everything to this endeavour. I speak of the heroes at Deadly Choices driving huge improvements in frontline health services.

The brilliant kids of Clontarf and Stars and Girls Academy and so many other great education and mentoring programs.

I speak of brave women and communities leading initiatives against family violence. I speak of the fearless campaigners for justice at Change the Record. I speak of the Indigenous Rangers right now on country, ensuring that all of us can understand and share in the wonders of country their people have called home for 60,000 years.

I speak of the First Australians who enrich every facet of our national life: as leaders and achievers in education and sport, medicine and the law, environmental conservation and academia and politics and art and music and comedy.

I speak of the mums and dads and aunties and uncles, the elders and the grannies doing their very best to keep children and families safe, to keep community together. There is no question, that we should recognise and celebrate their boundless hope and patience and perseverance, often in the face of overwhelming odds

. But we must recognise their frustration too. We should today acknowledge, that it’s not just the gap in life expectancy or health or educational results or employment opportunities. It’s the gap between words and actions, the gap between promises and results. The good ideas and practical initiatives of people on the frontline that get swallowed up in the morass of paperwork and process and waste and lethargy.

The committee recommendations, coroner’s reports, judicial inquiries and Royal Commissions that have been left to gather dust. Of course these years of neglect and indifference are punctuated by bursts of unilateral ‘interventions’ and ‘crisis meetings’ and ‘emergency action’.

And law after law, policy after policy, about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, written without Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

So in that spirit, I welcome the new partnership between the Commonwealth, the States and the Coalition of Aboriginal Peak bodies – and the change in thinking that that represents. I’m conscious that the Peak organisations have done the heavy lifting too, to date, with limited resources.

And I congratulate them for persevering, for refusing to meekly accept the draft framework that was presented to you as a fait accompli in the past and instead, asserting your right to a permanent place at the table.

My colleagues and I deeply respect your role as advocates, as experts and as Aboriginal community-controlled organisations, committed to Closing the Gap. If we are successful at the next election, you will be central to setting policy and seeing that it is implemented, collaborating with frontline services and community leaders at local and regional level.

Partnership in action, not just words. Plainly, after ten years, refreshing the Closing the Gap targets is necessary. But this can never mean lowering our sights, reducing our targets, limiting our ambitions.

And while I understand the Prime Minister is trying to make a point about the dangers of a ‘deficit model’, even the mindset of a ‘gap’.

The uncomfortable truth is that there is a stark gap between the Australia we inhabit and the lives of too many First Nations people.

There are deficits, in justice and jobs, in health and housing, in the opportunities afforded to Aboriginal children who go to school far from where we send our own kids. It is not the targets that have failed. It’s we who have failed to meet them. It is not the targets that have failed. It is we who have failed to meet them.

This is the hard truth this report demands we confront. The truth about ongoing discrimination and disadvantage. The truth about families and communities being broken by poverty, violence, abuse, addiction and alcohol.

The truth that there are still men and women being arrested, charged and jailed – not because of the gravity of their offence, but because of the colour of their skin. If this parliament can’t admit that racism still exists in 2019, then we’re just wasting the time of our First Australians today.

If we can’t admit that racism still exists, then how on earth do we ever fix it? This isn’t political correctness, it’s just stating the obvious, it’s the truth.

The truth that Aboriginal people are still suffering from diseases the rest of us never know, still dying at an age when the rest of us are contemplating retirement.

And the truth about children and young people who are suffering violence, taking their own lives in numbers and circumstances that should shame us all to action.

Last week, Senator Pat Dodson responded to the coroner’s report from those 13 indescribably tragic deaths in the Kimberley. He spoke of ‘unresolved trauma’, a sense of suffering, hopelessness and disillusionment.

And above all, he said, none these can be fixed by answers imposed from outside. The solutions depend on a say and a sense of empowerment and self-worth for young people. And a sense of hope for communities and regions, power in the hands of people who truly live and understand the challenges they face.

Simply put, if we seek to see real change in the lives of First Nations people, then we need to change. Change our approach, change our policies. And above all, change the way that we make decisions.

We need to let First Nations have real control in how decisions are made. So this is where partnership, the word partnership, where the rubber hits the proverbial road. If we say that we want partnership with our first Australians, then we don’t get to pick and choose our partners’ values or priorities.

For more than a decade now, Prime Ministers and Opposition Leaders of both the main parties have stood in this place and said we want to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in partnership.

But you don’t get to tell your partner what to think. It is that spirit of partnership which we saw at Uluru in 2017. First Nations people took up the invitation, 250 delegates presented this parliament with their vision. Countless dialogues, thousands of people consulted. I concede that what the First Australians came back to us with wasn’t what we were expecting. But that’s the challenge of partnership, isn’t it?

When the partner says: “I have a different set of priorities and if you really respect me, you will listen to me.”

They came back with a Makarrata Commission to work with National Congress, Land Councils, First Nations leaders and states and territories to continue the work of truth-telling and agreement-making.

And our partners said to us, “We seek a Voice enshrined in the Constitution.” An institution with national weight and local connection, bringing a powerful sense of culture, community and country to the shape of policy and its delivery.

A meaningful, permanent say for Aboriginal people in the decisions that affect their lives. Not a long demoralising slog measured in inches of progress.

Not starting from square one every time a particular issue breaks into the broader national consciousness.

Not a sense of ‘us’ and ‘them’ in the backdrop of everything that we do. Our partners want genuine engagement with humility on the Parliament to acknowledge their role, to recognise that genuine empowerment has to involve the sharing of real power.

You can’t have a partnership of unequals. Partnership means giving as well as taking, listening as well as telling. Today I am proud to declare again that enshrining a Voice for the First Australians will be Labor’s first priority for constitutional change.

If we are elected as the next government of Australia, we intend to hold a referendum on this question in our first term, as our partners have asked us to do. I am optimistic that reform can succeed, the referendum can succeed, because the proposition we should include our First Australians in the nation’s birth certificate is an idea whose time has come. It enjoys powerful support across communities, business and Australians young and old. We will seek bipartisan support.

This is not about building a “third chamber” of parliament, it is not a matter of “separatism” or “special treatment”.

How on earth, in the light of this Closing the Gap Report, with such devastating statistics and tragedies behind these numbers, can we say that we’re giving special treatment to people who don’t even get the same treatment?

This isn’t about favouritism, or conferring unfair advantage. It is about recognising inequalities, centuries old. Bringing honour to our nation.

It’s about recognising that powerlessness is created by prejudice and by discrimination and breaking these chains which hold, not just our First Australians back, but actually chain us all back. It’s as simple as the fact that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples do not start from a level playing field now.

And that true equality of opportunity is measured not by legal standing, or theoretical notions but by lived experienced, by the tangible chance every Australian deserves to get a great education, a good job, to live a happy, fulfilling and healthy life, to see their children grow up and flourish.

And to those who dismiss constitutional recognition as “symbolism” or “identity politics”. Perhaps, unwittingly, that final phrase is closest to the truth. Because enshrining a Voice in the constitution is most certainly about identity.

About our national identity, all of us. It’s about who we are, as Australians. Are we a people who can recognise our First Australians in our constitution, as part of our national identity. Are we big enough, are we brave enough, are we smart enough and generous enough to recognise historical truth, to commit ourselves to equal opportunity and to write that into our constitution.

And in the end, this is why, despite all the well-known impediments, the historical difficulties of changing our constitution, I remain optimistic that the referendum can and should gain support. Because beyond the specific wording of any particular question, as important as that is, this represents a simpler, more elemental test. A test about what we say about ourselves to the world, a test of what we teach our children about what it means to be Australian.

It’s a test of our generosity, of our basic, human decency. It’s a test of whether or not we are fair dinkum partners in the journey to the future. A test of our innate and instinctive sense of fairness. I believe that if we trust the people of Australia with the opportunity to broaden the definition of the fair go, to make our constitution more true to who we are, to describe who we are, they will repay the trust of parliament in overwhelming numbers.

And, Mr Speaker I say to those who somehow believe that constitutional change stands in the way of progress on other fronts, I can promise this. If we are elected as the next government of Australia, seeking to enshrine a Voice in the constitution doesn’t stop us from building the new houses that we need to. It doesn’t stop us from embracing the initiatives to encourage more teachers that we’ve heard about.

It doesn’t stop us training more Aboriginal apprentices or doubling the number of Rangers. It won’t prevent us from bringing together, in our first 100 days, people from all over the nation, the police, the child saftey people, families, to work out what must be done to protect the next generation of First Nations children.

Because we must address the two-pronged crisis in the abuse occurring in communities and the trauma being inflicted in out-of-home care. A Labor Government committed to a Voice will still invest in Aboriginal health care providers, the champions who make such a difference to new mothers and their babies.

A Labor Government will make justice reinvestment a national priority, because youth detention and jail time for young people should be a rarity, not a rite-of-passage. I acknowledge the Prime Minister’s announcement today regarding HECS relief for teachers, commitment to education is welcome. But we want people teaching in remote schools because they want to be there, and we will work to encourage that. And we want more local Aboriginal people, trained as teachers and nurses in their communities.

And to achieve real improvements, there must be not just specific funding, but real needs-based funding for schools and investments in early education, universities and TAFE.

Not just in the bush but in our cities and suburbs, where our first Australians also live, so Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children everywhere get the same chance as every other Australian child to get a great education.

This is the focus and purpose of Labor’s policies. We will support Australian languages in this International year of Indigenous Languages. We will provide compensation to survivors of the Stolen Generations from Commonwealth jurisdictions and create a National Healing Fund for descendants managing intergenerational trauma.

Because saying sorry must always mean making good. And we will abolish and replace the Community Development Program, not just because it is discriminatory, demoralising and punitive but because it is completely counterproductive and ineffective. Labor believes in the dignity of work and that is why we want people living in remote communities to work with dignity. And this isn’t just a job for government alone, I want to work with business and the unions to launch a trades and skills offensive, this is a call to arms.

A mass-mobilisation of training, TAFE and apprenticeships, to bring good jobs to country. Because funding projects in remote communities should not involve bringing contractors and tradies from the other side of Australia. We should give our own young people in these communities the pathway to be the tradespeople of their communities. This will be our approach, not grants without evidence or accountability but programs that put communities and regions back in control of their resources and their futures.

In conclusion, Mr Speaker, yesterday, you and I were present at the unveiling of the striking portrait of the Member for Barton.

This portrait of Australian Labor frontbencher Linda Burney, the first Aboriginal woman elected to the House of Representatives, will be displayed in a gallery dominated by white, male former prime ministers and presiding officers.

She wasn’t counted in a Commonwealth census until she was 14 years old. Now her painting will hang on the wall of the Commonwealth Parliament as an inspiration for generations to come. And if we are successful at the next election, she will be one of two First Australians in our new Cabinet, there on merit, for First Australians, and all Australians.

For those who seek to visit Linda’s portrait, it’s near the Barunga statement. A bare 327 words presented to Prime Minister Hawke in 1988. It was a vision for self-determination, for local control, for treaty, truth-telling, national reconciliation.

And just like the bark petitions from Yirrkala. Like the tent embassy on the Federation Lawns. Like Clinton Pryor’s Walk for Justice, or Michael Long’s a decade ago. All represent a message of hope. Proof that despite all the failures and shortcomings and the unfulfilled promises of political generations past, there is still a belief out there amongst our First Australians and indeed all Australians, that this place, this parliament, can play a worthwhile, valuable role in reconciling Australia.

The Uluru Statement offers us that chance, a chance to capture the spirit of the signatories at Barunga.

The Gurunji at Wave Hill. The grand campaigners of 67. The extraordinary victory against the odds of Eddie and Bonita Mabo.

The Apology. And all the other peoples and cultures and communities who have fought and won for their own patient struggles for justice.

We have a chance for Australians to celebrate the unique culture of our First Nations people, their ongoing contribution to the life of our nation.

A chance for us to affirm their special place in our nation’s history and its future. We have a chance for healing and unity and reconciliation.

And to take a further step to ensure that the next generation live to see and know an Australia where the gap is closed and the suffering has subsided.

So, with hope, with pride and with trust and faith in all of us, let us take up that challenge.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : Download @ScottMorrisonMP speech and annual #Closingthegap report to Parliament

 “This year’s Closing the Gap Report is an opportunity to reflect on a decade’s efforts under an ambitious framework aimed at improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

While progress has been made over the past decade, only two of the ambitious targets are on track. It shows we need to change the way we work.

I believe that the progress needed can only be accelerated through a deeper partnership with the states and territories and with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Top-down does not work, only partnerships do.”

Download the Prime Minister Speech

Prime Minister Close the Gap Speech 

Download CTG  report Here 

NACCHO Members Service 2019 CtG Report –

This is why, two years ago, we embarked on the Closing the Gap Refresh. Ten years of the Closing the Gap implementation provides an important opportunity to reflect on what has worked and what has not. There have been shortfalls in both the implementation and leadership of the Closing the Gap agenda. In 2019, we want to try something new, to change the way we work as governments – to work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

In early December 2018, a Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians made representation to me. They came to me seeking a partnership, one that shared decision making on how future policies are developed, especially at a regional or local level.

On 12 December 2018, I met with COAG First Ministers and together we agreed to form a partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives. This is the partnership the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians asked for. In listening to this group I realised that for Closing the Gap to be successful, we must change the way we work and work together. This partnership provides a platform for genuine collaboration as we agree how to move forward.

Since the initiation of Closing the Gap in 2008, each successive Prime Minister has delivered a report on outcomes and efforts by the Australian Government. Each year, the Prime Minister has delivered the message that the targets are not on track. There are many reasons for this, which inform our future approach. We know that beneath this story are examples of improvement and progress – more children are staying in school for longer and achieving year 12 qualifications. This education sets them up for better employment opportunities.

This report of 2019 marks the final report against the Closing the Gap framework established in 2008 and a transition to the commitment of all Australian governments to do things differently.

As we move into this next phase, Closing the Gap will be embraced as a whole of government agenda with all governments sharing accountability for progress and extending this shared accountability to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

We should not let our failure to meet targets overshadow the successful, thriving lives of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Australians and the great work that many in our communities have been doing to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses are growing, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are in meaningful jobs and doing well in our economy and the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are accessing education from early childhood to university. We should however embrace the requirement to change, we simply will not succeed by continuing to work in the same way.

The main area of change needs to be in how governments approach implementation of policies and delivery of services. Stronger accountability can be achieved through co-designed action plans that link targets to policy action, funding decisions, and regular evaluations. This provides transparency for how we expect to achieve each target and by when.

We know that Closing the Gap is foundational to building a fairer, stronger and connected Australia. It is equally important to recognise and celebrate Australia as the home of the longest living civilisation on earth, and acknowledge that the cultures of our First Nations peoples enrich us all.

The Australian Government is committed to working in genuine partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, a partnership which is critical to progress towards Closing the Gap.

The Hon. Scott Morrison MP
Prime Minister of Australia

The journey to close the gap began in 2005, with the release of the Social Justice Report 2005, which called for Australian governments to commit to achieving equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in health and life expectancy within 25 years (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, 2005). Non-government agencies responded with a National Indigenous Health Equality Campaign in 2006, and launched the Close the Gap campaign in 2007.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) listened to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and their stakeholders. In December 2008, COAG pledged to close key gaps, and recognised that a concerted national effort was needed to address Indigenous disadvantage in key areas. Six Closing the Gap targets were introduced, contained within an overarching Commonwealth and state and territory agreement called the National Indigenous Reform Agreement. A school attendance target was added in 2014 and an expanded early childhood target was added in 2015 following the expiry of the remote early childhood education target in 2013 (unmet).

As four of the seven targets were due to expire in 2018, the Australian Government has worked with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and state and territory governments to develop the Closing the Gap Refresh. This is a new framework which builds on the original Closing the Gap targets and represents a continued commitment in effort and accountability from all governments for a further ten years. This report both acknowledges the future framework, while reporting progress against the original targets set in 2008.

PROGRESS AGAINST THE TARGETS

There are currently seven Closing the Gap targets. Two targets, early childhood education and Year 12 attainment, are on track to be met.[1]

  • The target to halve the gap in child mortality rates by 2018 is not on track. Since the target baseline (2008) Indigenous child mortality rates have declined by 10% (not statistically significant) but the gap has not narrowed as the non-Indigenous rate has declined at a faster rate.
  • The target to have 95% of Indigenous four year olds enrolled in early childhood education by 2025 is on track. In 2017, 95% of Indigenous four year olds were enrolled in early childhood education.
  • The target to close the gap in school attendance by 2018 is not on track. Attendance rates for Indigenous students have not improved between 2014 and 2018 (around 82% in 2018) and remain below the rate for non-Indigenous students (around 93%).
  • The target to close the gap in life expectancy by 2031 is not on track. Between 2010–12 and 2015–17, Indigenous life expectancy at birth improved by 2.5 years for Indigenous males and by 1.9 years for Indigenous females (both not statistically significant), which has led to a small reduction in the gap.
  • There is no new national data available for three targets and their status remains the same as for the 2018 Report.[2] The target to halve the gap in Year 12 attainment or equivalent by 2020 is on track. The target to halve the gap in reading and numeracy by 2018 is not on track. The target to halve the gap in employment by 2018 is not on track.

PROGRESS ACROSS STATES AND TERRITORIES

Progress against the targets for each state and territory varies and is summarised in Table 1, which indicates where targets are on track. More detailed analysis of progress in each of the target areas is found in the chapters of this report.


FOUNDATIONS FOR THE FUTURE

The Closing the Gap Framework established in 2008 recognised that a national effort was required to address Indigenous disadvantage. Ten years on, we know that the lives of First Australians have improved, however it is clear that more work is needed.

Targets set in 2008 were ambitious, complex and aimed at long-term, intergenerational change without all the levers to make it happen. In addition, there were weaknesses in the approach which we will address in future implementation. We have learned key lessons from the past ten years which inform the future as we commit to continue our efforts and the efforts of all Australian governments through COAG under the Closing the Gap Refresh. A number of key elements are critical to our approach in the future including:

  • Working in partnership. We have developed partnerships at all levels to draw on the enduring wisdom and local knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This recognises genuine partnerships are required to drive sustainable, systemic change. In particular, we recognise the need to work together to address the drivers of intergenerational trauma through our focus on early childhood, and using economic participation to drive social change.
  • A strengths-based, community-led approach. We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been calling for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policies to recognise and build on the strength and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. We understand we need to support initiatives led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to address the priorities identified by those communities. Governments alone cannot create change, but we can commit to share responsibility and work alongside Indigenous Australians to enable change towards improved outcomes within their families and communities.
  • Working with state and territory governments. We recognise a whole of government approach is needed to harness effort across agencies to ensure a cohesive approach to providing services for First Australians. Part of the approach under the Closing the Gap Refresh process will involve providing the leadership which ensures Commonwealth, state and territory governments have direct ownership of targets by the Commonwealth or states, specific action plans, and the oversight of the Indigenous Productivity Commissioner tracking outcomes.
  • A robust evidence base. We know the most effective policies and programs are informed by evidence. We have established a cohesive approach to research and evaluation through the establishment of the Evaluation Framework and the Indigenous Research Exchange. This will strengthen policy decision making by providing high quality evidence, and recognises the importance of realistic targets and evaluation in directing effort to meet priorities.
  • Accountability. A new role has been created in the Productivity Commission to develop a whole of government evaluation strategy for policies and programs that have an impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Ensuring accountability from Commonwealth, state and territory governments will enable us to monitor and direct effort towards the outcomes that will deliver improved outcomes.

These lessons have informed the way forward for Closing the Gap. In 2018, COAG agreed to refresh the Closing the Gap agenda.

MOVING FORWARD: THE CLOSING THE GAP REFRESH

In December 2018, COAG committed to ensuring that the finalisation of targets and implementation of the refreshed Closing the Gap framework occurs through a genuine, formal partnership between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments and Indigenous Australians through their representatives.

COAG reinforced that the formal partnership must be based on mutual respect between parties and an acceptance that direct engagement and negotiation is the preferred pathway to productive and effective outcomes. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people must play an integral part in the making of the decisions that affect their lives – this is critical to closing the gap.

To this effect, COAG issued a statement outlining a draft strengths-based framework, which prioritises intergenerational change and the aspirations and priorities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across all Australian communities. The finalisation of this framework and associated draft targets will be agreed through a formal partnership.

In this statement, COAG committed to ensure that the design and implementation of the next phase of Closing the Gap is a true partnership. Governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will share ownership of and responsibility for a jointly agreed framework which includes targets and ongoing monitoring of the Closing the Gap agenda. This will include an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led three yearly comprehensive evaluation of the framework and progress.

The Commonwealth, states and territories share accountability for the refreshed Closing the Gap agenda and are jointly accountable for outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. COAG committed to working together to improve outcomes in every priority area of the Closing the Gap Refresh, these include:

  • Families, children and youth
  • Housing
  • Justice, including youth justice
  • Health
  • Economic development
  • Culture and language
  • Education
  • Healing
  • Eliminating racism and systemic discrimination

Meeting specific targets in these priority areas will require the collaborative efforts of the Commonwealth, states and territories, regardless of which level of government has lead responsibility. Commonwealth, state and territory actions for each target will be set out in jurisdictional action plans, and may vary between jurisdictions. COAG acknowledged that all priority areas have interdependent social, economic and health determinants that impact the achievement of outcomes and targets.

The 12 December 2018 COAG communique and COAG Statement on the Closing the Gap Refresh are available on the COAG website.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #RefreshTheCTGRefresh : Prime Minister Scott Morrison will today unveil a revamped #ClosingtheGap strategy which will give First Nations leaders equal standing with government in designing targets to overcome Indigenous disadvantage.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will today unveil a revamped “Closing the Gap” strategy which will give First Nations leaders equal standing with government in designing targets to overcome Indigenous disadvantage.

In the run-up to the last COAG meeting in November, the head of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Pat Turner, called for Aboriginal bodies to be given “full partnership” in the process

From SMH 14 February 

Read NACCHO COAG CTG Article HERE 

Mr Morrison is expected to tell Parliament that the decade-old framework used by federal and state governments to “close the gap” had been well-intentioned, but “doomed to fail” because it did not sufficiently share “objective and process” with Indigenous Australians and did not hold different levels of government to account.

He will say previous targets have been too narrow, sometimes with counterproductive effect.

“The very nature of looking at this from a ‘closing the gap’ point of view takes a deficit mentality to the task which can sometimes mask progress being made,” Mr Morrison will say.

“The progress may not be fast enough or far enough but it still can discourage further efforts because of that approach, so we do always need to mark what’s been accomplished.”

The 11th Closing the Gap report to Parliament is expected to show that the targets set in 2008 have “by and large” not been met, though there is some positive news.

CLOSING THE GAP TARGETS

* Early education: 95 per cent of all indigenous four-year-olds enrolled in early childhood education by 2025. ON TRACK.

* Year 12 attainment: Halve the gap in Year 12 attainment by 2020. ON TRACK.

* Life expectancy: Close the gap in life expectancy between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians within a generation by 2031. NOT ON TRACK.

* Child mortality rates: To halve the gap in mortality rates for indigenous children under five within a decade, by 2018. NOT ON TRACK

* Employment: Halve the gap in employment by 2018. NOT ON TRACK

* Reading and Numeracy: Halve the gap in reading and numeracy for indigenous students by 2018. NOT ON TRACK

* School attendance: Close the gap in school attendance within five years, by 2018. NOT ON TRACK

Progress towards meeting two of seven goals – for getting more Indigenous children into early childhood education and for halving the year 12 attainment gap – are on track, but progress on five others are not.

Closing the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians by 2031 is not on track, nor is a halving of the gap in child mortality rates by 2018, halving the employment gap, halving the gap in reading and numeracy for Indigenous students and closing the gap in school attendance.

On reading and numeracy, results are mixed. The share of Indigenous students meeting national minimum standards in years 3 and 5 reading, and years 5 and 9 numeracy, increased by around 11 to 13 percentage points. But only year 9 numeracy was on track in all states.

The Indigenous child mortality rate has declined by 10 per cent but the gap has not narrowed, as the non-Indigenous rate has declined even faster. Just over half the Indigenous Australians of working age living in major cities were employed, while in remote areas the figure was as low as 31 per cent.

New targets are expected to be more evidence-based and “strike the balance between ambition and what is achievable”, Mr Morrison is expected to say.

The government also wants to see a pivot towards increasing opportunities for economic development,  not reflected in the current closing the gap framework.

The fresh approach to Closing the Gap builds on work under way since 2017, when the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to a “refresh” of the strategy, in line with calls from Indigenous leaders for a greater role in deciding and designing the targets.

In the run-up to the last COAG meeting in November, the head of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Pat Turner, called for Aboriginal bodies to be given “full partnership” in the process.

However for  many Indigenous leaders, a top priority is achieving a First Nations “Voice” to be embedded in the Constitution, in line with the historic 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart.

Labor has promised a referendum on the issue in its first term if elected, while the Coalition remains wary of the move, saying it runs the risk of becoming a “third chamber” of Parliament.

FROM AAP 14 February 

Efforts to close the health and education gap for indigenous Australians will be revised and broadened to get more input from the people they’re meant to help.

Just two of the seven Closing the Gap targets are on track to be met, more than a decade after the original report.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will deliver the 11th annual Closing the Gap report today , detailing proposed changes to how it works.

The report shows efforts to get more indigenous children into early education are on track, but improving life expectancy, infant mortality and employment status were not.

Mr Morrison will say the targets need to be revised to make states and territories more accountable, and give indigenous Australians more ownership of them.

“The Closing the Gap targets have been well intentioned but ‘top down’, so it was always doomed to fail in both its ambitions and also its process,” Mr Morrison will say on Thursday.

“It didn’t genuinely bring on board states and territories in making sure they have accountabilities and sharing the objective and process with indigenous Australians.”

Mr Morrison says the current way of measuring the targets masks progress, discouraging further efforts.

For instance, child mortality among indigenous Australians has decreased 10 per cent since 2008 – but the target is not on track because the non-indigenous figure has declined at a faster rate.

The “refresh” of the Closing the Gap targets, announced in 2016, will ask indigenous Australians to develop the targets.

It will also hold different levels of government to account, and include new priorities on housing, employment, family violence and land and water rights.

The draft targets include an effort to reduce the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in detention by 11 to 19 per cent, and adults held in incarceration by at least five per cent by 2028.

CLOSING THE GAP TARGETS

* Early education: 95 per cent of all indigenous four-year-olds enrolled in early childhood education by 2025. ON TRACK.

* Year 12 attainment: Halve the gap in Year 12 attainment by 2020. ON TRACK.

* Life expectancy: Close the gap in life expectancy between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians within a generation by 2031. NOT ON TRACK.

* Child mortality rates: To halve the gap in mortality rates for indigenous children under five within a decade, by 2018. NOT ON TRACK

* Employment: Halve the gap in employment by 2018. NOT ON TRACK

* Reading and Numeracy: Halve the gap in reading and numeracy for indigenous students by 2018. NOT ON TRACK

* School attendance: Close the gap in school attendance within five years, by 2018. NOT ON TRACK

© AAP 2019

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #ClosingTheGap : Download Queensland’s first Closing the Gap report card

“For the past decade the greatest progress towards Closing the Gap has been in areas where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have led the design and implementation from the very start.

Gone are the days of doing things “to” people as we reframe our relationship to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have every opportunity to truly thrive across all aspects of life.

Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Jackie Trad said partnering with Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander peoples to co-design policies and programs was vital for guaranteed outcomes.

Please Note : The Prime Ministers Closing the Gap report (10.00 AM ) and the Oppositions reply speech will be covered by NACCHO Media extensively over next 2 days

Download CTG Snap Shot

ctg-snapshot

Download Full CTG report 

ctg-full-report

The Palaszczuk Government has today, on the anniversary of the National Apology to Stolen Generation, become the first state to release a whole-of-government report card on efforts towards Closing the Gap.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the public report, a historic first, documented the state’s progress and highlighted opportunities for improvement, a decade on from the landmark Closing the Gap Report.

“Closing the Gap is a nationwide effort with all governments accountable for driving change in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” the Premier said.

“Queensland is making significant progress in key areas including in early childhood education, Year 3 reading and numeracy, Year 9 numeracy and Year 12 attainment and we want to duplicate this success across all areas including school attendance, employment and child mortality targets.

“Latest available data shows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders now have the highest life expectancy in Australia for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“But we still have a lot more to do. This report card is a reality check and sets the tone as we develop meaningful, communityled solutions to create real change.

“The Queensland Government welcomes the Council of Australian Governments’ decision to finalise Closing the Gap targets and implementation through a genuine, formal partnership between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through their representatives.

The COAG partnership announced on 12 December will include a Ministerial Council on Closing the Gap and is anticipated to be in place by late February 2019.

Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Jackie Trad said partnering with Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander peoples to co-design policies and programs was vital for guaranteed outcomes.

“Queensland is proudly home to the nation’s second highest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population and we are determined to move towards an approach underpinned by the strengths, knowledge and rich cultural traditions of the world’s oldest living cultures.

“We must work better together to guarantee improvements as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and communities are empowered to move beyond surviving to thriving.”

Ms Trad said Queensland’s approach towards Closing the Gap, including any new and revised targets, would be informed by community consultation and Queensland voices.

“The Queensland Government supports calls for the next phase of the Closing the Gap agenda, including every priority and target, to be guided by overarching principles of healing, eliminating racism and systemic discrimination, and self determination.”

Consultation also identified additional targets for national consideration including out-of-home care, family violence, adult imprisonment, youth justice (10-17 years), housing, entrepreneurship (economic development), land and waters, social inclusion and disability, and culture and language.

For more information visit https://www.datsip.qld.gov.au/programs-initiatives/closing-gap

About Closing the Gap

Closing the Gap is a long-term framework that builds on the foundation of respect and unity provided by the 2008 National Apology to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It acknowledges that improving opportunities and life outcomes for Indigenous Australians requires intensive and sustained effort from all levels of government, as well as the private and not-for-profit sectors, communities and individuals.

In 2008, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) endorsed the National Indigenous Reform Agreement (NIRA) (PDF), which included the following targets:

  • close the life expectancy gap within a generation (by 2031)
  • halve the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under 5 within a decade (by 2018)
  • ensuring that 95% of all Indigenous 4-year-olds are enrolled in early childhood education (by 2025)
  • halve the gap for Indigenous students in reading, writing and numeracy within a decade (by 2018)
  • halve the gap for Indigenous people aged 20-24 in Year 12 attainment or equivalent attainment rates by 2020, and
  • halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a decade (by 2018)
  • close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous school attendance within 5 years (by 2018).

Queensland Closing the Gap Report Card 2018

This Queensland Closing the Gap Report Card 2018 (Report Card) is an important step in the Queensland Government’s commitment to closing the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Queenslanders. It moves away from the deficit model and towards an approach underpinned by the strengths, knowledge and rich cultural heritage of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Report Card also:

  • supports ongoing and regular reporting to track progress, identify and build on strengths and success stories, and inform areas of focus
  • informs a partnership and co-design approachwith Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders and communities, moving away from ‘doing to’ to ‘doing with’
  • uses the latest data to measure Queensland’s progressin the COAG Closing the Gap targets
  • provides additional data on other priority areasraised by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders including through nine community consultations held across remote, regional and urban Queensland.

The Queensland Government is committed and dedicated towards working in genuine partnership to guarantee improved outcomes that move Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and communities from surviving to thriving.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal #Eldercare Health #Apology11 and #CaringForOurStolenGenerations How you can get involved ? : Stolen Generations want a commitment on aged care @KenWyattMP

Even compared to their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders contemporaries, who are already at a disadvantage in Australia, Stolen Generations members aged 50 and over are suffering more – financially, socially and in areas of health and wellbeing,

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were removed from their families are two times as likely to have been incarcerated and almost three times as likely to rely on government payments, compared to those who were not removed as children.

We’ve just been scratching the surface. We need government and service providers to commit to long term and widespread healing programs, trauma informed resources and culturally appropriate care.”

Chair of The Healing Foundation’s Stolen Generations Reference Group Ian Hamm said the data draws a clear distinction in the health and welfare outcomes between ageing Stolen Generations and the general Indigenous population.

Read NACCHO Elder Care Articles HERE 

Read NACCHO Stolen Generation Articles HERE

This year we will commemorate the National Apology to the Stolen Generations by sharing stories that have been shared with us over the years.

Witnessing the stories of Stolen Generation members who were removed from their homes, families and communities allows all Australians to join in on the healing journey and be part of the solution moving forward. This is the spirit of commemorating the National Apology.

We are sharing Stolen Generations stories via Facebook. Tune in on 13 February at 2pm and 6pm (AEST)

Share the Facebook event: http://bit.ly/2WUynLv

Eleven years on from the National Apology, members of the Stolen Generations are calling on governments to ensure aged care services are sensitive to their needs and support publicly funded alternatives to residential care that deal with trauma related issues arising from re-institutionalisation.

Hope Beyond the Window by Jacqui Stewart. The painting represents children from a Stolen Generation. The church symbolises religion and the window represents ‘hope’ looking through to the sky. The children are portraying despair but also at the same time hopefulness and belief for a better future. The old tree beside the church symbolises an Aboriginal Elder who is protecting and watching the children while the leaves illustrate “free spirits” flying through the wind. The painting was influenced by photographs of the Moore River Native Settlement in WA and the movie Rabbit Proof Fence. Image reproduced with kind permission from the artist.

Source: Stolen Generations stories – Creative Spirits, retrieved from 

It follows the release of data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare that uncovers alarming and disproportionate levels of disadvantage for Stolen Generations aged 50 and over.

The AIHW report forecasts that by 2023 all remaining Stolen Generations survivors will be eligible for aged care. The data shows that 89 per cent of those aged 50 and over were not in good health and 76 per cent relied on government payments as their main source of income.

The Healing Foundation CEO Richard Weston said the report provides a clear evidence base to the complex needs of Stolen Generations aged 50 and over who suffered profound childhood trauma when they were forcibly removed from their homes, isolated from family and culture and often institutionalised, abused and assaulted.

“While appalling, this level of disadvantage should not come as a surprise. If people don’t have an opportunity to heal from trauma, it continues to impact on the way they think and behave, leading to a range of negative outcomes including poor health and isolation, which in turn leads to social and economic disadvantage,” Mr Weston said.

“The Aged Care Royal Commission has been running for less than a week and we’re already hearing about the profound trauma experienced by those in care. Clearly, the Stolen Generations need and deserve assistance in their aging years, but given their past experiences with institutionalisation, it’s vital that we find public funded alternatives that respond to trauma related issues.”

How you can get involved

-Share the Facebook event: http://bit.ly/2WUynLv
-Share the Stolen Generations stories via YouTube
-Visit our webpage to learn more about Apology11
-Share the factsheet: http://bit.ly/2I7xjk4
-Talk about the recent findings in the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Stolen Generations aged 50 and over report.

Tag us on Facebook: @Healing Foundation and Twitter: @healingourway using #Apology11 and#CaringForOurStolenGenerations

Read more: https://healingfoundation.org.au/app/uploads/2019/02/190212-Apology11-Caring-for-Stolen-Generations-InformationSheet.pdf