NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #NRW2020 27 May to 3 June : This #ReconciliationWeek use a new interactive #Gambay website to learn the name of the Indigenous language of the land on which you live. Search by town or post code

 “Australia is situated in one of the world’s linguistic hot spots, however, many Australians are not aware of the incredible linguistic diversity of Indigenous Australia.

Aboriginal languages and Torres Strait Islander languages have struggled to survive since the time of colonisation.

According to First Languages Australia “in the late 18th century, there were between 350 and 750 distinct Australian social groupings, and a similar number of languages”.

These languages determine whose country we are on and who we must acknowledge and pay respect to when we are on their land.

But the good news is many language groups are working hard to preserve their native tongue. And languages are persistently being restored.

First Languages Australia has developed an interactive map that displays and promotes the diversity of Aboriginal languages and Torres Strait Islander languages. “

Search by town or post code HERE

A map of Australia appears in front of a background of faces

The interactive map showcases over 780 Indigenous languages.(First Languages Australia)


The map is called Gambay, which means “together” in the Butchulla language of the Hervey Bay region in Queensland.

It showcases more than 780 languages.

The map gives Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities control over the way their languages are publicly represented through spelling and videos clips of ‘language legends’ who share their knowledge.

Some videos have been provided by the ABC in collaboration with First Languages Australia.

Originally published HERE

First Languages Australia works closely with language centres and speakers around the country to develop the map to reflect the names and groups favoured by community.

First Languages Australia manages the map, community contributions and its ongoing development in consultation with language centres and speakers.

The ABC does not warrant and is not responsible for the accuracy, currency, completeness or reliability of the information contained in the map.

This map is also a permanent feature on the ABC Indigenous website.

How the map can teach you language:

  • Find your location on the map and the language group of that area will appear
  • After clicking on the language group you will find educational videos of ‘language legends’ talking about their culture
  • You will also find audio segments which teach you how to pronounce the language
  • There are also videos on the map where you can learn the original place names in your area through the ABC This Place series. This is another way of learning the local language and using it everyday.

How the map came to be

Warrgamay women, Melinda Holden and Bridget Priman are sisters and are the driving force behind the Gambay map.

After completing a course on Indigenous languages at TAFE in Cairns, both women fell in love with learning how to read and write in language.

Ms Priman went on to graduate with a Bachelor of the Arts in Language and Linguistics and Ms Holden obtained a Diploma in Linguistics and Planning.

Together they have been passionate activists for grassroots language communities.

Melinda Holden – Warrgamay

Ms Holden said that as they were learning, they realised there wasn’t somewhere people could to readily access this type of information.

“There was always this nagging question of where do we go to get all of this stuff?” Ms Holden said.

So, about seven years ago, they began researching Aboriginal languages and Torres Strait Islander languages within Queensland.

“We wanted an overview of what languages were out there,” Ms Holden said.

“We just started putting together a spreadsheet.”

The pair found approximately 320 languages and dialects in Queensland alone.

“We thought maybe this is too big for us,” Ms Holden said.

As members of the Queensland Indigenous Languages Advisory Committee, Ms Holden and her sister presented to the group — and then to First Languages Australia — the idea of an interactive map.

The Gambay map was later launched in 2015.

The map has gone through various iterations and is updated with data and information that regional language centres and community groups want to share.

First Languages Australia includes information as people provide it — things such as spelling, and the areas language groups cover.

“We consult communities on who to speak to and who would have the final say,” Ms Holden said.

A great tool’

Now retired, Ms Holden says what the map is today is more than she could have ever imagined.

“We wanted to see elders talk about their language and their country,” she said.

“We wanted people to know the language of the land they live on, as the language of that region describes the land and animals of that area.”

Now covering the entire country, the Gambay map has become a resource all Australians can use to learn about their local Aboriginal languages and Torres Strait Islander languages.

“It also helps people find their country,” Ms Holden said.

She says the map can also be used in classrooms.

“It’s far easier for students to learn language now,” she said.

“It’s all there … it’s a great tool.”

Gambay also provides contacts for people who speak their traditional language and are willing to share their knowledge.

If you are a language custodian and would like to add a pronunciation file to your language listing on Gambay, you can email: or get in contact via the Gambay website.


NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #CoronaVirus News Alert No 25 March 31 #KeepOurMobSafe : Concerned health professionals group warns @KenWyattMP urgent measures are needed to help prevent the catastrophic impact of COVID-19 on our communities

We are writing as a group of health professionals to urge you to do whatever is necessary to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people/communities to take protective actions regarding COVID-19. As in all measures, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community guidance, involvement in design and decision making is essential.

As healthcare workers, our concern is for all people facing this global pandemic. But our First Nations people are particularly at risk here in Australia.

There are significant urgent actions that need to be taken NOW, to prevent unnecessary deaths.

We are sure you share this concern and we look forward to hearing what you can do in this rapidly deteriorating and highly threatening situation. “

Download a a copy of the letter


See NACCHO Corona Virus Home Page

Read all 25 NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Coronas Virus Alerts HERE

The Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP Minister for Indigenous Australians

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT 2600. 29th March 2020

Dear Minister Wyatt,

Re: Urgent measures to help prevent the catastrophic impact of COVID-19 on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people/communities

Continued from above

There is an urgent imperative to prevent the spread of COVID-19 into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, which are particularly vulnerable to its impacts. Given the multiple and significant health issues faced by many in isolated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and the lack of intensive/accessible health facilities, the death rates of a COVID-19 outbreak would be very high.

Related critical issues include:

  • the risk posed by non-essential ‘fly in fly out’(FIFO) workforces into remote communities;
  • the need for early release of imprisoned Aboriginal people (those serving time for lesser offences), given incarceration massively increases risk of infection and death;
  • ensuring the ongoing provision of supplies in a reliable and cost-effective manner;
  • access to clear, accurate health information – both in English and in local languages; and
  • provision for health worker support, testing and isolation/quarantine

Clearly there are different situations across the country; there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach.

After reaching out to a number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations, individuals and health care workers, we strongly advocate for these recommendations with urgency:

1)  Clear protocols must be established to cease non-essential FIFO contact with local workers and community, as well as ensuring adequate hygiene measures are used at every point.

Where the separation of workers is not feasible, we request that either FIFO work should cease, or a local workforce should be given extended paid leave, given the key role this income plays in many communities.

2)  The urgent release of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander minor offenders from custody.

Specifically, this applies to those who are on remand or in custody for minor offences and/or not deemed as a threat to others. This includes women, young people, and those at greatest risk of dying from COVID-19, e.g. the elderly, and people with pre-existing health conditions.

At all costs, we must prevent any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths in custody from COVID 19

These are preventable deaths.

3)  Provision by government of guaranteed supplies of staples to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

This is increasingly becoming necessary, especially given remote locations can have few alternatives and prohibitive costs. The subsidisation of fresh food, particularly fruit and vegetables, may also improve the nutrition, health and resilience of communities.

Currently, there are reports of essential item shortages similar to those noted in metropolitan areas. As examples, a lack of meat, toilet paper, hand sanitiser and basic food items are now common. .

The adequate provision of cleaning supplies is imperative, as many of these communities do not have reliable access to running water in all homes. Ammunition used in hunting is also in short supply in some areas. Various communities are also reporting price gouging, with some locations seeing essentials like milk and toilet paper double their usual cost.

Further, while encouraging isolation from nearby towns would reduce the spread of COVID-19, it is also very difficult to enforce if there is limited access to many essential supplies locally.

4)  The provision of clear, accurate and up-to-date information (preferably “in language”) would help to mitigate the worry, confusion and fear that is currently being reported in some communities.

For example, speaking of ‘avoidance’ can mean many different things in cultural contexts. Further, strong cultural traditions might prevent people from readily embracing safer, recommended hygiene practices. For example, some people may be more concerned about not disrespecting Elders, wanting to attend a funeral and observe Sorry Business, and so on.

Hence, the government needs tobe very clear in its messaging across media platforms about the actual risks involved and the recommended precautions people should take.

Culturally appropriate work with communities and Elders to find new solutions that also ensure they can continue to practice their Law and culture must be an imperative. Noting, there are many existing language centres that could assist with this messaging (ideally for a reasonable fee in this time of economic uncertainty).

5)  Provision for health worker support and training, testing and isolation/quarantine facilities.

Health workers in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities or in remote regions need specialist training in this time to ensure they have access to the latest information, as well as Personal Protective Equipment and testing facilities.

Capacity to allow for safe isolation or quarantining is vital in helping control the disease.

We strongly urge the government to work with local community-controlled services to ensure vital services such as dialysis services, mental health services, telehealth services and supplies lines of medication are not reduced during this time.

As healthcare workers, our concern is for all people facing this global pandemic. But our First Nations people are particularly at risk here in Australia.

There are significant urgent actions that need to be taken NOW, to prevent unnecessary deaths.

We are sure you share this concern and we look forward to hearing what you can do in this rapidly deteriorating and highly threatening situation.

Yours sincerely

Dr Margaret Beavis MBBD FRACGP MPH

Dr Anne Noonan MBBS MD MA Sydney SONT (Specialist Outreach Northern Territory)

Dr Kris Rallah-Baker BMed FRANZCO

Dr Dana Slape, Larrakia MBBS (Hons), FACD, Previous AIDA Director

Dr Catherine Keaney BSc MBBS DCH FRACGP

Associate Professor Tilman A Ruff AO MB, BS (Hons), FRACP

Dr Ruth Mitchell, BA, BSc, BMBS, MAICD, FRACS Dr Sue Wareham OAM, MB BS

Lynette Saville RN, OHN,

Dr Helen Feniger MBBS, GDipAppSc(Comp). Dr Ka Sing Chua MBBS FAMAC

Dr Michael Keem BBiomed MD Dr Lucy Desmond B-BMED MD Dr Tom Keaney

Genevieve Christophers BSc RN RM

Dr Bruce McClure MBBS (Hons), FRACGP

Deborah Leighton MA Clinical Neuropsychology Fellow College Clinical Neuropsychologists. Dr Carole Wigg MBBS, MBioeth, DCH, DRCOG

Dr Jane Fyfield MBBS DGM GDipHA MPH Cert 1V Workplace Assessment & Training. Dr Andrew McDonald MBBS DRANZCOG

Dr Barbara Robertson MBBS FANZCA

Jane Phillips BAppSci (Physio) GC Health GC Res Methods APAM Dr Judith Hammond MBBS FRACGP

Professor Eric Morand MBBS PhD FRACP Anne C Hosking GCertNsg , GDipORNsg Dr Richard K Barnes, MBBS, FANZCA

Dr Kate Lardner BPT, MBBS, GDipSurgAnat Dr Peter Shannon MBBS DPM FRANZCP Dr Henry Robert Jennens MBBS BMedSci Dr Maria Bikos BDS (Adel)- Dentist


NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Communities #CoronaVirus News Alert No 10 of 10 March 17 : Contributions updates from our CEO Pat Turner and Dr Mark Wenitong plus messages from Debbie Kilroy and Thema Plum who have tested positive


In this special Corona Virus edition 10

1.The Guardian: Pat Turner Calls on the army for community help

2.The Australian Community visits to communities banned

3. SkyNews :NT Bans travel to remote Indigenous communities

4.Debbie Kilroy tests positive

5.DR Mark Wenitong update Cape York Communities : Today’s update

6.Thelma Plum Tests positive

7. Preventing the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) 

Read all 10 NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Coronas Virus Alerts HERE

1.The Guardian : Pat Turner Calls on the army for community help

Australia’s peak Aboriginal health group, representing hundreds of health care services, wants state and territory governments to make urgent arrangements to protect Aboriginal people in remote areas who are highly vulnerable to Covid-19.

From the Guardian 

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (Naccho) said governments should consider deploying the army in remote areas, where health workers face major challenges in containing any outbreak, including a lack of access to equipment, testing and urgent emergency care.

“Everybody has to step up, that’s how serious this is,” the Naccho CEO, Pat Turner, said.

“State and territory governments need to do everything they can to stop this getting into our communities. If this gets into any remote community, there will be a high rate of deaths. Our communities will be devastated, because of the already low levels of health.

“The army is our friend in this situation. They have the necessary resources, and we should be briefing army health co-ordinators and have them on standby to be deployed [to places that] we have difficulty reaching, helping us manage this pandemic,” Turner said.

Remote-area health workers urgently need more personal protective equipment, she said, after receiving reports that clinics in the Kimberley region of Western Australia had received only two sets each of masks, gloves and gowns for healthcare staff to use.

Turner said the equipment is essential for remote workers because timely testing is not available and they are relying on clinical diagnosis of Covid-19.

“It can take up to two weeks for tests to be returned, and in that time, if someone has it, the whole community will get it,” Turner said.

Local and state governments must prepare isolation and quarantine centres, she said, because “self-isolation is just unrealistic where there’s overcrowding in housing because of decades and decades of government neglect.

The state governments need to be working with local communities to identify structures that can be adapted for isolation, and they need two kinds: one for suspected cases, and the other for people who are known to have it.”

Naccho is providing a briefing for the Aboriginal taskforce on Covid-19, which will report to the national cabinet today .

“The national cabinet meeting tomorrow should realise the seriousness of this for Aboriginal Australia and make sure the necessary resources are provided immediately,” Turner said.

“We need information urgently on what to do in every situation. Our health services need to know.”

Naccho represents 143 Aboriginal community-controlled health services across the country.

On the weekend, the Northern Land Council (NLC) suspended all existing non-essential permits to visit Aboriginal lands, and said it won’t grant any new ones until further notice.

“The NLC has received many calls from community members asking that we do all we can to ensure the safety and protection of Aboriginal people,” the CEO, Marion Scrymgour, said.

“This decision will not affect the permits issued to doctors, nurses, teachers, police officers, council workers and others that provide essential services for Aboriginal people out bush,” she said.

The NLC and Naccho have both called on the federal government to consider the concerns of the traditional Aboriginal owners of Kakadu national park, who say it should close immediately. Parks Australia has been contacted for comment.

On the Tiwi Islands, the weekend’s AFL grand final and art fair, which usually draw thousands of visitors, were closed to outsiders.

The Northern Territory government said it is implementing current national advice for self-isolation of 14 days for all international arrivals and a ban on cruise ships for 30 days. Government schools across the Northern Territory will remain open.

It has produced health announcements in nine Aboriginal languages, including Warlpiri and Yolngumatha, and set up a hotline for territory residents: 1800 008 002.

There is one confirmed case of Covid-19 in the Northern Territory: a tourist who is currently in Royal Darwin hospital.

2.The Australian : Community visits to communities banned

From The Australian March 17

Aboriginal communities across northern and inland Australia are moving to protect themselves from the coronavirus by restricting contact with the outside world.

The Northern Territory on Monday announced a ban on all non-essential visits to about 70 ­remote settlements, endorsed by the major Aboriginal land councils. It comes as leaders in parts of Western Australia’s Kimberley ­region prepare to isolate their communities for several weeks and move frail relatives to distant outstations.

Several Queensland state ­departments have already suspended bush travel, with Aboriginal community heads calling for a lockout of all but essential service

South Australia’s Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands announced strict entry rules ­earlier this month with the support of Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt.

However, doubts are emerging about whether indigenous people will respect movement restrictions, and if they could be attracted to towns by stimulus handouts.

Experts think indigenous people are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 because they suffer higher rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes and rheumatic heart disease. Research after the 2009 H1N1 “swine flu” pandemic showed indigenous people were more than eight times more likely to be hospitalised.

NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner assured remote Territorians that banning non-essential travel did not mean leaving them to fend for themselves. “Everything you need to be healthy and safe, you will have,” he said.

“The people that you need to be there will be there. But the health advice to us is also clear: you are safest in your home communities.

“To protect you, we are keeping non-essential people away from you. If you don’t need to travel out of your community, then don’t. Just like the rest of us, you are safer in your home community.”

The dirt road to the West Australian town of Balgo will be closed on Sunday for at least five weeks after Wirrimanu Council members decided it was the only way to keep people safe. Should COVID-19 still threaten their community, they plan to move elders even further into the bush.

WA Chief Health Officer ­Andrew Robertson said discussions were under way with the Royal Flying Doctor Service and St John Ambulance about transport from remote areas.

“It’s obviously going to place a strain on some budgets, but these are unusual circumstances,” he said. “We expect that mild cases could be managed at home.”

Lockhart River Mayor Wayne Butcher said it was now “too dangerous” to allow unrestricted movement into the Cape York ­indigenous community.

Additional reporting: Michael McKenna

3.SkyNews: NT Bans travel to remote Indigenous communities


4.Debbie Kilroy tests positive: her message 

SATURDAY: We were on the same plane as Peter Dutton earlier so we had to be tested for coronavirus on Saturday when we arrived back from the USA. We have now been quarantined and awaiting test results. I am confused as to why the PM & other Cabinet members were not quarantined after being in contact with Dutton & we were.

UPDATE: Tests came back for #COVIDー19 & Neta-Rie Mabo & I have coronavirus.

We are not being hospitalised as there’s limited beds available. We are the first ones being quarantined in community.

Yes it’s frightening but I’m healthy & so is Neta. We should be fine after 14 days ♥️ Take care of yourselves plz cause this virus is serious for our most disadvantaged people in our communities.

The way to slow the spread of this virus is to self quarantine. Plz take responsibility and self quarantine.

Take the advice from medical professionals not politicians who are playing politics with our lives.

Take care of yourselves 😍


5.DR Mark Wenitong update Cape York Communities


6.Thelma Plun Tests positive

Australian singer-songwriter Thelma Plum has expressed concern around the impact of coronavirus on vulnerable communities after testing positive for the disease.

Plum says she is “doing really good” while in Brisbane Metro North Hospital after being diagnosed on Sunday.

One of Queensland’s 68 cases, she has not indicated where and when she may have caught the disease but said doctors indicted she will remain in hospital until at least Friday.

The proud Indigenous woman urged prioritisation of Australia’s most vulnerable people in response to the crisis.

“I cannot stress enough how much this virus has the potential to severely harm our communities (particularly our Indigenous communities),” she wrote on Instagram.

“We need to know that the public health system is going to care for our communities.”

Plum said she was worried about disadvantaged people spreading the disease while being unable to stay home from work when infectious.

“Schools need to be shut down but there needs to be structures in place that can ensure low income families and vulnerable people aren’t being left in the dark.

“People need to work from home and if they aren’t able to, the government needs to step in (and) fin

7. Preventing the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) 

Example of our ACCHO Info sharing with communities

There is greater risk of COVID-19 causing serious illness in individuals living in communities with chronic disease, such as remote Indigenous communities.


What individuals can do

To limit the spread of Coronavirus to and within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, individuals are asked to take the following precautions:

  • Do not travel to a remote community unless necessary
  • To prevent germs spreading, wash your hands often with soap and water or with disinfectant rub for about 20 seconds
    • Clean hands are essential before eating or preparing food, and after going to the bathroom
  • Avoid touching your own eyes, mouth and nose
  • Shower regularly and practice good hygiene
  • Avoid touching other people (hugs, handshaking) unless absolutely necessary
  • Maintain your distance from people who are coughing or sneezing as much as possible
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell. If you are concerned and have a fever, cough, sore throat and/or difficulty breathing, seek medical attention but call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

What community leaders can do

Community leaders can:

  • Consider options for restricting non-essential travel in and out of communities.
  • Identify the most effective way to communicate messages to your community (eg. Shop noticeboards, men’s groups, mother’s groups, schools, Facebook, community radio)
  • Promote good hygiene practices and make available handwashing/hygiene facilities throughout the community.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #COAG #ClosingtheGap : Pat Turner ” Today marks a significant step forward in our historic partnership between governments and the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peaks “

Today marks a significant step forward in our historic partnership between governments and the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peaks with the agreement that we will work towards a new National Agreement on Closing the Gap to guide efforts over the next ten years.

The conversation on Closing the Gap is changing because Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are now at the negotiating table with governments.

The proposed priority reforms are based on what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have been saying for a long time is needed to close the gap and we now have a formal structure in place to put those solutions to governments.

If we are to close the gap it will be Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations leading the way on service delivery. We already know that community-controlled organisations achieve better results because we understand what works best for our peoples.

It is a critical step for the Joint Council to formally recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples must share in decision-making on policies that affect their lives.

The Coalition of Peaks are looking forward to engaging with communities around Australia to build support from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for the priority reforms and to ensure that their views on what is needed to make them a success is captured in the new National Agreement.” 

Pat Turner, Lead Convener of the Coalition of Peaks, CEO of NACCHO and Co-Chair of the Joint Council speaking after a meeting of the Joint Council on Closing the Gap was held in Adelaide on Friday 23 August

The Joint Council agreed on a communiqué, which is attached.


See Closing the Gap Website

Joint Council makes progress towards new National Agreement on Closing the Gap

A meeting of the Joint Council on Closing the Gap was held in Adelaide on Friday 23 August , between representatives of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and a Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Bodies (Coalition of Peaks).

In its second ever meeting, the Joint Council today agreed to work towards a new National Agreement Closing the Gap.

Importantly, it also agreed in principle to the following three priority reforms to underpin the new agreement and accelerate progress on Closing the Gap:

  1. Developing and strengthening structures to ensure the full involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in shared decision making at the national, state and local or regional level and embedding their ownership, responsibility and expertise to close the gap;
  2. Building the formal Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled services sector to deliver closing the gap services and programs in agreed priority areas; and
  3. Ensuring all mainstream government agencies and institutions undertake systemic and structural transformation to contribute to Closing the Gap.

The priority reforms will form the basis of engagements with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives of communities and organisations across Australia and will focus on building support and what is needed to make them a success.

In another first, the engagements will be led by the Coalition of Peaks, with the support of Australian Governments.

A Welcome to Country for the second meeting of the Joint Council on #ClosingtheGap in Adelaide , co-chaired by the Minister Ken Wyatt and Pat Turner AM, Lead Convenor of the Coalition of Peaks. 

Additional text AAP

Friday’s agreement follows the release in December last year of a set of draft targets by the Council of Australian Governments in a range of areas including health, education, economic development and justice.

They include a desire to have 95 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander four-year-olds enrolled in early childhood education by 2025, a bid to close the life expectancy gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians by 2031 and efforts to ensure 65 per cent of indigenous youth aged between 15 and 24 are in employment, education or training by 2028.

The targets also seek to cut the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island young people in detention by up to 19 per cent and the adult incarceration by at least five per cent by 2028.

The refreshed closing the gap agenda will also commit to targets that all governments will be accountable to the community for achieving.

About the Joint Council

The Joint Council was established under the historic Partnership Agreement, announced in March. The agreement represents the first time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak bodies will have an equal say in the design, refresh, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the Closing the Gap framework.

The council is comprised of 12 representatives elected by the Coalition of Peaks, a Minister nominated by the Commonwealth and each state and territory governments and one representative from the Australian Government Association.

See full list in Communique 


The Joint Council will meet at least twice a year, and will develop a workplan to refresh the Closing the Gap framework and monitor its implementation over the next ten years.

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


NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Welfare Cards : NACCHO strongly supports the @ACOSS position as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are disproportionately and negatively impacted by the Newstart rate and the cashless welfare card

 “NACCHO strongly supports the ACOSS position as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are disproportionately and negatively impacted by the Newstart rate and the cashless welfare card

Acting NACCHO Chair Donnella Mills was commenting on the ACOSS Press Release 28 July in full below

See all NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Welfare Card articles HERE

Pictured above elder Ted Carlton with card

Acoss Press Release 28 July : Unnecessary, demeaning cashless debit card unfairly targets people just because they can’t find paid work

Following reports that Nationals are considering an expansion of the cashless debit card as part of a Newstart increase, the Australian Council of Social Service is reiterating its strong position against the cashless debit card.

ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said: “The cashless debit card is designed to control people on low incomes just because they haven’t been able to find a job. It is grossly unfair, impractical, demeaning, unproven and expensive.

“Are we now saying that, in addition to having to wait 25 years for an increase in incomes for people doing it the toughest, the trade-off would be control over their lives? Life is hard enough already for people on Newstart who trying to get through tough times and into paid work.

“Half of people on Newstart are 45 or older, one quarter have an illness or disability and more than 100,000 people on Newstart are single parents.

“Having to pay with the card cuts off some of the cheaper ways for people to get by such as buying second hand furniture or buying food from markets.

“People feel humiliated when they have to pay with the cashless debit card, especially in small communities.

“The government has shown no willingness to do a proper evaluation on cashless debit. The evaluations conducted so far do not demonstrate that cashless debit helps people.

“Cashless debit is also hugely expensive, costing thousands per person to administer.

“Instead of considering forcing people onto cashless debit cards, we need our political leaders to act to increase Newstart and better fund employment services to help people get paid work.

“Newstart must be urgently increased. 25 years with no real increase has left people in a spiral of debt and deprivation that makes it much harder to get paid work.”


NACCHO and ACCHO Members Deadly Good News Stories : National @NACCHOChair #NSW @Walgett_AMS #VIC @VACCHO_org #QLD @QAIHC_QLD @Apunipima #WA South West #SA PLAHS #NT @CAACongress @DanilaDilba #Tas Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre

1.1 National : NACCHO Chair meets Productivity Commissioner to discuss current evaluation of Indigenous government policies and programs

1.2 AMA President in National Press Club address supports Uluru Statement from the Heart

1.3 National Chair of AMSANT and CEO of of Anyinginyi Aboriginal Health Corporation Barbara Shaw will deliver the opening plenary for the Indigenous Health Justice Conference in Darwin

2. NSW : The Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service and the Dharriwaa Elders Group have both expressed concerns about saltwater solution for drought and the potential effect on community health.

3. VIC : VACCHO partners with other peak health organisations to develop and support 8 actions for a A Healthier Start for Victorians Strategy

4.1  QAIHC will hold Youth Health Summit in September

4. 2 Qld : The Apunipima ACCHO TIS Team launches smoke-free signage at Charkil Om in Napranum Cape York 

5. WA : South West Aboriginal Medical Service in partnership to upgrade youth centre

6. SA : PLAHS ACCHO and Port Lincoln community come together for this year’s NAIDOC Week events .

7.1 NT : Congress CEO, Donna Ah Chee delivering the powerful history of the Australian Nurse-Family Partnership Program 

7.2 NT : Danila Dilba ACCHO Darwin mobile clinic provides back to school health checks for Palmerston Indigenous Village

8. TAS : Two seats should be set aside for Tasmanian Aboriginal MHAs to be chosen by Aboriginal people in an enlarged State Parliament, traditional owners say.

How to submit in 2019 a NACCHO Affiliate  or Members Good News Story ?

Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media 

Mobile 0401 331 251 

Wednesday by 4.30 pm for publication Thursday /Friday

1.1 National : NACCHO Chair meets Productivity Commissioner to discuss  current evaluation of Indigenous government policies and programs

Donnella Mills Acting Chair of NACCHO this week met in Cairns with Romlie Mokak Productivity Commissioner to discuss the current Indigenous evaluation strategy : pictured above Left to Right Donnella , Romlie , Wuchopperen Chair  Sandra Levers and CEO Dania Ahwang

The Australian Government has asked the Productivity Commission to develop a whole-of-government evaluation strategy for policies and programs affecting Indigenous Australians, to be used by all Australian Government agencies. The Commission will also review the performance of agencies against the strategy over time.

They will consult widely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities and organisations, and with all levels of government. We will also consult with non-Indigenous organisations and individuals responsible for administering and delivering relevant policies and programs.

The Commission released an issues paper to guide people in preparing a submission. It sets out some of the issues and questions the Commission has identified as relevant at the early stage of the project. Participants should provide evidence to support their views, including data and specific examples where possible.

The paper was released on 26 June 2019.

Initial submissions are due by Friday 23 August 2019.

More info Submissions HERE

1.2 AMA President in National Press Club address supports Uluru Statement from the Heart

 “The ongoing failure to address Indigenous health is also unforgivable and unacceptable. There are immediate things we can do to turn things around.

The AMA supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart. The Australian Parliament must make this a national priority.

Giving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people a say in the decisions that affect their lives would allow for healing through recognition of past and current injustices. It would underpin all Government endeavours to close the health and life expectancy gap.

We need to also look at and address the broader social determinants. This requires cooperation and unity of purpose from all relevant Ministers and portfolios.

We must take out the politics and fearmongering. We must do the right thing by the First Australians. The AMA welcomed the stated intent of the Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, to hold a referendum on Constitutional recognition for Indigenous peoples.

It is time for unity. Let’s build on that. ”

AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, who addressed the National Press Club as part of Family Doctor Week, 

Download full speech HERE

AMA President Press Club Address

1.3 National Chair of AMSANT and CEO of of Anyinginyi Aboriginal Health Corporation Barbara Shaw will deliver the opening plenary for the Indigenous Health Justice Conference in Darwin

Also speaking will be Donella Mills (Chair) Lawyer and A/Chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), Donella is leading the development of Health Justice Partnerships in North Queensland and is recognised nationally as a leader in this field in the Indigenous context.

 Indigenous Health Justice Conference, 13 & 14 August 2019. #NILC2019 #IHJC2019

Download the full program HERE 

2. NSW : The Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service and the Dharriwaa Elders Group have both expressed concerns about saltwater solution for drought and the potential effect on community health.

Key points:

  • Residents and some experts are concerned about the health implications of bore water high in sodium
  • It may taste bad, but there are no regulated health-based limits on sodium levels in drinking water
  • A process of reverse osmosis is used to take sodium out of drinking water, but councils are worried about the cost

Chairman of the Elders Group Clem Dodd said the bore water was not healthy.

“You got to have water. I don’t care who you are — animal or person, you can’t go without water,” he said.

“But too much salt in it [is not good] … you got to get good water.”

The salt in the Bourke and Walgett bore water meets the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines but it exceeds the aesthetic (taste) limit.

There is no health-based sodium limit in those guidelines.

Health authorities contacted local doctors about potential health implications for patients with kidney disease, high blood pressure, heart failure, or who are pregnant.

‘Too much salt’

Jacqui Webster, a salt reduction expert from the George Institute for Global Health, has been working with the Walgett community on improving health outcomes there.

She said, while most salt in the average diet came from food, high salt levels in drinking water was a genuine health concern in these communities.

“Too much salt in the diet increases blood pressure, and increased blood pressure is one of the key contributors to premature death from heart disease and stroke in Australia,” Dr Webster said.

“You’ve got a high proportion of the community who are Aboriginal people, and we know Aboriginal communities already suffer disproportionately from high rates of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and kidney disease.

“It’s really important that poor diets — including the high sodium content of the water — are addressed.”

Dr Webster said sodium could also make the drinking water taste unpleasant and people may turn to sugary drinks instead, which could compound health issues.

 Read full report HERE 

3. VIC : VACCHO partners with other peak health organisations to develop and support 8 actions for a A Healthier Start for Victorians Strategy

This consensus statement outlines practical recommendations to the Victorian Government to turn the tide on obesity. The focus is on children and young people to give them the best chance for a healthier start to life.

Download: A Healthier Start for Victorians – Summary (PDF, 701 KB)

Download: A Healthier Start for Victorians – Full Report (PDF, 2 MB)

A Healthier Start for Victorians has been developed by the Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) Roundtable and is supported by a broad base of health and wellbeing organisations.


Over the past two decades, Victorian adult obesity rates have increased by 40 per cent and today two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese. Almost one in four Victorian children are overweight or obese.

The combined impact of poor diet and being overweight or obese is one of Victoria’s greatest health challenges.

Overweight and obesity, unhealthy diets and physical inactivity are avoidable risks for chronic health conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and several cancers.

A Healthier Start for Victorians lists eight practical recommendations to the Victorian Government to turn the tide on obesity.

These recommendations focus on children and young people to give them the best chance for a healthier start to life. They are as follows.

Action to prevent obesity in Victoria

1.Engage and support local communities to develop and lead their own healthy eating and physical activity initiatives

These should be community-based and focus on local areas or population groups with the highest rates of overweight and obesity.

2.Protect children from unhealthy food and drink marketing

This includes prohibiting advertising, promotion and sponsorship in publicly owned and managed places. Priority should be given to areas around schools, children’s sporting events and activities, and public transport.

3.Implement a statewide public education campaign to encourage healthy eating

This should focus on population groups with the highest rates of overweight and obesity.

4.Implement initiatives to improve family diets, particularly in children’s early years

This should focus on increasing food literacy and prioritising specific population groups including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

5.Support schools to increase students’ physical activity and physical literacy

This should take a whole-of-school approach, be reflected in the curriculum and be supported by training and professional development.

6.Increase the scope of and strengthen compliance with the existing School Canteens and Other School Food Services Policy

This should take a whole-of-school approach, be reflected in the curriculum and be backed by a monitoring and enforcement framework.

7.Develop a whole-of-government policy that requires healthy food procurement

This should incorporate the Healthy Choices guidelines and apply to all publicly owned and managed facilities and settings.

8.Develop and implement a strategy to get Victorians walking more

This should emphasise the need for walking infrastructure and urban design to make it safer and easier for people to walk to local destinations like shops, public transport, and schools.

Recommendations should be supported by an overarching Victorian obesity prevention plan that is overseen by a ministerial taskforce. This will ensure a whole-of-government approach to addressing obesity prevention as a Victorian health priority.

4.1  QAIHC will hold Youth Health Summit in September

Addressing disparity amongst our youth, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Organisation (ATSICCHO) Model of Care is designed to be responsive to the needs of the communities that we serve.

According to the 2016 ABS Census data, one third of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders are aged between 15–34 years. As such, it is vital that we monitor the health of this cohort to support a stronger First Nations culture in Australia’s future.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people are overrepresented in youth justice, and alcohol and other drugs are at harmful levels of use. Childhood obesity, rheumatic heart disease, social and emotional distress, and trauma are also present at high rates. To support our young people to thrive, physically and mentally, QAIHC and its Member Services are developing a Youth Health Strategy 2019–2022.

Central to the development of the Strategy is the QAIHC Youth Health Summit 2019. The Summit will be held in Brisbane on 12 September and is intended to be an open conversation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people (ages 18-25) about their current state of wellbeing.

The Summit will be focussing on Calm Minds, Strong Bodies, Resilient Spirit addressing a range of topics including:

  • Exercise
  • Nutrition
  • Healthy relationships
  • Support networks
  • Mental health
  • Sexual health
  • LGBTQI needs
  • Chronic disease.

Sessions will be facilitated in an environment of cultural safety to promote honest and free discussions between delegates.

If you’re an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person aged 18-25 living in Queensland and want to express an interest in attending, go to


4.2 Qld : The Apunipima ACCHO TIS Team launches smoke-free signage at Charkil Om in Napranum Cape York 

The TIS Team launched smoke-free signage at Charkil Om in Napranum. Professor Tom Calma, National Coordinator for the Tackling Indigenous Smoking program unveiled the signage alongside HAT member Roy Chavathun and Sonia Schuh PHC Manager.

TIS staff Dallas McKeown, Neil Kaigey, Darlene Roberts and Lorna Bosen hosted the launch and provided health information to those present.

5. WA : South West Aboriginal Medical Service in partnership to upgrade youth centre

The Bunbury PCYC unveiled its newly renovated youth space on Monday, July 15, designed to foster positive social and emotional development for local youth.

The upgrade is the product of a partnership between the youth centre, South West Aboriginal Medical Service, Breakaway Aboriginal Corporation and the Red Cross, with financial support from the City of Bunbury.

Originally published HERE

The upgrade included new interiors, a pool table, an air hockey table, a games console, a TV and lounges to complement the existing sporting facilities available at the Bunbury PCYC, which is used by more than 100 people weekly.

The Bunbury PCYC is one of 19 community youth centres in WA and provides a number of activities and accredited training programs for youth people of all ages.

South West Aboriginal Medical Service chief executive officer Lesley Nelson said the space was bound to have a positive impact on both the social and emotional development of local youth.

“The environment in which young people spend their time has been found to decisively impact on a young person’s health and development,” she said.

“We currently host a very active and engaged youth program at the Bunbury PCYC so we have been able to involve them directly in the planning of this space.

“With their help, we have been able to design an area that has a really positive energy, a space that encourages social development and active participation.”

Breakaway Aboriginal Corporation chair Renee Pitt echoed Ms Nelson’s sentiments and said the nature of the all inclusive programs allowed youth to come together in a positive environment.

“Breakaway and their partners are creating a safe environment where the kid’s involvement has given them ownership of the space, care and responsibility,” she said.

“The programs and activities that are being offered is emphasising the uniqueness of coming together that has not been available previously until now.

6. SA : PLAHS ACCHO and Port Lincoln community come together for this year’s NAIDOC Week events .

NAIDOC Week in 2019 had the theme of ‘Voice, Treaty, Truth’ with Port Lincoln celebrations beginning with the community march along Tasman Terrace on July 5.

Aboriginal Family Support Services hosted a dress up disco for children at the Mallee Park Clubrooms on July 9 before the annual Community Cookout was held at the Mallee Park Wombat Pit the following day, hosted by Port Lincoln Aboriginal Health Service.

The annual event involved PLAHS preparing foods including kangaroo stew and wombat while Centacare Port Lincoln provided a barbecue and a morning tea area was organised by Port Lincoln Red Cross.

PLAHS health promotions officer and NAIDOC Week Committee member Morgan Hirschausen said the weather was not ideal but the event was well supported.

Port Lincoln Aboriginal Community Council, with support from Gidja Club held the Elders Lunch at the Grand Tasman Hotel on Thursday, which was attended by about 30 elders.

The council’s indigenous community links manager Heather Hirschausen-Cox said they were happy with the turnout and the event continued to be an important part of NAIDOC Week.

7.1 NT : Congress CEO, Donna Ah Chee delivering the powerful history of the Australian Nurse-Family Partnership Program 

Congress CEO, Donna Ah Chee delivering the powerful history of the Australian Nurse-Family Partnership Program (ANFPP) at the tenth annual conference. ANFPP is a nurse-led home visiting program that supports families pregnant with an Aboriginal child to help them become the best parents possible.

ANFPP Team Congress! Pictured here with CEO, Donna Ah Chee; General Manager Health Services, Tracey Brand and Chief Medical Officer Public Health, Dr John Boffa

7.2 NT : Danila Dilba ACCHO Darwin mobile clinic provides back to school health checks for Palmerston Indigenous Village

This week the Mobile Clinic spent time with the Palmerston Indigenous Village to provide back to school health checks for kids. They put on a BBQ lunch, face painting and a jumping castle! Children participating in the health check received a back pack to prepare them for their return to school.

8. TAS : Two seats should be set aside for Tasmanian Aboriginal MHAs to be chosen by Aboriginal people in an enlarged State Parliament, traditional owners say.

“If successful, Tasmania will be the first State to guarantee an Aboriginal voice in the parliament,” 

New Zealand has done it for 150 years. The State of Maine in the US has 3 seats for Indians. It’s time for Tasmania to catch up and lead the rest of Australia.

The change would enable Aborigines to speak for the dispossessed and powerless and participate in governing Tasmania.”

Tasmanian Land Council spokseman Michael Mansell said the move would be an Australian first

See Full Report 

Under the proposal, a separate electoral roll would be created to elect indigenous representatives from a single electorate encompassing the entire state.

The proposal has been put forward jointly by the Elders Council of Tasmania Aboriginal Corporation, Cape Barren Island Aboriginal Association, Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre and the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania, and will be presented on Monday to a parliamentary committee conducting an inquiry into the number of seats in the lower house.

Download the Submission HERE

No. 13 Joint Submission Aboriginal Organisations_Redacted

Their submission likens the idea to parliaments in the US state of Maine, and in New Zealand, where designated seats have been set aside for Maori representatives since 1867.

The groups said their proposal was “about improving representative democracy in Tasmania” .

“Providing for political representation of a people denied such access for over 200 years is overdue,” it said.

“It can be argued the political system in Tasmania has been racially prejudiced against Aboriginal representation . The system is geared against Aboriginal people effectively participating in parliamentary democracy.”

While it acknowledges the concept would give more value to a single vote in an Aboriginal electorate than a vote in one of the five existing lower house seats, it said dispossession and discrimination had left Aboriginal people “without a sound land and economic base, and a modicum of justice” .

“Political representation is more crucial for the survival and welfare of Aboriginal people than it is for any other sector in Tasmania,” the submission read.

The groups said the state’s constitution should be amended to create the Aboriginal electoral roll and designated seats in parliament, even if the push to increase the number of MHAs was rejected.

Twenty submissions have been lodged with the inquiry, which held its first public hearing in Launceston last month.

Premier Will Hodgman told the committee that a 35-seat House of Assembly would require an estimated $7.9 million to set up and about $7.2 million in extra ongoing costs each year.


NACCHO Aboriginal Health #amafdw19 #Prevention #Smoking : At #NPC @AMApresident says the Federal Government must commit adequate resources to its proposed long-term national preventive health strategy :

“ Preventive health measures reduce the rate of chronic ill health and improve the health and wellbeing of all Australians, leading to better and healthier lives.

As a nation, we spend woefully too little on preventive health – around two per cent of the overall health budget.

A properly resourced preventive health strategy, including national public education campaigns on issues such as smoking and obesity, is vital to helping Australians improve their lifestyles and quality of life.

The Australian Government must commit adequate resources to its proposed long-term national preventive health strategy, and work with GPs to help improve the health of all Australians.

AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, who addressed the National Press Club as part of Family Doctor Week, said the AMA is looking forward to working on the strategy, which Health Minister, Greg Hunt, first announced in a video message to the AMA National Conference in May.

Download full speech HERE

AMA President Press Club Address

” The Northern Territory Government has been judged to have been the worst-performing Australian government on tobacco control measures over the last 12 months, and shamed with the Dirty Ashtray Award for 2019.

This year is the 25th anniversary of the National Tobacco Control Scoreboard – run by the AMA and the Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH) – and the Northern Territory has managed to collect the dubious Dirty Ashtray Award 13 times.”


Read over 130 Aboriginal Health and Smoking articles published by NACCHO in the last 7 years 

Part 1 AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone Prevention Press Release

“Family doctors – GPs – are best placed to manage preventive health, and can assist their patients in managing issues such as weight, alcohol consumption, physical activity, stress, substance use, and quitting smoking.

“Managing weight is a vital part of preventive health. Carrying excess weight contributes to cancers, high blood pressure, and musculoskeletal disorders like bad backs and neck pain. It also affects general health and wellbeing.

“Too many Australians drink at harmful levels, and this is dangerous to their health. Drinking in moderation, and within the guidelines, is a message all Australians should be aware of, and if you are worried about alcohol consumption, talk to your GP.

“Tobacco kills. There is no way to sugar coat the dangers of smoking. If you smoke, you increase your risk of coronary heart disease and cancer.

“Smoking can cause cancer of the lung, oesophagus, mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, liver, pancreas, stomach, cervix, colon, and rectum.

“If you want to quit smoking, start by seeing your family doctor.”

Dr Bartone will also announced the recipient of the 2019 Dirty Ashtray Award, which is presented to the government – Federal, State, or Territory – that has done the least over the past year to combat smoking.

AMA Family Doctor Week runs from 21 to 27 July 2019.


  • In 2017-18, two-thirds of Australian adults and almost one-quarter of Australian children were overweight or obese.
  • Coronary heart disease is the nation’s leading single cause of death.
  • It is estimated that more than 1.2 million Australians have diabetes. The majority (85 per cent) have type 2 diabetes, which is largely preventable.
  • In 2013, diabetes contributed to 10 per cent of all deaths in Australia.
  • Tobacco is the leading cause of cancer in Australia.
  • In 2014-15, more than 1.6 million Australian males aged 15 years and over smoked, 90 per cent of whom smoked daily.
  • More than 1.2 million Australian females aged 15 years and over smoked, 91 per cent of whom smoked daily.
  • About one in 10 mothers smoked in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.
  • In 2016, 57 per cent of daily smokers were aged over 40, and 20 per cent of daily smokers lived in remote and very remote areas of Australia.
  • Daily tobacco smoking has been trending downward since 1991, from 24 per cent to 12 per cent in 2016.
  • The proportion of people choosing never to take up smoking has increased to 62 per cent in 2016, from 51 per cent in 2001.
  • In 2016, almost one in three (31 per cent) current smokers aged 14 and over have used e-cigarettes.
  • Of current smokers in secondary school aged 16-17, more than one-quarter (26 per cent) smoked daily.

Sources: Australian Bureau of Statistics’ National Health Survey, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Heart Foundation.



To read all the states an Territories scores CLICK HERE

The Northern Territory Government has been judged to have been the worst-performing Australian government on tobacco control measures over the last 12 months, and shamed with the Dirty Ashtray Award for 2019.

This year is the 25th anniversary of the National Tobacco Control Scoreboard – run by the AMA and the Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH) – and the Northern Territory has managed to collect the dubious Dirty Ashtray Award 13 times.

In contrast, the Queensland Government has achieved a remarkable hat trick by topping the scoring to win the coveted National Tobacco Control Scoreboard Achievement Award for leading the nation in tobacco control measures.

AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, today released the results of the AMA/Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH) National Tobacco Control Scoreboard 2019 at the National Press Club in Canberra.

Dr Bartone congratulated Queensland on its strong consistent record in stopping people from smoking, and urged the Northern Territory to build momentum with its efforts on tobacco control, while noting the NT Government had amended and strengthened its tobacco control legislation earlier this year.

“The Queensland Government has continued to protect its community from second-hand smoke in a range of outdoor public areas including public transport, outdoor shopping malls, and sports and recreation facilities,” Dr Bartone said.

“Queensland Health is well ahead of other health services in recording smoking status, delivering brief intervention, and referring patients to evidence-based smoking cessation support such as Quitline.

“The Making Tracks – toward closing the gap in health outcomes for Indigenous Queenslanders by 2033 – Policy and Accountability Framework indicates a commitment to reducing smoking among Indigenous communities.

“Funding continues for the B.Strong Brief Intervention training program to strengthen primary healthcare services for Indigenous smokers by increasing the brief intervention skills of health professionals, access to culturally effective resources, and referral to Quitline.

“A dedicated smoking cessation website – QuitHQ – has been developed for the Queensland community, which includes quit support, information for health professionals, and smoking laws. Promotion of QuitHQ includes on-line messages and billboards.”

Dr Bartone said that the Northern Territory is showing signs of moving ahead with stronger tobacco control programs, but we are yet to see solid action and proper funding.

“The NT Government has  published a new Tobacco Action Plan 2019-2023 stressing the need for  media campaigns, smoke-free spaces, sustaining quit attempts and preventing relapse, and identifying priority populations,” Dr Bartone said.

“But these good intentions are yet to be backed with the necessary funding.”

Dr Bartone said the AMA would like to see the Federal Government take on a greater leadership role to drive stronger nationally coordinated tobacco control to stop people smoking and stop people taking up the killer habit.

“The Federal Government has not run a major, national media campaign against smoking since 2012-13, when plain packaging was introduced,” Dr Bartone said.

“Nor has it implemented any further product regulation or constraints on tobacco marketing in that time.

“We would like to see the National Tobacco Campaign reinstated with additional and sustained funding.

“The $20 million announced during the Federal election health debate is a welcome start, but falls well short of the $40 million a year that is needed for a sustained public education program.

“That is a mere 0.24 per cent of the $17 billion the Government expects to reap from tobacco taxes in 2019-20.

“The Government should also implement a systemic approach to providing support for all smokers to quit when they come into contact with health services.

“These key ingredients should be part of the Minister’s commitment, first announced at the AMA National Conference in May, to develop a National Preventive Health Strategy in consultation with the AMA and other health and medical bodies.

“Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Australia, causing 19,000 premature deaths each year.

“Two-thirds of all current Australian smokers are likely to be killed by their smoking. That is a staggering 1.8 million people.

“While Australia is a world leader in tobacco control, more needs to be done to help people quit smoking, or not take it up in the first place.

“Big Tobacco is attempting to distract attention from evidence-based measures that will reduce smoking, while promoting itself as being concerned about health.

“This is particularly outrageous from an industry whose products kill more than seven million people each year.

“It is crucial that Australia maintains its strong evidence-based policies and avoids being diverted by Big Tobacco’s new distraction strategies, particularly following disturbing evidence from the US and Canada about the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use.

“We must remain vigilant against any attempts to normalise smoking, or make it appealing to young people.

“This includes following the advice of the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Therapeutic Goods Administration in regulating e-cigarettes, and not allowing them to be marketed as quit smoking aids until such time as there is scientific evidence that they are safe and effective.”

The AMA/ACOSH National Tobacco Control Scoreboard is compiled annually to measure performance in combating smoking.

Judges from the Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH), the Cancer Councils, and the National Heart Foundation allocate points to the State, Territory, and Australian Governments in various categories, including legislation, to track how effective each has been at combating smoking in the previous 12 months.

No jurisdiction received an A or B rating this year or last year.

AMA/ACOSH Award – Judges’ Comments

This year is the Silver Anniversary of the AMA/ACOSH National Tobacco Control Scoreboard. 

Since the introduction of the Award in 1994, daily smoking in Australia has halved from 26.1% in 1993 to 12.8% in 2016.

Importantly, the proportion of 12 to 17-year-old school students who have never smoked in their life has increased significantly from 33% in 1984 to 82% in 2017.

Australia has led the world in its implementation of a comprehensive approach to reduce smoking.

Since the early 1990s, Australia has implemented the following strategies to reduce smoking, many of which have been duplicated in other countries around the globe:

We call on the Australian, State and Territory Governments to implement the following recommendations:

  • allocate adequate funding from tobacco revenue (predicted to be $17 billion in 2019/2020) to ensure strong media campaigns at evidence-based levels;
  • ban all remaining forms of tobacco marketing and promotion and legislate to keep up with innovative tobacco industry strategies;
  • implement tobacco product regulation to decrease the palatability and appeal of tobacco products;
  • implement comprehensive action, including legislation, in line with Article 5.3 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to protect public health policy from direct and indirect tobacco industry interference, and ban tobacco industry political donations;
  • implement positive retail licensing schemes for all jurisdictions;
  • implement best practice support for smoking cessation across all health care settings;
  • ensure consistent funding for programs that will decrease smoking among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and other groups with a high prevalence of smoking; and
  • ensure further protection for the community from the harms of second-hand smoke.


NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealth @georgeinstitute Download new screening tool to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people combat depression

“ This tool, which was developed in conjunction with Aboriginal communities and researchers, will help us address easily treated problems that often go undiagnosed. It will also help us to assess the scale of mental health problems in communities.

Up until now, we couldn’t reliably ascertain this in a culturally appropriate way, which has remained a huge concern.

We need better resources and funding for mental health across Australia, but particularly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and within under-resourced health services. We hope this tool will be a turning point.”

Lead researcher Professor Maree Hackett, of The George Institute for Global Health, said mental health problems experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have been overlooked, dismissed and marginalised for too long. 

A culturally-appropriate depression screening tool for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples not only works, it should be rolled out across the country, according to a new study.

Researchers at The George Institute for Global Health, in partnership with key Aboriginal and Torres Strait primary care providers conducted the validation study in 10 urban, rural and remote primary health services across Australia.

The screening tool is an adapted version of the existing 9-item patient health questionnaire (PHQ-9) used across Australia and globally accepted as an effective screening method for depression. The adapted tool (aPHQ-9) contains culturally-appropriate questions asking about mood, appetite, sleep patterns, energy and concentration levels. It is hoped the adapted questionnaire will lead to improved diagnosis and treatment of depression in Aboriginal communities.

The results of the validation study were published in the Medical Journal of Australia 1 July 2019

Download the 7 page study  mja250212

The aPHQ-9 is freely available in a culturally-appropriate English version, and can be readily used by translators when working with First Nation communities where English is not the patients first language.

It is estimated up to 20 per cent of Australia’s general population with chronic disease will have a diagnosis of comorbid major depression. [1]

Approximately similar proportions will meet criteria for moderate or minor depression. Mental illness and depression are also considered to be key contributors in the development of chronic disease.

Across the nation, chronic disease (cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) accounts for 80 per cent of the life expectancy gap experienced by Aboriginal people [2]  

How the tool works

The adapted tool, which was evaluated with 500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, contains culturally-appropriate questions.

For example, the original (PHQ-9) questionnaire asks:

  • Over the last two weeks, how often have you been bothered by any of the following problems: Little interest or pleasure in doing things?
  • Feeling down, depressed or hopeless

The adapted (aPHQ-9) tool instead asks:

  • Over the last two weeks have you been feeling slack, not wanted to do anything?
  • Have you been feeling unhappy, depressed, really no good, that your spirit was sad?

Download: Adapted Patient Questionnaire with scoring (PDF 117 KB)

Download: Adapted Patient Questionnaire without scoring(PDF 114 KB)

Professor Alex Brown, of the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, who was co-investigator on the study, said the importance of using culturally appropriate language with First Nations people cannot be underestimated.

“In Australia, as with many countries around the world, everything is framed around Western understandings, language and methods. Our research recognises the importance of an Aboriginal voice and giving that a privileged position in how we respond to matters of most importance to Aboriginal people themselves.

“What we found during this study was that many questions were being lost in translation. Instead of a person scoring highly for being at risk of depression, they were actually scoring themselves much lower and missing out on potential opportunities for treatment.

“It was essential that we got this right and that we took our time speaking with Aboriginal people and ascertaining how the wording needed to be changed so we can begin to tackle the burden of depression.”

Aboriginal psychologist Dr Graham Gee, of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, saidAboriginal communities have unacceptably high rates of suicide which need to be addressed. “Identifying and treating depression is an important part of responding to this major challenge. It’s clear this tool is much needed.”

The new tool will be available for use at primary health centres across Australia and will be available to download here from Monday July 1.

The George Institute for Global Health

The George Institute for Global Health conducts clinical, population and health system research aimed at changing health practice and policy worldwide.

Established in Australia and affiliated with UNSW Sydney, it also has offices in China, India and the UK, and is affiliated with the University of Oxford.  Facebook at thegeorgeinstitute  Twitter @georgeinstitute Web



Additional Media 

Doctors can now use the new tool

Extract from the Conversation 1 July 2019

In 2014-15, more than half (53.4%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15 years and over reported their overall life satisfaction was eight out of ten or more. Almost one in six (17%) said they were completely satisfied with their life. These positive data are testament to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ ongoing endurance.

But over the years, events like colonisation, racism, relocation of people away from their lands, and the forced removal of children from family and community have disrupted the resilience, cultural beliefs and practices of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. In turn, these factors have impacted their social and emotional well-being.

This may explain why Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are twice as likely to be hospitalised for mental health disorders and die from suicide than their non-Aboriginal counterparts.

Teenagers aged 15 to 19 are five times more likely than non-Indigenous teenagers to die by suicide.

The importance of being able to more accurately identify those at risk can’t be understated.

While screening all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who present to general practice for depression is not recommended, the new questionnaire is a free, easy to administer, culturally acceptable tool for screening Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at high risk of depression.

People who might be at heightened risk of depression include those with chronic disease, a history of depression and those who have been exposed to abuse and other adverse events.

Without a culturally appropriate tool, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with depression and suicidal thoughts might fly under the radar. This questionnaire will pave the way for important discussions and the provision of treatment and services to those most in need.

If this article has raised issues for you or you’re concerned about someone you know, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Visit the Beyond Blue website to access specific resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Maree Hackett, Professor, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW and Geoffrey Spurling, Senior lecturer, Discipline of General Practice, The University of Queensland

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #715HealthCheck 3 of 3 : @healthgovau Your Health is in Your Hands – Download resources to boost the rates of the #715healthcheck. Information available for patients and health professionals!

” A 715 it’s a health check that Aboriginal and Torres Strait on the people’s can have done on an annual timetable.

But it should be comprehensive in nature, and offer you not just the usual, hi, how are you?

What’s your name? Where do you live?

But take full consideration of your social background and social histories, ask you about your family history.

Is there anything important not just in your own personal medical background, but that of your family, so we can take that into consideration?

We know that we have many families with long backgrounds of chronic disease, for example, diabetes, cardiovascular risk, and they’re super important we’re considering how we tailor our history, our examination, our investigations, and then a treatment plan for you.

 It goes through the steps of that history and they’ll ask you questions about, you got a job at the moment, where are you working?

What are you exposed to? What are your interest? Do you play sport?

Are you involved in any other sort of social activities, cultural activities, for example, which I think is really important.

They’ll then make determinations around the kinds of examination if they need to tailor that at all, depending upon your age, and where you live and your access to services and what your history brought up, for example, male, female, young or old.

And then the investigations and X-ray, for example, or some bloods taken, and referrals as appropriate.

For allied health professionals, pediatrists, nutritionists, diabetes educators, but also perhaps you might need to see a cardiologist or a diabetes and endocrinologist as a specialist.

And then we wrap that all up in a specific and individualised kind of plan for you, that we discuss and we negotiate and we try to educate so that you then are able to play a part in your own health and take responsibility for some of those aspects.

But also you then get to choose what you share with family and the other providers.

It’s supposed to be a relationship and partnership for your health, that you understand, that you agree to and then together, you can move forward on how to be healthy and stay healthy.

From interview with Dr Ngaire Brown 

Download resources below or from HERE


Annual health checks for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can access a health check annually, with a minimum claim period of 9 months. 715 health checks are free at Aboriginal Medical Services and bulk bulling clinics to help people stay healthy and strong.

We acknowledge that many individuals refer to themselves by their clan, mob, and/or country. For the purposes of the health check, we respectfully refer to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander throughout.

Your Health is in Your Hands

Having a health check provides important health information for you and your doctor.

Staying on top of your health is important. It helps to identify potential illnesses or chronic diseases before they occur. It is much easier to look at ways to prevent these things from occurring, rather than treatment.

The 715 Health Check is designed to support the physical, social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients of all ages. It is free at Aboriginal Medical Services and bulk billing clinics.

What happens at the health check?

Having the health check can take up to an hour. A Practice Nurse, Aboriginal Health Worker or Aboriginal and Torres Starlit Islander Health Practitioner may assist the doctor to perform this health check. They will record information about your health, such as your blood pressure, blood sugar levels, height and weight. You might also have a blood test or urine test. It is also an opportunity to talk about the health of your family.

Depending on the information you’ve provided, you might have some other tests too. You’ll then have a yarn with the doctor or health practitioner about the tests and any follow up you might need. It’s also good to tell them about your family medical history or any worries you have about your health.

Information for patients

Only about 30 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are accessing the 715 health check. Resources have been developed to help improve the uptake of 715 health checks in the community.

These are available for patients, community organisations, PHNs and GP clinics to download or order

Read all NACCHO 715 Health Check articles Here

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens at the health check?

Health checks might be different depending on your age.

Having the health check should take between 40-60 minutes. A health practitioner might check your:

  • blood pressure
  • blood sugar levels
  • height and weight

You might also a have blood test and urine test.

It’s also good to tell your health practitioner about your family medical history or any worries you have about your health.

Follow up care

Once you finish the check, the Practice Nurse, Aboriginal Health Worker or Doctor might tell you about other ways to help look after your health. They might suggest services to help you with your:

  • heart
  • vision
  • hearing
  • movement
  • mental health

You may also get help with free or discounted medicines you might need. Your Doctor can give you information about Closing the Gap scripts if you have or at risk of having a chronic disease.

Where can you access a 715 health check?

You can choose where you get your 715 health check. If you can, try to go to the same Doctor or clinic.

This helps make sure you are being cared for by people who know about your health needs.

Do I need to pay for the 715 health check?

The health check is free at your local Aboriginal Medical Service. It is also free at bulk billing health clinics. If you are unsure whether it will be free at your local Doctor, give them a call to ask about the 715 health check before you book.

Why Should I Identify?

It’s important to tell the Doctor if you are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander so that they can make sure you get access to health care you might need. Medicare can help record this for you, and their staff are culturally trained to help.

Call the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Access line on 1800 556 955.

Information for Health Professionals

For more information about for health professionals and medical practitioners delivering the 715 health checks please go to Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

Video Case Studies

Social Media Tiles

2 boys stand with a woman in a school basketball court. They look happy and healthy/
An Aboriginal Health worker measures the weight of a child was part of the 715 health check.
A doctor takes a man’s pulse as part of the 715 health check.

Aboriginal Health Hero’s @ashbar96 #BartyParty : NACCHO pays tribute to our two French Opens winners #EvonneGoolagong 1971 and now #AshBarty 2019 #Dream #Believe #Learn #Achieve


“ I think the pathways and progress we’ve made for Indigenous youth in Australia has been incredible.

I think there have been more opportunities, there’s more publicity, people are actually aware that there is a pathway for Indigenous youth, not only in tennis but in all sports.

But tennis is now becoming a nationwide sport for Indigenous youth.

It’s incredible to know what Evonne has done and how passionate she is about it. If I can have any small part in that, that would be incredible.”

Ash Barty speaking after winning the 2019 French Open 8 June

Her win will inspire a generation of Australian girls to play tennis and as an Indigenous Australian, just like the 1971 champion, Evonne Goolagong Cawley ( 13-time major champion ) See Part 2 and 3 below 

” Goolagong grew up in the wheat town of Barrellan in New South Wales, one of eight children. Her mother Melinda was a homemaker and father Kenny a sheepshearer.

Their simple one-story home was a tin shack with dirt floors and no electricity. But moreover, Goolagong was born into Aboriginal heritage, the only family of its kind in town, and as light-skinned members of the Wiradjuri tribe, the Goolagong kids faced prejudice, and faced a cloudy and uncertain future.

The Australian government’s policy at the time was to forcibly remove Aboriginal children from their families and relocate them to camps where they could be properly educated and integrated into white society.   

“Every time there was a shiny car, my mum must have worried if was the welfare people coming for her kids,” Goolagong has explained in many media interviews when the topic of her Aboriginal roots was questioned.

We had no idea. We thought the welfare man was there to take us away.”

Evonne pictured this week with Tackling Tobacco Team – Nunkuwarrin Yunti ACCHO Adelaide

Since 2005, she has run the Goolagong National Development Camp for Indigenous girls and boys, which uses tennis as a vehicle to promote better health, education and employment. See Part 4 below

See Evonne Goolagong Foundation Website 

Extracts from the Guardian

Everything you need to know about Ash Barty was summed up in the immediate aftermath of her first grand slam success. Within minutes, the 23-year-old, a teenage prodigy turned cricketer and turned back into a tennis player again, was busy trying to share the glory with those she feels have helped her along the way.

From her family – her parents and her two sisters – to her team, and coach Craig Tyzzer, Barty almost always speaks of “we” when it comes to describing her exploits.

She may be a grand slam champion for the first time, but as far as she is concerned, it has been a team effort.

“I’m extremely lucky to have a team around me that love me for Ash Barty the person, not the tennis player,” she said, sitting with the Coupe de Suzanne Lenglen within reach, just an hour or so after her 6-1, 6-3 triumph over the Czech teenager Markéta Vondroušová.

“I’m extremely lucky to have an amazing family, a truly amazing family that no matter, win lose or draw, the text messages and the facetiming is the same. It’s just a really good group of people around me that make the tennis very easy.”

If it wasn’t already clear, Barty is a hugely popular player, as evidenced by the outpouring of congratulations on social media, and directly to Barty via texts and instant messages.

From Petra Kvitová to Nick Kyrgios and from numerous players and coaches on both the ATP and WTA Tours, Barty’s achievement was hailed by her peers. “It’s incredibly kind, especially from your peers, I suppose,” said Barty, who shared a handshake and hug with Rod Laver after the match.

“And people that you see every single week and most weeks of the year, it’s very kind of them to compliment [me], my game.

But I think it’s also a compliment to my team. It’s just been an incredible journey, the way we have tried to work and develop and grow this game that I have and this game style and kind of Ash Barty brand of tennis, I suppose. It’s amazing. I haven’t seen any of it yet. It’s just been nice to take a minute or two with my team and celebrate what we have achieved.”

There have been some tough days for first-time finalists here at Roland Garros over the years, from Natasha Zvereva being double-bagelled by Steffi Graf in 1988 to Elena Dementieva’s 6-2, 6-2 defeat by Anastasia Myskina in 2004. Barty and Vondroušová were both appearing in their first grand slam final but while the Czech failed to produce her best, Barty was close to perfect in her execution of her game.

And hers is a game to bring a smile to the face of anyone who loves to see variety on the court.

Compete, enjoy and try to do the best you can – that’s her mantra – and the way she plays, with slice, power, angles, drop shots, volleys, kick serves, everything you can imagine, is a joy to watch. As Kirsten Flipkens, the Belgian player, tweeted on Saturday evening: “Just love to watch her play (with a gamestyle similar to mine, just 20 times better. Slice for life! Impressive, Kiddo”.

Three years after she returned from an almost two-year hiatus from the Tour, Barty has a grand slam title to her name, a surprise only in the fact that the first one should come at Roland Garros, rather than, say, Wimbledon, where her style of play would seem to be perfectly suited.

It was at Wimbledon where she won as a junior, aged 15, but her ability to hit every shot, as encouraged by her first coach, Jim Joyce, means she is a threat on every surface.

September 2018 #USOpen Doubles Title

Barty will rise to world No 2 on Monday, only a handful of points behind Naomi Osaka, and she admitted that reaching top spot was a goal.

Barty will celebrate with her family when she heads to the UK for the grass-court season, building to Wimbledon, where she will be a big threat for the title. It’s entirely possible she will be the world No 1 before the summer is out, but whatever success she has, she will ensure her family and team share the credit.

Part 2. Evonne discovers spiritual centre court 1993 

When she competed on the world professional tennis circuit Evonne Cawley would always look forward to the traditional dancing that tournament organisers would put on to welcome international players.

But she always wondered why, at the Australian events, no equivalent celebration of Indigenous culture ever took place.

“In almost every other country, I went to the native people would put on a dance,” Cawley recalled this week. “I used to think, “why doesn’t this happen at home ?. It always made me feel a little sad.”

For Cawley, the sporting heroine who as “our girl” Evonne Goolagong rose from the obscurity of small town life in NSW to capture her first Wimbledon crown as a teenager in 1971, such memories are becoming increasingly relevant as she seeks to unravel the mysteries of her own aboriginality.

It is a journey of self-discovery which this week took her, for the first time, to Australia’s red centre, to a dinner with 120 Aboriginal women in Alice Springs and to the awesome grandeur of Uluru, symbolic sentry to 40 000 years of Indigenous Australian culture.

“ I ve reached a stage in my life where I need to find out about where I come from – about everything to do with being an Aboriginal person,”said Cawley.

In the ancient Pitjantjatjara language of the Anangu custodians of Uluru the process is written “ara mulapa ngaranyi pulkara kulintjaku”- the proper thing is to really listen.

As she follows this new road Cawley has found a great source of strength in the old Aboriginal women she has met  along way , women she described as the most interesting people I have ever met.”

At dinner in Alice Springs she sat down with traditional Aboriginal women who have never seen a big city, hardly ever left the desert. Gushing with joy, she explained how they held hands together and sang old favourite mission songs like “One Day at a Time”.

“ The dinner was a really special time for me, “Cawley said. “ I had never been to anything like it before and I felt a great sense of unity with the women. I really felt there was a lot of bonding there.”

Cawley’s search for her Aboriginal identity reveals the little-known downside of her life in the jet-set world of professional tennis.

Thrust into the limelight as a teenager by the sheer natural artistry and grace of her sporting talent she inevitably became an international celebrity, feted from nation to nation by the sport’s floating gallery of movie stars, money moguls and royalty.

Front Page The Australian September 11-12 1993

Part 3 Evonne Goolagong 13-time major champion

Evonne Goolagong was not born into tennis royalty with a gold plated racquet, fancy outfits, and private lessons at a posh country club.

From the Tennis Hall of Fame 

Furthermore, she didn’t matriculate her game with a used wooden racquet on public courts.

Her introduction to tennis has perhaps the most humble origins in tennis history, yet she overcame major stumbling blocks to become the No. 1 player in the world, won 13 majors and ranked 12th all-time in championship wins.

Goolagong’s first racquet as a youngster was made from a wood fruit box that resembled a paddle – it was absent of any strings. For hours on end she would hit a ball against any flat surface she could find.

A young Evonne was spotted peering through a fence at Barellan War Memorial Tennis Club by club president Bill Kurtzman, who asked her if she’d like to join in. Had Kurtzman not made the gracious and human offer, it’s likely her road to the Hall of Fame, let alone a revered place in history as a two-time Wimbledon Ladies Singles champion (1971, 1980) and keeper of four straight Australian Open Singles titles (1974-77) would not have materialized.

Word obviously traveled fast, as renowned Sydney-based tennis coach Vic Edwards was tipped off to the prodigy and made a 400 mile trip west to the wheat-farming country to see what all the fuss was about.

Even as a developing player, Goolagong had the grace and movement on court that would be a staple of her splendid career. Edwards was enamored with Goolagong, whose name is Aboriginal. He persuaded her parents to let him take the 14-year-old to Sydney for schooling at Willoughby Girls School (where she completed her School Certificate in 1968), coaching, and boarding.

She became part of his family in 1965, with Edwards protecting her from racial slurs, as she competed in big city tournaments, teaching her to believe in herself and talents. Edwards instilled confidence in Goolagong and prepared to her to become the first non-white to play in apartheid South African in a tournament in 1972. At age 15, Goolagong won the New South Wales Championship and in 1967 competed in her first Australian Nationals.

Goolagong would compile an illustrious resume, appearing in 26 major finals (18 singles, six women’s doubles and two mixed doubles), capturing seven singles, five doubles and one mixed double championship.

Overall, she earned 72 singles, 45 doubles and three mixed doubles tour championships and compiled a 704-165 (81 percent) singles record. During the 1970s, Goolagong was a household name and face – attractive, carefree, and admittedly prone to lapses in concentration that caused folks to say “Evonne’s gone walkabout.”

Goolagong was graceful, almost poetic in how beautifully she played the game. Not only did tennis fans marvel in her smooth and effortless movements, but her opponents could also get caught in the ballet that was on the other side of the net.

“She was like a panther compared to me,” said Billie Jean King after losing to Goolagong in the semifinals of the 1974 Virginia Slims Championship at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. “She had more mobility and she played beautifully. I started watching her, and then I’d remember all of a sudden that I had to hit the ball.”

In 2005, Martina Navratilova told Sports Illustrated, “She was such a pretty player. She didn’t serve-and-volley, she would sort of saunter-and-volley.”

Goolagong preferred a baseline game that observers said was reminiscent of Ken Rosewall‘s – her backhand was classically stroked liked Rosewall’s with slice and accuracy. Her groundstrokes were precise and fluid, balls struck hard each time.

“She can be down love-40, apparently beaten, and she’s still trying to hit winners,” Margaret Court told the New York Times. “She won’t play safe tennis, and her shots are quite unpredictable. They’re likely to come back in any direction. The harder you hit the ball to her, the more she likes it. It’s best to slow the game up, rather than try to outbelt her … and she loves a wide ball … she’ll have a crack at anything.”

At the 1971 Australian Open, Goolagong lost to her idol Court in three well-played sets, 2-6, 7-6, 7-5.

At the French Open, the No. 3 seeded Goolagong won her first major singles championship, defeating fellow Aussie and unseeded surprise finalist Helen Gourlay, 6-3, 7-5.

It helped that No. 1 seed Court and No. 2 seed Virginia Wade were eliminated in the third and first rounds respectively. Goolagong didn’t face a seeded player until the quarterfinals, No. 6 Françoise Dürr, and squashed the native favorite, 6-3, 6-0.

A few months later, her tennis dream came true when she decisively defeated Court to win Wimbledon, 6-4, 6-1. “To beat Margaret Court … I was over the moon about winning,” Goolagong said. Outside of defeating the defending champion Court, Goolagong needed a huge semifinal, 6-4, 6-4 victory over King to advance. She nearly became a repeat champion in 1972, but King evened matters with a decisive 6-3, 6-3 victory in the final.

“It was the age of nine that I dreamed about winning Wimbledon,” Goolagong said, appearing as a guest on the television news program Where They Are Now Australia in 2007. “I read this cartoon magazine story called Princess Magazine, about a young girl who was found, trained and taken to this place called Wimbledon, where she played on this magical center court and eventually won. Every time I went to hit against a wall I used to pretend I was there, and every time I went to sleep I would dream about playing on that magical court”

Goolagong made her Wimbledon debut in 1970, and at the time, just stepping inside the hallowed All England Club may have seemed like heaven for the Aussie, but she had unfinished business ahead.

“I remember a cocktail party the night before Wimbledon started and the head of Dunlop (Goolagong’s racquet sponsor) took me out on court when there was no net, just deep silence,” Goolagong recalled. “I said, ‘Wow, I am here … my dream has come true, I am really here.’ I remember playing a girl named Peaches Bartkowitz – what a name – an American top player who beat me pretty convincingly (6-4, 6-0).

When I got off the court my coach said, ‘maybe I better enter you into the “plate” event for second and third round losers, that way you’ll get used to the atmosphere, the crowds, the court. I played in that and ended up winning it.”

The following year, the fairy tale came true with the cherished victory in London and Goolagong ended the 1971 touring season as the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year.

Wimbledon had a love affair with Goolagong, who dubbed her “Sunshine Supergirl” and she long maintained that the crowning moment in her career came at Wimbledon in 1980, when she defeated Chris Evert in the final to become the first mother since Dorothea Lambert Chambersto accomplish that feat in 1914.

The nine years between championships matched Bill Tilden for the longest gap between titles in history. “After I defeated Margaret Court at Wimbledon in 1971, I found out later she was pregnant and I thought, ‘so that’s why she played so badly,’” Goolagong joked. “Of course I was pregnant in 1980 and was so thrilled to have won again.”

Goolagong captured the Australian Open four times and three consecutively (1974-76), defeating Evert (7-6, 4-6, 6-0); Navratilova (6-3, 6-2) and Czech Renata Tomanova (6-2, 6-2).

The three-peat at Melbourne has only been accomplished by Court, Steffi GrafMonica Seles, and Martina Hingis. Goolagong also appeared in six consecutive finals (1971-77), a record shared with Hingis and stands alone in total finals (7), achieved from 1971-76. Three of her wins (1975-77) came without losing a set, a remarkable mark shared only with Graf. The only asterisk on her championship-filled career was the U.S. Open, where she was a finalist four consecutive times (1973-76), and unable to claim a championship, though the 1973, 1974, and 1975 defeats all came in tightly-contested three set matches against Court, King, and Evert.

Goolagong was nearly perfect in doubles, winning seven major tournaments; 1971 Australian with Court, 1974 Australian and Wimbledon alongside American Peggy Michell; 1975 Australian with Michell; 1976 and 1977 Australian with compatriot Helen Gourlay. She won the 1972 French Open Mixed Doubles Championship with Aussie partner Kim Warwick.

Goolagong made history in October, 1974. As a 23-year-old, she won the third annual and season-ending Virginia Slims Championship played at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. She upset King in the semifinals, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 and then upset Chris Evert in the final, 6-3, 6-4. She earned $32,000, equal to the top cash prize in the history of women’s tennis. Goolagong also won the season-ending Slims in 1976, again defeating Evert. She was a finalist in 1978, losing to Martina Navratilova. She ranked in the Top 10 for nine years. She married Roger Cawley in 1975 and added the surname while still on tour.

Nagging injuries forced her into retirement in 1983. She moved to South Carolina, where she became the touring professional at the Hilton Head Racquet Club. The family purchased 70 acres and built a 20-court tennis center. She began working with Tennis Australia and launched the Evonne Goolagong Getting Started program for young girls.

For her service to tennis, Goolagong was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1972 and Officer of the Order of Australia in 1982.  Home! The Evonne Goolagong Story was published in 1993. Since 2005, she has run the Goolagong National Development Camp for Indigenous girls and boys, which uses tennis as a vehicle to promote better health, education and employment.

Part 4 



Under the auspices of the Evonne Goolagong Foundation, the Goolagong National Development Camp targets Indigenous young people between the ages of 12 and 21 for four main purposes:

  1. Use tennis as a vehicle to promote and help provide high quality education and teach better health through diet and exercise.
  2. Increase the number of young Indigenous people playing tennis both competitively and socially
  3. Support young Indigenous people who have the potential to play at the elite level and make a career in tennis either as a player, coach or administrator.
  4. Develop in all young people who come through the camps the ability to lead, plan and organise so they can contribute these skills in their own Communities when they return as well as work effectively with non-Indigenous individuals and organisations.

See Evonne Goolagong Foundation Website 

Since 2012, in partnership with the Australian Government the Dream, Believe, Learn, Achieve programme each year has run ‘Come and Try’ days across each State and Territory with some participants chosen to receive assisted coaching.

Progression to a Goolagong State Development Camp (GSDC) can follow with the aim of selection to the Goolagong National Development Camp (GNDC) held each January in Melbourne during the first week of the Australian Open.

Mentored school scholarships are awarded from the GNDC. To date, almost 4900 youngsters have entered the programme and in 2017 thirty youngsters have progressed to the GNDC 2018.