NACCHO Conference Alert #closethegap :Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Conference Call for Papers


Energy is building and registrations are open for the inaugural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Conference in Alice Springs on 5 – 6 May 2016

Every year at least 5% of all deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is due to suicide. This ongoing crisis is increasingly significant amongst those aged 15 to 34, where suicide is the leading cause of death, accounting for a third of all loss of life.


See Our NACCHO post this week

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP) has been funded by the Australian government to investigate suicide prevention programs to determine what works, why, and how it can be replicated.

Incorporating a strong commitment to Indigenous governance, ATSISPEP is not just an exercise in desk top research. Listening to communities through personal consultation and Community Roundtables is essential to understanding the complexity of the problem, and the appropriateness of systematic, yet locally specific, solutions.

The culmination of this process is the Inaugural National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Conference.

Long overdue, this event will bring together experts and members of the Australian community from across the country to Alice Springs. For two days those gathered will exchange learnings, share lived experience and build knowledge about how we can best empower communities to tackle this entrenched tragedy.

Call for Papers

Thank you for your interest in presenting at a concurrent session at the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Conference.  Abstract submissions are now open. Sessions will be between 15 and 25 minutes and are available on both 5 and 6 May. Abstract submission deadline is 5.00pm (WST) Wednesday 23 March 2016.
Abstracts are assessed based on the following criteria:

  • Experience working in the field
  • Lived experience of people who are delivering programs or services in the community
  • Preference will be given to presentations from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people or teams of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous people

Please email Chrissie Easton, the ATSISPEP Project Coordinator an abstract on a topic you would like to present

Registration and accommodation bookings are available at 
There are a limited number of bursaries available – please contact Chrissie Easton at if you need assistance to complete the application.

Please also contact Chrissie Easton if you are interested in making a presentation at the conference of up to 30 minutes.


NACCHO Aboriginal health news; Aboriginal organisations to put communities back in control

131031 - Media Release re NGO principles endorsement (EMBARGOED UNTIL MIDNIGHT 30 October)_Page_1

An alliance of Aboriginal organisations and non-Aboriginal NGOs will today launch a set of principles aimed at empowering Aboriginal organisations and communities in the NT to take control of their futures.


“Today a number of local, national and international NGOs have publically endorsed a set of principles which will guide partnership centred approaches for NGOs working in Aboriginal communities” said Ms Priscilla Collins, spokesperson for Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT (APO NT). (A copy of the principles is attached.)

“These non-Aboriginal NGOs have agreed to work together with Aboriginal organisations and communities to promote Aboriginal community-control of service delivery. It’s about putting Aboriginal people back in the driver’s seat”, said Mr John Paterson, spokesperson for APO NT.

Organisations endorsing the principles include national and international NGOs engaged in delivery of health and community services in the Northern Territory. A full list of NGOs that have endorsed the principles is below.

Development of the principles was informed by a forum in Alice Springs in February that brought together sixty participants from twenty-seven non-Aboriginal NGOs and six NT Aboriginal representative organisations – the first gathering of its kind in the NT. The forum acknowledged that there are a number of NGOs that already have good working relationships with Aboriginal organisations, but this is not systematic.

The principles present significant opportunities for these organisations to learn from each other, create better partnerships and working relations with Aboriginal organisations operating at the ground level and achieve better outcomes for communities.

Organisations leading the initiative include APO NT, Strong Aboriginal Families, Together (SAF,T), the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and the NT Council of Social Service (NTCOSS).

“It is important that Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal organisations work side by side in partnership to put Aboriginal people back in control of service delivery in their communities,” said Mr Lindon Coombes, CEO of The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples (Congress).

The general consensus reached at the Alice Springs Forum was that the formal endorsement of the principles by organisations should effectively operate as a voluntary code.

“This work represents significant leadership and partnership from both the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal NGO sector, in pioneering new ways to work together to get the best possible outcomes for Aboriginal people in remote NT communities,” said Mr Simon Schrapel, President of ACOSS.

The next stage of the collaboration will be to operationalise the principles.

“We look forward to working together to develop operational guidelines for how these important principles will work in practice,” said Ms Wendy Morton, Executive Director of NTCOSS.

“This is something that Aboriginal agencies have been wanting for a long time. These principles will guide the development of true partnerships that will result in better understanding and outcomes for all concerned,” said Terry Chenery, Acting CEO of SAF,T.

Need help about Aboriginal health or the location of your nearest ACCHO on your SMARTPHONE or IPAD

Info Download the new NACCHO Health APP HERE


NACCHO political alert: How will the new Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion be different ?


“We’re bringing the functions of a whole range of Indigenous specific functions across to Prime Minister and Cabinet. Health will stay with Health, education will stay with Education, but there are a whole range of functions we’re taking out of the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, and the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and out of other departments, functions that are either remote or Indigenous specific”

Nigel Scullion will today be sworn in as Indigenous Affairs Minister, in a series of interviews yesterday with ABC radio and the Alice Springs news he spelt out his plans for Indigenous Affairs within the department of Prime Minister and Cabinet

Interview transcript ABC radio

Nigel Scullion has been appointed Indigenous Affairs Minister, giving the NT its first Federal Cabinet Minister since the Country Liberals were formed.

Tony Abbott has announced that Senator Scullion is keeping the portfolio that he was spokesman on in the last parliamentary term, and it will sit within the department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Senator Scullion said his Government was giving Australia’s indigenous communities a new commitment to listen to their solutions to challenging problems.

“To work with communities, not make decisions and impose them on communities,” Senator Scullion said.

“Communities best know how to get their kids to school.

“Communities know the very best way to move some of their participants from welfare into work.

“Communities know how to make their own communities safe.”

The Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister-elect said he’d asked the Government’s Indigenous advisory committee to look at how to tackle reliance on welfare.

Senator Scullion said the Government planned to toughen the requirement for people to take available jobs in urban areas.

He said, in remote communities, the Government would consider if it was appropriate to expect people to stay on Newstart welfare payments if there were no jobs for them to do.

“Given that Newstart has an implication that this is a transitionary time from where they are to a job, well, if there are no jobs – and in the many communities there are no jobs, it’s simply a welfare community – I think that’s an unacceptable situation that we should pretend there are jobs there.”

Secondly he spoke this morning with Alice Springs News Online editor ERWIN CHLANDA.


Outback answers to bush welfare mess

NEWS: Is there a case for expanding the principle of stopping the dole for people rejecting offers of work, for expecting that people who have assets use them for projects that create work? Aborigines in The Centre own half a million square kilometres.

SCULLION: Receiving Newstart payments in an area that has no economy and no jobs is inappropriate. In these conditions governments have been taking the view that the dole is unconditional.

We know that is not acceptable in the long term. Newstart is for people between jobs, searching for jobs. We need to look at that more broadly.

The development of an economy such as tourism, broad-acre or pastoral industries, manufacturing – these are very important elements of the future and the government plays an important role.

NEWS: Is there a case for Aboriginal land trusts and land councils to look for joint ventures with job creation as a main focus?

SCULLION: I’ve had long conversations with land owners about a range of issues, from tenure to development. As areas are developed and jobs become available, and we move to an economy, then clearly we would have a reasonable expectation to involve people currently disconnected.

If they are able to work then they should be working. I’ve not heard anyone saying no, we don’t need economic development and we want to continue to receive welfare. Nobody’s told me that. We’ll be working closely with the land councils.

In the area you’re speaking off, places like Ali Curung, it has been disappointing that a melon farm is six kilometers up the road from able bodied men and women and they find it very difficult to get employment. That’s an issue. It’s a complex one.

Who’s currently making the decisions? This is an area where they are adjacent to an economy, and adjacent to jobs. If there is a job there, and you’re simply saying, I’m just not going to take that job, well, there’s no unconditional welfare.

The leverage of moving people away from the horrors of welfare into employment – it’s good enough for people in the mainstream. These opportunities should also be available to Aboriginal people.

NEWS: Is there a reluctance by the land trusts and land councils to enter into joint ventures that could create jobs?

SCULLION: The use of broad-acre land such as in other states is one of the low hanging fruits of economic development. Look over the fence! Whatever they’ve been doing there for the last 30, 40 years is probably a good indicator of how to use the land. As to the land councils, I’m always interested in hearing submissions. They should be assisting the land owners where they can.

Separate services: Congress gets big tick

NEWS: What’s the future of the big Aboriginal organisations in Alice Springs? Tangentyere and Congress, for example?

SCULLION: We don’t need duplication of services. We need very good services. If you talk about the application of municipal services in some of the town camps by Tangentyere, I have had a number of people telling me that they don’t believe the service they are getting is particularly good.

If you live in some areas of Alice Springs you shouldn’t be delivered a different service, you should be getting exactly the same service. And equally you should be expected to pay for it. For example, normalcy for the town council would be, who’s going to pay rates?

NEWS: What about Congress?

SCULLION: Congress in Alice Springs is probably one of the best health organisations in Australia, full stop. They have moved to a very good business model that has been picked up in other parts of Australia.

They’re fundamentally welded to Medicare, they ensure all of their clients have a Medicare card. It’s the same sort of [positive] index you get across Australia, particularly in demographics with larger areas of need.

NEWS: What’s on top of your agenda as the new Minister?

SCULLION: Talking with my partners in the other jurisdictions, discussions about structural changes in the departments, moving many of the instruments of government into Prime Minister and Cabinet, the formation of a new role.

NEWS: Which functions of Indigenous Affairs will be moved?

SCULLION: We’re bringing the functions of a whole range of Indigenous specific functions across to Prime Minister and Cabinet. Health will stay with Health, education will stay with Education, but there are a whole range of functions we’re taking out of the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, and the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and out of other departments, functions that are either remote or Indigenous specific

NACCHO member news Press Release: Aboriginal health service in NT bringing all community together for mediation forum


Historic images of Congress 2010  campaign to Stop the Violence in Centralia Australia


“This is the start of a dialogue on a number of issues of concern, primarily violence, but not as an Aboriginal specific issue, but as an issue for the whole community.”

Congress Deputy CEO Des Rogers (picture above)


Tuesday September 10

from 6.30pm until 8.30pm in the Theatrette at Centralian Senior College.

Congress Alice Springs , who are the leading Aboriginal primary health care provider in  Central Australia, are holding the forum in partnership with CASSE to promote an interactive dialogue between all groups in the Alice Springs community.

The aim is find solutions that will make the region a happier, healthier, safer environment in which to live and raise a family.

CASSE, which stands for “creating a safe, supportive environment” are partnering with Congress, who also provide extensive social and emotional wellbeing services, to understand and address issues of violence and underlying trauma that currently exist within the community.

A respected and experienced panel made up of psychoanalysts and psychiatrists with experience in community mediation at an international level, together with Aboriginal leaders, the mayor and a local leader of business have been assembled for the forum.

Lord John Alderdice, Professor Stuart Twemlow and Justice Jenny Blokland will be visiting Alice Springs to participate as panel members, while William Tilmouth, Donna Ah Chee, Julie Ross and Damien Ryan make up the local contingent.

Lord Alderdice and Professor Twemlow will add a global perspective to the forum with their experience in peace negotiations in Northern Ireland and successful violence reduction projects in the USA respectively.

Facilitated by Ms Olga Havnen, the event will be recorded by NITV.

After hearing from the panel, members of the community will be invited to discuss their concerns in a question and answer session in an opportunity to look at what we have, where we are at and where we

The  televised public forum on Tuesday September 10 from 6.30pm until 8.30pm in the Theatrette at Centralian Senior College. The event is open to the public and will be enriched by attendance and representation from all sections of the community

For further information regarding the Walk In My Shoes Public Forum please contact:

Marah Prior, Executive Assistant, Central Australian Aboriginal Congress Aboriginal Corporation

PO Box 1604 Alice Springs NT 0871 | T. 08 8951 4401 | F. 08 8959 4717 | E.

A related public forum will be held in Melbourne on Saturday 7 September entitled

“Reconciliation Australia – Psychological Perspectives.”

Lord John Alderdice and Professor Stuart Twemlow will also be presenting at this forum.

Lord John Alderdice, psychiatrist and psychoanalytic psychotherapist, previously Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, currently Convener of Liberal Democrat Party in the House of Lords, who played a significant role in initiating the dialogues that led to the Good Friday Accord and peace in Northern Ireland.

Professor Stuart Twemlow, Psychoanalyst, Professor of Mental Health Prevention, University of Kansas; an international authority in the application of psychoanalytic principles and systemic interventions to the prevention of bullying and violence.

NACCHO Croakey Health Wrap: the tobacco stain, wicked obesity problems, a new Aboriginal health vision and more



This week’s Health Wrap has been prepared by Melissa Davey, former SMH journalist, prolific tweeter and keen public health observer who has joined me at the Sax Institute in the new role of Communications Manager.

This expansion of the Croakey Health Wrap team is well timed given the amount of health news being produced and debated. This past fortnight, tobacco was on the agenda, there were some interesting discussions on obesity and the Federal Government unveiled its new vision for Aboriginal health.


Our thanks to Melissa Sweet and Melissa Davey

Responses to new Indigenous health plan

Drawing attention to Aboriginal health is difficult when the launch of the National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Health Plan falls on the same day of the birth of a new Royal, writes Colin Cowell for Croakey. The plan aims to provide an evidence-based framework to guide policy. Priorities identified include Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing and the factors influencing it, including drugs and alcohol.

“The plan has also resolved to tackle the difficult and distressing issues of violence, abuse and self-harm,” Cowell writes. “Importantly, in this plan the sector has signalled the need to expand our focus on children’s health to broader issues in child development. There is also much work to do in developing robust research and data systems. The plan has also resolved to tackle the difficult and distressing issues of violence, abuse and self-harm.”

Bridie Jabour for the Guardian details how the Federal Government has pushed ahead with the plan despite the June 30 deadline for signing the Closing the Gap agreement on Indigenous health being missed. However, Victoria has since put forward its own funding offer.

A culturally appropriate screening tool that can gauge Indigenous social and emotional wellbeing may be one solution to help determine patients with mental health concerns or who need referring on for evaluation, writes Marnie McKimmie in The West Australian.

And about 120 Aboriginal men came together recently at at Ross River, 100 km east of Alice Springs, to identify ways of better targeting men in remote communities. (The location of the meeting has been corrected from an earlier version of this post). Indigenous health minister, Warren Snowden said, “Rather than having Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people feel like they are part of the problem, we want to encourage and support Aboriginal men to be a part of the solution”. A national summit on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health was also held in Melbourne.

As NAIDOC week drew to a close, 10 Indigenous Australians were honoured at the NAIDOC award ceremony in Perth. ABC reported the story here.

And in an update on closing the gap in Indigenous health for Croakey, health policy analyst Dr Lesley Russell hopes Prime Minister Kevin Rudd sees formal funding agreements with the states and territories as “part of the unfinished business that must be taken off his desk before the election is called”.

Elizabeth Strakosch is particularly scathing of the lack of progress in Indigenous health from both sides of politics in this piece for The Conversation.


Tobacco reform: evidence takes a back seat

The UK Government’s backflip on plans to introduce plain packaging of tobacco has attracted widespread criticism from public health experts over the past couple of weeks. The Conservative party’s chief strategist, Lynton Crosby, has previously said issues like immigration and the economy should be the focus of government, with health barely rating a mention. His stance is perhaps not surprising, given this New Statesman report that his lobbying company has close links to the tobacco industry. Conservative MP Philip Davies also said introducing plain packaging in the UK would be “gesture politics” with “no basis in evidence”.

Writing for The Conversation, Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan Holly Jarman says it’s looking like the policy is dead in the water. Her comments were prompted by an announcement from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt that the UK Government had decided to wait until the impact of plain packaging in Australia could be measured before acting. But Professor Jarman refers to numerous studies that indicate plain packaging is effective. “The evidence base for plain packaging is arguably better than that for many other policies currently being pursued by the government,” she says.

New research published in the online medical journal BMJ Open also concludes plain packaging is associated with lower smoking appeal, more support for the policy and more urgency to quit among adult smokers. It’s the first study to examine the effect of Australia’s plain packaging reforms on the attitudes of smokers. Tobacco control advocate and professor of public health Simon Chapman shares his thoughts on the study for The Conversation.

Meanwhile, a Guardian editorial sums the UK Government’s public health policy like this: “Squint for long enough at the remains of the coalition’s policies to help Britons live longer, healthier lives, and it might appear that ministers really believe multinational tobacco businesses and FTSE-listed retailers deserve greater protection than parents doing the school run.”

Another blow to the “not enough evidence” argument comes from the World Health Organization, which released a report on the global tobacco epidemic describing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship as one of six measures known to be protective against tobacco’s effects. And packaging is a key platform for that advertising and promotion.

The Telegraph’s Tom Chivers, however, is not convinced the freedom of tobacco companies to sell cigarettes in one coloured pack or another is particularly important.


Obesity: a wicked problem

Perhaps some Australians are getting the message to cut back on fast food with this report from Eli Greenblat that McDonald’s sales in Australia are going backwards. However McDonald’s president, Don Thompson, appears to have fudged youth unemployment figures to explain the decline in sales. “Youth unemployment in Australia is about 25.5 per cent,” he is quoted as saying. “So they’re facing something; unemployment for them has risen.” In fact, youth unemployment was at 11.6% as of May.

But even if our taste for some fast foods has dropped it is well known that portion sizes are growing. Senior Lecturer at the University of NSW Lenny Vartanian says people eat large portions even if they are not very hungry or if the food doesn’t taste that good. Writing for The Conversation, he also says education about portion size alone may not be enough to help people to eat more mindfully.

One tactic that definitely doesn’t help people lose weight is weight discrimination, a study published online by PLoS One has found. Not only does it lead to poorer mental health outcomes, but discrimination increases risk of obesity rather than motivating people to lose weight, the study found. Cat Pause offers a good analysis of the issues here.

The obesity epidemic here has attracted the attention of the US media. This excellent analysis by The New York times reports the prevalence of obesity is growing faster in Australia than any other industrialised nation. It also gives an overview of the various strategies state and territory governments have tried to tackle the problem. But the report says these campaigns may not be enough, with obesity rates projected to rise across all age groups in Australia for the next decade.


System strife

More than 5000 NSW nurses and midwives went on strike this week, saying patient care had been compromised because of a lack of clinical staff to treat them. In the Sydney Morning Herald, Lucy Carroll writes that the NSW Midwives and Nurses Association wants one nurse for every four patients in general medical, surgical and mental health wards. It also wants one nurse for every three patients in general children’s wards and in emergency departments.

The NSW branch of the Australian Medical Association was among those to lend support to the action. In a statement their president, Associate Professor Brian Owler, says nurse-to-patient ratios have provided a sound basis for improving staffing levels in major hospitals and should be extended to hospitals more generally. He says hospitals are often staffed on the basis of historical funding levels rather than patient need, which means western and outer metropolitan Sydney hospitals are understaffed compared to those in the CBD.

And with Health Workforce Australia predicting a shortfall of nearly 110,000 nurses by 2025, University of Sydney vice-chancellor, Dr Michael Spence says the Federal Government’s proposed $2000 cap on self-education tax deductions for the health and medical workforce is a bad move. He’s not alone. The cap has attracted significant attention and a good debate on the issue can be found at The Conversation.

Meanwhile Sean Nicholls writes in the SMH that paramedics are plagued by inappropriate emergency call-outs for “ailments” such as bed-bugs, leech bites, scraped knees and even light bulb changes.

It’s a problem exacerbated by current protocols which require paramedics to take patients to hospital if the patient insists, the NSW Auditor General Peter Acherstraat reports. He found only 65% of ambulance crews handed over patients within 30 minutes of arriving at hospital, well below NSW Health’s target of 90 per cent.

Doctors in Queensland seem to be having an easier time of it, if this report from is to be believed, which found senior public hospital doctors are being paid $100,000 to do nothing.

At the federal level, The Drum and Croakey ask: whatever happened to the health debate? In the latter piece, Croakey co-ordinator Melissa Sweet says health policy is unlikely be a vote-swinger come the federal election, despite the AMA doing its bit to drum up interest. It has released its health policy platform – available here. Affordable healthcare and rural and Aboriginal health are key areas on their agenda, reports.


Vaccination supporters get vocal

Confirmation that actress and anti-vaxxer Jenny McCarthy will be appointed as a panellist on popular US day-time talk show The View, has Toronto Public Health in Canada up in arms. As reports, they have launched a campaign against her hire by the ABC. And National Public Radio in the US aired this podcast called ‘A Dangerous View’ that gives a great overview of the controversy surrounding her hiring.

Back in Australia, anti-vax lobby group the Australian Vaccination Network has been dealt a blow. Medical Observer reports the group had been using comments made by former Greens leader Bob Brown to promote their cause. But in an open letter, Brown says his view has always been that vaccination is in the interests of public health and should be promoted.

NSW Opposition leader John Robertson meanwhile, has accused the State Government of making its new policy on vaccinating mothers against whooping cough confusing. The changes mean NSW Health will no longer provide free whooping cough vaccine to GPs for mothers after they have given birth. Explaining the changes, NSW Health Director of Communicable Diseases Dr Vicky Sheppeard says to be most effective the vaccine needs to be given before the baby is born.“Research by NSW Health and the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance confirms it’s best to get vaccinated before conception, during the third trimester of pregnancy or failing that, at soon as possible after delivery,” Dr Sheppeard says.

***  Research and pharma

Australians are abusing and becoming dependent on a wider range of opioids, reports Shevonne Hunt for the ABC. Shevonne’s report highlights a presentation at the International Narcotics Research Conference in which Professor Paul Haber showed a continuous rise in the use of oxycodone over the past three years, while fentanyl and buprenorphine use are also rising. “Instead of having an epidemic of one prescription opioid we’re in the midst of an epidemic of three,” he says.

In other research news, the Guardian health editor Sarah Boseley reports alcohol-related deaths of UK women in their 30s and 40s are steadily rising. Late night drinking culture, cheap alcohol and industry marketing and promotion had all played a part, researchers found – these are also issues for Australia, Fairfax reports.

In international research, a study linking the consumption of fatty acids found in fish with increased prostate cancer risk has been widely written about, read and criticised. The Inquisitr examines the views of some of the critics of the study. David Katz sits more in the middle, writing for the Huffington Post that while the study does not prove that fish oil intake causes prostate cancer, it was not “dismissible rubbish”.

Also on the Huffington Post is this piece from neurologist Aysha Akhtar, who argues animals should not be used in medical research because they are not good ‘models’ of human physiology. “Over one hundred stroke drugs have been found effective in animals in the lab, yet all have failed in humans,’’ she writes. “Over 85 HIV vaccines that worked in non-human primates failed miserably when tried in humans.”

Another controversial topic this fortnight was male fertility, after an analysis from France found the sperm concentration of men had decreased by one third between 1989 and 2005. It led fertility experts attending the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference to debate whether male fertility is on the decline, The Wall Street Journal reports.

In women’s health, researchers from the University of NSW have found in a major study that women may not need a pap smear every two years. In their review of 20 years’ worth of data from Australia, New Zealand and England, they found women screened every three years had a similar rate of cervical cancer and deaths compared to those screened more regularly, the ABC reports.

And in the New York Times, Clifton Leaf questions clinical trials, examining some of the issues that plague them.


E-health flaws

Sensitive and confidential medical data belonging to nearly 3000 patients was found on a computer sold by the National Health Service in England through an auction site. The Service was fined 200,000 pounds for the data breach, ehealth Insider reports.

And in Australia, 6Minutes reports e-records are still a long way from benefiting GPs. It comes as the Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek announced $8 million towards developing software to enable pathology and radiology results to be sent to the patient’s personally controlled electronic health record, as well as to their GP.


What doctors won’t do

Only 11% of doctors who responded to a recent Australian Doctor survey said they would want to be kept alive after a major accident. And one third of male GPs would shun PSA screening for prostate cancer. Check out @australiandr who is tweeting results from their survey of GPs about the medical treatments they would never want to undergo themselves.


Other Croakey reading you may have missed this fortnight: * This is worth reading (hope I’ve convinced you) * From the FOI archives: “Outcome sought – that Ministers quietly note the plan and nothing else happens” * What does $895 buy when it comes to Liberal Party health policy? * Q: How often should you see a dentist? The answer may make you :)

You can find previous editions of the Health Wrap here.

Twitter shout-outs this week go to: @LRussellWolpe, @lucy_carroll, @australiandr, @cancerNSW, @picardonhealth, @DrHWoo, @SimonChapman6, @curious_scribe, @upulie, @richardhorton1

Melissa Davey is the Sax Institute’s Communications Manager. She was previously a health and medical reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald and the Sun Herald. She is completing her Masters of Public Health at the University of Sydney and has a strong interest in public health messaging and mental health. The Sax Institute is a not-for-profit organisation that drives the use of research evidence in health policy and planning. Twitter: @MelissaLDavey

NACCHO alert NIDAC: The report on the consultations of the National Aboriginal Peoples’ Drug Strategy

Consultations for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Drug Strategy

The report on the consultations  conducted by NIDAC to inform the development of the National Aboriginal &  Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Drug Strategy is now available online.

Close The gap
The National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee (NIDAC) was engaged by the Intergovernmental Committee on Drugs National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Drug Strategy (NATSIPDS) Working Group to undertake consultations in six locations in Australia to inform the development of the NATSIPDS.
The consultations conducted by NIDAC built on work that has been undertaken by the NATSIPDS Working Group and feedback from the evaluation of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Complementary Action Plan (The CAP) and the Yarning Circle, conducted at the 2nd National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Conference held in Fremantle, WA in June 2012.
The consultations were held at the following locations:
Location Date
Port Augusta, SA Monday 20 May 2013
Sydney, NSW Tuesday 21 May 2013
Mt Isa, QLD Thursday 23 May 2013
Perth, WA Monday 27 May 2013
Broome, WA Tuesday 28 May 2013
Alice Springs, NT Thursday 30 May 2013
Background to the NATSIPDS
The Intergovernmental Committee on Drugs National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Drug Strategy (NATSIPDS) Working Group
This Working Group consists of experts from around Australia from both the government and non government sector with the Assistant Secretary, Drug Strategy Branch of the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing filling the role of Chair and the Chair and Co Chair of the National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee as the Co Vice-Chairs.
The NATSIPDS will:
  • be aimed at minimising alcohol, tobacco and other drug-related health, social and economic harms among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, families and communities;
  • cover urban and metropolitan areas as well as rural and remote communities;
  • take a harm minimisation approach which encompasses the three equally important which will become a sub- strategy of the National Drug Strategy 2010 -2015;
  • build on the longstanding partnerships between the health and law enforcement sectors and seek to support the health-law enforcement partnership and strengthen linkages across other sectors as appropriate;
  • recognise the importance of working within a holistic and culturally appropriate framework; and
  • offer a clear policy framework that will guide current and future efforts to minimise the harm of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their communities.
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Drug Strategy will replace the current National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Complementary Action Plan (The CAP) ( and will have links to other relevant documents, including the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Health Plan and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy.

NACCHO sex education news:New resource gives new life to sexual health education for Aboriginal youth-Donna Ah Chee


2013_CCHEP launch

“Congress Alice Springs fully understands that the task of supporting young people to develop in healthy ways and adopt a healthy lifestyle is complex and requires a multifaceted approach,” Congress Ms Donna Ah Chee

A new Aboriginal  youth sexual health education resource package was launched last week  in Alice Springs.

The package is part of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress’ Community Health Education Program (‘CCHEP’). The CCHEP Program has been delivering holistic sexual health education to young Indigenous women living in and around Central Australia since 1998 and to young males since 2011.

CCHEP coordinator Donna Lemon says that the program has provided an insight into the way that sex education has changed.

“The CCHEP program provides awareness and basic holistic sexual health education to young people in our local schools,” Ms Lemon explained. “We also run educator training four times a year to enable community-based workers, such as Aboriginal health practitioners and teachers, to confidently deliver the program to their own target groups.”

As well as local schools, the program has been delivered to organisations such as Owen Springs Detention Centre, CAAAPU, Mission Australia, Tangentyere Council and the Midnight Basketball program.

Education is provided to young people through a series of learning activities in a way that is fun and interactive, so that the learning experience is memorable.

Congress CEO Donna Ah Chee said that the manuals will provide teachers with confidence to deliver health education, as part of a holistic approach.

“The new manuals will help ensure that teachers and other educators are really well prepared and confident in their ability to educate young people in areas that many find difficult and challenging.

“Congress fully understands that the task of supporting young people to develop in healthy ways and adopt a healthy lifestyle is complex and requires a multifaceted approach,” Ms Ah Chee commented.

“Healthy lifestyle education at age 12 and beyond is one part of this approach. However it’s also important to recognise the critical importance of the early years in the healthy development of young people as well.

“We know that the development of self-regulation and self-control by age four is crucial to the subsequent development of an active healthy lifestyle.

“We also know that interventions in early childhood that support responsive parenting and child stimulation can have a big difference on the subsequent development of a healthy lifestyle including fewer addictions, fewer sexual partners with safer sex and higher levels of physical activity.

“The resource that we are here to launch today is part of this overall, multifaceted approach.”

Recognition was given to the elders—including the Alukura women’s health Grandmothers and Aunties—who have provided input and cultural knowledge into the development of this and other health education resources throughout the years. Acknowledgment was also given to the Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (OATSIH), the Northern Territory Sexual Health Program and the NT Sexual Health Advisory Group, all of which have provided support in the development and implementation of the resources.

NACCHO AFL health news:NACCHO and Federal Government kicking goals for Aboriginal youth


NACCHO is proud to partner with the AFL and Greater Western Sydney (GWS) to develop Australia’s next generation of Aboriginal leaders and footballers

Picture above NACCHO chair Justin Mohamed with AFL legend,GWS coach  and NACCHO Aboriginal Health supporter Kevin Sheedy’ half time at the GWS VS West Coast Eagles game sponsored by NACCHO


Pictures below NACCHO promotion at GWS VS West Coast Eagles Game




Gillard Labor Government Press Release

The Gillard Labor Government is investing nearly $1.3 million to continue supporting the next generation of Indigenous leaders, in partnership with the Australian Football League (AFL). 

 As footy fans aatended  the annual Dreamtime game at the MCG tonight, the Government was pleased to announce its continued investment in youth programs run by the AFL and the Richmond Football Club, which are helping young Indigenous Australians gain new skills and become role models for others.

 The Long Walk and Dreamtime at the G are nationally celebrated events that recognise the important contribution that Indigenous people make to our country, both on and off the field.

 The Government is also supporting the Long Walk – which is led every year by Michael Long to raise awareness of Indigenous issues – with a $30,000 grant to support the organisation.

 The Gillard Government is proud to partner with the AFL to develop Australia’s next generation of Indigenous leaders.

 Supporting the Richmond Football Club’s Korin Gamadji Institute

The Government will provide more than $970,000 over the next three years to the Richmond Football Club’s Korin Gamadji Institute to continue the successful Richmond Emerging Aboriginal Leaders (REAL) program.

 The REAL program provides leadership and mentoring opportunities for Indigenous students from across the country aged 13 to 16 years, giving them new vocational skills and setting them up for successful careers.

 A key part of the program includes camps held over four days each year in Melbourne and Alice Springs, which build student’s leadership skills, self-esteem and cultural connections, so they can be young leaders in the own communities.

Students also benefit from direct mentoring from Richmond footballers, including Shane Edwards and Steven Morris.

This new funding builds on the $6.75 million the Australian Government has previously invested to launch the REAL program in 2012.

Since the initiative began, more than 180 Indigenous students have benefited from the REAL leadership camps and ongoing mentoring programs.

Students have had successful work experience placements at a number of different employers, and have taken part in the Koori Youth Council and the National Indigenous Youth Leadership Academy.

Helping to build young Indigenous leaders is a critical part of closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.

The Richmond Football Club and the Korin Gamadji Institute are doing fantastic work to make sure young Indigenous people from across Australia are on the right track to succeed as adults and become role models for other young people.

Supporting the AFL’s Club Partnership Program

The Gillard Government will continue to support the AFL’s Club Partnership Program, with a further $300,000 in funding for 2013.

Under the Club Partnership Program, six AFL clubs work with Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory and South Australia to help young people stay connected to school and reduce the risk of truancy, violence and substance abuse.

The clubs – Richmond, Essendon, Geelong, Hawthorn, Adelaide and Port Adelaide – organise player visits to their partner communities at least twice a year to work with young Indigenous people and maintain contact with them throughout the year. 

The Australian Government has invested more than $1.4 million in the program since 2007, benefitting young people in remote Indigenous communities including Tiwi Islands, Wadeye, Groote Eylandt and communities in the APY Lands.

This new funding will build on the success of the current program and expand to work with young Indigenous women across the country through the AFL Female Kickstart program.


NACCHO health news: Local health mob summit in Central Australia to identify positive solutions to local problems



Listen to Me: Summit to unite bush voices for change

Kurunna Mwarre: Making my spirit inside me good,

A summit in Central Australia will bring Aboriginal people together to identify positive solutions to local problems faced in their home communities and the wider community of Alice Springs.

Around 200 delegates will travel from communities and town camps to Ross River to take part in the summit, Kurunna Mwarre: Making my spirit inside me good, which is being held from 14-16 May 2013.

Photo above previous Congress Alice springs community action 2010 to Stop the Violence

“The summit gives people the opportunity to talk about violence and anti-social behaviour,” explained John Liddle, Ingkintja Male Health Manager (picture below) at Congress and one of the summit organisers.


“People genuinely want to see change and they want to be empowered to be part of that change.

“This summit is about taking responsibility for the past and taking local ownership to bring about and sustain positive change and healing of spirits.”

The summit is co-facilitated by health service, Central Australian Aboriginal Congress and Creating a Safe Supportive Environment Inc. (CASSE) and follows on from previous summits facilitated by Congress’ Ingkintja male health branch, held in 2008 and 2010, where hundreds of Aboriginal males came together to address issues of violence and hurt in Aboriginal communities.

From the initial 2008 summit came the momentous ‘Inteyerrkwe Statement’, which gave a decisive proclamation that Aboriginal males from Central Australia were committed to ensuring safe and happy community environment for their families:

Arrernte Dancers

We the Aboriginal males from Central Australia and our visitor brothers from around Australia gathered at Inteyerrkwe in July 2008 to develop strategies to ensure our future roles as grandfathers, fathers, uncles, nephews, brothers, grandsons, and sons in caring for our children in a safe family environment that will lead to a happier, longer life that reflects opportunities experienced by the wider community.

“We acknowledge and say sorry for the hurt, pain and suffering caused by Aboriginal males to our wives, to our children, to our mothers, to our grandmothers, to our granddaughters, to our aunties, to our nieces and to our sisters.“We also acknowledge that we need the love and support of our Aboriginal women to help us move forward.”

Now, in 2013, both males and females will gather together to put forward positive solutions to help facilitate change.

“We talk a lot about what the problems are,” Mr Liddle said. “Now we want to focus on the solutions.”

“We want our voices to be heard.”



The Kurunna mwarre: Making my spirit inside me good Summit will be held at Ross River from Tuesday 14 to Thursday 16 May 2013. It is for Aboriginal people only.

A Summit Open Day will be held on Thursday 16 May for politicians, media and stakeholders to attend and be presented with the solutions emanating from the summit. (See details below)

Media contact:

Emma Ringer, Communications Officer, Central Australian Aboriginal Congress

Ph: 0408 741 691 / 08 8958 3664


Summit contact:

Bruce Loomes

Ph: 0439 594 724


Summit spokespeople:

Mr John Liddle, Ingkintja Male Health Branch Manager, Central Australian Aboriginal Congress

Ms Donna Ah Chee, CEO, Central Australian Aboriginal Congress

Kurunna Mwarre Summit Open Day:

When:                  Thursday 16 May, 2013

Time:                     11:00am to 12:30pm

Where:                 Ross River Resort, via Alice Springs NT

Who:                     Federal and NT politicians

Federal and NT government departments

Aboriginal organisations and service providers

Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders in Central Australia

Media and relevant stakeholders

Interested persons from Central Australia

Media release, images, further information:

Event details: