NACCHO racism and health news:Sol Bellear takes swipe at NRL star

Sol

Racism causes stress – stress is one of the most powerful contributors to illness and poor health.

Racism causes people to self-medicate with things like drugs and alcohol

Racism makes me sick. It makes Sam sick.

It makes everyone who is the target of it sick. It is one of the key reasons why the health gap in Australia is so wide.

Racism a driver of Aboriginal ill health   See previous ARTICLE

EXCLUSIVE COLUMN: SOL Bellear, the long-serving chairperson of the Aboriginal Medical Service, Redfern, takes a swipe at Brisbane star Sam Thaiday.

PICTURE Above AIATSIS

Sam

LATE this week, the Brisbane Broncos unveiled their special Indigenous jersey, a strip designed to honour the contribution of past and current players, and in particular to highlight efforts to ‘Close the Gap’ in Indigenous health.

It’s a great initiative, and not before time.

But for me at least, the event was soured by the comments of Broncos’ star, Sam Thaiday.(picture above left)

I have enormous admiration and respect for Sam. He’s been a great contributor to rugby league and a role model to kids all over Australia. But Sam’s views on racism – that the best way to confront it is to “push it aside” – don’t sit well with me

At the jersey launch, Sam told media: “We’re out there to win at all costs and sometimes things get said in the heat of the moment that I think aren’t said as a hurtful thing.

“It is a tough thing to hear but you can’t really react to those things 
these days. I think the best way to deal with it is to try and
 push it aside as much as possible.”

Sorry Sam. That’s no solution at all.

There is never any excuse for racism, no matter how it is said, no matter how it meant. It is unacceptable in any form.

There are countless reasons why, but the most compelling is precisely one of the reasons why the Broncos launched the jersey in the first place – to highlight the gap in Indigenous health.

Racism makes me sick. It makes Sam sick. It makes everyone who is the target of it sick. It is one of the key reasons why the health gap in Australia is so wide.

For example, countless studies have shown significantly higher rates of smoking among the poor (it’s 50 percent among us blackfellas). And whatever your views about modern Indigenous politics, I challenge anyone to make a case that the poverty suffered by Indigenous Australians today is not a direct result of the racism of our past.

The racism of our present may be less overt, but it still hurts

Racism causes stress – stress is one of the most powerful contributors to illness and poor health.

Racism causes people to self-medicate with things like drugs and alcohol.

The simple reality is that racism affects everyone in this country, and no problem ever went away by “pushing it aside”, as Sam suggests.

As a role model, Sam and other Indigenous players of the NRL have a responsibility to stand up to it whenever they see it.

NACCHO eye health news : Indigenous eye health put on Coalition’s agenda

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Pictured: Selwyn Button, Lisa Briggs, Jennifer Gersbeck, Desley Culpin and Hugh Taylor

CEOs from some of Australia’s leading eye health organisations urged the Coalition to close the gap for vision in Indigenous people at a Vision Summit in Brisbane which coincides with NAIDOC Week.

More than 40 leading eye health agencies attended the Vision Summit yesterday to meet with key members of the Coalition including Peter Dutton Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing and Andrew Laming Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Health Services and Indigenous Health.

Jennifer Gersbeck, CEO of Vision 2020 Australia, told the Coalition there was a significant disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians’ eye health and more funding was needed to make Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye health a priority.

“Today the eye health and vision care sector called on the Coalition to commit $53.63 million* over three years to improve Indigenous eye health should they get elected at the upcoming Federal Election,” Ms Gersbeck said.

“Improving coordination and referral pathways and improving accessibility to services is the key recommendation in the sector’s Indigenous eye health pre-election policy and funding proposal to closing the eye health and vision care gap over the next three years,” she said.

“Uncorrected refractive error, cataract, diabetic retinopathy and trachoma are the main causes of vision loss in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” she said.

The Coalition Shadow Minister told the Vision Summit the Coalition would improve Indigenous eye health by reducing red tape, utilising expertise and working with local communities.

NACCHO CEO Lisa Briggs said some 94 per cent of vision loss in Indigenous people is preventable or treatable but 35 per cent of Indigenous adults have never had an eye exam.

*This figure is sought within the context of a five-year funding requirement of $90.75 million as outlined in The Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision, 2012 (The Roadmap).

For more information: Louise Rudzki at Vision 2020 Australia on

(03) 9656 2020, 0414 784 359 or lrudzki@vision2020australia.org.au

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