NACCHO Aboriginal Health News : Read / Download Press Release responses to the 2020 #ClosingtheGap Report from #CoalitionofPeaks @closethegapOZ @NATSILS_ @SNAICC @SenatorSiewert @CAACongress @RACGP

“ These Closing the Gap reports tell the same story of failure every year

The danger of this seemingly endless cycle of failure is that it breeds complacency and cynicism, while excusing those in power.

People begin to believe that meaningful progress is impossible and there is nothing governments can do to improve the lives of our people.

The truth is that the existing Closing the Gap framework was doomed to fail when it was designed without the input of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We know what will work best for our communities and the Prime Minister even acknowledges in this report that our voice was the missing ingredient from original framework.

The Coalition of Peaks has signed a formal partnership agreement with every Australian government, where decision-making on design, implementation and evaluation of a new Closing the Gap framework will be shared. Through this partnership, the Coalition of Peaks has put forward structural priority reforms to the way governments work with and deliver services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Governments say they are listening to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. However, the true test in listening is translating the priority reforms into real, tangible and funded actions that make a difference to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people right across our country.

This historic partnership could be the circuit-breaker that is needed. However, if they view this process as little more than window dressing for the status quo, the cycle of failure evident in today’s report is doomed to continue.”

Pat Turner, CEO of NACCHO and Co-Chair of the Joint Council on Closing the Gap, said that governments need to learn from these failures, not continue to repeat them.

Read Download the full Coalition of Peaks Press Release HERE

Read previous NACCHO Communiques this week

1.Coalition of Peaks Editorial Pat Turner

2.PM Launches CTG Report ( Download )

3.PM CTG Full Speech

4.Opposition response to CTG Report

“Every year for the last 12 years we have listened to a disappointing litany of failure – it’s not good enough, Indigenous Australians deserve better.

We are heartened by the developments last year with COAG and the Prime Minister agreeing to a formal partnership with the Coalition of Peaks on the Closing the Gap strategy.

Indigenous involvement and participation is vital – when our peoples are included in the design and delivery of services that impact their lives, the outcomes are far better.

However, now that partnership is in place, Australian governments must commit to urgent funding of Indigenous healthcare and systemic reform.

Preventable diseases continue to take young lives while unrelenting deaths in custody and suicide rates twice that of other Australians continue to shame us all.

As governments reshape the Closing the Gap strategy, we cannot afford for the mistakes of the past to be repeated.

Close the Gap Campaign co-Chairs, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO and National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association (NATSIHWA) CEO Karl Briscoe, have called on the government to invest urgently in health equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Download full Close the Gap campaign press release HERE

Close the Gap Campaign response to CTG Report

” There was one glaring omission from the Prime Minister’s Closing the Gap speech this week. Housing did not rate a mention. Not a word about action on Aboriginal housing or homelessness.

Housing was not even one of the targets, let alone one we were meeting, but it must be if we are to have any chance of finally closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians on all the other targets for life expectancy, child mortality, education and jobs.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make up 3 per cent of Australia’s population but 20 per cent of the nation’s homeless. Aboriginal people are 2.3 times more likely to experience rental stress and seven times more likely to live in over-crowded conditions than other Australians.”

James Christian is chief executive of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council.

“For the first time ever, there is a commitment from all Australian governments, through COAG, to work with Aboriginal leaders through the peak bodies of Aboriginal organisations to negotiate key strategies and headline indicators that will make a difference.

So long as the negotiations continue in good faith and we stay the course together this should lead to a greater rate of improvement in coming years. Of this I am sure.

There is a commitment to supporting Aboriginal people by giving priority to our own community controlled organisations to deliver the services and programs that will make a difference in our communities while at the same time ensuring mainstream services better meet our needs”

Donna Ah Chee, Chief Executive Officer of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress : Read full Report Part 1 below.

“Today is another day we reflect on the Federal Government’s inability to meet the Closing the Gap targets.

This report clearly shows that the gap will continue to widen if reforms aren’t translated into tangible, fully funded actions that deliver real benefits to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people throughout the country.

The report reveals that progress against the majority of Closing the Gap targets is still not on track. The gap in mortality rates between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous

Australians increased last year and there are very worrying signs on infant mortality.

The Federal Government needs to commit to funding solutions to end over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and they must be implemented alongside other areas of disadvantage in the Closing the Gap strategy – health, education, family violence, employment, housing – in order to create real change for future generations.”

Cheryl Axleby, Co-Chair of NATSILS.

“We are deeply concerned about the Federal Government’s decision to not continue funding for remote Indigenous housing. Access to safe and affordable housing is essential to Closing the Gap,”

Nerita Waight, Co-Chair of NATSILS.

Download the full NATSILS press release HERE

NATSILS response CTG Report

” SARRAH welcomes the bipartisan approach by Parliamentarians who committed to work genuinely and collaboratively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders.

The potential contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians is far greater than has been acknowledged or supported to date.

There are many organisations working hard to close the gap, such as Aboriginal community controlled health organisations right across Australia, and Indigenous Allied Health Australia, the national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak allied health body.

Governments, through COAG, working with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Coalition of Peaks have the opportunity to reset the trajectory.”

Download SARRAH Press Release

Media Release SARRAH Closing the Gap

“ Many of our communities are affected by a range of adverse experiences from poverty, through to violence, drug and alcohol issues and homelessness.

Without an opportunity to heal from the resultant trauma, its impact can deeply affect children’s brain development causing life-long challenges to the way they function in the world.

It is experienced within our families and communities and from one generation to the next.

We need urgent action to support better outcomes and opportunities for our children.

SNAICC CEO, Richard Weston

Download the full SNAICC press release HERE

SNAICC Response to CTG Report

“Mr Morrison will keep failing First Nations peoples and this country until a genuine commitment to self-determination is at the heart of closing the gap.

The Prime Minister’s same old “welfare” rhetoric indicates that the Government really hasn’t got it.   While they say they are committed to the COAG co-design process the PM ignores the point that it is his Government continuing to drive discriminatory programs such as the Cashless Debit Card, the CDP program, ParentsNext and who are failing to address the important social determinants of health and wellbeing.

There are a few things this Government needs to do before they just “get people into jobs”, like invest in the social determinants of health and wellbeing and a housing first approach.”

Australian Greens spokesperson on First Nations peoples issues Senator Rachel Siewert

Download the full Greens press release HERE

The Greens Response to CTG Report

” Australia’s efforts to close the gap are seemingly stuck in a holding pattern.

Though Prime Minister Scott Morrison has hailed the beginning of a ‘new era’ of improving the health and life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the launch of the 12th Closing the Gap report, the results are all but unchanged.”

Read RACGP editorial

Part 1 : Donna Ah Chee, Chief Executive Officer of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress

Continued

“It’s also important to recognise that there has been progress here in Central Australia both over the longer term and more recently. Since 1973, the number of Aboriginal babies dying in their first year of life has reduced from 250 to 10 per 1000 babies born, and life expectancy has improved on average around 13 years.

As recently as 2019 we have seen significant improvements across multiple areas.

“Alice Springs has experienced a remarkable 40% reduction in alcohol related assaults and a 33% reduction in domestic violence assaults. This is 739 fewer assaults year on year, or 14 fewer assaults per week”.

“There has been a 33% reduction in alcohol related emergency department presentation which is 1617 fewer presentations year on year or a reduction of 31 per week. Corresponding with this, there has been a decline in hospital admissions and, as noted in the MJA recently, ICU admissions. These are dramatic improvements,” she said.

“The proportion of babies born of low birth weight has halved and the rates of childhood anaemia and anaemia in pregnancy have declined markedly.”

“In addition to this the number of young people who reoffend and therefore recycle through youth detention has dropped dramatically.”

“Combining all of these factors, we are closing the gap on early childhood disadvantage and trauma and this will make a big difference in coming years in other health and social outcomes.”

There are however, still many issues to be addressed, especially with the current generation of young people, as too many have already experienced the impacts of domestic violence, trauma and alcohol and other drugs. Unfortunately, this has led to the youth issues experienced now in Alice Springs.

The NT government recently advised Congress that they are implementing strategies that are aimed at making an immediate difference while at the same time we know key strategies that will make a longer-term difference are already in place. New immediate strategies include:

  1. 14 additional police undertaking foot patrols and bike patrols in the CBD
  2. Police now taking young people home where it is safe to do so, rather than telling them to go home themselves
  3. The employment of two senior Aboriginal community police officers from remote communities and the recruitment of three others in town and two at Yuendumu
  4. The flexible deployment of the YOREOs to meet peaks in the numbers of young people out at different hours of the night
  5. The much more active deployment of the truancy officers to ensure all young people are going to school.
  6. Access to emergency accommodation options for young people at night

While progress overall is slower than it should be, it is important to acknowledge the successes we are having because of the good work of many dedicated community organisations and government agencies working together in a supportive environment, where governments are adopting evidence based policies.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : Your Guide to #ClosetheGap Week Includes #ClosingtheGap #CtGRefresh @KenWyattMP ” Better #Indigenous Health ” @AusHealthcare Editorial

Understanding and respecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures—our strengths, traditions and our family, kinship, values and knowledge—is a fundamental foundation for better Indigenous health.

Consideration of the social and cultural determinants of health is vital, because a strong connection to culture correlates with good health, through strengthened identity, resilience and social and physical wellbeing.

In the words of the Prime Minister, we are committed to doing things with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, not to them, empowering local community solutions and better personal choices.

This will require the involvement of individuals, families, communities and Aboriginal organisations at all levels, in shaping the future and achieving improved health.

The Closing the Gap refresh and the next Implementation Plan will be important opportunities to build on what we have learned, and help ensure our people live better, longer and healthier lives and are able to achieve their full potential.”

Extract from Minister Ken Wyatt’s ” Better Indigenous Health ” overview in this weeks the AHHA’s  #ClosetheGap Magazine Read in Full Part 4  below

Download a copy HERE : AHHA CTG 2018 Feature

Part 1 Your #ClosetheGap Week Guide

Thursday 8 th February the #ClosetheGap Campaigns Parliamentary Breakfast 7.00 AM event and the launch of a ten-year review: the #ClosingtheGap Strategy and Recommendations for Reset.

The Prime Minister has established a group of 10 Aboriginals to inform governments this week on the next phase of the #ClosingtheGap agenda. #CTGRefresh

The Aboriginal panel will meet from 7th – 8th February.

Ministers will join the Indigenous group on the afternoon of Thursday 8th.

Friday 9th February , The 10 Indigenous participants will formally present the gathering’s proposals to the Council of Australian Governments #COAG meeting.

Monday 12 Feb, the PM provides his #ClosingtheGap report to Parliament 11.00 am

Tuesday 13 February several key events to mark 10 years since the Apology, including the public concert on the lawns of Parliament House – hosted by The Healing Foundation. #Apology10

Read 454 NACCHO Aboriginal Health #ClosetheGap articles last 6 years

NACCHO This week Monday #WorldCancerday #CloseTheGap

Tuesday Aged Elder Care #CloseTheGap

Wednesday Aboriginal Children’s Health #ClosetheGap

Part 2 #ClosingTheGap #RefreshCTG

From NACCHO Post

This is a great opportunity for people to share their ideas and opinions”

Andrea Mason, Co-Chair Indigenous Advisory Council and CEO of NPY Women’s Council

Share your views

Submissions close 5pm 31 March 2018

 ” The Australian Government, on behalf of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), is asking all Australians for their views to help construct the next phase of the Closing the Gap agenda and has released a COAG discussion paper to support ongoing consultations that have been held this year and will continue into 2018.

Over the past decade, important progress has been made in improving health, employment and education outcomes for First Australians since Australian governments agreed to a Closing the Gap framework to address Indigenous disadvantage.

However, it is clear that the Closing the Gap agenda can be better designed and more effectively delivered. This is a view shared among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, governments and the broader community.”

Download the Discussion paper

ctg-next-phase-discussion-paper

Part 3 #Refresh CTG Example from NACCHO Member Congrees Alice Springs

Congress Alice Springs notes the Council of Australian Government’s (COAG’s) commitment in their meeting of 9 June 2017 to refreshing the Closing the Gap (CtG) agenda, “focussing on a strength-based approach that supports Indigenous advancement, working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples”.

As a leading Aboriginal community controlled health service with over forty years of experience in delivering improvements in services and outcomes for Aboriginal people1 in Central Australia, Congress is submitting this paper to the Taskforce that has been established in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to progress this important work.

The paper is framed around five key structural reforms to the CtG process and on eight specific social and cultural determinants of health and well being

Download HERE

Congress-input-to-CtG-Refresh-Process-FINAL-24-January-2018

 Part 4 Minister Ken Wyatt’s ” Better Indigenous Health ” overview in this weeks the AHHA’s  #ClosetheGap Magazine

Download a copy HERE : AHHA CTG 2018 Feature

The February 2018 issue was released today. It focuses on ‘Close the Gap’ and features articles including:

  • Better Indigenous health—Ken Wyatt see in full below
  • Aboriginal patient journey mapping tools—Flinders University, University of Adelaide, Port Augusta Hospital and Regional Health Unit, Royal Adelaide Hospital
  • Walk with us—Janine Mohamed, CATSINaM
  • Nutrition from first foods—Dympna Leonard
  • Check today, see tomorrow—Hugh Taylor and Mitchell Anjou, University of Melbourne

Understanding and respecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures—our strengths, traditions and our family, kinship, values and knowledge—is a fundamental foundation for better Indigenous health.

The Turnbull Government understands that significant factors contributing to higher rates of premature death and chronic illnesses among our people lie largely outside the traditional health system.

Consideration of the social and cultural determinants of health is vital, because a strong connection to culture correlates with good health, through strengthened identity, resilience and social and physical wellbeing.

We know that over one-third of the average health gap between Indigenous and non- Indigenous people is the result of social determinants—the implications of housing, employment, justice and education.

This rises to over 50% when combined with risky behaviours such as tobacco and alcohol use, poor diet and physical inactivity.

In 2017, the Government led the My Life My Lead consultations across the nation, listening to people, and government and non-Government agencies, sharing their experiences around the social and cultural determinants of health, with around 600 attending 13 forums.

We heard that to make significant overall improvements in Indigenous lives, including their health, we need to:

• recognise the importance of culture, family and country;

• partner with communities to build capacity;

• recognise and address the impacts of underlying trauma; and

• lift access to health, education, employment and social services.

There is a need to address systemic racism and enhance cultural competency.

The 2017 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework highlighted some areas of success: There has been a 44% decline in Aboriginal circulatory disease death rates between 1998 and 2015, and a 47% decline in kidney deaths; there has been a longer term 33% decline (1998–2015) in child mortality and a recent 9% drop in smoking rates.

However, we can, and must, do better.

Among my Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health priorities are:

• Renal health—reducing the incidence of kidney disease, with a strong focus on early intervention.

• Maternal and child health—making sure we give babies through to teenagers the best possible start in life by developing a 0–17 years approach to social, physical and emotional wellbeing.

• Men’s health—considering more of the social and cultural determinants of health.

• Eye and ear health—working on the causes of preventable blindness and hearing loss, including tackling otitis media.

• Preventable hospital admissions—with a strong focus on early intervention to keep people out of hospital.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men’s life expectancy is 10 years shorter than non- Indigenous males.

While smoking rates have improved significantly, they remain high and contribute to the largest burden of Indigenous ill health.

The $116.8 million (2015–16 to 2017–18) Tackling Indigenous Smoking program aims to further reduce these rates.

The gap in the blindness rate in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 40, compared to non-Indigenous Australians, has halved between 2008 and 2016. The Australian Government is investing $76 million from 2013 – 14 to 2020–21 to build on this improvement.

A comprehensive approach to childhood hearing loss is combining prevention, early treatment and management of ear infections, supported by an investment of $76.4 million from 2012–13 to 2021–22.

In addition, providing a culturally safe and respectful environment within mainstream health services can help improve access to health care, as well as the effectiveness of that care.

Between July 2013 and June 2015, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were discharged from hospital against medical advice at seven times the rate of non-Indigenous people and were more likely to leave the emergency department without waiting to be seen.

I am pleased to be partnering with organisations including the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, the Australian Indigenous Doctor’s Association and the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges to help reduce the barriers to accessing health care.

The initial focus includes improving how the health system works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, ranging from enhanced cultural awareness and training for staff, through to reducing any forms of institutionalised racism.

The Cultural Respect Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health 2016–2026, sponsored by the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council, commits all state and territory governments to embedding the principles of cultural respect into the health system.

The next Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan, due in 2018, will recognise the importance of culture in finding solutions, and focus on the factors that promote resilience, foster a sense of identity and support good mental and physical health and wellbeing for individuals, families and communities.

In the words of the Prime Minister, we are committed to doing things with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, not to them, empowering local community solutions and better personal choices.

This will require the involvement of individuals, families, communities and Aboriginal organisations at all levels, in shaping the future and achieving improved health.

The Closing the Gap refresh and the next Implementation Plan will be important opportunities to build on what we have learned, and help ensure our people live better, longer and healthier lives and are able to achieve their full potential.

 

 

Aboriginal Health #COAG #ClosetheGap :’Historic’: Sweeping overhaul of #Indigenous #ClosingtheGap strategy welcomed

  ” Congress is the key facilitator for generational change. Now is the time for all levels of government to invest, to meet the needs of our people to develop the capacity to participate economically, socially and culturally.

All indications are that this could well mark the start of new era of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs.” 

Congress Co-Chair Rod Little

” Ministerial representatives from federal, state and territory governments recommitted to uniting efforts for Indigenous affairs across Australia, with a focus on the Closing the Gap Refresh and continuing to improve engagement between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and governments.

Council members agreed the importance of moving to a strength-based approach to Closing the Gap that celebrates Indigenous achievement, as well as addressing persistent disadvantage.”

COAG Council on Indigenous Affairs see full communique Part 2 Below

Photo Above : PM at Closing the Gap Annual report 2017

Background  Feb 2017 Closing the gap: Australia is failing on Indigenous disadvantage goals

Closing the Gap set for overhaul after failing to improve outcomes for Indigenous Australians

After almost a decade of failure to significantly improve outcomes for Indigenous Australians, the Federal Government is working on a major overhaul of the Closing the Gap strategy.

ABC reports

Key points:

  • Government will invest $300b into Closing the Gap strategy over next 10 years
  • Indigenous leaders say government must seek advice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Final Closing the Gap strategy won’t be implemented until middle of 2018

It has been almost 10 years since commonwealth and state Governments committed to targets to close the gap in Indigenous health, education and employment, but there has been limited progress in key areas.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull signalled a new approach was needed when he tabled the ninth annual Closing the Gap report to Parliament earlier this year, that showed some targets were stagnating and others were going backwards.

Documents obtained by the ABC show the Federal Government is now seeking feedback on a drastically different approach, that will broaden the agenda to include more cultural and community targets.

The new framework, which would guide $300 billion of investment over 10 years, would also consider if objectives like home ownership, community safety and overcoming trauma should become priorities.

It is expected the final strategy will not be implemented until the middle of 2018, almost 18 months after Mr Turnbull indicated change was needed.

Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion me with his state and territory counterparts to discuss proposed changes, with months of consultation with the Indigenous community expected to follow

Fairfax Media reports

Fairfax Media understands some ministers present pushed back against the timeframe proposed by the federal government, which would see a new strategy finalised by June next year.

“You can’t put forward a new framework without including and consulting Aboriginal people. And with the current time frame the federal government is putting forward, it doesn’t look like there’s going to be enough time,” Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Minister Natalie Hutchins told Fairfax Media.

“If we were going to just ram it through or rush it through, I don’t think we’d get the results. It’s better that we get it right.”

Ahead of the meeting, Senator Scullion said there was “an opportunity to redouble our efforts in the areas where we need to do better and develop a truly national, collaborative approach to improving the lives of First Australians”.

Any changes to Closing the Gap will affect the approximately $30 billion that is spent on Indigenous people annually by federal and state governments, according to the Productivity Commission.

Congress Press Release Historic Meeting Points to Positive Working Relations

Relationships between National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples and State, Territory and Federal Governments took a positive turn today. For the first time in 8 years Indigenous Affairs was the focus of a COAG Ministerial Council meeting in Canberra.

This meeting was initiated by Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion and welcomed by National Congress and all who attended.

Congress Co-chairs Jackie Huggins and Rod Little heard directly from all State and Territory Ministers and Ministerial representatives in relation to their priorities for Indigenous affairs and where National Congress can play a vital role in delivering improvements for Indigenous people in their respective jurisdictions.

Reflecting on the significance and substance of this historic meeting, Co-Chair Jackie Huggins stated, “Congress hopes that this is the beginning of a concerted and cooperative effort towards alleviating the drastic social conditions that face Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

Stepping out of the meeting after a 45 minute presentation to all attendees, Co-Chair Rod Little stressed that, “Congress is the key facilitator for generational change. Now is the time for all levels of government to invest, to meet the needs of our people to develop the capacity to participate economically, socially and culturally. All indications are that this could well mark the start of new era of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs.”

National Congress is ready and willing to deepen the relationships with all levels of government. By working in close partnership with all States and Territories, National Congress aims to realise their respective Indigenous Affairs goals under a single agreement framework.

23 October 2017, Canberra

Part 2 COAG Communiqué

Today’s first meeting of the new COAG Ministerial Council on Indigenous Affairs brought together ministers from all Australian governments in Canberra to re-energise national efforts on Indigenous policy. The Council was welcomed to Ngunnawal and Ngambri country by Tina Brown of the Ngunnawal peoples.

Ministerial representatives from federal, state and territory governments recommitted to uniting efforts for Indigenous affairs across Australia, with a focus on the Closing the Gap Refresh and continuing to improve engagement between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and governments.

Co-Chairs of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples

The Council welcomed the Co-Chairs of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, Ms Jackie Huggins and Mr Rod Little, who spoke about the need for Commonwealth, State and Territory governments to work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and how governments can better engage with Indigenous advisory and representative bodies.

Council Priorities

Council members discussed priorities for Indigenous affairs, noting the importance of the process to refresh Closing the gap. Members discussed the importance of listening to, and working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and noted there are multiple models for achieving this around the Federation, including through work underway in some jurisdictions toward local decision making and treaties.

Closing the Gap Refresh

Council members agreed the importance of moving to a strength-based approach to Closing the Gap that celebrates Indigenous achievement, as well as addressing persistent disadvantage. The Council recommitted to working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the issues that affect them, creating economic and social opportunities, noting that community support and a shared sense of ownership are essential for delivering meaningful, practical change.

All jurisdictions highlighted their commitment to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to refresh the agenda for the next ten years of Indigenous Affairs in Australia.

Council Attendees:

  • Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion, the Minister for Indigenous Affairs (Commonwealth) (Chair)
  • The Honourable Sarah Mitchell, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (New South Wales)
  • The Honourable Natalie Hutchins, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (Victoria)
  • The Honourable Mark Furner, Minister of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships and Local Government (Queensland)
  • Mr Reece Whitby, Parliamentary Secretary (Western Australia)
  • The Honourable Kyam Maher, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (South Australia)
  • Ms Sarah Courtney, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier (Tasmania)
  • Ms Rachel Stephen-Smith, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs (Australian Capital Territory)
  • The Honourable Ken Vowles, Minister for Primary Industry and Resources (Northern Territory)

Honoured Guests

  • Ms Jackie Huggins, Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples
  • Mr Rod Little, Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples

NACCHO #Aboriginal Health #Leadership 15 Events #saveadate : #eyes #ears #RHD #suicide prevention #mental Health #closethegap #governance #rural

save-a-date

Full details of these events and registration links below

14 February: #RedfernStatement Breakfast and PM Closing the Gap Report Canberra ACT

23 February: Webinar to support the social and emotional well-being of Aboriginal youth in crisis

27 February: 2017 International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership

  • Healing and Empowerment Indigenous Leadership in Mental Health and Suicide Prevention exchange. 

3 March: AMSANT: APONT Innovating to Succeed Forum – Alice Springs

10 March: Editorial proposals close: NACCHO Aboriginal Health 24 page Newspaper

16 March: National Close the Gap Day

16 March Close the Gap Day VISION 2020

17 March: Advertising bookings close: NACCHO Aboriginal Health 24 page Newspaper

22 March: 2017 Indigenous Ear Health Workshop  Adelaide

29 March: RHD Australia Education Workshop Adelaide SA

5 April: NACCHO Aboriginal Health 24 page Newspaper published in Koori

29 April:14th World Rural Health Conference Cairns

10 May: National Indigenous Human Rights Awards

26 May :National Sorry day 2017

2-9 July NAIDOC WEEK

If you have a Conference, Workshop or event and wish to share and promote contact

Colin Cowell NACCHO Media Mobile 0401 331 251

Send to NACCHO Media mailto:nacchonews@naccho.org.au

save-a-date

14 February: #RedfernStatement Breakfast and PM Closing the Gap Report Canberra ACT

redfern

Note 1 : Please note this event is now invitation only

Note 2 : The Prime Minister will deliver the Closing the Gap report to Parliament at 12.00 Tuesday

23 February: Webinar to support the social and emotional well-being of Aboriginal youth in crisis

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NACCHO invites all health practitioners and staff to the webinar: An all-Indigenous panel will explore youth suicide in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The webinar is organised and produced by the Mental Health Professionals Network and will provide participants with the opportunity to identify:

  • Key principles in the early identification of youth experiencing psychological distress.
  • Appropriate referral pathways to prevent crises and provide early intervention.
  • Challenges, tips and strategies to implement a collaborative response to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in crisis

Working collaboratively to support the social and emotional well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in crisis.

Date:  Thursday 23rd February, 2017

Time: 7.15 – 8.30pm AEDT

REGISTER

27 February: 2017 International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership

  • Healing and Empowerment Indigenous Leadership in Mental Health and Suicide Prevention exchange. 

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Image copyright © Roma Winmar

The 2017 International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL) Exchange, Contributing Lives Thriving Communities is being held across Australia and New Zealand from 27 February to 3 March 2017.

NACCHO notes that registration is free for the Healing and Empowerment Indigenous Leadership in Mental Health and Suicide Prevention exchange.  This is co-hosted by National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Mental Health (NATSILMH) and the Queensland Mental Health Commission in partnership with the Queensland Department of Health.

It will be held at the Pullman Hotel, 17 Abbott Street, Cairns City, Queensland 4870.

The theme is Indigenous leadership in mental health and suicide prevention, with a focus on cultural healing and the empowerment of communities with programs, case studies and services.

For more about IIMHL and to register http://www.iimhl.com/

3 March: AMSANT: APONT Innovating to Succeed Forum – Alice Springs

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Following our successful 2015 AGMP Forum we are pleased to announce the second AGMP Forum will be held at the Alice Springs Convention Centre on 3 March from 9 am to 5 pm. The forum is a free catered event open to senior managers and board members of all Aboriginal organisations across the NT.

Come along to hear from NT Aboriginal organisations about innovative approaches to strengthen your activities and businesses, be more sustainable and self-determine your success. The forum will be opened by the Chief Minister and there will be opportunities for Q&A discussions with Commonwealth and Northern Territory government representatives.

To register to attend please complete the online registration form, or contact Wes Miller on 8944 6626, Kate Muir on 8959 4623, or email info@agmp.org.au.

10 March: Editorial and Advertising proposals close: NACCHO Aboriginal Health 24 page Newspaper

rates

Download the Rate card and make booking HERE

16 March: National Close the Gap Day

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples die 10-17 years younger than other Australians and it’s even worse in some parts of Australia. Register now and hold an activity of your choice in support of health equality across Australia.

Resources

Resource packs will be sent out from 1 February 2017.

We will also have a range of free downloadable resources available on our website

www.oxfam.org.au/closethegapday.

It is still important to register as this contributes to the overall success of the event.

More information and Register your event

16 March Close the Gap Day VISION 2020

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Indigenous Eye Health at the University of Melbourne would like to invite people to a two-day national conference on Indigenous eye health and the Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision in March 2017. The conference will provide opportunity for discussion and planning for what needs to be done to Close the Gap for Vision by 2020 and is supported by their partners National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Optometry Australia, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists and Vision 2020 Australia.

Collectively, significant progress has been made to improve Indigenous eye health particularly over the past five years and this is an opportunity to reflect on the progress made. The recent National Eye Health Survey found the gap for blindness has been reduced but is still three times higher. The conference will allow people to share the learning from these experiences and plan future activities.

The conference is designed for those working in all aspects of Indigenous eye care: from health workers and practitioners, to regional and jurisdictional organisations. It will include ACCHOs, NGOs, professional bodies and government departments.

The topics to be discussed will include:

  • regional approaches to eye care
  • planning and performance monitoring
  • initiatives and system reforms that address vision loss
  • health promotion and education.

Contacts

Indigenous Eye Health – Minum Barreng
Level 5, 207-221 Bouverie Street
Melbourne School of Population and Global Health
The University of Melbourne
Carlton Vic 3010
Ph: (03) 8344 9320
Email:

Links

17 March: Advertising bookings close: NACCHO Aboriginal Health 24 page Newspaper

Download the Rate card and make booking HERE

22 March2017 Indigenous Ear Health Workshop  in Adelaide

asohns-2017-ieh-workshop-22march2017-adelaide

The 2017 Indigenous Ear Health Workshop to be held in Adelaide in March will focus on Otitis Media (middle ear disease), hearing loss, and its significant impact on the lives of Indigenous children, the community and Indigenous culture in Australia.

The workshop will take place on 22 March 2017 at the Adelaide Convention Centre in Adelaide, South Australia.

The program features keynote addresses by invited speakers who will give presentations aligned with the workshop’s main objectives:

  • To identify and promote methods to strengthen primary prevention and care of Otitis Media (OM).
  • To engage and coordinate all stakeholders in OM management.
  • To summarise current and future research into OM pathogenesis (the manner in which it develops) and management.
  • To present the case for consistent and integrated funding for OM management.

Invited speakers will include paediatricians, public health physicians, ear nose and throat surgeons, Aboriginal health workers, Education Department and a psychologist, with OM and hearing updates from medical, audiological and medical science researchers.

The program will culminate in an address emphasising the need for funding that will provide a consistent and coordinated nationwide approach to managing Indigenous ear health in Australia.

Those interested in attending may include: ENT surgeons, ENT nurses, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers, audiologists, rural and regional general surgeons and general practitioners, speech pathologists, teachers, researchers, state and federal government representatives and bureaucrats; in fact anyone interested in Otitis Media.

The workshop is organised by the Australian Society of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (ASOHNS) and is held just before its Annual Scientific Meeting (23 -26 March 2017). The first IEH workshop was held in Adelaide in 2012 and subsequent workshops were held in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney.

For more information go to the ASOHNS 2017 Annual Scientific Meeting Pre-Meeting Workshops section at http://asm.asohns.org.au/workshops

Or contact:

Mrs Lorna Watson, Chief Executive Officer, ASOHNS Ltd

T: +61 2 9954 5856   or  E info@asohns.org.au

29 March: RHDAustralia Education Workshop Adelaide SA

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Download the PDF brochure sa-workshop-flyer

More information and registrations HERE

 

5 April: NACCHO Aboriginal Health 24 page Newspaper published in Koori

29 April : 14th World Rural Health Conference Cairns

acrrm

The conference program features streams based on themes most relevant to all rural and remote health practitioners. These include Social and environmental determinants of health; Leadership, Education and Workforce; Social Accountability and Social Capital, and Rural Clinical Practices: people and services.

Download the program here : rural-health-conference-program-no-spreads

The program includes plenary/keynote sessions, concurrent sessions and poster presentations. The program will also include clinical sessions to provide skill development and ongoing professional development opportunities :

Information Registrations HERE

10 May: National Indigenous Human Rights Awards

nihra-2017-save-the-date-invitation_version-2

” The National Indigenous Human Rights Awards recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons who have made significant contribution to the advancement of human rights and social justice for their people.”

To nominate someone for one of the three awards, please go to https://shaoquett.wufoo.com/forms/z4qw7zc1i3yvw6/
 
For further information, please also check out the Awards Guide at https://www.scribd.com/document/336434563/2017-National-Indigenous-Human-Rights-Awards-Guide
26 May :National Sorry day 2017
bridge-walk
The first National Sorry Day was held on 26 May 1998 – one year after the tabling of the report Bringing them Home, May 1997. The report was the result of an inquiry by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission into the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families.
2-9 July NAIDOC WEEK
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The importance, resilience and richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages will be the focus of national celebrations marking NAIDOC Week 2017.

The 2017 theme – Our Languages Matter – aims to emphasise and celebrate the unique and essential role that Indigenous languages play in cultural identity, linking people to their land and water and in the transmission of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, spirituality and rites, through story and song.

More info about events

save-a-date

If you have a Conference, Workshop or event or wish to share and promote

Colin Cowell NACCHO Media Contact 0401 331 251

Send to NACCHO Media mailto:nacchonews@naccho.org.au

NACCHO #closethegap Event Alert Canberra : How Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations #closethegap

JandN

“The Aboriginal Community Controlled Health services both here in Canberra and at  302 clinics nationally will not agree to turn our backs on the most disadvantaged and disempowered and we call on the Australian Government to honour the principles of health equity as outlined in the Statement of Intent to Close the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes”

Winnunga provides health services through a holistic approach, with all programs developed directly to meet the needs of Winnunga’s clients looking after the physical, psychological and social determinants contributing to wellbeing.”

Julie Tongs, CEO of Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service. Pictured above with Dr Nadeem Siddiqui: Executive director of Clinical services 

March 17 Close the Gap Day 10th Anniversary event

10.30 am -11.30 AM Morning tea

Everybody welcome

Winnunga Nimmityjah is located at

63 Boolimba Crescent Narrabundah ACT 2604

MORE INFO OR RSVP HERE

OR FIND ONE of 1,300 EVENTS THROUGHOT AUSTRALIA

Presentations from (Biographies attached)

Julie Tongs OAM CEO, Professor Ngiare Brown and Dr Nadeem Siddiqui

How Canberra’s local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation is contributing to Close the Gap 10th Anniversary year

Winnunga Nimmityjah is an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service (ACCHS) and is the only health service providing holistic primary health and social and emotional wellbeing care to the Canberra and region community.

Recently the Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee released a Close the Gap, Progress and Priorities Report

The report is the most comprehensive analysis available on progress in achieving the close the gap targets. It provides a sobering insight into the magnitude of the task facing Australia and provides guidance on where the effort involved in closing the gap should be concentrated.

In this regard the report is unequivocal in its recognition of the fundamental importance of ACCHS.

“That the findings of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey (NATSIHMS) are used to better target chronic conditions that are undetected in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. In particular, access to appropriate primary health care services to detect, treat and manage these conditions should be increased. Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services should be the preferred services for this enhanced, targeted response.”

The report provides an evidence backed justification for the need to continue to fund and expand existing ACCHS. It refers to major inquiries into the efficiency and effectiveness of ACCHS. It finds that the “two key advantages of ACCHS are better access and a more culturally appropriate, community-based holistic approach, which in many ways offers, in the long term, a better return on investment of the health dollar.”

The report identifies the most common service gaps in ACCHS as mental health and social and emotional wellbeing. It also found that a concerted effort is needed to ensure ACCHS are properly resourced to address chronic disease and services for mothers and babies.

While there have been measurable improvements in respect of some of the close the gap targets in others there is little or no progress and it is likely the gap will not close in the specified time.

A Government’s commitment to closing the gap in relation to all health related indicators can reasonably be measured by its preparedness to implement the recommendations of the Closing the Gap Campaign Steering Committee.

In this regard Winnunga would welcome an explicit acknowledgement by the Government of the recommendation detailed above about the primary role of ACCHS such as Winnunga Nimmityjah in the delivery of primary health care for the Aboriginal community.

Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service.”

Our Year In Review

The Winnunga Nimmityjah board and management continues to be engaged in high level decision making processes which impact on Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, and ultimately the community we serve and to Close the Gap

The focus of this continued lobbying also included keeping barriers to accessing mainstream health services on the agenda.

Input into the development of a range of health frameworks and plans was particularly critical, as the ACT and issues within our jurisdiction are often forgotten nationally.

The Federal Government’s intended introduction of substantial changes to Medicare did not impact on our service. However, we will continue to closely monitor any further possible developments

According to CEO Julie Tongs robust data analysis has resulted in the strategic direction of Winnunga being strengthened and further opportunities being explored, particularly around mental health, prison health, social and emotional wellbeing and matters concerning at-risk families. Efforts have also been made towards improving chronic disease management, especially diabetes, improved routine health assessments, screening, and investigating smoking in pregnancy.

“One of the continual challenges is there are many areas of need within Aboriginal health the organisation has identified and would like to expand on.

However, given resourcing restraints these cannot be responded to in a strengthened way until capacity is increased. Partnering and relationship management with institutions such as The Canberra Hospital has provided some very positive outcomes for Winnunga clients (such as visiting medical specialist clinics), and we look forward to continuing to expand services in future years.” Ms Tongs said.

WINNUNGA SERVICES

Winnunga is an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service (ACCHS) which in 2013, reached twenty-five years of continuous service in the Australian Capital Territory.

Winnunga is one of the few ACCHSs to hold multi accreditation from both the Australian General Practice Accreditation Ltd (AGPAL) and the Quality Improvement Council (QIC).

In 2013 Winnunga was selected as an AGPAL awards General Practice of the Year finalist.

Winnunga’s service reach and role in primary health care has always been holistic health care.

Over the twenty-five years Winnunga has operated, Winnunga has become the largest provider of clinical training placements for medical specialists, doctors and allied health staff, outside of the Canberra Hospital.

Winnunga provides a range of health services daily to between 80 and 120 people.

Approximately 4,000 clients are supported each year, with approximately 40,000 occasions of service. Winnunga’s client group is made up of 81% Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander clients along with 19% of clients reporting being from non-Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander backgrounds.

Winnunga provides health services through a holistic approach, with all programs developed directly to meet the needs of Winnunga’s clients looking after the physical, psychological and social determinants contributing to wellbeing.

The services we therefore provide are:

1.General practitioner services

We operate an open access clinic 9-5. The GP team comprise of senior and recently fellowed doctors who have interests in public health, diabetes, academia, women’s health, drug and alcohol.

2.Nursing services

The nursing team comprises of a practice nurse lead, chronic disease nurse, drug and alcohol nurse, and mental health nurse.

The nurses play an integral part in developing chronic disease and mental health care plans along with health screens which are then referred to GPs to provide the medical management interventions.

Mental health Services

This team comprises of a psychiatrist, psychiatry registrar, and psychologist. GPs can refer into this team for medication management, mental health diagnosis or just for advice. Psychotherapy and cognitive therapies play an important part when developing mental health care plans and clients are able to access such services within Winnunga with our psychologist.

Antenatal and postnatal services

We have 3 midwifes and an Aboriginal access worker who work along with the GPs in the Antenatal and postnatal clinics as well as Home visits for our more vulnerable clients.

Child health surveillance services

A “Mums and Bubs” group is held which is a social gathering for new mums witheducational sessions and is combined with clinical assessments such as postnatal checks for mother and baby, baby checks including immunisations up to the age of 5 and an opportunity for clients to access GPs and Child and maternal nurses for any other issues.

Women’s health services

This is a GP led clinic that provides general health screening for women, including prenatal advice, pap smears and family planning.

Dental

We have two part time dentists along with a dental assistant who provide a 9-5 dental service focussing on preventative, acute dental care and dental hygiene.

Social health services

Winnunga prides itself in providing a culturally safe environment and tackled head on the social determinants that lead to mental and physical illnesses by having a social health team comprising of Aboriginal staff. Gps work closely with this team to delivering holistic care and are partnered with a social health team member for home visits.

Specialist & allied health outreach services.

Winnunga has dedicated services in the following:

Diabetes clinic

This is ran monthly teamed by a GP, chronic disease nurse, podiatrist, dietician and diabetes educator. On a quarterly basis an endocrinologist attends and gives an opportunity for client as well as GP to discuss and manage complex cases.

Obstetrics and gynaecology clinic

An OIbGyn consultant attends monthly to provide training for GPs in procedural interventions such as mirena coil insertions as well as providing an enhanced level of care for our clients.

Dermatology

Clients have the availability of dermatologist to treat and assess skin conditions.

Physiotherapy

A physiotherapist attends weekly to provide physiotherapy to clients referred by our GPs.

Audiology

An audiologist is available every week to perform hearing screening for adults and children

Prison service

Access workers attend the local prison (Alexander Maconochie Centre) once a week to review imprisoned clients of Winnunga along with a prison doctor. This is to facilitate the continuity of care upon imprisonment and release back into the community.

Presentations at event from:

Julie Tongs OAM CEO

Julie Tongs OAM has been the Chief Executive Officer of Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service since 1998.  Julie has more than 30 years’ experience working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs and in particular has extensive experience in advising, formulating, implementing and evaluating public health initiatives, programs and policy at a local, regional and national level.  Julie has been a national leader and strong advocate of quality improvement initiatives within the Aboriginal Community Controlled sector.

Julie is the recipient of a number of awards, including the ACT Governor General’s Centenary Medal and the ACT Indigenous Person of the Year. In 2011 Julie received the ACT Local Hero Award within the Australian of the Year Awards 2012, and in 2012 Julie was honoured with the Medal of the Order of Australia.

Julie’s vision is that Winnunga continues to build on its reputation as a national leader in the provision of holistic primary health care services delivered in a culturally appropriate environment that achieves improved health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Julie is committed to ensuring that Winnunga offers services that are delivered consistent with best practice standards.

Professor Ngiare Brown

Professor Ngiare Brown was one of the first Aboriginal medical graduates in Australia. She completed her medical degree at the University of Newcastle in 1992 and graduated with a Masters’ in Public Health and Tropical Medicine from JCU in 2000. Ngiare is a Yuin nation woman from the south coast of NSW and is passionate about Indigenous health and social justice. She was foundation chief executive officer with the Aboriginal Indigenous Doctors Association.  During her career Ngiare has held a variety of positions in education, mentoring, clinical practice and advocacy. Ngiare has also held other positions as an Associate Professor and Director of the Poche Centre of Indigenous Health at the University of Sydney, and a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. She has been Indigenous Health Adviser to the Australian Medical Association and Manager of Preventative Indigenous Health Programs for World Vision Australia. She was the Assistant Director at the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin, where she developed a program around child health and human rights within the child health division In 2005 she was named the AMA’s Woman in Medicine for her contributions to the profession. She is committed to early childhood and adolescent wellbeing and has worked over the past two decades to develop an extensive international network in indigenous health. She has made extensive contributions in research process, bioethics, policy, translation and practice within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research. She is proud of her heritage and is committed to making a difference in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through improved health. Ngiare was from 2012 to early 2015 Executive Manager Research and Senior Public Health Medical Officer at the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation where she made a significant contribution to the research and reform agenda.

Dr Nadeem Siddiqui

Dr Nadeem Siddiqui is the Executive director of Clinical services and Principal supervisor as well as being an RACGP examiner. In addition to being a general practitioner he is responsible for the operational running of Winnunga’s medical services, teaching and co-ordinating training for registrars and RMOs. He completed his training in the United Kingdom: qualified as a doctor in 1996 at Cambridge University followed by his postgraduate training in general practice (MRCGP) in 2002

Winnunga CTG Press release 2016 EVENT Draft_Page_1

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper by March 21

Send us photos of your Close The Gap Event

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : 10 years of #closethegap, 10 amazing milestones

 

Photo: Jason Malouin/OxfamAUS

The Close the Gap campaign aims to end the appalling life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and non-Indigenous Australians by 2030.

Over the last 10 years people like you have kept this issue front and centre. People like you have raised their voice, got involved and taken action. People like you have made a real difference to Indigenous health.

This is how — together — we’ve started to Close the Gap. Here are 10 of our favourite milestones over the last 10 years:

You can join in the celebrations on 17 March FIND one of the 1,290 EVENTS

1.Close the Gap launched to a groundswell of community support

Cathy Freeman and Ian Thorpe. Photo: Michael Myers/OxfamAUS

Cathy Freeman and Ian Thorpe. Photo: Michael Myers/OxfamAUS

Australian sporting champions Cathy Freeman and Ian Thorpe launched the Close the Gap campaign (CTG) in Sydney. Led by a coalition of more than 40 Indigenous and non-Indigenous organisations, the campaign aims to achieve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality within a generation.

2.Prime Minister first of many to sign the Statement of Intent

Ken Wyatt. Photo: Timothy Herbert/OxfamAUS

Ken Wyatt. Photo: Timothy Herbert/OxfamAUS

On the back of mounting community calls for action, Australia’s Prime Minister and Opposition Leader signed the Statement of Intent in March 2008. Key ministers and other state and territory leaders soon followed. Here, Aboriginal parliamentarian, Ken Wyatt, signs the Close the Gap Statement of Intent.

3.Aussie celebrities back Close the Gap

Keith Urban and John Butler. Photo: Jason Malouin/OxfamAUS

Keith Urban and John Butler. Photo: Jason Malouin/OxfamAUS

The CTG campaign has attracted support from celebrities, including musicians John Butler, Keith Urban, Missy Higgins and Eskimo Joe, AFL footballer Michael Long, boxer Damien Hooper, and former Australian of the Year, Fiona Stanley.

4.Australian governments agree on six ambitious targets

Here, Geraldton Aboriginal Health worker, Eric Dalgety, speaks with a young client, Kane. Photo: Jason Malouin/Oxfam AUS.

Geraldton Aboriginal Health worker, Eric Dalgety. Photo: Jason Malouin/Oxfam AUS

In 2008, Australian governments agreed to six ambitious targets across life expectancy, child mortality, education and employment as a blueprint to “close the gap”. Governments committed $1.6 billion in funding over three years. This action has contributed to improvements in Indigenous health over the past decade including a fall in diabetes. Here, Geraldton Aboriginal Health worker, Eric Dalgety, speaks with a young client, Kane.

5.NRL dedicates one round each year to Close the Gap

Sam Thaiday. Photo: NRL

Sam Thaiday. Photo: NRL

The National Rugby League joined the campaign by dedicating a round each year to Close the Gap. In the process, many high-profile Indigenous NRL players — including Sam Thaiday from the Brisbane Broncos (pictured) — got behind the campaign.

6.National Close the Gap Day continues to break targets

In 2012, Laidley High School students spelled out Close the Gap with members of Kambu Aboriginal Medical Service (pictured). Photo: Jason Malouin/OxfamAUS.

Laidley High School students and Kambu Aboriginal Medical Service. Photo: Jason Malouin/OxfamAUS

National Close the Gap Day (NCTGD) is held in March each year. Involving a huge variety of activities around the country, NCTGD is the key moment each year that Australians show their support for achieving health equality by 2030. This event has been getting bigger every year. Last year, 1,596 events involving more than 200,000 people took place around the country. In 2012, Laidley High School students spelled out Close the Gap with members of Kambu Aboriginal Medical Service (pictured).

7.Almost 250,000 Australians sign in support of health equality

Two young women sign the Clsoe the Gap pledge

Photo: Lara McKinley/OxfamAUS

More than 200,000 Australians have so far signed the Close the Gap pledge calling for Australia’s federal, state and territory governments to achieve Indigenous health equality by 2030. This public pressure continues to ensure Indigenous health remains at the forefront of politicians minds.

8.National health plan developed in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

A young Aboriginal child and an older Aboriginal man pose together to highlight the need to Close the Gap for the next generation

Photo: Jason Malouin/OxfamAUS

The CTG campaign was central to the Australian Government’s development of a national plan being produced in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Importantly, this plan recognises that improving Indigenous health will require action on social, emotional, spiritual, cultural and physical wellbeing, and must involve community-led solutions. PhotoJason Malouin/OxfamAUS

9.The call for politicians to recommit: “It’s our nation’s business”

Lynore Geia. Photo: Jason Malouin/OxfamAUS

Lynore Geia. Photo: Jason Malouin/OxfamAUS

Indigenous representatives joined the Prime Minister for the Closing the Gap parliamentary breakfast in our nation’s capital last month. Lynore Geia, a nurse and health advocate in Queensland for more than 40 years, summed up many people’s thoughts at this breakfast with her comments delivered for this year’s NCTGD video: “Indigenous health is everyone’s business. It’s our nation’s business. [If] we’re about our nation moving … forward, then we have to deal with business. Together!”

10.We need you to be part of our 10 year milestone: register now for National Close the Gap Day 2016

People celebrating at their National Close the Gap Day event

Photo: Jason Malouin/OxfamAUS

While we’ve made some great progress towards closing the gap, we still have a long way to go to achieve health equality by 2030. Join us for the 10th anniversary year of the campaign by calling on governments to recommit to closing the gap. And the best way to do this? Register for National Close the Gap Day.

Register for National Close the Gap Day

Hold an activity of your choice in support of health equality across Australia.

Register now

NACCHO #closethegap News Alert : INSPIRING Stories Aboriginal workforce and culture

Three

“Trying to balance my Aboriginal culture within a westernised Australian community is also very difficult. One thing I do know is that I’m proud of the many people that have fought for the rights that have given us more opportunities.

One of the key ways to improving Indigenous health will be to improve access to quality, culturally responsive, multidisciplinary care. To do this Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health needs to have a significant presence in the core curriculum of all health degrees across Australia”

Danielle Dries, 28, is one of many exceptional young Aboriginal people making their mark today. A Kaurna woman (whose traditional country includes Adelaide), she will soon graduate as a doctor.

Photo above Closing the Gap Parliamentary Breakfast presenters (from left) : Danielle Dries, a Kaurna-Meyunna woman, physiotherapist and final year medical student at the Australian National University; Katarina Keeler, a Kokatha woman and registered nurse;Dr. Artiene Tatian, an Arrente man from Central Australia and medical doctor at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney; Photo Colin Cowell

Close the Gap Campaign Lead, Tom Widdup, finds out how — despite continued high levels of Indigenous disadvantage, and a disconnect that still hinders relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia — Danielle and many young Indigenous Australians like her are working to overcome these barriers.

What is it like being a young Aboriginal woman in Australia at the moment?

This is a very difficult question to answer.

I believe young Aboriginal women have a certain level of privilege that our parents and our elders never had. On the whole we have more opportunities, but many Aboriginal girls and women continue to suffer significant disadvantage in comparison to non-Indigenous Australians.

I’m not saying I’ve had it easy. I have experienced a lot of racism and discrimination as a young Aboriginal woman. It’s rarely blatant racism, but I am regularly made to feel less than those around me; people question why I would want to identify as Aboriginal. There’s still definitely a lack of understanding in Australia about Aboriginal history, culture and the vast diversity among our people.

Trying to balance my Aboriginal culture within a westernised Australian community is also very difficult. One thing I do know is that I’m proud of the many people that have fought for the rights that have given us more opportunities.

Why did you choose to study medicine?

I started off as a physiotherapist but am now a final year medical student at ANU. An elective subject in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, together with my Aboriginal ancestry, made me want to do more for our people.

As a physio, I couldn’t find many jobs in Aboriginal Medical Services or in remote communities, so I decided to study medicine. This opens up more opportunities to work in Aboriginal health, but also to advocate for allied health positions.

Access to services is a complex issue; and it doesn’t necessarily improve for Aboriginal people living in the city. My Nan, who is now 80 years old, has had diabetes since she was 29. Three of my uncles have diabetes as well, and two had a stroke in their 50s. All live in the city, not rural or remote locations. Levels of chronic disease are high among our people everywhere. But while living in the city has helped my grandmother live longer (with good access to multidisciplinary care) services in cities are not always accessible to Indigenous people for other reasons, such as cultural appropriateness.

One of the key ways to improving Indigenous health will be to improve access to quality, culturally responsive, multidisciplinary care. To do this Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health needs to have a significant presence in the core curriculum of all health degrees across Australia.

What are Indigenous communities saying about Indigenous health?

I hear communities saying: “too many of our people are sick” and “too many of us are dying too young”. For years there have been policies and ‘interventions’ that have been trialled and failed. There is a belief that health programs will fail before they begin, or when they do work, that funding will be cut.

This is a huge stress for our people. Communities want mainstream Australia to listen to them and understand the health problems they face; they want to have empowerment over their health and their health care.

Closing the gap will take time: health outcomes won’t improve overnight.

How do you get people to listen?

I used to get frustrated when people blamed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for their poor health: saying things like “they’re lazy”, or “they don’t want to work”, or our problems are just alcohol and other ‘lifestyle’ diseases. As if the levels of disadvantage we face today (and the subsequent health problems we face) is a lifestyle choice.

But with guidance from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous mentors, I’ve realised that it’s not helpful to get angry or frustrated at comments like these. It just makes people shut down. I’ve learnt to be more open and understand why people have these negative stereotypes and to start a conversation about Aboriginal culture, history and the strengths of our people. Education is key.

How did you find the Closing the Gap Parliamentary Breakfast you attended earlier this month?

It was difficult to hear the Prime Minister report the poor progress in closing the health gap. We do need to remember though that it has only been 10 years since the campaign was launched and less since the Australian Government committed to take stronger action. It also highlighted for me that we need strong bipartisanship when it comes to achieving Indigenous health equality.

Another highlight of the breakfast was hearing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders Professor Tom Calma and Dr Jackie Huggins speak. They were both really inspiring and provide strong, positive role models for our youth. (I’m also really excited that Dr Huggins is going to speak at our Australian National University National Close the Gap Day event.)

What is your take on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community’s reaction to the Closing the Gap comments that came from the various party leaders?

This is something that hits the media around this time every year; there are lots of promises made, and then after a couple months it fades away. On the other hand, there is still a lot of hope. Of course people would like to see significant changes, but we’re addressing hundreds of years of disempowerment and human rights abuses. As I said earlier, this is not an issue we’re going to solve overnight.

What can you do to promote Indigenous health equality?

1. Leave a comment below
2. Share Danielle’s story
3. Sign the Close the Gap pledge
4. Register your own National Close the Gap Day event