NACCHO Aboriginal Health debate 2 of 3 : Prime Minister’s Parliament speech ” We must embark on a new approach to #closingthegap on Indigenous disadvantage.


“ The national interest requires a re-commitment to the relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.  But there can be no relationship without partnership.

And there can be no partnership without participation—we heard that very eloquently this morning at the Redfern Statement breakfast.

I firmly believe that people must be involved in the process in order to be engaged in the outcomes. It has to be a shared endeavour;


We have made great gains in improving the key factors that influence the health of Indigenous children. But we are also reminded of the fragility of life, and the heavy burden of responsibility of families, communities and governments. I am very saddened and disappointed that the target to halve the gap in Indigenous child mortality is not on track, with the 2015 data being just outside the target.

We must redouble our efforts to reduce smoking rates during pregnancy, continue to improve immunisation rates, lift rates of antenatal care, reduce fetal trauma, and keep our children safe. Rates of attending antenatal care in the important first trimester are highest in outer regional areas and lowest in major cities.

Ken Wyatt as the Minister for Indigenous Health, a field in which he has had many decades of experience, will work wisely and collaboratively with our state and territory counterparts, and the community health sector, to get this target back on track.

We have seen improvements in reducing mortality from chronic diseases; however, the mortality rates from cancer are rising. The overall mortality rate has declined by 15 per cent since 1998, and life expectancy is increasing. However, it is not accelerating at the pace it should and, therefore, as in previous years, this target is not on track. “

CLOSING THE GAP Report 2017 Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth—Prime Minister) (12:01): Yanggu gulanyin ngalawiri, dhunayi, Ngunawal dhawra. Wanggarralijinyin mariny bulan bugarabang.

Download the Prime Minister Closing the Gap Report Here


NACCHO Response Press Release



Read or Download all a copy of all speeches


Please note

NACCHO will be publishing Bill Shortens #closingthegap speech Tuesday 21 February

Today, we are meeting together on Ngunawal land and we acknowledge and pay our respects to their elders past and present. And we pay our deep respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people gathered here today—including our Aboriginal members of parliament—and all across Australia, who have been the custodians of these lands and whose elders hold the knowledge of their rich and diverse cultures.

I also welcome the first ministers and their representatives from the states and territories who have gathered with us today to demonstrate that the responsibility—indeed, the opportunity—for closing the gap in partnership with our communities rests with all levels of government and with all Australians

The lives, the occupations and the dreams of Aboriginal and Torres Islander Australians are as diverse as those of all other Australians and stretch across this vast land, from the most remote communities to the heart of our capitals, to our national parliament.

Our First Australians are showing that they can do anything, as they inspire us with their resilience, their courage and their enterprise.

Last year, Chris Sarra proposed three principles that would help make a difference in Indigenous policy. He said: ‘Do things with us, not to us, bring us policy approaches that nurture hope and optimism, and acknowledge, embrace and celebrate the humanity of Indigenous Australia.’

I am pleased that Chris has agreed to join the new Indigenous Advisory Council, along with Andrea Mason, Susan Murphy, Ngiare Brown, Roy Ah-See and Djambawa Marawili. And I want to thank Warren Mundine and the retiring members for their work.

Nothing brought a quiet moment of humanity to the 2016 election campaign more than the handing of the title deeds to Belyuen elder Raylene Singh, 37 years after the Larrakia people submitted a claim to what had always been theirs. For families like Raylene’s, despite their old people passing on before the Kenbi land claim was settled, the past continues to live in the present.

Acknowledging past wrongs enables healing to begin. We saw that with the National Apology to the Stolen Generations—delivered by Prime Minister Rudd, who also joins us today—and the ninth anniversary of that moment in history was recognised yesterday here in the House. Acknowledgement requires the humility of acceptance of the truth.

On that hot, dry day on the shores of the Cox Peninsula in Darwin, we acknowledged that the Larrakia people had cared for their country for tens of thousands of years, that their songs had been sung since time out of mind, and that those songs held and passed on the knowledge of Larrakia customs and traditions.

Acknowledgement is the seed from which hope and healing grow. It is that acknowledgement that 50 years ago saw the Australian people vote overwhelmingly to change our Constitution so that the Commonwealth could assume powers in relation to our First Australians. And while many issues divide us in this place, we are united in our determination to ensure that our Constitution is amended once again to recognise our First Australians. Changing the Constitution is neither easy nor a task for the faint hearted.

The Referendum Council will conclude its consultations this year so that then parliament can complete the work of formulating and presenting the recognition amendments.

The success of the 1967 referendum also meant that First Australians were counted equally in our official population alongside all other others in the census. This provided our first understanding of the survival and the resilience of our Indigenous peoples, but also the depth of that gap between their situation and that of other Australians.

The leaders of those times challenged us to think well past statistics: the Freedom Riders like Charles Perkins; Vincent Lingiari and his fellow workers at the Wave Hill ‘walk-off’; and Eddie Mabo and his fight for native title. Theirs are the shoulders among many upon which a new generation of Indigenous leaders stand today.

And last night the Prime Minister’s courtyard was abuzz with enthusiasm, with positivity and with the hope of leaders challenging us to again think past the statistics. Bright, determined women and men stood tall as successful people in their fields of work, proud of their heritage and anchored in their culture.

While we must accelerate progress and close the gap, we must also tell the broader story of Indigenous Australia, not of despondency but of a relentless and determined optimism; that being Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander means to succeed, to achieve, to have big dreams and high hopes, and to draw strength from your identity as an Indigenous person in this country.

As Prime Minister, I will continue to tell these stories, to talk about the strengths of our First Australians.

We have among us five Indigenous members of parliament, who bring the same pride, the same strength, here to our democracy: Ken Wyatt, the first Indigenous member of the House of Representatives, and now the first Indigenous minister to be appointed in a Commonwealth government; as well as Linda Burney, Senator Pat Dodson, Senator Malarndirri McCarthy and Senator Jacqui Lambie.

Yet, even with the determination of our First Australians to create a better future, even with successive Commonwealth and state governments investing more resources and even with tens of thousands of dedicated Australians seeking to contribute and engage, we still are not making enough progress.

We have come a long way since the referendum, but we have not come far enough. I present today to the parliament and to the people of Australia the ninth Closing the Gap report. This report demonstrates that all Australian governments have much more work to do.

The proportion of Indigenous 20- to 24-year-olds who has achieved year 12 or equivalent is 61.5 per cent—up from 45.4 per cent in 2008. This target is on track to halve the gap. A new target for Indigenous four-year-olds enrolled in early childhood education is 95 per cent by 2025. The data shows that in 2015, 87 per cent of all Indigenous children were enrolled in early childhood education the year before full-time school.

We have seen improvements in reading and numeracy for Indigenous students but this target is not on track. Last year, 640 more children needed to read at the year 3 benchmark to halve the gap. This year, that figure is around 440. The literacy gap is narrowing and achievable, and through the individualised learning plans agreed at COAG, first ministers have committed to improve these results.

The national school attendance is also not on track. Around 20 per cent of the gap in school performance between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students can be explained by poor attendance. But there are examples of real progress with families and communities.

In the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, the APY Lands, principal Matt Greene spoke to me of the fierce rivalry in community football. But he said he was more interested and focused on the fierce rivalry to attain school attendance targets. And with the help of our Remote School Attendance Strategy, championed by Minister Nigel Scullion, Matt is driving cultural change in Fregon. The strategy is working. RSAS schools showed a higher attendance rate in 2016 compared to 2013.

The employment target is not on track either, but 57.5 per cent of those living in major cities are employed. Five thousand Indigenous job seekers have been placed in to real jobs through our Vocational Training and Employment Centres network. Almost 500 Indigenous businesses were awarded more than $284 million in Commonwealth contracts thanks to our Indigenous Procurement Policy. I want to thank state and territory governments for agreeing to explore similar procurement policies to help the Indigenous business sector thrive.

Mr Speaker, a telling point: the data tells us there is no employment gap between Indigenous Australians and non-Indigenous Australians with a university degree—a reminder of the central importance of education.

If we look at the long-term intergenerational trends, we see that Indigenous life expectancy is increasing, babies are being born healthier, more people are studying and gaining post-school qualifications and those adults are participating in work. These are achievements that families, elders and communities can be proud of.

But incarceration rates and rates of child protection are too high. Sixty-three per cent of Indigenous people incarcerated last year were in prison for violent offences and offences that cause harm. Central to reducing incarceration is reducing the violence and, of course, protecting the victims of violence.

Our Third Action Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children includes measures to support Indigenous victims, and stop the cycle of reoffending.

Our Prison to Work report commissioned in last year’s Closing The Gap speech has since been delivered, and adopted by COAG. Working in partnership with Kuku Yalanji man, Jeremey Donovan, we have gained important insights into the cycle of incarceration. In response, COAG agreed to better coordination of government services especially in-prison training and rehabilitation, employment, health and social services.

Children should always be treated humanely and with love, especially when they are in custody. The confronting and appalling images of children shackled and in spit hoods shocked our nation, and as Prime Minister I acted swiftly.

While the work of the royal commission into juvenile justice and child protection continues, governments across Australia are taking steps to ensure children are always treated appropriately.

To provide independent oversight, this government will ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).

I am pleased to inform the House that Bunuba woman, June Oscar AO, has been appointed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner. The first woman to take on this role.

June brings tremendous knowledge, and has been a formidable campaigner against alcohol abuse, shining a light on the devastating consequences of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

The issues are complex, and, as we know, the solutions are not simple.

Indigenous Affairs is an intricate public policy area. It requires uncompromised collaboration with Indigenous people, and national leadership. And it needs buy-in from states, communities and most importantly families.

I am pleased that COAG has agreed to progress renewed targets in the year ahead, and I invite the opposition and the crossbench to participate, particularly the Indigenous members of parliament.

The national interest requires a re-commitment to the relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

But there can be no relationship without partnership.

And there can be no partnership without participation—we heard that very eloquently this morning at the Redfern Statement breakfast.

I firmly believe that people must be involved in the process in order to be engaged in the outcomes. It has to be a shared endeavour.

Greater empowerment of local communities will deliver the shared outcomes we all seek.

The government is reforming the way the Indigenous Affairs portfolio operates—moving from transactional government, to enablement, from paying for services to linking funding to outcomes, and from a one-size-fits-all mindset for program design, to local solutions.

Indigenous families and communities must be at the centre of this approach.

We have started the journey, but there is much more work to do.

I welcome Professor Ian Anderson into my department who will play an important role in leading this new way of working, along with people like Anne-Marie Roberts, who leads a team of passionate and committed staff working in communities across the nation.

The Indigenous-led Empowered Communities model is now in eight regions across the country. I met their leaders last month, and it is clear this approach is generating strong Indigenous governance, and empowering Indigenous people to partner with government and companies.

These models, and others such as Murdi Paaki in Western New South Wales, and Ceduna in South Australia, are being driven by local Indigenous leaders.

Where communities are ready, we will work with them to build capacity and ensure more responsibility for decision making rests as close to the community as possible.

My confidence comes from seeing firsthand how this approach is working at the community level.

I have met mothers, like Norma and Lena from Western Australia, who have lost children to suicide. These women have bravely shared their stories, working tirelessly with leaders like Pat Dudgeon, Gerry Georgatos and Adele Cox to find locally-driven solutions.

I met Corey McLennan, and the leaders of Ceduna and the Far West Coast as well as Ian Trust from the Kimberley, who have co-designed the trial of the new Cashless Debit Card with the government.

We hosted Charlie King and the No More campaign to end violence against women. In an historic display of support parliamentarians—all of us—linked arms and walked with Charlie to end this scourge of violence against women.

And I could tell dozens more stories of self-reliance from Fregon, Redfern, La Perouse, Scotdesco, Brisbane, Darwin, Perth—it is a very long list, as we know.

We can learn as much from these successes, as we can from the failures.

But, to do so we must have a rigorous evaluation of programs so we know what is working and what is not.

We will expand the Productivity Commission to include a new Indigenous Commissioner to lead the commission’s work of policy evaluation.

And the government will invest $50 million for research into policy and its implementation; this will be designed in partnership and with the guidance of the Indigenous Advisory Council.

So much is published about Indigenous communities and, as many Indigenous Australians have said to me, not nearly enough is published for Indigenous communities.

So the data and research we have, and the evidence we need to build, will be made available to Indigenous communities to empower leadership and support community-led programs. It will assist government in its next phase of Closing The Gap, which must focus on regional action and outcomes.

And I ask that you seek out people like those I had the honour of addressing last night—everyday Indigenous Australians achieving extraordinary things.

Like the Kongs—a family of firsts. Marilyn and Marlene were the first Indigenous medical graduates at Sydney University. Marlene became a GP and public health expert; Marilyn became the first Indigenous obstetrician and their brother Kelvin, the first Indigenous surgeon in Australia.

I ask that we share these stories and those of the entrepreneurs, lawyers, the scientists, the teachers, the nurses, the servicemen and servicewomen, the social service workers, the writers, the accountants, the public servants, and the ministers, members and senators. Again, their callings and achievements are as diverse, as magnificent and as inspiring as those of other Australians.

Let us tell the stories of Indigenous achievement and hard work, because those stories are true markers of progress. They inspire and encourage and they make a difference. This parliament has the opportunity, using the knowledge and wisdom of Indigenous people, to embark on a new approach to closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.

My government will not shy away from our responsibility and we will uphold the priorities of education, employment, health and the right of all people to be safe from family violence. We will not waver in our quest to achieve these outcomes, but we will have the humility to admit that we must travel this road together, with open hearts and a determination to ensure that our First Australians and all Australians will be able here, more than anywhere, to be their best and realise their dreams.

Next Aboriginal Health Newspaper closing in the next few weeks

24 Pages lift out Koori Mail 5 April

Info and bookings



NACCHO CEO Press Release #ClosingtheGap : Aboriginal led solutions the key to closing the health gap #Redfernstatement


The Prime Minister committed to working with our people this morning and from this date on we expect nothing less,

For NACCHO the acceptance that our Aboriginal controlled health services deliver the best model of integrated primary health care in Australia is a clear demonstration that every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person should have ready access to these services, no matter where they live.

We can more than double the current 140 Aboriginal medical services that will improve health outcomes.”

NACCHO  CEO  Pat Turner Press Release : 

Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten receive the Redfern statement, a blueprint for improvement in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs, before the release of the Closing the Gap report. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian

Download :  naccho-1702-mr-naccho-response-to-closing-the-gap

ICYMI Todays other NACCHO posts below

NACCHO Aboriginal Health download the #ClosingtheGap report #Redfernstatement Post 4 of 5

Today’s Closing the Gap Report demonstrates the need to more than double the network and reach of Aboriginal controlled medical services to Close the Gap in health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

National Aboriginal and Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), CEO, Pat Turner, said despite some improvement in education outcomes, only one out of seven Closing the Gap targets is on track ( see ABC link below )


The 9th Closing the Gap Report shows there have been small improvements over time in some areas of health but we are not on track to Close the Gap in average life expectancy and the gap in deaths from cancer is widening.

“Governments at all levels need to make a massive long term investment to redress the social and cultural determinants of health, which are responsible for more than 30 per cent of ill health in our communities.

“Early childhood education delivered in a culturally respectful manner by our own people, trained to work locally in their communities must be a priority.”

Ms Turner said current Commonwealth Government policies remain disconnected and siloed.

“In 2017 we need to see greater connectivity across all government portfolios at the Ministerial and departmental levels and more accountability from state and territory governments for the funding they receive to improve the lives of Aboriginal people.

“In every jurisdiction we see inconsistent data collection.  In 2017, with such innovative information technology available, all governments should implement open, transparent, consistent data collection and reporting to ensure their accountability to the Australian people at large.

“NACHHO stands ready, willing and able to work with everyone to negotiate better solutions to public policy and program investments that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people”



ICYMI todays posts

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Redfernstatement 1 of 5 posts : PM to release #closingthegap report today

NACCHO #closingtheGap Aboriginal Health and the #Redfernstatement Its time for this new approach

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Redfernstatement #closingtheGap Post 3 of 5 : New relationship with government is desperately needed

NACCHO Aboriginal Health download the #ClosingtheGap report #Redfernstatement Post 4 of 5

NACCHO SNAPSHOT progress Against Health Targets:

We are not on track to close the gap in life expectancy by 2031.

Over the longer term, Indigenous mortality rates have declined significantly by 15 per cent since 1998.

There have been significant improvements in the Indigenous mortality rate from chronic diseases, particularly from circulatory diseases (the leading cause of death) since 1998.

However, Indigenous mortality rates from cancer (second leading cause of death) are rising and the gap is widening.

There have been improvements in health care access and reductions in smoking which should contribute to long-term improvements in the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Working collaboratively across governments, the health sector and with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities on local and regional responses is central to the Government’s approach to improve life expectancy.


See ABC Website for all Targets

Indigenous Australians don’t live as long as other Australians. Their children are more likely to die as infants. And their health, education and employment outcomes are worse than non-Indigenous people.

Australia has promised to close this gap on health, education and employment. But a new report card finds we are failing on six out of seven key measures.

Target: To close the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation (by 2031).

  • Progress: Indigenous Australians die about 10 years younger than non Indigenous Australians, and that hasn’t changed significantly.
  • With increasing life expectancy in the non-Indigenous population, to close the gap “Indigenous life expectancy would need to increase by 16 years and 21 years for females and males respectively”.
  • That means gains of at least 0.6 years per annum, but in the five years to 2012 there was only a gain of 0.8 years for men and 0.1 for women — a fraction of what is needed.
  • The mortality rate (the number of deaths per 100,000 people in a year) for Aboriginal people is 1.7 times that of the Australian population, and that hasn’t changed since 1998.

Target: To halve the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five within a decade (by 2018).

  • Progress: There has been no significant decline in child mortality rates since 2008, and child mortality rates actually increased slightly from 2014 to 2015.
  • In 2015, there were 124 Indigenous child deaths. This was four deaths outside the range of the target and an increase of six deaths since 2014.
  • Between 2011 and 2014 Indigenous children aged 0-4 were more than twice as likely to die than non-Indigenous children.

Advertising and editorial wanted for the April 5  #Closingthegap  #Redfernstatement edition ?


NACCHO has announced the publishing date for the 9 th edition of Australia’s first national health Aboriginal newspaper, the NACCHO Health News .

Publish date 6 April 2017

Working with Aboriginal community controlled and award-winning national newspaper the Koori Mail, NACCHO aims to bring relevant advertising and information on health services, policy and programs to key industry staff, decision makers and stakeholders at the grassroots level.

And who writes for and reads the NACCHO Newspaper ?


While NACCHO’s websites ,social media and annual report have been valued sources of information for national and local Aboriginal health care issues for many years, the launch of NACCHO Health News creates a fresh, vitalised platform that will inevitably reach your targeted audiences beyond the boardrooms.

NACCHO will leverage the brand, coverage and award-winning production skills of the Koori Mail to produce a 24 page three times a year, to be distributed as a ‘lift-out’ in the 14,000 Koori Mail circulation, as well as an extra 1,500 copies to be sent directly to NACCHO member organisations across Australia.

Our audited readership (Audit Bureau of Circulations) is 100,000 readers

For more details rate card

Contact : Colin Cowell Editor

Mobile : 0401 331 251

Email  :

NACCHO #closingtheGap Aboriginal Health and the #Redfernstatement Its time for this new approach


“Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations deliver 2.5 million episodes of care a year in their local communities – and are the only health and leadership models making inroads on Close the Gap targets.

Our teachers, education professionals and family violence experts are delivering real results on the ground in their communities every single day – despite chronic underfunding and an ad hoc policy approach based on three year election cycles.

“Today we are seeking a new relationship, a genuine partnership and a commitment to ongoing structured engagement,”

National Congress of Australia’s First People’s Co-chair Dr Jackie Huggins said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations have worked with our people on the ground for decades and have shown they have solutions.

 ” We acknowledge the strength of culture and kinship, and those strong bonds that can helpshape higher expectations and better outcomes.

I want to pay tribute in particular to the Indigenous women who demonstrate that strength every day. The mums and the grandmas and aunties and sisters, who never give up.

We must ensure that the education system, and all those in it, believe in the dreams of our young people. That we support each student and lift them up, and give them every opportunity to get the most out of their education.

I know that you would all agree that a solid education is the surest way to get from the firstIndigenous doctor, to the 500th and then the 5,000th “

Prime Minster Address to the Indigenous Business Reception see article 2 below

Aboriginal leaders seek new relationship with government through historic Redfern Statement

Aboriginal leaders seek new relationship with government through historic Redfern Statement Australia’s leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peaks will today demand a new relationship with government as they deliver the historic Redfern Statement direct to the Prime Minister at Parliament House.

In the lead up to today’s 9th Closing the Gap Report to Parliament, the leaders will call on the Prime Minister to support the historic Redfern Statement, a road map to better address the appalling disadvantage gap between Australia’s First

Peoples and non-Indigenous Australians by working with them as genuine partners.

National Congress of Australia’s First People’s co-chair Mr Rod Little said: “After 25 years, eight Federal election cycles, seven Prime Ministers, eight Ministers for Indigenous Affairs, 400 recommendations, and countless policies, policy changes, reports, funding promises and funding cuts, it’s time to draw a line in the sand.

“We need a new relationship that respects and harnesses our expertise, and guarantees us a seat at the table as equal partners when governments are making decisions about our lives.”

The Redfern Statement was released during last year’s Federal Election campaign by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders from health, justice, children and families, disability, and family violence prevention sectors.

The statement calls for changes across these sectors through structured engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and is supported by more than 30 major mainstream organisations, including  the Australian Medical Association and Law Council.

Read the full Redfern Statement here:


The historic Redfern Statement calls for changes that address housing, health, education, justice, disability and representation for Aboriginal people, including:

Restoration of funding cut from the Indigenous Affairs Budget;

• Urgent reforms to the controversial Indigenous Advancement Strategy;

• Renewed commitment to closing the gap within a generation, with the inclusion of justice targets aimed at reducing incarceration and family violence;

• Re-establishment of the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs;

• Restoration of funding for the National Congress of First Peoples – as a representative voice for Aboriginal people;

Restoration of funding to national peak bodies to co-design policy and drive implementation – allowing this new partnership to function effectively;

• Implementation of recommendations by the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation – including an agreement-making framework (treaty) and constitutional reform.

The Redfern Statement has been developed by national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak and representative bodies including:

National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples

First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN)

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS)

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (NACCHO)

National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services (FVPLS)

SNAICC – National Voice for our Children

The Healing Foundation, and The National Health Leadership Forum (NHLF).

The Statement also has the overarching support of The Change the Record Coalition; Close the Gap Steering Committee, and Family Matters campaigns.

Prime Minster Address to the Indigenous Business Reception :


Thank you, Shelley and thank you Tina and your family for that really moving Welcome to


Picture above Dakota Tompkins interviewing the Prime Minister

Yoonggu gulanyin ngalawiri, dhunayi, Ngoonawal dhowrrra.

Today we are meeting together on Ngunnawal country and we acknowledge and pay our respects to their elders.

I acknowledge and pay my deep respects to your people, the Ngunnawal people, who as you said Tina, have walked these lands, and met on these lands, forever, for time beyond our imagination, for time out of mind.

I extend our respects to all of your elders past and present and to the future elders, to the young dancers tonight, and to all our First Australian People and their elders, including of course, all of the outstanding achievers and role models here today.

Of course I want to acknowledge and welcome all of my ministerial and parliamentarycolleagues, especially Nigel Scullion, the Minister for Indigenous Affairs and of course Ken Wyatt, Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health and – as you know – the first Indigenous Australian to be a Minister in a Commonwealth Government.

Welcome all.

Now today is the 9th anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations.

We acknowledge today, as we did in the House earlier, the loss, the grief, and the heartache past policies created for our First Australians.

But despite these injustices and that trauma, you and your people have shown a courage and resilience which is extraordinary.

Tonight, we acknowledge the remarkable lives of so many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, who are thriving and succeeding in their chosen fields. Your stories are not deficit, but of surplus; not of despondency but of a relentless and determined optimism.

You lead and you inspire by your example. So many lives of achievement. Rishelle Hume, a senior human resources consultant at Chevron, whose work supporting Aboriginal people to grow in their careers spans two decades and many industries.

Cherisse Buzzacott, an Arrente woman who is helping women give birth safely and providing vital midwifery support to women in remote parts of the Northern Territory.

Or the Kongs—a family of firsts. Marilyn and Marlene were the first Indigenous medical graduates at Sydney University. Marlene became a GP and public health expert; Marilyn became the first Indigenous obstetrician and their brother Kelvin, the first Indigenous surgeon in Australia. Kelvin and his wife are here with us this evening.

Another young doctor, Vinka Barunga, is now the first Indigenous doctor in Derby, a town two hours out of Broome, where she grew up swimming, fishing and playing with a plastic stethoscope. She’s a proud Worora woman, going back to her community. She would have been here tonight, but work has called her away.

We also have with us Dr Cass Hunter, Mibu Fischer, and Karlie Noon—all working at CSIRO on research that impacts Indigenous communities. Karlie has just won a scholarship, one of two new CSIRO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander scholarships, to undertake postgraduate studies in STEM subjects. Congratulations, Karlie.

Tanya Denning, a talented journalist and producer now managing the National Indigenous Television station that celebrates Indigenous Culture, voices and storytelling.

And so many others; people working caring for country, in health, social services,education, science, technology, law, the arts, politics, public service, defence and much more.

We acknowledge the strength of culture and kinship, and those strong bonds that can helpshape higher expectations and better outcomes.

I want to pay tribute in particular to the Indigenous women who demonstrate that strength every day. The mums and the grandmas and aunties and sisters, who never give up.

We must ensure that the education system, and all those in it, believe in the dreams of our young people. That we support each student and lift them up, and give them every opportunity to get the most out of their education.

I know that you would all agree that a solid education is the surest way to get from the firstIndigenous doctor, to the 500th and then the 5,000th. To make sure that in years to come, we’re not talking about one or two hundred Indigenous lawyers or accountants, but thousands of them.

So I want to thank all the organisations, some of whom are here tonight, for their investment in the dreams of these young people: Aurora Foundation, the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience, Career Trackers, AFL Cape York House, and many more, but too many to name.

And already we can point to progress. In the seven years to 2015, the gap in Year 12 attainment shrunk by close to 15 percent, and in the decade to 2015, the number of

Indigenous students enrolling in higher education nearly doubled.

The higher the level of education, the smaller the gap between Indigenous and non- Indigenous employment. For tertiary-educated Indigenous people, there is no gap. There is no gap.

We are making progress, and you are part of it.

And each of you are Ambassadors for change. Your determination and resilience is a demonstration to others that through hard work, anything is possible. Your stories are vitally important, your example is vitally important in creating that change.

Indigenous life is extraordinarily diverse and extraordinarily rich. It unfolds in the remotest parts of our nation as well as in the heart of our busiest cities and suburbs; far away in the Tiwi Islands, right here in the centre of Government, in the bush and on the coast. It encompasses extraordinary talent, vision and determination.

So Tonight I want to challenge all those present, and people right across Australia to tell your stories. To widen our lens. To focus the attention of our nation, on your hard work and your achievements.

We want to have a nation where our indigenous children are limited only by their imagination.

To show Indigenous children from Shepparton to the Tiwi Islands, from Redfern to Alice Springs, that they can be anything they set their mind to.

That little girl can be anything she sets her mind to, Tina. That’s the dream, that’s the goal.

So that being Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander means to be successful; to achieve, to have big dreams and high hopes, and to draw strength from your identity as an Indigenous man or woman in this great country.

There is a room full of role models right here.

When we include the stories like those we honour tonight, we shine a light on the richness and diversity of our First Australians. We light, you light, the way for others to follow.

So Congratulations on your success and thank you for paving the way for so many

Indigenous Australian success stories to come.

I am now honoured to invite another great role model, another inspiration, my dear friend,

the very wise Ken Wyatt, Minister for Aged Care, Minister for Indigenous Health, the first Indigenous Member of the House of Representatives and first Indigenous Minister in a Commonwealth Government.



NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Redfernstatement 1 of 5 posts : PM to release #closingthegap report today


NACCHO schedule of todays Redfern Statement and PM Closing the Gap report  releases

  1. The Australian Closing the Gap coverage released 6.00am
  2. Redfern Statement Breakfast launch Parliament House : Press Release 7.30am
  3. Redfern Statement New Relationships with government released + video  8.30 am
  4. PM Closing the Gap Report to Parliament Released 12.05 pm
  5. Responses to report from other sources from 2.00 pm

Photo above  : From the heart of govt, Indigenous staff met  last night  ahead of the 2017 Report

 ” According to The Australian Malcolm Turnbull will deliver a bleak ninth annual Closing the Gap report today, with an ­acknowledgment that efforts to reduce indigenous disadvantage remain starkly inadequate.

The report follows a succession of independent surveys critical of the government’s ­approach to indigenous affairs. And it comes as Kevin Rudd, who delivered the inaugural 2008 report, gave an address in Canberra last night in which he described the yearly review as “a political disaster for the government of the day, for governments of whichever political persuasion”.

Attempting to limit the scale of that disaster, the Prime Minister refused to release any advance detail of the report other than a general admission of there being insufficient progress.

Last year’s report found just two of seven targets on track: child mortality and Year 12 attainment. Another target, early ­education (“95 per cent of all indigenous four-year-olds enrolled in early childhood education by 2025”) was reported on for the first time last year.

Today’s report will show improvements in the proportion of indigenous 20 to 24-year-olds achieving Year 12 or equivalent, improvements in health, and reading and numeracy advances.

However, Mr Turnbull is expected to emphasise in his speech to parliament the importance of better research and evaluation of Closing the Gap criteria, and may announce details of a “refresh” of the exercise already under discussion by the Council of Australian Governments.

He will also likely emphasise programs such as Empowered Communities, a detailed rethink of how indigenous policy is enacted which has yet to win full government support. It is designed to put Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at the centre of regional decision-making.

Recent Productivity Commission and National Audit Office reports have been either gloomy about indigenous affairs or critical of government policy. The Audit Office’s review this month of the Abbott government’s 2014 landmark $4.8 billion Indigenous ­Affairs Strategy found policy had been poorly conceived and ­hastily implemented.

Funding allocations under the system had also been unpredictable and opaque, leaving some of the very organisations contributing to Closing the Gap outcomes unable to function properly.

In November, the Productivity Commission reported alarming increases in imprisonment rates, mental health problems and self-harm. It found only 34 of 1000 indigenous programs, worth a total $5.9bn, had been properly evaluated. While there were ­improvements in child mortality rates, educational outcomes and household income, rates of community violence were unchanged.

Speaking at the Australian National University last night on the ninth anniversary of the apology to the Stolen Generations, Mr Rudd said the indigenous child removal rates must be addressed through “immense co-operation across government departments (and) Aboriginal organisations being given responsibility for child welfare” in a policy shift that was “going to cost money”.

Tony Abbott last night described as “regrettable” Mr Turnbull’s decision not to follow his lead and spend time in an indigenous community every year

NACCHO Events Save a date