NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Remote Communities News : I. @SenatorDodson The Need to empower remote Communities 2.@abcnews Empowering Young Leaders’ in the Kimberley call for change to curb suicides

Indigenous people living in remote communities are still betrayed. The truth of this nationally is seen in the government’s “duck, dive” approach to entrenching a voice in the Constitution.

On the first day of parliament sittings next year, the Prime Minister will present the annual Closing the Gap report, an index of the disadvantage experienced by First Nations people.

It will be another recitation of government failures to improve their lives — lives that in remote communities end many years shorter than elsewhere.

Not only do they die younger, their existence also is miserable. It’s not just a matter of poor service delivery, it’s that their lives are not their own. Governments, unwilling to trust First Nations people to take charge of their own lives, continue to intrude and manage.

Patrick Dodson is the Labor senator for Western Australia writing in the Weekend Australian

See Part 1 Below

“The Empowered Young Leaders’ report, released last week, calls for more education for young people around social and emotional wellbeing and increased efforts to embed Indigenous culture in schools.

They also want a permanent forum for young people to voice their concerns.

It comes as the State Government considers a formal response to the WA coroner’s inquest into the suicides of 13 Indigenous young people in the remote region.” 

See Part 2 Below

After 2,800 Aboriginal Health Alerts over 7 and half years from www.nacchocommunique.com NACCHO media will cease publishing from this site as from 31 December 2019 and resume mid January 2020 with posts from www.naccho.org.au

For historical and research purposes all posts 2012-2019 will remain on www.nacchocommunique.com

Your current email subscription will be automatically transferred to our new Aboriginal Health News Alerts Subscriber service that will offer you the options of Daily , Weekly or Monthly alerts

For further info contact Colin Cowell NACCHO Social Media Media Editor

Part 1 : The nation’s treatment of remote indigenous communities is an international scandal. We need a Marshall Plan to end the squalor.

Labor MPs Murray Watt, Linda Burney, Warren Snowdon, Sharon Claydon and Patrick Dodson on their indigenous road trip. Picture: supplied

In January 1994, then Labor senator Graham Richardson, health minister in Paul Keating’s government, toured remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Conditions in those communities, he said, were “miserable”. He “saw things … that would barely be tolerated in a war-ravaged African nation”.

In August, with a party of fellow federal Labor parliamentarians, I did a big sweep through remote communities in WA and the Territory. From Port Hedland we dropped in at Marble Bar, Jigalong, Newman, Meekatharra, Wiluna, Leonora,

More than 25 years after Richardson’s expedition, I can attest that conditions for Aboriginal people in those places are still miserable and intolerable.

Last month WA Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt visited remote communities in his jurisdiction and wrote in The Australian of their “institutionalised ghetto status”.

How many inquiries or reports will it take, how often can the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples declaim against this tragedy, before Australia confronts the crisis that cripples these communities, and sets about fixing things?

The people out there did not choose to live in those places. By and large, those communities were artificially designed by bureaucrats and Aboriginal people were shepherded there — sometimes for their protection (from Woomera rockets, for example), sometimes as a consequence of assimil­ationist policies. But, having plonked them there, governments have failed to maintain adequate basic services.

Forget the trumped-up national emergency John Howard and Mal Brough declared across the Northern Territory in June 2007 (although Aboriginal people will never forget).

The real emergency was staring them right in the face and they never dealt with it: the parlous plight of thousands of Aboriginal people forced to live in squalor and denied basic rights of citizenship.

It’s interesting to recall that back in 1994 when Richardson pledged to “clear up that mess” he said: “I hope perhaps out of the social justice package we’ve promised for Mabo, there will be scope to address some of these wrongs.”

The Keating government’s response to the High Court’s Mabo decision had three elements: the Native Title Act, the land fund — out of which grew the (now) Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation — and a social justice package.

Robert Tickner, Keating’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs minister, told the 12th session of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations in 1994: “The social justice package presents Australia with what is likely to be the last chance this decade to put a policy framework in place to effectively address the human rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as a necessary commitment to the reconciliation process leading to the centenary of Federation in 2001.”

Hollow words. The justice package was doomed: the Keating government did not press its pro­gress and passed to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission the job of consulting with First Nations about what it should embrace.

Keating’s successor, John Howard, rejected ATSIC’s visionary report in 1996 and went off on his own “practical reconciliation” frolic. ATSIC itself was dispatched by Howard a few years later, but it’s worth restating a few words from the ATSIC report on the social justice package because they continue to resonate: “Indigenous people have been too often betrayed over the last two centuries by fine words that have soon withered in the grim drought of inaction and indifference.”

Indigenous people living in remote communities are still betrayed. The truth of this nationally is seen in the government’s “duck, dive” approach to entrenching a voice in the Constitution.

On the first day of parliament sittings next year, the Prime Minister will present the annual Closing the Gap report, an index of the disadvantage experienced by First Nations people. It will be another recitation of government failures to improve their lives — lives that in remote communities end many years shorter than elsewhere.

Not only do they die younger, their existence also is miserable. It’s not just a matter of poor service delivery, it’s that their lives are not their own. Governments, unwilling to trust First Nations people to take charge of their own lives, continue to intrude and manage.

Remote communities, especially those in the desert region straddling the Territory,WA and South Australia, have the foundations of their customary law, kinship relationships and knowledge of country pretty much underpinning their continuing survival. It is the world of art, sport and ceremonial obligations that makes their world partly tolerable.

But, as long as we view these places through the prism of reform­ing public sector outlays, we will continue to contribute to their demise. They must have a real say in their destiny, and governments have a duty to reorder ideological and biased views about their futures.

In the Territory, the federal government wants to foist its cashless debit card on 23,000 people deemed to be “beneficiaries”, who are already subject to income management (a hangover from the intervention). There is no choice being offered here and the policy will impact severely on First Nations people living remotely.

As the Central Land Council has pointed out, the transfer to the CDC will require people to have an email address, access to mobile phone coverage and a smartphone, the skills to navigate online card activation, and access to the internet. But access to the National Broadband Network is limited in remote communities, home computers are rare, and most internet access through mobile phones is intermittent and unreliable. CDC holders will need to receive an activation number by post, but the post in remote communities is slow or non-existent.

The federal government’s plan to introduce the CDC is yet another example of top-down policy, and recipients in remote communities have not been consulted.

So much for the government’s mantra it wants to do things with First Nations people, not to them.

How will this card help build the capacity of people in these remote communities? How will it help them manage their lives?

We need new frameworks that enable people in remote communities to determine their destiny, and for governments to treat them as sovereign peoples.

These remote communities must be helped to lift themselves out of “institutionalised ghetto status”. Relief is beyond the capacity of states and territories. The federal government has the remit to avert disaster — after all, what was the 1967 referendum all about?

It will require a Marshall Plan to correct the decades of neglect.

However, until we grasp that sort of commitment and empower remote Aboriginal communities, the lives of their residents will be further accursed.

Part 2

Aboriginal youth leaders in Western Australia’s far north have made sweeping recommendations to curb the chronic rates of suicide among their peers.

PHOTO: The Empowered Youth Leader delegates have proposed a set of recommendations. (Supplied: WA Primary Health Alliance)

Key points:

  • Suicide remains the leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
  • The Empowered Young Leaders’ report calls for more education for young people around social and emotional wellbeing
  • It also recommends increased efforts to embed Indigenous culture in schools, and a permanent forum for young people to voice concerns

From Here

The Empowered Young Leaders’ report, released last week, calls for more education for young people around social and emotional wellbeing and increased efforts to embed Indigenous culture in schools.

They also want a permanent forum for young people to voice their concerns.

It comes as the State Government considers a formal response to the WA coroner’s inquest into the suicides of 13 Indigenous young people in the remote region.

Too many lost’

In an impassioned statement, the delegates put policy makers on notice, saying they would no longer accept the “normalisation of suicide”.

“We have lost too many loved ones to suicide,” the statement read.

“Through our own lived experience, we bear witness to the heavy burden our families and communities endure in grappling with the never-ending cycle of grief and loss.

“We no longer choose to be disempowered by the issues that continue to impact on us as a result of intergenerational trauma. The lives of our children and grandchildren are in our hands.”

Jacob Smith, 23, has been working in suicide prevention for two years.

As a member of the Empowered Young Leaders, he spent 12 months working intensely with 10 youth delegates across the Kimberley.

He said the recommendations were the starting point for creating generational change.

“There’s endless possibilities, there’s a lot more focus now on young people stepping up and getting involved,” he said.

“Our hope is to amplify our voice and be at the forefront of these conversations with our leaders.

“If we can better consult with our youth they will be way more inclined to engage in these conversations and initiatives.”

Efforts to meaningfully reduce the amount of Aboriginal youth taking their lives have largely failed, despite dozens of reports, inquests and millions of dollars in funding.

It remains the leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

In the Kimberley, the rate of youth suicide is among the highest in the world.

In the aftermath of coroner Ros Fogliani’s 2017 inquest into 13 suicides, young people had been given a bigger role in helping governments at both levels forge a solution.

Mr Smith said the top priority was to ensure youth were permanently involved in the design and delivery of policy.

He said this would be achieved by establishing local Aboriginal youth action committees in each town.

“We need to invest and build the skills of our young people … to build a real peer-to-peer network in the Kimberley,” he said.

“There’s a few of us young people working in this space but we don’t feel like we have a strong network.

“There’s no real structure around that at the moment.”

Calls for better education and resources

Education was another key area in which the group wanted improvement.

They called for more social and emotional wellbeing training for young local people so they could support their peers with mental health difficulties.

There was also a push to better involve youth in developing targeted programs.

Delegates raised concerns about the lack of after-hours services, and proposed to establish 24-hour safe houses and a youth-focused rehabilitation centre.

“Delegates expressed frustration at the lack of local training and employment opportunities for Aboriginal people in the youth services sector,” the report stated.

They also identified the poor “cultural and community connection” between mainstream services and local Aboriginal families.

Government to respond to coroner’s inquest

The report is being considered by the WA Government.

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Ben Wyatt said the recommendations were valued and would be treated with respect.

“The report will have an important role to play in the Government’s understanding of the perspective of young Aboriginal people in the region,” he said.

Mr Wyatt also outlined the McGowan Labor Government’s efforts to improve education and skills training.

“In 2019, there were 60 WA public schools teaching one or more of 21 Aboriginal languages to 5,611 students,” the Minister said.

“WA public schools are increasingly teaching children local Aboriginal languages, benefiting students and helping to keep the languages alive in our communities.

“The Aboriginal Cultural Standards Framework supports all Department of Education staff to reflect on their approaches to the education of Aboriginal students.”

Mr Wyatt pointed to a “range of regional partnerships” that ensured Aboriginal people received adequate skills training.

“A great success story is one of North Regional TAFE’s alumni, Soleil White, who was named the WA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year at the 2018 WA Training Awards.”

The State Government is expected to hand down its formal response to the coroner’s inquest in the coming weeks.

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NACCHO Affiliates and Members Deadly Good News : #National #QandA @NACCHOChair @SandraEades #VIC @VACCHO_org #Treaty @VAHS1972 #NSW @ahmrc #Bulgarr #NT @Kwhb_OneShield @MiwatjHealth #QLd @QAIHC_QLD @DeadlyChoices #ACT @nimmityjah #TAC

1.1 National : NACCHO Chair says National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey outcomes confirm that the ACCHOs smoking cessation programs are working

1.2 National : Our CEO Pat Turner appears on final ABC TV Q and A for 2019 : Watch on IView

1.3.National : NACCHO Congratulates Professor Sandra Eades Australia’s first appointment of an Indigenous Dean to a medical school.

1.4 National : NACCHO Communique to generate off new platform in 2020

2.1 VIC : VACCHO : Self-determination and sovereignty inseparable from health and socio-cultural wellbeing says peak Aboriginal health body

2.2 VIC : VAHS acknowledges the legendary Dr. (Uncle) Bruce McGuinness by unveiling of the plaque of recognition

3.1 NSW : AH&MRC hosts the Deadly Doctors Forum as part of the Rural Doctors Network for our Member Services

3.2 NSW : Bulgarr Ngaru ACCHO Casino NSW develops the clinical skills of their Aboriginal Workforce

4.1 NT Katherine West Health Board ACCHO are in the middle of a SEWB community mural painting project.

4.2 : NT : Miwatj Health ACCHO values the commitment and dedication you have to your work, Rrapa Elizabeth Dhurkay.

5.1 QLD : QAIHC legend Aunty Mary Martin AM awarded QUT’s highest award – the Doctor of the University.

5.2 : QLD Deadly work by our DC Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service ACCHO Brisbane team acknowledged for their dedication and support of Marsden State School

6. ACT : Winnunga ACCHO promotes and supports HIV awareness to clients through promoting and supplying condoms 

7.TAS : The Australian Digital Health Agency meets with representatives from state and territory Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services at TAC

8.WA : Congratulations to our very own Keisha Calyun AHCWA Youth Committee Member winning the Hope Community Services Positive Achievement Award at the WA Youth Affairs Council annual WA Youth Awards

How to submit in 2020 a NACCHO Affiliate  or Members Good News Story ?

Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media 

Mobile 0401 331 251 

Wednesday 18 January 2020 by 4.30 pm for publication Friday 20 January 2020

 

1.1 National : NACCHO Chair says National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey outcomes confirm that the ACCHOs smoking cessation programs are working

“The latest NATSIHS report demonstrates the ACCHO smoking cessation programs and health promotion activities are working.

It is encouraging to see fewer younger people are taking up smoking in the first place, with a decrease in people ages 15 years and over who smoked every day, falling from 41 per cent in 2012 – 13 to 37 per cent in 2018 – 19. 

“The results unfortunately also show an increase in many chronic diseases for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, with 46% reporting one or more chronic condition (up from 40% in 2012-13).

Thus, providing more evidence that additional funding is needed to Close the Gap in health outcomes as chronic diseases are the major contributors to the mortality gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians.

It is positive to see more than four in 10 people rated their health as excellent or very good, up from 39 per cent in 2012 – 13 to 45 per cent and more than half of children aged 2-17 years had seen a dentist or dental professional in the last 12 months.”

Donnella Mills NACCHO Chair

Read or Download the full NACCHO Press Release HERE

Read our full coverage of the ABS Health Report

1.2 National : Our CEO Pat Turner appears on final ABC TV Q and A for 2019 : Watch on IView

End of an Era : The 2019 finale of Q&A. Joining Tony Jones on the panel Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, Indigenous leader Pat Turner, author Sisonke Msimang and ANU Vice-Chancellor Brian Schmidt.

https://iview.abc.net.au/show/qanda

1.3.National : NACCHO Congratulates Professor Sandra Eades Australia’s first appointment of an Indigenous Dean to a medical school.

“Curtin has successfully expanded its healthcare and medical profile within Western Australia and nationally. I am honoured to be appointed as Dean and look forward to collaborating with colleagues, industry and students to ensure the Curtin Medical School continues to thrive,

From a leading public health academic and respected Noongar woman Professor Sandra Eades, who has been influential in improving the health of Aboriginal communities across Australia has been appointed the new Dean of the Curtin Medical School, commencing in March 2020.

Read full Report Here

1.4 National : NACCHO Communique to generate off new platform in 2020

After 2,800 Aboriginal Health Alerts over 7 and half years from www.nacchocommunique.com NACCHO media will cease publishing from this site as from 31 December 2019 and resume mid January 2020 with posts from www.naccho.org.au

For historical and research purposes all posts 2012-2019 will remain on www.nacchocommunique.com

Your current email subscription will be automatically transferred to our new Aboriginal Health News Alerts Subscriber service that will offer you the options of Daily , Weekly or Monthly alerts

For further info contact Colin Cowell NACCHO Social Media Media Editor

2.1 VIC : VACCHO : Self-determination and sovereignty inseparable from health and socio-cultural wellbeing says peak Aboriginal health body

VACCHO has long argued that self-determination and sovereignty is inseparable from health and sociocultural wellbeing, and welcomes treaty negotiations as another step forward in ensuring basic respect for the rights, dignity, and sovereignty of Aboriginal people, but as a fundamental determinant of health outcomes for the Aboriginal community.

“Establishing a Treaty process will be of benefit to all Victorians. It is a vital step in transforming the relationship and power dynamics between Aboriginal Victorians and non-Aboriginal Victorians.

Any change must embed values and actions that create equality for all, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal and not as colonised and coloniser. The culture of Victoria will be richer when Victoria embraces its entire history and not just parts here and there. “

Acting VACCHO CEO, Trevor Pearce

The inaugural meeting of the First Peoples’ Assembly for a Treaty and Treaties between the Aboriginal Community and Victorian Government which took place today is a watershed moment in Australian history and society concerning the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples said VACCHO, the peak body for Aboriginal health in Victoria.

Acting VACCHO CEO, Trevor Pearce said as an historic moment, it is comparable to the 1939 Cummeragunja Walk-Off, 1963 Yirrkala Bark Petitions, 1966 Wavehill Walk-Off by Gurindgi, 1967 Referendum and the 1992 Mabo v QLD case that challenged and overturned the concept of Terra Nullius, to name just a few.

VACCHO is the leading advocate for the health of Aboriginal peoples in Victoria and a peak organisation to its Membership with a membership of 30 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations. VACCHO also works closely with partner organisations, Government, non-Government Community sector organisations across Victoria and nationally.

“This next part of Australian history marks the first time an Australian Government will enter into treaty negotiations with any Aboriginal people. Australia is the last colony of Great Britain to start the process,” said Mr Pearce.

“As Victorians we must acknowledge the challenges experienced by our community and the tireless work of many generations of the Aboriginal community who have participated and contributed to standing up for our basic human rights since colonisation,” he continued.

“Truth-telling and not sanitising our shared history can lead to the first steps of healing our nation. We are optimistic that it will create momentum for the adoption of Treaty negotiations and truth-telling to begin at a national level,” said Mr Pearce.

2.2 VIC : VAHS acknowledges the legendary Dr. (Uncle) Bruce McGuinness by unveiling of the plaque of recognition


Plenty of the old warriors and many of the new and upcoming warriors attended the unveiling of the plaque of recognition

Dr. (Uncle) Bruce McGuinness a NAIHO/NACCHO pioneer

He has been described as the “ideological godfather of the Black power movement”, but he was also a pioneer in the development of a national network of Aboriginal “community-controlled health services”.

Bruce was also instrumental in the later emergence of the National Aboriginal and Islander Health Organisation (NAIHO) in the 1970s. NAIHO was ostensibly a national “umbrella organisation” established to represent the interests of the new national network of community-controlled health services.

Read More

3.1 NSW : AH&MRC hosts the Deadly Doctors Forum as part of the Rural Doctors Network for our Member Services

On the 28th of November 2019, the AH&MRC hosted the Deadly Doctors Forum as part of the Rural Doctors Network for our Member Services. A range of topics were presented by many wonderful speakers. The overarching objective of the Forum was to provide Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) with a Forum to gain insight into what’s happening in the ACCHS sector and a chance to network with peers.

Member Services from throughout NSW gathered in Manly to hear about various topics in the health space from a range of speakers.

Kyla Wynn, Trish Levett and Dr Rowena Ivers discussed cancer and palliative care and how their team is assisting community members to attend appointments and grief counselling, as well as talking about some great initiatives from their Illawarra service.

Dr Clayton Spencer, Chief Medical Director of Western NSW Local Health District discussed the importance of accessing traditional healing practices from the Ngangkari Aboriginal healers and building career pathways using this scope of healing. Traditional approaches to healing are holistic taking into account the mind, body and spirit. In this sense, health is not just physical wellness but also connects kinship of the culture and community.

Dr Laila Tabassum provided an update on My Health Record, explaining the procedures behind providing better-connected care between patients and health organisations with the ability to upload clinical documents.

Donna Parks from the Agency of Clinical Innovation (ACI) spoke in detail about the use of Telehealth where clinically appropriate.

Ely Taylor from the Ministry of Health provided insights into the modification of the Influenza Season Preparedness toolkit, ensuring the document is culturally appropriate.

AMS Redfern’s Dr Kath Keenan discussed the effects, screening, diagnosis and treatment of Hepatitis C.

Dr Vlad Matic provided an informative presentation on Clinical Governance and the role of the GP, in which we discovered a continuing theme of W Edwards Deming quotes including the System of Profound Knowledge in relation to data collection and use.

Our Public Health Medical Officer (PHMO) Dr Kate Armstrong discussed the recently held PHMO meeting and introduced other PHMOs from around Australia.

Liz Moore from AMSANT in NT, Lucy Morris QAIHC in QLD and Sarah McLean VACCHO in VIC provided an update from their regions.

Nathan Taylor and Janeen Foffani presented on the Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach (PEPA), where they discussed their approach to education and training of the health workforce and delivery of programs to primary, secondary and tertiary health care provider groups.

The Your Health Your Future (YHYF) campaign was discussed by our Public Health Manager Lee Bradfield who spoke about member collaboration, the Ambassador program with the Deadly Ninja Jack Wilson, and Illawarra Hawks Tyson Demos, plus funding plans for 2020 and available resources.

Information regarding Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Pulmonary Rehabilitation was provided by Dr Jennifer Alison and David Meharg. Details on guidelines, GP action plans and upskilling on medication use were discussed in detail.

Dr Karin Jodlowski-Tan from the Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS) highlighted the model of training their organisation provides. Susan Anderson presented on the NSW Aboriginal Cancer Scoping Project, with statistics to be released in 2020.

Overall the day was highly informative, and we look forward to future Deadly Doctor Forums.

For more information about future Deadly Doctors Forums, please don’t hesitate to contact AH&MRC Public Health Officer Imran Mansoor IMansoor@ahmrc.org.au

Author – Zoe Mead, AH&MRC Public Health Team

3.2 NSW : Bulgarr Ngaru ACCHO Casino NSW develops the clinical skills of their Aboriginal Workforce.

This week Bulgarr Ngaru partnered with the University Centre for Rural Health (UCRH) and the NSW Rural Doctors Network to run the first workshop of a series to further develop the clinical skills of our Aboriginal Workforce.

This weeks workshop focused on Health Assessments (715s) and Triage.

4.1 NT Katherine West Health Board ACCHO are in the middle of a SEWB community mural painting project.

So far we have done a community mural at Timber Creek, Yarralin and Lajamanu communities. All are painted over a week with KWHB Board Directors, community members and staff involved in designing the mural, the message behind the mural and assisting with the painting.

The Kalkaringi communities mural will be completed early next year.

The results of the community mural project have been fantastic – both the community participation and awareness of SEWB and the results of the painting.

“The Lajamanu #SpeakUp mural week would have to be the most amazing week I’ve had in my 10 years at KWHB!

It was a pleasure working with the community, the program and clinic team as well as Andrew, Georgie & Cal, the artists.

Everyone pitching in and working as a team is what makes these projects successful. Shout out to KWHB Directors and all the community members who assisted with painting of the mural as well as the CDEP mob, without them the mural would not have been finished. We are all very blessed to have community members share their culture and stories with us.” KWHB Health Promotion Coordinator

Feedback for one community member – “It’s good to have ‘Share your worries’ written on the front of the clinic because it is a place to go and share your worries and get help.”

4.2 : NT : Miwatj Health ACCHO values the commitment and dedication you have to your work, Rrapa Elizabeth Dhurkay.

Congratulations on all your inspiring achievements! Thanks also to ALPA for sharing this wonderful story. #MiwatjHealth

 

 

5.1 QLD : QAIHC legend Aunty Mary Martin AM awarded QUT’s highest award – the Doctor of the University.

“Introducing Dr Mary Martin AM.

An honour to attend the 2019 QUT Graduation Ceremony at QPAC today to watch Aunty Mary Martin AM be awarded QUT’s highest award – the Doctor of the University.

Aunty Mary is a Health trailblazer training as a Registered Nurse in the 1970’s before dedicating over 40 years of her life to improving the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

A QAIHC employee for over 22 years; and a strong advocate for community control and better health outcomes, we congratulate Aunty Mary.

We also congratulate QUT for acknowledging Aunty Mary and awarding her this prestigious Doctorate.”

REPOST – QAIHC CEO Neil Willmett ( Pictured Above )

5.2 : QLD Deadly work by our DC Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service ACCHO Brisbane team acknowledged for their dedication and support of Marsden State School

Congrats to our Browns Plains staff and the Deadly Choices team who were recognised for their dedication and support to Marsden State School. Bree, Skye, Brandon, Ray and Brenton attended a VIP Breakfast of Champions to receive the community partnership award. Well done!! #deadly

6. ACT : Winnunga ACCHO promotes and supports HIV awareness to clients through promoting and supplying condoms 
Thanks team Winnunga for promoting and supporting HIV awareness to our clients through promoting and supplying condoms
And big thanks also to Sarah Martin and the team at the Canberra Sexual health clinic for the care you provide for clients with HIV and other STI’s #you and me can stop HIV#

7.TAS : The Australian Digital Health Agency meets with representatives from state and territory Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services at TAC 

“It’s vital that Aboriginal health services are involved in the work of the Digital Health Agency as our holistic approach to the health of our people ensures those who will benefit most from engaging with digital health have the information to enable them to do so.”

Heather Sculthorpe, CEO of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre.

The Australian Digital Health Agency met with representatives from state and territory Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services on 4 December to support improvements in digital health literacy.

Read More

8.WA : Congratulations to our very own Keisha Calyun AHCWA Youth Committee Member winning the Hope Community Services Positive Achievement Award at the WA Youth Affairs Council annual WA Youth Awards

The Hope Community Services Positive Achievement Award

Keisha Calyun

Keisha was born the eldest of five with cultural heritage mix of English, Dutch and Ballardong Noongar. Her family life has been difficult. With her father rarely present, her mother fought breast cancer twice in ten years, unfortunately losing her battle when Keisha was just 23. After stays with extended family, Keisha and her 20-year-old sister decided to become guardians for their three younger siblings.

Alongside her family responsibilities, Keisha works at the Aboriginal Health Council of WA, where she is helping to develop an online mapping platform that shows availability of health services for regional and remote communities. She is also a Youth Representative on the WA Aboriginal Health Ethics Committee.

She ensures that her family continue to embrace their Aboriginal culture through involvement in cultural groups and activities.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alert : New Report @ABSStats Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health survey shows mixed outcomes : But fewer of our mob are #Smoking

 “A new report shows mixed health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a reduction in smoking and improvements in how people feel about their health but an increased proportion of people with chronic conditions causing significant health problems.

The 2018-19 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) examines long-term health conditions, risk factors, and social and emotional well-being indicators.

The survey included Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from all states and territories and included people in both non-remote and remote areas.” 

Please note formal NACCHO response press release out Friday 

Indigenous and Social Information Program Manager, Stephen Collett, said positive outcomes included a decrease in people aged 15 years and over who smoked every day, falling from 41 per cent in 2012-13 to 37 per cent in 2018-19.

“In addition, the proportion of young people who had never smoked increased between 2012-13 and 2018-19 from 77 per cent to 85 per cent for 15 to 17 year-olds and from 43 per cent to 50 per cent for those aged 18 to 24,” he said.

“The results also show a decline in the proportion of people aged 18 years and over who consumed more than four standard drinks on one occasion in the last 12 months, down from 57 per cent in 2012-13 to 54 per cent in 2018-19.”

However, 46 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had one or more chronic conditions that posed a significant health problem, up from 40 per cent in 2012-13.

“People living in non-remote areas were more likely to report having one or more chronic conditions (48 per cent) than people living in remote areas (33 per cent).

“The proportion of people with diabetes was higher in remote areas (12 per cent) than non-remote areas (7 per cent) and similarly, rates of kidney disease were higher in remote areas (3.4 per cent) than non-remote areas (1.4 per cent).”

Between 2012-13 and 2018-19 the proportion of people who were overweight or obese increased both for children aged 2-14 years (up from 30 per cent to 37 per cent) and those aged 15 years and over (up from 66 per cent to 71 per cent).

More than four in 10 people (45 per cent) rated their health as excellent or very good, up from 39 per cent in 2012-13 and more than half (57 per cent) of children aged 2-17 years had seen a dentist or dental professional in the last 12 months.

Key statistics Health

  • More than four in 10 (46%) people had at least one chronic condition that posed a significant health problem in 2018–19, up from 40% in 2012–13.
  • The proportion of people with asthma in remote areas (9%) was around half the proportion for people living in non-remote areas (17%).
  • More than one in 10 people aged two years and over reported having anxiety (17%) or depression (13%).
  • More than four in 10 (45%) people aged 15 years and over rated their own health as excellent or very good in 2018–19, up from 39% in 2012–13.

Risk factors

  • The proportion of people aged 15 years and over who smoked every day decreased from 41% in 2012–13 to 37% in 2018–19.
  • The proportion of children aged 2–14 years who were overweight or obese increased from 30% in 2012–13 to 37% in 2018–19.
  • The proportion of people aged 15 years and over who had consumed the recommended number of serves of fruit per day declined for those living in remote areas from 49% in 2012–13 to 42% in 2018–19.
  • Sugar sweetened drinks were usually consumed every day by around one-quarter (24%) of people aged 15 years and over.

Use of health services

  • More than half (57%) of children aged 2–17 years had seen a dentist or dental professional in the last 12 months.
  • The proportion of people who did not see a GP when needed in the last 12 months was higher for those living in non-remote areas (14%) than remote areas (8%).

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey collected data on a broad range of health-related topics, language, cultural identification, education, labour force status, income and discrimination — for full details see Survey topics (appendix).

NACCHO Aboriginal Children’s Health Resources : Download report : Why we need to rethink Aboriginal childhood #obesity ? Q and A with @SaxInstitute @simonesherriff

 
“Rates of obesity are high among Aboriginal children, but there’s a lack of policies, guidelines and programs to tackle the issue. Now a new paper published this week in the December issue of Public Health Research & Practice is calling for more meaningful engagement with Aboriginal communities to better address childhood obesity.

Here, lead author Simone Sherriff, a Wotjobaluk woman, PhD student and project officer with the Study of Environment on Aboriginal Resilience and Child Health (SEARCH) at the Sax Institute talks about the paper and her take on the obesity challenges facing Aboriginal communities.

Download Copy of Paper 

ATSI Childhood Obesity

Read over 70 Aboriginal Health and Obesity articles published by NACCHO over the past 7 Years 

Q: Childhood obesity is a national concern, but as your paper points out, Aboriginal children are far more profoundly affected than non-Aboriginal children. What’s going on?

A: I think it’s complicated, but in order to better understand Aboriginal childhood obesity we need to look beyond general individual risk factors, and consider how colonisation has impacted and continues to impact on the health and wellbeing of our people and communities today.

For example, Aboriginal people were forced off Country, unable to access traditional foods and made to adopt unhealthy western diets whilst living on missions and reserves.

Another thing that should be considered is the exclusion of Aboriginal people in Australia from education, health, politics and all systems, so it’s no wonder we see a gap between our health and the rest of the Australian population and continue to see a lack of relevant policies and programs from state and national governments.

These bigger structural and systemic issues are like a waterfall flowing on to affect communities, families and individuals. And until these issues are addressed, it’s going to be very difficult to close the gap on childhood obesity.

Q: What’s currently being done to address childhood obesity among Aboriginal children?

A: There are many great healthy lifestyle programs for preventing childhood obesity within our Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service (ACCHS) sector, but generally there’s a lack of investment and funding into these services by government.

This is unfortunate because I think the rest of Australia could learn a lot from the model of healthcare that the ACCHS sector provides for our people. As Darryl Wright, the CEO of Tharawal Aboriginal Medical Corporation always says – our ACCHSs are like one-stop shops catering for all parts of a person’s health and wellbeing. So rather than looking at childhood obesity and thinking only about healthy eating and exercise, this kind of model considers a more holistic approach and the range of things that could be impacting on a person’s health and the community.

As mentioned in our paper, there are also a number of government and mainstream programs targeting healthy weight that have been culturally adapted for Aboriginal children and families. One example is the NSW Go4Fun program, which is designed for 7- to 13-year-olds who are above a healthy weight. When they did an evaluation of the mainstream Go4Fun program, they noticed that there were quite a few Aboriginal children who came into the program, but they had very low completion rates.

This evaluation led Go4Fun to consult with Aboriginal organisations and communities to understand how to improve the program to be more culturally appropriate. And as a result, organisers changed the way they were running the program and also set up Aboriginal advisory groups at local health districts. It’ll be interesting to see if this has positive impacts for the local participating communities.

Q: What are the biggest challenges for these existing programs?

A: There are a few, but the biggest challenge is that these programs are created and developed by non-Aboriginal people for Aboriginal children, meaning that they’re not always relevant, or they don’t consider the holistic approach that’s required to address childhood obesity.

Another important challenge is that some mainstream childhood obesity programs haven’t collected information on Aboriginal children separately, so even though there might be Aboriginal children participating in these programs, they tend not to report those separately.

We also need to consider the focus of these programs, which are currently targeting childhood obesity with healthy eating, education and physical activity. Although these are really important, lots of Aboriginal families are food insecure – which means they’re running out of food and can’t access food or afford to buy more. Recent data shows that 1 in 4 Aboriginal people are food insecure. I believe these rates are underestimated and the rates of Aboriginal families who are food insecure would actually be much higher than this data shows. This is compared with fewer than 1 in 20 people in the general population.

So how are programs that target healthy eating meant to be effective if people can’t even afford to buy food or can’t access it? Again, it’s going back to those bigger issues.

Q: How can Australia begin closing the gap on childhood obesity?

A: I think one thing that could be done is there needs to be more funding and resources put into the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service sector, as they’re run by their community for their community, so they’re best placed to design, implement and evaluate childhood obesity programs. And currently there are no specific policies for Aboriginal childhood obesity – we’re just mentioned as a target group within the general childhood obesity policies. That could be another good place to start.

The Study of Environment on Aboriginal Resilience and Child Health (SEARCH) team.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q: Why is it so important to have locally-informed, culturally appropriate programs?

A: There is evidence that programs led and delivered by Aboriginal communities lead to better health outcomes for their community. I think it’s so important to have Aboriginal people in leadership and key decision-making roles with a proper seat at the table within all of these systems. And it’s also important to ensure that local Aboriginal voices are heard and they are leaders and drivers of local programs.

If not, I think it’s impossible for government and non-Aboriginal service providers to deliver programs and policies that are going to have a positive impact on the health of our mob. To see real gains, we need all government policies and programs to value self-determination, and these systems need to decolonise for all Australians to be able to have good health.

Find out more

NACCHO Aboriginal Environmental Health : With #ClimateChange contributions from @RACGP Dr @timseniorand @climatecouncil @CroakeyNews and @HealthInfoNet What are the environmental factors that impact on the health of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities?

“We’ve had more people coming in the last few weeks, with the smoke coming down from the bushfires in New South Wales, presenting with coughs, difficulty breathing – more than you’d usually expect,” he says.

I’ve been aware increasingly of people coming in with symptoms that could be put down to climate change. The other doctors are seeing the same things; we’re all seeing that ” 

Dr Tim Senior, who works at the Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation in south-west Sydney, is always busy, but the practice has been getting even more traffic lately. Like other GPs across the country, Dr Senior has a front-row seat to the growing impact of the climate crisis on the health of Australians : Read full RACGP article Part 3 Below 

 ” A NEW CLIMATE COUNCIL report has found this summer is shaping up as a terrible trifecta of heatwaves, droughts and bushfires, made worse by climate change. “Dangerous Summer: Escalating Bushfire, Heat and Drought Risk” finds the catastrophic events unfolding across Australia are not normal.“
Climate change is supercharging the extreme weather events we are witnessing. We have seen temperature records smashed, bushfires in winter and a prolonged drought.
Climate change is influencing all of these things,” said Climate Councillor and report author, Professor Will Steffen.“It is only the beginning of summer, which means the biggest danger period may yet be to come,” he said.
Report Key Findings

  • If greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, the unusually hot weather currently experienced will become commonplace, occurring every summer across the country. Sydney and Melbourne could experience unprecedented 50°C summer days by the end of the century.
  • The current prolonged drought across eastern Australia is threatening crops for a third year in a row, and national summer crop production is forecast to fall by 20 percent to 2.1 million tonnes.
  • The period from January 2017 to October 2019 have been the driest on record for the Murray-Darling Basin as a whole.
  • Wildlife has been badly affected by the ongoing bushfires, with reports of at least 1,000 koala deaths in important habitats in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia.
  • Australia must contribute to the global effort to deeply and rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and we must prepare our emergency and fire services and communities for worsening extreme weather events.

” Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia are especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change 

 For those Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in remote parts of Australia, increases in temperature will reduce the amount of bush tucker and other native foods available. For people in coastal areas, rises in sea levels may force people off their land .

This is especially concerning considering the connection that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have to their Country, and may result in poor mental health and other social issues .

Extreme weather events such as cyclones and floods will affect the infrastructure in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and these communities may be cut-off from services for long periods of time .

To address some of the issues associated with climate change, a process called ‘adaptation’ is being used. Adaptation refers to the practical changes that individuals and communities can make to help them manage the issues that climate change will bring, and to protect their communities 

A key part of the Australian strategy on climate change is adaptation .

From Healthinfonet  : For some of the ways communities are adapting to climate change : See Part 2 Below 

” In mainstream settings, there is no battle for recognition or resources for environmental health from finance departments. There is nothing more to prove and a fully resourced framework is in place.  But Aboriginal environmental health is something else again.

Aboriginal environmental health combines deep cultural knowledge of how things work in Aboriginal communities with these hard scientific facts about disease. Aboriginal environmental health must forge high-trust partnerships with community. Aboriginal environmental health is a community asset. And Aboriginal environmental health is needed now more than ever.   Why is this so?

Public housing and public utilities have largely been taken out of Aboriginal control. In some locations, funding for the Aboriginal Environmental Health workforce has evaporated.

Sometimes, the power to make the simplest decision on the ground has been ripped away from local communities.

Instead, this power is with someone far away who doesn’t even know us. This is nowhere more manifest than in Aboriginal housing.  

Effective Aboriginal environmental health programs must be in Aboriginal hands.

 Community controlled organisations must drive the necessary knowledge exchange between those who hold technical expertise and those who have been denied it.

The very nature of this work means that Aboriginal communities must retain the reins – and retain the knowledge ” 

Selected extracts NACCHO CEO Pat Turner addressing the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Environmental Health Conference

Read full Speech HERE

Croakey : Reaching out to community members who are most at-risk during extreme heat events

Part 1 What are the environmental factors that impact on the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities?

The environments in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live have a significant impact on their health. It is important to recognise healthy practices and identify and fix the risks present in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The key factors in the physical environment which impact on the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities include:

  • water treatment and supply
  • access to affordable and healthy food and food safety
  • adequate housing and maintenance and minimisation of overcrowding
  • rubbish collection and disposal
  • sewage disposal
  • animal control (including insects)
  • dust control
  • pollution control
  • personal hygiene.

Examples of the types of health problems associated with the environment include; respiratory, cardiovascular and renal diseases, cancers and skin infections. Diseases can be spread as a result of overcrowding, pollution, poor animal management and gastrointestinal illnesses can be due to poor water quality, contaminated food or poor hygiene.

Preventing health problems by ensuring healthy environment standards reduces suffering and treatment costs.

What strategies are in place for the environmental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities?

The enHealth Council was responsible for the implementation of The National Environmental Health Strategy: 1999 .

The enHealth Council provides national leadership on environmental health issues, for example, by setting environmental health priorities and coordinating national policies and programs.

The council is made up of representatives from government and public health agencies, the environmental health profession and the community, including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander environmental health is seen as a priority for the council and the National Environmental Health Strategy acknowledges the need to improve the health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in rural, remote and urban areas, ‘through the development of appropriate environmental health standards commensurate (matching) with the wider Australian population’.

Who is responsible for healthy environments?

The responsibility for environmental health lies primarily with individuals and communities. However, communities often need to work with a range of government and non-government organisations to put into operation plans for improving environmental health standards in a community, evaluation of strategies and risk management.

Individuals and organisations who work in environmental health may differ between states and territories and between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and include the following:

  • Environmental Health Officers and Workers
  • the Community Government Council, and its employees, for example, Essential Services Officers
  • electricity and water authorities
  • government housing departments
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing authorities
  • government departments responsible for land, planning and the environment
  • private consultants and contractors, for example, electricians, plumbers, builders
  • other non-government service providers, for example, land care agencies.

Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have an Environmental Health Worker based in their community who plays a vital role in reducing the day to day environmental risks which can affect the health and wellbeing of the communities’ residents. The Environmental Health Workers job is varied and often challenging as they are required to undertake a number of tasks including:

  • attending to day to day repairs and maintenance of infrastructure (e.g., housing and rubbish tips)
  • attending to urgent environmental health problems (e.g., sewage overflow)
  • planning and implementing programs
  • gaining the support of the community members and managers for community based programs

Part 2

Select from all the above Healthinfonet environmental factors 

Climate change

Climate change refers to a change in weather patterns because of a rise in the earth’s temperature [1][2]. Some of this change is natural, but some changes in climate have also been caused by human actions, such as the burning of fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal) [1]. Climate change has a negative impact on:

  • the Australian coastline (rising sea levels and potential flooding)
  • cities and other built environments
  • farming (an increase in temperature and droughts)
  • water (rainfall levels are decreasing)
  • natural ecosystems (increases in non-native species and decreases in native species)
  • health and wellbeing (increased risk of injury, disease and death due to rising temperatures)
  • extreme weather events such as floods and fires [3].

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia are especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change [4]. For those Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in remote parts of Australia, increases in temperature will reduce the amount of bush tucker and other native foods available. For people in coastal areas, rises in sea levels may force people off their land [1].

This is especially concerning considering the connection that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have to their Country, and may result in poor mental health and other social issues [4]. Extreme weather events such as cyclones and floods will affect the infrastructure in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and these communities may be cut-off from services for long periods of time [1].

To address some of the issues associated with climate change, a process called ‘adaptation’ is being used. Adaptation refers to the practical changes that individuals and communities can make to help them manage the issues that climate change will bring, and to protect their communities [5]. A key part of the Australian strategy on climate change is adaptation [6]. Some of the ways communities are adapting to climate change are:

  • setting up good evacuation and early warning processes
  • upgrading and strengthening buildings
  • managing energy use
  • teaching people about the importance of staying healthy [1].

There are also ways that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities can lessen some of the risks associated with climate change [1]. These include:

  • planting trees
  • managing feral animals
  • reducing the number of bushfires by undertaking planned burning initiatives, such as the

Tiwi Carbon Study: Managing Fire for Greenhouse Gas Abatement

  • switching to renewable energy sources, like solar power [1].

Part 3 RACGP

Read the RACGP Climate Change policy HERE 

The health impacts of climate crisis-related events have never been more apparent in Australia, with recent catastrophic fire conditions visibly contributing to respiratory and cardiovascular problems. But medical professionals warn that the climate emergency is likely to have a far wider reach.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) put out a climate change and human health position statement this year, recognising the climate crisis as a key public health issue.

The position statement cites a long list of health effects that could result from higher temperatures and increased heatwaves, bushfires, droughts and storms. These include risk of stroke and heat stress, worsening chronic respiratory, cardiac and kidney conditions, and psychiatric illness.

Dr Tim Senior, who works at the Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation in south-west Sydney, is always busy, but the practice has been getting even more traffic lately. Like other GPs across the country, Dr Senior has a front-row seat to the growing impact of the climate crisis on the health of Australians.

“We’ve had more people coming in the last few weeks, with the smoke coming down from the bushfires in New South Wales, presenting with coughs, difficulty breathing – more than you’d usually expect,” he says.

“I’ve been aware increasingly of people coming in with symptoms that could be put down to climate change. The other doctors are seeing the same things; we’re all seeing that.”

Brace for impact: it’s going to get worse

The RACGP’s concerns are wide ranging, and cover the short and long term. Dr Senior says changing environmental impacts, such as air pollution, water access, and nutrition, will have flow-on effects for people’s health.

There are also concerns specific to different regions.

“Some GPs in southern Queensland will see more dengue fever coming through,” Dr Senior says. “Where I live it might be more Ross River or Barmah Forest virus.”

Then there are the indirect impacts, such as the effect of drought on food production, resulting in a poorer quality diet. Vulnerable patients, who already struggle to afford adequate housing, heating or cooling, will be the first affected and least able to deal with weather extremes.

The mental load

Drought, bushfires and floods have been shown to have severe and long-term effects on mental health. They can also make existing problems worse.

“If you’re already struggling for money or work, having other difficulties piled on top – such as drought, going through a flood, or seeing your children get unwell because of the effect of a heatwave – that adds stress,” Dr Senior says.

Instead of drinking water, “yellow sludge” came out of the taps on the day that Dr Senior visited Walgett, a town in northern NSW. Residents had to boil it or wait for bottled supplies.

“You can imagine the [mental] impact of having to do that for something that we take for granted – it is terrifying.”

Born into a heating world

Older Australians, children, and those with pre-existing conditions are likely to feel the health effects of the climate crisis earlier than the general population, but children have the most to lose, according to a report by Doctors for the Environment Australia. Research has found that globally, 88% of disease due to climate change is borne by children under the age of five, the report says.

“It’s hard to get your head around that,” Dr Senior says. “They will live through climate change in a way that no other generation has had to. They won’t know anything but chaotic climate.

“And we know from a lot of the research into health inequality that the first five years of life, as well as pregnancy, are crucial in terms of future health. They have a massive impact.”

Managing your health in a changing environment

Dr Senior says GPs understand what communities are going through, because it’s affecting them, too. GPs are best placed to help patients understand how changing temperatures and environment can affect their current conditions, or potentially spark new health concerns.

“We’ve always been advising behavioural change, and it’s based on having a therapeutic relationship with people,” he says.

“The behaviours that keep us well – walking more, driving less, eating less meat and less processed food, for example – also protect the environment.

“Our patients come first, which means our interventions are based on good science and evidence, along with a good understanding of the people we’re working with.”

That can entail advising individual patients at risk from heat or smoke to stay indoors at particular times, or advocating for those with respiratory illnesses to get better housing (as Dr Senior does).

It can also mean discussing interventions – such as diet, transport, energy usage, and community initiatives – to limit the effects of the climate crisis.

“We treat people and then we send them back to the circumstances that made them unwell,” Dr Senior says, “but it’s much better for all of us if we’re able to be kept well.”

GPs see 84% of the Australian population each year.

“That’s a massive reach. It’s a real opportunity to talk about the ways of mitigating climate change, the effects on their health.”

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is Australia’s largest professional general practice organisation – our mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of all people in Australia by supporting GPs, general practice registrars and medical students.

NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealth and #SuicidePrevention @cbpatsisp : Health Minister @GregHuntMP welcomes the #YouCanTalk campaign, encouraging our mob struggling with their mental health to reach out and find support

“ The Federal Government welcomes the #YouCanTalk campaign, which encourages Australians struggling with their mental health to reach out and find support.

The awareness campaign is a collaboration between several organisations, including Beyond Blue, Everymind, headspace, Lifeline, ReachOut, RU OK?, SANE Australia, the Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention, Roses in the Ocean and the Black Dog Institute.

The campaign will take place over the December-January holiday period, in recognition of how difficult this time of year can be for many Australians.

Our Government commends the collaboration of these organisations to raise awareness about the importance of starting a conversation, particularly over the Christmas-New Year period.” 

Health Minister Greg Hunt Press Release continued Part 1 below 

Read over 160 Aboriginal Health and Suicide Prevention articles published by NACCHO over past 7 years 

” Suicide has emerged in the past half century as a major cause of premature mortality and is a contributor to the overall health and life expectancy gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

In 2018 it was the fifth leading cause of death among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and the age-standardised suicide rate was more than twice as high as the non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s rate.”

What we know about suicide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people : or see Part 3 Below

Sadly, more than 3,000 Australians choose to end their lives each year – about eight people a day.

Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy, creating a ripple effect that flows through families, friendship groups, schools, workplaces and communities.

That’s why the Federal Government has committed to Towards Zero – working towards reducing the suicide rate to zero.

Towards Zero is a total commitment to the value of each and every life, and recognises the importance of all lives, in all ages, and all groups.

This commitment is backed by our investment of $5.2 billion in mental health and suicide prevention services this financial year, including $63.3 million on suicide prevention activities.

It’s so important for Australians who are struggling to reach out and seek support.

The #YouCanTalk campaign also aims to connect people with tools that can support them through their website

www.lifeinmindaustralia.com.au/youcantalk.

#YouCanTalk exists to encourage all Australians to have a conversation with a friend, family member or work colleague they’re concerned about.

While it can be difficult to talk about suicide, research shows you can have a positive influence on someone who may be considering suicide by initiating a conversation with them and supporting them to seek help.

The main message is you don’t need to be a clinician, a GP, or a nurse to check-in with someone you are worried about.

It is OK to let someone know you have noticed they are struggling and ask them if they are experiencing thoughts of suicide.

It is normal to feel worried or nervous about having a conversation with a friend, family member or work colleague who might be experiencing suicidal thoughts, but there are resources available to help you.

Life in Mind is a national digital gateway providing organisations and communities access to suicide prevention information, programs, services, resources and research.

Part 3

Suicide has emerged in the past half century as a major cause of premature mortality and is a contributor to the overall health and life expectancy gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

In 2018 it was the fifth leading cause of death among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and the age-standardised suicide rate was more than twice as high as the non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s rate.

The standardised death rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (24.1 per 100, 000) was higher than the non-Indigenous rate (12.4 per 100, 000)2.

On average, over 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons end their lives through suicide each year, accounting for 1 in 20 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths.

STATISTIC

Further suicide data can be found at the Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention, and from the ATSISPEP report.

Three main issues can be identified:

  1. There is variable quality of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identification at the state and national levels, resulting in an expected under-reporting of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicides.
  2. Lack of reporting on suicide due to questions regarding intent, especially in the case of childhood suicides. Similarly, it can be demonstrated that there may be a reluctance to classify adult deaths as suicides for a variety of reasons also.
  3. Delays in reporting data, whereby incidences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide might not be known for months and often years after the fact.

NACCHO Aboriginal #SexualHealth @atsihaw Resources and Events : Plus Dawn Casey ” NACCHO recognises the importance of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander #HIVAwarenessWeek #WorldAIDSDay2019 “


“Exposure to STIs differs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Our women are diagnosed with HIV, STIs and BBVs at a greater rate than other Australian women and are facing infertility, ectopic pregnancy, spontaneous preterm birth or still-birth.

NACCHO believes this requires greater recognition and commitment from all levels of government to work collaboratively across portfolios and mainstream organisations.

A good example is the current partnership between the Commonwealth Department of Health and NACCHO to address the syphilis outbreak, which has been extraordinary!

It highlights innovation in science and the great work done on the ground by Aboriginal health workers.

There is no better way to provide healthcare than through the 145 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs), who deliver holistic, culturally safe, comprehensive primary healthcare across Australia, including those living in very remote areas

Studies have shown that ACCHOs are 23% better at attracting and retaining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients than mainstream providers. 

If funded adequately ACCHOs are the solution to addressing the increasing rates of STIs, BBVs and HIV/AIDS.”

Dr Dawn Casey, Deputy CEO of NACCHO who spoke at the 2019 parliamentary World AIDS Day breakfast this week. See continued NACCHO Press Release Part 1 and speech notes part 2 Below 

“ATSIHAW has grown bigger, with 132 ATSIHAW events to be held by 73 organisations across Australia this year – mostly in ACCHOs. ACCHOs have embraced ATSIHAW wholeheartedly and this has been key to ATSIHAW’s success.

Community engagement has been pivotal to the improvements in Australia’s HIV response and it’s time to focus on getting HIV rates down in our communities.”

South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) Head, Aboriginal Health Equity—Sexual Health and Wellbeing, A/Prof James Ward

Download the 30 Page PDF Report 

2019-SAHMRI-ATSIHAW-booklet

ATSIHAW 2019 dates are November 28 to December 5

View the ATSIHAW 2019 registered events on Facebook or below by state.

NSW | QLD | SA | VIC | WA | ACT | NT | TAS

See Web Page

Part 1 NACCHO Press Release continued 

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) recognises the importance of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week (ATSIHAW) and the 2019 World AIDs Day to draw attention to the increasing impact of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

In Australia, it has been recorded that the cases of new HIV diagnoses amongst Australians represent a decline of 23% in the last five years.

However, the HIV notification rates within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in 2018 was more than twice the rate for the Australian-born non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Source: Kirby Institute

Australia is perceived on the global stage as a world leader in HIV prevention and treatment.

But considering the high prevalence of this issue in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, NACCHO understands there is still some way to go.

Part 2 Dawn Casey Speaking Notes

World AIDS Day Parliamentary Breakfast – 27 November 2019

Traditional Owners of this land, the Ngunnawal and Ngambri People. I like to acknowledge other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the room.

I would like to thank AFAO for inviting me here to speak this morning.

I would like to acknowledge the Hon Greg Hunt, Minister for Health, the Hon Chris Bowen, Shadow Minister for Health and all the Members of Parliament present here. It is just fabulous to see a bipartisan approach taken to this issue.

Exposure to STIs, HIV and BBVs differs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Research tells us that it is more likely attributed to heterosexual sex and injection drug use coming into our communities. And we know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are diagnosed with HIV, STIs and BBVs at a greater rate than other Australian women.

This is extremely concerning as the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women living in remote communities are facing infertility, ectopic pregnancy, spontaneous preterm birth or still-birth.

Let me remind you that there is no better way to provide healthcare than through Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs). They have been around here for many years and are established and operated by local communities, through locally elected Boards of Management, to deliver holistic and culturally safe and comprehensive primary healthcare.

They punch above their weight, with 145 services nationally providing about three million episodes of care each year for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia, including those living in very remote areas.

ACCHOs provide culturally safe, comprehensive primary health care consistent with our people’s needs, this includes: home and site visits; provision of medical, public health and health promotion services; allied health, nursing services; assistance with making appointments and transport coordination; help to access child care or to deal with the justice system and drug and alcohol services.

Our people trust us with their health. Studies have shown that ACCHOs are 23% better at attracting and retaining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients than mainstream providers.

If funded adequately ACCHOs are the solutions to addressing the increasing rates of STIs, BBVs and HIV/AIDS. The current partnership between the Department of Health to address the syphilis outbreak has been extraordinary! It highlights innovation in science and the great work done on the ground by Aboriginal health workers.

I would like to leave with one message:

It is only with everyone working together that we will be able to help minimise the impact of STIs, BBVs and HIV/AIDS in the community. Mainstream organisations need to do their part and collaborate and work collectively with us.

Nationally, there is a high-quality network of Aboriginal controlled service providers that get results – understand them, connect with them and identify mutually beneficial areas to work together

Picture above Tim Wilson MP and his quote : At Parliament today, we gathered to remember & honour those lost to HIV/AIDS, redouble our efforts to stop new transmissions and stigma + mark tomorrow’s start of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week.

Find out more here: atsihiv.org.au

Part 3 Health Minister Greg Hunt Press Release 

World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year. It raises awareness across the world and in the community about HIV and AIDS.

It is a day for people to show their support for people living with HIV and to remember and honour those who we have lost.

In the 2019–20 Budget, the Morrison Government invested $45.4 million to implement Australia’s five National Blood-Borne Viruses (BBV) and Sexually Transmissible Infections (STI) Strategies.

These strategies will make a deep and profound difference in reducing the health impacts and stigma of BBV and STI, including HIV.

Today, I am pleased to announce that our Government will provide additional, ongoing support for people with HIV and other BBV and STI’s by extending funding to six national peak organisations, providing almost $3 million for 2020-21.

In addition, from 1 December 2019, Australians living with HIV will save more than $8,500 a year with the listing of a new combination medicine on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

It is estimated that 850 Australians with HIV will benefit from the listing of Dovato® (dolutegravir with lamivudine) on the PBS, which will provide more choice for them in how they can manage their HIV.

Effective once daily treatments such as Dovato and other new medicines can control the virus so that people living with HIV can enjoy long, healthy and productive lives.

With the PBS subsidy, people living with HIV will pay just $40.30 per script, or $6.50 with a concession card for Dovato®.

Australia continues to be a world leader in the response to HIV. The number of new HIV diagnoses today is at its lowest in nearly 20 years.

Our success is built on a model of partnership between government, people living with HIV, community based organisations, health professionals and researchers.

We are seeing more people tested for HIV and initiating treatment for HIV. There are also more people living with a suppressed viral load. In addition, improved access to HIV prevention methods, including the PBS-listed pre exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), helps reduce the number of new HIV diagnoses.

We are also looking to address stigma and discrimination.

The Eighth National HIV Strategy 2018-22, guides our partnership approach over the next four years to virtual elimination of HIV transmission by 2022.

We aim to be one of the first countries in the world to eliminate new HIV transmissions.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News / Download : The AMA 2019 Report Card on Indigenous Health launched at @DanilaDilba ACCHO #Darwin by @amapresident that focusses on the oral health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia

” Good oral health is fundamental to our overall health and wellbeing. It allows us to eat and speak without pain, discomfort or embarrassment.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and adults have much higher rates of dental disease that their non-Indigenous counterparts across Australia, which can largely be attributed to the social determinants of health.

Indigenous Australians are also less likely to receive the dental care that they need.” 

The 2019 Report Card on Indigenous Health focusses on the oral health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia was launched in Darwin last week 

Download the 36 Page Report HERE

2019 AMA Report Card on Indigenous Health

Pictured above : Warren Snowdon MHR Member for Lingiari ,Tony Bartone, President of the Australian Medical Association. Shannon Daly. Deputy Chairperson of Danila Dilba, NT Minister for Health Natasha Fyles: Member for Nightcliff .

Good oral health is fundamental to our overall health and wellbeing. It allows us to eat and speak without pain, discomfort or embarrassment.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and adults have much higher rates of dental disease that their non-Indigenous counterparts across Australia, which can largely be attributed to the social determinants of health. Indigenous Australians are also less likely to receive the dental care that they need.

Opportunities exist for political leaders at all levels of government to implement solutions to improve the oral health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia. This includes increasing fluoridation of Australia’s water supplies, enhancing oral health promotion, growing the Indigenous dental workforce and strengthening data collection to monitor and evaluate the oral health status and the performance of oral health care services.

Fundamentally, governments must ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have access to affordable, culturally appropriate oral health care programs.

Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people rely on public oral health services, where they exist.

However, the availability of these services depends on government funding, which is often short-term. Consequently, a significant proportion of the Indigenous population live without regular dental care, which has adverse health outcomes.

Oral health care is an important part of primary health care.

We urge governments to note the recommendations contained in this Report Card and put them into action to improve the oral health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.

Related document (Public): 

2019 AMA Report Card on Indigenous Health.pdf

Related AMA content (Internal page): 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Report Cards

Oral health is fundamental to overall health and wellbeing. Good oral health allows people to eat, speak and socialise without pain, discomfort or embarrassment.

Five action areas present opportunities for governments to improve the oral health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia. They are:

  • Fluoridated water supplies, especially in
  • Oral health promotion that works with fluoride varnish programs and a tax on sugar-sweetened
  • An effective dental workforce with greater participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • Better coordination and reduced institutional racism in oral health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • Data to know that the work being done is making a

Government action is needed because Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and adults have dental disease at two to three times the rates of their non-Indigenous counterparts in urban, rural, and remote communities across Australia. They are also much less likely to get needed dental care.

The social determinants of health, such as poverty, racism, and colonialism contribute to a large proportion of the oral health gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their non-Indigenous peers.

As a result, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pre-school and primary-school-aged children are much more likely to be hospitalised for dental problems.

Community water fluoridation is a safe, effective, and equitable way to reduce dental decay. In Australia, access to fluoridated water varies due to the lack of a national approach.

This disadvantages Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people compared with non-Indigenous Australians because a greater proportion livein rural and regional areas, where water fluoridation is less common.

The situation is particularly concerning in Queensland where nearly half of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population does not have water fluoridation. Australian Government funding for State and Territory dental services is a lever to push for more water fluoridation.

Fluoride varnish programs also help in preventing dental decay, with proven effect in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The application is simple and requires minimal training. Australian Government leadership is needed to identify and remove the regulatory, administrative and program barriers to effective fluoride varnish programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and adults.

Sugary drinks are a major source of sugar that fuels tooth decay. A tax on sugar-sweetened beverages will reduce consumption and tooth decay, as well as the incidence of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Nearly 70 per cent of Australians are in favour of taxes on soft drinks.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are nearly twice as likely to suffer from dental pain as non- Indigenous Australians, and five times as likely to have missing teeth. Pain from dental disease, and damage to teeth, can be effectively managed by dental practitioners.

Governments need to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with culturally safe dental care programs that are planned and implemented through collaborative and equal partnerships between communities and providers.

It is also well understood that health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients are improved when they are treated by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals.

However, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are grossly under-represented in the oral health workforce. The goal of 780 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dental practitioners by 2040 should be set as a target to promote employment parity in the dental workforce.

Finally, more comprehensive, consistent and coordinated oral health data are needed to better monitor and evaluate oral health status, as well as the performance of oral health care services across Australia. This in turn will lead to improvements in the oral health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The two major dental diseases are tooth decay (caries) and gum disease (periodontal disease). Both diseases can cause pain, loss of function, and disfigurement.

Tooth decay is a chronic disease caused by dietary sugar. Oral bacteria ferment sugar to produce acids that demineralise, and ultimately destroy, the teeth. Tooth decay progresses with age, creating a lifelong burden.1 Gum disease damages the bone and gum supporting the teeth, and its progress is insidious, with symptoms of pain and loose teeth in the advanced stages

Gum disease susceptibilit varies between individuals, with a genetic component, and is exacerbated by smoking and diabetes.2,

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Children’s Health News : Read @June_Oscar #strongcommunitiesnsw @AbSecNSW Speech plus Download the 56 page @AusHumanRights National Scorecard assessing outcomes for children rights across Australia.

“While most Australian children live in safe, healthy environments and do well, there are some groups whose rights are not well protected, which impacts negatively on their wellbeing and ability to thrive.

This includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, children with disability, children in care, children in rural and remote locations, those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and LGBTI children,”.

AHRC National Children’s Commissioner, Megan Mitchell this week released a scorecard assessing outcomes for children rights across Australia. See AHRC Press Release Part 1 Below

Download the Scorecard HERE

ahrc_childrensrights_scorecard2019

“ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children continue to face significant disadvantage across a range of domains relevant to their rights and wellbeing, including in health and education, discrimination, exposure to family violence, and overrepresentation in child protection and youth justice systems.

This overall disadvantage has roots in past government policies and practices, and the continued legacy of intergenerational trauma and disadvantage that these policies created. “

Current issues in the area of Aboriginal Children’s Health health see Part 2 Below or Page 23 of report

Read over 370 Aboriginal children’s health  articles published by NACCHO over past 7 years

The removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families is one of Australia’s most serious human rights concerns,

“Of the 99 deaths in custody investigated in 1991 in the Royal Commission into Deaths in Custody, it was found that almost half had previously been removed from their parents. We have to call out these systemic failings, where the overrepresentation of children in care, driven and compounded by poverty, makes unimaginable crisis all the more likely in our communities.”

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children removed from their families and placed in out-of-home care are 16 times more likely to be in youth justice supervision than those who are not. “

In a powerful speech on November 20, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar called for government at all levels in Australia to “flip the system from crisis to prevention investment”.

The keynote speech, delivered at the AbSec Biennial Conference, draws attention to the direct and cyclical link between high rates of removal of Indigenous children into out-of-home care and poor outcomes for Indigenous communities across Australia. See Part 3 below 

Part 1 AHRC Press Release

One of the scorecard’s most significant recommendations is to raise the age of criminal responsibility. It makes clear there is no good rationale for detaining children under the age of 14, in any form of detention.

“All Australian governments need to recommit to the principle of child detention as a measure of last resort, because placing children behind bars amounts to taking away their childhood and disrupting their healthy development. It makes them more likely to go on and reoffend,” said Commissioner Mitchell.

The age of criminal responsibility in Australia is ten, which is low compared to many other countries, and the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has recommended all countries increase the minimum age of criminal responsibility to at least 14 years.

“While most Australian children live in safe, healthy environments and do well, there are some groups whose rights are not well protected, which impacts negatively on their wellbeing and ability to thrive. This includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, children with disability, children in care, children in rural and remote locations, those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and LGBTI children,” said Commissioner Mitchell.

Mental health outcomes for Australian children are concerning, with suicide the leading cause of death for children aged 5–17 in 2017 and 35,997 hospitalisations for intentional self- harm in the ten years to 2017.

“There is a national shortage of mental health services and more needs to be done to care for the mental health and emotional wellbeing of young people and much earlier in their lives,” Commissioner Mitchell said.

The scorecard calls on the Federal Government to develop a National Plan for Child Wellbeing and to appoint a Cabinet level Minister with responsibility for driving children’s issues at the national level.

The scorecard also addresses children’s rights in relation to immigration detention and  the impact of climate change on children’s rights, health and an adequate standard of living.

Mikiko Otani, a member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child presented the scorecard at a conference at Melbourne University on November 20 .

It coincides with the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Part 2

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children continue to face significant disadvantage across a range of domains relevant to their rights and wellbeing, including in health and education, discrimination, exposure to family violence, and overrepresentation in child protection and youth justice systems. This overall disadvantage has roots in past government policies and practices, and the continued legacy of intergenerational trauma and disadvantage that these policies created.[i]

Current issues in the area of health include:

  • There are major gaps in data on important health issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.[ii]
  • Since the Closing the Gap target baseline was set in 2008, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child mortality rates have declined by 10%.[iii] However, the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and non-Indigenous children has not narrowed, because the non-Indigenous rate has declined at a faster rate.[iv]
  • Ear disease is a significant health issue facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
  • In 2012–13, 30% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 2–14 were overweight or obese, compared with 25% of their non-Indigenous counterparts.[v]
  • The likelihood of probable serious mental illness has been found to be consistently higher among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children compared to their non-Indigenous peers.[vi]
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 4–17 accounted for 19.2% of all child deaths due to suicide between 2007–15. [vii]
  • The levels of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in children, especially those from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, are concerning.

Numerous studies confirm the negative impact of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ experiences of racial discrimination, including institutional racism.[viii] Settings that were identified as places of concern include employment, education, shops, public spaces and sport, health and justice.[ix]

Data on hospitalised injury among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people between 2011–12 and 2015–16 show the most commonly reported perpetrator of assaults on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples was a family member.[x]

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children continue to be significantly overrepresented in Australia’s child protection systems.[xi] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are subject to care and protection orders at ten times the rate of non-Indigenous children.[xii] The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who were subject to care and protection orders has steadily risen from 15,500 in 2014 to 20,500 in 2018.[xiii]

School attendance, literacy and numeracy outcomes did not meet the Closing the Gap targets for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children set by the Australian Government for 2018.[xiv] However, targets to halve the gap in Year 12 attainment or equivalent by 2020 and to have 95% of Indigenous four-year-olds enrolled in early childhood education by 2025 are on track.[xv]

One in ten Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reported speaking an Australian Indigenous language at home in the 2016 Census.[xvi]

While the National Curriculum for schools includes a framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, there is no national approach and the programs implemented in schools vary greatly across jurisdictions.

Current issues in the area of youth justice include:

  • While around 5% of children aged 10–17 in Australia are from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background, half (49%) of the children under youth justice supervision on an average day in 2017–18 were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.[xvii]
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are overrepresented in both detention and community-based supervision at all ages but are particularly overrepresented in the younger age groups.
  • Children placed in out-of-home care are 16 times more likely than children in the general population to be under youth justice supervision in the same year.[xviii] This risk increases when the child is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.[xix]

Part 3 : In a powerful speech on November 20, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar called for government at all levels in Australia to “flip the system from crisis to prevention investment”.

The keynote speech, delivered at the AbSec Biennial Conference, draws attention to the direct and cyclical link between high rates of removal of Indigenous children into out-of-home care and poor outcomes for Indigenous communities across Australia.

“The removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families is one of Australia’s most serious human rights concerns,” said Commissioner June Oscar.

“Of the 99 deaths in custody investigated in 1991 in the Royal Commission into Deaths in Custody, it was found that almost half had previously been removed from their parents. We have to call out these systemic failings, where the overrepresentation of children in care, driven and compounded by poverty, makes unimaginable crisis all the more likely in our communities.”

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children removed from their families and placed in out-of-home care are 16 times more likely to be in youth justice supervision than those who are not.

“If we fail to change the course, the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care will more than triple over the next 20 years,” said Commissioner June Oscar.

“The numbers must be reversed. For this to happen we have to know the lives, the stories and histories that sit behind the statistics. This data cannot remain faceless it has to be told through our words and our experiences, our strengths and resilience, and our hope commitment and determination for a different future.

“A system that is siloed, operating free of our lived realities and contexts, segments our families across service sectors and institutions. When it comes to the protection, care and support of our children this approach is disastrous as there is limited focus on the systemic interconnected issues that need to be resolved for children to remain at home, and the vital supports that our parents and families need to keep children with them.

“For this to happen, Governments at all levels must change ways of working so that processes, policies, programs and services are community-led, strengths-based and trauma-informed.

“To effectively respond to the systemic issues we have to break the cycle of inequality and interventions.

“Changing this system is the responsibility of all Australians. Insisting that governments invest in prevention is about developing a national narrative of equality where everyone is given the best start in life and has the chance to succeed. To be all of who they are without fear of being dispossessed, taken away, condemned and discriminated against.

“The Australia we want is one that embraces, includes and celebrates our diversity. That is the society our children have belonged to since time began and it is the Australia they deserve and have a right to.”

You can read the full text of Commissioner June Oscar’s speech to the AbSec Biennale Conference here

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Media Alerts : 1.Today 18 Nov watch @HealthJusticeAu Webinar features our @NACCHOChair Donnella Mills 2. Listen to our CEO Pat Turner 2019 review interview @abcspeakingout 3.Watch Rachel Perkins deliver the first 2019 Boyer Lecture

 

1.Health Justice Partnerships webinar today 18 November features our NACCHO Chair Donnella Mills 

Monday 18 November – 2:30pm – 4:00pm AEDT 

A quiet revolution is taking place across Australia and it’s transforming the way some of the most vulnerable in our community access legal services. In a practitioner-led movement, community lawyers have been moving out of their offices and into the most unlikely of places – hospitals and community health settings – to collaborate with health services and their patients to address unmet, health-harming legal need.

Known as health justice partnerships (HJPs), these collaborations work by embedding legal help into healthcare services and teams.

Health Justice Partnerships will explore the growing body of evidence that shows there are groups of people who are vulnerable to intersecting legal and health problems, but who are unlikely to turn to legal services for solutions.

Facilitated by Jason Rostant, a panel examines what takes a HJP partnership beyond ‘status quo’ services in terms of purpose, structure, activity and resourcing.

Panellists include:

  • Donnella Mills, Lawyer, Lawright and Chair, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (NACCHO
  • Tessa Boyd Caine, CEO, Health Justice Australia
  • Jane Cipants, Director Client Service, Legal Aid
  • Sandra Gates, Director Allied Health and Clinical Support, The Royal Women’s Hospital

*Panelists subject to change

Get to know

  • Legal problems that affect health
  • The definition of a health justice partnership
  • Evidence supporting the HJP model
  • Create partnerships with existing local social resource providers and expand capacity to address social needs
  • The development and sustainability of the community service sector

Register here to watch the Webinar 

2.Our CEO Pat Turner interviewed by  Larissa Behrendt on Speaking Out 16 Nov

 

Pat Turners 2019 Year in Review Features include

1.Closing the gap / Have Your Say consultations

2. Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt has urged the senior advisory group co-designing an Indigenous Voice to Government to take hold of the “moment in time” before them to change the lives of Indigenous Australians.

3. Yuendumu police shooting: Indigenous groups demand action

4.New $90 Million funding for our ACCHO’s

Listen here to Interview

3. Leading filmmaker Rachel Perkins echoes the Uluru Statement from the Heart in the first of her ABC Boyer Lectures:

Watch on IView

I am reminded of the distinguished poet and stateswoman, Oodgeroo Noonuccal, when she wrote:

“Let no-one say the past is dead.

“The past is all about us and within.”

Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this article contains images of people who have died.

Watch the full speech see link below

Watch Rachel Perkins deliver the first 2019 Boyer Lecture on ABC iview

For Indigenous people have not lost from our minds the history of our nation, not only its deep past of thousands of years, but also the events on April 29, 250 years ago, when James Cook ordered his men to fire upon the two men on the shore.

It is likely they were Gweagal warriors, who stood before him in defence of their family behind them on the beach. Cook’s action signalled the Crown’s intentions; the transfer of a continent, from one people to another, by force if necessary, a phenomenon we politely call colonisation.

Our generation wasn’t standing on the deck of the Endeavour or on the shores of Kamay Botany Bay in 1770, just as we weren’t present during the massacres as the colonial frontier progressed from south to north.

However, as my father Charles Perkins, the Indigenous leader who came to prominence in the 1960s for leading the Freedom Ride, said:

“We cannot live in the past, but the past lives in us.”

The past has made us. We are its inheritors, for better or worse, and this is now our time.

How we move forward from this moment will set the course of relationships between Indigenous people and their fellow Australians into the future.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-16/boyer-lecture-rachel-perkins-echoes-uluru-statement/11696504

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