NACCHO Aboriginal Health Research News : Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre gives the team a real identity says @kathleenclapham and @DrMLongbottom

” It will give us an identity. Rather than being the team that works in the corner of AHSRI, we are the Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre.

Identity has finally been won and Indigenous health Professor Kathleen Clapham couldn’t be happier.

“Ngarruwan is the sea, the salt water over a long distance, it connects our communities down the coast, it connects us with our international partners.

Ngadju is fresh water, Kath [Prof Clapham] is a fresh-water woman. The name represents all of our team, it’s also about the sustenance that water provides us; water is life.

To start to explore the conundrum of the inequalities which exist, let’s look at the root causes of those.

Let’s not try to blame individuals, let’s look honestly at the history of Australia and our region, let’s look at the structures that sustain the inequalities.”

Researcher Dr Marlene Longbottom said the name Ngarruwan Ngadju had special meaning for all team members

NEW HOME: Dr Marlene Longbottom and Professor Kathleen Clapham at the Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre launch at the UOW Innovation Campus. Picture: Robert Peet

Press Release : Identity has finally been won and Indigenous health Professor Kathleen Clapham couldn’t be happier.

So too are her fellow University of Wollongong researchers involved in the Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre.

On Friday the team of eight finally had a place to call home.

Previously they had been working at the Australian Health Services Research Institute (AH SRI) at the Innovation Campus.

The centre’s new digs are in the same building but importantly the researchers have their own dedicated space.

The team’s research focuses on the health and wellbeing of South Coast Indigenous communities.

They aim to identify what’s working well, and bring evidence to light in the broader community.

Researcher Layne Brown has been evaluating a program run by the Coomaditchie United Aboriginal Corporation at Kemblawarra.

The program works with kids at risk of being suspended or leaving education. It supports cultural teaching and provides academic, living and social skills. It connects young people with their family and their community.

The team also addresses issues of inequality, such as Indigenous life expectancy and suicide rates.

Launch of Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Research Centre and the launch of Active & Safe: Preventing Unintentional Injury to Aboriginal Children and Young People guidelines.

Working in partnership with Aboriginal communities is the only way to tackle the high rates of injury for Aboriginal children reportActive and Safe‘ finds

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are still dying from unintentional injuries at the same rate as 15 years ago, a new report has highlighted. Yet death rates for non-Aboriginal children have halved in the same period.

The report – Active and Safe – by The George Institute, The Australian Health Services Research Institute, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, Kidsafe NSW and the Australasian Injury Prevention Network calls for injury prevention in Aboriginal communities to be made a priority.

The report provides a set of NSW Health funded guidelines developed from research undertaken in 2016.

Australian and NSW data show rates of injury to Aboriginal children to be consistently higher than for non-Aboriginal children, with the mortality rates for Australian children from injury-related causes almost five times higher and hospitalisation rates two times higher than the rate for non-Aboriginal children.

The guidelines are intended to assist a number of stakeholder groups working in Aboriginal child injury prevention including: Aboriginal community controlled organisations, non-government organisations; researchers and government policy makers.

“We need the government to work alongside and be guided by Aboriginal communities to build on community strengths and promote the resilience of Aboriginal children, families and communities in injury prevention,”

said Keziah Bennett-Brook, Manager of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Program at The George Institute.

“The new guidelines have a strong focus on practical implementation and will be a valuable tool for policy makers, researchers and practitioners,” she said.

The guidelines were also developed and designed to complement the Australia edition of the Child Safety Good Practice Guide which provides practitioners, decision-makers, and legislators with an evidence-focused resource on which they can base their work, funding and recommendations.

The Active and Safe guidelines are being released today to coincide with the launch of the Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre located within the Australian Health Services Research Institute at the University of Wollongong and led by Professor Kathleen Clapham.

Download the full report ‘Active & Safe: Preventing unintentional injury to Aboriginal children and young people in NSW’(PDF 2.4 MB)

 

 

 

Aboriginal Health Researchers Challenge : Just in time for #LowitjaConf19 “The Blackfulla test” 11 reasons that Indigenous health research grant/publication should be rejected. @drcbond @Lisa_J_Whop @IndigenousX

 ” Our present and persisting ill-health as First Nations peoples is not because of a lack of research, or a lack of white knowing and control over our lives, in fact, it is a product of it.

Transformative health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will only come about through foregrounding Indigenous sovereignty, both politically and intellectually.  

If you are a non-Indigenous health researcher feeling triggered by this article, please don’t run to the nearest Indigenous person for validation.

 They are already giving you a lot of free labour (whether they are the admin officer, the research assistant or, by some miracle, the lead CI).

This article was written to free them up to do the work their people need them to do, not burden them with more of your feelings.”

Just in time for the Lowijta International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference (18-20 June) Authors Chelsea Bond, Lisa Whop and Ali Drummond bring you this thought provoking Aboriginal research challenge

Originally published by IndigenousX see full press release below or Here

Download the full program

2019 Lowitja Program

Or access digital program

The digital program is available HERE. This version of the program will allow you to search all presentations including posters, their abstracts, and presenter bios.

This will be the up-to-the-minute version of the conference program. You will also be able to tailor the program to your preference.

Press Release

With increasing financial investment and commitment to Indigenous health via the National Health and Medical Research Council and Closing the Gap since 2002 and 2007 respectively, every man and their dog, or rather every white saviour and their intentions are all up in our grants, discovering the solutions to our problems (or the next problem to the problem).

What has resulted is a whole lot of noise published in the name of knowledge production, of which the benefit to Indigenous peoples and our health remains questionable, despite the emergence of Indigenous health researchers during this time.

This is most likely because so much of our intellectual and emotional labour is taken up reviewing and remedying highly problematic research grants and publications about us, that serve little purpose beyond the next academic promotion of the lead chief investigator (who typically isn’t Indigenous).

But never fear, we are here to help.

As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health researchers, working across varying health research contexts, we’ve pretty much read it all and we have devised a foolproof test to tell you if what you’re reading is worth the paper it’s written on, or the research grant that funded it.

Also, it might come in handy the next time that special someone asks for your ‘cultural advice’ on their research grant or publication.

The extra bonus is, you can then use all that spare time writing your own research grant, of which you will lead. No more being the bridesmaid – this is your time to shine.

Below is the Blackfulla Test; 11 of the most common violations found in Indigenous health research grants or publications.

That paper or proposal you are reading fails if it:

  1. Includes “intentions”. Typically, intentions are referenced as “good” or “well” and something of which is exclusively possessed by non-Indigenous peoples. Non-Indigenous authors will often argue that “intentions” are worth mentioning so as not to alienate the (white) readership, but its inclusion, even in the supposed ‘objective’ research, make clear that this is a “settler move to innocence”rationalising making a career from the problem of Indigenous health, while never actually fixing it. Also, these are the same people who supervise Indigenous PhD students and tell them they can’t use Standpoint Theory (incl. Indigenous, or Indigenous Women’s) because it is biased and not scholarly. This manoeuvre sustains neo-Missionary narratives from which they build research careers and research centres.
  2. Makes no mention of “colonisationbecause that would be “too political” they say.   Please refer above for why this is problematic, and what enables it. The health sciences have always operated as an apparatus of colonial control in the regulation and surveillance of Black bodies and the production of racialized knowledges, both via biological and culturalist explanations. It cannot continue to claim to be an innocent observer when it has and continues to be complicit. Also, if colonisation is referenced as a past event, rather than an ongoing process, it doesn’t count.
  3. Makes no mention of “race or racism…because settlers and their feelings. But look if they can’t get what’s wrong with writing about racialized health inequalities while insisting that race isn’t real as a system of oppression or a category of analysis then they need to stop now and go do a systematic review of systematic reviews.
  4. Refers to “our indigenous” (sic). This is a kind of double whammy, the possessive pronoun is not a mark of inclusion, rather it works in the Distinguished Professor Aileen Moreton-Robinson “white possessive logics” kind of way. The lower case I is an all too frequent, but a deliberate grammatical error. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and Indigenous people are proppa nouns and as such should be capitalised.
  5. Refers to ATSI people *shudder*. For the people at the back, we are First Nations peoples, we are not an acronym.
  6. Prefaces some statistic with “alarming” or “appalling. Much like #1, this is a settler pearl clutching moment in which they can position themselves as the only possible saviour for the native folk. Worse still, it is also used in research grant applications providing the moral imperative for investing in said research, which has no specific Indigenous health application. Yes we didn’t think it possible, but some have taken “Black window dressing” to a whole new level.
  7. Refers to Indigenous peoples primarily in terms of “risk” and “vulnerabilityor worse describes Indigeneity as the risk factor. *Clears throat*. Send them back to #3 and tell them to slap themselves for not believing us when we said they need to deal with race.
  8. Includes the phrase “strength-based” without naming any specific strengths of Indigenous peoples, cultures or communities. Strengths based requires a reimagining of Indigeneity which renders Black excellence blatantly visible. This requires more than inverting proportions, in fact it requires reconfiguring the problematic assumptions of Indigeneity apparent in that seemingly objective research question sissy.
  9. Is concerned with monitoring or illuminating understandings of “poor” individual health behaviours of Blackfullas in such a way that is completely divorced from the social, political, historical, and economic context in which they occur. Describing or rather dismissing that context as ‘complex’ and then suggesting the solution is one of education, awareness raising, health literacy, or more research is gammon.
  10. Acknowledges the advisory role that Indigenous people have played, often as “cultural mentors” and typically at the end of the publication somewhere (some might name them, while others may refer to the committee or “the community” more broadly which operates to include anyone and no one in particular). Indigenous Health Research which insists that Blackfullas can only ever be the (cultural) advisor and never the author, need to be cancelled.
  11. Has no first author Indigenous publications on their reference list. How one can operate in a space in which Indigenous people have made such a profound contribution and not cite the intellectual labour that mob have made has a real kind of Terra Nullius vibe. See #2 and our point about colonisation being an ongoing process, even in health research. Also refer them to Rigney’s articulation of “intellectual nullius”.

Well did you pass the test ?

NACCHO Our Members #Aboriginal Health Deadly Good News Stories : Features National @NACCHOChair @KenWyattMP #NSW @ahmrc #RedfernAMS #KatungulACCHO#VIC @VACCHO_org #QLD @QAIHC_QLD @DeadlyChoices #WA @TheAHCWA #WirrakaMayaACCHO #NT @CAACongress

1.1 National : Minister’s ongoing talks about the Closing the Gap refresh

1.2 National : CEO Pat Turner presents at international Conference in New Zealand about developing a  ” Roadmap to end RHD “

1.3 National : Our Deputy CEO Dawn Casey co chair Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care Systems Evaluation: Health Sector Co-design Group (HSCG) Download Communiqué for February 2019

2.1 NACCHO joins Redfern AMS congratulating Aunty Dulcie Flower OAM  on receiving an Order of Australia Medal (OAM)

2.2 NSW : Download the 75 Page AH&MRC report om World No Tobacco Day and the work being done by Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) in tobacco control.

2.3 NSW : Katungul ACCHO Fathers and Sons video launched

3.VIC : VACCHO SEWB Gathering for members , training ,celebrating culture and spending time together.

4.1 QLD : QAIHC  Mobile health scoping study to address cardiovascular disease risk factors

4.2 QLD : The Deadly Choices Maroons health campaign being implemented by Community Controlled Health Services throughout Queensland kicks in over coming weeks

5.1 WA : AHCWA recently delivered our Aboriginal Health Worker Immunisation Course at the Bega Garnbirringu Health Service in Kalgoorlie.

5.2 WA : Alfred Barker Chairperson of Wirraka Maya working to educate and support men about the role they can play in preventing FASD

6.NT : Congress ACCHO Alice Springs Medical Director on Queens Birthday Honour List

How to submit in 2019 a NACCHO Affiliate  or Members Good News Story ?

Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media 

Mobile 0401 331 251 

Wednesday by 4.30 pm for publication Thursday /Friday

 

1.1 National : Minister’s ongoing talks about the Closing the Gap refresh

Our Acting NACCHO Chair Donnella Mills and representatives of the Coalition of Peaks met in Canberra this week with Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt for constructive and positive ongoing talks about the Closing the Gap refresh and the Partnership Agreement with the Coalition of Peaks.

1.2 National : CEO Pat Turner presents at international Conference in New Zealand about developing a  ” Roadmap to end RHD “

Our CEO Pat Turner presenting powerful case studies at Indigenous Cardiovascular Health Conference in NEW Zealand this – keeping governments accountable to community priorities in health

Developing a new Roadmap to end RHD Pat talked about the partnership of NACCHO with the RHD coalition

1.3 National : Our Deputy CEO Dawn Casey co chair Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care Systems Evaluation: Health Sector Co-design Group (HSCG) Download Communiqué for February 2019

The Department of Health commissioned a national evaluation of the Australian Government’s investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care, which occurs primarily through the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme.

This evaluation is occurring over four years from 2019-2022 and includes the evaluation team working closely with a Health Sector Co-Design Group (HSCG).

The HSCG’s third meeting in February was the first meeting in the implementation phase of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care Systems Evaluation.

After an Acknowledgement of Country and a welcome by the acting co-chairs – Dr Casey and Ms Young – members were invited to discuss what was ‘top of mind’ coming into the meeting.

Download Communique HSCG Meeting No.3 Communique – 2019_05_31

2.1 NACCHO joins Redfern AMS congratulating Aunty Dulcie Flower OAM  on receiving an Order of Australia Medal (OAM)

On behalf of the Aboriginal Medical Service Board, Staff and Community we wish Aunty Dulcie Flower congratulations on receiving an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) on the weekend.

Aunty Dulcie is an AMS founding member, volunteer, a staff member and continues today as a long standing board member.

Dulcie was instrumental in the development of the Aboriginal Health Worker Program, which ensures our communities are advocated and cared for by appropriately skilled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce staff.

Read Dolcie’s interview about Indigenous rights activism HERE

Dulcie has had distinguished career as a Registered Nurse and Lecturer, an activist and mentor, but above all a friend to many.

Congratulations Aunty Dulcie!

2.2 NSW : Download the 75 Page AH&MRC report om World No Tobacco Day and the work being done by Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) in tobacco control.

Around the world last month, activities for World No Tobacco Day 2019 put the spotlight on “tobacco and lung health”, aiming to increase awareness of tobacco’s impact on people’s lung health and the fundamental role lungs play for the health and well-being of all people.

The campaign also served as a call to action, advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption and engaging stakeholders across multiple sectors in the fight for tobacco control.

In Australia, the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW (AH&MRC) sponsored an innovative Twitter Festival, hosted by Croakey Professional Services, to profile the work being done by Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) in tobacco control.

Download the report from Here

NoTobaccoDay_Report_Final

Or from Croakey

https://croakey.org/read-all-about-it-download-the-communitycontrol-twitter-festival-report/

NACCHO social media contribution page 11 -15

2.3 NSW : Katungul ACCHO Fathers and Sons video launched

Katungul Koori Connections Officer Wally Stewart talking about last years Father & Sons Camp; a fantastic program that brings people back to country, helping to keep culture alive and encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Music created by participants of the Katungul Music/Dance program run by Sean Kinchela & Wally Stewart.

Video courtesy of Afterglow. We’d like to thank them for their generosity & partnership – www.afterglow.net.au S

 

3.1 VIC : VACCHO SEWB Gathering for members , training ,celebrating culture and spending time together.

VACCHO’s Whitney Solomon, ETU Program Coordinator SEWB, delivering Ice Prevention training to Victoria’s awesome SEWB Aboriginal Health Workers at VACCHO’s SEWB Gathering


Proud Waywurru woman Sam Paxton from Djimba (in red), guides SEWB Aboriginal Health workers through a yarning circle at our SEWB Gathering

Proud Wagiman man Nathan Patterson from Iluka Art & Design [-o-] leads a painting workshop while proud Gunditjmara woman Laura Thompson from The Koorie Circle teaches SEWB Aboriginal health workers to create contemporary Aboriginal designed and inspired jewellery made from sustainably sourced timber.

So it’s not all work at our SEWB Gatherings, it’s also about celebrating culture and spending time together.

4.1 QLD : QAIHC  Mobile health scoping study to address cardiovascular disease risk factors

“This type of m-health innovation has the potential to provide culturally responsive and appropriate primary health care that can be embedded in our models of care.

Preliminary data suggest m-health technology can increase engagement and ownership throughout the patient journey and facilitate sustainable positive heath behaviour changes.

As cardiovascular disease remains a leading cause of disease for First Nations Peoples, we are committed to exploring options that empower individuals to improve the management of their health, as well as improve access to health services.”

Chief Executive Officer of QAIHC, Neil Willmett, is excited about the potential the app has to improve health care access and health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with hypertension.

The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples taking antihypertensive medication has increased, indicating a rise in the number of people at risk of cardiovascular disease.

The Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have partnered on a mobile health (m-health) scoping study for the screening and management of cardiovascular disease.

CSIRO have developed an app that can be customised for blood pressure monitoring and are interested in learning how it could work within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Organisation (ATSICCHO) sector’s models of care. Specifically, CSIRO and QAIHC are seeking input from the sector about how m-health could help manage risk factors for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with cardiovascular disease.

An m-health based model of care could facilitate blood pressure and medication management in people who have been diagnosed with hypertension, reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Additionally, the scoping study will assess how a m-health based model of care could be adapted or enhanced to support preventative health interventions addressing cardiovascular disease risk factors such as increasing physical activity, improving dietary intake, and reducing smoking rates.

Between April and June 2019, QAIHC and CSIRO are conducting consultations to seek input from regional, remote, and urban ATSICCHOs on the use of m-health for the management of risk factors for people with cardiovascular disease. This feedback will be used to inform development of the hypertension m-health app.

Outcomes of the scoping study will be shared with the ATSICCHO Sector in the coming months.

4.2 QLD : The Deadly Choices Maroons health campaign being implemented by Community Controlled Health Services throughout Queensland kicks in over coming weeks

Two legends of QRL, supporting our state-wide Deadly Maroons campaign.
Book in now for your health check, at a participating AMS and score one of these deadly shirts.

“ The Deadly Maroons health campaign is being implemented by Community Controlled Health Services throughout Queensland and further strengthens delivery of our Deadly Choices messages which aim to empower our people to take control of their health – to stop smoking, to eat healthier and exercise more,”

Institute for Urban Indigenous Health CEO Adrian Carson

The Deadly Choices – Deadly Maroons State-wide preventative health campaign moves full throttle over coming weeks, with a host of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women featuring for Queensland in the annual State of Origin match on Friday June 21 in Sydney, before the men do battle in Perth on Sunday June 23.

Fans will have the opportunity to mix and mingle with all the NRLW superstars this weekend during the QRL’s traditional pre-Origin Fan Day on Sunday at South Pine Sporting Complex at Brendale, where the Deadly Maroons team will also be out in force.

NRLW forward mainstay Tallisha Harden, who was a standout in the Indigenous All Stars match earlier in the year, has made a speedy recovery from ankle surgery to earn her place in the side and is hoping to turn the tables on the Blues this year.

Former Jillaroo and World Cup winner, Jenni-Sue Hoepper returns to the representative scene following an extended maternity break, while livewire centre Amber Pilley caps off a stellar 12 months, earning her first Queensland cap after an NRLW Premiership-winning season with the Brisbane Broncos.

There’s been considerable talk surrounding the injection of Stephanie Mooka, who was a standout at the recent NRLW National Championships and is likely to form a formidable centre pairing with Pilley.

All four proud, Indigenous women advocate the importance of healthy living and are supportive of the Deadly Maroons program, which helps promote healthy lifestyle choices among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“The Deadly Maroons campaign is an amazing partnership initiative between the Queensland Rugby League and the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health’s Deadly Choices preventative health program,” confirmed Harden.

“As a speech pathologist with the Institute, a representative of the Deadly Maroons and a Deadly Choices Ambassador, I’ve seen first-hand how these programs make a positive difference in the lives of so many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“Winning next Friday is what we’re all about when we go into camp this weekend, but I also know all the girls are aware of the Deadly Maroons campaign and are looking forward to supporting this deadly promotion.”

The support of the women is matched by an unwavering commitment among the men’s team who have already generated immense interest right across Queensland.

“The Deadly Maroons health campaign is being implemented by Community Controlled Health Services throughout Queensland and further strengthens delivery of our Deadly Choices messages which aim to empower our people to take control of their health – to stop smoking, to eat healthier and exercise more,” added Institute for Urban Indigenous Health CEO Adrian Carson.

“Football is so much more than a game – it is a vehicle to drive important health messages for our people and to encourage our people to access their local Community Controlled Health Services for support to make deadly choices, including completing a regular Health Check.

“Our Deadly Choices shirts have played a key role in driving demand for preventative health care, contributing to an incredible 4000% increase in Health Checks in South East Queensland and leading to the expansion of Deadly Choices across Queensland, with support from Queensland and Australian Governments.”

“Through Deadly Choices, we’re making a real difference in closing the health and life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and with the support and commitment of the QRL, and ongoing support from Queensland and Australian Governments, momentum will be enhanced over coming years.”

5.WA : AHCWA recently delivered our Aboriginal Health Worker Immunisation Course at the Bega Garnbirringu Health Service in Kalgoorlie.

The training is run in conjunction with the Communicable Disease Control Directorate Department of Health and is a nationally accredited immunisation course that provides Aboriginal Health Practitioners with the knowledge and skills to promote and safely immunise clients across all ages.

For more information on the course, contact our Immunisation Coordinator, Stacee Burrows at stacee.burrows@ahcwa.org

5.2 WA : Alfred Barker Chairperson of Wirraka Maya working to educate and support men about the role they can play in preventing FASD

Meet Alfred Barker. He’s a Traditional Owner and the Chairperson of Wirraka Maya, where he works to educate and support men about the role they can play in preventing FASD, through supporting their partners not to drink during pregnancy. “‘Grog before, during and after pregnancy is no good for Dad, Mum and bub’.

6.NT : Congress ACCHO Alice Springs Medical Director on Queens Birthday Honour List

“Congress is very proud to have Dr Sam’s outstanding contribution recognised on the 2019 Queens Birthday Honours list with an OAM” 

Congress Chief Executive Officer, Donna Ah Chee.

Congress Medical Director, Dr Sam Heard has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal in the Queen’s Birthday honours, for his contribution to Medicine. Dr Heard was recognised for his work as a GP across the Northern Territory and his tireless commitment to the education of doctors and other medical staff for over 20 years, particularly through extensive training of GP registrars.

He served 9 years as Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Regional Director and 10 years as Chair of Northern Territory General Practice Education.

As Congress’ Medical Director, Dr Heard is applying his wealth of knowledge and experience to assist Congress in the vital work we are doing in Aboriginal health especially in the recruitment, retention and training of our current and future medical workforce.

 Dr Heard provides clinical leadership to Congress’ 14 clinics in Alice Springs and across six remote Central Australian communities.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #SocialMedia #MentalHealth #SuicidePrevention : Is your mob safe online ? New Report: Urges parents and communities to seek support with children’s online safety

Kids are growing up in two worlds, the real world and an online world. Just like we protect kids from dangers in the real world, it’s important to protect their safety in their online world too.

Many of our mob are unsure how to help keep their kids safe online. These resources are designed to educate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents and carers of children aged 5 – 18 about the importance of starting the chat with young people around online safety.

Visit Be Deadly Online to find out more about the big issues online, like bullying, reputation and respect for others “

Download StarttheChatandStaySafeOnlinepdf

Start the Chat

Download Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Resources Here

“eSafety has built engaging and award-winning educational content to help adults understand the issues and trends so they can have informed conversations with young people about what they are doing and experiencing online.

There is no substitute for being as engaged in our kids’ online lives the way we are in their everyday lives.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to parenting in the digital-age. Our materials seek to accommodate these differing parenting styles and are tailored to be used in accordance with your child’s age, maturity and level of resilience,” 

eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant

Download the Report eSafetyResearchParentingDigitalAge

Parents are the first port of call for most young people affected by negative experiences online but less than half of parents feel confident to manage the situation, according to new research issued yesterday.

The report, Parenting in the digital age, conducted by the eSafety Commissioner (eSafety) explores the experience of parents and carers raising children in a fast-paced connected world.

eSafety found only 46% of Australian parents feel confident in dealing with online risks their children might face, with only one third (36%) actively seeking information on how to best manage situations like cyberbullying, unwanted contact or ‘sexting’ and ‘sending nudes’.

According to the eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, the findings reinforced the importance of providing resources to support parents and carers in managing conversations about online safety.

“We know dealing with online issues can be challenging for many parents. The issues are complex, nuanced and ever-changing and are different from what we experienced growing up,” says Inman Grant.

“The research shows 94% of parents want more information about online safety. This is why it is critical to equip parents and carers with up to date resources and advice on how to keep our children safer online. Australian parents need to know they are not alone in navigating this brave new online world and that there is constructive guidance to help them start the chat.”

Starting the chat, an important part of growing up safe online

“Everyone has a role to play in further safeguarding our children online and we are seeking the help of all parents, carers, educators, counsellors and anyone else that has a connection to a child or young person to answer this call.”

 

Starting the chat with teens, key to online safety (Stars Foundation)

The report also uncovered the varied parenting styles used to help manage online safety in the home. Parents with older children were more likely to favour an open parenting style, providing guidance and advice, while parents with younger children were more likely to adopt a restrictive approach by controlling online access and setting rules around internet-use.

“There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to parenting in the digital-age. Our materials seek to accommodate these differing parenting styles and are tailored to be used in accordance with your child’s age, maturity and level of resilience,” adds Inman Grant.

Now is the time to start the chat.

Visit eSafety.gov.au for a free copy of the report, as well as tools, tips and advice for parents, carers and educators to help manage these conversations, including tailored information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as well as resources in various translated languages.

NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealth #SuicidePrevention @NMHC Communique : @GregHuntMP roundtable meeting to review investment to date in mental health and suicide prevention : #TimeToFixMentalHealth #TomCalma @AUMentalHealth @FrankGQuinlan @PatMcGorry @amapresident @headspace_aus

” Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, hosted a Government-led roundtable this week to review investment to date in mental health and suicide prevention, to hear from the sector on current gaps and priorities, to understand what is and is not working, and to advise on the upcoming national forum on youth mental health and suicide prevention.

Minister Hunt and Prime Minister Scott Morrison are committed to working towards zero-suicide for all Australians, including our youth.

From the National Mental Health Commission 6 June 

( The Indigenous ) Suicide rates are an appalling national tragedy that is not only depriving too many of our young people of a full life, but is wreaking havoc among our families and communities.

As anyone who has experienced a friend or family member committing suicide will know, the effects are widespread and devastating and healing can be elusive for those left behind.

It is time that we draw a line under this tragic situation that is impacting so significantly on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities  “

Noting Professor Tom Calma AO was a participant in the meeting via telephone link and opened the meeting with a discussion on Indigenous suicide. 

See this quote and 140 Plus Aboriginal Health and Suicide Prevention articles published by NACCHO in last 7 Years 

Those in attendance welcomed the Government’s commitment, with a number noting that suicide prevention needs to be a priority across all age groups, especially those groups with the highest suicide rates.

The conversation covered a range of key issues, challenges and opportunities for reform and action. Particular discussion points included:

  • Social determinants of mental health: there is a fundamental need to focus on the social determinants of mental health for all Australians, noting and emphasising the range of factors that contribute to distress in young Australians. This is an important factor for all young people and communities, with particular reference to the factors impacting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and youth.
  • The impact of trauma and disadvantage: conversation centred on the impacts of trauma and disadvantage and the importance of supporting, for example, young people in out-of-home care, those living in poverty and individuals who are in the justice system.
  • Support for children and families: in order to improve the lives of young Australians, there is a need to better support children and families in the early years. This includes support for neurodevelopmental disorders. In the same way headspace has been developed for young people, there was a suggestion that mental health services focused on children and families could show real benefits.  There is strong support for a focus on prevention
  • Support for Schools: a continued need was highlighted around the role of, and support for, schools, including primary schools and early learning centres. Schools are a critical component of a ‘whole of community’ approach in building supportive environments for children and young people.   It was suggested that for families who may not seek services but who were in need a way of ‘connecting’ may be through digital tools, to identify and support children and parents in those families.
  • Impact on youth: young people can be seriously impacted and influenced by the suicide death of other young people who are their friends, peers, family members or celebrities. More timely and sophisticated data and comprehensive local responses are needed to assist in the reduction of risk for further lives being lost following a suicide.
  • Data: The importance of being able to collect, analyse and provide accurate data was highlighted.  This data is significant across mental health services and particularly for suicide prevention, treatment and support services.
  • Service reform: there is a need for service reform to better respond to people with mental health concerns that are too complex to be managed by a GP at a primary health care level but not so acute as to require specialist tertiary mental health services. While there are some good programs and services to build upon, there is a lack of equity across all regions and access remains a key issue for those requiring psychological and other services. We also need to integrate mental health services with drug and alcohol services.
  • Workforce development: there is an urgent need to focus on training and supporting the diverse professionals working with those at risk of or with mental health issues – health and allied health staff, drug and alcohol workers, school counsellors, psychologists, peer workers and many others. The role of peer workers was recognised as being a critical one and this must be included in all workforce development strategies and initiatives.
  • Peer and carer support: many families and peers supporting those who are in suicidal distress and/or living with challenging mental health and drug and alcohol concerns needed immediate and quality support themselves as they are also at risk for mental ill-health. Families and friends are the largest non-clinical workforce providing care and support for Australians and there is an immediate need to provide better supports for them.
  • Regional and national leadership: while attendees were supportive of regional planning and action, it was suggested that stronger guidance at a national level was needed in order to ensure equity and quality of service responses across the country, with a recognition of the importance of the role of Primary Health Networks.  Further work is needed to ensure that the roles and responsibilities of all governments were clarified, together with accountability. The Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, and particularly the Suicide Prevention Implementation Plan, are key drivers for clearer accountability and integrated and coordinated responses.
  • Funding models: there was discussion on how best to fund services across the range of needs, including the current review of Medicare and the role of private health insurance.

A collective agreement and strong commitment was reached that a collaborative approach is vital to achieving improved mental health outcomes for all Australians, including children and youth.

There is significant support for a 2030 Vision for mental health and suicide prevention, to be led by the Commission and to ensure that the systematic changes required to best service the community can be identified, prioritised and achieved. This Vision would be look beyond the current plans and strategies.

Attendees acknowledged the commitment to mental health and quality program responses in recent years, together with the increased funding in the 2019/20 federal budget for expanded youth and adult mental health services in the community, together with initiatives to strengthen the collection of critical data around suicide and mentally healthy workplaces.  They also noted the current enquiries being undertaken by the Productivity Commission and the Victorian Royal Commission.  However, there needs to be an increased focus on longer term systems reform.  The Commission has been tasked with taking a leading role in this and will work closely with the sector to develop a reform pathway.

Participants embraced the importance of hope, recognising not only the significant investment to date but that youth mental health services in Australia have been copied by other nations.  There is strong support for improvements in mental health and suicide prevention across all levels of government and community.

As outlined by the Minister for Health, this was an opportunity to review the current status and continue this important discussion.  It is one of many conversations that will continue with the sector at organisational, group and individual levels.

The Commission will provide updates in sector engagement and discussions as they occur.

Lucy Brogden

Chair, National Mental Health Commission

Christine Morgan

CEO, National Mental Health Commission

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #AusVotesHealth #VoteACCHO Debate 2 of 2 : With 22 #Indigenous candidates for #Election2019 more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Parliament does matter ! Here’s why #UluruStatementfromtheHeart

 ” Few First Nations candidates have succeeded in getting elected to parliament, but it is clear that when they do, they can make a substantial difference.

MP Pat Dodson could be the next minister for Indigenous Affairs if Labor wins the federal election, a first for a First Nations person.

The institutions of government remain predominantly white, and almost 60 years after being given the right to vote, very few Indigenous people have been elected to parliament in a system dominated by two major parties.

Candidates who do stand for election are subjected to racism and open discrimination.

The significance of the role played by these First Nations MPs in changing the policy agenda, even in opposition, cannot be overstated.

The Coalition government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy, cashless welfare card and remote employment program have come under sustained and informed criticism by Indigenous members of the opposition and remain important issues in this campaign.

And importantly, despite the Turnbull government’s rejection of the demands of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, the issues of “voice, treaty, truth” remain on the agenda, thanks to the unstinting efforts of activists and supporters both outside and inside parliament.

Selected extracts from The Conversation

Diana Perche, Senior Lecturer and Academic Coordinator, Nura Gili Indigenous Programs Unit, UNSW

But things are beginning to change for the better. The 2016 election resulted in the highest-ever number of Indigenous members of parliament with Ken Wyatt (Liberal, Hasluck) and Linda Burney (Labor, Barton) elected to the House of Representatives, and Patrick Dodson (Labor, WA), Malarndirri McCarthy (Labor, NT) and Jacqui Lambie (Jacqui Lambie Network, Tasmania) in the Senate. (Lambie was later forced to resign under Section 44 of the constitution due to dual citizenship.)

The 2016 federal election campaign also saw a record number of First Nations candidates, with 17 standing for election, including 11 pre-selected for one of the major parties. For the upcoming election, that record has been broken, with at least 22 candidates counted on the IndigenousX website. However, only eight of these are running for the major parties, and even fewer in winnable seats.

Another sign of progress: Wyatt was appointed minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health in 2017 – the first Indigenous MP to be promoted to the ministry – and Burney and Dodson currently serve on the frontbench of the opposition. If Labor is elected, Dodson will be named Indigenous Affairs minister, another first for First Nations people.

Indigenous candidates to watch

In the House of Representatives, Wyatt is recontesting the marginal seat of Hasluck in WA, and Burney, the ALP shadow minister for social services, is recontesting the safer NSW seat of Barton. In the Senate, McCarthy and Dodson will also likely be re-elected.

Other candidates to watch include Liberal Warren Mundine, who has been controversially “parachuted” in to contest the NSW seat of Gilmore. Mundine was national president of the ALP in 2006-7 and previously contested elections for Labor. In this election, he is running against a strong ALP candidate in Fiona Phillips, the Nationals’ Katrina Hodgkinson, and Grant Schultz, who lost his pre-selection to Mundine and

Want to know who the Indigenous candidates in the upcoming election? @1KarenWyld compiled a list for @IndigenousX to help. https://t.co/afMMFY0Kav #AUSVote2019 #AusPol #IndigenousX

— IndigenousX Pty Ltd (@IndigenousXLtd) May 5, 2019

In the NT, two First Nations candidates are competing against ALP member Warren Snowdon in Lingiari – Jacinta Price for the Country Liberal Party and George Hanna for the Greens. (Price has called for Hanna to be dropped by the Greens after he posted a racially insensitive meme about her on social media.)

Most other First Nations candidates face long odds to win their races.

In New South Wales, Susan Moylan-Coombs is running as an independent in Warringah against Tony Abbott, but is overshadowed in media coverage by independent Zali Steggall. In Wentworth, Dominic Wy Kanak is running again for the Greens against high-profile candidates Kerryn Phelps and David Sharma.

Likewise, Labor’s Jana Stewart has little chance of unseating Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in the safe Liberal seat of Kooyong.

At least eight more Indigenous candidates are standing for the Senate, but their chances of election are also not strong. Former Senator Jacqui Lambie is recontesting in Tasmania for her Jacqui Lambie Network. And former Senator Joanna Lindgren is standing for the Australian Conservatives in Queensland after losing her seat in the 2016 election as Coalition candidate against Pauline Hanson.

Respected Ngarrindjeri elder Major Moogy Sumner is on the Greens ticket in South Australia, but his chances are very slim. And Tania Major, who is well-known in Queensland for her work with Noel Pearson’s Cape York Institute and was Young Australian of the Year in 2007, is in Queensland. After a bitter pre-selection, though, she has been relegated to fourth on the ticket and is unlikely to be successful.

Candidates hoping to become the diversity they say parliament needs.#Indigenous #Aboriginalhttps://t.co/lsBshukMbn via @ABCNewspic.twitter.com/TVfa7idE4p

— ABC Indigenous (@ABCIndigenous) May 9, 2019

A balancing act for many

Research shows that First Peoples face “representational dilemmas” once in parliament, as they are forced to manage expectations of diverse First Nations communities, while also serving the needs of non-Indigenous constituents and supporting their party’s overall policies.

While the support of a major party is often critical to getting elected, the challenges of obeying party discipline once in parliament can be deeply frustrating. In 2014, Wyatt notably persuaded the Liberal Party room to reverse its decision to soften racial vilification laws by threatening to cross the floor of parliament. Two years later, he indicated he would be open to reviewing the language in the act.

Wyatt has also been unable to convince his party to move forward on constitutional recognition of Indigenous peoples and has been forced to defend the Coalition government’s lack of progress on Indigenous issues.

Read previous NACCHO post here

Why representation matters

In the same way that Julia Gillard’s rise to prime minister prompted more women to take an active interestin politics, the visible presence of First Nations MPs can encourage other Indigenous candidates to stand for election, recognising the power and everyday impact of the decisions made by parliamentarians. This may help lift the chronically low levels of Indigenous voter enrolment and turnout, and support efforts by the Australian Electoral Commission to increase participation, particularly in remote areas.

Another critical element of Indigenous representation in parliament is the diversity of viewpoints it brings to policy-making. First Nations MPs have frequently spoken of their own personal histories and life experiences in debates, especially in their first speeches.

Pat Dodson’s first speech to parliament.

Their connections with First Nations communities are also vital in holding the government accountable. McCarthy and Dodson have played a critical role in questioning Nigel Scullion, the current minister for Indigenous Affairs, in Senate estimates hearings about the impact of government policies on Indigenous communities. In 2016, for instance, Dodson said Scullion showed:

An appalling demonstration of ignorance about the criminal justice system and its interface with Indigenous peoples, about existing cultures in prisons, within police departments.

First Nations representation in parliament has also had a policy impact. Burney has observed that First Nations MPs actively work together across the party divide to raise issues of importance to Indigenous communities, including constitutional recognition.

Within the Labor Party, they have formed a First Nations caucus, which has played a significant role in developing policy. Dodson credited the caucus with the development of Labor’s “Fair Go for First Nations” platform, which includes enshrining an Indigenous voice to parliament in the constitution and creating regional assemblies to get First Nations input on policy-making. Dodson says the ALP wants to be the “party of choice” for First Nations people.

The significance of the role played by these First Nations MPs in changing the policy agenda, even in opposition, cannot be overstated. The Coalition government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy, cashless welfare card and remote employment program have come under sustained and informed criticism by Indigenous members of the opposition and remain important issues in this campaign.

And importantly, despite the Turnbull government’s rejection of the demands of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, the issues of “voice, treaty, truth” remain on the agenda, thanks to the unstinting efforts of activists and supporters both outside and inside parliament.

Diana Perche, Senior Lecturer and Academic Coordinator, Nura Gili Indigenous Programs Unit, UNSW

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #AusVotesHealth #VoteACCHO Debate : Who will be the Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Minister for #Indigenous #Health for the incoming Government after 18 May ?

 

 ” Let us not forget that major policies that wreak havoc on communities — like the Northern Territory Intervention and the cashless welfare policies — were enacted with bipartisan support.

While Dodson is a strong voice against laws and policies that harm our people, we cannot ignore that he belongs to a party that has a long history of harming us and voting in favour of policies introduced by the other major party, which harmed us also, under the guise of “for our own good”.

It is disingenuous to lay the fault for oppressive policies solely at the feet of the Coalition, because Labor had their hand in supporting these policies and, in some instances, expanding their scope. Labor has a lot to answer for and only meaningful change can ever address the historical atrocities committed by this organisation.

Labor has not only been historically responsible for policies that oppressed our people but they have been complicit in contemporary oppressive policies “

On Pat Dodson, Labor’s paternalism and avoiding lip service NATALIE CROMB                

Gamilaraay woman and Indigenous affairs editor, Independent Australia. Crikey 

In the final week of the Election 2019 campaign this is the first of our series  “Who will be the Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Minister for Indigenous Health for incoming Government after 18 May ” We welcome your feedback in comments below 

“ Our Shadow Cabinet, guided by our First Nations’ Caucus Committee, has identified targeted and focused initiatives, launched today, that will bring the vision of justice and fairness to the lives of First nations’ peoples.

In education, we have many new and powerful initiatives that work directly to build bridges for the futures of our young people.

Our unprecedented investments in Indigenous health will be community designed and delivered, more than ever before.

Our new policies and programs in the environment will help visitors to understand the complex national cultural web from which our landscapes arise from.

It will be a challenge for us, to do all we have set out in our new policies and programs.

But we will work to achieve that.

We want to be the party of choice for First Nations Peoples “

Senator Patrick Dodson speaking at the Australian Labor Party national launch in Brisbane Sunday full speech HERE and Download policy Document

I have been asked by many about my thoughts on Pat Dodson potentially being minister for Indigenous affairs.

As an outspoken black woman, you best believe I have thoughts — many.

Do I think this is a good thing? Yes. Do I think this is the answer? Hard no on that one.

I am not here to rubbish Dodson, he has a lengthy track record of seeking change for our people. But he is part of the political machine.

He is part of a major party and is beholden to policies drafted about us without us, and because of that I view this announcement by Bill Shorten with the cynicism that is necessary for black fullas.

It is difficult not to be caught up in the exciting prospect of having an Indigenous person holding the role of Indigenous affairs minister after so many years dealing with the farce that has been Nigel Scullion and Tony Abbott but it is essential that we stow our celebrations and consider what this really means in politician speak.

Shorten’s promises

The clue in why we need to be reserved lies in the language of the announcement that Bill Shorten made. Shorten said that paternalism and top-down approaches had failed, which is correct. He also said that “we want to try something different if we get elected”, and stated further “we want to try the idea of Aboriginal-controlled organisations making decisions”.

We need to remember that the words used by politicians are very deliberate, considered and rehearsed. So when Shorten says we “want to try” it sends off alarm bells in my head — he is using this appointment and manner of policy roll-out as an experiment and we are the subjects of this experiment. You might think I am jumping at shadows and consider this rather innocuous but this language and approach is a maintenance of the deficit dynamic.

Bill Shorten does believe he is making a genuine and positive announcement but he doing this from a position of privilege and one where he has not considered change beyond policy roll-out. He has not considered that the issues affecting communities are not “problems” — they are consequences. He has not considered systemic reform to address the failure that is colonisation and the institutions resultant.

What Labor needs to do next

Consequently, it is essential that our support of this announcement be contingent upon it not being mere lip service and change goes beyond merely the manner of policy delivery.

If elected, Labor as a party and as a government needs to have their policies crafted by First Nations drafts people following community consultations with the very communities affected.

Policies should not be broad-brush either; they need to start seeing us for the diverse and vast communities we are. It is not unreasonable for a policy — at the request of the community — to apply solely to that community. Applying a “one size fits all” approach needs to go out the window, along with the viewpoint that we are a problem that needs to be solved.

This announcement does not change anything and we need to remember this and resist tokenism.

Shorten’s announcement is a good one and I do not want to diminish the pride we will all feel when we have one of our own heading up this portfolio. However, the appointment is merely tokenistic if it does not empower Dodson to make structural changes to the way this portfolio operates and to a Labor government should it be elected.

Unless Labor changes the way it operates as a party then this new approach will fail and that failure will be put at the feet of Dodson.

Make no mistake, unless there is change from within the institutions that “govern” this country, all that is happening here is paternalism repackaged. If the intent is to maintain the policies that oppress our people and communities but change the way in which the policies are rolled out, this is simply getting black bodies to do the work of white decision makers. Shorten is not suggesting systemic change here, he is suggesting a change in approach with the delivery of policies — not the policies themselves and herein lies the issue.

While I back Shorten’s announcement, I call upon him and his party for more. Think bigger, more than 200 communities bigger, and then you may grasp how utterly out of your depth you are and see the value in self-determination.

We are not homogenous and have resisted colonial assimilation for over 200 years, perhaps we might know a little something about survival under the worst conditions, and perhaps we could teach a thing or two about how to make this country thrive.

Let me tell you: what we have to teach has nothing to do with capitalism.

NACCHO has developed a set of policy  10 #Election2019 recommendations that if adopted, fully funded and implemented by the incoming Federal Government, will provide a pathway forward for improvements in our health outcomes.

The current health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are unacceptable. 65% of Indigenous people live in rural Australia.

We are calling on all political parties to include these 10 recommendations in their election platforms and make a real commitment to improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and help us Close the Gap.

Our ACCHO TOP 10 key asks of a new Federal Government

Read all the 10 Recommendations HERE

 

NACCHO Aboriginal #Vote1RuralHealth #VoteACCHO #AusVotesHealth : Major health groups @NRHAlliance @amapresident @RuralDoctorsAus express concern over lack of #Election2019 focus on #RuralHealth #RemoteCommunities

“ We have a crisis in rural Australia – health outcomes have not improved and we continue to see measurable disparities in levels of access to health care and health outcomes.

I note that yesterday the Australian Medical Association and the Rural Doctors Association of Australia raised similar concerns. They’re concerned about the lack of a comprehensive plan to boost the rural medical workforce and staffing levels in hospitals and health services.”

Mark Diamond  CEO National Rural Health Alliance See full press release PART 1

“It is inconceivable that millions of Australians who experience higher incidence of the drivers of chronic disease could be overlooked.

People in rural, regional, and remote Australia face many obstacles when they require access to the full range of quality medical and health services.

There are shortages of doctors and other health professionals.

It is harder to access specialist services such as maternity and mental health.

And country people often have to travel to capital cities and large regional centres for vital services such as major surgery or cancer care.”

We need to see tailored and targeted policies to address these inequities.

Rural Australians deserve nothing less.”

AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, said today that rural Australians are still waiting to hear major announcements from the major parties to address the serious and specific health needs of rural and remote communities. See Part 2 Below

“ With less than two weeks left to go until polling day, rural doctors are calling out the major parties on their absence of a comprehensive plan to boost the rural medical workforce.

This is a cone of silence that Maxwell Smart would be proud of

There continues to be a massive maldistribution of doctors and other health professionals between urban Australia and the bush, yet this critical issue remains largely overlooked. “

President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA), Dr Adam Coltzau

NACCHO has developed a set of policy  10 #Election2019 recommendations that if adopted, fully funded and implemented by the incoming Federal Government, will provide a pathway forward for improvements in our health outcomes.

The current health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are unacceptable. 65% of Indigenous people live in rural Australia.

We are calling on all political parties to include these 10 recommendations in their election platforms and make a real commitment to improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and help us Close the Gap.

Our ACCHO TOP 10 key asks of a new Federal Government

Read all the 10 Recommendations HERE

Part 1

A chorus of concern over the major parties’ failure to focus on rural health issues in the election campaign is growing, the National Rural Health Alliance says.

The peak body for rural, regional and remote health says the 7 million people living in rural Australia have been unable to discern what the big health policy announcements mean for them.

“Nor has there been a specific focus by the Liberal-Nationals Coalition and Labor on how access to health and preventive health services will be improved for them,” CEO Mark Diamond said.

“We have a crisis in rural Australia – health outcomes have not improved and we continue to see measurable disparities in levels of access to health care and health outcomes.

“I note that yesterday the Australian Medical Association and the Rural Doctors Association of Australia raised similar concerns. They’re concerned about the lack of a comprehensive plan to boost the rural medical workforce and staffing levels in hospitals and health services.

“The Greens have acknowledged that they recognize the significance of health care in rural areas and have issued a specific rural health statement which I commend them for.

“And yesterday, the Independent candidate for Indi, Helen Haines, joined the call for a boost to the allied health professions taskforce.

“Getting more allied health professionals into rural Australia is vital to address the chronic inequality of access to health services.

“This is a key part of the National Rural Health Alliance’s 2019 Election Charter.” (See www.ruralhealth.org.au/election19)

The NRHA is calling for

  • An additional 3000 Aboriginal Health Workers and practitioners
  • Increased funding for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (Labor has committed some funds for this)
  • An additional 3000 allied health positions
  • Trials created in 20 rural and remote sites to test for the best workforce models
  • A community grants program that communities can apply to for funds for better digital infrastructure so they can access healthcare online
  • Medicare rebates for online or telehealth consults to people in outer regional, remote and very remote areas
  • A special Mission for Rural Health created in the Medical Research Future Fund that is allocated a share of the fund proportionate to the population in rural Australia (28% = $360m)
  • A commitment to endorse the Uluru Statement and establish a Makarrata Commission for the sake of the nation’s wellbeing

Mr Diamond said parties must show they can govern for all of Australia, not just cities.

With 28% of the population and 7 million people, it’s important that all parties represent the interests of people in country areas. Rural health matters.

Part 2

AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, said today that rural Australians are still waiting to hear major announcements from the major parties to address the serious and specific health needs of rural and remote communities.

Dr Bartone said it is surprising and disappointing that rural health remains largely neglected this far into the election campaign.

“It is inconceivable that millions of Australians who experience higher incidence of the drivers of chronic disease could be overlooked,” Dr Bartone said.

“People in rural, regional, and remote Australia face many obstacles when they require access to the full range of quality medical and health services.

“There are shortages of doctors and other health professionals.

“It is harder to access specialist services such as maternity and mental health.

“And country people often have to travel to capital cities and large regional centres for vital services such as major surgery or cancer care.

“We need to see tailored and targeted policies to address these inequities. Rural Australians deserve nothing less.”

Dr Bartone said that there will be some flow-on to rural Australia from the policies already announced by the major parties, including public hospital funding, new PBS drugs, the Government’s Rural Generalist Pathway medical training initiatives, and Labor’s cancer and seniors’ dental plans, but there are still major gaps.

“It is staggering that there was very little mention of rural health during last week’s Health Debate at the National Press Club,” Dr Bartone said.

“The situation is critical.

“Rural communities need real investment in medical infrastructure and incentives to attract more permanent doctors.

“Country towns are seeing medical services closed on them with no other options provided.

“Rural maternity services are deteriorating. Earlier this year, expectant mothers in Queensland were sent DIY birthing kits because their nearest birthing unit was too far to get to.

“Many communities are struggling with few or no doctors, and many doctors will be looking to retire in the coming years with no one there to take over for them.

“In a recent AMA poll, the top priority for our rural doctors was extra funding and resources for hospitals to support improved staffing levels, including core visiting medical officers, to allow workable rosters.

“The pressure on public hospital staff and resources is felt even more acutely in rural, regional, and remote areas.

“Training the next generation of rural doctors is a major priority. We need strategic policies that support students from rural backgrounds to study medicine.

“We want to see investment in programs that create positive training experiences for prevocational doctors in rural areas.

“We need to support these students to complete their training rurally so that they can choose to stay to live and work in rural areas and deliver the care these communities need.

“Rural Australian families need the confidence and comfort of being able to see a doctor or other health professional when they need care or advice, and to be able to get to hospital when they are sick or injured.

“It is not too late for the major parties to provide rural Australians with that security.”

The AMA’s Key Health Issues for the 2019 Federal Election calls on the major parties to:

  • provide funding and resources to support improved staffing levels and workable rosters for rural doctors, including better access to locum relief and investment in hospital facilities, equipment, and practice infrastructure;
  • expand the successful Specialist Training Program to 1,400 places by 2021, with higher priority being given to training places in regional and rural areas, generalist training, and specialties that are undersupplied;
  • fund a further 425 rural GP infrastructure grants of up to $500,000 each;
  • provide additional funding/grants to individual GPs and practices to support nonvocationally registered doctors to attain fellowship through the More Doctors for Rural Australia Program; and
  • support further reforms to medical school selection criteria for Commonwealth supported students; and introduce changes to the structure of courses so that the targeted intake of medical students from a rural background is lifted from 25 per cent of all new enrolments to one-third of all new enrolments, and the proportion of medical students required to undertake at least one year of clinical training in a rural area is lifted from 25 per cent to one-third.

The AMA’s health policy wish list – Key Health Issues for the 2019 Federal Election – is available at https://ama.com.au/article/keyhealthissues2019federalelection

 

Part 3 Rural doctors urge parties to “Get Smart”  on rural health workforce plan

With less than two weeks left to go until polling day, rural doctors are calling out the major parties on their absence of a comprehensive plan to boost the rural medical workforce.

“This is a cone of silence that Maxwell Smart would be proud of”

President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA), Dr Adam Coltzau, said.

“There continues to be a massive maldistribution of doctors and other health professionals between urban Australia and the bush, yet this critical issue remains largely overlooked.

“Yes, there has been funding committed by both the Coalition and Labor to kick-start a National Rural Generalist Pathway, and this is very welcome – but if the major parties think that the Pathway will be the panacea for the shortage of doctors and other health professionals in the bush, they are sadly mistaken.

“The Pathway needs to be just one component of a much wider rural health workforce strategy – one that not only delivers more Rural Generalist doctors to the bush, but also more GPs, specialists, nurses, midwives and allied health professionals.

“The challenges of accessing health services in rural areas have not been resolved, and will require the incoming government to ‘get smart’ in improving this.

“It will require a practical, big picture strategy, not just tinkering at the edges.

“It will require the incoming government to invest in more training places in the bush, so newly-minted doctors are able to access the training they need in their intern and junior doctor years.

“There is real opportunity for rural hospitals, rural general practices and other rural health settings to meet the growing demand for junior doctor training, and to keep these doctors in the bush – but the right supports will be needed to make this happen.

“More also needs to be done to increase the capacity for regional training opportunities in non-GP Specialist training and Advanced Skills posts.

“These places are largely controlled by the specialist colleges, and it is virtually impossible for young doctors to access this training outside metropolitan areas or very large regional centres.

“This makes it very difficult for those doctors who want a career as a non-GP specialist in rural Australia to follow that path.

“The lack of commitment from the major parties to fix the rural health workforce crisis is a major black hole in the election campaign – and it needs urgent attention before polling day.”

 

 

NACCHO Members #VoteACCHO #Election2019 #Aboriginal Health Deadly Good News Stories : #NSW @ahmrc @Galambila #Armajun ACCHO #VIC @VACCHO_org @VAHS1972 #NT @CAACongress #KatherineWest #QLD @DeadlyChoices #Gidgee #Mamu #SA #ACT

Feature Article this week from Apunipima ACCHO Cape York leading the way vaccinating the mob against the flu at no cost to the patient

1.1 National :  Report from the recent Close the Gap for Vision by 2020: Strengthen & Sustain National Conference 2019 hosted by AMSANT released

1.2 National : Survey Yarning with New Media Technology:
Mediatisation and the emergence of the First Australians’ cyber-corroboree.

1.3 NACCHO calls on all political parties to include these 10 recommendations in their election platforms

2.1 NSW : AHMRC April Edition of Message Stick is out now!

2.2 Brand new Ready Mob team and Galambila ACCHO Coffs Harbour CEO Reuben Robinson participate in Team Planning & Meet n’ Greet day.

2.3 NSW : Adam Marshall MP  catches up with the team from Inverell-based Armajun Health Service Aboriginal Corporation to discuss their exciting $5.7 million expansion plans

3.1 VIC : VACCHO Launches its #Election 2019 Platform

3.2 VIC : VAHS ACCHO launches new new 2019 Deadly Choices Health Check Shirts

4.1 NT : Katherine West Health Board ACCHO prepare healthy lunches for the kids at Kalkarindji School everyday.

4.2 NT Congress farewells and thanks Sarah Gallagher from our Utju Health Service after 22 years of exceptional service as an Aboriginal Health Practitioner.

5.1 QLD : Gidgee Healing ACCHO Mt Isa Comms & Marketing team were up in Doomadgee this week attending the ‘Get Set for School 2020 & Career Expo

5.2 QLD : MAMU Health Service Innisfail celebrates 29 Years of Service to community 

5.3 QLD : Deadly Choices Patrick Johnson say winter is coming!! Book into your local Aboriginal Medical Service ASAP for your flu shot and health check.

6.1 SA : Morrison Government is providing almost $250,000 to three South Australian Aboriginal medical services to replace outdated patient information systems.

7.1 ACT : Download the April edition of our Winnunga ACCHO Newsletter.

8.1 WA: KAMS ACCHO as an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services encourages the use of traditional bush medicines

How to submit in 2019 a NACCHO Affiliate  or Members Good News Story ?

Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media 

Mobile 0401 331 251 

Wednesday by 4.30 pm for publication Thursday /Friday

Feature Article this week from Apunipima ACCHO Cape York leading the way vaccinating the mob against the flu at no cost to the patient

The Federal Government has recently announced a program that will ensure almost 170,000 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children and adolescents are vaccinated against the flu at no cost to the patient, with an additional provision of $12 million provided to boost a national immunisation education campaign.

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children aged between 6 months and 14 years will have access to the influenza vaccine. Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander experience a higher burden from influenza infection and are more likely to be hospitalised with the disease. This funding is a welcomed initiative.

The ‘Get the Facts about Immunisation’ campaign will be delivered over the next three years and will include a national television campaign, to help raise awareness around the benefits and importance of immunisation.

FOR MORE INFO about immunisation

1.1 National :  Report from the recent Close the Gap for Vision by 2020: Strengthen & Sustain National Conference 2019 hosted by AMSANT released

The conference report from the recent Close the Gap for Vision by 2020: Strengthen & Sustain National Conference 2019 held by Indigenous Eye Health (IEH) and co-hosted by Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT) in Alice Springs on 14 and 15 March 2019.

We also include for your interest and information a two-page conference summary report and an A3 poster to celebrate activities at the Conference.

Over two days of the Conference, more than 220 delegates and over 60 speakers from all state and territories and including representation from community, local and regional services, state organisations, national peak and non-government agencies, and government came together to share, learn, and be inspired.

Conference attendance has grown significantly year to year since the first conference (+83%) held in Melbourne in 2017. This increase also reflects over 50 regions, covering more than 80% of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, that are now engaged in activities to close the gap for vision.

IEH would like to thank everyone that attended and contributed to the Conference and especially the speakers for sharing their stories, thoughts and learnings. Congratulations again to our deserved 2019 Leaky Pipe Award winners.

The feedback IEH has received from delegates and speakers has been very positive and supports the joint commitment to close the gap for vision by 2020.

The Conference reports, presentations, photo gallery, and other supplementary materials can be accessed here on IEH website. Please feel free to forward this email and information to your colleagues and networks and we also continue to welcome your further feedback, input and commentary.

We will look forward to welcoming you to the next national conference planned in March 2020 and in the year ahead let’s keeping working together to close the gap for vision.

Hugh R Taylor AC
Harold Mitchell Chair of Indigenous Eye Health
Melbourne School of Population and Global Health
The University of Melbourne

1.2 : National : Survey Yarning with New Media Technology:
Mediatisation and the emergence of the First Australians’ cyber-corroboree.

Throughout this study, we use the terms ‘First Australian’ or ‘Indigenous Australian’ when referring to people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage, and ‘Peoples’ when referring to the collective group of Aboriginal nations.

We acknowledge the inadequacy of these homogenising Western terms used to describe such a diverse range of Peoples, languages and cultures.  However, we hope this terminology is sufficient for the purposes of this survey in describing the multi-dimensional relationship that this survey covers. We offer an unreserved apology in lieu of our inadequate terminology causing any undue annoyance or umbrage; this was not our intention.

Take the survey HERE

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FVPD3K6

Any questions or concerns should be addressed to:- keith.robinson2@griffithuni.edu.au

1.3 NACCHO calls on all political parties to include these 10 recommendations in their election platforms

NACCHO has developed a set of policy #Election2019 recommendations that if adopted, fully funded and implemented by the incoming Federal Government, will provide a pathway forward for improvements in our health outcomes.

We are calling on all political parties to include these recommendations in their election platforms and make a real commitment to improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and help us Close the Gap.

With your action and support of our #VoteACCHO campaign we can make the incoming Federal Government accountable.

See NACCHO Election 2019 Website

2.1 NSW : AHMRC April Edition of Message Stick is out now!

Welcome to the April edition of the Message Stick!

Yaama from me, Dr Merilyn Childs! I recently joined AH&MRC in the role of Senior Research Advisor. This means that I help researchers improve the quality of research applications before they are sent to the AH&MRC Ethics Committee. I’ll be providing Professional Learning Opportunities and resources for researchers, and feedback on applications where appropriate.

While I’m with AH&MRC 3 days a week, I have other roles. For example, I’m Honorary Associate Professor at Macquarie University, and I’m on Academic Board for the newly proposed College of Health Sciences at the Education Centre of Australia.

As I write this, I think of my mother Helen. When I was a child in the 1960s, Helen taught me about racism, stolen land, and stolen Aboriginal lives and languages. She was a passionate advocate of land rights. With her, and my two-year-old toddler, I marched as an ally of First Nations people on January 26th, 1988 in Sydney.

Two decades later at Charles Sturt University I was fortunate enough to work for some years with the amazing team embedding Indigenous Cultural Competence into curriculum. Because of them I continued the journey I began with my mother as I tried respectfully to develop ‘yindiamarra winhanga-nha’ – the wisdom of respectfully knowing how to live well in a world worth living in, from the voices of the Wiradjuri people’. In 2015 I joined Macquarie University and collaborated with Walanga Muru colleagues to amplify Aboriginal voices in Higher Degree Research training.

I feel privileged to continue my journey working at AH&MRC with warm and amazing colleagues and with those of you I meet in the future, to improve the quality of research applications that are submitted to the AH&MRC Ethics Committee.

Read View HERE

2.2 Brand new Ready Mob team and Galambila ACCHO Coffs Harbour CEO Reuben Robinson participate in Team Planning & Meet n’ Greet day.

Galambila ACCHO Coffs Harbour CEO Reuben Robinson joined in the interactive activities and shared his vision for Ready Mob and Galambila  in moving forward in service of our communities. SEE FACEBOOK PAGE

2.3 NSW : Adam Marshall MP  catches up with the team from Inverell-based Armajun Health Service Aboriginal Corporation to discuss their exciting $5.7 million expansion plans

Adam Marshall MP  catches up with the team from Inverell-based Armajun Health Service Aboriginal Corporation to discuss their exciting $5.7 million expansion plans last week.

Armajun is planning to build a new and expanded health service centre next door to its current premises in River Street to cater for for patients and offer more health services to the community.

Part of this will be a $400,000 expanded dental clinic, which Adam will be approaching the State Government to fund.

Armajun provides services to many communities across the Northern Tablelands and do a wonderful job!

3.1 VIC : VACCHO Launches its #Election 2019 Platform

It’s out! We’ve just published our #auspol  #AusVotes2019  Election Platform.
Read all about what Aboriginal Communities need from the Federal Government to improve our health and wellbeing, to not just Close the Gap, but eliminate it all together.
Sustainability, Prevention Accountability to & for us.
Download HERE

3.2 : VAHS ACCHO launches new new 2019 Deadly Choices Health Check Shirts

VAHS, Essendon Football Club and The Long Walk have continued to work collaboratively that empowers our community to be more aware of their personal and family health by completing an annual health assessment.

An annual Health Assessment is a deadly way to monitor your own health and identify or prevent a chronic disease. Plus its 100% free if you complete this health assessment at VAHS. Anyone can complete an Health Check.

We have plenty of shirts for our mob all year, so don’t stress if you have completed an Health Check recently. You only allowed an annual Health Check every 9 months. Ring VAHS on 9419-3000 if you’re due for a health check.

Also we have another exciting news to announce very soon. Stay tune

4.1 NT : Katherine West Health Board ACCHO prepare healthy lunches for the kids at Kalkarindji School everyday.

This is Gabrielle and Mary they help prepare healthy lunches for the kids at Kalkarindji School everyday.  They are both great cooks and are working with myself to make their meals high iron and vitamin C so kids can have strong blood to learn and play.
#oneshieldforall

4.2 NT Congress farewells and thanks Sarah Gallagher from our Utju Health Service after 22 years of exceptional service as an Aboriginal Health Practitioner.

For 22 years with us, Sarah has been delivering culturally safe and responsive health care and programs to her people in the Utju community.

Born and raised in Utju, Sarah commenced her training as an AHP in the Utju Clinic, received her Certificate IV in AHP and progressed her career as a senior health practitioner and clinic manager.

In 2014 Sarah was a finalist at the ATSIHP Awards in the excellence in remote service delivery category. Sarah remains committed to the health and wellbeing of her people as elected Chairperson of the Utju Health Services board.

5.1 QLD : Gidgee Healing ACCHO Mt Isa Comms & Marketing team were up in Doomadgee this week attending the ‘Get Set for School 2020 & Career Expo’

Was lovely to see so many people and services attend this event. If you pop down to the Gidgee Healing stall Guy Douglas our new Practice Manager at Doomadgee Clinic, Andrew, Trish or Gavin would be happy to help you fill in birth registration forms. There are a few goodies also so please go check them out and say hello.

5.2 QLD : MAMU Health Service Innisfail celebrates 29 Years of Service to community 

5.3 QLD : Deadly Choices Patrick Johnson say winter is coming!! Book into your local Aboriginal Medical Service ASAP for your flu shot and health check.

Make a Deadly Choices a healthy choice and get your DC beanie.

I’m sporting my North Queensland Toyota Cowboysbeanie what DC beanie are you sporting? Institute of Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH)

6.1 SA : Morrison Government is providing almost $250,000 to three South Australian Aboriginal medical services to replace outdated patient information systems.

Picture Above Minister Ken Wyatt visit earlier this year 

Ensuring high quality primary health care, delivered in a culturally competent way, is a key to improving the health and wellbeing of First Australians.

Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said it was important that all medical services across Australia were provided with the right tool kit to do their work.

“As a result of this announcement three Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in Grey, Nunyara in Whyalla, Pika Wiya in Port Augusta and and the Ceduna Kooniba Health Service will receive assistance to install new “state-of-the-art” patient record keeping systems”, Mr Ramsey said. “The efficiency of any good health system is dependent on good record-keeping and accurate, easy-to-access patient information.

“Streamlined modern information systems will enable healthcare professionals to gain instant, secure, and efficient access to the medical and treatment histories of patients. This can be especially valuable where we have transingent populations as is particularly the case with some indigenous families.”

This funding through the Morrison Government’s Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme will contribute to new systems to provide better patient care.

Under the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme, the Morrison Government funds around 140 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services across Australia to provide culturally appropriate comprehensive primary health care services to First Australians.

The Minister for Indigenous Health, the Hon Ken Wyatt said the Federal Government is committed to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities to develop practical, evidence-based policy and deliver programs that will make a real difference to the lives of First Australians.

”It is part of our focus on closing the gap and supporting culturally appropriate primary health care and programs,” Mr Wyatt said.

“Good health is a key enabler in supporting children to go to school, adults to lead productive working lives, and in building strong and resilient communities.”

The Morrison Government is providing $4.1 billion to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the next four years.

7.1 ACT : Download the April edition of our Winnunga ACCHO Newsletter.

 

April edition of our Winnunga Newsletter.

Read or Download Winnunga AHCS Newsletter April 2019 (1)

Please also note that the details for Winnunga’s National Sorry Day Bridge Walk for 2019 is included in this newsletter, so please Save the Date and join us.

8.1 WA: KAMS ACCHO as an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services encourages the use of traditional bush medicines

 ” Back in 2017 when I found some funding ($3,000) to start the idea of making some Bush medicine with a couple of ex- AHW’s at Balgo, was a very exciting time for us and them.

 The Bush medicines an integral part of Aboriginal culture and traditional customs.

Jamilah Bin Omar Acting SEWB Manager Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Ltd.

 As an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services encourages the use of traditional bush medicines and talk up the bush medicine information through the Certificate III and Cert. IV Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care Program under the competency units;

  • Support the safe use of medicines
  • Administer medicines

Myself and Joanna Martin (Pharmacist) from the KAMS Pharmacy Support team spent one week in Balgo working with the community Women Elders to make three different types of bush medicines.  These were;

  • Piltji (used on all parts of the body to heal internal injuries, organs, arthritis and many other problems)
  • Ngurnu Ngurnu (used for cold and flu and rubbed on the chest and head)
  • Yapilynpa (used as a rub on the chest and head for the relief of colds and headaches)

At the completion, bush medicines became available in the Balgo Health Centre, for patients to select and use individually or in conjunction with western medicine.

The Bush Medicines program is an opportunity for KAMS staff to collaborate with community members.  It will provide a forum for traditional practices to be used and passed onto future generations.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal #AusVotesHealth #VoteACCHO : With only 15 days to #Election2019 how do the major parties’@LiberalAus and @AustralianLabor Indigenous health election commitments stack up

” It’s difficult to identify major differences between the two parties’ Indigenous health promises. The likely impact of these polices is also hard to gauge given the significant role played by state and territory governments in service delivery.

Labor has promised to support Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations but specific details have not been announced.

Labor’s significant funding pledge for rheumatic heart disease, though, makes their Indigenous health offering perhaps slightly more likely to achieve health gains than the Coalition’s.”

David Coombs PhD candidate in Nura Gili Indigenous Studies, UNSW Diana Perche Senior Lecturer and Academic Coordinator, Nura Gili Indigenous Programs Unit, UNSW from The Conversation

See Part 2 below

And read all 17 NACCHO Election Articles HERE

Eleven years after Australia adopted the Closing the Gap strategy, many pressing First Nations health issues remain unresolved.

The gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous life expectancy, currently 10.8 years for men and 10.6 years for women, is actually widening.

Similarly, the target to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous child mortality has not been met. The Indigenous rate of 164 deaths per 100,000 children aged 0-4 years is still 2.4 times the non-Indigenous rate of 68 deaths per 100,000 in this age group.

The causes of Indigenous health inequality are complex. They stem from social determinants such as employment, education, social inclusion, and access to traditional land, rather than strictly biomedical causes.

Government policies have a critical role to play here. But funding cuts, policy incoherence, and governments retaining control over resources and decision-making explain why the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health outcomes are not closing.

Regardless of who wins the federal election on May 18, these enduring health issues affecting Indigenous Australians will require sustained and concerted policy attention.

A look at the major parties’ policy promises reveals some signs of hope, but also plenty of room for improvement.

Read more: Three reasons why the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians aren’t closing

The Coalition’s commitments

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups criticised the lack of Indigenous-specific health measures in the Morrison government’s first budget detailed in April.

The budget did include A$35 million for First Nations solutions to family violence, and A$10 million for the Lowitja Institute for health research.

Indigenous youth suicide remains an urgent policy concern, with Indigenous children five times more likely to die in this way than non-Indigenous children. A coronial inquest recently identified complex causes including intergenerational trauma, poverty, and problems stemming from the home environment.

Read more: Indigenous health leaders helped give us a plan to close the gap, and we must back it

The Coalition’s budget committed A$5 million over four years to address Indigenous youth suicide. This figure has since been increased to A$42 million following criticism from First Nations organisations and advocates.

Meanwhile, the budget directed A$129 million towards the expansion of a cashless welfare card system that operates in a number of Aboriginal communities. The card quarantines 80% of welfare recipients’ income for use in government-approved stores, and on government-approved items, to prevent spending on alcohol, cigarettes and gambling. This decision was taken despite a lack of evidence these cards reduce social harm or public expenditure.

The government also made some pre-budget commitments around Indigenous health. These included:

The Coalition also honoured a previous commitment of A$550 millionfor remote housing in the Northern Territory.

The Morrison government deserves some credit for its part in reaching an agreement between the Council of Australian Governments and a coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations in December 2018.

This agreement commits governments and Indigenous peak bodies to shared decision-making and joint accountability in devising and working towards new Closing the Gap targets.

Read more: Budget 2019 boosts aged care and mental health, and modernises Medicare: health experts respond

Labor’s commitments

In keeping with its election campaign emphasis on health spending, Labor recently announced a A$115 million Indigenous health package.

The package includes almost A$30 million to reduce Indigenous youth suicide and mental ill-health.

It also offers A$33 million to address rheumatic heart disease, a preventable condition that disproportionately affects Indigenous children. The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) highlighted rheumatic heart disease as one of ten Indigenous health priorities for this election.

Labor has also promised A$20 million for sexual health promotion in northern Australia, A$13 million to combat vision loss, and A$16.5 million for the “Deadly Choices” initiative, which aims to prevent chronic disease through education.

Further, the opposition has announced a compensation scheme and healing fund for surviving members of the Stolen Generations and their families. This could help manage the effects of intergenerational trauma.

What’s lacking

Both parties’ funding commitments must be assessed in the context of the 2014 budget cut of more than A$500 million dollars to Indigenous affairs by the then Coalition government, which only the Greens have committed to restoring.

Impacts have been severe for specific programs, especially those run at the community level. These include youth services in Maningrida (NT) and employment and training programs in Inala (Queensland).

Funding for crucial Indigenous health infrastructure and capital works is also lacking, with the current shortfall estimated at A$500 million. Many Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services are run from old buildings in desperate need of upgrades to accommodate increasing patient numbers and rising demand for services. The Coalition recently announced an incremental increase to infrastructure funding, but much more is needed.

Neither the Coalition nor Labor has made any substantial commitment to a national Indigenous housing strategy. Inadequate, insecure and poor quality housing worsens physical and mental health through overcrowding, inadequate heating and cooling, injury hazards, and stress.

Similarly, both parties have been silent on reducing poverty in Indigenous communities. Poverty is another social determinant that contributes to Indigenous physical and mental ill-health, as well as high incarceration levels.

What about self-determination?

Labor has stated it will prioritise Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations as the vehicles for delivering much needed health services.

As the Close the Gap steering committee’s shadow report emphasised, “when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are involved in the design of the services they need, we are far more likely to achieve success”.

The Coalition has been silent on the issue of community control, and funding reforms under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy and the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme have destabilised the position of Aboriginal organisations.

Read more: The Coalition’s report card on health includes some passes and quite a few fails

Community control is threatened by the government’s focus on competitive tendering, where First Nations organisations compete with “mainstream” service providers trying to secure contracts to deliver Indigenous health services.

Neither the Coalition nor Labor has outlined a response to these structural issues.

Part 2

NACCHO has developed a set of policy #Election2019 recommendations that if adopted, fully funded and implemented by the incoming Federal Government, will provide a pathway forward for improvements in our health outcomes.

We are calling on all political parties to include these 10 recommendations in their election platforms and make a real commitment to improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and help us Close the Gap.”

Our ACCHO TOP 10 key asks of a new Federal Government

1.The incoming Federal Government must increase funding of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations to deliver primary health care services across Indigenous communities.

2.The incoming Federal Government must increase funding for capital works, infrastructure upgrades and Telehealth services through the Indigenous Australians Health Programme.

  1. The incoming Federal Government must end rheumatic heart disease by funding preventive health programs within 15 rural and remote communities across the country.

4.The incoming Federal Government must invest in ACCHOs, so we can address youth suicide

5.The incoming Federal Government must improve Indigenous housing and community infrastructure

6.The incoming Federal Government must allocate Indigenous specific health funding to Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations.

7.The incoming Federal Government must Close the Gap at this Federal election by increasing range and access to Medicare items for Indigenous health workers and Aboriginal health practitioners.

8.The incoming Federal Government must improve Indigenous Pharmacy Programs

9.The incoming Federal Government fund Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Organisations deliver dental services.

10.The incoming the Federal Government must support the development of an Indigenous Workforce Employment Strategy

Read all the 10 Recommendations HERE