NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #TopEndFASD18 : “Let’s Make #FASD History” says Top End Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) forum with 6 key messages to be taken into account addressing FASD:

 ” The forum delegates agreed that there was an urgent need for action to prevent FASD in our Top End communities, and across the Northern Territory.

It is essential that our responses do not stigmatise women or Aboriginal people.

It is important that we don’t lay blame, but instead work together, to support our women and young girls.

Everyone is at risk of FASD, so everyone must be informed the harmful effects of drinking while pregnant.

Our men also need to step up and support our mothers, sisters, nieces and partners, to ensure that we give every child the best chance in life.”

A landmark Top End Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) forum* was held in Darwin on 30-31 May 2018

Read over 25 NACCHO Aboriginal Health and FASD articles published over 6 years

“ Territorians want and deserve access to high quality health services,” Ms Fyles said.

Alcohol abuse impacts on individuals, families, businesses and our community in many different ways, including the risk of causing permanent and irreversible damage to a baby if alcohol is consumed during pregnancy.

That’s why reducing alcohol related harm is a key priority of the Territory Labor Government.

Our Government will develop a whole of government framework to prevent FASD with universal and targeted strategies to address FASD “

Minister for Health, Natasha Fyles, today welcomed 180 delegates to the inaugural Top End Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Forum in Darwin see Ministers Press Release Part 2 below

#TopEndFASD18  Bringing together Aboriginal leaders, FASD experts, Aboriginal community-controlled organisations, government representatives, medical professionals, and Non-Government organisations. Approximately 180 delegates representing 37 organisations across the Northern Territory.

FASD is often considered to be a ‘hidden’ disability, because more often than not, the physical characteristics of the individual are not easily recognised. Instead, an individual may present with learning and behavioural difficulties, which may present for a range of disorders.

As a result, FASD is not easily identified and individuals can go undiagnosed and receive inadequate treatment and support.

The forum heard from the NT Minister for Health and the Attorney General Natasha Fyles, NT Children’s Commissioner, Colleen Gwynne, Professor Elizabeth Elliott, Dr James Fitzpatrick, NOFASD and FASD Hub.

The forum also heard from Aboriginal community controlled organisations Danila Dilba, Wurli Wurlinjang, Anyinginyi Health Services, Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory and the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency.

Over two days, the forum delegates discussed the impacts of FASD on individuals, families and communities and acknowledged that alcohol misuse and its consequences are an issue for all Territorians, particularly our most vulnerable. Delegates also heard the evidence on how the prevalence of FASD impacts many of our services, including health, education and justice. Delegates learnt that trauma runs deep, and healing and making the right connections is crucial.

The delegates raised the following key messages to be taken into account in addressing FASD:

 1.Prevention and raising awareness

FASD is entirely preventable, much of its impacts are also irreversible. The harms caused by alcohol in our communities are not acceptable and we will all work together to develop prevention and intervention strategies that are culturally appropriate and relevant for our 2

people and communities. It is acknowledged that current and proposed alcohol control measures in the NT are a critical component of prevention.

2. Collaborative Approaches

The forum identified an urgent need for Aboriginal organisations, government agencies, NGOs and local communities to work together to develop policies and programs for women, men, children and communities in the Top End communities and to contribute to the development of an NT FASD Strategy. This needs to be Aboriginal community-led by the health, education, justice and child protection sectors.

 3.Access to FASD resources

It was evident that there is a need for more investment in developing culturally appropriate tools and resources for local Aboriginal communities and key stakeholders working on the frontline and also at the strategic level.

4.Assessment and Treatment services

An identified priority need is for the establishment of multi-disciplinary neuro-developmental assessment and treatment services that are strategically linked with existing service settings, including primary health care, education, child protection and the justice system.

5.Support for children and families

Research is needed to better understand how best to support children and families with FASD and other related issues that also often affect families, such as trauma. We refer to the Fitzroy Valley as a best practice model, as many strong women and leaders in the community worked in partnership with FASD experts and research institutes.

6.Workforce

The skilling and expansion of the workforce needed for prevention, assessment and treatment of FASD, particularly the community based remote Aboriginal workforce, was identified as an important need.

From this forum, we have heard the experiences about the high levels of despair and sense of disempowerment and hurt of our people and these are sad stories. We were also enlightened by the enthusiasm, dedication, passion and hope from local communities, all professions and services, that want to do more and can do more to make FASD History!

*APO NT will be producing a full report on the outcomes of the FASD Forum over the coming weeks.

Generational Change: Putting the spotlight on Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

30 May 2018

Minister for Health, Natasha Fyles, today welcomed 180 delegates to the inaugural Top End Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Forum in Darwin.

“Territorians want and deserve access to high quality health services,” Ms Fyles said.

“Alcohol abuse impacts on individuals, families, businesses and our community in many different ways, including the risk of causing permanent and irreversible damage to a baby if alcohol is consumed during pregnancy.

“That’s why reducing alcohol related harm is a key priority of the Territory Labor Government.

“Our Government will develop a whole of government framework to prevent FASD with universal and targeted strategies to address FASD.

“This strategy was supported by recommendations in the recent Riley Review into Alcohol Policy and Legislation Alcohol Report and is now an important part of the Territory Labor Government’s Alcohol Harm Minimisation Action Plan to deliver sweeping alcohol reforms for generational change.”

The NT Department of Health funded the Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT (APONT) to deliver the 2 day forum.

The themes of the Forum are:

  • Increase knowledge and raise awareness about FASD in Top End communities and the impact of alcohol during pregnancy on the developing baby;
  • Understand the impact of FASD on children, youth and their families
  • Identify the challenges, issues and solutions for governments, service providers and other key stakeholders;
  • Identify culturally appropriate resources, tools and protocols
  • Establish a Top End FASD Network.

Minister Fyles said that Forum provides an important consultation opportunity with the health sector and community to feed into the development of the NT’s FASD Strategy, for release later this year.

“Stories will be shared and ideas and actions generated to inform the Strategy, which in turn will help guide communities and Government to work together in partnerships to prevent FASD,” Ms Fyles said.

“The NT FASD Strategy will promote the screening of alcohol use before and during pregnancy; appropriate multi-disciplinary assessment; early intervention, support and case management; and will develop targeted education campaigns for those who are most at risk from alcohol-related harms.

“This work is supported in our Government’s 10-Year Early Childhood Development Plan to lead cultural change in reducing alcohol consumption and harms in the community.

“Our whole of government approach to respond to FASD will be crucial to preventing this completely preventable lifelong and permanent condition.”

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Alcohol : #NT set to lead the nation on alcohol policy reform says @AMSANTaus

 ” This report has the potential to be a game-changer in responding to the alcohol-related harms that are far too prevalent here in the Northern Territory.

“It is really heartening to see how much the review has listened to the long-standing policy solutions that AMSANT has been advocating for more than a decade.

Implementing this report will reduce premature death, hospitalisations, domestic violence and child neglect. It will help significantly to close the health gap in the NT. ”

Mr John Paterson CEO  Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT (AMSANT) today welcomed the final report of the NT Review of Alcohol Legislation and Policy released last Thursday.

Download the Final Report HERE

NT Alcohol Policies and Legislation Review

“It is really heartening to see how much the review has listened to the long-standing policy solutions that AMSANT has been advocating for more than a decade”, he said.

“For a very long time we have been concerned about the harms being caused by cheap grog, too many outlets and take-away licenses, too much alcohol promotion and lack of adequate data, amongst other issues.

“This report addresses all of these issues and goes further, providing a comprehensive response to alcohol problems in the NT. Previous attempts at reform, such as the “Enough is Enough” program, not been far-reaching enough to have a major impact, but we are confident that this report provides the policy options to effectively deal with the NT’s alcohol problems.

“AMSANT thanks the Gunner Government for their immediate and emphatic response to the report in supporting all but one of the 220 recommendations.

The leadership shown by our Chief Minister on this key public health issue is commendable.

“The Territory is on the cusp of finally coming to terms with alcohol and the harm it causes. Instead of being the jurisdiction famous for its “bloody good drinkers”, we now have an opportunity to lead the nation in action to address alcohol.

“Implementing this report will reduce premature death, hospitalisations, domestic violence and child neglect. It will help significantly to close the health gap in the NT.

Research shows that in any population, the most disadvantaged people are most impacted by alcohol and have the most to gain from an effective public health response”, he concluded.

Riley review: Floor price on alcohol, 400sqm rule to be scrapped in wake of NT alcohol policy paper

Photo: Michael Gunner (centre) says he agrees with nearly all the recommendations of Trevor Riley (left). (ABC News: Felicity James)

Published HERE

The review by former chief justice Trevor Riley could usher in some of the biggest-ever changes to the Northern Territory’s alcohol policies.

Already the Gunner Government has said it will accept in principle nearly all of the 220 recommendations from the review, including a floor price or volumetric tax on alcohol products and a policy shift away from floor-size restrictions.

Major recommendations of the Riley Review:

  • The NT Liquor Act be rewritten
  • Immediate moratorium on takeaway liquor licences
  • Reduce grocery stores selling alcohol by phasing out store licences
  • Floor price/volumetric tax on alcohol products designed to reduce availability of cheap alcohol
  • Shift away from floor size restrictions for liquor outlets and repeal 400-square-metre restrictions
  • Reinstating an independent Liquor Commission
  • Legislating to make it an offence for someone to operate a boat or other vessel while over the limit
  • Establish an alcohol research body in the NT
  • Trial a safe spaces program where people can manage their consumption and seek intervention

“I got that one wrong going into the election and it has been good to see that Trevor [Riley] has come forward with this report with a much more considered, better way of dealing with density and sales of take-away outlets,” Mr Gunner said following the release of the report.

The Government has also said it will enact today a “complete moratorium” on all new take-away alcohol licences, including at greenfield sites.Attorney-General Natasha Fyles said the Northern Territory had the highest rate of alcohol consumption of anywhere in the world.

But the AHA’s opposition to Dan Murphy’s in the NT continues.

“We see that there are some recommendations in there in relation to additional licencing fees… to put an additional impost on businesses above the GST… we would see would be unfair,” he said.

“If the spirit of the review is followed in the Liquor Act, then the end result will be a reduction in alcohol in the volume of alcohol in the community.”

The national branch of the Australian Hotels Association does not support a floor price but the Northern Territory branch is in favour of it and has widely accepted the Riley review.

The figure would be indexed against ordinary wages and evaluated after three years.

“Floor space doesn’t impact on the amount of alcohol out there… it’s the price that makes the alcohol obtainable… if we’ve got people selling bottles of wine for $3, that’s cheaper than water, it seems to me you’ve clearly got a problem,” he said.

It said the relationship between the size of these premises and any increased harm is less clear, dismissing the claim that floor space was a contributing factor to alcohol related harm.

Floor price a more powerful way to reduce harm

He also acknowledged the Territory’s problem with alcohol-related harm and promised to sell liquor responsibly, if the licence was to be granted.

In a statement he said the company planned to move ahead with their application for a liquor licence in the Northern Territory.

Dan Murphy’s will try to operate in the NT

Other reforms include introducing licensing inspectors to help police at bottle shops, a move the NT Police Association has been pushing for.

Once the review is in place, one of the first priorities would be to reinstate an independent Liquor Commission, followed by a complete rewrite of the Liquor Act, which is expected to take 12 months.

“It is time that the Northern Territory gets rid of the tag of being an alcohol-fuelled community,” Ms Fyles said

He said details of how the floor price on alcohol will operate are yet to be determined, and any such price would be abolished if the Federal Government were to introduce its own volumetric tax.

Another recommendation that the Government has said it will back is a law to make it an offence for a person to operate or navigate a vessel on the water with a blood-alcohol content above 0.05 per cent.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner conceded that he made an error in pushing for the 400-square-metre rule, which had been dubbed a “Dan Ban” because it was seen as preventing Dan Murphy’s from opening a large store in Darwin.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Prisons #justjustice : Devastating crisis and public health emergency unfolding

 

nt

 “The Safer Northern Territory through Correctional Interventions, also known as the Hamburger report, labeled the Northern Territory’s imprisonment rates as the worst in Australia and some of the worst in the world. 

The report revealed 85 per cent of adult prisoners are Indigenous, and 95 per cent of juvenile detainees are Indigenous, with both heavily recidivist.

It made 172 recommendations to the Northern Territory government, a number of which were flagged as “urgent”.

“It really highlights how dysfunctional the justice system is, and this has been happening over a number of years,”

North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency CEO, Priscilla Collins,

 ” NACCHO readers are invited to attend the launch in Sydney on November 27 of #JustJustice, a book profiling solutions to the over-incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  Professor Tom Calma AO, a social justice champion and Chancellor of the University of Canberra, will launch the book, which will also be freely available as an e-book via Croakey.org.

 The launch comes amid mounting pressure on federal, state and territory governments to address over-incarceration, which the #JustJustice book makes clear is a public health emergency. “

See Invitation below

Aboriginal NGO’s in the Northern Territory have welcomed a report that recommended a complete overhaul of the Territory Corrections system to address a “devastating” crisis unfolding for Indigenous Australians.

“We got here because no-one listened, no-one listened to the concerns of the sector, no-one listened to the concerns of the prisoners.”

While the Territory’s population makes up just one per cent of Australia, it accounts for five per cent of prisoners – most of whom are Indigenous.

The report revealed 85 per cent of adult prisoners are Indigenous, and 95 per cent of juvenile detainees are Indigenous, with both heavily recidivist.

Hamburger Report recommendations include:

-The creation of a culturally-informed justice system with rehabilitative work camps-

-Engagement with elders

-Improved training

-The creation of a Statutory Authority to review the system

-The development of prison alternatives for youth

-More female corrections officers

-Senior roles for Indigenous people in corrections

-A paradigm shift to cater for a majority Indigenous population

-The creation of cultural healing programs

-The reinstatement of Aboriginal Liaison officers

“It’s something that the legal services and a lot of the NGO’s have been saying to the government for many, many years – that this needs to happen and it just fell on deaf years.

“To have a report that comes out and highlights this and has it in their key recommendations is just such a positive move,” Priscilla Collins says.

“All of it will take us a while, but there’s a number of recommendations that can happen quite quickly,” she adds.

The report has echoed previous calls to close Darwin’s troubled Don Dale Youth Detention Centre.

“Look that’s been a concern we’ve been raising for a number of years,” Ms Collins said.

“Don Dale was never suitable for youth, and then they put them into an adult prison that wasn’t suitable for adults, but is all of a sudden suitable for youth… and you wonder why we have problems when you’re putting people into inhumane facilities,” Ms Collins said.

But the Attorney-General, Natasha Fyles, said there won’t be a new facility until after the Royal Commission.

“A new youth detention facility would be a significant infrastructure spend,” she said.

“We need to make sure the model of that infrastructure is appropriate and I believe those royal commission findings are imperative.”

The Hamburger report found not one of the Territory’s Correctional Facilities are satisfactory, revealing:

-Don Dale Youth Detention Centre is “unsuitable accommodation for young people in detention”.

-Alice Springs Youth Detention Centre is also “unsuitable accommodation for young people in detention”.

-Darwin’s half-billion-dollar prison commissioned less than a decade ago is “unfit for purpose”.

-Alice Springs adult prison is operating “well over-capacity”.

It also found many low risk prisoners are being classified as ‘high risk’, housed in isolation, and restricted from rehabilitative programs.

“That’s been an ongoing issue and that also comes down to the training of staff. We welcome intensive training of the staff, and should also look at whether there’s failures in the policies and procedures,” Ms Collins said.

The report recommended the classification of prisoners be managed externally.

The Hamburger Report was commissioned by the former Country Liberals government after boys were gassed and shackled at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre, but former Chief Minister Adam Giles refused to release its findings.

The new Labor government has accepted the findings and released an executive summary of the report, but it too has refused to make the whole document public, citing privacy issues.

The government says “some of the findings have been addressed”, and it will work to support collaborative Indigenous policy reforms over the next 12 months.

The full report will be tabled at the Royal Commission into Youth Detention.

The NT government last week introduced legislation to ban the use of restraint chairs on youths and has already moved youth justice out of the corrections and into the families department.

The NT Corrections Department annual report for 2015-16 has also been released this week, revealing the adult prison population has hit a 15-year high.

It found the Northern Territory’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prison populations are 30 per cent higher than the national average.

ad-2

partnerships-naccho

1. Call to action to Present
at the 2016 Members Conference closing 8 November
See below or Download here

2.NACCHO Partnership Opportunities

3. NACCHO Interim 3 day Program has been released
4. The dates are fast approaching – so register today
nt

NACCHO Aboriginal News Alert : New NT Labor Government hands back decision-making control to Indigenous communities

NT Ah Kit

“In devolving decision making, Labor will be guided by the principles outlined in the Aboriginal Peak Organisation’s Partnership Principle, which recognises the critically important role that control over life circumstances plays in improving Indigenous peoples lives.

Control is also central to a further fundamental determinant of our health and wellbeing—that of culture.

Culture is a universal aspect of human societies that gives meaning and value to individual and collective existence.”

Aboriginal Peak Organisation’s Partnership Principle

 ” The new NT Labor government will allow remote Northern Territory schools to choose to implement the Direct Instruction teaching method as part of a broader overhaul aimed at giving local people more control over their affairs.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner will also reinstate so-called community cabinets, whereby all ministers and departmental heads periodically conduct government business in the bush to ensure direct exposure to remote communities’ views.

Visiting Numbulwar, on the Gulf of Carpentaria shore about 550km southeast of Darwin, Mr Gunner yesterday said winning back four of five bush seats Labor lost in 2012 was “crucial to us having credibility” as a government for all Territorians.”

Report in The Australian 2 September see full story part 3 below

PHOTO New Arnhem MP Selena Uibo, left, with Chief Minister Michael Gunner and Numbulwar preschooler Relisha Hall, 4. Picture: Ivan Rachman

 “Labor’s win at the Northern Territory election will mean a new dawn for Indigenous affairs and policy making in Australia that will see decision making and control given back to Indigenous Territorians.

NT Labor Policy

The Northern Territory has by far the largest proportion of Indigenous residents with around a third of its population Indigenous.

As such, the Territory is home to some of the biggest challenges in Indigenous affairs, but is also home to a wealth of local policy making nous.  

With occasional involvement by the federal government to varying degrees and success, the policy making wherewithal needed to tackle the range of big and complex issues that touch Indigenous Territorians lives largely sits with NT politicians, bureaucrats, academics, land councils, health and education professionals – and of course with Indigenous Territorians.

Progressing reform to better the way government supports and respects the will of Indigenous NT residents.

It is for this reason the newly elected NT Labor government will deliver the most extensive return of local decision making to Indigenous communities since the Territory achieved self-government in 1978.

Labor will introduce a 10 year road map and local decisions oversight board made up of indigenous leaders from the NT that will see Indigenous communities take control over:

  • Housing;
  • Local government;
  • Education and training;
  • Health;
  • Looking after children; and
  • Law and justice.

The shift is huge. But it’s also an obvious step in progressing reform to improve the way government supports and respects the will of Indigenous Territorians.

Put the intervention and its top down policy making approach well and truly where it belongs: into history.

An NT Labor government will provide the backing where it has a central role to play – namely, in direct financial investment in supporting jobs for Indigenous Territorians including:

  • $4.1m for one off capital grants of up to $100,000 for Indigenous ranger groups to support jobs for Indigenous Territorians on their land;
  • Establish a land management and conservation fund of $2m per year to improve conservation practices on Aboriginal lands and sea country;
  • Amend the Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act to specifically recognise the role of Indigenous ranger groups in managing for conservation across large areas of the Territory; and
  • Provide $500,000 per annum to establish an Indigenous carbon unit within government to deliver carbon abatement and economic development on Indigenous land – this has the potential to unlock tens of millions of dollars of investment and jobs.

Not only does NT Labor’s policy lay important groundwork in the national discussion on constitutional recognition and/or treaty, this policy shift would finally, and thankfully, put the Intervention and its top down policy making approach well and truly where it belongs: into history.

apont-slider

Guiding principles for our research and policy work

Aboriginal Peak Organisations of the Northern Territory (APO NT) is an alliance comprising the Northern and Central land councils, the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency, the Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service and the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory.

The alliance was formed in recognition of the fact that our interests and responsibilities as organisations representing and governed by Aboriginal communities and organisations are inextricably linked.

Our shared interests are underpinned by an unwavering commitment to the principles of Aboriginal community control and self-determination.

We share an understanding that tackling the plight of our communities can only be achieved through coordinated action across a broad range of policy areas: in housing, employment, education and health; but equally importantly in ensuring that the right conditions are in place for creating strong, resilient communities.

This requires empowering and giving responsibility to govern our communities and control our organisations in determining our futures—to control and manage the delivery of services, to build and maintain community infrastructure and to develop sustainable enterprises and livelihoods on our traditional lands, as well as on those lands that have been alienated from us.

It requires empowering individuals through developing self-esteem and strong cultural identity that can underpin educational achievement, enhanced capacity to obtain and remain in employment, and to avoid destructive behaviours such as interpersonal violence that all too often lead to contact with the criminal justice system.

And it requires strong action in tackling the scourge of alcohol and other drugs, its underlying causes and accompanying burden of unresolved and ongoing intergenerational trauma in our families and communities.

A belief in evidence

Importantly, our belief in these principles is not merely aspirational, but is supported by a strong evidence base: that of the social determinants of health.

The overwhelming body of evidence of the social determinants of health shows that our health and wellbeing is profoundly affected by a range of interacting economic, social and cultural factors. Key amongst these are:

• Poverty, economic inequality and social status;
• Housing;
• Employment and job security;
• Social exclusion, including isolation, discrimination and racism;
• Education and care in early life;
• Food security and access to a balanced and adequate diet;
• Addictions, particularly to alcohol, inhalants and tobacco;
• Access to adequate health services
• Control over life circumstances.

Psychosocial factors, particularly stress and control, are critically important.

Put simply, the less control we have over our lives the more stress we experience. Stress is associated with anxiety, insecurity, low self-esteem, social isolation and disrupted work and home lives. It can increase the risk of chronic illnesses such as depression, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack.

This evidence demonstrates that there is a social gradient of health that reflects and affects our opportunities to lead safe, healthy and productive lives for ourselves and our children.

Culture matters!

Control is also central to a further fundamental determinant of our health and wellbeing—that of culture.

Culture is a universal aspect of human societies that gives meaning and value to individual and collective existence.

In the context of societies with dominant and minority cultures, such as Australia, the widespread and persistent suppression of minority cultural practices causes severe disruption, making our communities susceptible to trauma, collective helplessness and endemic maladaptive coping practices.

These can be passed on through the generations, as we have witnessed in relation to the processes of colonisation and past government policies such as those of the Stolen Generations.

We believe that we are also witnessing the generation of such impacts in relation to ongoing government policies, for example, the misguided, coercive approaches of the NT Intervention and Stronger Futures.

The final report of the World Health Organization Commission on the Social Determinants of Health highlighted the issues of cultural suppression and loss, social exclusion and lack of consent and control as key factors affecting Indigenous populations.

The above underscores that the control that we seek over our lives, communities and land is far more than a political aspiration that government may interpret as something it can arbitrarily restrict or deny us. It is as fundamental to our health and wellbeing—and hence to the task of Closing the Gap in life outcomes—as it is to our rights and interests as Aboriginal peoples.

APO NT’s work is informed by these principles and the evidence on which they are based and we will continue to communicate with government to ensure that our voice is heard.

Labor will let remote schools choose Direct Instruction: Gunner

The new Labor government will allow remote Northern Territory schools to choose to implement the Direct Instruction teaching method as part of a broader overhaul aimed at giving local people more control over their affairs.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner will also reinstate so-called community cabinets, whereby all ministers and departmental heads periodically conduct government business in the bush to ensure direct exposure to remote communities’ views.

Visiting Numbulwar, on the Gulf of Carpentaria shore about 550km southeast of Darwin, Mr Gunner yesterday said winning back four of five bush seats Labor lost in 2012 was “crucial to us having credibility” as a government for all Territorians.

“It’s really important that we do as much as possible to make sure that locals have meaningful control of their lives. Because when we make decisions in Darwin or when we make decisions in Canberra, we get it a little bit right, but if we get it wrong we get it a lot wrong,” he said.

“If you make decisions locally, occasionally you’re going to make mistakes. But when you get it right you get a lot right, and when you get it wrong you get it a little wrong.

“We will avoid what is often a common mistake and that is, if someone makes a mistake locally, we strip that decision-making power back to Canberra or back to Darwin.”

He visited Numbulwar with incoming local Labor member Selena Uibo, who was until recently a Direct Instruction teacher at the community school. The method was introduced to the Territory by former education minister Peter Chandler under the previous CLP government.

Ms Uibo praised DI and said she would push for broader ­adoption. “I found that it was doing its job in terms of teaching young people who were not Eng­lish speakers the system and the context of learning English and breaking down and contextualising English as part of reading as well,” she said.

Numbulwar School Council chairwoman Hida Ngalmi said DI was “working”.

“We need our children to speak English and to learn how to put their sentences together properly … we don’t want them speaking Kriol all the time,” she said. The school also runs a program aimed at revitalising the Wubuy language.

Teachers Lauren Zaharani and Chris O’Neil also said they found the DI method useful.

“It’s my first experience (of DI) and I think it’s working,” said Mr O’Neil. “It’s certainly building their reading capacity.”

Year 8 students Shrell Manggurra and Alphias Numamurrdidi said they looked forward to going to high school and getting jobs.

Mr Gunner said he was pleased with the positive feedback about DI from Numbulwar.

“I’ve had reports from other communities where it hasn’t quite been the right thing,” he said. “We want to make sure that the schools, locally, can develop how they teach in their classrooms as suits their community — we want to give that flexibility.”

Mr Gunner said the priority should be educational outcomes.

“I don’t think anyone in the Territory should be satisfied with our current results. We have to, and must, do better,” he said.

Labor has committed $300,000 for each school to be spent on improvements to the education environment that would not otherwise be possible under the triaged system of ­maintenance.

Numbulwar School plans to use the money to move sand to create a larger play area and ­better carpark, and to purchase hydroponic equipment for older kids to use.

NACCHO #closethegap kidney and heart disease : How can we cut salt, sugar in basic foods in remote Aboriginal communities

 

N2

“Food manufacturers should find ways to reduce salt and sugar in basic foods to help prevent the high rates of kidney disease in remote Australian communities, .

Lowering the cost of healthy food in remote areas — where the burden of end-stage kidney disease is up to 30 times higher than the rest of Australia — was not enough.

The health sector should partner up with food manufacturers to lower the salt content in foods like bread and processed meat, which are the major contributors to kidney and heart disease.”

“The new initiatives, we hope, might involve trying to improve the quality of food that’s in the food supply that people naturally get, so that people eat and enjoy food with a lower salt content without even noticing,” Professor Cass said.

He said it was important for partnerships to be formed between stores and communities with the goal of making healthy food accessible and affordable.

“[It’s essential] to try to work with schools so that kids themselves are involved in programs to make healthy food attractive,” Professor Cass said.

Rate of kidney disease in the NT worst in the world

These are mothers and fathers with children … people at the peak of their community and family activity who are affected by this illness

Professor Alan Cass, Menzies School of Health Research

The Northern Territory has the highest rate of kidney disease in Australia and the world, and is a major community and health service problem.

The rate is also far higher among the Indigenous population, particularly young people.

“These are mothers and fathers with children, people who might otherwise be in employment if they weren’t very unwell,” Professor Cass said.

“So it’s people at the peak of their community and family activity who are affected by this illness.”

Money making its way to people who need it most

The federal and Territory governments have increased efforts to bolster treatment services for people with end-stage kidney disease, and injected $25 million to the cause in July last year.

Sarah Brown from the Alice Springs-based dialysis treatment centre Purple House said the money had helped keep her centre’s door open for the next three years.

She said it had also kickstarted the building of new dialysis infrastructure in remote communities so sick people did not have to go to cities for treatment.

A woman receives dialysis

“When we talk to patients and families, the number one issue is having access to country and family and not being away from all those things that are important,” Ms Brown said.

“So we’ve made considerable strides in that front, but there are still lots of people who are stuck away from their families to access treatment.”

Ms Brown said there also needed to be more money made available for kidney transplant services.

But both Ms Brown and Professor Cass said the long-term policy focus had to be on prevention.

“In terms of improving access to effective prevention treatment, screenings for kidney damage and best possible control of diabetes, blood pressure, smoking cessation and diet for people with early kidney disease,” Professor Cass said.

Ms Brown agreed screenings and diet were part of the solution.

“Kidney disease is a disease of poverty, powerlessness and dispossession,” Ms Brown said.

“Communities need to have some agency over their lives and future: housing, education, environmental health. What’s really important is people having a vision for their future and some understanding that life on communities and their culture is valued by the general Australian community.”

Declaration of Interest : The editor of NACCHO Communique Colin Cowell was the originator of the Cuz Congress food branding concept

DO YOU HAVE AN Aboriginal Health message to share with out 100,000 readers in 150 communities and 302 Medical Clinics ??

Our Newspaper closes March 18 for Advertising

BOOK Here or for More INFO

ir culture is valued by the general Australian community.”

 

NACCHO alert NIDAC: The report on the consultations of the National Aboriginal Peoples’ Drug Strategy

Consultations for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Drug Strategy

The report on the consultations  conducted by NIDAC to inform the development of the National Aboriginal &  Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Drug Strategy is now available online.

Close The gap
Background
The National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee (NIDAC) was engaged by the Intergovernmental Committee on Drugs National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Drug Strategy (NATSIPDS) Working Group to undertake consultations in six locations in Australia to inform the development of the NATSIPDS.
The consultations conducted by NIDAC built on work that has been undertaken by the NATSIPDS Working Group and feedback from the evaluation of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Complementary Action Plan (The CAP) and the Yarning Circle, conducted at the 2nd National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Conference held in Fremantle, WA in June 2012.
The consultations were held at the following locations:
Location Date
Port Augusta, SA Monday 20 May 2013
Sydney, NSW Tuesday 21 May 2013
Mt Isa, QLD Thursday 23 May 2013
Perth, WA Monday 27 May 2013
Broome, WA Tuesday 28 May 2013
Alice Springs, NT Thursday 30 May 2013
Background to the NATSIPDS
The Intergovernmental Committee on Drugs National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Drug Strategy (NATSIPDS) Working Group
This Working Group consists of experts from around Australia from both the government and non government sector with the Assistant Secretary, Drug Strategy Branch of the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing filling the role of Chair and the Chair and Co Chair of the National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee as the Co Vice-Chairs.
The NATSIPDS will:
  • be aimed at minimising alcohol, tobacco and other drug-related health, social and economic harms among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, families and communities;
  • cover urban and metropolitan areas as well as rural and remote communities;
  • take a harm minimisation approach which encompasses the three equally important which will become a sub- strategy of the National Drug Strategy 2010 -2015;
  • build on the longstanding partnerships between the health and law enforcement sectors and seek to support the health-law enforcement partnership and strengthen linkages across other sectors as appropriate;
  • recognise the importance of working within a holistic and culturally appropriate framework; and
  • offer a clear policy framework that will guide current and future efforts to minimise the harm of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their communities.
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Drug Strategy will replace the current National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Complementary Action Plan (The CAP) (http://www.nationaldrugstrategy.gov.au/internet/drugstrategy/publishing.nsf/Content/indigenous-drug-strategy-lp) and will have links to other relevant documents, including the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Health Plan and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy.