NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #SuicidePrevention News Alerts : #Closethegap : #NACCHO and @TheRACP Peak Health bodies call for Prime Minister and state and territory leaders to declare Aboriginal youth #suicide crisis an urgent national health priority

The recent Aboriginal youth suicides represent a national emergency that demands immediate attention.

Aboriginal community controlled health services need to be properly resourced to ensure our children are having regular health checks and to develop community led solutions.’

NACCHO CEO, Ms Patricia Turner : See NACCHO RACP press release : see Part 1 below

See all 130 + NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Suicide Prevention articles published over last 7 years 

“Funded programs are not required to demonstrate a measurable reduction in suicide and mental health risk factors, which is staggering,

We just aren’t demanding that basic level of accountability

The first priority must be analyses of suicide mortality data to identify the causal pathways,  

Suicide risk is the most complex thing to assess and monitor … communities are crying out for specialist assistance and just not getting it. “Children as young as 10 are dying by suicide … this is no longer an Aboriginal issue, it’s a national one,

Indigenous psychologist Adjunct Professor Tracy Westerman said Australia had failed to collect crucial evidence to determine what intervention strategies work. See Part 2 below 

 ” Community driven action plans to prevent suicide are extending across the Kimberley, with four more communities implementing plans to save lives and improve health and well-being.

As part of the Kimberley Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Trial, Kununurra, Balgo, Wyndham and Halls Creek now have local plans, joining Broome, Derby and Bidyadanga.

Each community receives up to $130,000 to help roll out its action plan which reflects and responds to local issues

See Minister Ken Wyatt Press Release and Communique Part 3 and 4 Below

Part 1 RACP and NACCHO Press Release

JOINT STATEMENT

HEALTH BODIES DECLARE ABORIGINAL YOUTH SUICIDE AN URGENT NATIONAL PRIORITY

  • Health bodies call for Prime Minister and state and territory leaders to declare urgent national health priority
  • Immediate investment in Aboriginal-led mental health and wellbeing services needed to stop child deaths
  • Long-term solution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander self-determination requires commitment to Uluru Statement from the Heart

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) are calling on the Prime Minister to make tackling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth suicides a national health priority.

Suicide was once unknown to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples but now every community has been affected by suicide.

In response to the recent Aboriginal youth suicides and the release of the WA Coroner’s report on the inquest into the deaths of thirteen children and young persons in the Kimberley Region, we are calling on the Prime Minister and state and territory leaders to put the issue at the top of the COAG agenda and to implement a coordinated crisis response to urgently scale up Aboriginal led mental health services before more young lives are tragically lost.

An urgent boost to Aboriginal community controlled health services is required to build on the existing range of initiatives that are being rolled out. We also call on the Government to expand upon evidence-based resilience and cultural connection programs to be adapted and attuned to local needs.

We are calling on the Federal Government to:

  • Provide secure and long-term funding to Aboriginal community controlled health services to expand their mental health, social and emotional wellbeing, suicide prevention, and alcohol and other drugs services, using best-practice traumainformed approaches
  • Increase funding for ACCHSs to employ staff to deliver mental health and social and emotional wellbeing services, including psychologists, psychiatrists, speech pathologists, mental health workers and other professionals and workers;
  • Increase the delivery of training to Aboriginal health practitioners to establish and/or consolidate skills development in mental health care and support, including suicide prevention
  • Commit to developing a comprehensive strategy to build resilience and facilitate healing from intergenerational trauma, designed and delivered in collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

RACP spokesperson Dr Mick Creati, said: “The unspeakable child suicide tragedy that has been unfolding requires a national response and the attention of the Prime Minister. Unless we see urgent boost to investment in Aboriginal-led mental health services then the deaths will continue.”

RANZCP President Dr Kym Jenkins, said: ‘We must address the factors underlying suicidality in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, including intergenerational trauma, disadvantage and distress. For this, we urgently need an increased capacity of mental health and wellbeing services to help people and communities recover from trauma and build resilience for the future.’

Part 2 Leaders urged to declare Aboriginal child suicides a ‘national crisis’

 Kate Aubusson From the Brisbane Times 20 March 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison must declare Indigenous child suicides a national emergency and overhaul current strategies, peak medical and health bodies have demanded.

The call comes in the wake of harrowing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child suicide rates, and the WA coroner’s inquest into the deaths of 13 young people, five aged between 10 and 13 years in the Kimberley region.

A joint statement from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) has urged Mr Morrison and all state and territory leaders to make Indigenous youth suicides an “urgent national health priority”.

The organisations called on the leaders to launch a “coordinated crisis response” and invest in Aboriginal-led strategies “before more young lives are tragically lost”.

In January, five Aboriginal girls aged between 12 and 15 years took their own lives.

The latest ABS data shows Indigenous children aged 10 to 14 die of suicide at 8.4 times the rate of non-Indigenous children. One in four aged under 18 who suicided were Aboriginal.

None of the 13 children who died by suicide had a mental health assessment, according to the coroner’s report.

The international journal The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health recently called Australia’s Indigenous youth suicide rate an “unmitigated crisis”.

NACCHO CEO Pat Turner said the recent Aboriginal youth suicides was “a national emergency that demands immediate attention”.

The joint statement called for Indigenous community-led solutions, long-term funding boosts to Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) for best-practice and trauma-informed mental health, suicide prevention, and drug and alcohol programs.

The organisations also pushed for more ACCHS funding to employ more psychologists, psychiatrists, speech pathologists and mental health workers, increase training for Aboriginal health practitioners to develop a comprehensive strategy focused on resilience and intergenerational trauma healing.

In September the Morrison government announced $36 million in national suicide prevention projects.

Paediatrician with Victorian Aboriginal Health Service Dr Mick Creati said Indigenous suicides could not be prevented by a “white bread psychiatry model”.

Aboriginal suicides were often radically different from those among the general population, research shows. They were more likely to be impulsive, potentially triggered by some kind of interpersonal conflict.

The crisis demanded a “different, culturally appropriate model”, Dr Creati said.

“We don’t know exactly what the right model is yet … but Aboriginal people need to be included [in their development] to make sure they are appropriate for Aboriginal populations.”

But Indigenous psychologist Adjunct Professor Tracy Westerman said Australia had failed to collect crucial evidence to determine what intervention strategies work.

“Funded programs are not required to demonstrate a measurable reduction in suicide and mental health risk factors, which is staggering,” Professor Westerman said.

“We just aren’t demanding that basic level of accountability”.

The first priority must be analyses of suicide mortality data to identify the causal pathways,  Professor Westerman said.

“Suicide risk is the most complex thing to assess and monitor … communities are crying out for specialist assistance and just not getting it. “Children as young as 10 are dying by suicide … this is no longer an Aboriginal issue, it’s a national one,” she said.

Part 3 The eighth meeting of the Kimberley Suicide Prevention Trial Working Group was held on 14 March in Broome communique

The Working Group discussed the findings of WA Coroner’s Report into suicide deaths in the Kimberley and continued its consideration of resources and strategies to support activity as part of the suicide Prevention trial.

The meeting today was chaired by the Hon Ken Wyatt, Minister for Indigenous Health (Commonwealth) and attended by the Hon Roger Cook, Deputy Premier and Minister for Health (WA State Government), Senator the Hon Patrick Dodson (Commonwealth) and Member for the Kimberley, the Hon Josie Farrer MLC (WA State Government). Apologies were received from the Hon Ben Wyatt, Minister for Indigenous Affairs (WA State Government).

The meeting was also attended by over 40 representatives from communities, organisations and government agencies.

Key messages from today’s discussion included:

  • A shared commitment to work together at all levels of government to develop place-based, and Aboriginal-led and designed responses.
  • A commitment to ongoing collaboration.
  • Acknowledgement of the good work achieved thus far – but noting more needs to be done.
  • The role of the community liaison officers on the ground across Kimberley communities was highlighted as an example of good progress – connecting services and projects with what people want.
  • The need to continue mapping services was agreed.
  • The need for holistic approaches was highlighted.
  • Community organisations are keen to work with the State and Commonwealth Governments on solutions that address the recommendations in relation to the report of the WA Coronial Inquest and all other referenced reports.

Part 4 Minister Wyatt Press release

Community driven action plans to prevent suicide are extending across the Kimberley, with four more communities implementing plans to save lives and improve health and well-being.

As part of the Kimberley Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Trial, Kununurra, Balgo, Wyndham and Halls Creek now have local plans, joining Broome, Derby and Bidyadanga.

Each community receives up to $130,000 to help roll out its action plan which reflects and responds to local issues.

However, the four new plans have a common thread – they are centred on people working and walking together on country, with a series of camps involving high-risk groups.

The camps are planned to provide a range of supports around suicide including healing and sharing and respecting cultural knowledge and traditions. They will also support close engagement with Elders.

A strong cultural framework underpins all the Trial’s activities and all the projects identified by the communities fit within the systems-based approach, guided by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP).

Nine communities are involved in the Kimberley Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Trial, with Community Liaison Officers playing a critical role.

The outcomes will contribute to a national evaluation which aims to find the most effective approaches to suicide prevention for at-risk populations and share this knowledge across Australia.

The Morrison Government is supporting the Kimberley Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Trial with $4 million over four years, from 2016-2020.

It is one of 12 Suicide Prevention Trials being conducted across the nation, with total funding of $48 million.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #refreshtheCTGRefresh Campaign : 13 peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander bodies propose meeting  with COAG reps to determine a framework for reaching agreement on a refreshed #ClosingtheGap strategy

We understand that at this stage it is intended that new Closing the Gap targets will be settled at COAG’s December meeting,

We are calling on COAG to hold off doing this and instead put in place a proper partnership mechanism with us. The new targets haven’t been published and Indigenous peaks are uncertain what the targets will be and therefore we cannot provide our support.

NACCHO and the peak bodies engaged with the process, took time to submit written submissions and attend workshops to discuss refreshing the Closing the Gap strategy earlier this year. But we can’t see how our input has been taken into account,

As a first step we propose a meeting with COAG representatives and the peak bodies to discuss a way forward that includes a genuine partnership approach.

Aboriginal people need to be at the centre of the Closing the Gap Refresh policy; the gap won’t close without our full engagement and involvement.

Having Aboriginal people involved in the design of the Refresh and proposed revised targets will lead to Aboriginal people taking greater responsibility for the outcomes. It’s been proven that Aboriginal community control is vital and delivers better outcomes for our people.” 

NACCHO Chief Executive Pat Turner AM see interview Part 3 below 

Download the NACCHO Press Release Here

NACCHO media release Refresh The CTG Refresh

Part 1 NACCHO Press Release continued 

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and other Aboriginal peak bodies across Australia have written to COAG First Ministers seeking a full partnership approach between Indigenous people and governments in refreshing the Closing the Gap Strategy, scheduled to be put to COAG for consideration in Adelaide on 12 December.

The letter, signed by 13 peak bodies, proposes an urgent meeting of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak bodies to meet with COAG representatives to determine a framework for reaching agreement on a refreshed Closing the Gap strategy.

It’s the second letter the group has written to COAG after failing to receive a response to their initial letter in early October from any government except the Northern Territory.

Part 2 Letter to Council of Australian Government First Ministers

Dear Council of Australian Government First Ministers 16/11/2018

We write again, further to our letter of 4 October 2018, concerning the Closing the Gap Refresh, a joint initiative of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), to seek a formal partnership mechanism between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and governments in the Closing the Gap Refresh policy. We have only received a response from the Northern Territory Government.

As stated in our original letter, all of us believe it is essential that agreement is reached on the Closing the Gap Refresh policy between Indigenous organisations, on behalf of communities across Australia and Australian governments. What we propose is entirely consistent with the commitment made by COAG to set a new relationship with our communities based on a partnership.

If governments alone, continue to make decisions about the Closing the Gap, without an opportunity for us to be at the table, it will not be possible to advocate with any confidence or motivate our communities to support Closing the Gap and to take joint responsibility with governments for achieving the targets.

Pictures above and below from our #refreshtheCTGRefresh Campaign

The evidence is strong that when Indigenous people are included and have a real say in the design and delivery of services that impact on them, the outcomes are far better. We are certain that Indigenous peoples need to be at the centre of the Closing the Gap Refresh policy: the gap won’t close without our full involvement and COAG First Ministers, who are responsible for the Closing the Gap framework, cannot expect us to take responsibility and work constructively with them to improve outcomes if we are excluded from the decision making.

We have proposed a reasonable way forward to Australian Governments in our original letter without making it public to give everyone a reasonable opportunity to consider it. However, we understand that it is the intention of Australian Governments to still settle on targets at the forthcoming meeting of COAG on 12 December 2018.

We also understand that implementation arrangements are to be left over for COAG to agree in 2019. We make the points that neither ourselves nor anyone else outside government have seen the proposed targets which we think is way short of being partners and transparent and we cannot see how the targets can be agreed without considering at the same time how they are to be achieved.

We assume that Australian Governments will justify agreeing to targets by referring to the consultations earlier this year. Those consultations were demonstrably inadequate. They were conducted at a very superficial level without an opportunity for Indigenous interests to be prepared for the workshops held across Australia.

They were based on a discussion paper produced by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in December 2017 and which stated that only one of the seven targets was on track which two months later was contradicted by the former Prime Minister who said that three targets were on track. Critical elements of the original Closing the Gap framework, particularly COAG’s National Indigenous Reform Agreement, were not referred to at all in the consultations and the focus was on new targets instead of how we could make sure that this time around they were achieved.

There was no independent report prepared on the outcomes of the consultations and there is no way of telling if what was said in the consultations is reflected in the proposed Refresh policy including the targets.

The consultations started far too late which has left us with 4 targets having expired in June 2018. We do not accept that we have been properly consulted let alone given the opportunity to negotiate a mechanism that allows a proper partnership to be put in place in relation to the design, delivery and monitoring of Closing the Gap.

There is a now a significant opportunity to put this disappointing process back on track and in particular to establish a robust Closing the Gap framework founded on a genuine partnership between Indigenous people and governments.

It is open to governments on 12 December 2018, to endorse a partnership approach and establish a mechanism to initiate negotiations between representatives of COAG and Peak organisations with a view to developing a genuine partnership as part of the Closing the Gap Refresh. This would be endorsed by the Peak Organisations across Australia.

Subject to COAG endorsing a partnership approach, we propose a meeting of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak bodies to meet with COAG representatives to determine a framework for reaching agreement on a refreshed closing the gap strategy.

We stand ready to do this quickly and would work with COAG on having a partnership framework in place in early 2019 with a revised approach agreed by the middle of the year.

Ms Pat Turner AM, the CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, is our contact for the purpose of responding to this vital matter and we ask that you contact her.

We look forward to working with you on the Closing the Gap Refresh through an established partnership mechanism.

Yours sincerely,

 

Part 3 Going backwards’: Aboriginal bodies take aim at Closing the Gap

Aboriginal peak organisations have slammed federal, state and territory governments for failing to give Indigenous leaders an effective role in re-energising the faltering Closing the Gap process.

In a letter written jointly to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, chief ministers and premiers, the leaders of the 13 peak bodies say they have been shut out of meaningful consultation about refreshed targets to overcome Aboriginal disadvantage.

By Deborah Snow SMH 19 November

Pat Turner, chief executive of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, said "it's all gone backwards".
Pat Turner, chief executive of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, said “it’s all gone backwards”. CREDIT:GLENN CAMPBELL

And they want the Coalition of Australian Governments – due to consider an update to Closing the Gap next month – to defer setting new targets until a fresh pact is hammered out giving “full partnership” to Aboriginal bodies.

“I think it’s all gone backwards,” the chief executive of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), Pat Turner,  told the Herald.

“In the last few years, governments seem to have dropped the ball a lot. I hope they are giving serious consideration to our letter. They can’t go on having two bob each-way. They are there to lead and they have to have a bit of backbone. [The state of] Aboriginal affairs is a national shame, it is something that they should be wanting to get fixed.”

Ms Turner said only one government – the Northern Territory – had bothered replying to the group when they first wrote a letter a month ago seeking better consultation over new targets and implementation strategies.

“NACCHO and the peak [Indigenous] bodies engaged with the process took time to submit written submissions and attend workshops to discuss refreshing the Closing the Gap strategy earlier this year” she said. “But we can’t see how our input has been taken into account.”

The peak bodies decided on Sunday to release a second letter they wrote to all governments at the end of last week.

The letter says the “disappointing” Closing the Gap process has to be put “back on track” with Indigenous people taking part in the design and delivery of services on the basis of “genuine partnership”.

“As a first step we propose a meeting with COAG representatives and the peak bodies to discuss [such an] approach” Ms Turner said.

The Herald sought a response from Aboriginal Affairs minister Nigel Scullion but was unable to contact his office on Sunday.

Closing the Gap was first conceived of a decade ago as a way to measure Aboriginal disadvantage and set clear targets to redress it.

Earlier this year a report from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet said three of seven targets were “on track”: to halve the gap in year 12 attainment and halve the gap in child mortality by 2018, and to have 95 per cent of Indigenous four-year-olds enrolled in early childhood education by 2025.

However it said that other targets, including halving the gap in reading and numeracy, and halving the gap in employment, as well as closing the gap on life expectancy, were not on track.

 

 

 

NACCHO #NAIDOCWEEK #BecauseofherWeCan #WeCan18 @RecAustralia Interview with NACCHO CEO Pat Turner “A reconciled nation will be when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have self-determination over their own lives without the constraints of poverty and the burden of disease “

“ A reconciled nation will be when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have self-determination over their own lives without the constraints of poverty and the burden of disease. We will be in charge of our own affairs and in control over decisions that impact on us.

Our past will be fully acknowledged and our collective future celebrated without reservation. There will be no more debates over our shared history and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ land ownership.

Racism will not be a barrier to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people accessing education, employment and health services.

There will be complete acceptance of our unique cultural heritage and identities by all Australians enabling our languages, our connection to land and our cultural practices to flourish without restraint and be incorporated in all aspects of our nationhood “

Pat Turner AM NACCHO CEO interview with Reconciliation Australia when asked  : What does a reconciled Australia look like to you?

“They’ve allowed us to retain our identity”

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Australia CEO Pat Turner tells National Rural Health Alliance  Di Martin about the importance of Aboriginal grandmothers guarding language and culture #BecauseOfHerWecan

VIEW HERE

Background Pat Turner AM

Ms Pat Turner AM is the daughter of an Arrernte man and a Gurdanji woman, and was born and raised in Alice Springs.

After her father’s death in an accident at work, Ms Turner’s family experienced extreme financial hardship. Her mother’s courage and leadership in the face of such difficult circumstances was a constant inspiration.

Ms Turner joined the Australian Public Service in the early 1970s and joined the senior executive ranks by the mid-1980s. She worked in a range of prominent roles, including as Deputy Secretary in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet during 1991-92, where she had oversight of the establishment of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation. In 1994-98, Ms Turner was the CEO of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, making her the most senior Indigenous government official in the country.

Over the years, Ms Turner became more committed to the politics of self-determination. At a professional level, this meant being a firm supporter of community-based service delivery of health and welfare programs for Aboriginal people.

Today, Ms Turner is the CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO). NACCHO is the peak body representing 144 Aboriginal community-controlled health services across the country on Aboriginal health and wellbeing issues.

Interview continued: What or who got you involved in reconciliation? 

I first started thinking about reconciliation and the place of Aboriginal people in Australia after attending the graduation ceremony of Uncle Charlie Perkins from Sydney University with Nanna Hetty Perkins. I was thirteen at the time, and listening to Charlie speak, I started to understand the importance of education if I wanted to make a difference.

After joining the Australian Public Service and moving from Alice Springs to Canberra, I was later appointed Deputy Secretary, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. It was here I had a specific role in working for the Government on the legislation and establishment of the Council of Aboriginal Reconciliation. I was the inaugural National Secretary to the Council.

After returning to Alice Springs in 2006 I held the position of CEO of National Indigenous Television where I supported the celebration of Indigenous culture and helped challenge perceptions and fears of many non-Indigenous Australians about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples that are a continuing barrier to reconciliation.

What do you see as the biggest challenges to national reconciliation?

Our biggest challenges are twofold:

Firstly, making both Federal and State Governments truly accountable to eliminate poverty and disadvantage endured by our people.

Secondly, acceptance and respect by all Australians of our unique cultural heritage and identities, our relationship with land, our languages and our cultural practices, so that those areas and the essence of our beings are incorporated into all aspects of Australian life and government efforts to eliminate our disadvantage.

NACCHO Aboriginal Women’ Health #NWHS18 Read full Keynote Address Pat Turner CEO NACCHO @RANZCOG National Women’s Health Summit

RANZCOG National Women’s Health Summit

2 March 2018

Patricia Turner, CEO NACCHO

Keynote address “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Health”

Read over 300 NACCHO Aboriginal Health Articles we have published over the past 6 years : SUBSCRIBE HERE

 

I begin by paying my respects to members of the Gadigal of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of this place we now call Sydney.

It is proper that I acknowledge the different Aboriginal groups when I travel to various parts of Australia because it should never be forgotten that our people have lived here for over 65,000 years. In those days Australia was a truly liveable place for our people.

So, thank you very much for the warm welcome Julia and to RANZCOG for inviting me to speak today.

It was important to hear from Minister Hunt, to listen to Professor Baum articulate the social determinants of women’s health and Professor Gannon discuss the economic impact of women’s health.

It is an honour to be asked to address an audience of 100 successful and influential women from the health care sector.

Today this summit is an opportunity to highlight health challenges facing Aboriginal women today. To help them live healthier, longer lives, supported by better, more targeted health services across the nation.

But first, I think this morning is an opportunity for all of us in this place to celebrate the contribution women make in our lives.

It is important to acknowledge how far we have all come together over the last 100 years.

The new medical technology now saves countless lives, the testing regimens are first rate, surgical care has been enhanced and women now have pathways to a multitude of careers and thrive in the health workforce. Some are even in positions of ‘real power’ to advocate for reforms.

Now let’s be clear that Australia has a world-class health system, but not for all of us! Yes, I could mention issues around pay, promotion, mentoring, bullying and harassment but that’s not why we are here today! So, let’s focus today on the fact that health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in Australia are a long way from those of non-Indigenous women.

Whilst it is very flattering to be counted as one of the 100 influential women in this room.

It is important that you know how I became the person I did. I know that my experience was gained from and influenced by my mother.

She was the first medical person I knew. She cared for me and my family as a healer and she helped make me the woman I am today. Education just knocked off my rough edges!

Now, let’s not forget that Aboriginal people invented Bush Medicine which they still use today. They had ready access to bush tucker and led a healthy way of life before colonisation. We still have remnants of our past practice that continue today like using traditional healers and have access to very advanced Western medical models of health care.

I have had a long, varied and distinguished career in the Australian Public Service including as Deputy Secretary of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Centrelink and was the longest serving CEO of ATSIC. I was also the inaugural CEO of the National Indigenous Television (NITV). So, I know how to argue for a change in women’s health policy. I’ve had a lot of experience in dealing across bureaucracy, Ministers, budget cycles, developing public health initiatives and campaigns and essentially dealing with governments at every level in this country.

Now, NACCHO is the national peak body representing 144 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in over 304 clinics and health settings. Our very first AMS started in Redfern and has 47 years of experience to draw upon.

We provide about three million episodes of care each year for about 350,000 people which is provided by almost 6,000 staff. In very remote areas, our services provided about one million episodes of care. Over 50 per cent of the workforce is Aboriginal and we are working at increasing that.

There are many gaps in our Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and their holistic approach in delivering comprehensive primary care to our people, no matter where they live. We are mapping those gaps. Our aim is to ensure full coverage for our people.

We are funded by the Australian Government to support improvements in Indigenous health through the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services network and to bring the voices of those services into health policy decisions in Canberra.

NACCHO is independent of, trusted by and offers a strong voice to the federal government for the provision of specific community sector health care needs for Aboriginal people that is controlled by Aboriginal people. This ensures a strong voice in policy work and participation in policy development and legislation advocating and dealing with the issues as they arise or as reforms are discussed.

I coordinate 25 staff who sit on some 60 national committees and bodies. Historically NACCHO has a proud tradition and has developed over the last 20 years a strong coalition of support with other NGO’s working across a diverse range of areas.

We offer an alternative point of view enhanced by years of dedicated experience. Aboriginal perspectives from our governing bodies and staff about culturally appropriate healthcare needs are admired and respected by government.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples represented 2.8 per cent of the population counted in the 2016 Census or 649,200 people of whom 326,996 were females. The median age of an Aboriginal is 23 years and only one in ten reported speaking one of the 150 Australian Indigenous languages at home.

There were 18,560 births registered in Australia during 2016 (6% of all births) where at least one parent reported themselves as being an Aboriginal or about 2.12 babies per woman. Births to women aged under 30 years contributed three-quarters (73%) of the total fertility rate for Aboriginal women with the median age of 25.5 years when having their first child.

This is important, especially when you realise that our Aboriginal population will increase to one million people by 2030.

As many of you would know, the state of Aboriginal health continues to be cause for both national shame and requires national action. I’m still as frustrated as some of you are that we have not Closed the gap for Indigenous people, had meaningful reconciliation in this nation and enhanced Aboriginal women’s health.

I believe there is no agenda more critical to Australia than enabling Aboriginal people to live good quality lives while enjoying all their rights and fulfilling their responsibilities to themselves, their families and communities. Aboriginal people should feel safe in their strong cultural knowledge being freely practiced and acknowledged across the country. This should include the daily use of our languages, in connection with our lands and with ready access to resources.

Aboriginal people should feel free from racism, empowered as individuals and have educational opportunities, careers, and health services to meet their needs and overcome inequality, poverty and increase life expectancy.

Now the Australian Government’s 2007 commitment to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous life expectancy within a generation was welcome. But the Close the Gap agenda did not deliver on a fundamental change to the way governments work with Aboriginal people.

I want to be very clear that progress against the closing the gap targets is now stalling and, in many cases, is going backwards.

I am also concerned that the Government is now shifting the focus to ‘prosperity’ targets, when we don’t even have the basic targets on track.

The figures paint a staggering reality. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare tells us that the mortality gaps are actually widening.

No government can preside over widening mortality gaps and maintain goals to improve life expectancy and child mortality rates. On average Indigenous men and women die 15 years earlier than other Australians. Indigenous people suffer chronic diseases that are entirely preventable and have virtually been eliminated in the non-Indigenous population: trachoma, rheumatic heart disease and congenital deaths as a direct result of the current Syphilis outbreak across Australia, are but three examples.

The Closing the Gap target to halve the gap in child mortality by 2018 is not on track. Our children are dying at almost three times the rate of non-Indigenous children and there is a clear disparity in birth outcomes for my people. So, we now all appreciate and understand that our services are on the frontlines of women’s healthcare every day.

But of course, it’s not all bad news, NACCHO, its affiliates and our hardworking member services have had recent success with various national health programs. As you know Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can result in birth defects and behavioural and neurodevelopmental abnormalities including Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

NACCHO recently provided advice to mothers that included practical advice and assistance with breastfeeding, nutrition and parenting, monitoring of developmental milestones, immunisations status and infections controls in 85 health service sites in remote, regional and urban locations. The FASD Prevention and Health Promotion Resources worked and did help to reduce the impacts of FASD in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The information also provided an opportunity to engage our local communities about other health issues like tobacco smoking, substance misuse and improving diets.

On the ground, Through Better Start to Life campaign, our Northern Territory member Danila Dilba has recently begun offering home nurse visits, meaning Darwin children and families now have more culturally appropriate access to antenatal and postnatal care resulting in better pregnancy outcomes which is vital in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life.

We now know that Mums participating in this program have fewer low birth weight babies, higher rates of breastfeeding and very high infant immunisation rates. We are also seeing women accessing antenatal care earlier in their pregnancies.

As you are aware a key component of improving pregnancy outcomes is early and ongoing engagement in antenatal care through culturally appropriate and evidence based care suitable to the local community. Investment in the early years is the best way to improve disadvantage over the longer term.

RANZCOG and NACCHO members understand this, evaluations have shown success in improving uptake of care earlier in pregnancy, for the duration of the pregnancy and in post-natal care allows other opportunistic healthcare interventions, such as family planning, cervical screening and improving breastfeeding rates.

So, by wrapping services around families, locally focused programs like this are also important in helping guard against the development of chronic conditions in later life, such as rheumatic heart disease and kidney failure.

While in Alice Springs, the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress is targeting at-risk Indigenous children before they even start preschool. The Preschool Readiness Program has up to 10 places for children between the ages of three and four who have been identified as having developmental delays or come from challenging home environments.

The foundations for health are laid early in life and there is much to be done in the early years to give our kids the best chance of succeeding at school and throughout their life.

If services cater for their needs, Aboriginal women will use them. However, not all Aboriginal women have access to these programs and many still rely on mainstream services such as GPs and public hospital clinics. That’s why it’s so important that mainstream services embed cultural competence into health care delivery across the care continuum.

Aboriginal culture has many strengths that can provide a positive influence, such as a supportive extended family networks, connection to country, and language. This is where the community controlled health sector and Aboriginal Health Workers are uniquely placed.

Our services build ongoing relationships to give continuity of care so that chronic conditions are managed and preventative health care can be effectively targeted.

Studies have shown that Aboriginal community controlled health services are 23% better at attracting and retaining Aboriginal clients than mainstream providers. Through local engagement and a proven service delivery model, our clients ‘stick’.

The cultural safety in which we provide our services is a key factor of our success. They can help to create relationships and understanding between our women and healthcare providers, practical assistance for attending appointments and coordinating care.

Many frontline clinicians and policy makers feel it is beyond their role to deal with these issues, but understanding some of these concepts will lead to greater empathy in the interactions with Aboriginal women.

We must acknowledge that Closing the Gap is not only a technical policy matter, but is also a political issue. We are disadvantaged, we are marginalised, we are poor, we do not have the numbers to influence government to the extent that others do, but we keep on trying.

The statistical gaps arise from voicelessness, powerlessness and a historical and significant lack of resources.

Firstly, the funding myth must be confronted as it stands like a rock in the way of progress.

As my good friend Professor Ian Ring tells us the commonly held view that enormous amounts of money have been spent on Indigenous Affairs has led many to conclude that money is not the answer and a different focus is required.

The recent Productivity Commission Report found that per capita government spending on Aboriginal services was twice as high as for the rest of the population. But higher spending on Aboriginal people should hardly be a surprise. We are not surprised, for example, to find that per capita health spending on the elderly is higher than on the healthier young because the elderly have higher levels of illness.

Nor is it a surprise that welfare spending is higher for Indigenous people who lag considerably in education, employment and income and there would be something very wrong with the system if it were otherwise.

The key question in understanding the relativities of expenditure on Indigenous is equity of total expenditure, both public and private, in relation to need, but the Productivity Commission’s brief is simply to report on public expenditure. In relation to government expenditure on health services the picture is quite different. State and Territory governments spend on average $2.6 per capita on Indigenous people for every $1 spent on the rest of the population.

By contrast, the Australian Government spends $1.4 for every $1 spent on the rest of the population, notwithstanding that, on the most conservative assumptions, Indigenous people have at least twice the per capita need of the rest of the population because of much higher levels of illness. The Commonwealth, in particular, needs to do much more. This is massive market failure.

The health system serves the needs of the bulk of the population very well but the health system has failed to meet the needs of the Indigenous population. And the Australian Government knows this, that’s why, for over 40 years they have been funding ACCHSs because they know the evidence shows these services better meet those needs, but the coverage of these services is patchy and needs to be expanded.

Secondly, Aboriginal communities need to be properly resourced, and Aboriginal people need to be in control. Let’s put Aboriginal health in Aboriginal hands.

It is imperative that a person’s health be considered in the context of their social, emotional, spiritual and cultural wellbeing, and that of their community. We know that being able to better manage and control your own affairs is directly linked to improved wellbeing and mental health.

This is why Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services are essential to closing the health gap. Often Aboriginal people are uncomfortable seeking medical help at hospitals or general practices and therefore are reluctant to obtain essential care.

For example, the policy of forcibly removing children from Aboriginal families until the 1960s may still engender distrust of the ‘system’ in Aboriginal mothers. Access to healthcare is extremely difficult due to either geographical isolation or lack of transportation.

Many Aboriginal people live below the poverty line so that services provided by practices that do not bulk bill are unattainable. The most well-intentioned mainstream services struggle to provide appropriate healthcare to Aboriginal patient’s due to significant cultural and language disparities. Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services bridge these gaps.

Their focus on prevention, early intervention and comprehensive care has reduced barriers to access and unintentional racism, progressively improving individual health outcomes for Aboriginal people.

 And thirdly, greater access to education, employment and participation in the economy.

So, for those three reasons, NACCHO continues to call on the Australian Government to invest in the expansion of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, to reach more people living in isolated areas, and to provide more care options for women, including mental health and psychology services.

Recently NACCHO, RANZCOG and other college Presidents met with the Minister for Indigenous Health and other ministers in Canberra who are all determined to do everything possible to close the gap in health outcomes. Now your stated mission is in providing excellence in women’s health. Well let’s do that by including Aboriginal women with new practical measures advocated to government and policy makers.

By all means let us together develop new statements and guidelines, by contributing effectively to health policy debate, in providing representation on various external committees and advisory groups, and responding to requests for submissions with expert evidence-based opinion.

Together lets us continue to drive policy development for the betterment of all women’s health with a view to developing a set of policy imperatives that must be addressed by Governments. It is through Aboriginal community controlled health service delivery that we can best close the gap. But we need your assistance.

We need your help with community-developed programs, that accept our cultural beliefs and traditions about health issues like contraception, termination, or pregnancy.

Currently Sexually Transmitted Infections rates have increased; the current syphilis outbreak has now reached four states predominantly infecting 15-29-year old’s with 12 cases of congenital syphilis causing five deaths.

In this day and age this is unacceptable! NACCHO seeks your assistance to insist on regular STI testing, a national public STI education campaign, with enhanced and clear antenatal guidelines, supported by a workforce with mobile local team’s conducting health checks and testing for other STI’s like gonorrhoea, chlamydia, HIV, Hepatitis C and B. This is the best way for you as individuals and organisations to contribute to improved Aboriginal women’s health outcomes and wellbeing.

As a group of 100 pioneering passionate women I know we have all earnt the accolades, enjoyed the press coverage and have a certain status in life. Let’s make a difference by today by being outspoken advocates for Aboriginal women and inspiring the next generation of women to not ask but demand better access to health care. Aboriginal women are the best advocates and leaders for health and wellbeing in their own families and in the broader community.

Please help bring about change, please make a contribution to improving the lives of Aboriginal women by lobbying governments.

We need your capabilities and skill, the energy and drive to make an impact, your commitment of time to our cause, your ingenuity and passion. Help us by proving to be effective role models, mentors and influencers for the next generation of Aboriginal female leaders.

I hope that today is seen as an opportunity to reflect on these vital Aboriginal women’s health issues. I urge you to act and commit to real sustainable practical change.

Don’t wait for government, don’t wait for them to provide the solutions. Work it out ourselves and just move on. So, to all you people here today I invite you to get in touch with your local Aboriginal Controlled Health Services and our Aboriginal health workers and to all your policy makers you can call me at NACCHO.

I have lost count of the number of speeches I have given over the years on this subject regarding Aboriginal women’s health to numerous gatherings, meetings, conferences, roundtables and symposiums. I will continue to speak for up all of our sisters, aunties, mothers and grandmothers.

I don’t expect or desire any consensus today but I expect robust discussion leading to identify policy reform that can be implemented. We must advocate for more action, adopt new policy positions and increase investment in the Aboriginal community controlled sector.

I know that the fight for Aboriginal rights continues and that the future is looking brighter for our mob with your support.

Thank you again for having me here today and I welcome any questions that you may have.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health CEO Pat Turner 20 minute Interview with @abcspeakingout where she offers some guarded optimism and some advice for 2018.

“I think everything is so low, bottom of the scale, that 2018 can only be better in my view.

“I think that what our people and our communities have to do is just take total control of their own affairs. Don’t wait for government, don’t wait for them to provide the solutions. Work it out ourselves and just move on.”

Pat Turner AM CEO NACCHO 20 Minute interview ABC Speaking Out

” Despite there being a number landmark occasions in 2017, one of the country’s most senior Aboriginal Bureaucrats says there has been little to celebrate in the Indigenous Affairs sector in 2017.

In a frank and honest Discussion, Pat Turner, CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) reflects on the key advances and shortcomings over the past 12 months.

We talk Aboriginal Health, Northern Territory Royal Commission, Deaths in Custody and Indigenous funding.”

On Speaking Out with Larissa Behrendt

Duration: 20min 40sec

Listen HERE

 
2017 forced us to ask how far we have come in Indigenous affairs

2017 was a year of several significant anniversaries in Indigenous affairs.

The 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum.

The 25th anniversary of the High Court’s Mabo decision.

The 20th anniversary of the Bringing Them Home report.

The 10th anniversary of the NT Intervention.

An auspicious combination of anniversaries, each giving pause to reflect on the impacts of these events, and to ask the obvious question — how far have we come in 50 years? In 25, 20 or 10 years?

The age-old Western belief in the inexhaustible march towards progress would make many assume that these issues have been addressed, or at the very least improved.

This belief is evident every time you see someone say, “I can’t believe this is happening in 2017!” in reference to something they believe should now be a relic of a bygone era.

It was hoped that 2017 would enter the history books as another significant year in Indigenous affairs, with the passing of a referendum to ‘recognise’ Indigenous people in the Australian constitution.

Not only did this not come to pass, but the relationship between government and Indigenous groups feels like it may have reach a new low, unseen in decades.

Australia’s most successful referendum

In 1967 Australia passed its most successful ever referendum, with 90.77 per cent of Australians voting “Yes for Aborigines”. This allowed for Aboriginal people to be counted in the census, and the Federal Government was given the power to make laws for Indigenous people.

Right Wrongs

Up until that point, Indigenous people were the responsibility of the states, who each had their own laws and legislation defining and controlling the lives of Aboriginal people.

Fifty years later, many people believe that this momentous occasion gave Indigenous people citizenship rights and the right to vote. It did not.

It was also believed that the Federal Government would use their new powers solely to the benefit of Indigenous people. This too would prove to be false.

Larissa Behrendt wrote in detail about these myths as part of the ABC’s Right Wrongs site, which explored the impacts of the 1967 referendum.

Twenty-five years later, in 1992, the High Court handed down the Mabo decision determining that Australia was not Terra Nullius in 1770 when Captain Cook claimed the east coast of Australia.

Terra Nullius was the legal justification for the very existence of the Australian state, so it as hoped this decision would bring about significant Aboriginal land rights.

But it led to Native Title legislation instead.

The Mabo case itself took over a decade, and the man who instigated it, Eddie Koiki Mabo, would not live to see its conclusion.

Twenty-five years later though, his family are still fighting to keep his story alive and strong.

Bringing Them Home

Bringing Them Home was the name of the final report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families.

It was tabled in Parliament on the May 26, 1997. The following year this date would become known as Sorry Day, and would provide a call to action for governments to implement the 54 recommendations of the report.

The surviving members of the Stolen Generations still hold the stories from that shameful era. And members of each new generation of Aboriginal people forcibly removed from their families have their trauma compounded by this unaddressed history.

The recommendations from the Bringing Them Home report are still largely unimplemented, and the rate of child removal has steadily grown in the 20 years since.

The rate has doubled in the past decade, and every other month we see a headline warning of a “second Stolen Generation”. It’s a news story that has been on repeat for almost 20 years.

The NT Intervention

The NT Intervention has largely failed to bring about positive changes around the issues raised in the Little Children Are Sacred report, which was used as the key justification for the NT Emergency Response Act.

A group of eminent Australians from law, health, academia and the arts have called on the Federal Government to bring an immediate end to the Northern Territory Intervention and Stronger Futures policies.

Listen to Speaking Out

This disconnect between stated goals of respect, inclusion and Closing the Gap, and the actions and outcomes actually achieved, has come to embody Indigenous affairs in 2017.

This has been personified by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, since he took over the reins of government in September 2015. The end of 2017 seems to show a very different Mr Turnbull than the one who shed tears for the Stolen Generations at the start of 2016.

Despite his inclination to open Indigenous affairs speeches speaking in Indigenous languages, this has failed to translate to an ability to listen to Indigenous people. Given the long history of government failure to listen to Indigenous peoples, few held out hope that Mr Turnbull would make good on his stated desire to do things with Indigenous people, instead of to them.

At the release of the ninth Closing the Gap report, six of the seven targets were not on track to meet their goals.

“It has to be a shared endeavour. Greater empowerment of local communities will deliver the shared outcomes we all seek,” Mr Turnbull said, at the time.

Now, months before the 10th report is due, the Federal Government has put out a call for community input into Closing The Gap.

This prompted Referendum Council member Megan Davis to ponder on Twitter: “If they didn’t listen to what community said on Uluru and meaningful recognition, why would the government listen to input on this?”.

The call for consultation coincides with a decision to remove over $600 million in federal funds for remote housing.

Safe and appropriate housing is regarded as an essential criteria for governments to meet the Closing the Gap targets.

While 2017 may not have given much hope for the immediate future of Indigenous affairs, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation chief executive officer Pat Turner, offered some guarded optimism and some advice for 2018.

NACCHO @AMSANTaus @CAACongress respond #NTRC #DonDale Royal Commission demands sweeping change – But how can we make it happen?

Adis

This Commission has been a landmark opportunity to expose the brutal and inhumane treatment of children in youth detention centres in the Northern Territory. Children have been stripped, assaulted and have been left languishing in cells in isolation for extended periods of time. This is no way to treat children. We need to do things vastly differently so that these abuses do not happen again.

 APO NT is encouraged to see the Commission has emphasised the importance of youth diversion, prevention and early intervention initiatives, and the need for a single Act covering youth justice and child protection.

Now is the time for the Commonwealth and Northern Territory Governments to accept all the Commission’s recommendations and commit to adequate resourcing of and independent oversight  and monitoring of all recommendations of the Royal Commission’

 John Paterson CEO AMSANT and APO NT Spokesperson  :see Part 2 for full Press Release

Download 68 Page Summary Full report 2,000 Pages

Royal-Commission-NT-Findings-and-Recomendations

VIEW Press Conference HERE

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” We commend the findings and recommendations of the Royal Commission, particularly where it is apparent that the experiences of those young people and their families were taken into account along with the submissions from key Aboriginal community controlled organisations and expert evidence from all over the world about what really works

“We know that many young people who appear before the courts come from traumatised backgrounds, which in many cases has caused their offending. As a community we need to learn to ask “what’s happened to you?” rather than “what’s wrong with you?”

Central Australian Aboriginal Congress Chief Executive Officer, Donna Ah Chee

“You don’t set up a royal commission and then walk away from the implementation of it. I urge the Federal and NT Government to give resources directly to Aboriginal community controlled groups, as white non-government organisations “need to get out of that space”. Those days are over.

“We are much more strategically placed and our service delivery is much wider.”

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations chief executive Pat Turner calling on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to “put his money with his mouth is.

Hear ABC World News Today Interview Pat Turner and Olga Haven CEO Danila Dilba ACCHO

See Part 4 below or NACCHO Press release HERE  

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“We really welcome this report because it’s really taken into account the things we have been lobbying for many, many years now and it’s always fallen on deaf ears.”

North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency CEO Priscilla Atkins see Part 5 below

Part 1: Don Dale royal commission demands sweeping change – is there political will to make it happen? From The Conversation

The Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory’s final report, which was handed down on Friday, revealed “systemic and shocking failures” in the territory’s youth justice and child protection systems.

The commission was triggered following ABC Four Corners’ broadcasting of images of detainee Dylan Voller hooded and strapped to a restraint chair, as well as footage of children being stripped, punched and tear-gassed by guards at the Don Dale and Alice Springs youth detention centres.

The commission’s findings demonstrate the need for systemic change. However, the commission will not, in itself, bring about that change. Its capacity to make lasting change lies with the government implementing its recommendations.

What did the commission find?

The commission found that the NT youth detention centres were not fit for accommodating – let alone rehabilitating – children and young people.

It also found that detainees were subjected to regular, repeated and distressing mistreatment. This included verbal abuse, racist remarks, physical abuse, and humiliation.

There was a further failure to follow procedures and requirements under youth justice legislation. Children were denied basic human needs, and the system failed to comply with basic human rights standards and safeguards, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The commission also found that the NT child protection system has failed to provide appropriate and adequate support to some young people to assist them to avoid prison.

Importantly, the commission found that isolation “continues to be used inappropriately, punitively and inconsistently”. Children in the high security unit:

… continue to be confined in a wholly inappropriate, oppressive, prison-like environment … in confined spaces with minimal out of cell time and little to do for long periods of time.

What did the commission recommend?

Based on these findings, the commission recommended wide-ranging reforms to the youth justice and child protection systems.

Not surprisingly, a central focus of the recommendations relate to detention. They ranged from closing the Don Dale centre to significant restrictions on the use of force, strip-searching and isolation, and banning the use of tear gas, spit hoods, and restraint chairs.

There is a focus on greater accountability for the use of detention through extending the Commissioner for Children and Young People’s monitoring role. Recommendations also cover health care (including mental health and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder screening), education, training, and throughcare services for children exiting detention.

Among its suite of proposed reforms, the commission recommended developing a ten-year strategy to tackle child protection and prevention of harm to children, and establishing an NT-wide network of centres to provide community services to families.

Youth justice reforms include improving the operation of bail to reduce the unnecessary use of custodial remand; expanding diversionary programs in rural and remote locations; and operating new models of secure detention, based on principles of trauma-informed practice.

Adequate and ongoing training and education for police, lawyers, youth justice officers, out-of-home-care staff and judicial officers in child and adolescent development is also recommended.

The commission also emphasised the importance of developing partnerships with Indigenous organisations and communities in the child protection and youth justice systems. Several organisations in written submissions to the commission identified the importance of appropriately resourcing community-controlled, and locally developed and led, programs for Indigenous young people.

Summary Key recommendations ( added by NACCHO)

1. Close Don Dale Youth Centre (and report progress on this by February 2018) and replace with a new, purpose-built facility.

2. Immediately close the high security unit at Don Dale.

3. Raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 12 .

4. No child under 14 to be ordered to serve detention unless they have been convicted of a serious and violent crime, present a serious risk to the community and their sentence is approved by the head of the proposed new children’s court.

5. Set up a new Children’s Court.

6. Set up a specialist youth division within the police force and make sure all police cells are suitable for detaining children.

7. Establish a Commission for Children and Young People, with jurisdiction for all children and young people in the NT.

8. Stop the use of tear gas and continue to ban spit hoods and the restraint chair.

9. Set up at least 20 family support centres to help children and their families.

10. Develop a 10 year strategy for generational change around child protection and the prevention of harm to children. This would be led by the NT chief minister with specific targets and measures.

Increasing the age of criminal responsibility a good place to start

One of the commission’s most significant recommendations is to increase the minimum age of criminal responsibility to 12 years, and only allowing children under 14 to be sentenced to detention for serious offences.

If this recommendation were to be implemented it is likely to have far-reaching implications across Australia. Currently, the minimum age is ten years in all states and territories.

Of particular relevance to the commission is the adverse affect of a low minimum age of criminal responsibility on Indigenous children.

The majority of children under the age of 14 who come before Australian youth courts are Indigenous. In 2015-16, 67% of children placed in detention under the age of 14 were Indigenous. This concentration is even higher among those aged 12 or younger.

Nationally, 73% of children placed in detention and 74% of children placed on community-based supervision in 2015-16 were Indigenous.

Raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility opens the door to responding to children’s needs without relying on criminalisation, given its short- and long-term negative impacts.

It enables a conversation about the best responses to children who often – as the commission’s findings acknowledged – have a range of issues. These can include trauma, mental health disorders and disability, coming from highly disadvantaged backgrounds, having spent time in out-of-home care, and – particularly among Indigenous children – being removed from their families and communities.

A positive outcome from the commission will require political will and leadership to respond effectively to broader systemic issues. Raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility is a good place to start

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Part 2 : APO NT welcomes Royal Commission final report and calls for immediate commitment from Commonwealth and Northern Territory Governments

The Aboriginal Peak Organisations Northern Territory (APO NT) welcomes the Royal Commission’s final report, handed down in Darwin today.

Over the past 14 months, the Royal Commission has examined the failings of the youth justice and child protection systems in the Northern Territory and heard ideas for change including from Aboriginal young people and families directly impacted by these systems.

‘This Commission has been a landmark opportunity to expose the brutal and inhumane treatment of children in youth detention centres in the Northern Territory. Children have been stripped, assaulted and have been left languishing in cells in isolation for extended periods of time. This is no way to treat children. We need to do things vastly differently so that these abuses do not happen again’, said John Paterson CEO AMSANT.

The Commission has made unequivocal findings that the Northern Territory’s youth justice and care and  protection systems continue to fail young people and that wholesale reform is required.

‘APO NT is encouraged to see the Commission has emphasised the importance of youth diversion, prevention and early intervention initiatives, and the need for a single Act covering youth justice and child protection’, said Mr Paterson .

The report recognises the critical involvement of Aboriginal organisations and communities in reforming all aspects of the system to bring about real change for Aboriginal people across the Territory. As a first step, Government must immediately establish a process with Aboriginal organisations and community leaders to ensure Aboriginal people are actively involved in the change that lies ahead.

The Royal Commission represents a significant step in addressing the crisis facing our child protection and youth justice systems. ‘The work doesn’t stop here. We’ve got to keep the spotlight on these issues so the abuses our kids have faced in detention and in the child protection system don’t happen again. Now is the time for the Commonwealth and Northern Territory Governments to accept all the Commission’s recommendations and commit to adequate resourcing of and independent oversight  and monitoring of all recommendations of the Royal Commission’, Mr Paterson said.

APO NT pays tribute to the courageous Aboriginal young people and families who came forward to tell their story to the Commission. It is through their crucial involvement that the Commission has been able to expose the systemic failings and abuses and provide a roadmap for a better future for all children in the Territory.

‘Engagement with Aboriginal organisations and communities has to be front and centre of the reform agenda. We know the extent of change required is going to take time. Aboriginal people across the Northern Territory are ready to work with government to implement the Commission’s recommendations. We want to see commitment from both levels of government so we know we are in this together for the long haul.’

The Northern Territory has the opportunity to lead the way in reforming care and protection and youth justice in Australia. We must build on the momentum for change and work together towards a future where all children have the opportunity to thrive as part of strong and loving families and communities.

Part 3 : Time to commit to action after NT Royal Commission

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Today, Congress welcomes the release of the final report from Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.

“We commend the findings and recommendations of the Royal Commission, particularly where it is apparent that the experiences of those young people and their families were taken into account along with the submissions from key Aboriginal community controlled organisations and expert evidence from all over the world about what really works” Central Australian Aboriginal Congress Chief Executive Officer, Donna Ah Chee said.

“We know that many young people who appear before the courts come from traumatised backgrounds, which in many cases has caused their offending. As a community we need to learn to ask “what’s happened to you?” rather than “what’s wrong with you?”

“We also know that the ‘get tough’ rhetoric in relation to youth offending does not work and that a preventative and therapeutic approach is what is required. This point was articulated by Commissioner White today drawing on evidence from all over the world. Commissioner White also made clear that a paradigm shift to a treatment and rehabilitation approach rather than a “lock them up” punitive approach could save the NT more than $300 million per year in ten years.

Congress welcomes Commissioner Gooda’s impassioned plea for change, acknowledging that throughout the Territory he heard that Aboriginal parents everywhere are ready for change and there is an acceptance that there is a need to do better.

Congress was pleased to see the major recommendations in our submission accepted including the need to increase the minimum age for criminality from 10 to 12, and the need to establish small scale secure care rehabilitation facilities for young people in need whilst also ensuring our young people are diverted away from the criminal justice system.

“The journey to this point has been a long one for those affected, beginning not just with the events that precipitated the Royal Commission. This report is the product of every similar enquiry, and every action – and inaction ­– that has taken place before this in our history.

“Recently, the NT Government has shown their commitment to tackling many of the issues that affect young people today including early childhood and alcohol.

“Congress looks forward to working with the Northern Territory and Commonwealth governments and other leading Aboriginal organisations, including AMSANT and APONT to ensure that the recommendations detailed in this report do not just sit on the shelf, but are implemented in a timely manner with Aboriginal communities and organisations at the forefront of decision making and delivery.

Part 4 :The Northern Territory Government must work with Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations in true partnership on Royal Commission recommendations

APT

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) calls on the Northern Territory and Australian Governments to work with Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations on the implementation of recommendations of the Royal Commission and Board of Inquiry into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory released today.

It is clear from the report that the current system of detention in the Northern Territory is failing our children and young people, leaving many more damaged than when they entered. The system of detention is punitive, harsh, and not in keeping with modern rehabilitative standards. We also know that the child protection system in the Northern Territory is letting down children and their families and is inextricably linked to youth justice issues.

Aboriginal children and young people living in the Northern Territory are overwhelmingly impacted with ninety four per cent of children and young people in detention being Aboriginal.

“The extent of this over-representation of Aboriginal children and young people compared with all other children and young people compels a special Aboriginal led response.” said NACCHO Chief Executive Officer Ms Pat Turner.

“The Northern Territory Government must now sit down with Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to work in true partnership on the implementation of the recommendations.”

“Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHO) have the greatest coverage across the Territory and work with Aboriginal children, young people and families everyday on child protection and youth justice system prevention and early intervention support.”

Ms Turner called on the Northern Territory Government to show national leadership in responding to the recommendations, “The Northern Territory Government has a unique opportunity to lead the rest of the nation in developing a children and family centered public health approach to youth justice and child protection, responsive to Aboriginal people needs.”

NACCHO acknowledges the young people and their families who shared their stories of trauma and survival and the Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations that supported them.

“I particularly want to acknowledge the work of Danilla Dilba, led by Ms Olga Haven, in providing evidence based submissions to the Northern Territory Government and the Royal Commission to inform their considerations,” said Ms Turner.

“Danilla Dilba has also provided immense support to families and young people to share their own stories and experiences throughout this time, as well as ongoing health and wellbeing services to Aboriginal people across the top end.”

It is now time for the Northern Territory Government to take full responsibility and lead a change by working with Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations on the implementation of the Royal Commission recommendations.

Part 5 Other REACTIONS TO THE NORTHERN TERRITORY YOUTH JUSTICE REPORT:

“I think to be honest these recommendations should be not only for the Northern Territory, but for all states across Australia.” – Former Don Dale detainee Dylan Voller.

“We really welcome this report because it’s really taken into account the things we have been lobbying for many, many years now and it’s always fallen on deaf ears.” – North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency CEO Priscilla Atkins.

“This royal commission very much began there and it needs to end there.” – NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner.

“Early intervention, diversion and rehabilitation must be front and centre of Australia’s justice system to protect the lives of our children.” – National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.

“The children who suffered in Don Dale and all Australian children need a guarantee that our governments will do everything they possibly can to stop this happening again.” – Human Rights Law Centre lawyer Shaleena Musk.

“This is clearly a backwards approach – there must be more funding for the beginning of the cycle, with an emphasis on early intervention, prevention, rehabilitation and community-led diversion programs.” – Law Council of Australia president Fiona McLeod.

“The Northern Territory and federal government must listen and work with local communities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations to take these important findings and recommendations by the Royal Commission forward.” – Amnesty International’s Roxanne Moore.

“We need to heed the recommendations of the Royal Commission, not only to prevent another Don Dale-type scandal but to stop more crimes from being committed, because we all deserve to be safe.” – Red Cross executive director Andy Kenyon.

“We will take the time to scrutinise this report in detail.” – Ben Slade from Maurice Blackburn lawyers.

“Jailing children does not work – it harms them and the community.” – Kathryn Kernohan from Jesuit Social Services.

Adis

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : Our ACCHO Members #Deadly good news stories #NT #NSW #QLD #WA #SA #VIC #TAS

1.1 NACCHO CEO Pat Turner to build on the success of Aboriginal Community Control Health Services

1.2 National : 2017 NACCHO Members’ Conference and AGM Registrations : Only 28 days to go

2. Vic : VAHS ACCHO Healthy Lifestyle Team love supporting the Fitzroy Stars Netball Club

3.NSW : In the Shoalhaven region Aboriginal Health is everyone’s business

4.NT : Ken Wyatt opens our NACCHO #OchreDay2017 summit in Darwin

5. QLD : Inquiry into service delivery in remote and discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities : Draft report consultation

6.ACT : NACCHO/Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service mental health webinar  in conjunction with the Mental Health Professionals Network

7.WA : Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service’s Tackling Indigenous Smoking team to create Anti Smoking Ads

8. Tas : Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre to celebrate our communities journey of breast cancer & raise awareness

9.SA : Aboriginal Health Council of SA  and South Australian Aboriginal Chronic Disease Consortium

10. View hundreds of ACCHO Deadly Good News Stories over past 5 years

How to submit 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 each Thursday

1.1 NACCHO CEO Pat Turner to build on the success of Aboriginal Community Control Health Services

Pat Turner has been appointed for a further three years until July 2020 by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Board.

NACCHO Deputy Chairperson, Sandy Davis welcomed Ms Turner’s appointment highlighting her extensive life experiences in Aboriginal affairs, government, academia and corporate practice.

Sandy also ‘acknowledged her invaluable record of public service achievements and that her leadership style comes at an important time for NACCHO with new governance arrangements to be discussed with members’ at our Annual General Meeting in Canberra in November.

Pat will help create real, meaningful and lasting change for NACCHO that will strengthen community control and keep Aboriginal health in Aboriginal hands’ he said.

Pat recently finalised a new network funding agreement for supporting community controlled Aboriginal health service with the Commonwealth. This will allow for better, more targeted investment in efforts to close the health gap for Aboriginal people. Pat has consistently said that ‘governments at all levels must do more to join the dots between education, housing, employment and other social determinants if we are to significantly improve health outcomes for our people and Close the Gap they have spoken about for the best part of a decade.’

Pat has been delivering on the Board’s agenda to consult with members to update our NACCHO Constitution and she has spent the last few months criss-crossing Australia to obtain the views and opinions of our Members and Affiliates about NACCHO constitutional changes.

She will continue to work on strengthening and expanding the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector, maintaining its strategic directions, cutting unnecessary red tape and building a closer relationship between all our organisations. ‘We want to build on the success of community control in improving health outcomes for our people’ she said.

Pat is of Arrernte and Gurdanji descent and was awarded the Order of Australia (AM) in 1990 for her contribution to public service.

1.2 National : 2017 NACCHO Members’ Conference and AGM Registrations : Only 28 days to go

On Tuesday 2 October there was only 28  days to go and due to high demand  the conference AGM is nearly booked out

This is an opportunity to show case grass roots best practice at the Aboriginal Community Controlled service delivery level.

In doing so honouring the theme of this year’s NACCHO Members’ Conference ‘Our Health Counts: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’.

Download NACCHO 2017 Members Conference and AGM Draft

NACCHO Conference Website

2. Vic : VAHS ACCHO Healthy Lifestyle Team love supporting the Fitzroy Stars Netball Club

Photos above : Introducing the Fitzroy Stars Junior Netball Carnival Teams!

The VAHS Healthy Lifestyle Team love supporting our Fitzroy Stars Football/Netball Club netballers.

These girls and boys are representing the Healthy Lifestyle Values and doing us proud today! Well done everyone on being deadly team players and making healthy choices!

Check out their other healthy lifestyle tips below. HERE

#vahsHLT #StaySmokeFree #BePositive #BeDeadly #BeAware #Lovethegame

3.NSW : In the Shoalhaven region Aboriginal Health is everyone’s business

Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) has joined local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, the Primary Health Network and the University of Wollongong in committing to work together to bring about positive changes to Close the Gap on health inequalities for our Aboriginal communities.

From Here

A partnership agreement was formally signed on Friday by leaders of the South Coast Aboriginal Medical Service; Oolong House – Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre; Illawarra Aboriginal Medical Service; Waminda South Coast Women’s Health and Welfare Aboriginal Corporation; University of Wollongong; COORDINARE – South Eastern NSW Primary Health Network; and Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District.

A special ceremony, including a corroboree, smoking ceremony and performances by the Doonooch Dancers led by Joe Brown-McLeod and Larry McLeod,

and a stirring welcome to country by Uncle Tom Moore preceded the official signing of the agreement.

ISLHD Chief Executive Margot Mains said the agreement aims to support, promote and strengthen the existing local relationships and strong ties that have been developed over many years.

“The signing of the partnership agreement marks a new beginning for our journey in working collaboratively to close the health and life expectancy gap between Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal Australians,” Ms Mains said.

4.NT : Ken Wyatt opens our NACCHO #OchreDay2017 summit in Darwin

Losing his nephew to the same preventable disease that afflicts so many Aboriginal Australians galvanised Ken Wyatt to make indigenous men’s health a “top priority” of his political agenda.

Read full speech here NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health @KenWyattMP Speech ” Men’s health, our way. Let’s own it!” – is a powerful conference theme

Read NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health #OchreDay2017 Conference Press release

@KenWyattMP and @jpatto12 raising awareness of issues in Aboriginal men’s health

The Federal Indigenous Health Minister says his nephew was a promising musician but died in June, aged just 35, after a battle with diabetes and chronic renal and heart disease.

“One of Jason’s killers was kidney failure, the same devastating condition that claimed the life of beloved musician, Dr G Yunipingu,” Mr Wyatt told a national men’s health conference in Darwin.

“His close family and friends are now working on a media project to fulfil his dying wishes – to get the word out to indigenous men in particular, to take their health seriously, to own it.”

Aboriginal men have the poorest health of any group within the Australian population, which Mr Wyatt says is “nothing short of a national tragedy”.

They suffer kidney health problems at five times the rate of their non-indigenous counterparts, and are dying more than 10 years younger.

Winner of the Jaydons Adams Award 
From the left, Mr Mark and Mrs Lizzie Adams with Nathan Cubillo-Jones and AMSANT CEO John Paterson
 He’s just graduated this year from his studies as an Indigenous health practitioner and in between playing local Aussie rules and Rugby league, he worked tirelessly with Danila Dilba health service and has recently been appointed manager of the new Malak clinic.

5. QLD : Inquiry into service delivery in remote and discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities : Draft report consultation

The draft report is scheduled to be released in early October 2017.
We are seeking your comments and views on the draft report, and will be undertaking further consultation during October and early November.

The Commissioner Bronwyn Fredericks will be briefing and consulting with stakeholders in the following locations:

  • 9 October 2017 (1pm to 3pm) – Cairns, Doubletree Hilton Hotel
  • 10 October 2017 – Yarrabah
  • 11 October 2017 – Kowanyama
  • 12 October 2017 – Lockhart River
  • 13 October 2017 – Aurukun
  • 16 October 2017 – Gladstone (LGAQ conference)
  • 17 October 2017 – Woorabinda
  • 20 October 2017 – Brisbane

Further consultations will be scheduled in the coming weeks at Mt Isa, Mornington Island, and Thursday Island – details will be published on the QPC website as they become available.

Consultations will include round tables in Cairns, Mt Isa, Thursday Island and Brisbane.

Please register your interest to attend a consultation or round table here.
If you would like to meet with the Commissioner or the inquiry team either as part of the consultation rounds or via teleconference, please contact us on (07) 3015 5111 or enquiry@qpc.qld.gov.au

6.ACT : NACCHO/Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service mental health webinar  in conjunction with the Mental Health Professionals Network 

On Wednesday the 13th of September 2017, NACCHO facilitated a mental health webinar in conjunction with the Mental Health Professionals Network as part of its professional development work.

This mental health webinar focused on reducing the mental health impacts of indigenous incarceration on people, communities and services.

The discussion was conducted by an Indigenous interdisciplinary panel (see below for further details). A post-discussion Q&A was also conducted between the panel and guests, recordings of which can be accessed below.

THE PANEL

Julie Tongs OAM                      (CEO Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service)

Dr Louis Peachey                      (Rural Generalist)

Dr Marshall Watson                 (Psychiatrist)

Dr Jeff Nelson                            (Psychologist)

Facilitator: Dr Mary Emeleus (General Practitioner and Psychotherapist).

7.WA : Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service’s Tackling Indigenous Smoking team to create Anti Smoking Ads

The project, organised by Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service’s Tackling Indigenous Smoking team, will be carried out with funding from a Healthway Indigenous Health Promotion grant and the Federal Government’s Tackling Indigenous Smoking Program.

Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service regional tobacco coordinator Danika Tager said smoking rates in the East Pilbara were exceptionally high and more needed to be done to support communities to address tobacco addiction.

Filmmakers will work with youth in four remote Aboriginal communities in the East Pilbara to shed light on the personal stories of local smokers and warn about the perils of the deadly habit.

Young people, assisted by a professional production team, will create a series of short films as part of the “you CAN quit” project, to document the stories of community members who have successfully kicked the habit and those who have been affected by smoking-related illnesses in Jigalong, Parnngurr, Punmu and Kunawarritji.

Statistics from the Federal Department of Health show that tobacco smoking is responsible for one in five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths, with the number substantially higher in remote areas.

“Smoking rates in remote East Pilbara communities are as high as 80% and tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death and disease in this population,” Ms Tager said.

“Through this important film project we hope to encourage people in these communities to quit smoking, as well as air the many benefits of quitting and where they can find help and support.”

Filming of the four short films will start September 19. It is expected the films will be screened in each community on completion and also be aired on indigenous television stations and social media.

Ms Tager said the project was unique in that the films would be entirely community owned and directed, giving young people the opportunity to actively make a difference in their community.

“Youth will be responsible for all aspects of researching, shooting, editing and promoting the films” she said.

“All too often NGOs will come into a community with a health message that may or may not be relevant, and expect it to change people’s behaviour,” she said.

“What we are doing here is empowering the community to send its own messages and fight tobacco-related harm using its own experience and stories.”

The project will also involve a series of posters to celebrate non-smokers in the communities, and offer education sessions and details about the availability of support programs.

The Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service (PAMS) is a community controlled health organisation that provides primary health care, 24-hour emergency services and preventative health and education programs in the communities of Jigalong, Parnngurr, Punmu and Kunawarritji.

8. Tas : Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre to celebrate our communities journey of breast cancer & raise awareness

Please join us at piyura kitina (Risdon Cove) on Thursday, 12th October at 1.30pm, to celebrate our communities journey of breast cancer & raise awareness of this disease.
Afternoon tea, will be provided, please contact Emma on
6234 0777 or Freecall 1800 132 260 if you require transport.

9.SA : Aboriginal Health Council of SA  and South Australian Aboriginal Chronic Disease Consortium

The South Australian Aboriginal Chronic Disease Consortium (the Consortium) was launched on 18 May 2017, as a collaborative partnership formed between the South Australian Aboriginal Health Partnership (comprising of SA Health, Aboriginal Health Council of SA and Department of Health – Commonwealth) and the South Australian Academic Health Science and Translation Centre.The Translation Centre represents a partnership between SA Health, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), University of Adelaide, Flinders University, University of South Australia, Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia, Health Consumers Alliance of South Australia, Adelaide Primary Health Network, Country SA Primary Health Network and Cancer Council SA. The Translation Centre has 9 priority areas of which one is Aboriginal Health.
Consortium Vision

The Consortium’s vision is to reduce the impact of chronic disease experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in South Australia through the successful implementation of the priorities identified within 3 plans: The South Australian Aboriginal Cancer Control Plan 2016-2021, the South Australian Aboriginal Heart and Stroke Plan 2017-2021 and the South Australian Aboriginal Diabetes Strategy 2017-2021.How will the Consortium Work

The responsibility to oversee the implementation activity of the SA Aboriginal Chronic Disease Consortium rests within its governance structures. The Consortium has 5 active working groups including an Executive Group, an Aboriginal Community Reference Group and three condition-specific leadership groups representing Diabetes, Cancer and Heart and Stroke. We refer to the people and organisations on these groups as our members.

Who is working in the Consortium Coordinating Centre?

The team comprises of two full time staff. Wendy Keech is the Senior Research Translation Manager and Executive Officer. Wendy is supported by Douglas VJ Clinch, in a Project Officer role overseeing and supporting the various governance groups of the Consortium. Strategic policy and cultural advice and support is being provided by Kim Morey and Neville Fazulla both on a part-time basis to the team, and have particular focus on supporting the community reference group. Andrea McKivett, has been providing her clinical, technical and cultural support to the team since the inception of the Consortium, with Katharine McBride recently joining the team to provide technical support one day a week. The team come from various backgrounds and disciplines required to support the work of the Consortium, and all are passionate people with a strong commitment to making a difference to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people in South Australia.
If you would like any further information please don’t hesitate to contact Wendy Keech, on (08) 81284228, email: wendy.keech@sahmri.com or Doug VJ Clinch, on (08) 81284893 or email: douglas.clinch@sahmri.com.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #PSA17Syd Part 2 of 2 Health Minister asks pharmacists to help Close the Gap

“For too long Aboriginal people have suffered shorter lifespans, been sicker and poorer than the average non-Indigenous Australian, however, highly trained pharmacists have a proven track record in delivering improved health outcomes when integrated into multidisciplinary practices,” Ms Turner said.

“Strong international evidence supports pharmacists’ ability to improve a number of critical health outcomes, including significant reductions in blood pressure and cholesterol and improved diabetes control. A number of studies have also supported pharmacists’ cost-effectiveness.

Some ACCHOs have already shown leadership in the early adoption of pharmacists outside of any national programs or support structures. NACCHO and PSA are committed to supporting ACCHOs across Australia to meet the medicines needs in their communities by enhancing support for those wishing to embed a pharmacist into their service.”

NACCHO CEO Pat Turner said disparities in the health between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians are confronting.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) have welcomed the announcement of a trial to support Aboriginal health organisations to integrate pharmacists into their services.

The trial was announced today by the Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt at PSA17, PSA’s national conference.

Both PSA and NACCHO thank the Minister for supporting this innovative project that will improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

This practical new trial measure has strong stakeholder support and there is growing evidence pharmacists employed by Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) can assist to increase the life expectancy and improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

PSA and NACCHO celebrate the Federal Government’s initiative to implement these important reforms and to further investigate the development of new funding models to help close the gap between the health outcomes of Aboriginal

PSA National President Dr Shane Jackson said having a culturally responsive pharmacist integrated within an Aboriginal Health Service (AHS) builds better relationships between patients and staff, leading to improved results in chronic disease management and Quality Use of Medicines.

“Integrating a non-dispensing pharmacist in an AHS has the potential to improve medication adherence, reduce chronic disease, reduce medication misadventure and decrease preventable medication-related hospital admissions to deliver significant savings to the health system,” Dr Jackson said.

“Additionally, pharmacists integrated within an AHS have a key role to play in assisting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients navigate Australia’s complex health system.”

“Local community pharmacies will be first approached to see if they are able to provide a pharmacist to work within the AHS according to service requirements of the AHS. If they are unable to or this is not accepted by the AHS in line with principles of self-determination, then the AHS may employ a pharmacist directly.”

A range of stakeholders, including the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, will be on the advisory group.

This trial has been funded through the 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement Pharmacy Trial Program. PSA and NACCHO wish to credit the Pharmacy Guild of Australia for supporting such an important initiative. This trial aims to improve equity of access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and further demonstrate the fundamental role that community pharmacists play in primary health care, strengthening the future for all pharmacists and contributing to a sustainable health system.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : The #NTIntervention 10 years on – history and evaluations

 ” And when the government announced the Intervention and commenced it, they sent in what they called ‘government business managers’ who were, in effect, the old, you know, ‘protectors’ of Aboriginals, the, you know, the old superintendents, the mission managers.

I mean, this is 10 years ago, this is not a hundred years ago, and Aboriginal people were being treated like this. It was almost a violation of every possible human right you could think of.”

Pat Turner AM CEO NACCHO speaking to Nick Grimm ABC (see full Interview Below

 

 Picture above : Powerhouse panel at UTS Sydney last night talking about the 10th anniversary of the #NTIntervention: @KylieSambo @Bunbajee Pat Turner & @LarissaBehrendt #IndigenousX

  ” In August 2007 the Howard Liberal Government enacted the Northern Territory National Emergency Response Act, or, “the Intervention”. Liberal politicians marketed it as a solution to problems within Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory.

These problems include health, housing, employment and justice.  When Labor was in power it continued the Intervention’s major initiatives.

See 10 Years history of the NT Intervention Below Part 2 after the Interview

 Major General David Chalmers, of the Inter-Agency Northern Territory Emergency Response Task Force, and Mal Brough, indigenous affairs minister, are greeted by David Wongway, a member of the Imanpa Local Community Council

 ” In 2008, following the change of government after the 2007 Federal Election, the Rudd Labor Government re-framed the intervention through a new national policy focus on “Closing the Gap”. Rudds’ intention to re-work the Intervention to focus more closely on reforming the welfare system linked closely with the already existing targets of the Close the Gap Campaign.

The aims of the campaign are set out in the 2012 National Indigenous Reform Agreement ”

 The Intervention and the Closing the Gap Campaign see part 3

 ” Evaluating the Intervention is not an easy task. Impartial data is difficult to find and there is a mass of complex and conflicting information. However, by looking at the Closing the Gap targets that were set by the Government and considering human rights concerns, we have provided our assessment. Below we give major features of the Intervention a score out of 10.  We also score it for compliance with human rights.”

Issues with Evaluating the Interventionhow did we work out our grades? Part 4

NT Intervention – nothing has changed for the better: Pat Turner

Hear Interview HERE

NICK GRIMM: Ten years ago this week, one of the defining moments in Australian national life began unfolding in remote communities in the outback.

The Northern Territory intervention was launched by the then Howard government in response to reports of social dysfunction and allegations of endemic abuse of women and children in remote communities.

Since then, the policy has continued under governments of both persuasions.

But 10 years on critics of the Intervention say it’s fixed nothing.

Pat Turner is currently CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation.

She was previously a CEO of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, ATSIC, and had a long career as a senior Commonwealth public servant.

I spoke to Pat Turner a little earlier.

Pat Turner, can I start by asking you this: Ten years on, what’s the best thing you have to say about the Northern Territory Intervention?

PAT TURNER: (Laughs) Nothing, really, I’m afraid.

It was a complete violation of the human rights of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory.

It came out of the blue, following the Commonwealth Government’s reading and response to The Little Children Are Sacred report.

NICK GRIMM: So how would you describe the legacy of the process that began 10 years ago?

PAT TURNER: Well, I think it’s still a shambles.

You know, both sides of politics were responsible.

While it was introduced by the Liberal government, the Coalition under John Howard and Mal Brough, it was carried on also by Jenny Macklin and Kevin Rudd and Gillard and so on.

So the legacy is that Aboriginal people were completely disempowered.

They had the Army going into communities in their uniforms. They had no idea why the Army was there.

You know, to send the Army in at a time like that was just totally confusing. People were terrified that they’d come to take the kids away. There would be no explanation as to why they were going in.

And it wasn’t their fault; it was the way the Government handled it.

The government also, at the time, insisted that every child under 16 have a full medical check. Now, actually what they were looking for, I think, was whether a child had been sexually abused.

And we said, at the time, those of us who were opposed to the way the Government was handling this, “You cannot do that without parental permission. You must have parental permission. You would not do a medical check on any other child in Australia and you should not do that with our children without their parents’ say-so”.

And what’s more, fine, go ahead, do a full medical check, but what are you going to do when you find the otitis media, when you find the trachoma, when you find the upper respiratory diseases, when you find rheumatic heart disease? Where…

NICK GRIMM: All those common medical conditions in those areas.

PAT TURNER: Absolutely, absolutely. And what are you going to do to treat these people?

Because you don’t have the health services that Aboriginal people should have. You don’t have those in place.

And they were paying doctors a phenomenal salary.

They also, of course, introduced the infamous cashless welfare card, called it ‘income management’, where 60 per cent of the income was quarantined for food and clothes and so on.

People weren’t allowed to get access to video, so that was a… and that was fine for X-rated videos and adult videos, but certainly not for entertainment, which a lot of families relied on in outlying communities.

And it had ramifications. I mean, there was a young Aboriginal businesswoman in Tennant Creek whose business went bust because she couldn’t hire out videos.

NICK GRIMM: Well, in your view, can we say that anything has changed for the better in those remote communities?

PAT TURNER: No.

Look, the other thing that happened at the time, Nick, was there was a reform in local government.

So, from the hundreds of Aboriginal community councils that were in place, they all became part of these super shires, nine super shires, so all the decision making at the local community level had evaporated.

And when the government announced the Intervention and commenced it, they sent in what they called ‘government business managers’ who were, in effect, the old, you know, ‘protectors’ of Aboriginals, the, you know, the old superintendents, the mission managers.

I mean, this is 10 years ago, this is not a hundred years ago, and Aboriginal people were being treated like this. It was almost a violation of every possible human right you could think of.

And what’s more, I called it at the time the Trojan Horse to get the land that our people have under freehold inalienable title in the Northern Territory.

And I thought it was a land grab, and I still believe that, you know, the Commonwealth certainly wanted to have a greater say over Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory – as did the Northern Territory Government, by the way.

NICK GRIMM: Yeah, well we’ve talked about the situation on the ground there in the Northern Territory.

What then would you say have been the national implications of the Intervention?

PAT TURNER: Well, I think without the evidence they’ve adopted – you know, Alan Tudge is very keen on the cashless welfare card, as is Twiggy Forrest, who promoted it.

While I see that, you know, there may be, you know, some opportunity for women to buy more food, it’s fine if you have access to fresh produce at a reasonable price that you could expect to pay in a major regional centre like Alice Springs.

You go out to the communities, the prices are at least double if not tripled, and they’re stale, rotten, old vegetables and meats and so on.

So, you know, that’s where government services need to step up through their outback stores and make sure that people are getting really fresh produce all the time, and healthy produce.

NICK GRIMM: Alright, Pat Turner, thanks very much for talking to us.

PAT TURNER: You’re most welcome. Thank you.

NICK GRIMM: Pat Turner is CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation.

Part 2

” In August 2007 the Howard Liberal Government enacted the Northern Territory National Emergency Response Act, or, “the Intervention”. Liberal politicians marketed it as a solution to problems within Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory.

These problems include health, housing, employment and justice.  When Labor was in power it continued the Intervention’s major initiatives. “

See 10 Years history of the NT Intervention

Intervention was directed at addressing the disproportionate levels of violence in Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory, as well as the endemic disadvantage suffered in terms of health, housing, employment and justice.

It was also a direct response to the Ampe Akelyernemane Meke Mekarle Report (‘Little Children are Sacred Report’) into sexual abuse of Indigenous children. This report was commissioned by the then Northern Territory Chief Minister Clare Martin following an interview on the ABC’s Lateline program, in which Alice Springs Senior Crown Prosecutor Dr Nanette Rogers SC commented that the violence and sexual abuse of children that was entrenched in Indigenous society was ‘beyond most people’s comprehension and range of human experience’. The then Commonwealth Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, indicated in his second reading speech introducing the NTNERA that “[t]his bill… and the other bills introduced in the same package are all about the safety and wellbeing of children.”

The Little Children are Sacred Report was the result of in-depth research, investigation and community consultation over a period of over eight months by members of the Northern Territory Board of Inquiry. The focus of their inquiry was instances of sexual abuse, especially of children, in Northern Territory Indigenous communities. The findings were presented to Chief Minister Martin in April 2007 and released to the public in June. The striking facts, graphic imagery and ardent plea for action contained in this report saw this issue gain widespread attention both in the media and in the political agenda, inciting divisive debate and discussion.

The NTNERA was enacted by the Howard Government just two months after the report was released to the public, allowing little time for consultation with Indigenous communities. It was framed as a ‘national emergency’ with army troops being deployed to Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory. This took place in the lead up to the 2007 Federal Election, in which the Labor Party under Kevin Rudd defeated the Howard Government after four terms of Liberal government.

The Intervention in 2007

The Intervention was a $587 million package of legislation that made a number of changes affecting specified Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory. It included restrictions on alcohol, changes to welfare payments, acquisition of parcels of land, education, employment and health initiatives, restrictions on pornography and other measures.

The package of legislation introduced included:

  • NorthernTerritory National Emergency Response Act 2007.
  • Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Welfare Payment Reform) Bill 2007.
  • Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Other Legislation Amendment. (Northern Territory National Emergency Response and Other Measures) Act 2007.
  • Appropriation (NorthernTerritory National Emergency Response) Bill (No. 1) 2007-2008.
  • Appropriation (NorthernTerritory National Emergency Response) Bill (No. 2) 2007-2008.

In order to enact this package of legislation, several existing laws were affected or partially suspended, including:

  •  Racial Discrimination Act 1975.
  •  Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976.
  • Native Title Act 1993(Cth).
  • Northern Territory Self-Government Act and related legislation.
  • Social Security Act 1991.
  • IncomeTax Assessment Act 1993.

A raft of reforms and regulations were introduced by this package of legislation, including:

  • Restricting the sale, consumption and purchase of alcohol in prescribed areas. This included the prohibition of alcohol in certain areas prescribed by the legislation, making collection of information compulsory for purchases over a certain amount and the introduction of new penalty provisions.
  • ‘Quarantining’ 50% of welfare payments from individuals living in designated communities and from beneficiaries who were judged to have neglected their children.
  • Compulsorily acquiring townships held under title provisions of the Native Title Act 1993 with the introduction of five year leases in order to give the government unconditional access. Sixty-five Aboriginal communities were compulsorily acquired.
  • Linking income support payments to school attendance for all people living on Aboriginal land, and providing mandatory meals for children at school at parents’ cost.
  • Introducing compulsory health checks for all Aboriginal children.
  • Introducing pornography filters on publicly funded computers, and bans on pornography in designated areas.
  • Abolishing the permit system under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976 for common areas, road corridors and airstrips for prescribed communities,.
  • Increasing policing levels in prescribed communities. Secondments were requested from other jurisdictions to supplement NT resources.
  • Marshalling local workforces through the work-for-the-dole program to clean-up and repair communities.
  • Reforming living arrangements in prescribed communities through introducing market based rents and normal tenancy arrangements.
  • Commonwealth funding for the provision of community services.
  • Removing customary law and cultural practice considerations from bail applications and sentencing in criminal trials.
  • Abolishing the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP).

Changes under successive governments

After an initial focus on preventing child sexual abuse, successive federal governments re-designed and re-framed the Intervention. This involved linking the Intervention with the broader ‘Closing the Gap’ campaign, introducing new measures such as the BasicsCard and tougher penalties for the possession of alcohol and pornography. Changes were also made to the operation of the Racial Discrimination Act (see section on Human Rights). The current package of legislation retains the support of the Liberal Government and is due to expire in 2022.

2008 Changes

The Intervention was introduced in 2007 by the Howard Government, but a change of government in September of that year saw the Labor Government under Kevin Rudd gain power. After some consultation and minor changes, the NTNERA and associated legislation were initially maintained.

In 2008 Rudd apologised to the members of the Stolen Generations on behalf of the nation. In 2009, Rudd also declared support for the most substantive framework for the rights of Indigenous peoples, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The previous Howard government had voted against the ratification of this treaty. Article 3 of the Declaration states that:

‘Indigenous peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development’.

The failure to recognise this right to self-determination would become one of the major points of criticism for the Intervention.

In 2009 Rudd implemented the BasicsCard.  The card is used to manage income in certain areas of the Northern Territory. It cannot be used to purchase alcohol, tobacco, tobacco-products, pornography, gambling products or services, home-brew kits or home-brew concentrate.

During the period 2009-2010 the Rudd Government committed itself to a re-design of the Intervention, with a focus on reinstating the suspended provisions of the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA). The Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform and Reinstatement of Racial Discrimination Act) Act 2010 (Cth) repealed the ‘special measures’ that had been created under the original Intervention to suspend the operation of the RDA. However, this new legislation still did not comply with the RDA as it continued to discriminate against Indigenous Australians through land acquisition and compulsory income management.These measures overwhelmingly  affect Indigenous people.

The focus of the government then shifted slightly, concentrating more closely on the need to ‘tackle the destructive, intergenerational cycle of passive welfare’ (see then Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin’s second reading speech). The Rudd government explicitly linked the Intervention to the ‘Closing the Gap’ targets, changing the focus of the Intervention from the protection of children from sexual abuse to the reform of the welfare system.

2012 changes

The legislative basis for the Intervention was due to expire in 2012.  Decisions regarding its future had to be made. Under the Gillard Government, the StrongerFuturesin the Northern Territory Act 2012 (Stronger Futures) replaced the NTNERA and extended the Intervention for a further ten years to 2022.  The StrongerFutureslegislation comprises three principal Acts (the Stronger Futures package), plus associated delegated legislation. The three Acts are:

  • Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory Act 2012;
  • Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Act 2012; and
  • Social Security Legislation Amendment Act 2012.

In 2013, the  Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights examined Stronger Futures and the related legislation in their 11th Report. They noted that although the StrongerFutureslegislative package repealed the Northern Territory Emergency Response (‘NTER’) legislation, it retained three key policy elements:

  • The tackling alcohol abuse measure: the purpose of this measure was ‘to enable special measures to be taken to reduce alcohol-related harm to Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory.
  • The land reform measure: the land reform measure enabled the Commonwealth to amend Northern Territory legislation relating to community living areas and town
  • camps to enable opportunities for private home ownership in town camps and more flexible long-term leases.
  • The food security measure: the purpose of this measure was ‘to enable special measures to be taken for the purpose of promoting food security for Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory’; modifying the legislation involves a 10 year timeframe with most provisions other than the alcohol measures being reviewed after 7 years.

The key changes imposed under the 2012 Stronger Futures legislation package consist of:

  • Expansion of income management through the BasicsCard and the increase of ‘quarantined’ payments to 70%.
  • Increased penalties related to alcohol and pornography, with as much as 6-months jail time for a single can of beer.
  • Expansion of policy that links school attendance with continued welfare payments.
  • Introduction of licences for ‘community stores’ to ensure the provisions of healthy, quality food.
  • Commonwealth given power to make regulations regarding the use of town camps.

{Sources: SBS Factbox, Stronger Futures in the NT, Listening but not Hearing Report}

Although consultation with Indigenous communities did take place, there was much criticism of the nature of the consultative process and the extent to which it was acted upon. The ‘Listening butnot Hearing’ report by the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning concluded that “the Government’s consultation process has fallen short of Australia’s obligation to consult with Indigenous peoples in relation to initiatives that affect them”.

The Australian Council of Human Rights Agencies has also stated that it was ‘invasive and limiting of individual freedoms and human rights, and require[s] rigorous monitoring’. Amnesty International commented that the new package of legislation was the same as the original ‘Intervention, but with the pretence of being non-discriminatory.’

2014 changes

The current Intervention legislation is not due to expire until 2022. During his time as Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott supported extending the intervention into the future.

In a speech in February of 2014, then Prime Minister Abbott identified the importance of closing the gap through investment in indigenous programs, with a specific focus on school attendance. However, this speech was followed by massive budget cuts to Aboriginal legal and health services, early childhood education and childcare, and the consolidation of 150 Indigenous programs into 5 core programs. While the 2015 Budget reinstated funding to Family Violence legal services, these ongoing cuts are expected to detrimentally affect attempts to Close the Gap of Indigenous disadvantage.

The 2015 Budget modified the  Stronger Futures NPA, redirecting $988.2 million in funds to the new National Partnership Agreement on Northern Territory Remote Aboriginal Investment  (NPA) over eight years. This new NPA prioritises schooling, community safety and employment. This funding also aims to help the Northern Territory Government take full responsibility for the delivery of services in remote Indigenous communities. Additional funding will also be made available to extend the income management scheme until 2017. However, the new NPA has halved the spending allocated to health measures, and means that the Federal Government will have less control over target outcomes.

Government administered funding of $1.4 billion, previously available under Stronger Futures, will not be transferred to the new NPA, but will be delivered by the departments of Prime Minister and Cabinet and Social Services, outside the NPA framework. The new NPA will be complemented by a Remote Indigenous Housing Strategy that will receive $1.1 billion nationally.

Part 3 The Intervention and the Closing the Gap Campaign

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) had identified six areas of Indigenous disadvantage to target as the basis for the Closing the Gap Campaign. These were:

  1. Early childhood;
  2. Schooling;
  3. Health;
  4. Economic Participation;
  5. Safe Communities; and
  6. Governance and Leadership (see Right to Self Determination below).

The Closing the Gap in the Northern Territory National Partnership Agreement (2009) ceased on the 30 June 2012. The Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory package which started on 1 July 2012 continued to support the Closing the Gap reforms.

The 6th Annual Progress Report on Closing the Gap was tabled in Parliament by then Prime Minister Tony Abbott on 12 February 2014. It outlined the commitments made by the Coalition government, including:

  • Consolidating the administration of Indigenous programs from eight government departments into the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
  • Establishing the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council.
  • Increasing indigenous school  attendance  through  providing  $28.4 million funding for a remote school attendance program.
  • Improving indigenous  access to employment by commissioning a review and funding employment initiatives.
  • Supporting a referendum for the recognition of the First Australians in the Australian Constitution.

However, in the seventh annual progress report of 11 February 2015, then PM Tony Abbott labelled progress as ‘profoundly disappointing‘. The report concluded that 4 out of 7 targets were not on track to be met by their deadlines, with little progress in literacy and numeracy standards and a decline in employment outcomes since 2008.

Link to 2012 National Indigenous Reform agreement here.

Part 4 Issues with Evaluating the Intervention – how did we work out our grades? Part 4

Quantity of Evaluation:

The controversial nature of the Intervention and the need for expenditure to be accounted for has meant that there have been a large number of evaluations undertaken regarding various aspects of the Intervention. Within five years of the establishment of the Intervention, by December 2012, 98 reports, seven parliamentary inquiries and hundreds of submissions had been completed. However, the sheer quantity of these reports actually hinders the evaluation process, as it obstructs proper evaluation of effectiveness.

Impartiality of Evaluation:

The majority of evaluations of the Intervention have been undertaken by government departments and paid consultants. Australian National University researchers Jon Altman and Susie Russell suggest that the evaluation of the Intervention, instead of being an independent objective process, has been merged into the policy process and, in many cases, is performed by the policy-makers themselves. This means there is a real risk of evidence being ignored or hidden to suit an agenda.

Independent reports and government commissioned reports have often contradicted each other, with the government seeking to discredit independent reports rather than gathering additional data. This includes independent reports by researchers at Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at the University of Technology Sydney, Concerned Australians and the Equality Rights Alliance, all of which have often come to different conclusions than government reports.

Quality and Consistency of Evaluation:

The ‘final evaluation’ of the Intervention under the NTNER occurred in November 2011 with the publication of the Northern Territory Emergency Response Evaluation ReportHowever, the Stronger Futures legislation did not come into effect until August 2012. This left eight months unaccounted for.

Closingthe Gap in the Northern Territory Monitoring Reports are conducted every six months. A significant criticism is that they focus on bureaucratic ‘outputs’ rather than outcomes. Income management studies, for example, have reported on ‘outputs’ such as the number of recipients of the Basics Card or the total amount of income quarantined, rather than focusing on the card’s effectiveness for health and child protection outcomes.

Much of the data collected has also relied on self-assessment in the form of surveys, such as asking individuals to rate their own health rather than collecting and analysing data on disease. Another issue is the ad hoc nature of some reports. For example, the review of the Alcohol Management Plan in Tennant Creek was only conducted once. This makes it difficult to make comparisons over the life of the policy and evaluate the effectiveness of particular measures.

Independent statistical data can be hard to find, since information compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics is national in scope and cannot be translated directly into the context of the individual Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory. Indigenous Australians also have a lower median age than other Australians, meaning data on employment rates or incarceration rates can be statistically skewed.

Benchmarks for Evaluation:

ANU researchers Jon Altman and Susie Russell have noted that the “absence of an overarching evaluation strategy has resulted in a fragmented and confused approach”. They found that the 2007 Intervention did not have any documentation articulating the basis of the policy, nor how it should be evaluated. The first document to address this was the unpublished Program Logic Options Report which was developed in 2010; three years after the Intervention began. This means that there are no original benchmarks for evaluation, and that the decision to extend the program in 2012 was made without clear evidence as to its effectiveness. Furthermore, there is a limited connection between the benchmarks proposed in the 2010 Report and those used in later evaluations.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Priorities : 1st Anniversary of the #RedfernStatement

 

” One year ago today, Aboriginal leaders marked the Redfern Speech by launching the Redfern Statement, which asked governments to re-engage with Australia’s first peoples in a meaningful and constructive way to deal with the appalling health and social conditions experienced by far too many of Australia’s First Peoples.

The Redfern Statement was initially created as an election manifesto but our determination now is for it to become a roadmap for positive and effective engagement between Aboriginal peoples and Governments.”

The co-chairs of the National Congress of Austraia’s First Peoples, Dr Jackie Huggins and Mr Rod Little pictured above with NACCHO CEO Pat Turner June 9 2016 ( See First Peoples Health Priorities below )

The Redfern Statement

Download the 18 Page document here

Redfern Statement June 2016 Elections 18 Pages

First Peoples call for urgent action to tackle home-grown poverty

This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the Redfern Speech by Prime Minister Paul Keating, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders from peak representative organisations are calling on Australian governments at all levels to redouble their efforts to address the unacceptable poverty and disadvantage experienced by Australia’s First Peoples.

The co-chairs of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, Dr Jackie Huggins and Mr Rod Little, said mounting evidence suggests that Australia is failing to meet the ‘Close the Gap’ targets. Despite this, governments are still unwilling to make the necessary commitments to bring about positive change.

“We are after an improved relationship with Federal, State and Territory Governments. We acknowledge the work that has been done to date however we can no longer afford to wait a generation for the change that is necessary now for our people”.

“Far too many First Peoples attend funerals of young and middle-aged people. This is because the Government’s Closing the Gap targets are failing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as shown by the latest 2017 report,” the co-chairs said.

“We are seeking a new relationship with the Federal, State and Territory Governments through COAG, to bring about a paradigm shift that stops the policy drift and amnesia which has impacted negatively on Australia’s First People.”

“We want to engage with Federal, State and Territory Governments in a positive way to develop an enduring framework which would feed into the 2018 Federal Budget and the COAG Closing the Gap Policy”.

The Redfern Statement outlined how the many reports released since 1992 called for real reconciliation based on facing the truths of the past and creating a just and mature relationship between the non-Indigenous Australian community and the First Peoples. But today, First Peoples face the same struggles as they did in 1992.

55 leaders met  9th of June 2016, in Redfern where in 1992 Prime Minister Paul Keating spoke truth about this nation – that the disadvantage faced by First Peoples affects and is the responsibility of all Australians.

An urgent call for a more just approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs

“When we drafted the Redfern Statement we wanted to remind the nation of Prime Minister Keating’s historic Redfern Speech in 1992, which spoke so many truths about our history and the reality we face today,” the co-chairs said.

“The Federal Government and each of the State and Territory Governments, share responsibility to right this nation’s past injustices. The current Government has an unprecedented nation-building opportunity to meaningfully address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage. They have the mandate to act”

First Peoples Health Priorities

Closing the Gap in health equality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians is an agreed national priority. The recognised necessity and urgency to close the gap must be backed by meaningful action.

All parties contesting the 2016 Federal Election must place Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs at the heart of their election platforms, recognising the health equality as our national priority.

Despite the regular upheaval of major policy changes, significant budget cuts and changes to Government in the short election cycles at all levels, we have still managed to see some encouraging improvements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes. But much remains to be achieved and as we move into the next phase of Closing the Gap, enhanced program and funding support will be required.

We appeal to all political parties to recommit to Closing the Gap and to concentrate efforts in the priority areas in order to meet our goal of achieving health equality in this generation.

We call on the next Federal Government to commit to:

  1. Restoration of funding

The 2014 Federal Budget was a disaster for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This is not an area where austerity measures will help alleviate the disparity in health outcomes for Australia’s First Peoples.

The current funding for Aboriginal health services is inequitable. Funding must be related to population or health need, indexed for growth in service demand or inflation, and needs to be put on a rational, equitable basis to support the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (2013–2023).

  1. Fund the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (2013–2023)

Future Budgets must adequately resource the Implementation Plan’s application and operation. As a multi-partisan supported program, the Implementation Plan is essential for driving progress towards the provision of the best possible outcomes from investment in health and related services.

  1. Make Aboriginal Community Controlled Services (ACCHS) the preferred providers

ACCHS should be considered the ‘preferred providers’ for health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Where there is no existing ACCHS in place, capacity should be built within existing ACCHS to extend their services to the identified areas of need. This could include training and capacity development of existing services to consider the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health strategy to self-fund new services. Where it is appropriate for mainstream providers to deliver a service, they should be looking to partner with ACCHS to better reach the communities in need.

  1. Create guidelines for Primary Health Networks

The next Federal Government should ensure that the Primary Health Networks (PHNs) engage with ACCHS and Indigenous health experts to ensure the best primary health care is delivered in a culturally safe manner. There should be mandated formal agreements between PHNs and ACCHS to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership.

  1. Resume indexation of the Medicare rebate, to relieve profound pressure on ACCHS

The pausing of the Medicare rebate has adversely and disproportionately affected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their ability to afford and access the required medical care. The incoming Federal Government should immediately resume indexation of Medicare to relieve the profound pressure on ACCHS.

  1. Reform of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy

The issues with the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) are well known. The recent Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee Report into the tendering processes highlighted significant problems with the IAS programme from application and tendering to grant selection and rollout.

The next Federal Government must fix the IAS as an immediate priority and restore the funding that has been stripped from key services through the flawed tendering process.

  1. Fund an Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy encompasses Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ holistic view of mental health, as well as physical, cultural and spiritual health, and has an early intervention focus that works to build strong communities through more community-focused and integrated approaches to suicide prevention.

The Strategy requires a considered Implementation Plan with Government support to genuinely engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, their organisations and representative bodies to develop local, culturally appropriate strategies to identify and respond to those most at risk within our communities.

  1. Develop a long-term National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Determinants of Health Strategy

The siloed approach to strategy and planning for the issues that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people face is a barrier to improvement. Whilst absolutely critical to closing the gap, the social determinants of health and wellbeing – from housing, education, employment and community support – are not adequately or comprehensively addressed.

The next Federal Government must prioritise the development of a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Determinants of Health Strategy that takes a broader, holistic look at the elements to health and wellbeing for Australia’s First Peoples. The Strategy must be developed in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through their peak organisations.

Please note the balance of document can be read here

Redfern Statement June 2016 Elections 18 Pages

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