NACCHO Aboriginal Health #AusVotesHealth #VoteACCHO @Greens Leader @RichardDiNatale and @SenatorSiewert launch their #Election2019 platform “ Improving #FirstNations health outcomes in partnership with #FirstNations people : Download Here

” First Nations peoples continue to experience much poorer health and wellbeing than the general Australian population in many key areas of health[1]. These include life expectancy, mortality, hospitalisations, education, employment, child and maternal health, and disabilities[2].

For First Nations peoples, good health is more than the absence of disease or illness; it is a holistic concept that includes physical, social, emotional, cultural, spiritual and ecological wellbeing, for both the individual and the community.

This concept of good health emphasises the connectedness of these factors and recognises how social and cultural determinants can affect health[3].

The Greens will work with First Nations peoples and communities to facilitate and fund community-led approaches in access to health care and social services in a wide range of ways which are outlined below. All of these are included in our broader 2019 election policy platform.’

Picture above NACCHO Library : Senator Rachel Siewert visiting the Broome Regional Aboriginal Medical Centre with Senator Richard Di Natale . Prior to entering parliament, Richard was a general practitioner and public health specialist. He worked in Aboriginal health in the Northern Territory.

Download Stakeholder Statement_First Nations Health_FINAL_RELEASED (2)


Following the introduction of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy, over $500 million was cut from First Nations programs, including more than $169 million of cuts to health programs4. This Strategy has resulted in funding uncertainty for organisations and a decrease in the number of organisations working in the communities they are serving.

The Australian Greens will restore this funding and work to ensure that this restoration is led by communities[4].

In addition, we will address specific health issues through broader changes to the health system including:

  • Addressing the proportion of First Nations Australians with long term health conditions which is 1.7 times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians. The Greens have a plan to reform Medicare to meet the needs of the millions of Australians living with chronic disease through additional funding for GPs and voluntary enrolment to provide coordinated care6.
  • Working with communities and health professionals to design targets and interventions for diseases, such as rheumatic heart disease, trachoma and chronic otitis media, that are more prevalent in First Nations communities.
  • Helping First Nations peoples who have poor access to high quality food, partake in insufficient physical activity and have high obesity7. The Australian Greens will address these challenges through our new independent preventive health commission8.
  • Investing $15 million per year to close the gap in the rates of new HIV diagnoses between Australian-born non-indigenous peoples and First Nations peoples. This funding will be used to ensure the needs of all First Nations peoples, including brotherboys, sistergirls and gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people are met in public health prevention and service provision.
  • Investing in suicide prevention programs that work by providing $500 million for community-based assertive outreach programs, with dedicated funding for First Nations peoples.
  • Increasing the numbers of peer workers by providing $166 million to fund a two-year national peer workforce trial with 1,000 places, with a dedicated number of places for First Nations peer workers.
  • Investing in research which is controlled and led research by First Nations peoples. The Greens provide in principle support for increased funding for First Nations controlled and led research, either through the MRFF or the National Health and Medical Research Council and will be investing more money in research and development.
  • Doubling Commonwealth AOD treatment funding to $800 million over three years to improve treatment outcomes


Australia’s health inequities are closely related to powerlessness, racism and a slow process of reconciliation alongside limited recognition of human, land and sovereign rights9. The Australian Greens will10:

  • Provide $50 million in funding to First Nations peoples’ organisations to support a path towards treaties.
  • Provide $50 million for the establishment of a body, such as the suggested Makaratta commission, with the function of enabling agreement-making and facilitating a process of local and regional justice and truth telling.
  • Support the establishment of such a ‘voice to Parliament’ enshrined in the Constitution to ensure that First Nations Peoples have a voice in decisions that affect them.
  • Find out more at:


A person’s health is influenced by their home, school, workplace, community and experiences of social institutions and systems[5]. Household income differences between First Nations and non-Indigenous peoples contributes to almost 14% of the overall health gap, followed by differences in employment and hours worked (12%), and level of school completed (8.7%). The

Australian Greens will address these causes by:

  • Allocating a proportion of the Community Child Care Fund (CCCF) for quality community-controlled and culturally safe integrated early years services[6]. The CCCF provides grants to child care services to help improve access in disadvantaged, regional and remote communities.
  • Funding unlimited free undergraduate university and TAFE. This will make higher education more accessible for all, including First Nations peoples[7][8].
  • Improving access to and the quality of our social safety net by increasing the single rate of Newstart and Youth Allowance by $75 per week[9].
  • Abolishing punitive measures including income management, the Community Development Program and work for the dole[10].
  • Increasing the number of Indigenous Rangers to 5,000 by 2025. The Indigenous Rangers Program has been a resounding success. For every $1 invested, it returns $3 in environmental and socioeconomic benefits[11] .
  • Allocating a proportion of our $200 million Survivor Grant fund to First Nations community-controlled specialist frontline services working with family violence survivors
  • Adopting a housing first policy by setting aside $500 million per year to fund transitional housing and crisis services. We will work with First Nations organisations to ensure access to culturally appropriate crisis housing and long-term housing options for women and children experiencing family violence.

[1] AIHW, Australia’s Health 2018  

[2] AIHW, Australia’s Health 2018  

[3] AIHW, Australia’s Health 2018  4$534-cut-to-indigenous-programs-and-health/5451144 

[4] Find out more at:

[​                    i ons%20Peoples.pdf  


[5] AIHW, Australia’s Health 2018  

[6] Find out more at:  

[7] Find out more at​

[8] .pdf  

[9] Find out more at: es.pdf  

[10] Find out more at: es.pdf  

[11] Find out more at: 

NACCHO #HealthElection16 : Ongoing commitment required to close the gap says NACCHO CEO


PHOTO ABOVE : Senator Rachel Siewert visiting the Broome Regional Aboriginal Medical Centre yesterday with Senator Richard Di Natale to announce the Greens Aboriginal Health policy. Prior to entering parliament, Richard was a general practitioner and public health specialist. He worked in Aboriginal health in the Northern Territory.


“Perhaps the most important part of The Greens’ commitments is the restoring of over half a billion dollars in cuts since 2013 and their earlier promise to index Medicare rebates, which have been frozen for several years. This has been causing unnecessary hardship to medical services across Australia.

“The Greens policy is a very comprehensive plan for Aboriginal health and we challenge the other parties to outline in detail what their plans are in these areas of concern.”

NACCHO CEO Patricia Turner ( Pictured above ) has welcomed the release of The Greens’ Aboriginal Health policy yesterday.

Ms Turner said The Greens’ policy is so far the only one this election to focus specifically on Aboriginal health and make commitments in nearly all of the key areas in Aboriginal health.

Read Greens Press release HERE

Download the full Aboriginal Health Policy document

Greens Aboriginal Health platform 2016 Elections

“The Greens have touched on many issues of serious concern for the ACCHO sector,” Ms Turner said.

“Avoidable blindness accounts for 11 per cent of the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal health. $42.3 million will go a long way to providing spectacles and other eye health measures and implement the Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision.

“Almost $100 million to Close the Gap in hearing is also very welcome. We know that educational outcomes improve when children can hear properly in class and the $4 million a year for sound field systems in classrooms will be a great help.

“There is a desperate need for mental health services for Aboriginal people and the $720 million The Greens have committed to this is very important.

“Hear our Voices -Aboriginal Health in Aboriginal Hands “

View our new NACCHO TV Interviews HERE



Advertising and editorial is invited from

All political parties

NACCHO 150 Members and Affiliates

Stakeholders/ Aboriginal organisations

Peak Health bodies

Editorial Proposals Close 10 June 2016

Closing 17 June for publishing election week 29 June

Contact for Advertising rate cards/bookings/editorial


NACCHO Aboriginal health and our political future : So which side of politics will end Aboriginal disadvantage

Kev and Tony

Article by Amanda Cavill

While Indigenous Australians make up a small percentage of Australia’s population, they are vastly over-represented in a number of alarming ways.

WATCH NACCHO chair  Justin Mohamed and National Congress Kirstie Parker on SKYNEWS

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a lower average life expectancy, higher child mortality rates and a higher likelihood of living in poverty, according to FaHCSIA.

In the lead up to this year’s election, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has said he wanted to see Parliament revisit a referendum on recognition of Indigenous people in Australia’s constitution within two years.

Labor has also pledged funding through national partnerships agreements for health, education and housing, committed to a Cape York welfare reform trial and funded a series of land and sea ranger programs to boost jobs.

Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin has also announced new targets to help close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

“One: to make sure that we get more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into higher education. Two: that we will set ourselves a new closing the gap justice target, because incarceration rates are too high, and thirdly: we’ve announced disability targets making sure that Indigenous people get the access they need to Disability Care Australia”, Ms Macklin said.

The Coalition supports many of the government’s policy initiatives.

VIEW the Coalition policy released yesterday

It too has pledged to changing the constitution to acknowledge Aboriginal people, with a draft amendment to be put forward within 12 months.

However, if elected, the Coalition says it would elevate Indigenous affairs by moving the portfolio into the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Coalition leader Tony Abbott has also promised to set up an Indigenous Advisory Council, headed by former ALP president Warren Mundine.

The council would be made up of Indigenous and non-Indigenous representatives and would meet with the government three times a year, while Mr Mundine would meet the prime minister and Indigenous affairs minister every month.

Mr Abbott said the disadvantage faced by Indigenous people is the result of a flawed system.

“What we’ve got to do is develop new governance arrangements where things happen a lot more quickly than they seem to at the moment.  Now I don’t want to underestimate the difficulties of this, but I think that we start getting places more quickly if it’s not just the government dictating to Aboriginal people, but the government, allied with people like Warren Mundine, making it happen”, Mr Abbott said.

And, if elected, Tony Abbott said he would spend a week each year in Aboriginal communities – as he has been doing for years already – but as prime minister would take senior decision-makers with him.

Income quarantining would remain but, unlike Labor’s policy, would not be linked to school attendance.

He has promised on-the-spot fines for truancy, job training trials based on mining billionaire Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest’s model, and greater help for Indigenous people to develop businesses and own homes.

Katter’s Australia Party, which is expected to retain leader Bob Katter’s lower house seat and win at least one senate seat, is highly critical of the major parties’ plans.

Bob Katter said they are policies that won’t work.

“They believe that whitefellas should go in there and build all these houses for them, and fix everything up for them.  You know, I have the exact opposite position.  Mahatma Gandhi had it right; ‘Even though we may not be able to run India as well as the British Raj, it is infinitely more important that Indians run India, even though we may not be able to run it as well'”, he said.

Meanwhile The Greens said they will use their expected balance-of-power position in the Senate to pursue compensation for the Stolen Generation and recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the constitution.

The party opposes income management, welfare quarantining, and Labor’s scheme to link welfare payments to school attendance.

The party wants a justice target in the Closing the Gap program and action to reduce alcohol supply, for example through a minimum price or fewer liquor licences and stronger measures to boost Indigenous health.

Greens Senator and former GP Richard Di Natale says the first step to improving health in remote Indigenous communities is training more Aboriginal health workers.

“We’ve got a huge investment in infrastructure that would ensure that we get more people from an Indigenous background trained and becoming health professionals.  I worked for two years at an Aboriginal health service in the Northern Territory and one of the best things about that service was that Aboriginal people were coming into a place where they were getting care from their Indigenous brothers and sisters. That’s so critical”, Di Natale says.

NACCHO 2013 Election political alert:What are all the political parties promising Aboriginal Australia?


If there’s one issue that marks Australia out as an international pariah, it’s extreme Aboriginal disadvantage.

While the mining boom burbles along as a boy wonder of the global market, images of Third World-style conditions in bush camps continue to put a lie to the “lucky country” narrative.

The indigenous population lags behind on nearly every major social indicator.

Crikey is rolling out its exclusive PromiseWatch series in conjunction with the Centre for Policy Development.

Today, Aboriginal affairs and “closing the gap”

Reproduced from CRIKEY

NOTE the spelling of indigenous is Crikey not NACCHO

Making up 2.5% of the Australian population, indigenous people are vastly over-represented when it comes to poverty, life expectancy, health problems, disability, psychological distress and unemployment, according to the ABS.

There is just one indigenous MP, Ken Wyatt, currently serving in the House of Representatives and only three Aborigines have ever been elected to federal parliament.

The current government has committed itself to Closing the Gap, a national intergovernmental program meant to address the disadvantages that indigenous Australians face. Under this program, the state and federal administrations aim to:

  • close the gap in life expectancy (the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous life expectancy is 11.5 years in males and 9.7      years for females)
  • halve the gap in mortality rates for indigenous children under five by 2018
  • ensure  access to early childhood education for all indigenous four year olds in  remote communities by 2013
  • halve the gap in reading, writing and numeracy achievements for children by 2018
  • halve the gap for indigenous students in Year 12 (or equivalent) attainment  rates by 2020
  • halve the gap in employment outcomes between indigenous and other Australians by      2018

The government has sought to directly intervene in the most disadvantaged indigenous communities in the NT, reshaping the policies of John Howard and Mal Brough’s NT intervention through the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory bills.

The legislation seeks to address alcohol abuse, land reform and food security. Under the oversight of the federal government, penalties for alcohol possession on Aboriginal land will be increased, failure for children to attend school will be discouraged through a decrease in welfare payments, X-rated material will be banned in certain areas and customary law considerations can be excluded in sentencing and bail decisions.

So what have the major parties promised on indigenous affairs?


Labor reiterated its support for the Closing the Gap program in its 2011 national platform, and says it recognises the disadvantage that Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders face in their daily lives. Areas selected for specific attention include literacy, numeracy, employment, infant mortality, life expectancy and education. Labor aims to close the gap by:

  • overcoming decades of under-investment in services and infrastructure
  • establishing clear expectations for governments, and holding all governments to account  for their progress
  • supporting personal responsibility as the foundation for healthy, strong families and  communities
  • building strong, respectful and robust relationships between indigenous and  non-indigenous Australians, so that we can work in partnership

The platform commits the party to investment in healthcare for Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders of every age, along with better access to education, employment and housing.

Labor is in favour of the official acknowledgement of indigenous people in the constitution. It has passed a bipartisan Act of Recognition through Parliament committing to some change, however no referendum will be held on the issue until community support reaches an adequate level.

The ALP has preselected former sprinter Nova Peris for a winnable NT Senate slot, a move Julia Gillard says was explicitly designed to increase the party’s paucity of indigenous representation.

The Coalition:

Under its 2010 election policy, the Coalition outlined nine key areas. In March, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott pledged that he would put indigenous affairs at the centre of government by establishing a “Prime Minister of Aboriginal Affairs”.

The Indigenous Affairs portfolio would be relocated to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. In its “Our Plan” policy precis released in January, the Coalition said it would “encourage indigenous Australians to get ahead” by:

  • working  with indigenous communities to bring in a new suite of purposeful and innovative strategies
  • eliminating red tape and streamline programmes to move away from the complex web of overlapping initiatives
  • directing funding away from bureaucracies and overlapping and competing programmes towards local communities and real action
  • working with families to ensure all indigenous children attend school every day
  • supporting the Australian Employment Covenant and its many supporting employers to  create more opportunities for indigenous Australians to get ahead and actively engage more indigenous Australians in real jobs
  • providing $10 million to fund four trial sites to train 1000 indigenous people for  guaranteed jobs, working with the Australian Employment Covenant and Generation One
  • ending training for training’s sake and implement employment or work for the dole programmes
  • Tony Abbott continuing to spend a week a year in a remote community, to gain a better understanding of people’s needs

The party has also said it would retain former ALP national secretary Tim Gartrell as head of the group campaigning for constitutional recognition. And Abbott said last year he wants “authentic” Aborigines in parliament to join Wyatt.

The Greens:

The Greens’ indigenous affairs policies emphasise the respect and deference owed to the First Australians. Like Labor and the Coalition, the party seeks to obtain constitutional recognition of the role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in pre-1788 Australia. Furthermore, it aims to provide equal access to services such as health, education, training, housing, community infrastructure, employment support, and policing. Under their watch, the Greens will:

  • provide protection and respect for indigenous cultural rights
  • prioritise programmes to improve indigenous health
  • establish community initiatives to address issues of family violence, alcohol and  substance abuse
  • incorporate  indigenous culture and language into the education system
  • repeal the Stronger Futures legislation
  • establish  effective heritage protection laws and protection bodies
  • ensure food security for indigenous populations in regional and remote areas.