NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper : ATSI Health needs more than a 10 year plan – It needs political will

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 ” Closing the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health inequality unfortunately remains a persistent challenge for our society.

There is no shortage of statistics and data demonstrating that we need to do better – it can sometimes feel like there is a new report every week flagging indicators of concern.

The real challenge is translating headlines into consistent effort and real results – beyond news and political cycles.

There is legitimate concern that the centrality of ACCHOs to improving health service delivery and health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is not being adequately recognised.

I have consistently argued that there are ACCHOs which are the finest examples of comprehensive primary health care in the country.”

Warren Snowdon as Shadow Assistant Minister for Indigenous Health

Article from Page 10 NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper out Wednesday 16 November , 24 Page lift out Koori Mail : or download

naccho-newspaper-nov-2016 PDF file size 9 MB

This is one of the goals of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013 – 2023 – a ten year framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health policy. It articulates a vision for closing the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health inequality.

Significantly, the Health Plan was developed by Labor in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their community organisations and their peak bodies.

NACCHO was a key partner and collaborator in the development of the plan, as was the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.

This is because Labor has a strong commitment to the belief that Aboriginal community controlled health organisations (ACCHOs) and the National Congress are central to improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and should be partners in developing policy.

Importantly, the Plan has bipartisan support. An Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan was launched in 2015 by the Abbott Government.

Again, this plan was developed in partnership with the National Health Leadership Forum. However, despite this and the strong bipartisan support for the Health Plan, we are now in the fourth year of the Plan and still no resources have been identified for the Implementation Plan.

It is clear that without resources, the vision of the Health Plan will be impossible to achieve.

Although Labor remains committed to working in a bipartisan manner with the current Government to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait health outcomes, to address the obvious inequalities and to close the gap, this does not mean that Labor will not hold the government to account.

Advancing the priorities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and their organisations remains an absolute commitment. Working in partnerships is paramount to achieve these.

There are obvious issues with the failure of the current government to develop a comprehensive approach to dealing with the social determinants of health or to demonstrate any real appreciation of how a human rights approach is required in the development of our health policy.

Additionally, we are very aware of the need to address issues of racism to ensure that the health system is not discriminatory.

There is legitimate concern that the centrality of ACCHOs to improving health service delivery and health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is not being adequately recognised. I have consistently argued that there are ACCHOs which are the finest examples of comprehensive primary health care in the country.

They are community based and controlled, they are responsive, innovative, accountable and have good governance. Most importantly, they deliver primary care, allied health services and prevention strategies which are examples for the rest of the world. ACCHOs also provide services that are culturally appropriate and safe.

Having said this, there are some organisations that need to do better. They need to be more accountable and reform their governance and their record of service delivery.

NACCHO and the state and territory affiliates have an important role to play in this regard in terms of leadership, accountability and mentoring. They need to be alive to the threats that exist as well as opportunities for the sector to grow further by expanding the reach of services and consequently, achieving better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

For our part, Labor will continue to review our current policy settings, particularly as we approach the next election.

As a matter of course we will continue to work with NACCHO, the affiliates and their member organisations as well as other health advocacy and membership groups, such as doctors, nurses, health workers and allied health practitioners and of course other health experts from universities and the like.

We acknowledge the need to continue to address the dramatic levels of chronic disease that are endemic in many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The fundamental importance of good primary care services being readily available is abundantly clear.

In primary health care, broader health policy has an inevitable impact, and this is why Labor has consistently opposed changes to the Medicare system that increase costs or limit services to those who most need Medicare. We are very conscious of the need to protect ACCHOs from the impact of these policy threats.

There is also an absolute need to look at prevention strategies to intervene and stop the onset of chronic disease in the first place. We support the life course approach that drives the National Health Plan as well as the requirement to address the broader social determinants.

In this context we are currently giving priority to what can be done in maternal and child health, parenting and adolescent health.

We need to ensure that all children are born healthy, have a healthy childhood and grow up to be healthy adults, without the chronic disease that has beset their parents and grandparents.

Improvements cannot happen in isolation. There is a concurrent need to do something about the poverty that is such a major driver of poor health outcomes. Policies and strategies around education, employment, housing, drug and alcohol policies, mental health and social and emotional wellbeing as well as food security are integral to elevating and sustaining health outcomes.

We will continue to advocate for the development and provision of appropriate aged care services. And we will continue to support treatment models driven by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples that are culturally appropriate from their inception.

Another area where Labor is keen to see more progress is in the health workforce. It is vital that we see more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across all disciplines, engaged in treating and supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Labor recognises that one size will not fit all. There is a need to appreciate and address the difference and diversity that exists for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across the country.

Labor is absolutely committed to both this underlying principle in our policy development process, as well as recognising that the framework we are using remains the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013 – 2023.

Catherine King and Warren Snowdon  will keynote speakers at the  NACCHO Members Conference in Melbourne

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1. NACCHO Interim 3 day Program has been released -Download
2. The dates are fast approaching – so register today

NACCHO health promotion news: Geelong AFL Cats Promote the Deadly Choices Message

 

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MAKING GOOD CHOICES: Cats Steven Motlop and Mathew Stokes with Dylan Jones and Wathaurong CEO Tracey Currie at the Deadly Choices launch. Photo: PETER RISTEVSKI

The Geelong Football Club will run programs in Victoria to share anti-smoking, smoke-free and healthy lifestyle choice messages with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth.

Minister for Indigenous Health Warren Snowdon said at a meeting with Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative today that the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) had received $150,000 in funding to deliver programs in partnership with the Cats, and to look at ways of rolling out the program across Victoria.

“Starting in the Barwon region, the Cats‟ players will explain what Deadly Choices they have personally made. They will encourage young people to say no to smokes and adopt healthy lifestyle choices, including connecting to culture, healthy eating and physical activity,” he said.

In some activities, kids are put through their paces with footy drills and get to share a barbeque lunch with their AFL heroes.

Mr Snowdon said the campaign is funded as part of the rollout of Regional Tackling Smoking and Healthy Lifestyle activities across Australia.

“This approach was first developed in Queensland by the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health, which engaged NRL stars including Sam Thaiday and Preston Campbell as sporting role models for the Deadly Choices strategy Queensland,” Mr Snowdon said.

The partnership will support the two Deadly Choices TV commercials that feature „healthy living‟ Geelong Cats, Allen Christensen and Matthew Stokes.

Smoking has been found to be responsible for 17 per cent of the life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and broader Australian population.

Tobacco smoking directly causes a third each of cancer and cardiovascular disease amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and accounts for one-fifth of deaths.

For more information, contact the minister’s office on 02 6277 7820

NACCHO SEWB News: NACCHO CEO appointed to new Aboriginal Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group

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Pictured above NACCHO CEO Ms Lisa Briggs appointed to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group.

Please note: Official Goverment release is included below

NACCHO as a member The Close the Gap Campaign today welcomed a significant mental health milestone:  the establishment of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group.

The new ministerial advisory body, co-chaired by Dr Tom Calma AO and Professor Pat Dudgeon, is the first of its kind in Australia.

The other members of the new Group are (alphabetically): Mr Tom Brideson, Ms Lisa Briggs, Mr Ashley Couzens, Ms Adele Cox, Ms Katherine Hams, Ms Victoria Hovane, Professor Ernest Hunter, Mr Rod Little, Associate Professor Peter O’Mara, Mr Charles Passi, Ms Valda Shannon and Dr Marshall Watson.

It will provide expert advice to government on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention.

Close the Gap co-chair and Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda, said the group will help drive reform in mental health and suicide prevention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“Improving mental health and suicide prevention is fundamental to improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health overall, and to closing the health and life expectancy gap with other Australians,” Mr Gooda said.

Mr Gooda said the advisory body would help ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people benefit from national mental health reforms and the significant investment in mental health in recent years.

He said the advisory body would also improve strategic responses to suicide and mental health by enabling partnerships between government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experts in social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are experiencing mental health problems at almost double the rate of other Australians.

“Addressing difficult and entrenched challenges like this mental health gap requires long term and sustained commitment and a truly bipartisan approach.

“It is particularly important as we move into a Federal election that closing the gap remains a national project that is supported and sustained beyond electoral cycles,” Mr Gooda said.

 Commonwealth Coat of Arms

THE HON MARK BUTLER MP ,THE HON WARREN SNOWDON MP, JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

NEW HIGH-LEVEL GROUP ADVISE ON TACKLING INDIGENOUS SUICIDE

A new expert group has been set up to advise the Federal Government on improving mental health and suicide prevention programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group will be chaired by two eminent Aboriginal experts in the field, Prof Pat Dudgeon, recognised as Australia’s first Indigenous psychologist, and human rights campaigner Dr Tom Calma AO, the new chancellor of the University of Canberra.

The new Group will advise on practical and strategic ways to improve Indigenous mental health and social and emotional wellbeing.

The Group met for the first time in Canberra today to discuss its priorities, including implementation of the recently released National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy.

Also on the agenda for the inaugural meeting are the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan and the renewed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social and Emotional Wellbeing Framework.

Professor Dudgeon is from the Bardi people of the Kimberley and is known for her passionate work in psychology and Indigenous issues, including her leadership in higher education.  Currently she is a research fellow and an associate professor at the University of Western Australia.

Dr Calma is an elder of the Kungarakan tribal group and a member of the Iwaidja tribal group in the Northern Territory. He was appointed National Coordinator of Tackling Indigenous Smoking three years ago.

Previously, he was Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission from 2004 to 2010 and served as Race Discrimination Commissioner from 2004 until 2009.

The other members of the new Group are (alphabetically): Mr Tom Brideson, Ms Lisa Briggs, Mr Ashley Couzens, Ms Adele Cox, Ms Katherine Hams, Ms Victoria Hovane, Professor Ernest Hunter, Mr Rod Little, Associate Professor Peter O’Mara, Mr Charles Passi, Ms Valda Shannon and Dr Marshall Watson.

The Federal Labor Government’s commitment to reducing high levels of suicide within Indigenous communities was highlighted by its development and recent release of Australia’s first National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy.

The Strategy is supported by $17.8 million over four years in new funding to reduce the incidence of suicidal and self-harming behaviour among Indigenous people.

This builds on the Labor Government’s broad strategic investment in suicide prevention, as outlined in the Taking Action to Tackle Suicide package and the National Suicide Prevention Program which, together, include $304.2 million in vital programs and services across Australia.

Funding already allocated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs under these two national suicide programs, includes:

  • $4.6 million for community-led suicide prevention initiatives.
  • $150,000 for enhanced psychological services for Indigenous communities in the Kimberley Region, through the Access to Allied Psychological Services program.
  • $6 million for targeted suicide prevention interventions.

Media contact: Tim O’Halloran (Butler) – 0409 059 617/Marcus Butler (Snowdon) – 0417 917 796