NACCHO Aboriginal #Heart Health #refreshtheCTGRefresh : Two leading Victorian health organisations have developed a new relationship to help #ClosetheGap on heart disease and improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

It is essential that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are respected as cultural experts, central to their own care. Yet we can’t expect to close the healthcare gap, let alone eliminate it as is our aim, by working in isolation.

Too many Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are diagnosed with illnesses much later than non-Indigenous Victorians, resulting in a significant burden on health services and other long-term costs on the system.

Together with the Heart Foundation, we can provide support and share information to help Aboriginal communities affected by, or at risk of, heart disease across the state access the services they need.”

VACCHO Acting CEO Trevor Pearce welcomed the opportunity to continue working with the Heart Foundation to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

 ” The people you love, take them for heart health checks.

Learn the warning signs of a heart attack and make sure to ring 000 (Triple Zero) if you think someone in your community is having one. Secondly give cigarettes the boot:

If you smoke, stop. I was only a light smoker but it still did me harm, so now I’ve given up.”

Former champion footballer Nicky Winmar always looked after his health, apart from having been a light smoker for years : Watch video 

Read this article and over 60 NACCHO Aboriginal Heart Health Articles HERE published over 6 years

Two leading Victorian health organisations have developed a new relationship to help Close the Gap on heart disease and improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

 and  The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and the Heart Foundation in Victoria today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together to improve the heart health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait lslander communities in this state.

Heart disease is the leading killer of Australians, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are twice as likely to die from heart disease than non-Indigenous people.

In some regions of Victoria, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are hospitalised for heart conditions up to three times more often than non-Indigenous Australians. Yet they are less likely than non-Indigenous people with heart disease to have coronary angiography and other cardiac procedures; to receive or attend cardiac rehabilitation; or to be prescribed statins.

Heart Foundation CEO Victoria Kellie-Ann Jolly said, “Signing this MOU reinforces the relationship and commitment both organisations have towards achieving health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait lslander peoples.

“We understand how important it is to build mutual respect and trust at a local level through our previous work with Shepparton’s Rumbalara Aboriginal Health Service, and as part of the Lighthouse Hospital Project with the Bairnsdale Regional Health Service and the town’s local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO),” Ms Jolly said.

“With almost one-quarter of the mortality gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous people due to cardiovascular disease, it is vital we work together to address this pressing issue.

“We see our collaboration with VACCHO as a long-term partnership towards achieving our shared vision of improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heart health care in Victoria.

“While there’s still a long way to go, increasing awareness of heart disease and working towards improved pathways to access culturally-safe healthcare services are critical if we are to see change.

“Eliminating rheumatic heart disease, which is far more common in Indigenous communities, is another priority for the Heart Foundation. It is only through working together with grass-roots organisations and the peak body, VACCHO, that we can begin to address this issue.”

VACCHO and the Heart Foundation will also work together to advocate for projects and initiatives that strive towards health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This MOU signing marks a significant step towards Closing the Gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

About the Heart Foundation

The Heart Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to fighting the single biggest killer of Australians – heart disease. For close to 60 years, it’s led the battle to save lives and improve the heart health of all Australians. Its sights are set on a world where people don’t suffer or die prematurely because of heart disease. To find out more about the Heart Foundation’s research program or to make a donation, visit or call 13 11 12.


The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation Inc (VACCHO) was established in 1996. VACCHO is the peak body for Aboriginal health and wellbeing in Victoria, with 30 Member ACCOs providing support to approximately 25,000 Aboriginal people across the state.


NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Obesity and the #sugartax : Barnaby Joyce on the merits of a sugary drinks tax


Amata was an alcohol-free community, but some years earlier its population of just under 400 people had been consuming 40,000 litres of soft drink annually.

The thing that I say in community meetings all the time is that, the reason we’re doing this is so that the young children now do not end up going down the same track of diabetes, kidney failure, dialysis machines and early death, which is the track that many, many people out here are on now,”

Mai Wiru, meaning good health, and managed by long-time community consultant John Tregenza.

The Sugar Trip on Australian Story  View HERE

” With most complex issues, you start somewhere.  You come up with evidence-informed policies and you try them out.  You rigorously evaluate their performance, and learn by doing.

But not with obesity.  “Complexity” is the new enemy of action.  Since the causes of obesity are complex, every “single” policy advanced in response can be dismissed as a dangerously simplistic solution to a complex problem.

Welcome to obesity, the problem we’re not allowed to start to fix.

Except with personal responsibility, of course.!!!

A tax on sugary drinks will get National Party politicians in trouble with sugar producers, and Liberal Party politicians in trouble with big food.

The real problem is that it might work.  Based on the experience of Mexico, a sugary drinks tax will very likely cause consumers to purchase fewer sugary drinks.

Despite batting it away, a tax on sugary drinks is on the public agenda, and it’s here to stay.  I don’t see the sugary drinks industry winning on this issue indefinitely.

Partly because Australian health researchers will keep it on the agenda.”

 Edited highlights from :   Sydney Health Law



“We need a national healthy weight strategy which includes a comprehensive approach to tackle overweight and obesity in all parts of Australia.

“While there’s no silver bullet for reducing overweight and obesity rates, there are key policies which we know can make a significant difference to the health of all Australians.”

The Obesity Policy Coalition recommends four key actions by government to address the obesity problem:

  1. Develop and implement a long-term, comprehensive, integrated strategy to address obesity.
  2. Take action to substantially reduce children’s exposure to unhealthy food marketing.
  3. Introduce a 20 per cent tax on sugar-sweetened beverages and use the money raised to offer healthy food subsidies for people on low incomes and to support obesity prevention initiatives.
  4. Make the Health Star Rating System mandatory, to ensure it is displayed on all packaged food products.

The Healthy Communities: Overweight and obesity rates across Australia, 2014-15 report finds that in 2014-15:

  • The percentage of overweight or obese adults ranged from 53% in Northern Sydney to 73% in Country SA
  • Overweight and obesity rates were generally higher in regional PHN areas than in metropolitan PHN areas
  • After excluding adults who were overweight, the percentage of obese adults ranged from 16% in Central and Eastern Sydney to 38% in Country SA
  • The obesity rate was 25% or higher in 18 of the 28 PHN areas for which results were available.

Once more with feeling…Barnaby Joyce on the merits of a sugary drinks tax

When I looked up from marking exams and saw the look on Barnaby Joyce’s face, I just knew he was seeing red about the Grattan Institute’s proposal for a sugary drinks tax, levied at a rate of 40 cents per 100 grams of sugar.

The Grattan Institute report estimates that such a tax would reduce the consumption of sugary drinks by about 15% and generate up to half a billion dollars that could help to pay for a broad array of obesity-related programs.

Imagine!  A public health policy that fights obesity, diabetes and tooth decay AND generates revenue.

The National Party hate the idea. Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Nationals, Barnaby Joyce told reporters: Pictured here with the Asst Minister for Rural Health Dr David Gillespie


“If you want to deal with being overweight, here’s a rough suggestion: stop eating so much, and do a bit of exercise.  There’s two bits of handy advice and you get that for free.  The National Party will not be supporting a sugar tax”.

Well that’s what he said.

But here’s what I heard: “We know that obesity and diabetes are out of control.  But we have ideological objections to being part of the solution”.

The same day that Minister Joyce shared these thoughts with reporters, the Australian Food and Grocery Council issued a press release saying that it was seeking a “constructive response to obesity”.

“Obesity is a serious and complex public health issue with no single cause or quick-fix solution”, explained the AFGC, but “it is not beneficial to blame or tax a single component of the diet”.

Personal responsibility…the answer to obesity, traffic accidents, terrorism, Zika virus, perhaps everything?

In a limited sense, Barnaby Joyce is right.

The only cure for personal obesity is personal responsibility.

But personal responsibility has turned out to be a spectacularly poor solution to “societal obesity”.

By societal obesity, I am referring to the trend towards overweight and obesity that has arisen over the past few decades and now affects the majority of adult men and women (and more than one in four children).

Since each of us is an individual, and because we live in a culture that prizes individual autonomy, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that individual effort, personal motivation, is the solution to the world’s ills.

But just as the global epidemics of obesity and diabetes were not caused by a catastrophic, global melt-down in personal responsibility, personal responsibility is equally unlikely to provide the magic solution.

That’s where public policies come in.

Governments know all this, but with the exception of tobacco control, they seem reluctant to apply their knowledge in the area of preventive health.

The fact is, from road traffic accidents to terrorism, smart governments:

  • acknowledge the complexity of the factors that contribute to societal problems;
  • They acknowledge that multiple interventions are needed, in many settings;
  • They acknowledge that possible solutions need to be trialled now, under conditions of uncertainty, instead of handing the problem to future generations.
  • They monitor the actions they take, because healthy public policy is a dynamic, ongoing process; and finally
  • They give a damn.  Meaning that they recognise they are accountable to the community for helping to solve difficult, societal problems, and for the performance of the public policies they administer.

Imagine if Australia’s government took that approach with obesity.

The debate about a sugary drinks tax is here to stay: it will never go away

A tax on sugary drinks will get National Party politicians in trouble with sugar producers, and Liberal Party politicians in trouble with big food.

The real problem is that it might work.  Based on the experience of Mexico, a sugary drinks tax will very likely cause consumers to purchase fewer sugary drinks.

Despite batting it away, a tax on sugary drinks is on the public agenda, and it’s here to stay.  I don’t see the sugary drinks industry winning on this issue indefinitely.

Partly because Australian health researchers will keep it on the agenda.

It will come back, and back.  Especially as evidence of its success accumulates overseas.

One conversation worth having is how revenues from a sugary drinks tax might support agricultural producers in rural Australia, helping to cushion them from the adverse effects (if any) of the tax and creating incentives for the production of a sustainable and healthy food supply.

That is simply one question worth considering during the process of developing a national nutrition policy (which we don’t currently have).

In the meantime, Australian health advocates need to broaden their base.

Advocacy for public policy action on obesity needs to become more closely integrated with advocacy on food security.   And advocacy in both areas needs to be linked more closely to action on reducing health inequalities.

But enough about all that.  You really came here for Barnaby, didn’t you?

OK, here he is:

The ATO is not a better solution than jumping in the pool and going for a swim. The ATO is not a better solution than reducing your portion size. So get yourself a robust chair and a heavy table and, halfway through the meal, put both hands on the table and just push back. That will help you lose weight.”


NACCHO media release: Aboriginal health gap in danger of blowing out

Justin - NACCHO Chair

Pictured: Justin Mohamed

The national Aboriginal primary health peak, the National Community Controlled Health Organisation
(NACCHO) today warned that the significant inroads being made to close the health gap for Aboriginal
people was in danger of being eroded without urgent commitment from all states and territories.

NACCHO Chair, Justin Mohamed said the National Partnership Agreement to Close the Gap signed by
all states and territories in 2008 had now expired and inaction threatened to derail the gains made in
the health of Aboriginal people across the country.

“Commendably, both the Commonwealth and Victorian governments have shown leadership and resigned to the Agreement before it expired at the end of June,” Mr Mohamed said.

“The WA government has also rolled funding over for another 12 months as they undergo a review of
Aboriginal health expenditure.

“Critical health programs are now at risk if other states and territories continue to avoid putting in their
share to close the appalling life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people which
can be up to seventeen years difference.

“It is simply unacceptable that this issue isn’t being given priority by all states and territories given how
far we have come already and how far we have yet to go.

“We need to see generational change for our people to break the cycle of poor health and it is
extremely disappointing that some state and territory leaders seem to think the issue will go away if
they ignore it long enough.”

Mr Mohamed, speaking at the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Summit in
Victoria today, said the evidence was there that close the gap initiatives were working and that
Aboriginal health provided by Aboriginal people in their own communities was having a real impact.

“The summit today has provided a great opportunity to showcase the incredible contribution Aboriginal
Community Controlled Health Organisations are making in their communities.

“We have concrete evidence that Aboriginal health in Aboriginal hands is what is really making the
difference in achieving health outcomes for our people.

“We are seeing big improvements in child birth weights, maternal health and management of chronic
diseases like diabetes.

“There is still a long way to go so we must maintain the momentum and continue to fund and support
the community controlled health model which has for 40 years now proved its worth.”

Media contact: Olivia Greentree 0439 411 774

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



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 health and constitution news: Is it time for the “historical wrong” of the Australian Constitution corrected ?


Uncle Bob Randall, who fought for native title recognition for Uluru in the 1980s, now wants the “historical wrong” of the Australian Constitution corrected.

Picture above: Uluru traditional owner Bob Randall, left, Aaron Pedersen, Sally Scales and Sophia Pearson mark the arrival of the Journey to Recognition to Uluru in the NT. Picture: Kelly Barnes  Source: The Australian

What do you think ?

Refer NACCHO health and politics:Aboriginal health and the Australian Constitution ,how do we fix both ?

NACCHO welcomes debate and encourages readers to leave comments below

AS the desert sun sinks through the spinifex, a dozen people pause to watch the sunlight up the red rock of Uluru.

The sunset’s kaleidoscope of colours is a long-anticipated milestone for the group, which has marched 2300km for the cause of Aboriginal recognition since a cold Melbourne morning in May.


“We were so overwhelmed,” said Jill Gallagher (pictured above) , the 58-year-old chief executive of the Victorian Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Organisations who drove all the way to Uluru from Melbourne. “It is exciting and overwhelming, and the journey that we’re on about recognition – it just all came together.”

More than 3000 people have joined the Journey to Recognition, which calls for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to be recognised as the First Peoples in Australia’s Constitution.

The convoy left Adelaide last Wednesday, heading north through Port Augusta and Coober Pedy, and stopping at small towns and communities alongthe way. They are part of a national relay – inspired by former AFL champion Michael Long’s Walk to Canberra nine years ago – that started in Melbourne in May and is scheduled to finish in Arnhem Land on August 1.

Uluru’s traditional owners joined with the travellers in the nation’s desert heart yesterday to reflect on the journey’s success, which has seen an upswell of support across the country. Bob Randall, a traditional Anangu owner of Uluru who lives in its shadows at the community of Mutitjulu, was there to welcome the convoy.

“The way to deal with this is to make the Constitution strong with its rightness, not strong in its wrongness.”

Both sides of politics have backed a referendum on the issue, with Tony Abbott walking the first leg of the march in May and Kevin Rudd continuing Labor’s support for the movement.

The referendum had been intended to take place at the federal election, but was delayed during a volatile parliamentary term.

Aboriginal actor Aaron Pedersen, from Alice Springs, also joined the march yesterday.

For Pedersen, a descendant of the Arrente and Arabana people, the journey is about drumming up support for change to ensure a successful referendum, expected some time in the next parliamentary term.

“This is about planting the seeds,” he said.

“Referendums aren’t very successful in Australia, but I think with all the momentum of saying sorry (to the Stolen Generations), we’ll keep the momentum going.”

Sally Scales, a 25-year-old traditional owner of South Australia’s Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, said she hoped the marchers could bring about the change needed to stamp out racism.

NACCHO press release: National Aboriginal health authority welcomes the Victorian ” COAG challenge”

Justin Mohamed high res

Justin Mohamed, Chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) has welcomed the Victorian Government’s challenge to the Federal Government to match its increased investment improving Aboriginal health through a new National Partnership Agreement.

Mr Mohamed was commenting on the urgent need for all COAG state and territory premiers to match Federal Government’s $777 million under a new 3 year agreement similar to Victorian Government 4 year of commitment of $61.7 million, the largest ever investment in Aboriginal Health

Justin Mohamed said “NACCHO’s affiliates in each state and territories are the only structured systems who have worked with each State and Territory health minister and premiers as part of the COAG push for the sign up to the NPA.

Victorian Minister David Davis has acknowledge the partnership with the NACCHO affiliate VACCHO (Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation) in ensuring their government continued their commitment to Closing the Gap and calling on other COAG states and Territories to do the same”

“All NACCHO state and territory affiliates have a significant role at a jurisdictional level to ensuring that Closing the Gap commitment are kept ” Mr Mohamed said

“As I said earlier this week the pressure is now squarely on the states and territories as signatories of the 2008 Close the Gap Statement of Intent in which they committed to work together to close the disgraceful seventeen year gap in life expectancy between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians by 2030.

The states and territories need to uphold their commitment to this important goal and sign up to continue the National Partnership Agreement which is due to expire in less than two months.”

Improving Aboriginal health is not a quick fix – it requires a long-term commitment by all levels of government.’

NACCHO congratulates JILL Gallagher VACCHO CEO Order of Australia: improving outcomes in Aboriginal health


Source of article and image

JILL Gallagher is humbled by her Order of Australia for  distinguished service to Victoria’s indigenous community.

But she’s not about to rest on her laurels. There’s still a  lot of work to be done.

As head of the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled  Health Organisation for the past 12 years, she has seen her people face  increasingly dire health challenges since she joined the organisation in  1992.

”Chronic disease is a huge problem, tobacco is one of  them, diabetes is a huge issue and when you look at Victoria you’ve got a lot of  Aboriginal people living in urban areas who have shocking health problems. The  health status of people living in Fitzroy is the same as people living in  Fitzroy Crossing, so we have a job to do convincing governments that there are  Aboriginal people who live in Victoria who need just as much support.”

Asked to list her most significant achievement in her time  in Aboriginal health, the 57-year-old cites her influence in getting the state  government to sign the statement of intent to close the 17-year life expectancy  gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

She says there are many factors, beyond access to health  services, that contribute to the disparity. ”If you’re going to close the life  expectancy gap you’ve got to look at education and employment opportunities.  Anyone whether you’re black or white, if you’ve got a job you’re going to be a  lot more healthy.”

She is also proud of her role in the return of 800  Aboriginal skeletons – the Murray Black Collection –  from the Museum of  Victoria and the National Museum of Australia to indigenous communities in  northern Victoria and southern New South Wales for burial.

”My passion is actually for us as Aboriginal people to be  recognised and valued as Aboriginal Australians and to enjoy the same benefits  that this country offers as non-indigenous Australians.

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