Aboriginal Health #Workforce : @KenWyattMP Congratulates 5000th placement under the successful Remote Area Health Corps program : Working together with communities

I congratulate RAHC on its outstanding record of providing high-calibre, clinically competent and culturally sensitive health workers for the Northern Territory.

Without this initiative, and dedicated professionals many people would have to go without, or delay health care attendance or have to travel long distances to access care.

While health is its highest priority, the program is also fostering lasting friendships and strengthening links between urban and remote Australia.”

At the RAHC 5000th placement event in Canberra , Minister for Indigenous Health, the Hon Ken Wyatt, said programs like RAHC were making a big difference to the lives of Aboriginal people.

 ” Several RAHC health professionals have enjoyed their placement in the picturesque community of Areyonga or Utju. Despite its relatively small population, there are some vital services in the area such as a community arts centre, swimming pool, outdoor basketball court, sports ovals, a community store and the Lutheran Church.

Utju Health Service is a remote clinic of Central Australia Aboriginal Congress (CAAC) that provides 24 hours, 7 days a week acute/emergency response through health staff on call and primary health care to the community.

To learn more about this community or any other communities in the Territory, click here

https://www.rahc.com.au/where-we-work.

A successful program to help overcome critical health workforce shortages in the Northern Territory has placed its 5000th health professional.

The Remote Area Health Corps (RAHC) has given thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people ready access to much-needed health care, from general practice to hearing services.

Presenting Victorian Audiologist Dr Vikki Tselepis with the 5000thplacement certificate, Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM with Warren Snowdon MP NT , said the RAHC played a pivotal role in addressing the shortfall in heath service delivery in remote NT communities. Photo Oliver Tye NACCHO

“This highly successful initiative continues to grow, attracting, recruiting and supporting health professionals to undertake short-term placements,” Minister Wyatt said.

“I congratulate RAHC and Aspen Medical on this significant milestone and for their dedication to providing quality care.

“Without the RAHC, many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people would have to go without, or delay health care services, or travel considerable distances to access care.

“Delivering affordable and sustainable universal healthcare for all Australians is a Turnbull Government priority, and we must work together to address the cultural and systemic barriers that exist.

“This means investing in a system that is equipped and able to provide culturally safe and respectful care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

Since 2008, the RAHC program has expanded from 100 health professional placements annually to more than 660 in 2016–2017. Current Turnbull Government funding is $18 million (2015-16 to 2017-18).

Dr Tselepis says she has a profound respect for Aboriginal people and their culture and is inspired by her role in helping children grow up feeling strong and empowered.

“There is no doubt the program’s expansion has been helped by the 80 per cent repeat rate, with the majority of these mainly urban-based health workers regularly returning to undertake additional placements across the Territory,” said Minister Wyatt.

“For instance, Vikki has undertaken 17 RAHC placements, including the centres of Galiwinku, Gapuwiyak, Santa Teresa and Wadeye.

“While I am confident more local indigenous health professionals will be trained and live on country, it is vital that health staff like Vikki continue their work, making a huge practical contribution to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Debate 3 of 3 @BillShortenMP speech #ClosingtheGap Our future is your future.

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Shadow minister for human services Linda Burney MHR ,Senator Pat Dodson , Senator Malarndirri McCarthy, Jenny Macklin and leader of the opposition Bill Shorten signing the Redfern statement

See also Mondays 20 Feb press release and ACCHO visit

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Labor sets up Indigenous caucus in push to improve representation across all parties

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” Bill Shorten  pointed  to the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations around this country and the magnificent work they are doing to improve the health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people right around this country.

They are the best examples of comprehensive primary health care in the nation. What we do not want is for them to be white-anted by some competitive-funding model, which has the potential to happen.

So I say to the government: invest in what we know works. I am sure that if we do that, we can get better outcomes all round.

I note also—and the Leader of the Opposition spoke about this today—that there are programs that actually do work well.

The Deadly Choices program through the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health, which the member for Blair referred to—a highly progressive organisation—started with four health clinics in Brisbane and now has 18, delivering comprehensive primary health care across the urban population of Brisbane for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people—some 50,000 to 60,000 people.  The number of health checks is increasing.”

Mr SNOWDON (Lingiari) (17:21):

Can I firstly acknowledge the traditional owners of this great land that we are on, the Ngunawal and the Ngambri people, and acknowledge the traditional owners of all Aboriginal lands—all Aboriginal nations—right around this country, most particularly in my own electorate of Lingiari, which traverses 1.34 million square kilometres, one-sixth of Australia’s landmass, and has a sizeable proportion of the remote Aboriginal population.

Mr SHORTEN (Maribyrnong—Leader of the Opposition) (12:23):

I acknowledge the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples, traditional owners of the land upon which we meet. I pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging.

This tradition of recognition goes back millennia. This parliament and the nation we call home is, was and always will be Aboriginal land. Where we are, so too are Aboriginal peoples: from the Noonga near Perth to the Eora of Sydney, the Nunga of Adelaide, the Kulin around Melbourne, the Palawah of Tassie, the Murri of Brisbane and Torres Strait Islanders. We are one country, enriched by hundreds of nations, languages and traditions.

After the last election, I took on the shadow ministry for Indigenous affairs. My family and I went back to Garma to listen and learn. I have met with Northern Territory leaders, defending the young men being abused in juvenile detention.

I travelled to Wave Hill to commemorate the courage of Vincent Lingiari and the Gurindji. And I have looked to my Indigenous colleagues for their wisdom. They are as inspirational as they are modest: a Wiradjuri woman in the House, a shadow minister; a Yanuwa woman in the Senate, heading our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander caucus committee; and a Yawuru man, the father of reconciliation, I look to him as my mentor and assistant shadow minister.

I also recognise the member for Hasluck, Ken Wyatt, and congratulate him on his historic appointment, and I recognise too Senator Lambie.

I will never forget walking into Cairns West Primary on Djabugay Country on the first day of last year’s election campaign and I saw the wide-eyed smiles of so many young Aboriginal students as I introduced them to Senator Patrick Dodson.

The value of role models, of the next generation seeing faces like theirs in places of power, cannot be underestimated. It should not be the exception. We should make it the rule.

In the Labor Party, we are doing better than we have, but what we did before was simply not good enough and I want us to improve, not just at the federal level but at every level of government.

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There are so many First Australians in the galleries today. You are friends and your peers would elevate and enrich our parliament with your talent, whichever party you choose. I look forward to the day, and can imagine the day, when one of the First Australians is our Prime Minister or, indeed, our head of state.

As the Prime Minister mentioned, the Referendum Council are continuing their important community conversations. After the Uluru gathering, it will be time for the parliament to step up and draw upon these consultations and to finally agree a set of words to put to the Australian people.

I believe, and let me be clear, that this parliament, this year, should agree on a way forward—not a vague poetic statement meaning nothing and offending no-one by saying nothing; a meaningful proposition that every Australian can understand and, I remain confident, Australians will overwhelmingly support.

Recognition is not the end of the road, but it should be the beginning of a new, far more equal relationship between the first peoples of this nation and all of us who have followed. And that is where the listening and the learning must reach beyond the walls of this chamber.

I do not seek to present a balance sheet of the good and the bad—not a list of top-down programs imperfectly managed; not the same old story of reports written but not read. Instead, I believe in a new approach.

We must forget the insulting fiction that the First Australians are a problem to be solved and, instead, have a new approach to listen to people who stand on the other side of the gap; a new approach that, from now on, the First Australians must have first say in the decisions that shape their lives; a new approach that means a stronger voice for the National Congress of Australia’s First People and the resources to make it happen; a new approach to extend ourselves beyond handpicked sources of advice; a new approach to be in the places where our First Australians live and work and play, from Mount Druitt to Logan, in the APY Lands and East Arnhem.

Not treating local consultation as a box to be ticked but applying the wisdom of people who know. Understanding and recognising there are many Aboriginal nations across this country: Waanyi and Warlpiri, Badi Badi and Gumatj, Tharawal and Kuarna, Yorta Yorta and Narrunga. And all of these nations have the right to have control of their future. The change required is deeper and more profound than where we visit and who we talk to, though.

I believe that First Australians want a way to be heard in a voice that they are in control of. I want Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to know that Labor hears you.

We understand the need for a structure that is not at the mercy of the cuts or seen as a gift of largesse; a voice that cannot be kicked to the curb by change of government or policy; an entity that recognises culture, kinship, identity, language, country and responsibility; the pride that comes from knowing who you are, where you come from and the values you stand upon; and a system where culture is central and fundamental. And have no doubt; this can be done.

We see it when a Pitjantjatjara person seeks out a local healer, a ngangkari, in addition to a GP—when they see both the GP and the local healer; because spiritual wellbeing cannot be treated by a packet of Panadol alone. We see it in the Koori Court in Parramatta, using diversionary sentencing as an alternative to incarceration. The elders sit on the bench alongside the judges and ask the right questions of young people.

They give the young people a sense of belonging and, if these young people muck up, the elders address them with that straight-talking freedom of family and culture, a frankness and reassurance, that even the judge can learn from.

There at this court, the police, the prosecution and the defence show sensitivity to culture, yet still deal with the young person who has behaved in an antisocial way.

This cross-cultural approach enhances the system, bringing Aboriginal cultures to the centre, allowing justice to be done without diminishing the individual or denying identity. It Australianises justice and makes it work better.

We also see it in the best of Australian theatre and art and in education and literature. And if we can accept the value and richness of Indigenous cultural genius and allow it to impact and transform our justice system and the arts, we can do this with the Australian parliament too. In this the people’s place, we can grow an enhanced respect for the first peoples for their unique societies, for their values and for their experiences.

At Redfern, Paul Keating threw down a gauntlet to us, the non-Aboriginal Australians.

He posed a question that we had never asked: how would I feel if this were done to me? That question still stands before Australia, 25 years later. How would we feel if our children were more likely to go to jail than to university? .

How would we feel if the life expectancy of our families was 20 years shorter than our neighbour? How would we feel if, because of our skin, we experienced racism and discrimination? And how would we feel if every time we offered a solution, an idea or an alternative approach, we were patronisingly told ‘the government knows best’?

This is about our ability to walk in another’s shoes. So our test, as a people and as a parliament, is not just to craft a new response but also to rediscover an old emotion, to recapture the best of Australian compassion, to wake up our brotherhood and sisterhood and recapture our love for our fellow human being and our dedication to our neighbours, as we saw with Weary Dunlop’s devotion to his troops—the love of others over risk to self; with Fred Hollows’ life of service; and with Nancy Wake’s courage. It is actually a spirit we see in millions of ordinary Australians: carers, teachers, volunteers and emergency service personnel. It is the story that Pat told me about the matron at his school demanding that that young boy have sheets on his bed like every other young boy. It is about the lady in Casterton who said that no-one was going to treat Pat any different to any other boy.

Courage comes in all forms, and it is the spirit we need. There is a spirit of courage which lurks in the hearts of all Australians. There is that sense that we, at a certain point, will be pushed no further, that we will not stand for it any more.

It is that spirit to reject discrimination, to reject inequality and to simply say, ‘This cannot continue and Aboriginal people should not put up with the rubbish anymore.’ So my message today is not just for the people in this chamber but for the first peoples of this nation.

We seek your help. We seek your partnership. We seek your inspiration and your leadership, because things cannot continue as they are.

The audit of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy tells a worrying tale, a familiar tale. It is concern about consultation and cuts. But it speaks, though, of a problem—perhaps it is called paternalism—of a slide backwards. We see too often—and this is not a comment on the coalition or Labor; it is a comment about parliament—the legitimate cynicism of our First Australians towards the efforts of this place.

There are problems written across the land, in suburbs and remote communities, in our schools and hospitals, in women’s refuges, in the courts of our country and in the targets that we fall short of today. We see it in the staggering 440 per cent increase in Aboriginal children in out-of-home care.

It has been 20 years since Bringing them home, that report which brought tears to this chamber. It is nine years since Kevin Rudd and Jenny Macklin’s apology to the stolen generations—and I wish to acknowledge former Prime Minister Rudd’s presence here today in the gallery, visiting his former workplace. I say this, Kevin: you can take well-deserved pride in your leadership on the 2008 apology.

But now we have more Aboriginal children than ever growing up away from home and away from kin, culture and country. We know that many members of the stolen generation are still living with the pain of their removal and the harm done by years of having their stories rejected and denied.

That is why I applaud the state governments of New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania, who are already taking steps towards providing reparations to families torn apart by the discrimination of those times. Decency demands that we now have a conversation at the Commonwealth level about the need for the Commonwealth to follow the lead on reparations. This is the right thing to do. It is at the heart of reconciliation: telling the truth, saying sorry and making good.

The Closing the Gap targets were agreed by all levels of government—not just the Commonwealth; the states and the local government—in partnership with Aboriginal people. The targets were driven by the understanding: that your health influences your education, that your education affects your ability to get a job, and that good jobs make thing better for families, relationships and communities. The Closing the Gap framework is an intergenerational commitment to eroding centuries of inequality.

It outlives governments and parliaments and prime ministers and opposition leaders—but it also requires renewal. This year, many of the current targets are due to be renegotiated. And there are also new areas that we must consider. Labor continues to demand a justice target, because incarceration and victimisation are breaking families and communities across this country.

Today we propose a new priority on stronger families—adding a target for reducing the number of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care. The Secretariat for National Aboriginal and Islander Chid Care has shone a light on this shame: one in three children in statutory out-of-home care are Indigenous. And Indigenous children are nearly 10 times more likely to be removed by child protection authorities than their non-Indigenous peers.

Labour will listen to and will work with SNAICC—and, most importantly, the communities themselves—to look at new models and new approaches.

Breaking this vicious cycle of family violence, of women murdered and driven from their homes, of unsafe communities, of parents in jail and kids in care, requires more from us than doubling down on the current system.

We need to learn from places like Bourke and Cowra and their focus on justice reinvestment—on prevention, not just punishment; from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who are making men face up to their responsibilities, forcing a change in attitudes and supporting great initiatives such as the ‘No More’ campaign. And that should be our story across the board: in preventative health, in education, in employment and in housing. It is time for humility—to admit that we don’t have the answers here; to go out and seek them.

It is time for truth-telling. Our ancestors drove the first peoples of this nation from their bora ring; we scattered the ashes of their campfires. We fenced the hunting grounds; we poisoned the waterholes; we distributed blankets infected with diseases we knew would kill. And there has been plenty of damage done in different ways with better intentions—by the belief that forced assimilation was the only way to achieve equality.

So today, I come here not to tell but to ask, because where we have failed the first Australians have succeeded. On the road to reconciliation, it is our first Australians who have led the way: giving forgiveness as we seek forgiveness; standing up and walking off at Wave Hill Station, for their right to live on their land in their way; Charles Perkins and the Freedom Riders, who opened the eyes of a generation to racism and poverty; Jessie Street, Faith Bandler, Chicka Dixon, Joe McGinniss and countless others who rallied support for the 67 Referendum under the banner ‘Count us Together’; and Eddie Mabo, who told his daughter Gail: ‘One day, all Australia is going to know my name’.

The success of Aboriginal leadership can be found in every corner of the country. I have seen it with my own eyes: the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, providing essential primary care; marvellous Indigenous rangers, in Wadeye and Maningrida, the Central Desert and the Kimberley, working on country and on the seas and waterways, doing meaningful jobs for good wages; the Families as First Teachers program, which has given culturally-appropriate support to over 2,000 young families, helping with health and hygiene and preparing for early childhood education; Money Mob, teaching budgeting and planning skills; Deadly Choices, through the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health in Brisbane, improving preventive health; the Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre in Darwin; the Stars Foundation, inspiring Indigenous girls, modelling the success of the Clontarf Academy for Boys; and there is the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience, connecting Aboriginal university students with high achievers at school.

On every issue, at every age, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are demonstrating that solutions are within their grasp. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people know what needs to be done. What they need from this parliament is recognition, respect and resources.

We cannot swap the tyranny of bureaucracy for funding cuts and neglect. The people on the frontline—the elders, the leaders, the teachers and health-care workers—know what to do. We need to take the time to listen. We need to respect the right of Aboriginal voices to make decisions and to control their own lives—to give them their own place and space. They just need us to back them up.

Fifty years ago, Oodgeroo wrote: … the victory of the 1967 Referendum was not a change of white attitudes. The real victory was the spirit of hope and optimism …We had won something. … We were visible, hopeful and vocal.

All too rarely—before and since—has that been the story for Aboriginal people. Instead, it has been a tale of exclusion: exclusion from opportunity, from the pages of our history, and exclusion from the decisions that govern their lives.

It is time to write a new story. And it is a story of belonging, because Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples belong to a proud tradition, of nations who fought the invaders; brave people who fought, and died, for their country, at Passchendaele, Kokoda and Long Tan, and now in the Middle East and Afghanistan; who have fought and continue to fight for justice, for land, for an apology, for recognition.

You belong to a tradition of sporting brilliance, in the face of racism from opponents, teammates, administrators and even spectators. You belong to humanity’s oldest continuous culture—more famous around the world than ever before. You do not belong in a jail cell for an offence that carries an $80 fine. You do not belong strapped into a chair with a hood on your head. You do not belong in the back of a windowless van, away from your family and loved ones. You do not belong in a bureaucrat’s office begging for money. You do not belong on the streets with nowhere to go.

You belong here, as members of parliament, as leaders of this nation. You belong in the Constitution, recognised at last. You belong in schools, teaching and learning. You belong on construction sites, building homes, gaining skills. You belong on country, caring for land. You belong here, growing up healthy, raising your children in safety, growing old with security. You belong here, strong in your culture, kinship, language and country. You belong here, equal citizens in this great country, equal partners in our common endeavour. This is your place. This is our place.

Our future is your future.

As Senator Dodson has said to me, ‘Let’s go. The best advice: let’s get on with it.’ As he would say, in the language of his people, ‘Wamba yimbulan.’

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #RHD : AMA Report Card on Indigenous Health highlights need for Aboriginal community controlled services

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With Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians still 20 times more likely to die from RHD, the AMA’s call for firm targets and a comprehensive and consultative strategy is welcome. We encourage governments to adopt these recommendations immediately.

“As noted by the AMA, it is absolutely critical that governments work in close partnership with Aboriginal health bodies. Without strong community controlled health services, achieving these targets for reducing RHD will be impossible.

While this is a long term challenge, the human impacts on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are being felt deeply right now. Action is required urgently.

NACCHO is standing ready to work with the AMA and governments to develop and implement these measures. We have to work together and we have to do it now.”

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Chairperson Matthew Cooke pictured above at Danila Dilba Health Service NT with AMA President Dr Michael Gannon (right ) and the Hon Warren Snowdon MP Shadow Assistant Minister for Indigenous Health (left )

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” RHD, which starts out with seemingly innocuous symptoms such as a sore throat or a skin infection, but leads to heart damage, stroke, disability, and premature death, could be eradicated in Australia within 15 years if all governments adopted the recommendations of the latest AMA Indigenous Health Report Card.

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AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon see full AMA Press Release below

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 ” We have many of the answers, we just need commitment from Govt to help implement necessary changes

Ms Olga Havnen is the CEO of Danila Dilba Biluru Binnilutlum Health Service in Darwin

NACCHO Press Release

The peak Aboriginal health organisation today welcomed the release of the Australian Medical Association’s Report Card on Indigenous Health as a timely reminder of the importance of community controlled services.

The 2016 Report Card on Indigenous Health focuses on the enormous impact that Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) is having on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia with a ‘Call to Action to Prevent New Cases of RHD in in Indigenous Australia by 2031’.

DOWNLOAD the Report Card here :

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AMA RELEASES PLAN TO ERADICATE RHEUMATIC HEART DISEASE (RHD) BY 2031

AMA Indigenous Health Report Card 2016: A call to action to prevent new cases of Rheumatic Heart Disease in Indigenous Australia by 2031

The AMA today called on all Australian governments and other stakeholders to work together to eradicate Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) – an entirely preventable but devastating disease that kills and disables hundreds of Indigenous Australians every year – by 2031.

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, said today that RHD, which starts out with seemingly innocuous symptoms such as a sore throat or a skin infection, but leads to heart damage, stroke, disability, and premature death, could be eradicated in Australia within 15 years if all governments adopted the recommendations of the latest AMA Indigenous Health Report Card.

The 2016 Report Card – A call to action to prevent new cases of Rheumatic Heart Disease in Indigenous Australia by 2031 – was launched at Danila Dilba Darwin  Friday 25 November

Dr Gannon said the lack of effective action on RHD to date was a national failure, and an urgent coordinated approach was needed.

“RHD once thrived in inner-city slums, but had been consigned to history for most Australians,” Dr Gannon said.

“RHD is a disease of poverty, and it is preventable, yet it is still devastating lives and killing many people here in Australia – one of the world’s wealthiest countries.

“In fact, Australia has one of the highest rates of RHD in the world, almost exclusively localised to Indigenous communities.

“Indigenous Australians are 20 times more likely to die from RHD than their non-Indigenous peers – and, in some areas, such as in the Northern Territory, this rate rises to 55 times higher.

“These high rates speak volumes about the fundamental underlying causes of RHD, particularly in remote areas – poverty, housing, education, and inadequate primary health care.

“The necessary knowledge to address RHD has been around for many decades, but action to date has been totally inadequate.

“The lack of action on an appropriate scale is symptomatic of a national failure. With this Report Card, the AMA calls on all Australian governments to stop new cases of RHD from occurring.”

RHD begins with infection by Group A Streptococcal (Strep A) bacteria, which is often associated with overcrowded and unhygienic housing.

It often shows up as a sore throat or impetigo (school sores). But as the immune system responds to the Strep A infection, people develop Acute Rheumatic Fever (ARF), which can result in damage to the heart valves – RHD – particularly when a person is reinfected multiple times.

RHD causes strokes in teenagers, and leads to children needing open heart surgery, and lifelong medication.

In 2015, almost 6,000 Australians – the vast majority Indigenous – were known to have experienced ARF or have RHD.

From 2010-2013, there were 743 new or recurrent cases of RHD nationwide, of which 94 per cent were in Indigenous Australians. More than half (52 per cent) were in Indigenous children aged 5-14 years, and 27 per cent were among those aged 15-24 years.

“We know the conditions that give rise to RHD, and we know how to address it,” Dr Gannon said.

“What we need now is the political will to prevent it – to improve the overcrowded and unhygienic conditions in which Strep A thrives and spreads; to educate Indigenous communities about these bacterial infections; to train doctors to rapidly and accurately detect Strep A, ARF, and RHD; and to provide culturally safe primary health care to communities.”

The AMA Report Card on Indigenous Health 2016 calls on Australian governments to:

Commit to a target to prevent new cases of RHD among Indigenous Australians by 2031, with a sub-target that, by 2025, no child in Australia dies of ARF or its complications; and

Work in partnership with Indigenous health bodies, experts, and key stakeholders to develop, fully fund, and implement a strategy to end RHD as a public health problem in Australia by 2031.

“The End Rheumatic Heart Disease Centre of Research Excellence (END RHD CRC) is due to report in 2020 with the basis for a comprehensive strategy to end RHD as a public health problem in Australia,” Dr Gannon said.

“We need an interim strategy in place from now until 2021, followed by a comprehensive 10-year strategy to implement the END RHD CRC’s plan from 2021 to 2031.

“We urge our political leaders at all levels of government to take note of this Report Card, and to be motivated to act to solve this problem.”

The AMA Indigenous Health Report Card 2016 is available at https://ama.com.au/article/2016-ama-report-card-indigenous-health-call-action-prevent-new-cases-rheumatic-heart-disease

TIME TO TAKE HEART

Labor calls on the Turnbull government to take heart and address Rheumatic Heart Disease, an entirely preventable public health problem which is almost exclusively affecting First Nation Peoples.

Labor welcomes the release of the Australian Medical Association’s 2016 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Report Card, A Call To Action To Prevent New Cases Of Rheumatic Heart Disease In Indigenous Australian By 2031.

Poor environmental health conditions, like overcrowded housing remain rampant in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, devastating families and the lives of young people.

As the AMA’s report card suggests, we must build on the success of the 2009 Commonwealth Government Rheumatic Fever strategy, established to improve the detection and monitoring of Acute Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease.

Funding under the Rheumatic Fever strategy is uncertain after this financial year,” Ms King said.

The Productivity Commission’s report Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage [OID] released last week found 49.4% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in remote communities live in overcrowded housing. Additionally, the report details no significant improvement in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples access to clean water, functional sewerage and electricity.

“We know Rheumatic Heart Disease is a disease of poverty and social disadvantage, which is absolutely preventable. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, especially in the Top End of the Northern Territory, suffer the highest rates of definite Rheumatic Heart Disease,” Mr Snowdon said.

Labor applauds the work of the Take Heart Australia awareness campaign, and their work to educate and advocate putting Rheumatic Heart Diseases on the public health agenda.

“Like always, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities need to be front and centre in taking action. The most positive outcomes will come through communities working with Aboriginal and Community Control Health Organisations to design and deliver programs tailored to their needs,” Senator Dodson said.

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 noted more than three years ago the association of RHD with ‘extremes of poverty and marginalisation’, these conditions remain and are almost exclusively diseases of Indigenous Australia.

If we are serious about closing the gap, we must take heart, and address this burden of Rheumatic Heart Disease facing First Nation Peoples.

ACTION TO END RHEUMATIC HEART DISEASE (RHD) IN 15YRS

The Heart Foundation has today supported the Australian Medical Association (AMA) call for governments to work together to eliminate Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) in 15 years, by 2031.

Heart Foundation National CEO, Adjunct Professor John Kelly (AM) said RHD was an avoidable but widespread disease that kills and harms hundreds of Indigenous Australians every year.

“Considering how preventable RHD is, it is a national shame that our Indigenous population are left languishing.

“The Heart Foundation has strongly advocated from the RHD strategy. We continue to call on the government to fund the National Partnership Agreement on Rheumatic fever strategy and Rheumatic Heart Disease Australia (RHD Australia) with a $10 million over 3 years’ commitment, “Adj Prof Kelly said.

With the AMA predicting that RHD could be eradicated in Australia within 15 years if all governments adopted its recommendations, the time to act is now.

“We need to boost funding for the national rheumatic fever strategy. New Zealand is allocating $65 million over 10 years. A robust approach can put an end to RHD as a public health issue within 15 years,” Adj Prof Kelly said.

This call to action was part of the release of the AMA’s 2016 Indigenous Report Card – A call to action to prevent new cases of Rheumatic Heart Disease in Indigenous Australia by 2031.

“We want a strong and robust strategy to tackle this challenge. We will be working with the AMA to support and advocate for these recommendations which include:

  • A commitment to a target to prevent new cases of RHD among Indigenous Australians by 2031, with a sub-target that, by 2025, no child in Australia dies of ARF or its complications; and
  • Working in partnership with Indigenous health bodies, experts, and key stakeholders
  • to develop, fully fund, and implement a strategy to end RHD as a public health problem in Australia by 2031.

 

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 #IndigenousVotes : Labor policy committed to addressing the injustice of poor health outcomes

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Labor is committed to the efforts to Close the Gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and believes that central to this is the need to implement the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan developed in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people during the period of the Gillard Government.

No group of Australians will be hit harder by the Government’s cuts to Medicare than Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

No group of Australians will be hit harder by the Government’s attempts to drive down bulk billing and push up health costs.

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations would find it impossible to absorb the costs of these actions and their patient services would be compromised.”

Labor committed to addressing the injustice of poor health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Presented by Catherine King, Warren Snowdon and Shayne Neumann

Download 24 Page PDF Aboriginal Health Newspaper HERE

A Shorten Labor Government would continue to work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, through the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples and relevant health organisations such as NACCHO to implement the Health Plan.

In Government Labor would, in consultation with Congress, re establish the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Equality Council, with its costs being met through the Administered funds of the Commonwealth Department of Health.

Consistent with the Health Plan, Labor is committed to  improving preventative health strategies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and helping to close the gap in chronic disease  and life expectancy  and this will be a major commitment of a Shorten Labor government.

Labor understands that a primary vehicle for improving health outcomes are community based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Organisations who provide a very high standard of comprehensive primary health services in a culturally safe and respectful environment.

A Shorten Labor Goverment would continue to work closely with these services as they continue to grow in a sustainable way.

The shameful facts remain, despite the improvements in service delivery over recent years, that the burden of ill health among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is two-and-a-half times higher than that of other Australians.

In large part this is due to the higher incidence of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and kidney disease; much of this is preventable.

This is simply unacceptable to Labor, is a national disgrace and must be addressed..

In response to this crisis and after having consulted widely, a Shorten Labor Government will invest in tailored, culturally-appropriate health programs aimed at preventing chronic disease for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Child and Maternal Health

As a first step Labor acknowledges the importance of the first thousand days of a child’s life from conception. A Shorten Labor Government will continue to prioritise programmes, such as the Nurse Family Partnership,  Abicadarian and other successful maternal and child health programme as a primary tool for the prevention of the onset of chronic disease later in life.

Labor sees a strong relationship between these programmes and our commitment to Children and Family Centres in improving the life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Deadly Choices

Empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians to make their own healthy lifestyle choices is a most important step to improving health outcomes and another key prevention tool

Deadly Choices is a successful initiative of the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) that aims to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians to improve their own and their families’ health by improving their diet, exercising regularly and quitting smoking.

A Shorten Labor government will provide $5.5 million per year to partner with the IUIH in rolling out Deadly Choices across the country.

(Again depending on space this next bit could be foregone)Elements of the roll-out will include:

  • National campaigns to promote positive health and lifestyle choices.
  • Partnerships with sporting organisations and sporting ambassadors.
  • Training and licensing for state and territory affiliates.
  • Local Deadly Choices coordinators.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kidney health taskforce

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are more than twice as likely as other Australians to have indicators of chronic kidney disease.

The incidence of end-stage kidney disease for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is especially high in remote and very remote areas.

The patient pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kidney patients is often confusing, fragmented, isolating and burdensome.

A Shorten Labor government will convene a national taskforce on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kidney disease as a priority to look for holistic solutions to the current crisis.

( Not sure that this sentence is necessary)In particular, it will address coordination of the complex and fragmented health and social supports for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families affected by kidney failure.

The taskforce will bring together experts in Indigenous health, kidney disease, general practice, food security, health systems, consumer representation and the non-government sector to develop strategies in prevention, early identification, management, treatment and transplantation.

A Shorten Labor government will commit $295,000 to the national kidney health taskforce.

Improving Indigenous eye health

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults are six times more likely to suffer from blindness and 94 per cent of this vision loss is either preventable or treatable.

Remedying this would alone account for an 11 per cent improvement in health outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians.

Australia is the only developed nation where the infectious and wholly preventable eye disease trachoma still exists and it only exists among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Around 35 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults have never had an eye exam. Trachoma can be eliminated from Australia by 2020 if we give this problem the attention it is due.

A Shorten Labor government will invest $9.5m to close the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander vision loss.

This will go toward increasing visiting optometry services, supporting specialist ophthalmology services, and investing in trachoma prevention activities recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Protecting Medicare

Labor will also improve health outcomes of Indigenous Australians by protecting Medicare.

No group of Australians will be hit harder by the Government’s cuts to Medicare than Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

No group of Australians will be hit harder by the Government’s attempts to dive down bulk billing and push up health costs.

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations would find it impossible to absorb the costs of these actions and their patient services would be compromised.

That’s why Labor will protect Medicare, ensuring universal and affordable healthcare is available to all Australians.

Labor will protect bulk-billing by ending the Medicare Freeze and abolishing Malcolm Turnbull’s GP tax-by-stealth.

  • We will keep medicines affordable by scrapping the Liberals’ price hikes.
  • And we will legislate to prevent Medicare from being privatized.

Only Labor cares about a public health system for all Australians and is committed to addressing the injustice of poor health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Please note this is the corrected  IAHA ad for Page 3 of our printed newspaper

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NACCHO political alert: Commission of Audit: Aboriginal health would suffer

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be exempt from any health co-payments to prevent any backward steps in Aboriginal health, said the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) today.

NACCHO Chair Justin Mohamed said the introduction of co-payments for basic health care such as GP visits and medicines, as recommended by the Commission of Audit, would increase barriers for many Aboriginal people to look after their own health.

“Improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health remains one of Australia’s biggest challenges,” Mr Mohamed said.

“Increasing barriers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people seeking appropriate health care will only increase this challenge.

“We need initiatives that will encourage Aboriginal people to seek medical attention and seek it early, not make it even harder for them to get the care they need.”

Mr Mohamed said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders often had a range of complex health issues so even a low co-payment charge could make health care unaffordable for many.

“For people who only visit their GP once a year a small co-payment is likely to be manageable,” Mr Mohamed said.

“However for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with more complex health needs even a $5 charge for each visit would add up very quickly.

“A large Aboriginal family could be out of pocket hundreds of dollars after just a few GP visits.

“This would put basic health care out of reach and be detrimental to the health of many Aboriginal people.

“I urge the government to carefully consider the implications before implementing this recommendation and to ensure any decision is not going to mean a backward step for the health of Aboriginal people.”

NACCHO Aboriginal health, Bolt and racism: Aboriginal Coalition MP Ken Wyatt breaks ranks on race law moves

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Indigenous Coalition MP Ken Wyatt has spoken out against the repeal of legislation making it unlawful to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate on the grounds of race or ethnicity.

Mr Wyatt told Fairfax Media he feared that repealing section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act would either disempower the vulnerable or result in a hardening of intolerant attitudes.

Aboriginal Coalition MP Ken Wyatt

So it feels I’ve lost, and not just this argument. I feel now the pressure to stop resisting the Government’s plan to change the Constitution to recognise Aborigines as the first people here — a dangerous change, which divides us according to the “race” of some of our ancestors.

My wife now wants me to play safe and stop fighting this new racism, and this time I’m listening. This time I was so bruised by Q & A that I didn’t go into work on Tuesday. I couldn’t stand any sympathy — which you get only when you’re meant to feel hurt.

Andrew Bolt Herald Sun (full response blog below )

Bolt was found to have contravened Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. Nine aboriginal applicants brought a class-action against Bolt and the Herald and Weekly Times claiming Bolt wrote they sought professional advantage from the colour of their skin.

Aboriginal Coalition MP Ken Wyatt breaks ranks on race law moves

”Australia has come a long way in the last 30 or 40 years and what I wouldn’t like to see is a regression that allows those who have bigoted viewpoints to vilify any group of people at all,” he said.

”For me, it is about not disabling a mechanism that makes people think carefully about the vilification of anyone or any group because they know there is a deterrent,” he said.

Rasism

His remarks came as Attorney-General George Brandis described the existing law as ”extremely invasive” and reaffirmed the government’s intention to ”do away” with it.

Tony Abbott vowed  in August 2012 to ”repeal section 18C in its current form” on the basis that freedom of speech should not be restrained ”just to prevent hurt feelings”. Ethnic, religious and indigenous groups have urged the government to think again, raising expectations that the words ”offend”, ”insult” and possibly ”humiliate” will be taken out of the section.

Mr Wyatt said his attitude was shaped by his 10 years’ experience in Western Australia’s equal opportunity tribunal and witnessing how ”racial vilification has significant impacts on people in ways we don’t fully appreciate”.

”I support the whole concept of free speech, but I think there are boundaries that you have to draw and this is one of them.”

He believed that section 18c encouraged mediation and parties coming together to resolve conflicts and that its repeal would result in disempowerment of vilified groups or ”greater use of litigation, which doesn’t resolve the issue at all”.

Senator Brandis has been meeting interested groups,  focusing on how to strike the balance between free speech and protection from vilification. ”The government comes down on the side of those who want to see maximum freedom of speech,” he told ABC radio on Friday.

”And, by freedom of speech, I mean people’s freedom to hold opinions and express those opinions without some bureaucrat or official or human rights body or judge telling them what they are allowed, and what they are not allowed, to say.”

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STRANGE, after all I’ve been through, but Monday on the ABC may have been finally too much for me.

ANDREW BOLT BLOG

You see, I was denounced on Q & A — on national television — as a racist. I watched in horror as Aboriginal academic Marcia Langton falsely accused me of subjecting one of her colleagues — “very fair-skinned, like my children” — to “foul abuse … simply racial abuse”.

WILL THE ABC APOLOGISE? Blog with Andrew Bolt               

Langton falsely claimed I was a “fool” who believed in “race theories” and had “argued that (her colleague) had no right to claim that she was Aboriginal”. I had so hurt this woman she “withdrew from public life” and had given up working with students (something seemingly contradicted by the CV on her website).

FULL TRANSCRIPT: Marcia Langton’s apology               

And when Attorney-General George Brandis hotly insisted I was not racist, the ABC audience laughed in derision. Not one other panellist protested against this lynching. In fact, host Tony Jones asked Brandis to defend “those sort of facts” and Channel 9 host Lisa Wilkinson accused me of “bullying”. And all panellists agreed Brandis should drop the government’s plan to loosen the Racial Discrimination Act’s restrictions on free speech, which the RDA used to ban two of my articles. Can the Abbott Government resist the pressure from ethnic and religious groups to back off?

So it feels I’ve lost, and not just this argument. I feel now the pressure to stop resisting the Government’s plan to change the Constitution to recognise Aborigines as the first people here — a dangerous change, which divides us according to the “race” of some of our ancestors.

My wife now wants me to play safe and stop fighting this new racism, and this time I’m listening. This time I was so bruised by Q & A that I didn’t go into work on Tuesday. I couldn’t stand any sympathy — which you get only when you’re meant to feel hurt.

It was scarifying, even worse than when a Jewish human rights lawyer told a Jewish Federal Court judge that my kind of thinking was “exactly the kind of thing that led to the Nuremberg race laws” and the Holocaust — a ghastly smear published in most leading newspapers. That time, at least, half a dozen Jewish and Israeli community leaders and officials, who knew my strong support for their community, privately assured me such comments were outrageous and the attempt by a group of Aboriginal academics, artists and activists to silence me wrong.

True, none said so publicly for the next two years for fear of discrediting the RDA, which they hope protects them, yet it was some consolation.

But this?

How could I have failed so completely to convince so many people that I am actually fighting exactly what I’m accused of?

The country’s most notorious racist today is someone whose most infamous article, now banned by the Federal Court for the offence it gave “fair-skinned Aborigines”, actually argued against divisions of “race” and the fashionable insistence on racial “identity”.

It ended with a paragraph the court does not let me repeat, but which I will paraphrase as precisely as my lawyer allows: Let us go beyond racial pride. Let us go beyond black and white. Let us be proud only of being human beings set on this country together, determined to find what unites us and not to invent racist excuses to divide.

Yet I am not asking for your sympathy. My critics will say I’m getting no more than what I gave out — except, of course, this is more vile and there’s no law against abusing me, or none I’d use.

No, what’s made me saddest is the fear I’m losing and our country will be muzzled and divided on the bloody lines of race.

I worry, for instance, for the kind of person who turned up in the Q & A audience on Monday and still dared ask why so much land was being returned to Aborigines when “really we’re all here, we’re all Australians”.

He was shown the lash just used to beat me. He was corrected (rightly) for overstating the effect of land rights laws but reprimanded (wrongly) for allegedly ignoring Aboriginal disadvantage, as if he were some, you know, racist.

No panellist addressed his deepest concern, that we are indeed all in this together, yet find ourselves being formally divided by race and by people only too keen to play the race card against those who object.

Langton is an exemplar of those who use the cry of “racist” not to protect people from abuse but ideas from challenge. She’s accused even feminist Germaine Greer of a “racist attack” for criticising Langton’s support for federal intervention in Aboriginal communities.

She accused warming alarmist Tim Flannery of making a “racist assumption” in arguing wilderness was “not always safe” under Aboriginal ownership and when Labor lawyer Josh Bornstein protested, she slimed him as a racist, too: “Doodums. Did the nig nog speak back?”

And three years ago Langton wrote an article in The Age falsely claiming I believed in a “master race” and “racial hygiene” — like the Nazis.

It was a public vilification for which she privately apologised two years ago, but never publicly.

Instead, she now accuses me of this “foul abuse” of her colleague, Dr Misty Jenkins, in a column six years ago.

HER allegations are utterly false. My column, written before my now-banned articles, was on the groupthink Leftism at Melbourne University, of which I gave many examples.

I wrote: “Read the latest issue of … the university’s alumni magazine … The cover story argues that the mainly black murderers (in the Deep South) … are victims … Page two promotes Kevin Rudd’s apology … Page three announces that Davis has picked … global warming alarmist Ross Garnaut, as one of his Vice-Chancellor’s Fellows.

“Page four has a feature on Dr Misty Jenkins, a blonde and pale science PhD who calls herself Aboriginal and enthuses: ‘I was able to watch the coverage of Kevin Rudd’s (sorry) speech with tears rolling down my cheeks … Recognition of the atrocities caused by Australian government policies was well overdue’ …

“Pages six and seven boast that the university hosted Rudd’s ‘first major policy conference’ … You get the message.”

Where’s the “foul abuse”, Marcia? Where have I “argued that [Jenkins] had no right to claim that she was Aboriginal” — something I have never believed and never said of anyone?

But that’s our retribalised Australia. Criticise the opinions of someone of an ethnic minority and you’re ripe for sliming as a racist.

How dangerous this retreat to ethnic identities and what an insult to our individuality. And how blind are its prophets. Take Lisa Wilkinson, who actually uttered the most racist sentiment of the night, accusing Brandis of being a “white, able-bodied heterosexual male” suggesting this was “part of the reason why you can’t sympathise” with victims of racism.

White men can’t sympathise? Pardon?

And so today’s anti-racists become what they claim they oppose. Do I resist or run?

You can hear more about Aboriginal health and racism  at the NACCHO SUMMIT

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The importance of our NACCHO member Aboriginal community controlled health services (ACCHS) is not fully recognised by governments.

The economic benefits of ACCHS has not been recognised at all.

We provide employment, income and a range of broader community benefits that mainstream health services and mainstream labour markets do not. ACCHS need more financial support from government, to provide not only quality health and wellbeing services to communities, but jobs, income and broader community economic benefits.

A good way of demonstrating how economically valuable ACCHS are is to showcase our success at a national summit.

SUMMIT WEBSITE FOR MORE INFO

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NACCHO Aboriginal health : Radical rethink of housing is key to a healthy future in remote communities: Scullion

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Opinion article by NIGEL SCULLION Minister for Indigenous Affairs

As published in The Australian March 2014

PICTURE ABOVE from THE STRINGER TONY ABBOTT MUST DO  :Inspection of Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Programme work in Santa Teresa, Northern Territory, April 2011. Tony Abbott with Adam Giles, Alison Anderson and Nigel Scullion.

The National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing initiated by the former government in 2008, has not delivered on the promise of being a ‘long-term fix to the emergency’ in remote Indigenous housing.

 The byzantine national agreement arrangement is unwieldy and does not reflect the very different environments that need to be dealt with across the country.  Bilateral agreements with states and the Northern Territory may be a better way to go.

In very remote Australia, housing is central to meeting our priorities of getting kids to school, encouraging adults into work and providing for safe communities where the rule of law applies.

More than $2.5 billion was spent by the Rudd/Gillard government from 2008 through the national agreement.  Indigenous Australians tell me that they have not got value for money.

Delivery of housing in remote communities has been marked by delays, cost blowouts and bureaucracy.

New houses can cost more than $600,000 and have an average lifespan of only 10 to 12 years.  There have been poor standards of construction, unsatisfactory rental payment arrangements and sub-standard tenancy management.

Despite this massive expenditure there can be no argument that overcrowding remains chronic in remote Australia where there is no regular, functional housing market. There are no private rental options and no home ownership opportunities in most of these places. Most of these communities are dependent on Commonwealth funded public housing and this has been badly managed.

Residents of remote communities need to have the option, as others in Australia enjoy, of private rental and home ownership. Any strategies that we adopt must work towards that goal.

A radical rethink is overdue.

The states and Northern Territory governments must manage remote Indigenous housing just as they do other public housing.  Rental agreements should be in place and enforced; rents should be collected; any damage caused by occupants should be paid for by occupants; and, municipal services should be delivered to acceptable standards by the jurisdictions.

This is how social housing operates in non-remote areas.  Why should it be any different in remote Indigenous communities?

Why have we come to expect lower standards from housing authorities and residents in remote areas? Is it another layer of passive racism to accept less for Indigenous people in remote Australia?

Why are we building houses in places where land tenure arrangements prevent people from ever buying the house?

One aspect that I will be focusing on is how we can offer housing in a way that encourages mobility for those who want to move to areas with better employment opportunities.

I will be working with the states and Northern Territory governments to reform the current arrangements that are clearly failing residents of Indigenous communities.

In negotiations, I will want to set some conditions that might include:

  • moving relatively quickly towards building social housing only in those places that have appropriate land tenure arrangements in place for home ownership;
  • attractive mobility packages for remote residents, including portability of special housing and home ownership eligibility for those who want to move to areas with stronger labour markets;
  • ensuring rents are set at mainstream social housing rates and requirements of tenants are specified, understood and complied with;
  • a requirement for states and territories to apply their usual sale of social housing policy, as occurs in urban and regional areas, based on realistic market values; and
  • priority for the allocation of social housing to families in employment or where children are regularly attending school.

We also need to ensure that people in social housing are not adversely affected when taking up employment opportunities. This however is mainly an issue for mainstream social housing rather than remote Indigenous housing.

I know that a number of jurisdictions are focused on reform and I look forward to working with them.

However, if a state or territory is not up to the task, the Commonwealth might have to step in and take over delivery of social housing or contract providers with significant Indigenous and community involvement to do the job.

 

You can hear more about Aboriginal health and social determinants at the NACCHO SUMMIT June Melbourne Convention Centre

summit-2014-banner

The importance of our NACCHO member Aboriginal community controlled health services (ACCHS) is not fully recognised by governments.

The economic benefits of ACCHS has not been recognised at all.

We provide employment, income and a range of broader community benefits that mainstream health services and mainstream labour markets do not. ACCHS need more financial support from government, to provide not only quality health and wellbeing services to communities, but jobs, income and broader community economic benefits.

A good way of demonstrating how economically valuable ACCHS are is to showcase our success at a national summit.

SUMMIT WEBSITE FOR MORE INFO

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NACCHO 2014 Summit news: Partnership opportunities to sponsor NACCHO SUMMIT open today

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Why you should be considering

The 2014 NACCHO Healthy Futures Summit

for sponsorship and exhibition opportunities

The NACCHO 2014 Summit in June at the Melbourne Convention Centre offers an unparalleled opportunity for you to build relationships with NACCHO, our affiliates, stakeholders, government and our 150 Aboriginal community controlled health organisations that are committed to improving Aboriginal health and Closing the Gap by 2030.

The theme this year is:
“Investing in Aboriginal community controlled health makes economic sense.” After reading this newsletter and obtaining our Summit Partnership and Exhibition Opportunities prospectus, we think you will agree that a sponsorship investment in the NACCHO 2014 Health Summit “makes economic sense”.

Delegates at the Summit will be looking for partnerships, products and services that will help them improve delivery of comprehensive primary health care for their patients and communities and the overall cost efficiency of their service finance and administrative delivery.
Become a sponsor and take advantage of the many excellent sponsorship and exhibition opportunities that are available to promote your organisation at Australia’s most prestigious and well-attended Aboriginal health conference.

What you will achieve by sponsoring and exhibiting?

Achieve profile and brand enhancement through your association with, and support for Australia’s national authority in comprehensive Aboriginal primary health care.

Your involvement in, and contribution to the NACCHO 2014 Summit will help you meet your business objectives:

  • Network and exchange knowledge to better identify community wants and needs
  • Identify prospective health sector supply and partnership opportunities
  • Promote how your product or service will enhance the delivery of a sustainable Australian Aboriginal health sector
  • Support Australia’s Aboriginal health capabilities by providing insightful, relevant and practical information to your clientele about your brand values and attributes
  • Build community relationships and increase your company networks within the Australian Aboriginal health sector
  • Increase sales through direct promotion of your business
  • Promote your staff, products and services among the Aboriginal  health businesses and service industries

NACCHO 2014 SUMMIT Objectives

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NETWORK with the movers and shakers of the Aboriginal health sector

LEARN about the latest research and developments in Aboriginal health

SHARE experiences and ideas with forward thinkers

MEET with clinicians, researchers, industry innovators and others who share the desire to deliver better health to all
BENEFITS OF PARTNERSHIP NACCHO Member Services and state territory Affiliates will be attending the Summit so this is a perfect opportunity to interact with delegates first hand.
It is a unique opportunity for government, non-government organisations, and private industry to promote their products and services to NACCHO member services from all over Australia.

OPPORTUNITIES INCLUDE

To obtain a copy of the NACCHO SUMMIT 2014 SPONSORS PROSPECTUS call NACCHO now or complete enquiry form here – See more at: http://www.naccho.org.au/events/summit-sponsors-exhibition

PLATINUM EAGLE

Only ONE available (Price on application)

This is the premier opportunity for your organisation to become the major sponsor of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation’s (NACCHO) 2014 Healthy Futures Summit. Your organisation will have an exclusive profile for the period leading up to the Summit and at the event, with your organisation’s logo displayed in conjunction with the Summit logo.
THE BENEFITS

  • One complimentary exhibition stand (3m x 3m) in your preferred position from the spaces available.
  • The chance to prominently display your corporate banner (to be provided by your organisation) in the main plenary room during the Summit.
  • Your organization’s name/logo will be displayed in conjunction with the Summit logo in a prominent position at the Summit to ensure maximum exposure.
  • As well as the following acknowledgement; “The NACCHO2014 Healthy Futures Summit  is proudly supported by our Platinum Sponsor (your Company Name/logo Displayed Here)”.
  • Acknowledgement as Platinum Sponsor in publicity associated with the Summit marketing.
  • Your organisations logo will be prominently featured on a range of print materials (excluding pads, pens, name badges, lanyards and satchels).
  • Acknowledgement as the Platinum Sponsor of the Summit on the website with a short organisational profile and a link to your organization’s website.
  • Your logo will be displayed on the cover of the Summit program as the principle sponsor of the summit.
  • Your logo will be displayed on the Summit name badges as the principle sponsor of the summit.
  • An opportunity to address the Summit in plenary sessions.
  • The opportunity to include a suitable promotional item or a piece of literature (one flyer or brochure) in the Summit satchel.
  • Your organisation will receive two complimentary satchels with all the Summit information and materials.
  • Three complimentary full  Summit delegate registrations,
  • You will also receive an additional two complimentary to the Welcome Event and Dinner with a reserved table.
  • Your organisation will have access to SUMMIT delegate information

GOLD KANGAROO

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NACCHO Aboriginal health debate : Chronic drinking problem in the NT costs about $642 million annually

Alice

One new policy that does appear effective is stationing police officers outside bottleshops. Regrettably this has also stirred up racial tension. The officers check drinkers’ IDs to see if they live in a proscribed area, and confiscate their purchases if they do. John Boffa (Congress Aboriginal Health ) a spokesman for the People’s Alcohol Action Coalition, estimates reductions in domestic violence of up to 50 per cent in Alice Springs when police cover all 11 liquor outlets at once.

Priscilla Collins, chief executive of the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency, thinks both AMT and APOs unfairly target the most disadvantaged, who are often also the most visible. “They will probably end up going back to the long grass,”

IF the Northern Territory were a country, it would rank alongside vodka-soaked ex-Soviet republics in terms of per capita alcohol consumption; not long ago it would have been second in the world.

 Refer NACCHO NT AMSANT grog summit news:

Four major outcomes on alcohol policy and its impact on Aboriginal people and communities

PICTURE :Police on duty outside a Northern Territory bottleshop. ‘The (alcohol) industry is now being propped up by the Alice Springs police force,’ says head of the police union Vince Kelly. Picture: Amos Aikman Source: News Limited

Alcohol abuse costs the NT about $642 million annually in police time, corrections, judicial support, medical treatment and lost productivity – equivalent to roughly $4000 per person or 4 1/2times the national average – according to research quoted by the government last year. The latest figures show per capita alcohol consumption is again on the rise, ending a six-year decline.

Territory drivers are 20 times more likely than the national average to be caught over the limit; booze is a factor in many road deaths. A majority of Territory assaults involve alcohol and the Territory’s assault victimisation rate is more than 50 per cent above the rest of the nation’s.

In 2011-12, indigenous women were 18 times more likely to be bashed than non-indigenous women, and four times more likely than the Territory average.

Last financial year saw almost 40 per cent more alcohol-related assaults and almost 60 per cent more domestic violence related assaults than the equivalent period five years ago.

Since the Country Liberals took office 18 months ago, Aboriginal groups and legal and health policy experts have accused the Territory government of criminalising drunkenness, ignoring evidence and favouring the interests of the alcohol industry.

The government insists its policies are both appropriate and working, though many cracks have emerged. The CLP campaigned on a pledge to cut crime by 10 per cent annually – which by a slip of the tongue quickly became 10 per cent in a four-year term once it took office. CLP backbencher Gary Higgins recently acknowledged MPs are receiving a “barrage of complaints” about alcohol abuse from the community. His comments drew a quick rebuke from Chief Minister Adam Giles, who said: “We know that there are issues with alcohol in our society, but anyone who has a good look at the statistics will see that things are getting better.”

After repeatedly dodging questions about the saga unfolding on his doorstep, federal Indigenous Affairs Minister and NT senator Nigel Scullion proposed a sweeping national inquiry into drinking habits. The following day he appeared to have been overruled by his colleagues in favour of a tighter probe into Aboriginal drinking that will scrutinise the CLP policies more closely. Giles has already suggested any inquiry would be “navel gazing”. Nevertheless, the process offers his government an opportunity to gracefully adjust its course.

The CLP’s first act in office was to abolish Labor’s Banned Drinker Register, a point-of-sale supply restriction designed to curb heavy drinking. For almost a year, while the new government convulsed with internal ructions, nothing replaced the BDR. Then less than a month after Giles took power in a coup in March, his government unveiled a forced alcohol rehabilitation program called Alcohol Mandatory Treatment. The scheme, which has been running for seven months, involves locking up habitual drinkers in treatment centres with fences and guards.

Associated legislation was passed in the face of vocal opposition. At about $43,000 per drinker treated, AMT is more expensive than many private rehabilitation clinics. Experts think 5 per cent success would be good going. More than 150 people have completed the program; the government has established 120 beds. Alcohol Rehabilitation Minister Robyn Lambley says some patients have had their lives changed, but others are known to have relapsed.

Before Christmas a system of on-the-spot alcohol bans, Alcohol Protection Orders, was also legislated, again despite opposition. These affect people charged with, but not necessarily convicted of, offences in which alcohol was deemed a factor.

The government argues these policies transfer responsibility from society to drinkers, but important figures, such as head of the NT police union Vince Kelly, argue that is a furphy. “If you’re an alcoholic you haven’t got (personal responsibility) in the first place, and if you’re an intergenerational alcoholic you probably don’t know what the concept means.”

Not long ago a doctor who played a key role in establishing AMT, Lee Nixon, walked out in disgust. “A large number of (AMT patients) had little understanding of the process, and at the end of the time when they were there, were still asking, ‘Why am I here?’,” Nixon told ABC’s Lateline. “At the outset it was clear that we were introducing a program with no evidential base for effectiveness.” One drinker had her treatment order overturned by a court on the grounds she received it without proper legal representation. Justice groups say few drinkers appear before the AMT Tribunal with a lawyer.

Priscilla Collins, chief executive of the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency, thinks both AMT and APOs unfairly target the most disadvantaged, who are often also the most visible. “They will probably end up going back to the long grass,” she says.

Shortly after taking up his post, Alcohol Policy Minister Dave Tollner openly acknowledged one of AMT’s goals was to push drinkers to “go and hide out in the scrub”. AMT is now being reviewed.

The CLP has trenchantly refused to contemplate imposing any new supply restrictions. Giles told a gathering of hoteliers drinking was a “core social value”, while Tollner said Labor had treated publicans “akin to heroin traffickers”. The latest round of annual political returns to the Australian Electoral Commission reveal the alcohol industry’s main lobby, the Australian Hotels Association, has emerged as the Territory’s largest political donor. The organisation contributed $300,000, split between the major parties in the lead up to the August 2012 Territory election. According to an analysis of declared donations, the lobby donated almost 14 times as much per head of population in the Territory while the BDR was in place than it has in any other jurisdiction in the past decade.

At the time it was abolished there was little evidence clearly supporting the BDR. However it has since become clearer that although policy did not turn around increases in alcohol-related harm and violence as promised, it may have blunted them. Some quite senior CLP figures talk privately about bringing the BDR back.

One new policy that does appear effective is stationing police officers outside bottleshops. Regrettably this has also stirred up racial tension. The officers check drinkers’ IDs to see if they live in a proscribed area, and confiscate their purchases if they do. John Boffa, a spokesman for the People’s Alcohol Action Coalition, estimates reductions in domestic violence of up to 50 per cent in Alice Springs when police cover all 11 liquor outlets at once.

However the approach is a de facto supply restriction, with responsibility for enforcement transferred from the liquor retailer to the public service, as Kelly points out: “The (alcohol) industry is now being propped up by the Alice Springs police force.”

Combined with AMT’s high price tag, the government’s measures do not look at all cost effective. Assuming the number of people taking up drinking is proportional to population growth overall, the government would need at least five times the present number of AMT beds just to keep the number of alcoholics stable. The cost of that would exceed $1 billion by the end of the decade, or roughly 20 per cent of last year’s Territory budget.

Higgins called for a bipartisan inquiry with measures his government officially opposes – an alcohol floor price, shorter opening hours and BDR-like supply controls – put back on the table. “While they do inconvenience a lot of people, all of them should be considered,” he said. Kelly thinks there is a “gaping hole” in public policy around alcohol supply issues. “Neither the Labor government or the CLP government has covered itself in glory when it comes to that type of thing because they’re simply too close to the industry,” he says.

“There has got to be some serious question about whether (an inquiry) is warranted.”

A serious investigation would need to consider not just the efficacy of a range of policies, but the circumstances in which they are applied. Alcohol bans in remote communities push drinkers into towns, where their drinking often worsens. Proscribed urban areas leave residents who can legally buy takeaway alcohol unable to legally drink it. Stationing police outside bottleshops increases familial pressure on those living in non-proscribed areas to become involved in the alcohol supply trade; anecdotal evidence suggests the black market is thriving.

Some federally administered draft alcohol management plans are stuck in limbo, in part because it is unclear what the basic requirements are for Aboriginal communities to responsibly manage alcohol themselves. Community leaders often blame disenfranchisement for their giving up on the task. Many people familiar with these issues say the solutions lie not in textbooks or boardroom chats, but in the lives of Aboriginal people; another desktop study will not help.

It is also worth considering whether alcohol-related harm can be reduced to acceptable levels soon, or just mitigated and hidden. Not even the last of those has been accomplished so far. NT Attorney General John Elferink argues for stricter controls on welfare to break the link between welfare dependency and drinking: “We can build massive institutions to deal with alcoholism, but while the federal government pours free money into our jurisdiction, spending millions of dollars every fortnight, we as a government are going to be spending millions of dollars every fortnight cleaning up the mess.” Without action on several of these fronts, the NT’s alcohol abuse crisis looks likely to get worse.