- The NHLF calls for self-determination across our national institutions through constitutional reform and supporting the recommendations that arose from the Uluru Statement from the Heart. If Australia can take the significant step towards constitutional reform; self-determination across all aspects of government and public policy will in time, follow. The NHLF calls
- for all Australian governments to support and enact the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
- We maintain that to close the gap in life expectancy and the disproportionate burden of disease on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, a system-wide investment approach for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan is required. This includes endorsement from all jurisdictions, so that all governments are contributing to achieving the vision through addressing the Social and Cultural Determinants of Health. The NHLF calls
- for the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap refresh to be formalised under the federal financial relationship.
- for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led research and research funding allocations.
- The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Plan is an essential element to closing the gap in Indigenous disadvantage and will contribute to improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing by growing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce across all professions and levels. To improve health outcomes the NHLF calls for the all governments to
- honour the commitment to work with us on implementation of the commitment made around Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce at the COAG Indigenous Heath Roundtable in August 2018 – developing, implementing a health workforce strategy.
- Commit to working in partnership with the NHLF and others on the development of cultural safety workforce training for the Australian health workforce.
- The NHLF also calls on for the Health Workforce Plan to include sustain investment for:
- Indigenous-led pathway programs from VET in schools, greater support for VET programs with the articulation onto Tertiary studies.
- Increase and expand support for cadetships and traineeships supported by an Indigenous-led pathway program.
- Increase the funding level for the Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme and evaluate the effectiveness for student outcomes.
- Create consistency across jurisdictions in their drugs and poisons Act for all health professionals.
- Increase data and research capacity building to grow the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research workforce.
- Racism has an adverse impact on the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Experiences of racism in the health system prevents people from accessing and receiving the health care they require.
- Until racism is addressed in a systematic and open way across the breadth and depth of the health system, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will continue to be at risk of having unsatisfactory experiences within the Australian health system, preventing them from getting the health care they have a right to expect and receive.
- A well-trained health workforce is key to ensuring the health system is accessible, culturally safe and responsive to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This requires a contribution from all health professionals and the systems they work in, including how they interact to ensure appropriate, holistic and continuous care. The NHLF calls
- for all Governments to recognise and respect the self-determination process for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across all key health priority areas, through embedding co-design and co-decision making processes.
- For all governments to agree to a partnership with the NHLF and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health experts, to develop and implement a barometer to measure the experiences of patient care within the health system.
- For all governments to embed cultural safety and responsive practices within public service systems and the designing and implementation of public policy; and
- the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific actions in the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standard should include assessment and reporting on institutional racism.
Key Areas of Advocacy
Members of the NHLF are advocating strongly in a number of key areas that have
significant national implications for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health:
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan
The current National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan ends 2023. To access the current plan click here.
Minister Hunt, the Commonweatlh Health Minister, announced in early 2020 that the Health Plan will be refreshed and extended for a futher 10 years.
The new Health Plan is currently being developed and will have a timeframe of 2021 to 2031 with the aim of aligning it to the the 2020 National Agreement on Closing the Gap.
NHLF members have been invovled in the refresh of the Health Plan and advocating for the Plan to focus on
- Embedding the social determinants of health and cultural determinants of health;
- Ensuring alignment with government policies and priorities; and
- Simplifying goals and actions to improve accountability.
The social determinants identified and included:
- The social determinants recognise the holistic nature of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and social and emotional wellbeing.
- The Implementation Plan recognises the role of cross-sector partnerships in addressing determinants, including early childhood development; education and youth; employment and income; housing; environment and infrastructure; poverty; racism; interaction with government systems and services; law and justice; alcohol, tobacco and other drug dependency; and food security.
- These social determinants were identified in the My Life, My Lead consultations.
The cultural determinants of health?
- The cultural determinants of health are the things that support good health, including country and caring for country, knowledge and beliefs, language, self-determination, kinship, and cultural expression.
- The cultural determinants in the proposed Implementation Plan framework are informed by the Mayi Kuwayu study on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing and further work by the Lowitja Institute, Australia’s national institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research.
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce
In August 2008, Health Ministers from all jurisdictions (COAG Health Council), agreed to the development of a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Plan.
The new workforce plan is underpinned by the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Strategic Framework 2015-2023, which did not included any concrete actions or accountability measures for Government to be judged by.
The Commonwealth Department of Health is leading the development of the Workforce Plan but does so with the input of a reference group, made up of people and organisational representatives from the across jurisdictional National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Standing Committee; the NHLF, NACCHO, NATSIHWA, state and territory governments.
The target date for the Workforce Plan to be completed and endorsed is mid-2021. Once finalsied the new plan will be called the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan 2021 to 2031.
Coalition of Peaks - National Agreement on Closing the Gap
- Members of the NHLF are part of the Coalition of Peaks.
The Coalition of Peaks came together to change the way Australian governments work with our people. As community-controlled organisations, we work for and are accountable to our communities, not governments. We share a belief that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should have a meaningful say on policies and programs that impact on us through formal partnerships with Australian governments at all levels.
The National Agreement on Closing the Gap came into effect on 27 July 2020. The National Agreement sets out how governments and the Coalition of Peaks will work together to improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Click here for more information on the Coalition of Peaks
Partnerhsip for Justice in Health
Statement of Intent
The Partnership for Justice in Health (P4JH) is an alliance of self-determining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academics, legal experts, and national peak health and justice organisations committed to working together to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and justice outcomes through addressing racism at individual, institutional and systemic levels, specifically focusing on the health and justice systems.
We formed in 2017 in response to the ongoing impacts of racism to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australian health system, particularly following the death of Wiradjuri woman Naomi Williams and her unborn child at Tumut Hospital in NSW. Since this time, we have worked and grown together, building a shared understanding. From this place of knowing, articulating and addressing the impacts of racism, we stand together and call for national action.
Thirty years after the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, recommendations and actions from this and a plethora of subsequent reviews, inquiries, reports, evaluations, and strategies, lay dormant and the harmful and destructive impacts of racism on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing endures. We believe the stakes are too high to wait any longer for substantive and effective action from Australian governments, as such we formed the P4JH to initiate and influence systemic change.
As leaders operating at the interface of the health and justice systems, we commit to harnessing our leadership, influence, and networks towards realising our vision ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People enjoy health and wellbeing that is free of racism in the health and justice systems’.
Who We Are
Collectively we are well positioned to play a lead role in addressing racism and discrimination across the health and justice systems. We have:
- a comprehensive understanding of the evidence and issues and lived experiences
- professional expertise and experience in redress, cultural safety, shared decision-making and determination
- influence, connections and extensive networks across Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia and Governments, and
- a demonstrated track record in cross sectoral collaboration and delivering services in partnership.
We will commit to working together to establish an ongoing national campaign to influence systemic change and eliminate racism across the health and justice systems, and ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are at the centre of driving solutions, that includes:
- establishing, managing and maintaining an authoritative online hub or website
- providing access to and collaborating on research
- developing and distributing resources
- promulgating best practice evidence-based approaches
- providing referral, information and contacts and
- managing the P4JH in line with the principles of Indigenous leadership, governance and self-determination.
- ABSTARR Consulting
- Australian Indigenous Doctors Association
- Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives
- Indigenous Allied Health Australia
- Indigenous Crises Response and Recovery
- Lowitja Institute
- National Association of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Practitioners
- National Justice Project