Introduction by Croakey: The #Health4NSW Twitter festival had contributions from across the health sector, including from Aboriginal health researchers, consumers, public health advocates, doctors, nurses, policy experts, and people working in NGOs and community organisations.
Amidst the Twitter noise, one community member’s voice was heard tirelessly throughout the day, tweeting on a wide range of topics affecting health, and especially the health of Aboriginal people, and young people in particular.
Paul Dutton, from the Barkindji Nation, who has also been a contributor to Croakey’s #JustJustice and #JustClimate projects, tweeted out many practical suggestions for addressing the social and cultural determinants of health, as summarised below.
Paul Dutton writes:
On issues relevant to local government
How many communities (Council Zones) have Aboriginal Keeping Places? 80, 000 years of existence. Imagine the social and economic benefits of Council communities to promote and employ strong Aboriginal Culture and Knowledge in partnership with Aboriginal Land Councils and Traditional Owners.
Why aren’t there teams of Aboriginal staff in Local Councils working towards positive social and economic outcomes for local communities? Imagine the positivity that would build in towns for better relationships of Community and Culture.
Grafton Council has 1/2 Aboriginal community engagement position. Why isn’t it a full position and why doesn’t it engage with business, schools, health, justice, education, Chamber of Commerce and develop programs and linkages to employment, training, social outcomes?
Does NSW Tourism have regional teams of Aboriginal Cultural and Tourism support? Linking Culture, Language, Art, Science and Communities with engaging in knowledge delivery? If not, why not? 80,000 years of skills, knowledge and connection to Country tourists visit.
Addressing climate change and environmental health
Climate change is significantly impacting Australia. When will governments push for green housing, support health and well-being of everyone especially those with protections against extreme heat. #GreenRoofing #ThermalInsulation
NSW and every other State should embrace how best to engage #GreenNewDeal innovation for economic, environmental, health and wellbeing of the State. Aboriginal scientific environmental knowledge and specialists should be at the forefront.
NSW needs to end land clearing. It destroys habitats, builds greater heat levels, isn’t a physically healthy policy. Living within healthy ecosystems builds strength and wellbeing.
Cultural water rights must be developed and implemented in every Aboriginal Country. Speaking with Community ensures a healthy water system.
Energy prices are excessive. Renewable energy must be proactively supported within local businesses to help their profit margins hopefully brining more money into local communities rather than international energy companies.
Darling/Baaka River has had all its water flow cut because of excessive grants to greedy cotton cropping. NSW Agriculture laws should include appropriate agriculture for environmental capacity, water access, soils etc. Eg: ban high water crops in arid conditions.
Thinking outside the box: how many hospital facilities have environmental ecosystems for rehabilitation and wellbeing whilst in hospital? #CulturalRecoverySpaces
How will State of NSW protect residents from #CoalAsh in Newcastle and Singleton and other coal fired power station areas? How have/will they guarantee our water catchments are not receiving heavy minerals and metals from it? #BanCoalFiredPowerStations
NSW has to set an #EmissionsReductionTarget of at least 50 percent for no later than 2025. The strategy in supporting a #GreenNewDeal would trigger spending in innovation, science, green energy, greener farming, industry, technology and should be complemented in education.
Every child protection system is failing. They really don’t deserve a say in how assessments of child protection issues should be dealt with anymore. The entire system and management framework revolves around Court Orders. #EarlyInterventionFirst
Child protection systems must change. Adoptions aren’t the answer. Must develop Australia’s own early intervention services and better fund Aboriginal Intensive Family based services (IFBS), guaranteeing 5-10 years of funding allocation and increases.
NSW has IFBS services which supports early intervention for families with child protection issues to assist them. In 2019, again they are fighting to have a further block of funding granted. Yet NSW wants to waste $1b on sporting stadiums. #KeepKidsOutOfStateCare
NSW FACS specific data for every Community Services Centre is known to senior managers but that information is never publicly available. Maybe FOI requests should be requested to determine the behaviours and interventions of individual offices to understand what interventions used or not. I worked in NSW FACS for years and know how they operate and I know what statistics they have.
If Aboriginal Children and/or Young People are removed from parental care why are they not immediately referred to Link-Up (NSW) or other cultural counselling services? Both children and families? #EarlyInterventionProgramming
Police training systems need to be changed and removed from police delivery. They should be university delivered with holistic engagement programs on Culture, Diversity, Health, Education and intervention techniques as well as Justice systems and policing.
The targeting of Aboriginal people by police seriously negatively impacts individuals, families and communities. If fined, if loss of licence, employment becomes extremely difficult. Then Centrelink payments are at risk due to difficulty in attending appointments.
Policing, like all Government services, should be inter-agency delivered to identify, confirm but setup rehabilitation identification and support as a court delivered program.
Taxpayers pay for Government Services. Those funds should not be used for private business profit over health, justice, social, education or any other traditional government delivery, including HR.
Wind up all funding and contracts for private gaols.
Violence against women must be a NSW Votes primary issue. Better protections for women and children must be ensure through service guaranteed funding especially for Legal Services and women’s housing services.
Family violence offenders must be placed in mandatory rehabilitation programs.
Must ensure gaoling people for fine default is greater detriment to community, health and economy than it is to be paying of a fine. Why create criminality for fine default? Social engagement, not punitive justice.
What’s the statistical evidence of prison rehabilitation for NSW? From High Security to Low Security Afforestation Facilities? What’s the percentage of Government prisons compared to private businesses? Rehabilitation should be complete program delivery, not punishment
Rehabilitation over punishment. Everyone, near enough, comes out of gaol. Why have them institutionalised before release then upon release they are unable to develop strong supportive, protective relationships or understand coping mechanisms and model behaviour?
Are prisoners afforded minimum wage jobs whilst incarcerated? If not, why not? How else can you build self esteem and manage career opportunities and self existence without being afforded skill sets?
I’ve said this before and I still don’t understand why business scholarships for school children are not as prominent as what sports scholarships are. Businesses should engage schools before students get to university.
If young people are underachieving at school, why isn’t the education innovative enough to allow hands on learning techniques away from school classroom environments as a matter of course?
Suspending students from schools fails them in their education. This must be ended and teaching mechanisms away from classrooms must be implemented and legislated.
Educationally isolating students does not address their behaviours. All young people must be allowed some level of peer interaction. It’s better personal, health and economically for young people to not feel isolated, targeted or neglected of rights for everyone else.
If schools are indicating students are breaking policy on behaviours, then surely schools, parents and students have combined responsibility to guide student to another education model with equal learning outcomes specific to the child/young person’s learning capabilities.
#HealthEquity – Australian Curriculum #TruthTelling, NSW needs to identify and incorporate factual histories of #FrontierWars. Students need to understand generational Aboriginal trauma and how it started.
Diversity – Respect for Cultures should be a mandatory curriculum module. Integrated in other subjects. Along with Relationship Development, Communication, and Employment Skills Development.
Imagine if local businesses and schools had Cultural designed totems and Dreaming motifs for shirts and wore them on a National Aboriginal Culture day!
Other health matters
Remote communities should have access to agreed subsidies for food. Prices in Wilcannia, Walgett, Moree, Bourke etc are excessive at local grocery shops.
There are significant numbers of Aboriginal people, young people who don’t receive Centrelink payments but live in homes, putting extreme pressures on those receiving payments. Centrelink should be as originally implemented. Supporting those in need, not penalising.
Aged Care should not be a for-profit enterprise.
How have incidents like the death of Miss Dhu been systemically assessed and implemented in Cultural Training packages for hospital staff to ensure it doesn’t happen in NSW?
• Follow on Twitter: @PaulDutton1968.