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Lowitja Institute outlines key election priorities

The Lowitja Institute has called for full implementation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart as part of its federal election priorities.

Another election priority is investment in Aboriginal and Torres-Strait Islander-led planning for the climate change mitigation, prevention, and adaptation, says Adjunct Professor Janine Mohamed, the Institute’s CEO.


Janine Mohamed writes:

Investing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and health research leadership results in substantial improvements in our peoples’ health and wellbeing. We see this in innovative community-led health programs and services across the country, such as Valerina Mungatopi’s critical work towards eliminating rheumatic heart disease, or the hugely successful Birthing in Our Community programs, which are expanding across Queensland.

However, as the COVID-19 crisis highlighted, there is still significant work to do to address the disproportionate health outcomes impacting our peoples.

The Closing the Gap Campaign’s recent report, Transforming Power: Voices for Generational Change, demonstrates the long-term benefits when we invest in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-led and holistic solutions that focus on the social and cultural determinants of health in addition to primary care.

Our solutions emerge from the insights of our diverse communities, the wisdom of our Elders and our experts, and the dedicated work of our community-controlled sector. By investing in and recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership we can make a significant impact and transform health systems.

Lowitja Institute has identified key priorities and actions that would accelerate progress towards our joint commitments under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap and achieve far-reaching health benefits for our peoples.

First and foremost, is the full implementation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. The Uluru Statement is described as a “gift to all Australians” by one of its architects, Pat Anderson, the long-term chair of the Lowitja Institute.

The Uluru Statement’s call for Voice, Treaty, Truth is intrinsic to our sovereignty and self-determination, and therefore our health and wellbeing. Its full implementation must be central to the promises of all political parties.

Adjunct Professor Janine Mohamed

Anti-racism

Within the research arena, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership must be embedded at a national level through an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led research agenda, focusing on health and wellbeing, and the impacts of systematic racism.

Such an agenda should be supported by a National Anti-Racism framework, which establishes ongoing mechanisms to capture details on the experiences and impacts of systematic racism and the establishment of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research Ethics Committee. This committee would lead the way in embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ethical frameworks, based in our own cultural laws and Lore, in future health research.

We must strive for a system free of racism and embed social and cultural determinants of health into health systems. It is integral to invest in initiatives that strengthen our cultural authority, and the cultural safety of health systems.

In line with the government’s commitments under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, we are calling for adequate investment in data governance founded on our peoples’ rights to data sovereignty, and data infrastructure. Key to success in this space is investment in an Indigenous Wellbeing Index, to streamline access to data computing and analysis for our health researchers.

Wise investment also includes funding for workforce development to build the technical expertise and skills of Indigenous health researchers. Part of this investment should go towards further projects and scholarships. Growing the community controlled sector is also vital, so we can build on the successful community-led programs and services already in place.

The Lowitja Institute is also deeply concerned about the adverse health impacts and displacement that our peoples are already experiencing as a result of climate change. Immediate investment is required in Aboriginal and Torres-Strait Islander-led planning for the climate change mitigation, prevention, and adaptation.

• Adjunct Professor Janine Mohamed is CEO of the Lowitja Institute

Read the full document here.


See Croakey’s archive of articles on the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

 

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