Introduction by Croakey: The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2021-2031 was released this week.
In an introductory message on behalf those who contributed to the plan’s development, Donna Murray, a proud Wiradjuri and Wonnarua woman and CEO of Indigenous Allied Health Australia, writes:
We, as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, know what is best for our health and wellbeing.
While our people and cultures are strong and resilient, we continue to see harmful policies and practices implemented by government. While this can be difficult to hear, true change exists within discomfort, and progress is made when all parties are open to listening and responding.
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2021–2031 is the product of a long journey of advocating to have our voices heard in all policies, programs, and services.”
Murray, who is also Chair of the National Health Leadership Forum (NHLF), writes below that the plan, together with other developments, “places Australia at a pivotal moment to see actual transformational change of our institutions and service delivery systems that have been part of the systemic perpetuation of racial discrimination since colonisation”.
Donna Murray writes:
The National Health Leadership Forum (NHLF) supports the release of the new National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2021-2031.
This Plan provides a national policy framework to improve health and wellbeing outcomes with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples over the next 10 years.
This Health Plan and its 2013-2016 version are the first national policies to name racism and its impact on health.
The Health Plan is also a leading policy document to link the social determinants and cultural determinants of health into actions that require addressing to improve health outcomes.
The Health Plans focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and leadership as a positive impact for good health and wellbeing is an important milestone in health policy.
The NHLF welcomes the active support from all state and territory governments in the implementation of the Health Plan.
The Health Plan, and the soon to be released National Workforce Plan, combined with the priority reforms under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, places Australia at a pivotal moment to see actual transformational change of our institutions and service delivery systems that have been part of the systemic perpetuation of racial discrimination since colonisation.
2022 and beyond will see the NHLF continue to lead and assert self-determination to ensure accountability within the health system to achieve the vision of the Health Plan. This is for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to enjoy long, healthy lives that are centred in culture, with access to services that are prevention focused, culturally safe and responsive, equitable and free of racism.
Our priorities and work will continue to be actively involved in decision-making in the development of the Health Plan Accountability Framework, and the governance arrangements for the ongoing monitoring, reporting and evaluation of the Health Plan.
Making a difference
During the Implementation period the NHLF would like to see the following achieved:
- True accountability by all Australian governments in the implementation, monitoring and reporting of the Health Plan to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the broader public.
- Indigenous Data Sovereignty is understood and applied to Monitoring and Accountability Framework for the Health Plan.
- The whole mainstream health sector is accountable and providing culturally safe and responsive care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Within 12-months’ time hospital districts have audited their policies and procedures to embed culturally safe and responsive practice into their policies and procedures, resulting in annual reporting of racism and discriminatory practices.
- All governments have audited their existing health expenditure that is purported to target Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to align this investment to the Health Plan within three years, and all new investment is guided by Health Plan. The resulting outcome being that funding targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples goes to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and services when they are available.
- The whole mainstream health sector has instituted culturally safe and responsive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recruitment and retention strategy that achieve an employment target of 3.43 percent of the Australian working age population.
- The Aboriginal community-controlled health sector receives appropriate investment to continue its leadership in designing polices and solutions and demonstrating strength of culture and community.
- Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA)
- Australian Indigenous Psychologists’ Association (AIPA)
- Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM)
- Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia
- Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA)
- Indigenous Dentists’ Association of Australia (IDAA)
- The Healing Foundation
- The Lowitja Institute
- National Association of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Practitioners (NAATSIHW)
- National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)
- National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Mental Health (NATSILMH)
- National Association of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Physiotherapists (NAATSIP)
- Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA).
• Donna Murray is a proud Wiradjuri and Wonnarua woman of NSW and the Chief Executive Officer of Indigenous Allied Health Australia Ltd (IAHA). Donna holds an Adjunct Senior Lecturer with James Cook University, Centre for Rural and Remote Health and is a 2021 Impact 25 Award winner. She is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (MAICD) and is the Chair of the National Health Leadership Forum.
As a member of the NHLF Donna was the Co-Chair of the Implementation Advisory Group and Chair of the Working Group playing a key role in the development of the 2021-2031 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan during 2019 to 2021. She is a committed Indigenous Community Development Practitioner working to support Indigenous people’s rights, cultural governance and embed nation-building principles to shape their own future for generations to come.
Read the plan here.
Watch this video featuring Donna Murray talking with Professor Tom Calma about the plan
Statement by NHLF
Statement by Health Minister Greg Hunt and others
More from Twitter
See Croakey’s archive of stories on the cultural determinants of health.