NACCHO 2018 Conference & AGM
Investing in What Works
From the 30 October – 02 November 2018, health service workers, educators, suppliers and more than 500 NACCHO delegates gathered at the Hilton Brisbane to discuss the latest developments in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health. The delegates heard from speakers who acknowledged the past history of NACCHO, the present issues in the member service health settings and considered future workforce requirements.
For the first time, the NACCHO National Conference included a national Youth Conference. This whole-day event was attended by 47 Indigenous youth from each state and territory and included presentations on improving mental health and maintaining connection to country. A discussion also took place about priorities for our Youth moving forward, including a survey to determine positions on a range of subject such as youth representation, cultural connections, and community health services.
Delegates were asked to fill out a survey to help inform NACCHO of future needs with most participants of the view that youth weren’t well represented in their community, but the majority said they’d support the creation of a NACCHO Youth Policy position. Accordingly, Conference delegates discussed the possibility of a NACCHO youth policy role in Canberra. A Youth Conference will now be a feature of all NACCHO Members’ Conferences moving forward.
NACCHO was pleased to host Dr. Nadine Caron as our keynote speaker for the Conference. Dr. Caron is Co-Director at the Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health and Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of British Columbia.
She spoke of the parallels between First Nations Peoples in Canada and Australia, and the endemic racism in both healthcare systems. She also questioned whether ‘Closing the Gap’ is aiming high enough, proposing that we should instead seek to eliminate the gap entirely.
Attendees of the Conference were also witness to the launch of two new healthcare tools. Minister for Indigenous Health, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, PM, presented the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Adolescent and Youth Health and Wellbeing 2018 report. This is the first AIHW study focused solely on the wellbeing of First Nations people aged 10 to 24. The Heart Foundation launched Heart Maps, the first online platform to show data on the rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander hospitalisations at a regional level. This new Heart Maps data will better help communities advocate for the services they need.
On the third and final day, more than 200 delegates gathered for the Annual General Meeting (AGM). While the special resolution to adopt a new constitution did not achieve the required 75 per cent approval to come into effect, members still expressed their commitment to the reform process. The NACCHO Board will consider the members’ views in the coming months as a matter of high priority.