2016 Members Conference and Annual General Meeting

On 6 – 8 December 2016, NACCHO held our annual Members’ Conference and AGM in Melbourne on Wurundjeri land. We thank Wurundjeri for welcoming us to their land for this important work.

The theme for the 2016 Conference was “Strengthening our Future through Self-Determination”. We had the opportunity at the conference to celebrate self-determination in community controlled health by acknowledging the 45th anniversary of the Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service and to their years of dedicated service and the outstanding contribution to our Aboriginal community the Service has made. The Chair of NACCHO Mathew Cooke presented a certificate acknowledging this great milestone to the Chair of Redfern AMS, Mr Sol Bellear.

The more than 300 participants from our member services, peak bodies, government, research bodies, academics and other organisations involved in Aboriginal health enjoyed a high quality program of speakers and events that covered the gamut of issues of interest to our sector:

· strategic directions of government
· practical experiences of member services
· the latest research findings and academic observations
· strategic issues within our sector including future governance arrangements and
· broader contextual issues like Treaty negotiations in Victoria and the Redfern statement.

The Conference was opened by Matthew Cooke, Chair of NACCHO, who set the scene and talked about the importance of self-determination. Then the Master of Ceremonies, Mr Garry Goldsmith began to introduce the speakers. The morning focused at the strategic level with presentations from the Shadow Minister for Health and Medicare Catherine King MP and a discussion of progress with the Medicare Review.

In the afternoon, the focus moved to our member services with the opportunity to explore ways to use Medicare billing to generate income for our services, using data to inform service design and delivery and a range of workforce issues. We finished the day with a presentation from the Youth Justice Alliance and justice reinvestment – a very topical issue with the Royal Commission into the Northern Territory’s youth detention and child protection systems currently underway.

On day 2, the Conference explored further experiences from member services but also heard very useful presentations on broader health issues of interest to the whole sector including about sexual health, the “First 1,000 Days project”, best practice in chronic disease and suicide prevention and mental health.

The Conference also explored important issues for the sector related to governance, and heard from the Chief Executive Officer of NACCHO Ms Patricia Turner with an Overview of NACCHO Strategic Directions and Priorities, and later the audience heard about how we define comprehensive primary health care and the contextual issues of the Redfern Statement and the establishment of a Treaty in Victoria.

The feedback from participants is that it was a great and productive conference full of useful and interesting information for member services. The Annual General Meeting was held the next day and a few hundred delegates heard from The Honourable Ken Wyatt AM, MP, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care who launched our Healthy Futures Report Card 2016. We look forward to an even bigger and better Conference and AGM in Canberra in 2017.

Presentations from the Conference are available here.