17 July, 2018

NACCHO Celebrates NAIDOC Week

NACCHO Celebrates NAIDOC week ‘Because of Her we Can’ and congratulates all award winners

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Chair John Singer today congratulated the 144 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health members throughout Australia for the way in which they honoured and celebrated during NAIDOC week.

The theme, Because of her we can was particularly poignant this year celebrating the historic and current achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women on our ACCHO boards of management and in our ACCHO workforce.

“I would also acknowledge all the National NAIDOC award winners announced last Friday night in Sydney especially a former NACCHO chair and health justice activist Pat Anderson who was awarded the highly the regarded NAIDOC Lifetime Achievement Award and Dr June Oscar Social Justice Commissioner awarded the NAIDOC person of the Year”.

Pat is the current Chair of Lowitja Foundation, an organisation dedicated to Indigenous health research and was previously the Chief Executive Officer of Danila Dilba Health Service in Darwin and the Executive Officer of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT).

“It is strong intelligent women like Pat , whose lifelong commitments, allow Indigenous people freedom healthy futures and self-determination”.

Mr Singer reflected that as mothers, aunts, grandmothers, sisters and daughters, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have culturally and historically always played a pivotal role in supporting and caring for families in our communities so working in the health sector was a natural progression.

“For over 47 years Indigenous health activists like Dr Naomi Mayers, Coleen Shirley (Mum Shirl) Smith AM MBE, Jill Gallagher AO, Vicki O’Donnell, Donna Ah Chee , Pamela Mam, Julie Tongs OAM and the late Mary Buckskin have been just some of our leaders who have successfully advocated for community controlled, culturally respectful, needs based approach to improving the health and wellbeing outcomes of our people”.

“As a result of their leadership and years of commitment as role models they have now paved the way for 71 Indigenous women to be promoted to CEOs of out of 144 Organisations who employ over 6,000 staff with a majority being Indigenous woman” he said.

Our ACCHO network has successfully provided a critical and practical pathway for the education, training and employment for many Indigenous women.
But much more needs to be done to develop viable career pathways to graduate more Indigenous women doctors, nurses and allied health professionals.

Recently NACCHO, RANZCOG and other medical college Presidents met with the Minister for Indigenous Health and other ministers in Canberra who are all determined to do everything possible to Close the Gap in health outcomes.

Creating career pathways for Indigenous women in our workforce will be a good starting point to continue supporting the theme, Because of her we can.
NACCHO CEO Pat Turner recently told a women’s leadership summit that, “Aboriginal women are the best advocates and leaders for health and wellbeing in their own families and in the broader community. They are proving to be effective role models, mentors and influencers for the next generation of Aboriginal female leaders”.

NACCHO Media contact Julian Fitzgerald 0413 982 224.

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