NACCHO’s History


  • The first ACCHO – Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service – was established
  • The Aboriginal Tent Embassy was erected in Canberra, outside the former Parliament House
  • After the 1967 Referendum, the 1971 census included Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people


  • First census to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people


  • The first national ‘Ten Year Plan for Aboriginal Health’ was developed by the Whitlam Government


  • NACCHO’s predecessor, the National Aboriginal and Islander Health Organisation (NAIHO) was formed
  • The Racial Discrimination Act was enacted
  • Medibank was established


  • About ten ACCHOs were operating
  • The CDEP scheme was implemented in regional and remote Australia


  • An Aboriginal delegation travels to Kazakhstan and influences the WHO Alma Ata Declaration on Primary Health Care with its community-controlled model


  • The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs’ Report on Aboriginal Health recognises that the social determinants of health are fundamental to improving health outcomes


  • Commonwealth funding for Aboriginal health was consolidated within the Department of Aboriginal Affairs with a plan to fund ACCHOs direct


  • The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody was established (report delivered in 1991)


  • A ‘National Aboriginal Health Strategy’ was drafted by an Aboriginal-led health working group


  • ATSIC was established by the Hawke Government, bringing many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs and policies under the one portfolio agency


  • NACCHO was established, replacing NAIHO as the national peak
  • Eddie Mabo’s seminal victory in the High Court
  • Paul Keating’s ‘Redfern speech’ (first acknowledgement by the Australian Government of the dispossession of its First Peoples)


  • The Native Title Act was enacted


  • NACCHO established a permanent secretariat in Canberra with government funding
  • The Bringing Them Home Report (Stolen Generation) was published


  • Special arrangements were put in place to allow for the supply of pharmaceuticals covered by the PBS to clients of remote ACCHOs


  • A national footprint of 140 ACCHOs had been achieved
  • The Productivity Commission’s first Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage report was released


  • ATSIC was decommissioned by the Howard Government and the short-lived Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination was established


  • NITV was launched
  • The Howard Government initiated the NT intervention


  • Prime Minister Rudd delivered the National Apology to the Stolen Generation
  • Prime Minister Rudd signed the Closing the Gap Statement and the first agreement was set in place


  • The first Abbott-Hockey Budget decreases funding of Aboriginal programs by $500m


  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders came to together to issue the Redfern Statement, calling for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander autonomy, and community control
  • The failed Closing the Gap ‘Refresh’ process commenced


  • The Uluru Statement from the Heart was provided to the Australian people
  • A new National Funding Agreement for the sector was implemented


  • The Coalition of Peaks formed (led by NACCHO) to get the Closing the Gap process back on track and ensure genuine community engagement


  • ACCHOs are delivering 3.1m episodes of care each year
  • The COVID-19 pandemic is declared by WHO
  • A new National Agreement on Closing the Gap was signed by all Australian Governments and the Coalition of Peaks