I hope this issue of Ward Round finds you all in good health following an extremely busy July for health professionals nationally. In this issue you will see that the Secretariat has been busy in the areas of policy and communications.
First, AIDA welcomes the historic signing of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap between the Commonwealth State Government, State and Territory Governments and the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Bodies (Coalition of the Peaks). Announced on 29 July, this Partnership agreement will see Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led reviews on Closing the Gap targets and initiatives, and gives our people an equal voice in the Closing the Gap framework. AIDA welcomes this change and looks forward in hope to what this unprecedented move will bring. Read our media release here.
On Thursday 23 July AIDA put out the call to postpone involvement in any protests while COVID-19 still poses a threat. Whilst AIDA acknowledges the importance of the right to protest, we have a duty to our members and the community at large to promote caution around mass gatherings at this time.
That said, it is vital that we keep yarning and stay connected. I will be in Darwin visiting family in the leadup to our next Member Networking Event, set to be held on 12 August at Pee Wee’s. We look forward to bringing these events to Newcastle and Canberra in the coming months, and encourage any of our members who have not yet attended to register their interest with us.
We appreciate your ongoing support, as well as the valuable work you do for your communities as health practitioners. As COVID-19 has re-emerged as a health crisis in Victoria and New South Wales, we urge everyone to keep safe and healthy in the face of this shifting and challenging environment. Some helpful tips on how to stay strong and healthy can be found on the Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia website.
In other news, the Australian Council of Attorneys General met on Monday, 27 July to consider raising the age of legal responsibility for children. AIDA was disappointed that Attorneys did not agree to raise the age of criminal responsibility beyond age 10 for at least another year.
“All Australian children deserve to grow up in safe and fair environments. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children this includes having strong connections to family, culture and Country,” AIDA President Kristopher Rallah-Baker said.
“Locking up Indigenous kids is traumatising and severely impacts their health and wellbeing. It is time to end the cycle of disadvantage by properly supporting communities and addressing laws and practices that unfairly impact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.”
Some good news, however, as AIDA welcome three fresh faces to the secretariat team. We wish our Member Engagement Officer, Corporate Services Manager and Senior Communications and Marketing Officer the best in their new roles. We are excited to be fully staffed and invite you to read about our new staff members below.
Once again, stay safe and stay connected as you go about your work improving the health and wellbeing of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.