Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living lives healed and free
The 5th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Summit, held in Sydney on 22nd June 2018, aimed to reset the Aboriginal health agenda. By bringing together Aboriginal experts to lead strategic discussions about why and how the health system needs to change, participants concluded there was more to be done to meet the hopes and aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia.
The Summit, an initiative of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Standing Committee, was co-hosted by the Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council of New South Wales and NSW Health. The Summit brought together 150 delegates including the Hon. Minister for Indigenous Health Ken Wyatt (who announced funding for an investigation into barriers to accessing kidney transplants for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people) and the Hon. Minister for Health, NSW, Bradley Hazzard, senior bureaucrats and academics, peak organisations, journalists and advocates and consultants with representatives from community controlled organisations.
Around the nation, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are pushing for change. The Summit reflected the status quo is not working and conversations echoed the broader call for the Aboriginal affairs discourse to change from deficit to strengths based narratives. Furthermore, there was a call for more transparency, truth-telling, power-sharing and culture-informed decision-making practices integrated within policy production, program implementation and evaluation strategies. In addition, there was a call for sustainable funding solutions to optimise service delivery outcomes for a client base with increasingly complex needs.