More than a word – actions speak louder

While the way we mark this year’s National Reconciliation Week reflects the challenges the COVID-19 global pandemic has presented, what hasn’t changed is our commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the health and wellbeing of communities across Western Australia.

In our Strategic Plan Better Health, Together 2020 – 2023, Aboriginal health is a fundamental priority for WA Primary Health Alliance. This plan also reflects the importance of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap which informs our strategic direction in this area.

Our objective is to ensure health equity for Aboriginal people so they can access culturally safe healthcare in the right place and the right time.

A deliverable of our Strategic Plan is to develop strategies that inform and guide the commissioning of health services across the state, alongside a commitment to working in partnership with the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector.

WA Primary Health Alliance CEO, Learne Durrington, said as the theme of this year’s National Reconciliation Week, More than a Word, implies, our focus also needs to be on action.

“Starting with our Aboriginal Health Strategy, this will direct resources to where they are most needed, to support Aboriginal people with their health care.

“This important work is being led by our recently appointed Senior Policy Advisor for Aboriginal Health, Mark Griffin, with invaluable guidance and support from our Board member, Professor Rhonda Marriott and the members of our Strategic Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing Advisory Group,” Ms Durrington said.

As part of our Mental Health Strategy, WA Primary Health Alliance recognises the important work being done by Aboriginal leaders in the mental health and social and emotional wellbeing field.

“As such, we support the principles of the Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration and we are committed to genuine reconciliation and working with Aboriginal leaders, organisations, and communities across the state,” Ms Durrington said.

“During the past few months, we have been engaging with the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector to better understand the needs of Aboriginal communities and the programs and services that utilise cultural models of care.”

With the organisation’s second Reconciliation Plan (the Innovate Reconciliation Plan) in the final stages of development, it outlines key actions that will contribute to improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people.

“This includes deliverables from our Operational Plan such as the development of a Cultural Competency Framework and an Aboriginal Employment Strategy.”

Additionally, part of WA Primary Health Alliance’s reconciliation journey includes supporting the principles of the 2017 Uluru Statement and recognising the long and continuing connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with the land.

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