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Coalition of Peaks begins community engagement events


Amanda Lyons


14/10/2019 2:24:17 PM

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative body is consulting directly with the community about the changes needed to close health gaps.

Aboriginal children
‘The Coalition of Peaks is determined to give communities across Australia the opportunity to have a say about what is needed,’ Aboriginal Health Council Western Australia Chair Vicki O’Donnell said.

‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people understand what works for us, so it is critical that our voice is at the centre of decision-making, [and] that we bring to the table the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from around the country.’
 
That is Esme Bamblett, Chair of the Aboriginal Executive Council, discussing the Coalition of Peaks (the Coalition) initiative.
 
The Coalition is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative body incorporating around 40 organisations. It was formed at the end of 2018 as the result of an historic partnership agreement between the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, as represented by the Coalition, to collaborate on the Closing the Gap refresh process.
 
The Coalition believes this partnership will empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and help facilitate meaningful change in a Closing the Gap process that has struggled to meet its targets since its implementation over a decade ago.
 
The Coalition and COAG are working to develop a new National Agreement outlining steps and actions required over the next 10 years.
 
In its work towards the goal of closing health gaps, the Coalition is running a survey to gather ideas from community members about what they would like to see included in the agreement. It is also launching face-to-face meetings in every state and territory this week to consult directly with people in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
 
‘This is the first time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people … have had a formal partnership with governments on such significant policy reform,’ Aboriginal Health Council Western Australia Chair Vicki O’Donnell said.
 
‘As part of that process, the Coalition of Peaks is determined to give communities across Australia the opportunity to have a say about what is needed to help close the gap.’

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Chair of RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Associate Professor Peter O’Mara described the Coaltion of Peaks as ‘an essential change following years of frustrated attempts at getting governments to listen to communities’.

The RACGP, which is submitting a member-informed response to the survey, supports the Coalition’s work in this area.
 
‘The RACGP welcomes the formal role for the National Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations in negotiating the Closing the Gap strategy,’ Chair of RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Associate Professor Peter O’Mara told newsGP.
 
‘It is an essential change following years of frustrated attempts at getting governments to listen to communities. This partnership must set the standard for engagement well into the future.’ 
 
Associate Professor O’Mara highlighted primary care’s key position at the coalface of population health.
 
‘As GPs, we work every day to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients,’ he said.
 
‘We can also contribute to less tangible, but no less significant, outcomes by championing the important work being done by communities and their representative organisations. Look no further than the examples in the Close the Gap annual report Our Choices, Our Voices.
 
‘I encourage all of our members to find out more about the leadership successes of the Coalition of Peaks, and to take this unique opportunity to contribute to improving the Closing the Gap Strategy into the future.’
 
Visit the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) website to learn more about the Coalition of Peaks and its consultation meetings around Australia.
 
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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health close the gap COAG Coalition of Peaks



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