2021 IAHA National AGM Frequently asked Questions

IAHA Annual General Meeting 2021 

Earlier this year, the Board of Directors led a series of conversations with IAHA members around proposed strategic directions and constitutional change to IAHA’s membership, to ensure that IAHA remained an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned organisation and were strongly positioned to take opportunities moving forward. 

Since then, the Secretariat have been working with the IAHA Board to progress drafting the proposed changes which will be taken to members at the 2021 Annual General Meeting (AGM). In addition, the 2021 AGM will see the election of the IAHA Ltd Board of Directors as well as Directors to the newly established Northern Territory subsidiary, IAHA NT Workforce Development Ltd. 


Frequently Asked Questions  

What membership changes are being proposed? 

It is proposed that the membership categories be revised and increase the membership categories listed in the IAHA Constitution (available here) to five, and to create a ‘Friends of IAHA’ network for IAHA’s non-Indigenous supporters and allies.  

The five formal membership categories proposed are 

o IAHA Full Member Graduate (no change) 

o IAHA Full Member Student (no change) 

o IAHA Full Member Assistant Workforce 

o IAHA Associate Member 

o Corporate Member (no change) 

The Full Member Assistant Workforce membership category would recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with clinical assistant qualifications which map to IAHAs existing membership allied health professions, such as Allied Health Assistance and Dental and Oral Therapy Assistance, Pharmacy assistant as full members. 

While the Friends of IAHA network would not be a formal membership category, for reasons identified below, they would remain an important and valued part of IAHA. 

How will I be affected? 

Full Graduate and Full Student members of IAHA, corporate members and most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Associate members will not be impacted by the change.   

Some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Associate members will be eligible to move into the new Full Member Assistant Workforce category. 

Non-Indigenous Associate members of IAHA will move into the Friends of IAHA network and, while Friends of IAHA will not be formal members of IAHA, some benefits will still apply.  

Why are the changes needed? 

The proposed changes are important for several reasons. 

Firstly, IAHA recognise and value the work of the assistant professions as an essential part of the allied health workforce. Allied Health Assistance is an area of particular focus for IAHA, in our policy and programs, including as a pathway into allied health and through the IAHA National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Academy. By elevating this workforce to IAHA’s full membership, we hope to recognise and value the significant role this workforce plays within the health care system, particularly in supporting the delivery of allied health care, and support our advocacy for the role of this workforce in increasing accessibility and quality of care particularly in Indigenous health. 

One impact of IAHA’s successes in influencing change and establishing relationships with mainstream sectors and settings has been the significant growth in our non-Indigenous Associate membership. IAHA’s members are the owners of the company, and its essential that IAHA remain a self-determining, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned organisation, including enabling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership and status as a community-controlled peak organisation and Supply Nation certified provider.  

Establishment of the Friends of IAHA network will support IAHA to remain majority Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned while still recognising and valuing the role of the non-Indigenous workforce and supporters of IAHA, with some benefits still provided 

How will the changes be progressed and why do Associate Members need to vote? 

IAHA will take a two-staged approach to members endorsement of the changes. 

IAHA’s current Full membership will vote on the proposed amendments at the 2021 AGM. 

As part of IAHA’s commitment to good and transparent governance, IAHA will also host, in parallel – a separate vote for all current, Associate members on the changes to the specific associate category. This is due to the proposed changes impacting a select membership category and membership eligibility for our existing members.  

IAHA encourages the participation of all our Associate members in this process and trusts that our non-Indigenous members, committed to the work of IAHA, and continuing their support of us, will be understanding of these proposed changes. 

What other changes are being proposed? 

Other proposals for consideration by members at the AGM include: 

  •  a change to the IAHA Ltd Constitution to increase the number of members which constitutes a quorum and  
  • an additional clause to support the remuneration (payment) of Directors for their expertise, knowledges, skills and commitment to governing IAHA companies. 

What is a quorum and what is the benefit of increasing the quorum? 

A ‘quorum’ is the minimum number of Full members present for a decision to be made on IAHA Ltd business. The constitution currently sets a quorum at a minimum of 15 Full members present at a meeting, with consideration also given to discipline and geographic diversity. 

It is being proposed that the quorum number for IAHA Ltd increase to 25 Full members, to ensure that decision making is representative and reflective of IAHA members, but that the quorum remains achievable to ensure IAHA’s work can progress. 

Why would Directors be paid and how would it work? 

Members will be asked to consider changes to enable payment of Board Directors.  

Recognising the current and future workload of Directors it is suggested that IAHA Ltd remunerate (pay) board members for their professional, cultural and personal skills and time. The reasons for this are to ensure that members with the appropriate skills and expertise have the capacity to nominate for and participate on the Board. It also allows IAHA to recognise and appropriately value the cultural and professional knowledges and perspectives of Directors and the role these play in shaping the work of the organisation. 

The growth in IAHA as an organisation and the increasing complexity of IAHA’s work, requires greater compliance and governance responsibility of the Board of Directors, therefore increasing the existing workload of Directors, requiring significant strategic planning, management of risks and more frequent meetings. 

The proposed funding for Board remuneration has been benchmarked against similar organisations and would be allocated to Directors based on their attendance and participation at IAHA Board and subcommittee meetings. 

The recommended total “remuneration pool” will be $100,000 per annum, to be allocated between all Directors and paid from IAHA generated revenue. The pool will be implemented through a comprehensive policy and procedure developed by the Secretariat and endorsed by the Board of Directors. This policy and procedure would be paid on receipt of an invoice for each director. 

What is IAHA NT Workforce Development Ltd? 

IAHA NT Workforce Development Ltd has been established as a company limited by guarantee, and wholly owned IAHA subsidiary to support IAHA with our work in the Northern Territory, where IAHA have a strong program, staffing and policy presence, and in northern Australia more broadly. 

IAHA NT Workforce Development Ltd has been established under a similar constitution to IAHA and for a shared purpose, with this alignment in work essential. This includes the same objects of the company. 

Strategically, it would also create opportunities for IAHA, including applying for grants and other opportunities open to NT entities and to overcome some operational barriers that IAHA, as a national organisation, have in delivering NT-specific programs and initiatives. 

What is the governance structure for the IAHA NT Workforce  Development Ltd? 

The IAHA NT Workforce Development company Directors will have a strong focus on Northern Territory governance to ensure that the organisation is a cultural match to the needs and aspirations of Northern Territory communities. Consisting of between 3-7 Directors on the Board, that includes representatives of the IAHA Ltd Board of Directors (Nominee Directors), NT Appointed Directors and Elected Directors who are IAHA Full member graduates residing in the NT or having a cultural kinship connection to Country in the NT.  

Who is eligible for the IAHA NT Workforce Development Board? 

Elected Directors – IAHA Full Graduate members, as the broad community representation base of the IAHA NT Workforce Development parent company (IAHA), have the right to elect and then appoint up to three (3) elected directors from the eligible IAHA membership.  

IAHA NT Workforce Development Elected Director eligibility criteria, is as follows 

  1. be at least 18 years old;   
  1. be an IAHA Allied Health Graduate Full Member;   
  1. reside in the Northern Territory, or have a cultural kinship and connection to Country in the Northern Territory (supported by a letter of support from a relevant nation group or community elder) 

Eligible IAHA members are encouraged to nominate for the IAHA NT Workforce Development Board at this IAHA 2021 AGM and be elected by their peers. 

NT Appointed Directors – the IAHA NT Workforce Development Board will be able to appoint up to two (2) Northern Territory Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander skilled people to the Board.  

Nominee Directors – IAHA Ltd Board can appoint up to two (2) directors from the current elected IAHA Board (elected by IAHA members) to the IAHA NT Workforce Development Board. 

Who can I contact if I have further questions? 

Please contact the IAHA Secretariat on (02) 6285 1010 or via email to Secretary@iaha.com.au and one of the team will be in contact with you.