Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA), the national organisation for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health workforce, welcomes the report from Margaret Crawford, New South Wales Auditor-General.
IAHA contributes significantly to the national dialogue on health and wellbeing access, equity and solutions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. IAHA supports in principle the Auditor-General’s recommendations; particularly the focus on finalising an Aboriginal mental health policy framework which includes ‘actions to increase the numbers and types of Aboriginal workers across all levels and positions in the mental health workforce.’
IAHA CEO Donna Murray said that, “while there have been improvements in the mental health context for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in NSW, significant work still needs to be done. Increasing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation in the health and wellbeing workforce at all levels is a critical step towards this.”
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health workforce brings solid returns on many fronts, they have the knowledge and the specialist skills to be part of the sustainable solution going forward. As an extension of the recommendations around the Aboriginal health workforce, IAHA contends that – consideration of training pathways, retention, supervisory supports and employment priorities is essential for sustainable and long-term change.
The Audit states, “NSW Health provides some funding to Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to provide mental health services. These non-government organisations have the cultural and clinical capability to support Aboriginal patients with complex mental health needs, but most advise that they lack the level of staffing and resources to meet community demand,” evidences the need to develop, support and promote the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce.
IAHA supports the conclusion that efficacy can only be increased by forming effective partnerships and relationships with the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector to plan, design and deliver effective mental health services. The solutions will then be led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their organisations.
“IAHA encourage investment in Aboriginal-led, community controlled mental health and social emotional wellbeing services for long-term solutions; based on a strong commitment and a future of our own design” said Nicole Turner, Chairperson of IAHA.
Director of Strategic Policy and Research
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