National Health Leadership Forum

About the NHLF

The National Health Leadership Forum (NHLF) is a collective partnership of national organisations who represent a united voice on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing with expertise across service delivery, workforce, research, healing and mental health and social and emotional wellbeing.

The NHLF was instrumental in the formation of the Close the Gap Campaign and continues to lead the Campaign as the senior collective of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health leadership.

Committed to achieving health equality, the NHLF draws strength from cultural integrity, the evidence base and community. The NHLF provides advice and direction to the Australian Government on the development and implementation of informed policy and program objectives that contribute to improved and equitable health and life outcomes, and the cultural wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The NHLF shares a collective responsibility for the future generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and we pay our respect to our Elders and Warriors who came before us.

NHLF vision  

The Australian health system is free of racism and inequality and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have access to health services that are effective, high quality, appropriate and affordable.

NHLF’s Priorities

  • That the Implementation Plan for the Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan forms the health and wellbeing domain under the national agreement structure.
  • For the Minister to facilitate a meeting between the NHLF and Minister for Health Greg Hunt.
  • Self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples within the National Agreement on Closing the Gap (refresh) and formalised under the federal financial relationship.
  • The development of a Barometer to measure the experiences of patient care within the health system. As a part of the commitment in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 to eliminate racism from the Australian health system.
  • Sustained investment to support the implementation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Medical Workforce Strategy.
  • The Indigenous Evaluation Strategy to encompass all Australian Government funding, direct and indirect including within non-Indigenous and Indigenous-specific programs that either go to organisations or other governments that impact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
  • A core services primary health care framework in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health leaders and experts.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led research and research funding allocations.
  • Support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart and all of its recommendations.

 

Members of the NHLF are advocating strongly in a number of key areas that have significant national implications for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health:

 

  1. National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan

    Members of the NHLF has been the development of the second Implementation of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-23.The Implementation Plan outlines the actions to be taken by the Australian governments, the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector (ACCHS), and other the Non-Indigenous services sector to give effect to the vision, principles, priorities and strategies of the Health Plan.NHLF members have been able to reshape the Implementation Plan so that the focus is on

    • Embedding the social determinants of health and cultural determinants of health;
    • Ensuring the alignment with government policies and priorities; and
    • Simplifying the goals and actions to improve accountability.

    The social determinants identified and included:

    The social determinants recognise the holistic nature of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and social and emotional wellbeing.
    The Implementation Plan recognises the role of cross-sector partnerships in addressing determinants including early childhood development; education and youth; employment and income; housing; environment and infrastructure; poverty; racism; interaction with government systems and services; law and justice; alcohol, tobacco and other drug dependency; and food security.
    These social determinants were identified in the My Life, My Lead consultations.

    The cultural determinants of health?

    • The cultural determinants of health are the things that support good health, including country and caring for country, knowledge and beliefs, language, self-determination, kinship, and cultural expression.
    • The cultural determinants in the proposed Implementation Plan framework are informed by the Mayi Kuwayu study on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing and further work by the Lowitja Institute, Australia’s national institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research.
  2. Coalition of Peaks and Closing the Gap Refresh

    Members of the NHLF are part of the Coalition of Peaks, which is a collection of peak organisations working together to co-design a new national agreement on closing the gap.The Coalition of Peaks is a representative body comprised of around forty Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peaks organisations that have come together to have their collective voice heard on issues that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.It is probably the first time that such as coalition has come together across sectors to give voice to the needs to address the cultural and social determinants of health in order to improve health outcomes and close the gap.

    The Coalition of Peaks has formed a Joint Partnership with the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to collaborate on the Closing the Gap Refresh process. This is the first time that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices have not only been invited to the table but have also been empowered with shared decision-making responsibilities.

    More information on the Coalition of Peaks and for an update click here and go to National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation’s (NACCHO) website

  3. National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Medical Workforce Plan

    In August 2008, Health Ministers from all jurisdictions (COAG Health Council) agreed to the development of a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Medical Workforce Plan.  This plan aims to focus on the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the health professions. This plan will form the implementation plan to the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Strategic Framework 2015-2023, which for a number of years has not included any concrete actions or accountability measures for Government to be judged by.The Commonwealth Department of Health is leading the development of the Workforce Plan but does so with the input of a reference group made of people and organisational representatives from the cross jurisdictional National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Standing Committee; the NHLF, NACCHO, NATSIHWA, state and territory governments.The target date for the Workforce Plan to be completed and endorsed is mid-2020.

    Cultural Fusion has been engagement by the Department of Health to conduct consultations about the workforce plan. Click here for more information about Cultural Fusion and the their consultation project.