The ACT ATOD sector is committed to advancing reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians; and to improving its cultural competency and the cultural security of its practice. To support and drive this work, an ACT ATOD Sector Reconciliation Working Group has been established by all ACT Government Health Directorate funded or delivered ATOD services in partnership with the Gulanga Program, ACT Council of Social Service and ATODA.
Reconciliation is based on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians coming to an honest understanding of our shared history, a commitment to building cooperative partnerships based on trust and respect and a recognition of the distinctive rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. (Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. Social justice and human rights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples)
Reconciliation is an action driven commitment by all Australians as individuals and organisations. Within that context, reconciliation and culturally secure practices have particular resonance for ACT ATOD services in recognition of the need for deliberate actions to address the specific needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities affected by ATOD.
Click here to download the Terms of Reference (March 2012)
The Reconciliation Working Group seeks to support ATOD programs to specifically take action within their organisational development context of reconciliation. This means that all programs can participate in this process regardless of where the organisation is in terms of existing Reconciliation Action Plans.
Through the Reconciliation Working Group each ATOD program will develop a workplan to implement ACTCOSS’ Cultural Awareness Self-Assessment Toolkit (http://www.actcoss.org.au/publications/Publications_2009/2109PAP.pdf). This toolkit, developed with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and Reconciliation Australian, maps with Reconciliation Action Plans.
This process will also enable the sector to identify some ATOD specific actions that relate to field, such as implementing the Indigenous Risk Impact Screen which is the only validated comorbidity screening tool for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.
The group’s work will be facilitated by both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and other facilitators through ACTCOSS and supported by ATODA.
The Australian Government has developed the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (the Health Plan) – an evidence-based policy framework to guide policies and programs to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health over the next decade until 2023. The Health Plan builds on the gains already being achieved through the Australian Government’s agenda to close the gap in life expectancy and child mortality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the broader population.
Among the key strategies are:
- Promote links across mental health and drug and alcohol services and continue to increase community awareness and education about the range of options for dealing with the impact of the use of drugs, both licit and illicit, and alcohol and tobacco.
- Increase access to positive parenting programs and services in relation to early childhood development, family support, health and wellbeing, alcohol and other drugs.
- Address a significant proportion of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander burden of disease and risk, such as chronic disease or tobacco control
The ACT Closing the Gap Report 2013 provides the latest available information for the ACT covering early childhood, education, health, economic participation, healthy homes, safe communities and governance and leadership.
Some of the outcomes are:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Smoking Cessation initiatives: Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service has been funded for three years (2010–2013) to develop and implement a multi-component smoking cessation and reduction program based on family, social and workplace networks.
- Healthy Transition to Adulthood: Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service has been funded for three years (2010–2013) to deliver the Opiate Program (TOP) that provides flexible multidisciplinary health care services to meet the needs of opiate, benzodiazepine, amphetamine and or alcohol dependent people utilising the unique relationship between Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service medical practitioner, patient and the TOP clinical worker.
In 2004–05, the ACT had the second lowest proportion of Indigenous persons, aged18 years and over, at long term risk, at 11.0% and on an age standardised basis at9.3% The latter was a better result than non-Indigenous in the ACT(14.2%) giving a rate ratio of 0.7.
Australian Government, Department of Health and Ageing. 2013 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023. Commonwealth of Australia.
Trauma-Informed Services and Trauma-Specific Care for Indigenous Australian Children Resource Sheet
This resource sheet examines how childhood trauma experienced by Indigenous children can be overcome by appropriate interventions. Trauma-informed services and trauma-specific care for Indigenous Australian children looks at both inter-generational trauma (trauma from past events that is passed on to children) and direct trauma (experienced through exposure to an accident, family violence or abuse). The paper examines the effects of trauma and explores how these can be tackled. It shows that the effects of both inter-generational and direct childhood trauma can be severe and long lasting; however, these effects can be overcome by appropriate interventions. The paper draws on documented practice experience to show how services can adapt their programs to aid the healing and recovery of those affected by trauma.
Australian Government, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australian Institute of Family Studies. 2013 Trauma-informed services and trauma-specific care for Indigenous Australian children. Resource sheet no.21. Closing the Gap Clearinghouse.
The health and well-being of Indigenous drug and alcohol workers: Results from a national Australian survey, was published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. It presents the findings from a national online survey conducted by NCETA that examined the organisational, workplace and individual factors that might contribute to levels of stress and well-being among workers who provide services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients. In particular, the findings highlight the importance of implementing workforce development strategies that focus on achieving culturally appropriate, equitable and supportive organisational conditions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander AOD workers.
Roche, A. M. et al. 2013. The health and well-being of Indigenous drug and alcohol workers: Results from a national Australian survey. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, Issue 44, p.17-26.
Sharing stories: Indigenous alcohol and other drug workers’ well-being, stress and burnout is an early view version of a paper published in Drug and Alcohol Review. This paper presents the findings from a series of focus groups conducted by NCETA that examined Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander AOD workers’ experiences and perspectives of work-related well-being, stress and burnout in the context of workplace conditions and community, cultural and spiritual well-being. The study identified the importance of workforce strategies to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers’ well-being and reduce stress, including: mutual support networks, training in assertiveness and boundary setting, workloads that take account of Indigenous ways of working, adequate remuneration, supervision and mentorship, and cultural sensitivity training for non-Indigenous workers.
Roche, A. M. et al. 2013. Sharing stories: Indigenous alcohol and other drug workers, Drug and Alcohol Review, DOI: 10.1111/dar.12053
National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee 2014, Alcohol and other drug treatment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, Australian National Council on Drugs, Canberra, http://nidac.org.au/.
—- 2014, What works: doing it our way. Resolutions from the Third National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Conference, NIDAC, Canberra, http://nidac.org.au/.
Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT
(02) 6240 6358
Page last updated 22 July 2014