Apr 15, 2022

The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) would like to pay tribute to Members and key stakeholders for their involvement in the second Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing Partnership forum in Melbourne.

This year’s event saw some honest, raw, and at times heart-breaking discussions take place, opening with a powerful presentation from Troy Williamson, Aboriginal Engagement Manager at the Coroners Court of Victoria, who spoke about the urgent need for expanded access to Social and Emotional Wellbeing services for Aboriginal Communities in Victoria.

It was inspiring to hear of some of the incredible work Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations do to assist the community with their health and wellbeing twenty-four hours a day seven days a week.

Stories and experiences that were shared reaffirmed the importance of placing Aboriginal health in Aboriginal hands – that personalised, culturally safe care that resonates with communities right across the state.

Highlights of the event included a Welcome to Country from Wurundjeri Elder Uncle Bill Nicholson Jr, presentations by the Honourable Martin Foley MP (Minister for Health), Professor Euan Wallace (Secretary Department of Health), VACCHO Chair Michael Graham and VACCHO CEO Jill Gallagher.

An enlightening panel discussion on Day 2 featuring Amanda Hand (CEO – Oonah Health), Jacki Turfrey (CEO Mallee District Aboriginal Services), and Felicia Dean (CEO Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-Operative) sparked several challenging conversations about the need for longer-term, strategic, outcome-based funding for the ACCO sector.

VACCHO CEO Jill Gallagher described the second Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing Partnership forum as a great success.
“This week’s forum saw some tough and honest conversations taking place. I want to thank our Members and key stakeholders for the courage they showed by having these critical and at times difficult discussions.”

“It was also really important to have the Honourable Martin Foley MP, and Professor Euan Wallace (Secretary Department of Health) at the table with our Members to further progress the conversation around an outcomes-based funding approach.”

“The Forum really reiterated the important role Aboriginal Culture needs to play in advancing the health and wellbeing of our community.”

“Culture is a critical element to solutions and the needs to be part of the way forward, culture needs to be seen and understood as a protective factor for

Aboriginal people, healing and culture need to be core to the way forward.”

The next Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing Partnership forum is planned for August 2022.

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VACCHO is the peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing in Victoria – the only one of its kind – with 33 Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations as Members. VACCHO Members support over 65,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria, and combined are the largest employers of Aboriginal people in the state.