Hard-Hitting Cultural Safety Panel Session a Highlight of Victorian Health Sector Summit

Apr 22, 2024

VACCHO were proud to be a part of the 2024 Victorian Health Sector Summit which welcomed over 300 delegates including policymakers, health practitioners, and community leaders to share insights and forge partnerships towards a unified health agenda.

One of the highlights of the event was the Creating Cultural Safety panel session which featured the AFL’s Executive General Manager Inclusion and Social Policy Tanya Hosch, Wathaurong CEO Simon Flagg, VACCHO CEO Jill Gallagher AO, and Department of Health Chief Aboriginal Health Advisor Nicole McCartney.

The panel generously shared their thoughts, ideas, and deeply personal accounts of their own experiences within the health system.

Ms. Hosch described the challenges that one can face when accessing health services whilst in a vulnerable state, adding that the “colour of a person’s skin” shouldn’t determine the level of care they receive.

Mr. Flagg unpacked Wathaurang’s unique model, and the ways the team create their own way of healing and caring for Country and Community, while emphasising the need for cultural learning to be a real commitment and ongoing partnership that consists of continuous dialogue.

Dr. Jill Gallagher AO delved into the role of colonisation in hindering access to health services, and the fear and lack of trust many Communities experience due to both historical and present-day instances of racism and exclusion.

The overarching message shared by the panel was that all Victorians would experience significant health and wellbeing benefits if the health system embraced a community-focused approach over an individualistic approach.

VACCHO acknowledges the Department of Health for fostering these important conversations, and thanks all attendees for their valuable insight, engagement, and knowledge.

Photo by Bernie Phelan.

Media enquiries

For further media enquiries please email communications@vaccho.org.au or contact our media unit on (03) 9411 9411.


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.