Home' Know How : KnowHow Issue 4 Contents CRCA.ASN.AU
THE CRC PROGRAM is the only
Commonwealth initiative providing
a link between industry, academia,
government and the communities
of remote regions, Calma says.
“ We know from past, bitter
experience the policies imposed from
on high and afar seldom work well
in remote Australia. Only when you
truly engage the people who live there
do you get results.
“At the moment there is evidence
that the wellbeing of remote Australians
is at increasing risk, and urgent action is
needed to reverse this trend and to begin
building a more optimistic, prosperous
and equitable future for them.”
When the CRC analysed employment
across remote Australia, they found that
a large percentage of jobs were held by
non-Indigenous people with a Year 10
or less level of education, despite
“more than adequate numbers of
Aboriginal people with Year 10 and
above qualifications,” says Rod Reeve,
Ninti One’s Managing Director.
Another significant project, led
by Professor John Guenther from
Flinders University, aims to identify
how education can improve outcomes
for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
THE HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL Lowitja Institute,
established in 2010 as the national institute
for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health
research, garnered an additional five years of
funding in July 2014. The Institute was built on
14 years of CRCs, beginning with the CRC for
Aboriginal and Tropical Health in 1997.
This CRC introduced a new roundtable process,
which set research priorities involving the community
as well as researchers and policy-makers – changing
the way research into Indigenous health took place.
Pat Anderson, Chair of the Lowitja Institute,
says the process instituted a new way of
commissioning projects, with community
leaders at the centre of decision-making. The
Institute works collaboratively with stakeholders,
building up the research skills of Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Island people along the way.
“Our guiding principle has always been that,
in order to improve our health, we need to create
our own solutions rather than have them imposed
upon us,” Anderson said at the opening of the
Institute’s new offices in October 2014.
Preventative health is high on the agenda. The
CRC recently evaluated Deadly Choices – a program
encouraging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
people in southern Queensland to make healthy
choices around nutrition, physical activity, smoking
and use of harmful substances. The seven-week
school and community-based chronic disease
prevention and education initiative has grown to
encompass at least 1000 children from more than
100 schools and community health programs.
While substantial progress has been made
in Indigenous people having a greater stake in
health service delivery, research and policymaking,
Anderson points out there’s a long way to go.
“With life expectancy for Australia’s First
Peoples still languishing 11 years behind our
fellow countrymen and women, we clearly
have our work cut out for us.”
Since its inception in 2003,
Alice Springs-based Ninti One has
delivered $239 million in economic
and social benefits to rural areas
The Hon Shayne Neumann MP,
Ms Patricia Anderson AO and Ms Kelly
O’Dwyer MP at the Lowitja Institute.
people in remote areas. For the
Anangu people in Central Australia,
Guenther proposed an academy built
around a “red dirt ” curriculum covering
rural economics, local histories, digital
literacies and grammar.
The principle behind the academy
comes from other projects Ninti One
has facilitated, where local and
non-local knowledge is shared, and
both knowledge systems are treated
with equal weight and respect.
“ We try to look at an issue from
many different directions,” Calma says.
Calma was formerly Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander Social
Justice Commissioner at the Human
Rights Commission, which he points
out has some aspects in common
with Ninti One.
“A human rights-based approach
and a community development
approach are very similar. They are
both about making people the centre
of what you do, and we recognise
that all our activities are for the
constituency of remote Australians.”
Node (Ninti One office)
KH04 F4 Social Change F.indd 27
13/11/2014 4:06 pm
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