Legislative Council: Tuesday, November 01, 2022


Aboriginal Health Workforce

The Hon. I. PNEVMATIKOS (15:12): My question is to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. Will the minister inform the council about the importance of supporting the Aboriginal health workforce and the recent forum hosted by the Central Adelaide Local Health Network?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:13): I thank the honourable member for her question and her interest in the area. We know that in so many areas of policy and service delivery for Aboriginal people the best outcomes tend to come when Aboriginal people are involved in the design and the delivery of those services. We should be incredibly proud of the many talented Aboriginal health practitioners, nurses, doctors and allied health professionals working in our state's public health system, as well as those who are involved in designing these services and programs. I am pleased to see that the Central Adelaide Local Health Network recognises this also.

As the organisation that oversees the Royal Adelaide Hospital, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre, the Repat and Glenside services amongst others, it delivers both on Kaurna country and servicing Aboriginal people from nations all over this state and Australia. It was pleasing in my first week as Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, after this year's state election, that I had the opportunity to speak at the launch of CALHN's Aboriginal Employment and Retention Strategy.

This strategy outlines priorities such as building stronger partnerships and relationships with Aboriginal communities, fostering culturally safe and racism-free workplaces, providing better inductions, training and support for Aboriginal staff, increasing employment opportunities for Aboriginal students and trainees, and much more.

Some 4 per cent of CALHN's population are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people. Statistics in the strategy highlight that Aboriginal people are over-represented in both emergency presentations and particularly in elective hospital admissions. By far, the largest principal diagnosis for the Aboriginal community using CALHN's services is kidney dialysis.

One of the important components of this strategy was the development of CALHN's Aboriginal Learning Health Network. It was a great pleasure to have the opportunity last week to speak at the inaugural forum for CALHN's Aboriginal Learning Health Network and to see the strategy in action helping to support CALHN's Aboriginal workforce. I am advised that more than 120 of the staff across CALHN are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people, and I was pleased to meet many of them at the forum last week.

The day was facilitated by Haydyn Bromley from Bookabee Aboriginal consultancy, with a Kaurna welcome from Uncle Mickey O'Brien. Other guests throughout the day included board member Gavin Wanganeen and also Janine Mohamed, the CEO of the Lowitja Institute. Whether it be in the public or private sector, there is still much work to do. Strategies like this that provide support for Aboriginal workers who deliver services to Aboriginal people are very, very welcome.