Criticism is being levelled against the Federal Government for not including the national peak for First Nations health in on pandemic and vaccine related meetings.
While the government meets with health officials, businesses and senior bureaucrats from around the country, it is understood that the Nations Community Controlled Health Organisation has been left out.
NACCHO CEO Pat Turner told NITV news, the lack of an invite was ‘deeply concerning’.
“We have not been invited to the meeting that he had with all of the jurisdictions today, which is very disappointing given the efforts we have made to keep our people safe from COVID.”
Bunaba woman and Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar says it is unbelievable considering First Nations health organisations have been leading the way in protecting our communities.
“I was disappointed to see NACCHO was not included in recent vaccine task force meetings, not only because of the success of the Indigenous sector in managing the pandemic but because it is our Aboriginal health organisations that are key to a successful roll-out of the vaccine,” Ms Oscar said.
“We must ensure the representation of our peoples’ in the decision making and planning process of the vaccine roll-out is happening and I just want to acknowledge the incredible and tireless work of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled health sector in rolling-out the vaccine to our communities.”
Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney shares the commissioner’s concern.
“When you have a look at First Nations people in Australia compared to how some other First Nations people have faired in other countries – it’s just remarkable that we’ve had no deaths so far, there has been about 160 infections, but no deaths,” Ms Burney told ABC news.
“And when you have a look at the status of Aboriginal health, the conditions that people live in it’s remarkable and it’s equally remarkable that the peak Aboriginal health organisation is not at the meeting of the vaccine task force. “