THE HON WARREN SNOWDON MP
Minister for Indigenous Health
11 April 2011
The Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon, has launched a new national campaign called Live Longer featuring community events across the country to help extend the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
It’s a central part of the Australian Government’s $21.3 million investment over four years to establish and run Local Community Campaigns.
Mr Snowdon said the Australian Government commissioned a research project to gain an in-depth understanding of attitudes and perspectives within Indigenous communities.
“This research was unprecedented in terms of its scope and reach, and clearly demonstrated that mainstream health messages designed around ‘warnings’ and ‘consequences’ were not working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
“Sadly the research also revealed it was the common belief within many communities that chronic disease such as cancer and diabetes were an inevitable consequence for Indigenous Australians and that many high risk behaviours such as smoking are still considered socially acceptable.
“Our research told us that to participate in promoting their health and wellbeing, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people need to be the drivers – the storytellers, in fact – of health messages for their own communities,” he said.
“Live Longer! will involve a comprehensive program of tailored community campaigns with messages that respond in a meaningful, practical way to the particular concerns and health priorities of communities, as well as being relevant to local culture.
Mr Snowdon launched Live Longer! at a Healthy Community Day at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence in Redfern to promote the importance of making healthy lifestyle changes with activities tailored to the individual community’s health priorities and existing events.
It is the first of more than 60 Healthy Community Days to be held in urban, regional, rural and remote areas across the nation until June 2012, and includes:
- NSW: Walgett, Wagga Wagga, Tamworth, Dareton, Newcastle
- WA: Perth, Katanning, Tambellup, Gnowangerup, Albany
- QLD: Warwick, Bowen
- SA: North Adelaide, Gawler
- NT/VIC: Locations to be announced at a later date
The Australian Government has employed Tackling Smoking and Healthy Lifestyle workers across 20 regions around Australia who will visit these communities to promote preventive health messages.
The Live Longer! message
Mr Snowdon said the Australian Government’s Live Longer! Campaign shares four key healthy lifestyle messages.
“Live Longer! Encourages Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to give up smoking, eat healthy food, take regular exercise and have regular medical check-ups – four actions that could help extend the lives of Indigenous people.
“It is designed to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people themselves to become more involved in their own health promotion – designing, developing and distributing health messages for their own communities.”
“Advertising and national campaigns can only go part of the way to raising awareness. People – both at the individual and community level – need to take responsibility for their health. To this end, this campaign will empower communities to take the next step and develop their own responses to their local health needs.”
New grant programs
The Australian Government has developed a grants program to enable local organisations to organise healthy living activities for their community. This will be advertised nationally in May and will be open between June and September. This will be followed by a comprehensive round aimed at anyone who has a community health plan.
The Government will also be supporting national events aimed at raising general awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander chronic diseases and how these diseases can be prevented.
New health workers for Sydney
Mr Snowdon also announced that two additional Regional Tackling Smoking and Healthy Lifestyle Teams would work with local communities across metropolitan Sydney.
“The two new teams will add to the exceptional work already being undertaken by the team hosted by Tharawal Aboriginal Medical Service in Campbelltown and surrounds. The new teams will be hosted by the Aboriginal Medical Service Western Sydney for the Western Sydney region and by the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence for the Inner Sydney region,” he said.
“These teams will continue the roll out of the Tackling Smoking Workforce led by the National Coordinator for Tackling Indigenous Smoking, Dr Tom Calma. Over a three-year period we will have teams across Australia in 57 regions. “
For more information, contact Mr Snowdon’s office (02) 6277 7820
Healthy Community Days
|13-14 April||Walgett, NSW||Walgett AMS 25 year celebration||As part of week long activities marking Walgett AMS’ 25 years of service, Bush chef Mark Olive will provide healthy meal cooking demonstrations and nutritionists and dieticians will discuss the impact of making healthier food choices with community members.|
|19 April||Wagga Wagga, NSW||Live Longer! Healthy Community Day||Rivmed Wagga will host a day focusing on getting children reconnected with the Elders of the area and yarn about and show how they kept healthy in traditional times. 300 people expected. Children from local schools will develop posters about healthy living.|
|Katanning, WA||Smoke Free Days||Southern Aboriginal Corporation will run a ‘Smoke Free Day’ with community participants during a day’s outing. Participants will be encouraged not to bring cigarettes on the bus and during the day will receive information on the dangers of tobacco smoking to themselves and their families. Healthy meals will be served and a diabetes educator will provide advice about healthy and nutritional eating to combat diabetes.|
|25-27 April||Midland Perth, WA||Live Longer! Aboriginal Junior Basketball Carnival||Three day carnival for Aboriginal youth to engage in a positive way in physical activities and to reinforce messages about the importance of exercise and sport in contributing to a healthy future.|
|29 April||North Adelaide, SA||2011 State Aboriginal Golf Championship||Players will have the opportunity to have blood pressure tests, diabetes levels checked and renal checks before they tee off. A healthy breakfast will also be served to get players ready for their day on the course.|
|29 April||Warwick, QLD||Warwick Peace Festival||A collaboration between local Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. The festival will include strong chronic disease awareness sessions including a performance by legendary Murri country singer, Roger Knox, who will deliver healthy lifestyle messages from the stage. Healthy cooking demonstrations, physical exercise sessions and voluntary BMI tests will also be conducted.|
|30 April||Bowen, QLD||Healthy Family Day||Girudala Community Coop is hosting a day where allied health and Aboriginal Health Workers will promote access to local health care services. Prior to the Healthy Family Day, schools will be visited and students issued with Deadly Cards as an incentive to attend event, win prizes and have exposure to health messages.|
|11 May||Tamworth, NSW||Healthy Community Day||Tamworth Aboriginal Medical Service will host a Healthy Community Day for community members in Tamworth, Walhollow, Werris Creek and the Hunter New England areas.|
|Gnowangerup, WA||Smoke Free Days||Southern Aboriginal Corporation will run a ‘Smoke Free Day’ with community participants. Participants will be encouraged not to bring cigarettes on the bus for the day and will receive more information on the dangers of tobacco smoking to themselves and their families. Healthy meals will be served and a diabetes educator will provide advice about healthy and nutritional eating to combat diabetes.|
|18 May||Tambellup, WA|
|27 May||Gawler, SA||Ken Buckskin Memorial Day Championships||Aboriginal Golf Players will have the opportunity to have blood pressure tests, diabetes levels checked and renal checks before they tee off. Collective information about health and wellbeing, smoking, illicit drugs and alcohol consumption will be available to participants during the day.|
|1 June||Newcastle, NSW||Awabakal Healthy Community Day||The Day will provide a platform for Aboriginal performance arts including Aboriginal Hip Hop band, “The Street Warriors” and the Rod Smith Aboriginal Theatre Company. A bush tucker cooking demonstration will be held and a series of Legend posters developed, featuring high profile non-smoking Indigenous role models.|
|8 June||Albany, WA||Smoke Free Days||Southern Aboriginal Corporation will run a ‘Smoke Free Day’ with community participants. Participants will be encouraged not to bring cigarettes on the bus for the day and will receive more information on the dangers of tobacco smoking to themselves and their families. Healthy meals will be served and a diabetes educator will provide advice about healthy and nutritional eating to combat diabetes.|
|21 June||Dareton, NSW||Healthy Community Day||Coomealla Health Aboriginal Corporation will hold traditional dancing sessions for young school children prior to the Healthy Community Day, with a view to a performance on the actual day.|