CRCNA CEO Anne Stünzner says a renewed commitment to the Northern Australia agenda and the Northern Australia Indigenous Development Accord will ensure the north remains a priority for all Australians.

The commitment came during a meeting of the Northern Australian Ministerial Forum this week (Monday 31 October) in Darwin which was chaired by Minister for Resources and Minister for Northern Australia, the Hon Madeleine King MP and attended by government representatives from Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

The Forum agreed to a collaborative approach between governments to liveable, safe, sustainable and healthy communities in the north focused on the following priorities:

Human capital

  • Engagement with First Nations people
  • Justice reinvestment
  • Housing availability
  • Migration and mobility
  • Workforce skills and training development
  • Delivering amenity

Enabling infrastructure

  • Digital connectivity
  • Enabling roads, rail and ports
  • Common user infrastructure
  • Water

Economic development and diversification

  • Transformational and complex projects
  • Diversification that responds to climate change (adaptation and mitigation)
  • Agriculture and biosecurity
  • Data to support decision making and investment

Ms Stünzner said the CRCNA is well-placed to inform and support the Ministerial Forum as it works to refresh the Our North, Our Future: White Paper on Developing Northern Australia to develop a program of joint actions to progress the agreed priorities.

“The CRCNA is currently working with stakeholders across the north on RD&E projects which address many of the priority areas identified by the Ministerial Forum.

“I welcome the opportunity to work closely with the Ministerial Forum to provide the strong evidence-based to build and shape a sustainable Northern Australian economy.”

Ms Stünzner said a review of the Northern Australia Indigenous Development Accord is essential to ensure it reflects the needs and aspirations of Indigenous communities.

“Our recent open funding call for projects seeking to activate the north’s Indigenous Estate demonstrated the need for investment in RD&E which identifies and unlocks the enormous potential of First Nations business.

“Re-visiting the Accord acknowledges a lot of the hard work that has been done in this space and the need to support the implementation of this work and to continue investing in the opportunities which exist in this space,” she said.

Emma Carlin, a Research Fellow from the Rural Clinical School of Western Australia, University of Western Australia (UWA), is leading a partnership with the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services, Broome Aboriginal Medical Services, and the Transforming Indigenous Mental Health and Wellbeing research project (UWA) to develop and implement Wellbeing Informed Care approaches for Aboriginal Community Controlled primary health care in the Kimberley region.

The Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) is providing $955,000 to fund the project over three years. Th funding will allow the partnership to explore and refine clinical responses to managing experiences of adversity or trauma that many Aboriginal patients experience and the impacts this has on their health care access and engagement. This project will work with clinics and community to co-design and implement emerging best practice informed by international and national trauma informed care research in a place based and culturally secure way.

This project builds on various social and emotional wellbeing research activities undertaken by the partnership over the last five years. This includes a recent publication which demonstrated the high level of patients presenting to remote Kimberley primary health clinics in psychosocial distress or with acute mental health concerns.

At the end of the project, the partnership aims to have developed an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service specific approach to Wellbeing Informed Care alongside an accessible implementation guide that will be available for other interested services.

Emma Carlin said she was thrilled to receive the funding on behalf of the partnership team.

“I am grateful for the opportunity that has been provided to us by the CRCNA, all partners are committed to optimising the way in which Aboriginal people are cared for through their clinical journey. We are looking forward to celebrating and codifying the great work already happening and refining systems based on community and clinical knowledge and need”.

Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services CEO Vicki O’Donnell stated the project can deliver on a much-needed gap in Aboriginal health policy and practice.

“We see trauma informed care talked about a lot in health planning and policy however, how this looks for Aboriginal Community Controlled primary health care, and what this approach can achieve in this context is exciting.”

CRCNA CEO Anne Stünzner said ‘We are delighted to be working with UWA and this group of partners to undertake this project in the Kimberley. We are keen to support the project to link in with stakeholders across Northern Australia to reflect, share, and learn from each other in the emerging space of trauma and wellbeing informed care’.

Project enquiries

Emma Carlin (p) 0419 390 207 (e)