Acknowledgement to Country
Western NSW Local Health District respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the Country throughout Western NSW, and their continuing connection to land, water and community.
We pay our respect to Traditional Custodians, our Elders both past and present and acknowledge the Aboriginal people of the nations that we have the privilege to live and work on.
We share and celebrate the rich history of Aboriginal culture, and recognise the diverse and proud Aboriginal nations across our District.
About Aboriginal health
Western NSW LHD has a population of approximately 35,000 Aboriginal people, equating to around 13% of the District’s population. This is higher than the total NSW state Aboriginal population of around 2.1%.
Life expectancy for Aboriginal people in Western NSW is lower than the rest of the population, approximately 70.5 years for men and 74.6 years for women.
We have developed an Aboriginal Health Strategic Strategy and implementation roadmap to provide direction and track our progress against key Aboriginal health priorities. The aim is to contribute to a reduction in the unacceptable gap in health and wellbeing outcomes experienced by Aboriginal residents in our region.
Many of these strategies focus on addressing the social determinants of health, including institutional and personal racism.
The following strategic documents inform our strategic direction and actions in addressing the unacceptable health gap experienced by Aboriginal people across Western NSW:
- NSW Aboriginal Health Plan 2013-2023
- Mid-Term Evaluation of the NSW Aboriginal Health Plan 2013-2023
- Western NSW LHD Strategic Plan 2020-2025 (PDF 3.22MB)
- Western NSW LHD Improving Aboriginal Health Strategy 2018-2023 (PDF 2.39MB)
In addition, Western NSW LHD are responsible for the implementation of the following state policies, strategies and documents:
The development and implementation of a Western NSW LHD Aboriginal Health Impact Statement procedure for staff ensures the needs and interests of Aboriginal peoples are embedded into the development, implementation and evaluation of all our procedures, guidelines, strategies, programs, initiatives and/or projects.
- NSW Health Services Aboriginal Cultural Engagement Self-Assessment Tool
- Respecting the Difference: An Aboriginal Cultural Training Framework for NSW Health
NSW Health have also developed a wide range of policies, strategies and document, relating to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal peoples that Western NSW LHD align with.
Our commitment to improving Aboriginal health
Western NSW LHD is committed to making meaningful gains in Aboriginal health. Our commitment seeks to build respectful and meaningful relationships with our Aboriginal communities. Our ongoing focus is to engage with local Aboriginal communities and create greater opportunities for consultation, feedback and collaboration.
We'll continue to develop a culturally appropriate and skilled workforce that provides essential services targeted at improving health outcomes and cultural safety, which will improve outcomes and experiences of our Aboriginal patients and families who access our facilities.
Western NSW LHD identifies improving Aboriginal health outcomes as a strategic priority and focus; for the organisation. Our Improving Aboriginal Health Strategy has been developed to provide direction and track our progress against key Aboriginal health priority areas.
Some of the key priority areas of Aboriginal health are:
- ensuring programs and services are accessible, affordable, relevant and appropriate for Aboriginal communities
- continuing to develop and strengthen effective partnerships and working relationships with the Aboriginal community-controlled sector, Primary Health Networks, Aboriginal communities and other key stakeholders
- development and support of a skilled Aboriginal workforce
- ensuring governance, planning and advisory structures within the organisation are supportive of culturally relevant decision-making.
We feel privileged to work with and share our journey with so many diverse and proud Aboriginal nations across our District and we are driven by our responsibility to make a real and lasting difference in the lives of all Aboriginal people.
Strategies and plans
Improving Aboriginal Health Strategy
Our Improving Aboriginal Health Strategy 2018-2023 outlines our achievable goals, actions and resources required to deliver on our strategic direction to achieving better health and wellbeing outcomes for our Aboriginal communities within our Local Health District.
Reconciliation Action Plan
Our vision for reconciliation is for all of us.
We believe that non-Indigenous staff will lead the way in building relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, partner organisations, patients, families and carers to work collaboratively together to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Aboriginal Health Workforce
Our District values the cultural knowledge and connection our Aboriginal workforce bring to their roles that enables them to provide the best culturally responsive care to our Aboriginal patients, families, and communities.
Having a skilled Aboriginal workforce will ensure that we provide improved health services that will have a positive health impact on Aboriginal people and communities.
We support and invest in the development of our Aboriginal workforce and their career pathways and strive to increase the numbers of Aboriginal peoples working in all areas, disciplines and levels of our District.
The District’s Aboriginal Workforce Affirmative Action Framework has been developed to guide us to increase, enhance and support our Aboriginal workforce through a range of affirmative action strategies.
Aboriginal Workforce Affirmative Action Framework
The implementation of the Western NSW LHD Aboriginal Workforce Affirmative Action Framework 2019-2023 (PDF 944.37KB) and a mandated Aboriginal Workforce Position Targeting procedure for staff demonstrates our commitment and guides us in our endeavours to increase, enhance and support our Aboriginal workforce in this District through a range of affirmative action strategies.
As a result, Western NSW LHD has experienced continual growth in our Aboriginal workforce since the framework was implemented. As of February 2023, we have an Aboriginal workforce participation rate of 6.7% (479 staff members).
Aboriginal Signage Strategy
The Arts and Signage Strategy aims to enhance the cultural environment of Western NSW LHD facilities through implementing a strategy that increases visibility of Aboriginal artwork and language in both internal and external areas.
Furthermore, in 2020, the Centre for Aboriginal Health launched the NSW Health Services Aboriginal Cultural Engagement Self-Assessment Audit Tool (PDF 286.53KB). This tool has been designed to assist NSW Health organisations in identifying actions to strengthen cultural engagement between NSW Health Services and Aboriginal stakeholders, improve system-wide cultural safety.
The Western NSW LHD is pleased to invite Aboriginal artists to submit a portfolio when expressions of interest are advertised in your community or region for their work to be considered for the Arts and Signage Strategy.
Marang Dhali Eating Well
Marang Dhali Eating Well (MDEW) is a practical cooking and food program for Aboriginal communities. The program provides training and resources to Aboriginal health workers/practitioners and partner organisations to deliver nutrition programs in their local community. Participants cook healthy recipes, discuss ideas for good nutrition and share prepared meals together.
Marang Dhali Facilitators are supported by the Project Organising Committee (POC) who are made up of experienced Facilitators and Health Promotion staff. The POC also provides advice on MDEW program development and implementation. The Health Promotion Team works closely with the Aboriginal Health workforce to ensure the program is community led.
The aims of the program are:
To build the capacity of our Aboriginal health workforce to deliver a food and cooking program within their community.
To engage Aboriginal participants and increase their food and cooking knowledge, skills and confidence, to support healthy family food behaviours.
‘Marang Dhali’ is the Wiradjuri language phrase for ‘eating well’. We acknowledge and thank Stanley Vernard ‘Stan’ Grant Snr, AM, an Elder of the Wiradjuri Nation and Language Specialist of the Elders Council, for his advice and permission to use this phrase in the title of our Program.
Jasmine Craciun designed the contemporary artwork for the Marang Dhali program in 2019.
“The Marang Dhali artwork combines the colours and shapes of healthy eating and merges them into a contemporary version of indigenous dot painting and traditional symbols. Bold and bright colours represent the way that healthy eating can be a fun and exciting experience. The symbols for ‘people sitting’ as well as a coolamon and digging sticks/spears can be seen illustrated within the artwork. These represent the old ways Indigenous people gathered and shared their food, stories and education with one another much like the way Marang Dhali does today.
"The main story behind this artwork is that in order for us to grow big and strong and continue sharing our stories with the world, we as Indigenous people need to make healthy eating a part of our culture once again.”
If you would like to know if there is a program running near you, contact the health promotion team on WNSWLHD-HealthPromotion@health.nsw.gov.au