Indigenous Environmental Health: Report of the Fifth National Conference 2004
This publication has been produced by the enHealth Council and the National Indigenous Environmental Health Forum (NIEHF) and is the fifth in the series of Indigenous environmental health conference monographs. The report aims to contribute to the debate around, and increase the understanding and awareness of, environmental health issues, with a key focus on Indigenous Environmental Health Workers.
National Indigenous Environmental Health workshops and conferences are held regularly in order to provide a forum for discussing Indigenous environmental health issues, to raise the profile of Indigenous environmental health issues and to give Indigenous environmental health practitioners a voice.
The first Indigenous Environmental Health Conference was held in Cairns in 1998 with the aim of providing an opportunity for those working in and with Indigenous communities to discuss common concerns and issues in Indigenous environmental health.
The second conference was held in Broome in 1999. The resulting recommendations were used to inform the final development of the Implementation Plan for the National Environmental Health Strategy and to further develop collaborative projects and strategies for progress on a national basis through the enHealth Council. A key recommendation from this conference was to establish a national Indigenous advisory committee.
The third conference was held in Alice Springs in 2000, and was facilitated by members of the newly established NIEHF. The NIEHF is made up of Environmental Health practitioners from each state and territory and is a subcommittee of the enHealth Council. Each NIEHF member gave a presentation at the conference.
The fourth conference was held in Adelaide in November 2002. The themes of presentations and discussions reaffirmed the importance of a well-trained Indigenous environmental health workforce. They also emphasised that Indigenous environmental health workers and officers should be accorded status reflecting the importance of their role, and their training should be provided at accredited and recognised levels.
The fifth conference was held in Terrigal in 2004 and brought together Environmental Health practitioners from across Australia and New Zealand who showcased their projects and programs, successes and challenges. It is anticipated that delegates armed with this knowledge might consider adapting these programs within their own communities.
The recommendations of this conference will be the core focus of Indigenous environmental health activity for the enHealth Council and the NIEHF for the ensuing years. Progress on these recommendations will be monitored and the results will be presented at the sixth National Indigenous Environmental Health Conference.