Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health First Nations

National Reconciliation Week 2023: Challenges and lessons learnt

Despite commitment to embed reconciliation, and achieving positive and meaningful change, Brisbane South PHN faced challenges to consistently deliver reconciliation actions and initiatives that matched our vision for reconciliation. Through honest self-reflection and analysis, we regrouped to identify our priority areas, and tangible actions we must take to achieve our 2nd Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan. 

Endorsed on January 13 by Reconciliation Australia, our 2nd Stretch RAP reflects our vision for a more equitable and just Australia; where no gap exists between the opportunities, health outcomes and life expectancies of First Nations peoples and the broader population. Achieving this vision remains a long journey, but we are committed to walking this path together and doing the work of reconciliation. 

‘Our Stretch RAP is built on the foundations of relationships, respect, and opportunities,’ explained Mike Bosel, CEO, Brisbane South PHN.  

‘We’ve made First Nations health and wellbeing a priority across our programs, from jarjums (children) to Elders, and every life stage in between,’ he added. 

‘Our vision for reconciliation is an Australia where no gap exists in the opportunities, health outcomes and life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the broader population of Australia.
We envision an Australia where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples enjoy long, healthy lives centred in culture, with equitable access to health care services that are prevention-focused, responsive, respectful, and culturally safe.’

Key priority areas identified, but not limited to, include: 

  • Meaningful community engagement with local First Nations Elders and communities for their say on health program design and delivery. 
  • Strengthening the governance structure surrounding First Nations programs and initiatives overseen by our PHN. This has resulted in the development of a newly formed governance structure that offers guidance and oversight for our work.  
  • Improving staff awareness of our RAP through regular updates on our actions and progress at staff meetings, in regular emails and through community events including success story shares about First Nations community engagement and reconciliation education. 
  • Being mindful of setting realistic and sustainable timeframes regarding larger projects, including clear and explicit project accountability within our organisation. 

Reflecting on the development of our 2nd Stretch RAP, Nyaree Mewett, Director, First Nations Partnerships Integration said, ‘We are grateful to First Nations Elders, community leaders, groups, and organisations for helping us to better understand the big issues we face; the development of our Stretch RAP was possible because of their generously shared insights, experiences, and expertise.’  

More information
Website feedback or support