Mainstreaming the agenda: Indigenous environmental health at a crossroads

Stephenson, Peter (2002) Mainstreaming the agenda: Indigenous environmental health at a crossroads. Environmental Health. The Journal of the Australian Institute of Environmental Health , 2 (3). pp. 53-65.

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A first national consultation of stakeholders in Indigenous environmental health was held in Alice Springs, in 1997, with the aim of developing an Indigenous response to the then emerging National Environmental Health Strategy. The findings of this round of consultations became part of a developing data bank on Indigenous environmental health, on which the writers of the first draft strategy would draw. However for improvements in the health and well-being of Indigenous populations to be felt in the communities, much less sustained, this kind of policy support needed to deliver multi-layered and integrated action.

Rather than leaving this task to established Indigenous agencies, the National enHealth Council responded with a strong Implementation Plan, one that has a funding allocation in the Federal Budget to address environmental health justice issues for the first time in history.

This paper takes a broad look at the development of an Indigenous environmental health workforce in Australia since that time. It identifies a range of programs and initiatives that, like the National Environmental Health Strategy, have embedded Indigenous environmental health into mainstream policy and practice. On the other hand it highlights some cases where this challenge is yet to be clearly understood and adequately addressed, and it argues for the continuing need for all quarters (local, State, National government, the profession and educational institutions) to remain focused on the task, or risk leaving its committed practitioner base and advocates to flounder on the margins, prone to the ravages of burnout and marginalisation.

Item Type: Article
Field of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111701 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111705 Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2013 13:13
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2013 13:13

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