The association will provide advocacy, mentoring and support for indigenous health workers and will provide information through a new website at www.natsihwa.org.au.
It will be governed by board members elected from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers across Australia through state and territory processes, with an inaugural annual general meeting to be held in mid-2010. An interim board is currently operating from Canberra.
Minister for Indigenous Health Warren Snowdon said that the Government is providing $1.2 million over three years to establish the association.
“The nation’s 1,600 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers are a key part of the health workforce,’ Minister Snowdon said.
“They provide front line services in urban, rural and remote Indigenous communities, promote health awareness, set an example for their communities and help bridge cultural gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.”
Minister Snowdon said that the association will help build workforce capacity by bringing together Indigenous health workers and providing them with a strong professional voice.
Until now the Northern Territory has been the only jurisdiction with a registration board for clinical health workers.
“The association will look at national registration and accreditation strategies for the next two years, and help establish upskilling and training support to ensure there’s consistency nationally,” Minister Snowdon said.
Third Sector acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands where we live, learn and work. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.