Report of the 6th National Conference

Food Safety, Animal & Pest Control Project

Page last updated: 07 July 2008

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Alan Blackman, Chris Gyemore and Dallas Einsiedel, Southern Population Health Unit Network Queensland Health

Chris Gyemore
“I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of this country again. For those of you who don’t know Dallas, Dallas used to work for the Brisbane North Population Health Unit, and is now at our Brisbane South Side Population Health Unit, which covers South Brisbane.

The area of Southern Area Population’s Health Service covers a wide area which includes:

  • Gold Coast.
  • Brisbane South.
  • West Moreton.
  • South Burnett.
  • Toowoomba.
  • Darling Downs.
  • Charleville and Roma HSDs”.

Alan Blackman
“Good afternoon everyone. Welcome to the Sixth National Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Environmental Health Conference. I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land, the Irukandjii Peoples. The slide you see there shows the areas I service - the Charleville and Roma Health Service Districts - and in particular St George and Mungindi, those that we will be focusing on.

Why Develop/Implement the Project?

Identified a need through:
  • Consultations.
  • Local Governments and other relevant services and agencies.
  • Health Workers.
  • Those employed by Queensland Health and AMSs.
  • Community members across the Southern Area Population Health Service.
  • EH issues within home environments”.

Chris Gyemore
“The point I want to make is that within the area we have to utilise health workers in the communities, because we have no EHW workforce. HWs help to advocate on behalf of us and help organise workshops, as contacts in the communities. We put a little of EH in there, as they help advocate for us as well. I know we are healthy workers and overburdened with normal work duties and responsibilities, so we don’t want to impose too much, but they can help out. They know the community as we don’t. We mainly know the service providers. Another difference, too, is that we recently had meetings in Brisbane. The thing that stands out a lot like in communities like Cherbourg is that they have these infrastructure problems. However, it is different working with Councils such as Toowoomba or Roma City, as they are non-Indigenous councils. Therefore, we have to be sensitive as to how we talk and approach them. We have to be professional. Joke with the ones you can joke with.

It takes up a lot of time but I think people generally appreciate you dropping by. Even if the councils or local governments don’t have much to do with the workshops or whatever, you need to be respectful, as you are in their community. Acknowledge that you are in their community trying to do work there.

With other communities you might have infrastructure problems. Most local governments in our area have safe drinking water and essential services taken care of, but most issues are actually in the home environments. If we are going to be promoting or educating people we need to target people in their home environments, and that is therefore harder to access. For example, in Cherbourg you can tap directly into the families through the kids at schools. In Toowoomba there might be three families in one area that don’t talk to another group, so we have to be careful when accessing the different groups without offending people - we need to be sensitive
to cultural issues and be fair to everyone.
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What/How/Where do we Deliver?

The area of Roma Health Service District are:
  • St George (1700 population) and Mungindi (500 population) (Roma HSD).
  • Many indigenous people are also located in metropolitan areas, but are hard to contact.
  • Delivered to 10-15 participants x 2 hrs (CDEP).
  • Target groups - (HWs and Community members - CDEP).
  • Rely heavily on HWs and other relevant services like in St George, linking in with the EHO. Let them know if you are in their community out of courtesy.
  • Alan and I have reached the stage of developing our own flyers and relevant information sent on to local organiser, so less work for the HWs. We try to do the flyers, contact numbers of HWs, and we can send things out to them.
  • Provide meals/light refreshments to encourage increased participation.
  • Evaluate understanding during or after information delivery.
  • With small numbers it is pretty easy to engage with – it is important to take the time to yarn and listen.

Topics/areas covered in these workshops are all very important and include:
  • Temperature and food - eg, food left out.
  • Safe food shopping – eg, labelling, expiry dates.
  • Safe food storage – eg, if bought in the shop, the need to take into account travelling time.
  • Food preparation – eg, handwashing, how you prepare food such as raw foods and vegetables.
  • Cooking and reheating food.
  • Animal and pest control”.

Dallas Einsiedel
“I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of country. When we go into the community we also talk about the danger zones regarding germs, temperatures and how to store different kinds of food. Benefits and outcomes range from being able to provide:
  • Increased EH services to communities such as running workshops.
  • Coordination and collaboration between Services.
  • Increased knowledge and awareness of EH to
- Councils.
- Health Services.
- Other relevant organisations/services and agencies.
  • Certificate of Participation/Attendance at the end of workshops as self accomplishment.
  • Take home resources as reminders/positive messages – eg, flyers, pamphlets.
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Our flyers and workshop papers that we have designed can be adapted for other communities’ use”.

Chris Gyemore
“The presentations and flyers we have designed include topics such as food storage and presentation, safe food shopping, and safe food storage. It is good environmental health information for our communities. If people understand more about EH work and what our role is, we will have more support from the community and will be more likely to advocate for EH. We are also working on developing a workshop on nutrition.
So that is our presentation. We have a resource here we use in our area which covers temperature and food, and is valuable information for health workers and services. You can deliver talks to the health teams and inform them of EH and the work we do, discuss how they can work in with us at the different levels, and community members get some benefit out of it as well”.


Q1. “When you are working in a major community do you get much involvement with local government EHOs to bridge the gap type service”?

A1. Chris Gyemore - “As we mentioned earlier, we do it on a regular basis anyway and call in and see the local government EHOs as a courtesy as well. We let them know if we are going to be there for a couple of days, and let them know what we are doing, such as workshops. They get an invite to come along as well”.

Q2. “Are they interested in coming along”?

A2. Chris Gyemore - “I think at certain times, yes. It depends on how busy they are, eg, involved in rubbish clean up”.

Q3. “I can see the possibility of EHOs with a busy schedule and lack of services to Indigenous areas; programs like this are good for them to interact with Indigenous communities.”

A3. Alan Blackman - “In Roma Health District we did find a bit of difficulty in communication between the Indigenous community and local government, but through Chris and other people this was overcome and now it is a great success, leaving personalities at the door and getting on and fixing up the community”.

Q4. “Is there a problem with education in black communities? Do they get the information and hold it”?

A4. Chris Gyemore - “That’s what it is about, especially from the home environment and with Indigenous HWs out there. Hopefully they can run with it in schools and the community after we have left. We hope they continue on with it after we have gone.

A4. Alan Blackman - “We have devised a questionnaire post- workshop, to ensure people we talk to know what we have been talking about. With CDEP it was initially difficult to get them to come along, but we have now introduced a certificate to show they have attended the workshop. It is working, and there are no complaints about it, and it definitely benefits them”.

A4. Dallas Einsiedel - “We don’t use the evaluation at the end of the sessions. We prefer to answer questions then and there, so there is an evaluation right through, so it makes it a bit more relaxed”.

For Further Information
Alan Blackman
18 Willis Street, Charleville, Qld 4470
Ph: 07 4656 8100 Email:
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