Report of the 6th National Conference

Introduction from enHealth

Page last updated: 07 July 2008

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Environmental Health Committee (enHealth) of the Australian Health Protection Committee acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the country visited by conference delegates, and takes great pleasure in presenting the proceedings of the 6th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Environmental Health Conference. The conference was kindly hosted by Queensland Health on behalf of the WGATSIEH at the Cairns Convention Centre in May 2007.

By holding National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Environmental Health Conferences, enHealth and WGATSIEH aim to raise the profile of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander environmental health, and to provide a forum for discussion of priority Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander environmental health issues.

As in the past, this year’s conference is built upon the achievements of the previous five conferences by reflecting on areas where improvements have been made and by examining those in which there is still work to be done. The Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision titled, Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators 2007, confirms our understanding that poor environmental health conditions contribute to poor health outcomes within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. Effective environmental health systems are listed as a strategic area for action in the report, which covers some of the key environmental influences on health, which potentially have a significant impact in reducing Indigenous disadvantage and its suitability for policy action.

While it is important to realise that it will take some time before improvements in environmental health lead to improved health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, the WGATSIEH will continue to support and provide advice on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander environmental health policies and associated environmental health issues through a range of activities, including the release of these proceedings.

I would like to acknowledge, on behalf of enHealth, the significant effort of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Environmental Health Conference Organising Group in expertly guiding the organisation of this successful event. I would also like to thank the presenters for contributing to such an exciting program and the sponsors and supporters, without whose assistance this conference would not have been possible.

Dr Roscoe Taylor
Chair, Environmental Health Committee (enHealth)

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