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national Indigenous Wellness

Aunty Cheri Memorial Healing Conference 

rescheduled to DECEMBER 14-16, 2022


now calling for papers

round 1 open


ICS is committed to delivering you a conference experience of the highest quality and holds the health & safety of all attendees in the utmost regard.


We will be progressing with our conference in a face to face manner as planned. Throughout the event, we will be strictly adhering to all measures of social distancing regulations, and health & safety precautions to create a safe environment to connect, learn and network under the industry-approved COVID-19 Safe Plan. 


For more information, please contact us on 0741942803 or email us at


​In Australia, the protocol is to recognise the Traditional Owners of the land to which we are gathering. Therefore, all presentations must begin with an acknowledgement to country and to local Traditional Elders: “We wish to acknowledge and respect the traditional custodians whose ancestral lands we are to meet upon. We acknowledge the deep feelings of attachment and relationship of Aboriginal peoples to Country. We also pay respects to the cultural authority of Aboriginal peoples visiting/attending from other areas of Australia who are present here”.


Indigenous Conference Services acknowledges and pay our respect to the Traditional people of the Country. "Welcome to Country" ceremony and "acknowledging the traditional custodians" of the land shows respect for Aboriginal people as Australia's First Peoples. Ceremonies and protocols are a fundamental part of Aboriginal culture.



2022 Indigenous Wellness Aunty Cheri Memorial Healing Conference  will be held at Hilton Hotel in Cairns QLD on the 14th-16th December 2022. This gathering is designed to inspire and enable Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander peoples, services and other partners to take control, step up and take action to the next level and showcase the First Nations perspectives in achieving wellness of the body, mind and spirit.  The event is based upon the principal belief that Indigenous health must be approached from a holistic view, which encompasses body, mind and spirit; thus, leading to the fundamental rights of self-determination. The conference recognises that treating our health must be done by treating the whole person, through mind, body, soul and culture. No matter what your culture is. If you are a First Nations person, statistics show that health, education and the justice system is monstrously weighted against First Nations People.  The 2018/2019 Closing the Gap Report further highlights how wide the gap is. In today’s society, Indigenous people have a varied lifestyle, ranging from inner-city living to isolated communities. Therefore, there is no set approach to dealing with health issues, as you have to look at the environment that you live in and, more importantly, the agencies that are available to assist. The conference is designed to bring together both government and non-government agencies who are working in the Indigenous health sector, therefore focusing on Closing the Gap and strengthening the life expectancy of First Nations people to equal that of non-Indigenous people. ​In Australia, the most successful initiatives in First Nations Health are the Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS) and now the partnerships between government and communities. The first Aboriginal community-controlled health service was established in New South Wales and has been operational for the past forty (40) years.  Today, there are over 120 AMS and countless numbers of Primary Health Care Posts in First Nations communities in Australia. 

The conference is a platform uniting indigenous communities, policymakers and healthcare providers to drive health equality and establish an environment in which Australia’s Indigenous population can thrive.   Ten years have passed and over $100 billion has been spent since the federal government released its initial Closing the Gap report in 2006, committed to specific targets for reducing inequalities across Australia’s indigenous populations. To date, only two of the original seven targets to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander livelihood have been met and neither of these reflects key health indicators. Today the reality is that the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations has increased and reverse progress has been made towards improving health and life expectation equality for Australia's Indigenous peoples.


This year's conference has three main themes: Being Active, Eating Healthy & Nurturing the Spirit.​


Being active through Aboriginal Sports, Recreation, and Physical Activity to improve health outcomes through sport, recreation and physical activity, create community social and physical environments that are supportive of regular physical activity; and to increase knowledge and develop personal skills to enable First Nations to adopt and sustain healthy, active lifestyles. 

Eating Healthy to achieve good nutrition, the foundation of maintaining good health with emphasis on Mindful Eating, Traditional food has been a source of sustenance and healing for communities for centuries, not just from a physical sense but also from an emotional, mental and spiritual perspective. Many communities affirm that without access to traditional foods, many cultural and traditional practices, including medicinal practices, would be lost. In addition to its cultural significance, traditional food represents an importance source of sustenance for First Nations Peoples. Many First Nations Peoples rely on traditional food (fishing, hunting and gathering) as a primary food source.  

Nurturing spirit to provide a space for spirituality; drumming, dancing; connecting with ancestors, mother nature, or great spirit; taking time for self to decompress or manage stress such as yoga, mediation, learning a new hobby; as well as honouring self by bringing balance into life and having self responsibility. Nurturing our spirit builds your self-esteem, self-confidence and allows you to be connected to others, mother nature and yourself. Nurturing your spirit supports your mental, emotional and physical aspects of your being. Even though your spirit is fundamental in your wellness it is often overlooked or not supported when discussing your health. A huge component of taking a First Nations perspective on health is taking a holistic view of health including the spiritual and emotional aspects to the physical and mental aspects, which are traditional looked at in the medical system. This holistic view includes a 'healthy mind, body, and spirit'.



The conference philosophy is based upon an approach of “Prevention is better than Cure” which require collaborative partnership between all stakeholders, working together to support First Nations communities in addressing Indigenous Women's Health and wellbeing issues to close the gap. ​The foundation of the conference is to share and discuss positive models of change and initiatives. The event is structured in such a way as to develop a wider methodology towards preventative programs that are culturally appropriate and therefore more likely to succeed. This conference is devoted to highlighting successful women's health programs rolled out in our communities and families today. Hence, the event has been developed with the belief that it is time to promote the positives and successes in Indigenous women's programs whilst still recognising that we still have a long way to go to close the gap in Indigenous Women's Health.



The Prime Minister Scott Morrison tabled the Closing the Gap report 2019/2020. which clearly highlighted that the Closing the Gap campaign is only making small in-roads into the gap between Indigenous people and the wider community in regard to health issues and has still got a long way to go. Some of the points highlighted were;


​To engage in partnerships with mutual respect

In 8 years, there’s been mixed results

We still have an Indigenous life expectancy around 10 years less than mainstream Australians

The past decade has seen a 70 percent increase in Indigenous students undertaking Higher Education

Employment targets not met

Many Indigenous Health Targets were falling short off the mark


The Federal Government has made a commitment to creating more opportunities for Indigenous Australians to;

Celebrate those successes

Recognise “Healing Takes Time”

Acknowledge, embrace, celebrate the humanity of Indigenous people

Bring to the table policies and approaches that nurture optimism rather than entrench despair

Do things WITH Indigenous people, not TO Indigenous People

Even though Indigenous Australians only make up 3 per cent of the population, First Nations People still make up over 20 per cent of the prison population and that number is still increasing


The Prime Minister has committed himself and the government to work with Indigenous Australians, not just in delivering programs but listening to First Nations People in developing partnerships with Indigenous Communities. The Prime Minister stated the government must be innovative in creating effective solutions in partnership with First Nations Communities. The Prime Minister has taken the stance and announced that Closing the Gap must be more than another government policy.   

Empowering Delegates

Indigenous peoples, nationally and internationally, will come together in an environment that can lead to the sharing of information via their cultural and historical values. The conference is designed as an educational tool to develop networking opportunities and information sharing to the wider community on Indigenous women’s issues. The event will focus on Indigenous women’s health and wellbeing through the encouragement of strong leadership, empowerment and self-determination within our communities. Throughout the two days, we will be facilitating small group discussions with empowering and inspirational guest speakers. The conference emphasizes on the positives of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander resilience and determination to strive for a better tomorrow without the constraints of negative stereotyping which is more prevalent due to social media and bad media coverage. Today as Indigenous women, we are making great strides to improve both ourselves and our communities. This event guarantees the opportunity to enlarge your network and information base, thus empowering all delegates to make greater informed decisions within their professional and extended communitiesClick here to read more

Calling Papers

To ensure grassroots community programs are highlighted, no less than 50 per cent of the conference proceedings are and is devoted to community groups. If your paper is selected, you may have more than one presenter to present your paper. However, only two presenters will be entitled to the registration discount. If you are chosen to present at the conference, your paper will form part of the conference proceedings and be distributed at the conclusion of the event with all other presentations. To further ensure the continued success of the conference, an Indigenous working group is being established to advise on correct adherence to cultural equilibrium. If you are interested in submitting a paper please,  Click here to read more 


2022 Indigenous Wellness Aunty Cheri Memorial Healing Conference objectives are designed to empower and stimulate discussion in a positive manner that can and may be used back in our work environment to further develop strength unity and education. One of the most powerful objectives that Indigenous peoples have is the strength to overcome adversity through the power of sharing knowledge and therefore the conference will attempt to foster all of the issues set out in this conference.

  •      To create a platform for open and frank discussion relevant to Indigenous People's social, emotional, physical, mental and environmental wellbeing

  •      Highlight successful community programs and projects  

  •      Bring together Indigenous peoples to share their stories of empowerment, experiences and excellent outcomes of Indigenous programs

  •      Bring together workers, researchers, service providers, government agencies, policymakers/ developers and organizations

  •      Outlining the priority area and enablers for better Indigenous people’s performance both at work and in the community

  •      Demonstrate the value of the investment in Indigenous wellness programs

  •      Networking and lend support to individuals and groups working in the field of Indigenous health

  •      Exchange information regarding the successes of community project

  •      Explore methods for improving accountability at all levels to sustain progress 



(This draft agenda may change without prior notice and published only to guide those submitting papers. Final agenda will  be published closer to date.)



8:30 AM      REGISTRATION & Master of Ceremony Announcements

9:00 AM      Welcome to Country 

9:15 AM      Traditional Cultural Performance 

9:45 AM      Formal Opening Keynote - Understanding Indigenous Perspective on Health and Wellness

10:30 AM   MORNING BREAK ~ Network with exhibitors and service providers

11:00 AM    Keynote Session  - The Importance of Mental, Emotional, Spiritual and Physical facets of a healthy, well, and balanced life.                              

11:45 AM    Keynote Session -  Planning Your Journey To Wellness  (Calling for community papers)     


12:30 PM   LUNCH BREAK ~ Network with exhibitors and service providers   

1:30 PM      Concurrent Session A: Maintaining a healthy weight (Calling for papers) 

                    Concurrent Session B: Hope health healing - shared understanding of a holistic vision of wellness (Calling for papers) 

2:15 PM      Concurrent Session A: Social and Emotional Wellbeing - Key Issues Facing First Nations Peoples

                    Concurrent Session B: Social, Cultural, Economic and Environmental determinants of our health and well-being

3:00 PM      AFTERNOON TEA ~ Networking with Exhibitors & Service Providers

3:30 PM      Keynote Session -     Respect, Wisdom, Responsibility, and Relationships - Overarching values that support and uphold wellness

4:15 PM      Keynote Session -    The Power of One: Strength Through Unity  

6:30 PM      Conference Networking Dinner




8:30 AM     SIGN-IN & Master of Ceremony Announcements

9:00AM       Keynote Session: One Heart, One Mind - Strong children, families, elders, and people in communities

9:45AM       Keynote Session: The importance of self-care to good health in the COVID-19 pandemic era

10:30 AM   MORNING BREAK ~ Network with exhibitors and service providers

11:00AM    Concurrent Session A:  Keeping A  Healthy Mind, Body, and Spirit

                    Concurrent Session B:  Getting It Together (for our mob)

11:45AM    Concurrent Session A:  Empowering Others Through Empowering Myself

                    Concurrent Session B:  Mindful Eating & Nutrition: The foundation of maintaining good health

12:30 PM   LUNCH BREAK ~ Network with exhibitors and service providers   

1:30 PM      Keynote Session - Empowered Families, Empowered Lives

2:15 PM      Keynote Session - Building Compassionate Communities: Nurturing our spirit

3:00 PM      AFTERNOON TEA ~ Networking with Exhibitors & Service Providers

3:30 PM      Keynote Session -  Improve Health Outcomes  through Aboriginal Sports, Recreation, and Physical Activity

4:15 PM      YARNING PANEL by Elders, Guest Speakers & All Delegates




For 2022, we offer new and exciting innovation for our conferences. Day 1 is devoted to a professional development workshop or masterclass. As such, we have introduced several exciting networking and professional development innovations which is an extra cost for your chosen masterclass. Day 1 is optional so please make sure you complete your registration form with the masterclass included if you intend to attend. 



The Healing Circle Work masterclass addresses emotional challenges and barriers faced by people who have had traumatic experiences. Healing Circle Work is not a therapeutic program, but therapeutic outcomes are experienced. As participants, you will learn to live life in the moment recognising and understanding your own spirituality, and gaining the ability to enter the moment to reaffirm yourselves. 

This workshop will teach you to learn to appreciate and be accountable for your highest good, and the highest good of others around you.  Healing Circle Work is provided in group sessions, and is suitable for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants over 18 years of age. Reserve your place now and

let us unlock this ancient Aboriginal wisdom and knowledge shared with all peoples.

                                                          Healing Circle Works is strictly limited to 10-12 people only. Cost is $350 per person.




Speakers Information - To Be updated as soon as call for papers is closed 

This year's Indigenous Wellness Conference is blessed with a kaleidoscope of First Nations guest speakers, sharing stories, successes and challenges they’ve overcome, presenting great opportunities and inspiration for delegates to participate in an event that is devoted to the sharing of Culture, Empowerment, Education & Networking. Drawn from a variety of cultural backgrounds, professional careers and grass-roots community commitments, this year’s conference speakers are the difference between an ordinary and extraordinary event; one that is soon forgotten and one which lingers in attendees' memories, a source of tremendous benefit long after the conference is over.


Register early to get a discount! Please note that registrations are set out in an affordable way for organisations, which changes on a monthly basis. Hence the earlier you register, the more savings for your organisation. Registration fees include all day access to the event, available conference papers, daily lunch and refreshments for registered delegates only. Fees do not include travel costs or accommodation. Registration fees must be received within 7 DAYS of from being issued an invoice. Otherwise, bookings will not be considered.  To register, please click on the registration button and complete the form or you can also request a conference brochure and the registration form to be sent to you by email at  



As an employee, we are asked to present valid reasons why we should attend. Listed below are valid points that can be raised with your employer to justify your attendance.


  • Staff attending conferences regularly tends to become long term employees

  • An event such as this adds to the positive morale of staff

  • Conferences are a great way of providing ongoing training

  • Provides the opportunity to further enhance the organisation knowledge base

  • The opportunity for saving organisations money because of the shortness of the event

  • Allows delegates to showcase the organisation nationally and internationally

  • May provide organisations with new ideas

  • Gives organisations a showcase and voice at a national level

  • Provide an opportunity to evaluate various programs

  • Because this event is conducted over a short period, staff are only absent for a minimal number of days


We wish to invite Indigenous and non-Indigenous worker from Australia and throughout to attend the conference to share and gather information. We also extend an invitation to participants to join us at the conference dinner in a relaxed atmosphere.


To ensure that delegates attend and participate, it is important to note that to show accountability of delegates in meeting their obligation, each delegate will receive a Certificate of Attendance only when they attend 85% of all the conference sessions. In addition, delegates will receive a copy of all papers & presentations presented at the conference.


Who:     Individuals, Groups, NGO’s, Government Agencies & Others

When:   December 14-16, 2022

Where: Hilton Hotel Cairns QUEENSLAND

Time:     9.00am – 5.00pm


WARNING: Limited availability. Please register online or contact us via email, should you have any further queries.


• Indigenous Health Workers

• Health workers and professionals

• Indigenous professional bodies and other organisations

• Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services

• Indigenous Community Participation Officers

• Health workers and professionals

• Indigenous Men's & Women’s Groups

• Community Elders/Leaders

• Community Workers

• Social Workers

• Psychiatrists

• Police Officers 

• Education and Training bodies and organisations

• Researchers

• Policymakers

• Law enforcement workers

• Community representatives

• Government – Local, State/Territory and Commonwealth

• Students 

The host city & the venue

The Hilton Cairns is deemed as the waterfront retreat near the Great Barrier Reef. Set amid tropical greenery on Cairns’                                                                waterfront, the hotel is a gateway to  the Great Barrier Reef. The Reef Terminal, where the majority of trips depart, is just                                                            400 meters from the hotel. It is also within 22 kilometers to reach the Crystal Cascades and Cairns Botanic Gardens. We                                                              have a lagoon-style outdoor pool and treatments in our spa.The Hilton Hotel and Cairns is on the lands of the                                                                                Mandingalbay Yidinji peoples who are the Traditional Owners of both land  and sea Country and have been living on the                                                            edge of the Great Barrier Reef amongst the Wet Tropics World Heritage rainforest for thousands of years.


One of the prohibitive factors in attending a conference is the airfare component. Our company strives in making our event a lesser burden on the individual or organisation by negotiating competitive and affordable travel packages. All of our bookings is made through First Nations Travel, a new 100% indigenous owned travel agency for stress-free and corporate travel bookings. Please phone us on +61 4557 76 668 or send us your expression of interest by email:



The event secretary has come up with some great ideas on how to save money for you and your organisation.


​ACCOMMODATION: We have negotiated a special room rate for delegates at the venue, please click this link to avail yourself of the special discount


TRAVEL: We have engaged First Nations Travel Agency to negotiate with all the relevant airlines for discounted airfare & hotel rates.


CONCESSION: A special registration rate for university students is being offered for a flat rate of $650


Another prohibitive factor in attending a conference is the hotel component. Our company strives in making our event a lesser burden on the individual or organisation by negotiating competitive and affordable travel packages. Indigenous Conference Services (Australia) also recognises that some NGO’s or other agencies will need to seek additional funding to attend, therefore First Nations Travel Agency quotation can be made out to either pay ASAP or to consider the time that is required to obtain funding. For the best possible airfares and seat availability, please confirm your attendance ASAP.



Contact:  Phone 07 40009111

 Email. to request a quote 

A further advantage to using First Nations Travel Agency for your airfares is that if something goes wrong, you have greater access to your travel agent if required. Our company strives in making our event a lesser burden on the individual or organisation by negotiating competitive and affordable travel packages.

Book your 'All-Inclusive Delegate Conference Package' with FNTA and avail yourself of the special delegate discount rates! Please note that included in your registration is 3 nights accommodation on a twin or double room. Indigenous Conference Services has negotiated special rates for delegates and speakers attending the conference, when you complete your registration form you will see a sector highlighted accommodation need. It is possible to book your stay external to the venue however this may lead to a higher cost to your organisation. Please note that when registering, you have 7 days from the issue of the invoice to make a payment. This is so your accommodation is locked in. To include your return flights bookings in the package, please let us know.



please follow travel advisory from Australian embassy near you

If you are an international guest or speaker, please note that citizens of some countries require visas before entering Australia. To obtain an Australian Visa, you may require a letter of invitation from the conference secretariat.  To obtain the letter of invitation, the guest must have registered for the conference and paid the required conference cost. This is refundable if visas are not approved, you should allow a minimum of 60 days for visa processing at the nearest Australian Embassy.  Please note, processing visa documents in some countries may take longer, depending on your country of origin. Visas can be obtained online from the Australian Federal Government's Department of Home Affairs website at this link



ICS Conferences have developed flexible sponsorship packages to sponsor the conference either in part or in full. Sponsorship is a great way of promoting your organisation/ company/ department to all delegates attending the conference. Sponsorship opportunities are only open to businesses and private enterprise, not individuals. Indigenous Conference Services (Australia) will be of further assistance in tailoring your sponsorship arrangement. Please phone us on +61 4557 76 668 or send us your expression of interest by email:


contact us


Indigenous Conference Services (Australia)

Postal Address: 8 Kiwi Court, Pt Vernon QLD 4655 Australia



Phone: 07 40009111, +61 4557 76 668



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