12th national Closing The Gap 

first nations Health Conference 

Mercure Sydney NSW

 21-23 June 2021

now calling for papers

round 1 EXTENDED


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.


For more information, please contact us on 0741942803 or email us at adminics@iinet.net.au


​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.



The 12th International Closing the Gap Indigenous Health Conference will be held in Sydney on the 21-23 June 2021. It is the only conference that has been continuously running since the establishment of the Closing the Gap concept and is the largest gathering of delegates from all sectors outside of Indigenous national associations. The conference is held biannually and over the past ten years has attracted thousands of attendees bringing together representatives from all states and territories governments, First Nations medical services and mainstream health sectors, community-controlled organisations, First Nations communities, allied health professionals and non-government organisations, researchers and interested individuals. The conference is hosted by Indigenous Conference Services (Australia) with great line up of First Nations speakers not only from all around Australia, but also from New Zealand and United States of America. This year's conference is a prelude to the 2022 First Nations Health Conference to be held in Hawaii USA.


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 Closing the Gap on Indigenous Health 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.   

10 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 reflect 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. 


The 2021 conference themes includes:

  • Primary health and whole of body wellness

  • First Nations women’s health

  • First Nations men’s health

  • Successful community partnerships between First Nations peoples, governments and NGO`s

  • Innovative projects which promotes leadership

  • Community/ grassroots-based initiatives towards health

  • Culture and its importance to creating better mental health for First Nations people



The conference is not politically based. Rather, it should be seen as an opportunity to access information that is not readily available. Today the world has become smaller with the invention of the internet and jet travel.  As such, we are of the belief that there is nothing more empowering and more effective than people having an opportunity to network and collaborate. The conference vision for this event is to embrace the philosophy of First Nations community controlled and mainstream service providers through promoting an informative forum of research, health education and training of staff for the betterment of Indigenous 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 create 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 nurtures optimism rather than entrench despair

Do things WITH Indigenous people, not TO Indigenous People

Even though Indigenous Australians only make up 3 percent of the population, First Nations People still make up over 20 percent 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.  For more information on the Closing the Gap Report 2018/2019, click the Closing the Gap image above or the preceding link.

Empowering Delegates

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

Reason for Attending 

  1. Address actual and current health needs to close the gap on health equality for indigenous communities  

  2. Empower self-determination of indigenous communities through collaboration and consultation 

  3. Increase indigenous workforce participation in the healthcare sector 

  4. Incorporate culture, language, and identity into healthcare delivery 

  5. Deliver successful healthcare programs in culturally accessible ways  

  6. Ensure indigenous community involvement in critical healthcare decisions 

  7. Improve health and life expectation equality for Australia's indigenous peoples 

  8. Enable collaboration amidst community elders, government and healthcare providers

Who Should Attend? 

This forum is ideal for those responsible for designing and delivering primary health care, improving the responsiveness of the health care system to indigenous needs and fostering good housing for good health from:   

  1. Government Departments and Agencies 

  2. Public and Private Healthcare Providers 

  3. Local Health Districts 

  4. Primary Health Networks 

  5. Community-Controlled and Allied Health Services 

  6. Not-for-Profit Organisations 

  7. Aboriginals Corporations and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations 

  8. Health Councils and Associations

Calling Papers

To ensure grassroots community programs are highlighted, no less than 50 percent 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 continuous success of the conference, an Indigenous working group is being established to advice on correct adherence to cultural equilibrium. If you are interested in submitting a paper please, Click here to read more



The 2021 Closing the Gap Indigenous Health Conference aims to:

  • Provide an open and frank forum for discussions

  • Lend support to individuals and groups working in the field of First Nations Health

  • Help grow a network for the sharing of information and resources in the field of First Nations Health

  • Bring together both government and non-government agencies working in First Nations Health

  • Show that poor health is no longer tolerated or acceptable in today’s society

  • To bring together organisations as a united voice in closing the gap

  • Bring together both government and non-government agencies who are working in the field of First Nations health

  • Exchange information regarding the successes of community projects 

  • Reduce incidences of poor health at all levels within the community  

  • Strategies for linking holistic policy with health interventions

  • Explore methods for improving accountability at all levels to ensure sustainable progress

  • Provides opportunity to network and meet face to face to exchange ideas, valuable information and successful programs in place in their communities.

  • Develop new partnerships


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

21 June 2021 (1st Day)

8:30am        REGISTRATION                                                Registration of Delegates        

9:00am         Welcome To County                                        Respected Elder 

9:45am         Combined Opening Keynote                         Closing the gap: Has it worked?

1030am       MORNING TEA                                                  Network with Service Providers/Exhibitors 

11:00am       Room A: Men's Keynote  Session                   State of First Nations men’s health and well being: From the community perspective

                      Room B: Women's Keynote  Session              The Strength of Indigenous Women Demanding a Future

                      Room C: Community Health Keynote            The Key to our health is our community and country (Calling for community papers)

                      Room D: Closing the Gap Keynote Session   Open to Community Programs - Call for Papers

11:45am      Room A: Men's Keynote  Session                    Working with Indigenous Men in the Community (Calling for community papers)

                      Room B: Women's Keynote  Session              Birthing in Our Community (Calling for community papers)         

                      Room C: Community Health Keynote            Closing the gap in breaking the cycle of drugs and alcohol addictions in First Nation communities

                      Room D: Family Health Keynote  Session     Open to Community Programs - Call for Papers

12:30pm      LUNCH BREAK                                                  Network with Service Providers/Exhibitors 

1:30pm         Room A: Men's Keynote  Session                   Paternal Health only we can do it - Social determinants of men's health (Calling for papers) 

                      Room B: Women's Keynote  Session             Maternal Health only we can do it - Social determinants of women's health (Calling for papers) 

                      Room C: Community Health Keynote            Cultural Appropriateness of a Mainstream Service (Calling for community papers) 

                      Room D: Closing the Gap Keynote  Session  Open to Community Programs - Call for Papers

2:15pm         Room A: Men's Keynote  Session                   Indigenous Men’s Education: Improving Indigenous Men's Career Prospects & Self-Esteem

                      Room B: Women's Keynote  Session             Social and Emotional Well being - Key Issues Facing First Nations women

                      Room C: Community Health Keynote            Inspiring our healing with our culture (Calling for community papers) 

                      Room D: Family Health Keynote  Session     Open to Community Programs - Call for Papers

3:00pm         AFTERNOON TEA                                            Network with Service Providers/Exhibitors 

3:30pm         Combined Keynote                                          Domestic violence: The impact on our families and communities

4:15pm         Combined Keynote                                          The Power of One: Strength Through Unity - It Is The Future



22 June 2021 (2nd Day)

8:30am        REGISTRATION                                                 Registration of Delegates

9:00am         Keynote (Blackfeet First Nations Speaker)   Exploring Best Practices For Indigenous Youth Suicide Prevention    

9:45am         Keynote (Maori First Nations Speaker)         New approach in New Zealand towards Methamphetamine Use and Depression

10:30am      MORNING TEA                                                  Network with Service Providers/Exhibitors 

11:00am       Room A: Men's Keynote  Session                   Our Mob, Our Community - Uniting Men's Voices (Calling for community papers)

                      Room B: Women's Keynote  Session              Young women’s health the backbone to our future (Calling for community papers)

                      Room C: Community Health Keynote            Community control is controlling our health future  (Calling for community papers) 

                      Room D: Closing the Gap Keynote  Session  Open to Community Programs - Call for Papers

 11:45am      Room A: Men's Keynote  Session                   Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Men's Mental Health Program

                      Room B: Women's Keynote  Session              Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women's Mental Health Program

                      Room C: Community Health Keynote            Partnering with agencies gives us strength

                      Room D: Closing the Gap Keynote  Session  Open to Community Programs - Call for Papers

12:30pm       LUNCH BREAK                                                 Network with Service Providers/Exhibitors 

1:30pm         Room A: Men's Keynote  Session                   Yarning with Our Elder, Empowering Indigenous Men (Calling for community papers)

                      Room B: Women's Keynote  Session             Yarning with Our Elder, Empowering Indigenous Women (Calling for community papers)

                      Room C:  Community Health Keynote           Deadly Choices Health Promotion Program (Calling for community papers)

                      Room D: Closing the Gap Keynote  Session  Open to Community Programs - Call for Papers

2:15pm         Room A: Men's Keynote  Session                   Working with Indigenous Men in the Community (Calling for community papers)

                      Room B: Women's Keynote  Session              Aboriginal women caring for Aboriginal women (Calling for community papers)

                      Room C: Community Health Keynote            Healing Power of Culture: Culturally Responsive Programs (Calling for community papers)

                      Room D: Closing the Gap Keynote  Session  Open to Community Programs - Call for Papers

3:00pm         AFTERNOON TEA                                             Network with Service Providers/Exhibitors 

3:30pm         Combined Keynote                                           Chronic Diseases Management in Indigenous Health

4:15pm         INTERACTIVE PANEL (YARNING CIRCLE)        Elders, Guest Speakers & All Delegates



23 June 2021​

For 2021, we offer new and exciting innovation for our conferences. Day 3 is devoted to 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 Three is optional so please make sure you complete your registration form with the masterclass included if you intend to attend. 


CONFERENCE MASTERCLASS (INTERNATIONAL PRESENTER)- The Gatekeeper Cultures and Spirituality - Interventionist to Suicide


​Worrying about how your team, family and community effectively assist and manage clients experiencing intergenerational trauma? Indigenous peoples around the world endured several generations of trauma and other neurological effects and compromised behavioural immunity which leads to behavioural indicators such as substance-abuse and suicide.  Our current generation is impacted by structural violence, poverty, racism, governmental neglect and ongoing hostilities, and unfortunately our mob have learned our lessons in traumatiSation as well where in many situations, we have internalized the trauma imposed on ourselves and turned onto our own families, communities, and selves.   


This workshop will teach you:

  • The strong benefits of recapturing and revitalizing our languages, cultures and spirituality

  • How to become an interventionist to suicide in your communities

  • Understand and utilise trauma-informed care to heal ourselves, our clients, and our communities.


  • Strategies in managing clients and families affected by inter-generational trauma and break the cycle of suicide in our communities.

  • In Just One Day You Can Learn Strategies how to become an interventionist to suicide and work effectively with your clients who are experiencing inter-generational trauma and their families.


Dr. Joseph B. Stone, PhD, an Anasaki-pikuni ceremonialist and traditionalist and member of the OKKAN (Sundance), the Last Star Thunder Medicine Pipe and Beaver Lodge.  He is a clinical psychologist and with his associate. Dr. Stone works at Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga – a Kaupapa Maori Health Provider; Awhina Whanu Family Services, and the Napier Family Centre all located in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.  He has clinical experience with adult prisoners and corrections and juvenile justice in both New Zealand and USA.  He is affiliated with the National Center on Trauma and Project Making Medicine – Indian Health Service Assessment and Treatment of Child Abuse at Oklahoma State University. He has presented too and served as consultant to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs of Native Youth Suicide.  Dr. Stone’s publications include articles on trauma, suicide, and other cultural / behavioural issues. 


This Masterclass is strictly limited to 30 people only. Cost is $330 per person.

Call or email us to register for this workshop or CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

speakers information- Click Here



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 adminics@iinet.net.au 



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 CD with all papers & presentations presented at the conference.


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

When:   21- 23 June 2021

Where: Mercure Sydney, New South Wales

Time:     9.00am – 5.00pm

Conference Networking Dinner 21 June 2021


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


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 booking 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:  adminics@iinet.net.au


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


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


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


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


Another prohibitive factors 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 41942803

 Email.     adminics@iinet.net.au to request a quote


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.

To book your accommodation and avail yourself of the special delegate discount rates, please note that included in your registration is 3 nights 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 stay outside 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 conference secretariat to make payment this is so your accommodation is locked in.



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 invite 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  https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-finder/visit#



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:  adminics@iinet.net.au


contact us


Indigenous Conference Services (Australia)

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

Web: www.icsconferences.org 

Email:  adminics@iinet.net.au

Phone: 07 4194 2803, +61 4557 76 668



Please note this website is continually being updated.

Having issues finding what you are looking for, email adminics@iinet.net.au.