THE NATIONAL indigenous 


Cairns qld

, 2021

now calling for papers

round 1 open


​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 National Indigenous Chronic Diseases Conference had been relocated to the Seaworld Resort  in the Gold Coast, Queensland. 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 a great line up of First Nations speakers from all throughout Australia in partnership with grassroots community organisations. The conference will provide insights into the successes of Indigenous organisations and health care professionals, focusing on solutions to First Nation’s peoples with chronic diseases and highlights the successes of chronic disease policies and management programs implemented in Indigenous communities.


The conference will highlight many of the achievements gained against chronic disease issues and the battle to stem the ongoing diseases within First Nations communities. The three days event will present a unique opportunity to share experiences, challenges and successes in this battle. In many cases, we do not need to re-invent the wheel when the answers to our challenges are maybe in the next town, state, nationally and even internationally.

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 2019/2020 Indigenous Chronic Disease Health 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 Indigenous Chronic Disease Health 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 theme includes:

  • Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, cancers, liver disease and other chronic illnesses affecting Indigenous communities

  • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander health care coordination

  • End of life care

  • Place-based initiatives

  • Primary health network initiatives

  • Building capacities for improving health outcomes with a focus on contemporary health initiatives, health policy, researchers, model of care

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health leadership, workforce sector development, e-health, tools/applications and resources.

The conference theme is based upon an approach of “Prevention is better than Cure” which require a collaborative partnership between all stakeholders, working together to support First Nations communities in addressing all forms of chronic disease. ​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 showing the positives in addressing chronic diseases in our communities and families. Hence, the event has been developed with the belief that it is time to promote the positives and successes in chronic disease programs whilst still recognising that we still have a long way to go.


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 outline of close the gap report


​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 per cent increase in Indigenous students undertaking Higher Education

  • Employment targets not met

  • Many Indigenous Health Targets were falling short of 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




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 communities. Furthermore, it has been proven time and time again that events such as this empower and reinvigorate workers with new ideas and enthusiasm, with a greater feeling of support and new contacts that may be utilised for the betterment of their own local community. Whether you are an allied health professional, Indigenous health worker, medical professional or in an administrative clerical role within the organisation, this conference will provide excellent opportunities to gain and share information that will be of use to you and your organisation back in your community.  The opportunities that this Conference provides to people involved in First Nations Health is the sharing of knowledge and development of long-term friendships/partnerships.  This conference is designed from an Indigenous perspective, in which we all lend support to each other regardless of our employers. With all this in mind, we invite you to actively participate in the upcoming event.



The most powerful mechanism that First Nations people 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. 

  • This conference aims to improve the cultural competence of the Indigenous health workforce with a greater focus on culture within health care education.

  • Responsible partnerships combined with strong community leadership and advocacy will optimise access, quality and sustainability of culturally safe and appropriate health services to address chronic conditions.

  • Facilitate and engage with First Nations with respect to the sharing of information

  • Contribute to identify community health needs and develop and implement local responses and services

  • Provide an open and frank platform for discussion

  • Support First Nations communities health professionals and peak bodies through further networking

  • Highlight the positives of work being achieved at all levels with respect to the many different chronic disease programs and issues

  • To paint a positive approach to the management of chronic diseases

  • Provide a stimulus for networking in co-operation/partnerships from individuals, community level through to government authorities.

  • Portraying the different various lifestyles from inner-city to isolated communities

  • Sharing of information in regards to agencies, individuals and programs that may assist in overcoming chronic disease issues

  • Bringing together both government and non-government agencies who are working in the field of Indigenous chronic diseases, focusing on Closing the Gap and strengthening the life expectancy of First Nations peoples to equal that of non-indigenous people.

  • Highlight unique issues that relate specifically to First Nations communities in relation to their environment and socio-economic status.



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. To submit a paper, Click here for the guidelines



(This agenda may change without prior notice to ensure a smooth flow of the conference proceedings on the day of the event.)


MAY 9, 2022 (1st Day)

8:30am            REGISTRATION ~ Network with Other Delegates, Speakers and Service Providers/Exhibitors                                          

9:00am            Welcome To Country by Traditional Elder from the community 

9:15am            Opening Keynote:  Implementing the National Agreement on Closing the gap

9:45am            Keynote Session: Heart Yarns by Mark Trebley, Aboriginal Cardiac Community Educator @NSW Ambulance 

10:30am          MORNING TEA ~ Network with Other Delegates, Speakers and Service Providers/Exhibitors 

11:00am          Keynote Session: Cultural Responsiveness and Cultural Healing in Communities by Uncle Ara Harathunian, Managing Director @Kultchafi

11:45am          Keynote Session: Barriers and enablers to attending hospital appointments - Informing a new one-stop service for Aboriginal and Torres

                          Strait Islander patients by Tanya Druce, Manager Aboriginal Health, Policy & Planning @Wilim Berrbang Western Health         

12:30pm          LUNCH BREAK ~ Network with Other Delegates, Speakers and Service Providers/Exhibitors 

1:30pm            Concurrent Session Room A: Addressing Out of Home Care for First Nations Peoples' Wellbeing by Harry Callaghan, Cultural Wellbeing

                         Clinician @Creating Links

                         Concurrent Session Room B:  Innovative Approaches to the Nexus of Justice, Mothering, and Child Protection in Western NSW by Shiree

                         Talbot, Program Manager Beyond Barbed Wire Prison Parenting Program @Barnardos Australia                            

2:15pm           Concurrent Session Room A: Exploring the Early Use of Aspirin As Prophylaxis for Prevention of Preeclampsia in a Rural Aboriginal 

                         Community by Dr. Jerry Abraham Alex,  Service Registrar Obstetrics and Gynaecology @King Edward Memorial Hospital
                         Concurrent Session Room B:  Reasons for Presentation to Oral Health Centres Among Indigenous Australian Patients: A Review of the

                         Literature by Dr. Neeraj Vyas, Oral Surgery Registrar @Nepean Centre for Oral Health, University of Sydney



3:00pm           AFTERNOON TEA ~ Network with Other Delegates, Speakers and Service Providers/Exhibitors  

3:30pm            Keynote Session: Lexo’s Rock The Block - Closing the gap the community way by Kevin Heath, Male Aboriginal Health Promotion Officer

                         @South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD) HIV and Related Program (HARP) Unit 

4:15pm           Keynote Session: Dead Or Deadly - Aboriginal Women’s Health & Wellbeing Program by Hayley Longbottom, Health and Wellbeing Manager

                         & Cleonie Wellington, Executive Manager @Waminda South Coast Women's Health And Welfare Aboriginal Corporation


MAY 10, 2022 (2nd Day)

8:30am            REGISTRATION ~ Network with Other Delegates, Speakers and Service Providers/Exhibitors                                                   

9:00am            Keynote Session:    National Men’s Health Strategy 2020-2030  by Glen Poole, CEO @ The Australian Men’s Health Forum

9:45am            Keynote Session:    Maari Ma Health's successes and challenges faced in the COVID-19 vaccines roll-out in remote Indigenous communities

                         by Robert Bob Davis, CEO @Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation

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

11:00am          Concurrent Session Room A: AKction: Aboriginal Kidney Care Together – Improving Outcomes Now by Kelli Owen, National Community

                          Engagement Coordinator @ National Indigenous Kidney Transplantation Taskforce

                         Concurrent Session Room B: Anti-Racism Program South Eastern Sydney LHD by Tim Croft, Manager Aboriginal Health Unit SESLHD

                         South Eastern Sydney Local Health District 

 11:45am         Concurrent Session Room A: A First Nations Cultural Care Practice Framework for Decolonising Health and Human Services by Dr Mark

                          J Lock, Ngiyampaa Academic, Team Leader Aboriginal Portfolio  Co-Leader, First Nations Research Team @ Committix Pty Ltd

                         Concurrent Session Room B: Antimicrobial Stewardship in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Populations by Kristin Xenos, Senior Project

                         Officer @Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care 


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

1:30pm            Concurrent Session Room A:   From a seed of an idea: Tresillian2U mobile van - bringing child and family support to community by

                         Deborah Stockton, Director Clinical Service Integration and Aunty Delya Smith, Aboriginal Health Worker @Tresillian2U 

                         Concurrent Session Room B:  There Is Always Only One Truth by Wendy Francis, Director Centre For Human Dignity @ Australian Christian


2:15pm            Concurrent Session Room A: BreastScreen Aboriginal Engagement Phase 3 by Christine Fing, BreastScreen Aboriginal Engagement Project

                         Officer and Meg O`Brien, Manager @ BreastScreen NSW GW 
                         Concurrent Session Room B: Maternal Smoking Cessation Capacity Development Project by Desley Thompson, Manager @Ninti One


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

3:30pm           Keynote Session: ‘Tidda-Links’ Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander Women Guiding Service Planning by Toni L. Smith, Principal Female

                         Aboriginal Health Worker & Renee Lovell, Manager DV & Women’s Health @Sydney Local Health District

4:15pm            Keynote Session: Culturally capable Pharmacists! How do we get there? by Bronwyn Clarke, Chief Executive Officer @ Australian Pharmacy

                         Council and Associate Profesor Faye McMillan, Director of the Djirruwang Program @Charles Sturt University   

5:00 pm           INTERACTIVE PANEL - YARNING CIRCLE with Elders, Guest Speakers & All Delegates







For 2021, we offer new and exciting innovation for our conferences. Day 3 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 Three 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 

The National Indigenous Chronic Diseases 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.


To view each speaker’s profile, please 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  


The Gold Coast is a metropolitan region south of Brisbane on Australia’s east coast. It's famed for its long sandy beaches, surfing spots and elaborate system of inland canals and waterways. It’s also home to theme parks such as Sea World and Wet’n’Wild. Inland, hiking trails crisscross Lamington National Park’s mountain ridges and valleys, home to rare birds and rainforest. The first COVID-19 vaccines roll-out in QLD was administered in the Gold Coast.


The Seaworld Resort is really Where Serious Business Meets Serious fun! Boasting a stunning Broadwater location and easy access to Australia’s best theme parks, Sea World Resort is your one-stop-shop for memorable conferences & social events which can be arranged on-site or at one of our theme park sister properties. Sea World Resort’s new state of the art conference centre offers unique and versatile meeting rooms that can cater for up to 950 delegates and is divisible into 3 rooms. The rooms open onto The Veranda, a covered al-fresco pre-function area ideal for trade exhibitions, cocktail receptions, tea breaks and lunches. With 400 accommodation rooms which all include complimentary IFI as well as a balcony or patio to enjoy the gorgeous Gold Coast weather, we have you covered!



As they say, all work and no play makes for a dull conference. To overcome this, the secretariat has organised a conference dinner to be held on the first night of the event. This dinner will give delegates the opportunity to further network while letting their hair down in an informal setting. The conference dinner will cost $150 per person and is additional to the conference fees. Bookings must be made with our office prior to the event. 



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 here to make booking your flights stress-free and relaxing for an enquiry 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.


​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 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

 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.


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 a payment this is so your accommodation is locked in.

VISA TO AUSTRALIA due to covid-19 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 4194 2803, 04557 76 668



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