ICS aventedge

13TH national Closing The Gap 

first nations Health Conference 

Sea World Resort Conference Centre, GOLD COAST QLD



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 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 13th National Closing the Gap Indigenous Health Conference had been relocated to Seaworld Resort                                                                                           Gold Coast Queensland. 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 a great line up of First Nations speakers from all throughout Australia.


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.   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. 


The conference themes include:

  • Primary health and the 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 promote leadership and self-determination

  • Community/ grassroots-based initiatives towards health

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

  • Protecting mob against COVID-19 in remote Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander communities



The conference is not politically biased. 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.



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 have 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 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 communities. Click 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 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



The 13th 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 an 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 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: Cultural Safety First - co-designing improvements to General Practice service delivery in partnership with 

                         Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by Kaleena Webbe, Manager, Primary Care Development & Terry Hill,Community Engagement                           Consultant – Aboriginal Health  COORDINARE - South Eastern NSW PHN

                         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: Partners in play: Supporting healthcare delivery to Aboriginal children in community by Dr. Claire Treadgold

                         Head of Programs & National Manager, Research & Evaluation, Starlight Children's Foundation

                         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 Associate Professor Faye McMillan, Deputy National Rural 

                         Health Commissioner, Associate Professor in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health in the School of Population Health at UNSW

                         and Board Member of the Australian Pharmacy Council and Bronwyn Clark, Chief Executive Officer @ Australian Pharmacy Council


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


As they say, all work and no play, makes for a dull conference. So to overcome this, the conference secretary has organized a conference dinner to be held on the second night of the event. This dinner will give delegates the opportunity to further network while letting your hair down in an informal setting. The conference dinner will be an experience w

ith the most breathtaking conference dinner show with Heartland at Australian Outback








MAY 11, 2022​ (DAY 3) MASTERCLASS 

For 2022, 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.


HOST CITY & venue 


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 WIFI as well as a balcony or patio to enjoy the gorgeous Gold Coast weather, we have you covered!



The 13th Closing the Gap Indigenous Health 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 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:   May 09-11, 2022

Where:  Sea World Resort Gold Coast Queensland

Time:     9.00am – 5.00pm


WARNING: Limited availability. Please register online or contact us via email.


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:  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 quote code INDCONF2021 to avail for the special rate.


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 07 40009111

 Email.     adminics@iinet.net.au 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.



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  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 Guthrie Close Bentley Park 4869 QLD

Web: www.icsconferences.org 

Email:  adminics@iinet.net.au

Phone: 07 40009111, 04557 76 668



Please note this website is continually being updated.

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

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