Remote Communities Aboriginal Male Health Summit: Time for Action


This summit is for male Aboriginal leaders only to come together to discuss solutions to improve the health and wellbeing of males living in remote communities.

Male Health Summit Details

Date:  16-18 July 2013

Venue:  Ross River Resort Campground (100 km east of Alice Springs)

Arrival:  Delegates should arrive onsite the afternoon of the 15 July to get settled in for a 9am start on the 16 July.

Time for Action

The need. The Arrernte logo on this web page is all about the need for all levels of government to empower Aboriginal males and communities and to work in partnership with our traditional and cultural decision making structures and processes. For over 20 years Aboriginal males from remote communities throughout Australia have attended all sorts of consultations, workshops, summits and meetings with all levels of governments making hundreds of recommendations and a wide range of positive solution to improve the health and wellbeing of our mob. But are they listening to our call for action? Aboriginal males in remote communities throughout Australia specifically in the 29 Remote Service Delivery (RSD) need to come together to discuss the short term and long term ownership of these solutions to improve their health and wellbeing and ensure that Aboriginal male issues are identified and actioned in RSD Local Implementation plans.

The answer. At this summit over three days approx. 100 Aboriginal males representing remote communities will discuss eight major issues and develop clear, achievable and actionable solutions and recommendations that will have positive and healthy outcomes forb the future  our individual males, families and communities.

A time for action. The recommendations from this summit will presented to Government on the understanding that an ongoing steering committee will be supported and funded for a minimum of two years to ensure and monitor that these recommendations are considered and actioned.

The result. By actioning our recommendation we will go a long way to restoring the Aboriginality, dignity, respect, role, responsibilities and self-determination of Aboriginal males in remote communities as a first step to achieving state of health and well-being. In the long term this will enable Aboriginal males to contribute to the total well-being of their respective Communities and to come to terms with their law, lore and culture.

Aims of the Summit

The aims of the Indigenous Male Health Summit is, in conjunction with Wurli-Wurlinjiang Health Service, to bring together Indigenous males from each of the 29 Indigenous Remote Service Delivery Priority Communities in Australia, as identified in the Remote Service Delivery National Partnership Agreement, being:

South Australia Mimili, Amata

Northern Territory Ntaria, Yuendumu, Larjamanu, Wadeye, Yirrkala, Ngukurr, Numbulwar, Gapuwiyak, Galiwin’ku, Milingimpi, Wurrimiyanga, Gunbalanya, Maningrida, Umbakumba, Angurugu

Western Australia Bardi Jawi, Beagle Bay, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek

Queensland Hope Vale, Mossman Gorge, Coen, Doomadgee, Mornington Island, Aurukun

New South Wales Wilcannia, Walgett


other remote communities from Central Australia, to participate in a forum to discuss issues affecting male health in remote communities.

Expected outcomes from this summit are to:

  1. Identify male health issues as identified in RSD Local Implementation Plans and actions that can be taken by delegates to address these issues back in their home communities;
  2. Build education and awareness of male health issues for all participants, service providers and local Aboriginal community members;
  3. Identify opportunities for leaders within the male health sector and local Aboriginal communities to build networks for a coordinated approach to tackling male health issues; and
  4. Work in conjunction with Commonwealth agencies to strengthen engagement and participation from all stakeholders.

Summit Format

This meeting will be a summit where Indigenous leaders come together to discuss identified agenda topics and provide possible recommendations for change rather than a conference where there is a set agenda with formal speakers.

This summit will follow the same format as used by Ingkintja Male Health at previous successful male health summits. Rather than being talked to by a speaker there will be eight agenda items discussed over the initial two days of the summit. Those initial two days are for Indigenous male delegates only.

Delegates will be split into eight groups of approximately 20 people. During those initial two days of the summit each group will get to discuss each of the agenda items. Agenda items will focus on group discussion, led by a team involving: a local Aboriginal male as a facilitator, teamed with a facilitator with a strong knowledge of the subject matter, backed by a scribe to take notes on issues raised.

Each group will stay in the same area throughout those two days, while the facilitator group moves on to the next group on completion of each group discussion. At the completion of each day the eight facilitators will report back to the full group of delegates, a summary of issues raised by groups throughout the day. Notes will be word processed each evening and recommendations drawn out.

Recommendations will be ratified by the full group of delegates on the morning of the third day. Both males and females from community organisations, government agencies and other stakeholders are invited to attend from 11.00 am on day three for lunch. Following a ‘meet and greet’ over lunch, a nominated group of delegates then briefs this group on outcomes from the summit. The media are invited to attend and interview nominated persons following the closing ceremony.

Steering Committee

Dr Ben Bartlett Ben has worked in Aboriginal health for the past 28 years, primarily working for the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress in Alice Springs. Over the past few years he has worked as a consultant and conducted a number of projects including the Central Australian Health Planning Study, Top End Aboriginal Health Planning study, a number of evaluations of health services, and PHC service development projects including the WYN Health Services north-west of Alice Springs (PHCAP) and Sunrise Health Services east of Katherine (CCT). He is currently working as a clinician and consultant in Aboriginal health.

Des Rogers Des was born in Alice Springs and is a southern Arrernte man of Afghan and Aboriginal decent. Des worked for Bushfires NT for 15 years. On leaving the public service, he purchased and managed a large corner store and founded the wholesale fruit and vegetable business Red Centre Produce. Des has established and owned a number of diverse enterprises in Alice Springs: a transport company, Red Centre Freight; a consultancy firm, Indigenous Perspectives; and his latest venture was an Aboriginal security firm, pepperedBLACK® security. Des has trained, employed and mentored in excess of 250 Aboriginal people. He has also been an active member of the Central Australian community and has participated on many committees and boards.

John Liddle John Liddle is an Arrernte man who has been involved in improving Indigenous health for 35 years. He was the director of Central Australian Aboriginal Congress in the formative years before stepping down to pursue other interests. He returned to Congress in 2005 to assess the needs for an Indigenous male health unit in Alice Springs. John went on to establish Ingkintja Male Health that provides services to Aboriginal males throughout Central Australia and was instrumental in facilitating the 2008 and 2010 Male Health Summits. He continues to lobby for better services for Indigenous males.

Dr Tom Calma Dr Calma has been involved in Indigenous affairs at a local, community, state, territory, national and international level and worked in the public sector for 38 years. Dr Calma has been actively involved in the formation of the Close the Gap for Indigenous Health Equality Campaign and the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples. He delivered the 2009 Mabo Oration; has continued to advocate for members of the Stolen Generations; and delivered the formal response in Parliament House on their behalf to the Prime Minister’s National Apology. Dr Calma has been a White Ribbon Day Ambassador since 2005. Dr Calma also served as Race Discrimination Commissioner from 12 July 2004 until 12 July 2009. Over the past six years he has addressed many conferences and community and religious groups about Indigenous, multicultural, discrimination and social inclusion issues.

Rob Moodie Rob Moodie is Professor of Public Health at the Melbourne School of Population Health. Prior to this he was the inaugural Chair of Global health at the Nossal Institute. He first worked in refugee health care in the Sudan and later for Central Australian Aboriginal Congress. He was the inaugural Director of Country Support for UNAIDS in Geneva from 1995-98, and was CEO of VicHealth from 1998-2007. He chaired the National Preventative Health Taskforce from 2008-2011 and was a member of the Commission on AIDS in the Pacific. He chairs the technical advisory panel of the Gates Foundation’s HIV prevention program in India. He has particular interests in non–communicable diseases and HIV/AIDS and teaches a number of courses here and in Mozambique on public health leadership and health promotion.

Dr Mick Adams Dr Mick Adams is an Adjunct Professor with the Faculty of Health at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) who has made a sustained and outstanding contribution to the advancement of Indigenous health. His 30 year career has been dedicated to closing the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians through properly resourced and appropriate health services as part of the overall community development needed to ensure Indigenous people are a part of Australia’s future. In the past ten years, Dr Adams has held a number of senior positions including Chairperson of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) (2007-2009); Chief Executive Officer of the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Forum (2001-2003); and General Manager of both the Brisbane Aboriginal and Islander Community Health Service (1997-1999) and Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation (1999-2000).

Dr Bruce Hocking Dr Hocking is the Director of Medical Services at Wurli Wurlinjang Aboriginal Health Service. He has held that position for two years and has worked as a GP in that organisation since 2004. His background is in a suburban general practice for 25 years before leaving to work in the NT in 2003.

Dr Rob McDonald Rob is the Vice President Health and Hygiene for BHP Billiton, and a Director of BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities, a charity established to provide a public benefit by enabling people to improve their quality of life, contribute to the conservation of the environment and developing the community’s capacity to advocate for and manage effective change. He is a Fellow of the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, with experience in establishing workplace health risk management frameworks, including HIV and malaria programmes, developing workplace wellbeing strategies, and community health investment.

Graham Dowling Graham is an Aboriginal man from Katherine NT with a long and fruitful career working with Aboriginal people in Central Australia. Graham is the Regional Manager of the Aboriginal Medical Service Alliance NT (AMSANT) Central Australia/Barkly.  Graham was elected to the CAAMA Board of directors in December 2004 and was re-elected as a Director in November 2008. Graham held the position as Chairperson of Imparja Television and was previously deputy Chair of CAAMA. Graham has worked in Aboriginal enterprises and Indigenous primary health care and is supporter of self-determination for Aboriginal people / organisations. Graham background is in sales and marketing.

Dr Mark Wenitong Dr Mark Wenitong (Adjunct Associate Professor, James Cook University, School of Tropical Public Health) is from the Kabi Kabi tribal group of South Queensland. He is an Aboriginal Public Health Medical Officer at NACCHO, and the Senior Medical Advisor at Apunipima Cape York Health Council. He was the Senior Medical Officer at Wuchopperen Health Services in Cairns for the previous nine years. He has also worked as the medical advisor for OATSIH in Canberra. He is a past president and founding member of the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association and is a member of the National Health and Medical Research Committee – National Preventative Health Committee, the National Lead Clinicians Group, a ministerial appointee to NATSIHEC, the Independent e-health advisory committee, and chairs the Andrology Australia- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Male Reference group, sits on several other committees. He is a council member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. He sits on the National Health Performance Authority PHC committee. Dr Wenitong has been heavily involved in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce. He was a member of the NTER review expert advisory group in 2008. He has received the 2011 AMA Presidents Award for Excellence in Healthcare, and the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Council Hall of Fame award (2010).

Acknowledegment The summit acknowledges the support of NACCHO the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation for providing the services of Colin Cowell as a national communications advisor to the steering committee. Colin has worked on a number of projects with Congress over 20 years including project managing the Aboriginal Male Health Summits in 2008 and 2010.


There are three accommodation options:

  1. Delegates to bring their swags to camp around the campfire,  and plenty of firewood will be supplied. There are some swags available for those who are not able to bring their own swag but would like to choose this option.
  2. There are 48 bunk beds across 12 rooms for those who don’t fancy the prospect of sleeping around the campfire.
  3. There are motel type rooms available 300-400 metres away at the resort at a cost of $120 / night or those who don’t feel inclined to rough it.


  1. Summit buses are available from the airport, local motels and town camps. Please advise if you require this service
  2. A fuel allowance is provided for delegates from within the Central Australian and Katherine regions at the Australian Tax Office rates
  3. Flights and accommodation associated with flights is provided for two delegates from within each of the Remote Service Delivery communities as identified by the Commonwealth.


Catering is provided throughout the summit by a local Aboriginal business Kungkas Can Cook. They are able to provide for all dietary needs. Please notify us should you require a special diet whilst attending the summit.


There is no cost to delegates for attending this summit with funding provided by the Department of Health and Ageing.

What to bring

  • Your swag. Please notify us prior to arrival if this is a problem.
  • Your medication. There will be medical staff on site but there will not be the ability to provide individuals medication.
  • Warm clothing as it can get cold in Central Australia at that time of the year.

About the Worla Nyintanti Atwerrentye Itja Logo

For us to achieve our vision we want all levels of government to empower our communities and to work in partnership with our traditional and cultural decision making structures and processes.

Our logo shows boys in black and girls in red at the base being cared for by the parents sitting in their home (represented by the circles).

The communication paths go up and down and are represented by three lines. When needed, parents look to the leaders for guidance. The leaders are the aunties and uncles who have experience and knowledge about life. When they require guidance they go to the next step and ask the elders.

The elders look to the leaders to keep them informed.

There are four women elders (red) who are the four corners of the land – North, South, East and West. There are four male elders (black) who have responsibility to speak for either culture, leadership, harmony or happiness.

Each level has responsibility to be role models for those below.

Summit Facilitators

Ingkintja Male Health 

This summit is facilitated by Ingkintja Male Health, a branch of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress.

Ingkintja is a male-only place with an holistic approach to improving male health to allow them to live happier, longer, healthier lives. Males can be assured of a male staff member if they want to visit a doctor or nurse, talk to a counsellor, discuss cultural business, wash their clothes or just have a chat. ‘Brothers Supporting Brothers’

In conjunction with Wurli-Wurlinjang Health Service

Wurli-Wurlinjang Health Service is an independent Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO). We deliver a wide range of effective, culturally appropriate health care services to over 4,500 Aboriginal residents of Katherine area communities. An additional 7,000 Aboriginal people who live in over 25 remote Katherine-region communities—representing more than 15 Indigenous language groups—are counted as occasional clients.

StrongBala Men’s Health Program StrongBala means Strong Man. The StrongBala Program empowers Aboriginal men to step up and make meaningful contributions to their family, their community, and their culture through providing culturally appropriate support for Indigenous males—including the homeless—by providing a males-only facility which delivers a broad range of facility-based services, including clinical services, and health education and promotion activities.

Major Patron: Department of Health and Ageing

The Australian Government is committed to ‘closing the gap’ between Indigenous and non Indigenous Australians in health, education and employment.

The Department of Health and Ageing is contributing to this important objective by working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and organisations to improve access to effective health care services.

The Australian Government recognises that closing the gap also means supporting the social, emotional and cultural wellbeing of the whole community in which each individual is able to achieve their full potential.

Male Health Summit Contact Details


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