Seven million Australians live in rural and remote Australia. There are also 1,000 remote communities, the majority with few or no services. Australians living rural and remote have shorter lives, with more than half of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders in the remote not living past a half century of years. Remote living Australians have higher levels of disease, injury and lower levels of wellbeing. In many regions there is no primary health care and limited secondary health care.

Socioeconomic disadvantage ravages remote Australia with many Aboriginal communities and homelands third-world-akin.

Eight out of ten Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children remote living do not complete secondary education.

The three day Indigenous and Remote Health Conference will hear from a range of healthcare experts and coalface workers. The conference will be held in Brisbane, July 17 and 18 and with a workshop on the 19th; Deadly Thinking Workshop.

The conference is focusing on how to improve access to health and in the improving of life circumstances in the remote. Advances in health technologies will be presented.

Following the first two days of the conference, there will be an interactive workshop focusing on the improving of mental health outcomes in the remote and in advancing suicide prevention particularly in remote Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities.

The grim reality of Australia’s remote communities is that they have among the world’s highest suicide rates.
Deadly Thinking is a social and emotional wellbeing and suicide prevention workshop designed by First Nations experts. It is designed for remote community living groups, healthcare practitioners and for not for profit and government sector organisations that have reach into remote communities.

Remote Australia’s suicide rate is nearly twice as high as that of Australia’s major cities. Disaggregated to Australia’s remote living Aboriginal peoples, the suicide rate is up to seven times the national suicide rate.

The conference will hear from former Northern Territory Deputy Chief Minister Marion Scrymgour who is the CEO of the Tiwi Islands Regional Council and works closely with the Miwatj Health Service. Others presenting include CSIRO Health Director Dr Rob Grenfell, and Dr Sean Taylor, Principal Advisor for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health at the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service, and Dr Lina Lansbury-Hall from the School of Public Health, University of Queensland, and Cheri Yavu-Kama-Harathunian, Director of the Indigenous Wellbeing Centre, Bundaberg, and suicide and poverty alleviation researcher Gerry Georgatos who is also the National Coordinator of the National Indigenous Critical Response Service and Project Manager to the National Migrant Youth Support Service, and Fiona Brooke, Director of Policy and Research for SARRAH (Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health).

To find out more and to attend the conference:


Photo taken by Gerry Georgatos