Director's Note

The Public Health Advocacy Institute is evolving and we invite you to join us moving forward. We are an independent public health voice. We engage in a combination of individual and social actions designed to gain political commitment, policy support, social acceptance and systems support for a variety of public health goals. This week we asked Minster Payne to advocate to Government to expand on Australia’s resettlement program, to admit more Afghan refugees and I invite you to join us in this call.
Healthy, sustainable and equitable food systems
Public health advocates are looking to the UN Food Systems Summit for food system transformation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. To be held next month in New York during the UN General Assembly, the Summit’s success depends on citizen engagement to shape the conversation. You can have your say, just register online. The Public Health Association’s March 2022 Food Futures conference ‘Transforming food systems for the planetary and public good’ is calling for abstracts here.

Today's Tea Break

We invite you to take a break and read the latest Australian Burden of Disease Study, released this week. Burden of disease in Australia, the years of healthy life lost due to injury, illness or premature death across the population, is used to guide Government policy priority setting and decision making, and importantly, informs public health advocacy priorities.

38% of disease burden could have been avoided or reduced by addressing modifiable risk factors. Risk factors contributing the most burden were tobacco use (8.6%), overweight (including obesity)(8.4%), dietary risks (5.4%), high blood pressure (5.1%), and alcohol use (4.5%). The burden is not shared evenly across Australian states.
Read the Cuppa

Our News and Events

Wanju Curtin Mia experience -
on Country campus tour
PHAI staff participated in the Wanju Curtin Mia experience which aimed to increase our curiosity, respect and awareness to enhance our understanding of the boodjar (land) on which we work.

The sunny day allowed us to walk on campus with Elisha Jacobs-Smith as he taught us about the language and culture of the Noongar people (the Traditional Owners of the south-west area of Australia). We admired the flowering yellow wattle that signifies Djilba (first Spring) and the mosaic of the Midgegoroo Meeting Place by Aboriginal artist Joan (Yarrna) Martin which depicts the coming together of different Aboriginal groups.
Staff changes
We say goodbye to Jo Malcolm and Miika Coppard this week. We thank them for their contribution to public health advocacy. Many of our readers will have met Jo as she worked with local governments and communities influencing public health planning and advocating for change.
We are delighted to welcome Dr Jonathan Hallett as we work to reinvigorate and transform the Public Health Advocacy Institute. Jonathan is a Senior Lecturer in Health Promotion with the Curtin School of Population Health teaching public health and social policy. His research is conducted with the Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health (CERIPH) and the Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Applied Research and Evaluation Network (SiREN).
Jonathan is particularly interested in analysing how vested interests and morality politics influence the development of public policy and the contested use of evidence. He is also the Regional Associate Editor (WA) of the Health Promotion Journal of Australia, the Western Australian Division Assistant Secretary (Academic) of the National Tertiary Education Union and a Councillor with the City of Vincent.
The team was in Tjuntjunjarra last week working with Bega, the Goldfields Public Health Unit and the local school to film a young person’s version of the Six Steps to Stopping Germs video. At the moment, we have a version featuring young Aboriginal mums and their children which you can view here. The newer version stars the primary school students and will be a great resource to increase awareness and skills around how to stop germs both at school and in the home. Here are some pictures from the trip.

Public Health Sector Updates

Environmental Health Yearbook 2020-2021
The Environmental Health Directorate in the Public and Aboriginal Health Division of the Department of Health, Western Australia, has released their Yearbook for the 2020-21 financial year.
Smarter than Smoking
Curtin University is updating Healthway’s Smarter than Smoking program resources for students, teachers and parents. These resources aim to educate in line with the curriculum on the topic of tobacco and new products, such as e-cigarettes. As part of this research, we would like to talk to a small number of teachers and parents of students aged 12 to 17 years. During the interviews, teachers and parents will be asked to provide their opinion on what information they would like and their opinion of the resources that we have. If you are interested in participating or would like more information please contact or
Applications now open for 2022 AHPA Scholarships Program - AHPA WA Branch
The Australian Health Promotion Association (WA Branch) Scholarships Program for 2022 is now accepting applications. The Scholarships Program is funded by Healthway and this year will offer up to five six-month workplace scholarships starting in in early 2022:
  • One Graduate scholarship.
  • One or two Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander scholarships.
  • One Regional scholarship (can also be graduate and/or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) 
  • One scholarship of any category.
Applications are due by Friday 17 September 2021. For more information visit the website here or email

Public Health News and Research

Australia must slash climate pollution this decade. On the 12th of August, more than 50 organisations working for climate action publicly stated their dissatisfaction with Australia’s current emissions reduction commitments, taking out a full page advertisement in the Australian, Australian Financial Review, Daily Telegraph and Herald-Sun. The joint statement was organised by Climate Action Network Australia (CANA).

‘Art is our voice’: why the government needs to support Indigenous arts, not just sport, in the pandemic. The golden rule when organising an arts event with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is to never hold it at the same time as a sports event. If there is a choice between attending one or the other, chances are our mob are going to that footy game.
Alcohol companies stoop to a new low with predatory lockdown marketing. As lockdowns are announced, companies that sell alcoholic products immediately launch their lockdown-related marketing campaigns. Almost like clockwork, social media posts from online alcohol delivery retailers exploded into our feeds with phrases like, ‘We know lockdown is hard. That is why we will be there for every single moment,’ and ‘Stay safe and stock up on 5000+ beer, wine and spirits with free shipping right to your door.’
Aboriginal Health Workers pivotal to transforming experiences of care, report finds. A new report has affirmed the pivotal role of Aboriginal Health Workers in improving hospital admissions and maternity stays for Aborigjnal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, demonstrating a marked and significant difference in quality of experience across a number of key domains when this workforce is involved in patient care.
Headspace campaign empowers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to manage mental health. Australia’s national youth mental health foundation, Headspace, has launched a suite of new resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, empowering them to take charge of their social and emotional wellbeing. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 24 and under are three times more likely than other young people to die by suicide. Responding to this urgent need for support, the ‘Take a Step’ campaign encourages Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to recognise the signs that something’s not right – and provides small, practical steps towards feeling better.
Advocating for public health initiatives?
Here are some tips that may assist with your advocating efforts:
  • Write a letter to your local politicians
  • Meet with your local politician
  • Write to a media outlet or editor of a local paper
  • Write to a blog
  • Tweet or share on social media
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