indig girls on lap

Supporting Australia's First People

We want to stand beside First Nations Peoples, acknowledging the past and looking to the future.

We value and celebrate the richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, acknowledging its deep connection to country and the right for Aboriginal people to determine their own future.

We have learnt that a key to success is forming long-term partnerships with Australia’s First Peoples and agencies, and building relationships based on mutual respect and mutual obligation. We currently support projects in Victoria, Northern Territory and Queensland.

Lack of access to appropriate health services and resources are just two of the many barriers contributing to health inequality for First Nations Australians.  We recognise that the improvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health status must be holistic – considering physical, spiritual, cultural, emotional and social well-being, community capacity and governance factors.

Understanding the need

Australia's First People represent approximately three percent of the Australian population, yet they experience some of the worst health outcomes of any Australians.  The life expectancy gap remains at approximately 10 years lower for First Nations Australians and Indigenous children have a mortality rate greater than twice their non-Indigenous counterparts.   Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience higher rates of preventable illness such as heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes.

Learn more about this need:

What are we doing?   

We partner with First Nations Peoples and/or the agencies representing them to address the social determinants of health focusing particularly on the Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa) community and the Cape York communities supported by the Apunipima Cape York Health Council. 

Our goal

To create a just and inclusive society, to alleviate social inequality and to enable better health outcomes. Download our Social Policy statement - Australia's First People


Current Partners and Projects

Apunipima Cape York

Apunipima Cape York Health Council Australia is an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO) responsible for delivering high quality, culturally appropriate and comprehensive primary health care to 11 Cape York communities.  One of the key areas of the Council is ‘Healthy Lifestyles’, delivering clinical services alongside preventative health and education programs focusing on Diabetes and smoking. 

Cabrini Outreach is a member of Catholic Health Australia (CHA) and contributes funds towards the project ‘Research Governance and Research Coordination Capacity Building’ enabling the appointment of a full time research coordinator to facilitate high-quality research to benefit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities of Cape York.  This assists by:

  • Supporting the development of research capacity within Apunipima, with a specific focus on developing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff participation as researchers
  • Helping with translation (or application) of research into local Apunipima health programs

Learn more about Apunipima

Community Dialysis in Western Desert (Santa Teresa)

Indigenous Australians living in remote, central Australia are 30 times more likely to suffer from kidney disease and renal failure. In order to undergo treatment, the patient and their families travel hundreds of kilometres to Alice Springs or Darwin for dialysis.  This in itself can be a difficult situation for those patients but with the additional unavoidable travel, communities can be further depleted.  In 2014, Cabrini Outreach, along with Purple House, St Vincent’s Health Australia and Caritas, responded to a request from the Santa Teresa community to fund a community-based dialysis program in Santa Teresa.  The Santa Teresa Dialysis room was created in response as part of the Santa Teresa Health Clinic; set up and run by Purple House staff with support from the collaboration.

The service is operated by Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation.  There have been 589 treatments on six patients since the service was established. 

Not only is this service beneficial to the community; continuing family support and social connection, it acts as an education tool for the next generation.  They see first-hand the consequences of lifestyle choices, ending the cycle of ill-health resulting in kidney disease.  Prior to this, Cabrini participated in a workforce exchange at the Medical Clinic where Cabrini nurses relieved the staff of the clinic and filled vacancies.

Learn more about Purple House