From a remote possibility to a medicare item number and beyond!

Sarah Brown


Purple house started with the dream of getting people home to country. An auction in 200o raised million dollars and allowed Pintupi to develop a whole new model of dialysis care on country.

From November 2018 there will be a medicare number for a dialysis in a remote community.

Sarah will tell the story of the Purple house, how this little dream turned into a great big beautiful monster!

Delivering health care in difficult locations; How does the Australian model translate Internationally?

Michael Jenkins


Australia is famous for its outback, remote areas where the delivery of healthcare faces many obstacles. To deal with these obstacles, health services in Australia have had to develop unique strategies to deliver care. Famous examples—such as the Royal Doctor Service—where technology allowed those distances to be reduced come to mind. But these services were never going to meet the needs of most people living in difficult locations. Starting in the 1980s, groups of health care practitioners began to coordinate how to provide consistent, remote health care. CARPA (Central Australian Remote Health Practitioners Association) and CRANA (Council of Remote Area Nurses Association) began to develop approaches to support practitioners working in these difficult locations, and the protocols, procedures and training for remote practitioners we see today sprang from these efforts. Around the world, other health practitioners work in difficult locations (difficult due to remoteness, lack of resources, conflict or combinations of these factors). What relevance does the Australian experience have for these practitioners and how can this experience translate and transfer to other locations?

Qantas’ role as the National Carrier in times of conflict or crisis

Ian Hosegood


Qantas is the world’s second oldest airline and has its roots in rural and remote Australia, helping to overcome the tyranny of distance.  Qantas also has a proud tradition of supporting Australians and Australia’s national interests in times of conflict, crisis and natural disaster. This paper provides an overview of Qantas’ historical involvement in such events and its ongoing capability to assist when needed.

Rural Nursing in Canada – Characteristics, Barriers and Opportunities

Barbara Shellian


There are 298,000 registered nurses in Canada and approximately 10% of registered nurses work in rural and remote areas of the country. Nursing in rural and remote Canada is subject to many challenges including geography, weather, access to resources and poor health outcomes for aboriginal populations.  There are many similarities between rural and remote nursing in Canada and Australia and this presentation will highlight the characteristics of rural and remote nursing in Canada, identify the factors that facilitate or hinder nurses’ practice and discuss what the future looks like for rural and remote nursing in Canada.

Heath Workforce: Future Issues

Professor Ian Wronski AO

Australia has made significant gains in addressing health workforce shortages in rural and remote areas. New workforce models such as medical and allied health rural generalism have increased supply in rural and remote areas and Australia has established an international reputation for rural and remote health workforce development. However, epidemiological and demographic transitions, such as an ageing population and rising rates of multimorbidity, require further innovation in workforce models. Technological innovations in health, such as telehealth, augmented reality, machine learning and enhanced communication through the use of nanosatellites have the potential to increase access to health care in rural and remote areas, and will change the nature of health service delivery in these areas. On a global scale, developing economies are seeking to develop their workforce to meet universal health access goals and cross-country exchange of knowledge, skills and health professionals will increase. Australia, with its substantial skill base in health service delivery, can play a global role in health workforce development.

Birthing On Country – What it means and why you should care!

Professor Sue Kildea

Director of the Midwifery Research Unit – Mater Health Services Brisbane and the University of Queensland


At a national workshop on ‘Birthing On Country’ in Alice Springs in 2012 participants proposed that the term ‘Birthing On Country’ be understood as: “a metaphor for the best start in life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies and their families, an appropriate transition to motherhood and parenting for women, and an integrated, holistic and culturally appropriate model of care for all.” Critically, participants felt that Birthing On Country Service Models must drive system-wide reform that moves from being aspirational (policy) to actual (practice). Despite the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council endorsing a document describing the Guiding Principles for Developing, Implementing and Evaluating a Birthing On Country Service Model for adaption from remote through to urban areas the uptake has been slow, prompting a call to action from: CRANAplus, the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives and the Australian College of Midwives. This presentation will identify the key components of these models, describe the development and impact of an urban based model, provide an overview of the work of the National Birthing on Country Committee and discuss the opportunities for Birthing on Country in remote Australia.


Professor Sue Kildea is the Director of the  Midwifery Research Unit and holds a Clinical Chair in midwifery, a joint appointment between Mater Health Services Brisbane and the University of Queensland. She is a registered nurse midwife with clinical, management, policy, education and research experience across both acute and primary health care settings. She has spent many years working in the remote Australia, in particular the Northern Territory.

Sue is a strong collaborative researcher and many of her research projects aim to make a difference to the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. Together with a Senior Elder from Maningrida in Arnhem Land she was a  joint recipient of the UTS Human Rights Award for contribution to advancing reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians (2004).

Sue spent 11 years on the Board of CRANAplus and has long been an advocate for returning birthing services to the bush and back to Aboriginal Community Control. She is currently working side by side with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in several sites to progress the ‘Birthing on Country’ agenda.

Through the looking glass

Professor Catherine Stoddart

This will be a short overview of Catherine’s professional story and lessons in Western Australia and United Kingdom that translate to this role. Catherine will share what this has meant for her as she frames her thoughts and plans, six months after getting the foundations right.  She will also speak about seizing the opportunities that build on existing expertise to create a strong future for NT Health.

Catherine will also outline how potentially technology could be a game changer for remote health care delivery.


Professor Catherine Stoddart has recently taken up the Chief Executive Officer role for NT Health from March 2017. She was previously the Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Nurse at Oxford University Hospitals Foundation Trust in the NHS in the UK from March 2014. Catherine has held positions across health including Chief Nurse & Midwifery Officer of Western Australia, Regional Director for the Kimberly region, WACHS, Executive Director Nursing and Midwifery WACHS, and Director Clinical Reform WA Health.

As a Nuffield Fellow (2000) and Churchill Fellow (2006) she reviewed models for isolated clinical practice in Alaska and Canada, focusing on Indigenous communities. In 2009 Catherine founded the Global Health Alliance, WA, which established as a mechanism for health professionals to contribute to global health; built Aboriginal health workforce programs; developed the Strategic Transformation and Master plan for the Oxford Trust for broad public health, care and social care integration, and established the Oxford Institute for Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Research. She is Visiting Professor of Nursing at Oxford Brookes University and Associate Professor at Edith Cowan and Notre Dame Universities.

Catherine has a Bachelor of Science (Nursing), Master of Project Management and Master of Business Administration. She was awarded the 2011 Telstra Western Australia Business Woman of the Year for a range of women in leadership development of aboriginal employment programs across Health. In September 2013 she was awarded the Public Service Medal in recognition of her contribution to health and innovative global community volunteering programs.

Increasing connectivity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

Shellie Morris 

Empowering and building capacity in communities needs to start at the grassroots. There is a great fatigue I see in communities from people who have been working on the ground for many years and a great shock for those who are just being welcomed into a community. Technological advances are integral to bridging the geographical gap for community members and workers in communities. Technological advances are allowing people to continue to live on country, to care for country and to raise families with their rightful continuation of connection. The challenge, I see, having worked in communities will be gaining trust and acceptance of these advances without the personal relationships that are held so highly in community. The way you introduce and integrate these programs, I think, will need to continue to be done with inclusion and thoughtfulness.  When communities feel their voice has been heard that empowers others in the communities to buy in to the success of these initiatives and I believe that is where change will be achieved.



One of Australia’s favourite and celebrated female vocalists, Shellie Morris has spent the past 25 years creating and engaging in music as a healing tool.

She imparts the importance of having a voice and that each individual is important.

While she has been in the spotlight over the years for her involvement with Black Arm Band, Deadly awards, ARIA nominations, Music Australia award, NAIDOC Award, G.R. Burarrawanga Memorial Award and Australian of the Year award; by and large, she works on the ground empowering and gently effecting change.

Shellie creates music and sings in around 17 Aboriginal languages, many considered “sleeping”.

Since discovering her Wardaman and Yanyuwa roots, she has tirelessly worked to improve the lives of Indigenous Australians, especially in the Northern Territory.

She is the 2014 NT Australian of the Year, the 2014 NAIDOC National Artist of the Year, a multi Deadly Award winner and a driving force of the acclaimed album Ngambala Wiji li-Wunungu and the internationally award-winning musical documentary Prison Songs.

The documentary has won film and humanitarian awards around the world and is nominated for five AACTA awards (including best sound and score), ATOM Awards – Best Indigenous Resource and a Walkley Documentary Award.

I’ve worked in more than 70 communities in my career, I’ve learnt to sing in more than 17 Aboriginal languages – many of which are considered “sleeping” or close to extinction. First Nations cultures have always used the arts as the main way of communicating over the ages, as an education tool for kids’ learning, lore, law, inter-tribal communication and imparting social mores. I’m continuing this in a contemporary way.

My Health Record and the Digital Health Strategy for Australia

Kim Webber


The National Digital Health Strategy – Safe, seamless, and secure: evolving health and care to meet the needs of modern Australia – identifies seven key priorities for digital health in Australia including delivery of a My Health Record for every Australian by 2018 – unless they choose not to have one.

More than 5 million Australians already have a My Health Record, which provides potentially lifesaving access to clinical reports of medications, allergies, laboratory tests, and chronic conditions. Patients and consumers can access their My Health Record at any time online or on their mobile phone.

The Strategy will also enable paper-free secure messaging for all clinicians and will set new standards to allow real-time sharing of patient information between hospitals and other care professionals.

The Strategy will prioritise development of new digital services to support newborn children, the elderly, and people living with chronic disease. It will also support wider use of telehealth to improve access to services, especially in remote and rural Australia and set standards for better information sharing in medical emergencies – between the ambulance, the hospital, and the GP.

The Strategy was developed by all the governments of Australia in close partnership with patients, carers and the clinical professionals who serve them – together with leaders in industry and science.

The Strategy draws on evidence of clinical and economic benefit from many sources within Australia and overseas, and emphasises the priority of patient confidentiality as new digital services are implemented. The ADHA has established a Cyber Security Centre to ensure Australian healthcare is at the cutting edge of international data security.

The Australian Digital Health Agency, which has responsibility for co-ordinating implementation of the strategy, is now consulting with partners across the community to develop a series of Frameworks for Action. The Frameworks will start to be published later this year to inform implementation of the strategy.



Dr Kim Webber is the General Manager of Strategy at the Australian Digital Health Agency overseeing the development of the National Digital Health Strategy, policy, privacy, program delivery and benefits portfolios.

Kim brings a rural and remote perspective to the Agency’s work after a career focussing on rural and remote health policy.

Kim was previously CEO of the National Rural Health Alliance and CEO of Rural Health Workforce Australia. She was also a technical advisor to the World Health Organization on the rural health workforce review.

Listening for the Faint Signals of Change: How New Technology May affect Remote Area Health

Keith Suter

We are in the midst of the “fourth industrial revolution”. This presentation will begin with an examination of that revolution. It will then suggest how the revolution may affect (for good or ill) remote area health. It will conclude with a technique for listening for the faint signals of change.


Since moving to Australia from London in 1973 at the age of 25, Dr Keith Suter has achieved three doctorates. The first of these was about the international law of guerrilla warfare (University of Sydney), and the second about the social and economic consequences of the arms race (Deakin University) and a third doctorate on scenario planning (Sydney University).

He has been appointed to many prestigious roles throughout his career, including Chairperson of the International Humanitarian Law Committee of Australian Red Cross (NSW), Chairperson of the International Commission of Jurists (NSW), Director of Studies at the International Law Association (Australian Branch) and Managing Director of the Global Directions think tank.

He has also been a member of the prestigious Club of Rome since 1993. The Club is “an informal association of independent leading personalities from politics, business and science, men and women who are long-term thinkers interested in contributing in a systemic interdisciplinary and holistic manner to a better world. The Club of Rome members share a common concern for the future of humanity and the planet.” The club has only 100 members, with Mikhail Gorbachev amongst them.

In 1999, Keith was made a Life Member of the United Nations Association of Australia in recognition of his service. At various times from 1978 to 1999, he served as the national president of the organisation and took on the roles of the WA and NSW state president.

Keith was the President of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (1991-1998) at the University of Sydney, and was a Consultant on Social Policy with the Wesley Mission’s for 17 years. In addition, he served as a consultant for a number of other organisations, with a focus on local and international issues.

He is also an active member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and his activities include conducting monthly webcasts with business leaders. He frequently appears on radio and television discussing politics and international affairs.

Amongst Keith’s many books are “All about Terrorism: Everything you were afraid to ask” and “Global Order and Global Disorder: Globalization and the Nation-State” and “50 Things You Want to Know About World Issues… But Were Too Afraid to Ask”

He is a highly experienced, professional and awarded presenter of ideas, with topics including ethics, world affairs, globalisation, mining, global warming, leadership, the future, and corporate governance. Engaging in style, Keith’s discussions are always very topical and audience-specific.