A statement from the Board of Directors
Part of Head and Neck Cancer Australia’s (HANCA) vision is to deliver better health outcomes for all Australians living with Head and Neck Cancer, including for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
As the only national not for profit organisation dedicated to providing education, information and support to Head and Neck Cancer patients and carers, part of our strategic plan is to work towards addressing the current inequity in Head and Neck Cancer health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are 1.9 times more likely to be diagnosed with Head and Neck Cancer and have a 30% lower survival rate compared to non-Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people.1, 2
We believe that one of the most important voices in respect of health issues concerning Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples themselves. It is for these reasons that HANCA considers it important to prioritise these voices. Our aspiration is that this opportunity for shared decision making and self-determination will lead to the best Head and Neck Cancer health policy outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
HANCA sees the upcoming referendum as an opportunity to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and it is why HANCA wishes to express its support of Indigenous recognition in the Australian Constitution arising from the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
HANCA acknowledges that the proposed Voice to Parliament, which was called for in the Uluru Statement from the Heart, is an opportunity many health agencies and not for profits welcome.
We ask that all who engage in the discussions regarding the Voice to Parliament do so in a thoughtful and respectful way. We acknowledge the diversity of views within the community regarding the proposed Voice to Parliament and encourage all Australians to inform themselves of the existing health inequities, and to consider deeply, the possible health and wellbeing benefits that the Voice to Parliament could have for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.