About Us

Building Stronger Communities Together
Home » About Us

As a regional provider of primary health care services in East Arnhem Land, Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation is on the frontline of some of Australia’s most challenging health problems facing Indigenous communities.

Miwatj Health is an independent Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service, with its administrative base in the town of Nhulunbuy, in North Eastern Arnhem Land.

We provide culturally appropriate and comprehensive primary health care to over 6,000 remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents, spread across the East Arnhem region.  Services include, fixed clinics and outreach workers with a focus on preventative and acute care.

Our 7 clinics are located in Nhulunbuy, Gapuwiyak (also known as Lake Evalla), Gunyaŋara (also known as Marŋarr or Ski Beach), Galiwin’ku, Ramingiṉiŋ, Yirrkala and Yurrwi (also known as Miliŋinbi/Milingimbi), and provide a walk-in service for all acute and preventive health care needs.

In addition to these clinics, our outreach teams provide a regular visiting health service to a number of nearby communities including Birritjimi, Galupa, and Dhanaya.

Miwatj Aboriginal Health Corporation

We’re all part of something bigger, helping to shape a stronger future for the Yolŋu.

Our Board of Directors represents Aboriginal communities across the region and is dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of our Aboriginal communities, ensuring every decision made helps to empower Yolŋu to take control of their lives and direct their own futures.

We share a passion for the rich history and continuation of the Yolŋu culture and a commitment to ensure that the work we’re doing contributes to self-determination for Indigenous peoples. ​Representing 55% of Miwatj Health’s total workforce, Yolŋu are now shaping their work, education, training and health service delivery mode.

Our Purpose

Miwatj Health was formed by Aboriginal leaders representing the communities of East Arnhem with the aim of providing an Aboriginal community-controlled health service (ACCHS) to the region.

In 1991, the proposal for a regional ACCHS for East Arnhem was endorsed by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC). Miwatj Regional Council, and ATSIC provided initial funding for Miwatj Health under the National Aboriginal Health Strategy.

The early Constitution of Miwatj Health emphasised the organisation’s aim ‘to provide resources and support to Yolŋu to enable them to assume control over the delivery of health services to the people of the Miwatj region.’ This strategic priority has endured, but it was not until 2008 that Miwatj began to actively pursue its regionalisation agenda.

At the time, Miwatj was operating the Nhulunbuy Clinic and training Aboriginal Health Workers as a registered training organisation (RTO). In 2008, when the local councils were abolished, Miwatj took on full management of the health centres at Gunyaŋara and Galiwin’ku (Ŋalkaṉbuy Clinic).

Miwatj was able to successfully advocate to increase the operational funding for these clinics, a pattern that has continued with subsequent transitions. That same year the East Arnhem Steering Committee (EASC) was established, with the goal of preparing a detailed plan and proposal for regionalisation.

In 2012, the EASC submitted its Final Regionalisation Proposal to the Northern Territory Aboriginal Health Forum (NTAHF). NTAHF initiated Pathways to Community Control (PtCC), a regionalisation strategy; however, Miwatj transitioned Yirrkala Clinic from Top End Health Service (TEHS) in 2012 outside of this.

Miwatj has since transitioned clinics at Yurrwi in 2015, and Ramingiṉiŋ and Gapuwiyak in 2019 under the PtCC strategy, thereby unifying the communities of North East Arnhem under one primary health care service provider.

Now, under this strategic plan, Miwatj sets out to finally achieve the Board’s vision of a regional Aboriginal health service by transitioning the Mamarika Ward clinics to community control.

Our Guiding Principles

Miwatj Health implements its core functions using our guiding principles:

Quality

We take pride in providing culturally safe, compassionate and dignified care at all times. We are transparent, accountable and fair in all our actions.

Community

We recognise and celebrate our history and the richness of our culture. We behave in a manner that reflects pride in our community, ourselves and our work.

Together

We believe and we invest in our people. We work as one united team. We support and care for each other, and we collaborate across all our business.

Respect and Integrity

Showing compassion, care and respect for all, their cultures, backgrounds and beliefs.

Our Vision

Building the capabilities of Miwatj mala* so they can take control of their lives and direct their own futures. *mala are the clan groups across the Miwatj region of East Arnhem Land.

Our Mission

Securing Aboriginal community-controlled quality healthcare services and public health programs across the entire East Arnhem region.

Our Values

Our values are – and always should be – owned by our people. That’s why they were deeply involved in creating them.

We work hard to ensure our team members feel truly connected to our values, and live and breathe them every single day, in the clinic and in the community.

We Believe. We Invest.

1. We believe… and we invest.

2. We respect… and we trust.

3. We contribute… and we learn.

4. We stand strong… and we last.

(And we do it together, always.)
Value 1

We believe… and we invest.

We truly behave in the Yolŋu and other Aboriginal people, so we invest in their health and wellbeing, and their capability. It’s not just about money – it’s about time, effort, energy and an open heart.
 

And we do it together, always.

Value 2

We respect… and we trust.

We are all here to help people improve their health and wellbeing. Each of us contributes our own effort, knowledge, skills and strength. We value giving to others, but we also value learning from them.

And we do it together, always.

Value 3

We contribute… and we learn.

We are all here to help people improve their health and wellbeing. Each of us contributes our own effort, knowledge, skills and strength. We value giving to others, but we also value learning from them.

And we do it together, always.

Value 4

We stand strong… and we last.

We know where Miwatj came from and where we need to be. To empower our communities to take ownership of their own health service and deliver better health outcomes, we must stand and walk together, as one team.

And we do it together, always.

Governance

Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation was established in 1992 and is incorporated under the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC). It is an independent, Aboriginal-controlled health service administered by a Board of Directors representing communities across East Arnhem Land. It is registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission (ACNC).

Miwatj Health is a member-based organisation. Members (link to membership form/document downloads) must be over 18 and habitually and permanently reside in the Miwatj region.

Directors are appointed by members at Ward meetings (link to ward map) which are held prior to the Annual General Meeting in a voting year. Directors are appointed for two-year terms and are eligible for re-appointment. The constitution of Miwatj also allows for appointment of Senior Elder advisors and independent (non-voting) directors.

The Board of Directors at Miwatj Health meets four times a year. Their duties include overseeing the activities and affairs of Miwatj Health including strategy, planning and budgets.

Strategic Goals

Yolŋu powered community Health and Wellbeing

We will take action that enable Miwatj mala to take control of their own lives and direct their own futures.

 

  1. Delivering quality health services
    We will continue to deliver best-practice, culturally appropriate and evidence -based services following a comprehensive, population health and needs-based approach.
  2. Taking care of everyone on country
    We will extend our service coverage across the region, responding to community needs and strengthening capabilities.
  3. Healthy business operations
    Further develop and demonstrate organisational culture and systems to drive efficient performance.
  4. Give the best people the opportunity to work with us
    Become an employer of choice to attract and retain quality staff.
  5. Building pathways for Yolŋu
    Support the empowerment of the Yolŋu workforce with meaningful career pathways and progression.

Let's Build Stronger Communities Together

Get in touch with the team at Miwatj Health today