Support for Indigenous drug and alcohol workers

rocheIndigenous alcohol and drug workers are enduring lower pay, poorer job security and higher family pressures than their non-Indigenous counterparts while working in extremely challenging environments, according to researchers based at Flinders University.

On the basis of findings by its researchers, The National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA) is calling for Indigenous workers to be better supported, and has developed a resource package aimed at assisting their employers.

NCETA Director Professor Ann Roche (pictured)  said that Indigenous health workers are crucial in responding to tobacco, alcohol and other drug problems of Indigenous people, which, together with other issues, severely reduce the health and well-being of the Indigenous community.

“Despite the vital role Indigenous health workers play, our research found that they are experiencing significant disadvantages compared to their non-Indigenous counterparts, often receiving lower salaries on average and being less likely to hold permanent positions,” Professor Roche said.

The NCETA research also found that issues of mental health and well-being, and work and family imbalance are felt more acutely among Indigenous workers than the general workforce.

“These workers are doing important work that is also frequently difficult and highly demanding; they require and deserve to be given increased levels of relevant support. Recent decisions to increase salaries for community service workers were a positive move.” Professor Roche said.

Professor Roche said that in response to the problems, NCETA has developed a range of resources to assist organisations employing Indigenous alcohol and other drug workers.

The resources are being launched today (March 28) at Flinders University Victoria Square, Adelaide.

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