A new health initiative that places culture, language and the expertise of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men at its centre will receive additional financial support from the Morrison Government.


Bush TV Enterprises, an Aboriginal-owned agency specialising in remote Aboriginal content creation, will receive additional funding from the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme to provide two vehicles that support delivery of its Camping on Country program.


This follows Morrison Government funding of $1 million for the program, announced in January 2019, to support its operation.


Camping on Country, developed by award-winning actor, television presenter and Yamatji man Ernie Dingo and his Bush TV partner Tom Hearn, gives Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men in remote areas a healthy cultural stay on country, with each camp providing a safe space as well as health and wellbeing outreach services for up to 50 men during the day and 20 men overnight.


A 4WD dual cab, known as a Storybus, will be set up in remote communities, acting as a hub for each camp.


It will be kitted out with washing machines and dryers, a shower and toilet, a pull out barbeque kitchen and washing sink, a television and speakers, a fridge and freezer, and other amenities.


A second, bigger 4WD will be purchased to safely transport people to and from the camps, including traditional healers and Aboriginal male nurses and health counsellors who are assigned to each camp.


Together, the two new vehicles will help the program to run health checks, health promotion events and screening, laundry services, hot showers and toilet facilities, suicide prevention and mental health first aid, and medical referral services.


Recognising the importance of culture and language in improving the health and wellbeing of our men, the vehicles will also support the hosting of cultural and story-sharing events, barbeques, yarning circles, private counselling sessions, traditional healing sessions, community-based chronic disease prevention information sessions, and language-specific movie nights.


Bush TV plans to conduct 10 camps per year, with the initial focus on communities in need in Central Australia, the Kimberley, Arnhem Land, the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands.