Statement on the referendum on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament

Publish date:

Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV) Board acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land we work upon, the First Nations people across Victoria, and acknowledges their continuing connection to land, culture, and community. We pay our respect to their elders, past and present.

On October 14th, 2023, Australians will have their say in the historic Voice to Parliament referendum.

The referendum provides an important opportunity to engage in respectful dialogue with each other.

We respectfully acknowledge that this process will raise a range of sensitive issues and that the accompanying debate may be divisive for many.

The DHSV Board commits to supporting our community to access reliable information, which will empower them to make their own, informed decision for the referendum on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament.

DHSV is committed to taking meaningful steps towards reconciliation and closing the health gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the wider community.

We are proud of our longstanding engagement and deep commitment to working collaboratively with First Nations groups, including Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO), the wider Aboriginal health sector, and Aboriginal communities, to deliver oral health initiatives aimed at self-determination and improving health outcomes.

We have an ongoing Memorandum of Understanding with VACCHO and work collaboratively with three Aboriginal community dental agencies to achieve and sustain better oral health outcomes. Our partnerships have delivered culturally appropriate oral health promotion resources, including Deadly Tooth Tips.

We will continue to collaborate with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as part of our ongoing reconciliation efforts and we strive to create an environment that is culturally safe, diverse, and inclusive for Aboriginal patients, staff and families.

DHSV is currently developing our next Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) following the launch of our first RAP in 2019.

We are committed to the healing of country and working towards equity in health outcomes.

This is an important issue and we call on our valued stakeholders – staff, students and partners – to inform themselves in relation to the upcoming referendum and participate in the democratic process.

Note: The University of Melbourne has developed a series of factual resources that provide clear, accessible and evidence-based information, which are available here.