University of Wollongong lecturer Dr Summer May Finlay has had enough of Aboriginal-led initiatives not getting the credit they deserve.
The Yorta Yorta woman has urged the federal government to allow Aboriginal people to do things, especially when it comes to health issues, "the Aboriginal way".
Dr Finlay has taken heart from the "great successes" in the fight to restrict the spread of COVID-19.
"The theme of NAIDOC Week is Always Was, Always Will Be ... but this is not just about land, it is about doing things in an Aboriginal way," she said.
"We've seen particularly with the COVID virus, when things have been done in an Aboriginal way that have been led by Indigenous people, we've had massive success.
The theme of NAIDOC Week is Always Was, Always Will Be......but this is not just about land, it is about doing things in an Aboriginal way.Public Health Association of Australia's (PHAA) vice-president for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health. Dr Summer May Finlay
"The evidence supports that in terms of the low numbers of Aboriginal people contracting COVID.
"It boogles my mind why we don't actually have government basically recognising that and getting out of the way and letting Aboriginal people just get on with doing what they do best."
Dr Finlay is the Public Health Association of Australia's (PHAA) vice-president for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health.
She backs PHAA calls for a clear path towards funding and implementing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led health policy and priorities.
"The value of self-determination cannot be underestimated when it comes to closing the gap and improving our health and wellbeing - it is absolutely central to our success and reducing long-lasting and extreme health inequities experienced by First Nations people," Dr Finlay said.
"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and leaders know what is needed for their health and how to achieve it.
"The huge success of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations during COVID-19 is a key example, with only 0.5% of COVID infections in Australia occurring in Indigenous communities as a result of their strategic pandemic response.
"We need Australian governments and non-Indigenous people to support our effective leadership, and our self-determination for our health and wellbeing priorities and outcomes - and in every other respect.
We need Australian governments and non-Indigenous people to support our effective leadership, and our self-determination for our health and wellbeing priorities and outcomes - and in every other respect.Dr Summer May Finlay
"This must start with the reforms outlined in the Uluru Statement, firstly by enshrining a First Nations Voice to Parliament in the Australian Constitution.
"Genuine consultation, consensus, and collaboration between governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about their needs and policy priorities is essential; as well as a strong commitment to the funding and resources."
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