2019 Leaky Pipe Awards


2019 Leaky Pipe Award Winners

The 2019 Leaky Pipe award recipients were announced at the Close the Gap for Vision national conference dinner at the Double Tree by Hilton, Alice Springs. The awards included a performance by Constantina Bush one of Australia’s premier Indigenous showgirls.

The Leaky Pipe Awards are an opportunity to recognise and celebrate achievements of individuals and groups in progressing activities to close the gap for vision.

The awards were presented by Angee Ross from IEH, with support from Trevor Buzzacott from Aboriginal Community Services, SA.

leaky pipe winners group photo

Leaky Pipe recipients:  Shaun Tatipata, Heather Wilson, Presenter Trevor Buzzacott, Presenter Angee Ross, Tony Coburn and Jane Hager.

heather wilson accepting award
Heather receiving the Service Delivery Award


Leaky Pipe Award 2019 for Service Delivery

Heather has been coordinating the Eye Health Outreach program at Congress for the past 7 or so years. She has been an active contributor to local and regional service improvement and development, representing and consulting on a number of steering committees and working groups.

She is always willing to share her vast expertise in the area of eye health by providing education and training throughout the NT, having recently been integral to the rolling out of and training sessions for the retinal camera's.

She also worked extensively in the Trachoma/Trichiasis eye health area facilitating community screenings and mass treatments, and education, health promotion for Trachoma, and training local staff on grading of trachoma, and trichiasis education and awareness.

Heather has demonstrated a work ethic and a dedication to quality service that is second to none. She consistently demonstrates her commitment to the 'Close the Gap for Vision' mission in her daily work and selfless support for other individuals and partner organisations who share this vision and work in this space.


Leaky Pipe Award 2019 as an Unsung Hero

Tony was appointed to a Statewide Coordinator role in 2017. He holds a long and impressive career in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and brought with him to the role, a wealth of knowledge in relation to the health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the primary health care system and its failings in adequately addressing these needs.

There's few people that Tony doesn't know and he has been able to make great use of this in his role and the excellent work he’s done to date. He has spent considerable time building strong relationships with eye health service providers to ensure that optometry and ophthalmology outreach services are as effective, efficient and culturally responsive as they possibly can be. He works closely with stakeholders to understand existing (often leaky) eye health pathways and identifies, and where possible, facilitates improvement. In fact, the Visiting Optometry Scheme (VOS) budget was fully expended for the first time last financial year, because of Tony’s leadership.

He has worked closely with the University of Melbourne’s Indigenous Eye Health team to visit areas of the state to finalise the documentation of eye health activity, in order to update the Regional Progress Map, which is part of the Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision.

In under two years, there are now only two regions which are amber on the Qld map. When Tony commenced his role, his state map was almost entirely red (no known Roadmap implementation activity) and less than two years later it is now almost entirely green (proven Roadmap implementation activity). Tony is a huge asset to Indigenous Eye Health.

Tony accepting his award
Tony receiving the Unsung Hero Award
shaun accepting his award
Shaun receiving the Community Leadership Award


Leaky Pipe Award 2019 for Community Leadership

Shaun has worked in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health for over 18 years. He trained as an Aboriginal health worker in 2001 and since graduating, gained experience delivering primary health care services and implementing outreach programs in both the Aboriginal community controlled health sector and with jurisdictional governments across the country.

Shaun’s interests and expertise include strengthening service coordination through improved leadership and governance and advancing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioner profession. He is able to confidently communicate the complexities of the eye health system with multiple audiences including politicians and decision makers, eye health professionals and international visitors in an effort to address the inequities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Shaun has certainly earned the respect of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advocates and leaders from around Australia. He is recognised as an inspirational, strong and dynamic leader within his team.

Shaun has continued to value and practice strong partnerships and demonstrate commitment to improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the leadership positions he has held throughout his career.


Leaky Pipe Award 2019 for Regional Engagement

The Western NSW Eye Health Partnershipwas formally established in 2014 comprising of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, The Fred Hollows Foundation, Brien Holden Vision Institute, the Outback Eye Services, the Centre for Eye Health, Community Health, the PHN, the Local Hospital District and the fundholder.

The purpose of The Western NSW Eye Health Partnership is to advance a coordinated, accessible eye health system in the region with a particular focus on eye care for Aboriginal people. Initially the Partnership identified 20 recommendations to overcome gaps and issues in eye health and the Partnership has undertaken various projects and advocacy to implement the recommendations.

Examples of their achievements include establishing public retinal surgery in the region in 2015, eye health training to embed eye health in primary care started in 2015 and run each year, and a public cataract pathway.

Importantly, their work is supported by a regional project officer who does fantastic work in the region and is passionate in their advocacy for improving patient care and eye care services for Eye Partnership members, and persistent in supporting stakeholders to trial new models of care and access to training opportunities.

western NSW accepting award
Jane Hager receiving the Regional Engagement Award