Lung Foundation Australia aims to reduce the burden of chronic lung disease of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in rural and remote regions by increasing the local health providers’ capacity to deliver effective point of care chronic lung disease management to their patients.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and bronchiectasis are significant contributors to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health disadvantage. The death rate from COPD among indigenous Australians is five times that for non-indigenous Australians1.  Nationally, COPD affects approximately 20% of indigenous adults but the prevalence exceeds this in remote regions2.

In addition to the considerable under diagnosis of COPD in Australia3 there are many identified issues that can form barriers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People accessing effective health care in their local area. Some identified barriers are; lack of transport to and from services, fear and distrust of services and a lack of available, culturally safe services4.

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Sandie's Story - Why I Quit Smoking

Sandie Parter is a descendant of The Darumbal tribe of Rockhampton and a descendant of Tanna, Ambrym and Lifou islands of Vanuatu. With a family history of asthma Sandie suffered with breathing problems from a young age and also started smoking in her teenage years. In 2008 she found herself hospitalised with a bout of pneumonia and found it difficult to beat. At this point she realised she must stop smoking. With grit and determination and help from her doctor, her first attempt to quit was a success and Sandie was smoke free within a year.

Watch Sandie's story and be inspired to quit smoking here.

Indigenous COPD Action Plan

The COPD Action Plan should be completed by the clinician and patient together. It guides the patient in recognising when their symptoms change and what action they should take.

The COPD Action Plan is available via our website, to view click here.

Indigenous Respiratory Outreach Care Project (IROC)

Lung Foundation Australia has partnered with the Queensland-based Indigenous Respiratory Outreach Care Project (IROC) which is funded through the Closing the Gap initiative. IROC aims to increase access to specialised respiratory services for Aboriginal rural and remote Queensland communities, raise awareness of respiratory illnesses, signs and symptoms, and enhance community capacity in respiratory diseases. Several resources have been developed to support work in this area, covering respiratory conditions and lung cancer. These include:

Lung Disease Flipcharts

The Lung Disease Flipcharts have been designed for a clinician to explain the lungs, the impact of lung disease and how to manage symptoms.

• Lung Cancer
• Pneumonia
• Bronchiectasis

To view the Flipcharts, click here.

Indigenous Talking Board

This dual language talking board is in both English and Creole and walks through a series of questions and symptoms related to lung disease in a simple and user-friendly way. It also encourages those with symptoms to speak to their health worker.

Lung Sickness Poster

The poster covers symptoms of lung sickness and encourages people to have a ‘yarn’ with their health worker if they are showing these symptoms.

Love Your Lungs, Be Smoke Free Videos

Lung Foundation Australia has partnered with the Indigenous Respiratory Outreach Care (IROC) Program to produce five short lung health videos. These can be used to start the conversation about lung health and symptoms of lung disease.

1. Cowboy
2. Interview
3. Treadmill
4. Birthday cake
5. Three little pigs

Click here to view the playlist.

Let’s yarn about lung cancer DVD’s

This DVD aims to get Aboriginal people looking out and listening for signs of lung cancer. Being aware of lung cancer risks and symptoms and going to your doctor if you have concerns will lead to better outcomes for everyone in our community. Click here to view the video.

Merle’s story

Merle is a lung cancer survivor who generously shares her story together with her daughter, Valda, who is a registered nurse. To watch Merle's story, click here.

Bobby’s Story

Bobby is a young man who was living with serious symptoms of lung disease. Bobby took action and had the courage to visit his doctor about his symptoms, despite his fear of having lung cancer. Watch Bobby's story here.

Archie Roach – surviving lung cancer

Respected Aboriginal singer/songwriter, Archie Roach, shares his moving account of the fears and challenges he overcame following a lung cancer diagnosis. Click here to view Archie's video.

Indigenous Lung Cancer Awareness Pin

Lung cancer is a hidden disease and we need to increase awareness within the community. We encourage people to proudly wear this indigenous lung cancer pin to raise lung cancer awareness.

Breathe Easy, Walk Easy Training Program

Breathe Easy, Walk Easy is a COPD management program designed to support health services to establish community pulmonary rehabilitation/exercise programs.

To find out more about accessing this training contact

Breathe Easy, Walk Easy - Short of Wind

Poster and Brochure

The poster and brochure ask a series of questions about risks and symptoms of lung disease and promotes healthy lungs.

Breathe Easy, Walk Easy – My Plan For Healthy Lungs


The brochure helps those with lung disease to create a disease management plan.




1.  McKenzie DK, Abramson M, Crockett AJ, at al. The COPDX Plan: Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for the Management of COPD. 2007. Available from

2.  Rob Pierce (Convenor), Ral Antic, Anne Chang, Mark Howard, Alan James, Graeme Maguire, et al. RESPIRATORY AND SLEEP HEALTH IN INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIANS 2009.

3.  McKenzie DK, Frith PA, Burdon JGW, Town GI. The COPDX plan: Australian and New Zealand guidelines for the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Med J Aust. 2003; 178(6 Suppl):S1-S40.

4.  O’Grady KF, Revell A, Maguire G, Millonig R, Newman M, Reid D, et al.  In: Lung Health Services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in Queensland. 2010. Brisbane: Queensland Health.