As we start the year, we reflect on some of the achievements of 2023 and provide some insights into what to expect in 2024, including saying goodbye and thank you to Hepatitis Australia’s current CEO, Carrie Fowlie.  

For further information about Hepatitis Australia’s work last year, you can read our Annual Report 2023-2024.

Hepatitis Australia CEO Carrie Fowlie steps down, leaving a strong legacy for a hepatitis-free future by 2030

Hepatitis Australia, the peak body leading the national community response to viral hepatitis, announces the departure of its highly respected Chief Executive Officer, Carrie Fowlie following an extraordinarily impactful tenure.  

"As I step down as CEO, I am immensely proud of the collective effort to reshape the national response to centre people rather than diseases. The new national hepatitis strategies place Australia in an excellent position to achieve elimination of viral hepatitis by 2030, and the significance of adopting an equity threshold into national policy cannot be understated.” 

“There are so many collective achievements, but I am most proud of the increased visibility of people and communities affected by viral hepatitis, and how profoundly impactful their voices have been at Parliament House. The multi-partisan support for people and communities affected by viral hepatitis has never been stronger. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in the response for their extraordinary efforts that are critical but often unseen. I can’t wait for Australia to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030!” said Carrie Fowlie, outgoing CEO of Hepatitis Australia. 

Read the full Media Release

Key dates for your diary 2024 

The following is a non-exhaustive list of key dates that Hepatitis Australia foresees are relevant for the viral hepatitis sector in 2024. If you have an event that you would like to share with the sector, please contact the Hepatitis Australia communications team who will consider the request 

United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs High Level Meeting  

World Hepatitis Summit 2024 

We can’t wait for the incredible work in Australia to be showcased at the Summit including through the Indigenous Peoples led stream which the formidable Rebecca Johnson OAM and Scott Wilson are presenting at.  

The World Hepatitis Summit (WHS) is the only global hepatitis event which is focused on a multi-stakeholder, multi-sector public health approach which brings together diverse participants, from civil society to policy makers, private sector to academics, to make the dream of hepatitis elimination a reality. 

Federal Budget 2024  

  • 11 May 2024 

With the imminent release of the national strategies, the Federal Budget 2024 will be a key input to drive the national response. Read Hepatitis Australia’s Budget Submission 2024-2025. 

Release of the National Hepatitis B Strategy 2023 – 2030 and the National Hepatitis C Strategy 2023 – 2030 

  • Mid-year 2024 

We expect the national strategies to have finished the extensive government approval processes in about the middle of 2024. In the meantime the draft national strategies remain on our website here. 

World Hepatitis Day  

  • 28 July 2024 

World Hepatitis Day, held on 28 July, is an international annual day observed by the United Nations and one of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) nine officially mandated global public health days. In Australia, World Hepatitis Day is coordinated by the national peak body Hepatitis Australia to raise awareness and promote action on viral hepatitis. 

If you or your organisation are interested in participating in the World Hepatitis Day Network, please contact the Hepatitis Australia communications team. 

14th Australasian Viral Hepatitis Conference 

  • 1-3 August 2024 
  • Garamilla (Darwin) 
  • Organiser: ASHM Health 
  • Abstracts Due: 24 March 2024
  • Info and Registration 

Hepatitis Australia is pleased to be part of the Executive Committee for the 14th Australasian Viral Hepatitis Conference (VH2024) being held on beautiful Larrakia country, Garamilla (Darwin), Northern Territory. 

This year’s conference promises to be an exciting event with strong community leadership that facilitates dialogue between researchers, community, government and clinicians across different geographic locations inside Australasia and from the region. 

Fifth National Viral Hepatitis Elimination Forum 

  • 14 November 2024 
  • Participation limited to Hepatitis Australia’s staff, board and membership 

The National Hepatitis Elimination Forum is an annual, national forum where Hepatitis Australia and its members are consulted and informed of issues of importance to the community and the elimination of hepatitis B and hepatitis C. 

Hepatitis Australia maintains support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart 

Hepatitis Australia was extremely saddened and disappointed by the outcome of the referendum held in October last year.  

First Nations leaders, community members and organisations who supported constitutional recognition and a Voice to parliament released a 'Statement for our People and Country' after observing a week of silence, which we encourage you to read and reflect on.  The Statement vows to stay committed to the vision of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and a Voice – neither constitutionally enshrined or legislated – "We have an agenda for justice in pursuit of our First Nations rights that sorely need a Voice – we will continue to follow our law and our ways, as our Elders and Ancestors have done." 

Hepatitis Australia maintains its commitment to the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the three pillars of truth telling, treaty and voice. Hepatitis Australia is committed to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice and self-determination Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people advising on matters that affect them is core business and a necessary condition of viral hepatitis elimination.  

 We commit to actively embedding the principles of voice, truth and treaty in our own work. This is a significant input to our planning for 2024.  

There are many support services available via Australian Indigenous Health Info Net. The Racism. It Stops With Me. Campaign also have a number of support services listed on their website.  

Australian Priority Statement: With concerted action we can find a cure for hepatitis B 

Centering people living with hepatitis B, a Community Forum opened the recent International Hepatitis B Meeting 2023.  

This is the first time since 2019 that this significant international meeting has been held in the Western Pacific Region, which has the greatest burden of hepatitis B in the world. The meeting created major opportunities to progress research towards a cure for hepatitis B and to call for more action to achieve global and domestic hepatitis B elimination commitments. 

This statement was developed by Australian delegates, including from the Australian Centre for Hepatitis Virology, the Doherty Institute and Hepatitis Australia, who attended the International Hepatitis B Meeting 2023 Community Forum which was organised by the Hepatitis B Foundation and ICE-HBV, and endorsed by and Hepatitis Australia. 

Read the Statement 

National Aboriginal Health Community Controlled Organisation (NACCHO) Members’ Conference showcased impact of community-controlled sector 

Hepatitis Australia was pleased to attend the 2023 NACCHO Members Conference in Noongar Boodjar (Perth), alongside our colleagues at Hepatitis WA, where we showcased the National Hepatitis Infoline 

The theme of the conference, ‘Working together, we are Stronger’ was echoed throughout the event and the strength and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples was seen and heard.  

Presentations throughout the conference showed the significant impact Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) have, servicing over 50% of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.  

The National Agreement on Closing the Gap was recognised as particularly significant following the referendum outcome, however there remains a significant funding gap, without which we cannot expect progress.  

The ongoing impacts of colonialism include hyper-incarceration which continues to be an extensive and systemic issue founded in racism that has drastic health impacts. Contact with the criminal justice system should be prevented in the first place. Community-controlled health organisations need appropriate resourcing and access to support people who are incarcerated. The conference showcased community-controlled care being provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are incarcerated and that these services needed to be scaled up. 

It was excellent to see a session on Harm Reduction and Needle and Syringe Programs (NSPs) in ACCHOs, which highlighted the significance and importance of choice and culturally appropriate harm reduction services.  

Congratulations to NACCHO on the conference, delivered at an extremely significant, but difficult time. The record-breaking turnout of over 800 people at the event reflected how important and meaningful it was.  

Hepatitis Australia and Hepatitis WA colleagues at the 2023 NACCHO Members Conference 

International Network on Health and Hepatitis in Substance Users (INHSU) Conference 2023 

During October, Hepatitis Australia attended the INHSU conference in Geneva, Switzerland. It was fantastic to see so many people from Australia showcasing their incredible work!  

Hepatitis Australia co-hosted an interactive session on integrating hepatitis B into harm reduction with the World Hepatitis Alliance and the Hepatitis C Trust. They discussed the Global Priority Statement: Integrate Hepatitis B Responses into Harm Reduction, which was developed at a Viral Hepatitis Pre-Conference as part of Harm Reduction International 2023 Conference held in Naarm (Melbourne) earlier this year. You can read the priority statement here.  

Read some of the key takeaways from INHSU 2023 on their website. 

UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs: Viral hepatitis   

Hepatitis Australia attended the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs CND66 in December 2023 to speak in response to the Thematic Challenge: The rate of transmission of HIV, hepatitis C virus and other blood borne virus diseases associated with drug use, including injecting drug use in some countries, remain high. 

You can read Hepatitis Australia’s statement here. 

It was extremely pleasing to see extensive discussions on priority populations, harm reduction and hepatitis at the forum. The Australian Government represented by Ms Carolyn Peterson reaffirmed its to achieving the 2030 hepatitis elimination goals. In her statement, Ms Peterson addressed the significance of the national strategies as part of Australia’s national policy framework which underpins the country’s commitment to addressing blood borne viruses. She also spoke to people who are incarcerated and the need for increased action on needle and syringe programs in custodial settings, which is the first priority action of the new National Hepatitis C Strategy 2023-2030.  

A recording of this is available here.

Hepatitis Australia thanks the Australian Government for raising its voice on the global stage at the UN to raise awareness and call for more action for people and communities affected by viral hepatitis. 

Congratulations to the new World Hepatitis Alliance Regional Board Members 

The World Hepatitis Alliance has announced its new elected regional board members commencing this month. Congratulations to Dee Lee who has been elected to serve the WPRO region, alongside Gamal Shiha and Ibrahima Gueye who will serve the EMRO and AFRO regions respectively.  

Thank you to outgoing board member Lien Tran for your years of service in the role.  

Read the announcement. 

Update on the National Hepatitis B Strategy 2023-2030 and the National Hepatitis C Strategy 2023-2030 

Australia can achieve its 2030 viral hepatitis elimination goals!  

The Australian Government is to be commended on the extensive multi-year consultation process that was undertaken in the development of the National Hepatitis B Strategy 2023-2030 and the National Hepatitis C Strategy 2023-2030. Critically, the community has been deeply involved every step of the way. These processes have included:   

  • Two reviews by the Blood Borne Virus and Sexually Transmissible Infections Standing Committee (BBVSS).     
  • The Department of Health and Aged Care’s targeted stakeholder consultation process concluding in September 2022 (which received detailed submissions from a broad range of stakeholders, including community, research organisations and clinician representative bodies).    
  • The consensus-based targets development process which brought together community, researchers, clinicians, and the Commonwealth and State and Territory governments to develop the targets which were included in the public consultation draft.     
  • The Department of Health and Aged Care’s public consultation process concluding in June 2023 (which received over 50 submissions from a wide range of community, research, government and clinical stakeholders).      

Hepatitis Australia strongly supports these strategies, and this support is echoed in the submissions made via the public consultation process.   

The national hepatitis strategies are at a very mature stage of development, having undergone extensive processes, and are almost complete with the last stage being the formal government approval processes. However, there is a need for some pressure from everyone to support the prioritisation and public release of these strategies.   

Read more