Category: News

Two paths strong for Aboriginal-led education in Coffs Harbour

Photos by Haidee Allan and supplied by BMNAC

On Thursday the 7th of April, Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan Aboriginal Corporation (BMNAC) officially opened the Gumbaynggirr Giingana Freedom School (GGFS), the first bilingual Aboriginal school in NSW.

Located at Coffs Harbour TAFE’s, Glenreagh Street Campus, the school caters for students from K-2 with 13 children currently enrolled in 2022, and plans to eventually grow to K-6. The school is centered around language and culture and quality teaching based on Gumbaynggirr values and philosophies, embedded with strong community and parent engagement.

Clark Webb, a Gumbaynggirr man, BMNAC Founder and Executive Officer, said the school was an important step in accelerating the BMNAC vision to enrich the learning experience through Gumbaynggirr worldview, language and pedagogy.The school received funding from Paul Ramsay Foundation, through the ‘Learning Lives, Strengthened in Culture’ program. Professor Glyn Davis, AC, CEO of the Paul Ramsay Foundation, said financial investment was helping to support the community vision for Aboriginal-led education.

Congratulations Clark and the team at BMNAC on an amazing launch and for continuing to be leaders in Aboriginal language for the community.

Two paths strong for Aboriginal-led education in Coffs Harbour

Photos by Haidee Allan and supplied by BMNAC

On Thursday the 7th of April, Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan Aboriginal Corporation (BMNAC) officially opened the Gumbaynggirr Giingana Freedom School (GGFS), the first bilingual Aboriginal school in NSW.

Located at Coffs Harbour TAFE’s, Glenreagh Street Campus, the school caters for students from K-2 with 13 children currently enrolled in 2022, and plans to eventually grow to K-6. The school is centered around language and culture and quality teaching based on Gumbaynggirr values and philosophies, embedded with strong community and parent engagement.

Clark Webb, a Gumbaynggirr man, BMNAC Founder and Executive Officer, said the school was an important step in accelerating the BMNAC vision to enrich the learning experience through Gumbaynggirr worldview, language and pedagogy.The school received funding from Paul Ramsay Foundation, through the ‘Learning Lives, Strengthened in Culture’ program. Professor Glyn Davis, AC, CEO of the Paul Ramsay Foundation, said financial investment was helping to support the community vision for Aboriginal-led education.

Congratulations Clark and the team at BMNAC on an amazing launch and for continuing to be leaders in Aboriginal language for the community.

Two paths strong for Aboriginal-led education in Coffs Harbour

Photos by Haidee Allan and supplied by BMNAC

On Thursday the 7th of April, Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan Aboriginal Corporation (BMNAC) officially opened the Gumbaynggirr Giingana Freedom School (GGFS), the first bilingual Aboriginal school in NSW.

Located at Coffs Harbour TAFE’s, Glenreagh Street Campus, the school caters for students from K-2 with 13 children currently enrolled in 2022, and plans to eventually grow to K-6. The school is centered around language and culture and quality teaching based on Gumbaynggirr values and philosophies, embedded with strong community and parent engagement.

Clark Webb, a Gumbaynggirr man, BMNAC Founder and Executive Officer, said the school was an important step in accelerating the BMNAC vision to enrich the learning experience through Gumbaynggirr worldview, language and pedagogy.The school received funding from Paul Ramsay Foundation, through the ‘Learning Lives, Strengthened in Culture’ program. Professor Glyn Davis, AC, CEO of the Paul Ramsay Foundation, said financial investment was helping to support the community vision for Aboriginal-led education.

Congratulations Clark and the team at BMNAC on an amazing launch and for continuing to be leaders in Aboriginal language for the community.

“The further we live away from home, the harder it can get to continue speaking and practicing language, because we are coming out of the natural environment,” Ofa continues.

Eip Karem Beizam run a number of language programs on Thursday Island, and have travelled extensively to perform and practice culture in Townsville, Sydney and Canberra where Meriam people also reside.

“We use funds from grants to pay for venues to come together to provide a safe space for the language to be spoken without barriers,” Ofa explains.

The group relies on Meriam Elders and fluent language speakers to help facilitate workshops and pass on knowledge to younger generations.

“Statistics prove that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people die younger than non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It is critical that we acknowledge and embrace the wisdom of the Elders that we have now, especially those who are fluent speakers,” says Ofa.

Ofa is encouraging other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural groups to use Census data to support programs that keep Indigenous languages and cultures alive.

The 2021 Census will be held on Tuesday 10 August nationally. For people in remote communities, there will be Census field staff there in July and August to help people complete their Census form.

Information and resources to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is available at www.census.abs.gov.au/indigenous or by phone on 1800 512 441.

Two paths strong for Aboriginal-led education in Coffs Harbour

Photos by Haidee Allan and supplied by BMNAC

On Thursday the 7th of April, Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan Aboriginal Corporation (BMNAC) officially opened the Gumbaynggirr Giingana Freedom School (GGFS), the first bilingual Aboriginal school in NSW.

Located at Coffs Harbour TAFE’s, Glenreagh Street Campus, the school caters for students from K-2 with 13 children currently enrolled in 2022, and plans to eventually grow to K-6. The school is centered around language and culture and quality teaching based on Gumbaynggirr values and philosophies, embedded with strong community and parent engagement.

Clark Webb, a Gumbaynggirr man, BMNAC Founder and Executive Officer, said the school was an important step in accelerating the BMNAC vision to enrich the learning experience through Gumbaynggirr worldview, language and pedagogy.The school received funding from Paul Ramsay Foundation, through the ‘Learning Lives, Strengthened in Culture’ program. Professor Glyn Davis, AC, CEO of the Paul Ramsay Foundation, said financial investment was helping to support the community vision for Aboriginal-led education.

Congratulations Clark and the team at BMNAC on an amazing launch and for continuing to be leaders in Aboriginal language for the community.

Registrations open for the Atlantic Fellows Social Equity Program

Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity (AFSE) is calling for applicants to register interest for their 2021 program.

Applicants can check eligibility and register their interest now at socialequity.atlanticfellows.org/apply, ahead of formal applications opening on 26 June.

The Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity program is a year-long intensive program hosted by the University of Melbourne that is open to Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian and New Zealand applicants.

The AFSE program develops powerful understandings of inequity and social change, grounded in Indigenous ways of knowing, doing and being. Successful applicants enter the program as Fellows and go on to join a growing community of AFSE Senior Fellows and global Atlantic Fellows. They also have the opportunity to complete a graduate qualification in Social Change Leadership through the Melbourne Graduate School of Education.

Elizabeth McKinley, Executive Director of AFSE and Professor of Indigenous Education at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, said the AFSE program is needed now more than ever.

“With many people protesting around the world calling for social change, the AFSE program will foster Fellows’ capacity to accelerate the change needed for Indigenous communities to build a society in which we all wish to live,” said Professor McKinley.

“We are working for Indigenous-led social change to build on the incredible strength, resilience, knowledge and understandings Indigenous people bring to the world.”
Shaun Ewen, Pro Vice Chancellor (Indigenous) at the University of Melbourne said the opportunity to join the AFSE program is timely.

“The single most important thing a University can offer is, through knowledge, discovery and partnerships, to make our communities and societies better places for all of us”, said Professor Ewen.

“There is now a profound opportunity for social change. The global Atlantic Fellows community, of which AFSE is an Indigenous led and focussed member, is working hard to find sustainable, inclusive and equitable pathways to a ‘new normal’ post-COVID.”

Shane Webster, an AFSE Senior Fellow and General Manager of Regions at Jawun has experienced the benefits of the ASFE program.

“As a Senior Fellow, my experience is translating into major changes in my projects,” said Mr Webster.

“The opportunity to meet and collaborate with Fellows has also had a transformative impact on how I approach systemic change. I’ve always seen lifelong fellowship as an obligation to support current and future fellows above and beyond other interests.”

The Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity is one of seven global and interconnected Atlantic Fellows programmes to which the foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies, has committed more than $US660 million worldwide.

Established by American/Irish businessman Chuck Feeney, the co-founder of the Duty Free Shoppers Group, Atlantic Philanthropies has given away US$8 billion over the course of Mr Feeney’s lifetime, largely anonymously.

More information about AFSE program can be found at socialequity.atlanticfellows.org

Left to right: Alison Bentick, Penny Jones, Karrina Nolan, Janine Mohamed and Huti Watson from the 2019 cohort. Photo: James Henry

Evolve expands into not for profit sector with national Red Cross contract

Evolve FM, Australia’s First majority Indigenous owned Integrated facilities management company, has won a major national competitive open tender process with not for profit enterprise, Red Cross.

The five year contract, will see Evolve expand its footprint into new regions nationally, taking on facilities management for the national Red Cross property portfolio.

The win is a boost to the company’s appointment in 2017 as one of three Australian Government property services providers, supporting 23 Commonwealth entities with property and facilities maintenance services nationally.

Newly appointed CEO, Wakka Wakka and Bundjalung man Shane Hamilton, said the new contract is an important step in the company’s expansion.

“Red Cross has a significant national property portfolio, and the contract is an enormous opportunity for Evolve to expand our national reach into new areas, while supporting one of Australia’s largest not for profits to reduce their property operating costs through high quality services,” said Mr Hamilton.

“We are excited to partner with Red Cross. Our companies share similar values in supporting equality and opportunity for all Australians, and in ensuring high quality property and facilities management.”

Red Cross Chief Executive Officer Judy Slatyer said Evolve will manage facility services at more than 350 Red Cross offices and retail stores around Australia. This facilities management will ensure all properties are safe, functional, efficient and compliant with building legislation

“It’s a great agreement from a commercial point of view as it represents a significant improvement in how our facilities will be managed. We’re also pleased to support the agreement as part of the organisation’s commitment to reconciliation. Under our Reconciliation Action Plan, we have committed to develop five new commercial partnerships with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander businesses as part of a multi-pronged approach to improving the well-being of First Nations peoples. Investing in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service sector and supporting Indigenous-owned businesses is a practical way of ensuring improved opportunities for First Nations peoples,” Ms Slatyer said.

The contract is expected to result in flow on benefits for the Indigenous business sector more broadly.

“This contract is not just a win for us but for First Nations businesses in our supply chain and will generate economic benefits right across the Indigenous economy,” Mr Hamilton said.

The company’s growth has already provided significant economic benefits for other First Nations businesses.

“Since commencing the Whole of Australian Government Property Services contract in 2017, we have become a major player in the facilities management sector, growing our vendor base with more First Nations suppliers,” Mr Hamilton said.

“In the last three years, we have spent more than $12.6 million with First Nations businesses.”

Mr Hamilton said the company’s growth was a signal of the importance it placed on delivering high quality services for its clients.

“First and foremost, we work with vendors that can deliver the high quality services to our clients,” Mr Hamilton said.

“We are not only a majority owned First Nations business – fundamentally we are helping our clients to reduce their overall property operating expenses by delivering high quality services.”

To learn more about Evolve, visit their website.

R U OK Stronger Together Campaign Manager Appointed

R U OK? are delighted to announce the appointment of Steven Satour as Campaign Manager to expand and deepen the Stronger Together campaign.

Mr Satour is a Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara and Pertame man from Central Australia. He is a driven Indigenous entrepreneur and founder of Iwara Travel, with more than a decade of varied experience in marketing, event and project management across tourism, education, the arts, employment, small business and not for profit sectors.

Katherine Newton, CEO, R U OK? has warmly welcomed Steven to the team knowing his accomplished track record in working with Indigenous groups to achieve results is a great addition to complement the R U OK? team.

“We are thrilled that an individual of Steven’s calibre who has garnered such respect from within his community is going to be working with us, to further share the Stronger Together message amongst First Australians,” said Ms Newton.

Mr Satour recently worked with the City of Sydney and is a National NAIDOC Committee member. “Steven believes that by celebrating and embracing Indigenous cultures we bring all Australians together and we look forward to working alongside him.”

Mr Satour featured in the Stronger Together campaign in early 2019 and says that was the moment he knew R U OK? was the organisation he wanted to join and where he could make a difference.

“I am really excited about working with R U OK? and further sharing the message amongst our communities, that a conversation really can change a life,” said Mr Satour.

“Stronger Together resonates with me so well, especially due to my culture. The message is so simple and powerful. It is steeped in our cultural practice of being a community and ensuring that no one is left behind.

“It’s really about asking the question and being prepared to listen. It’s not always about fixing the problem right then and there. Being able to articulate your feelings and just have someone listen is a really powerful way to show your support,” says Mr Satour.

The Stronger Together kit is a free resource containing videos, posters, a conversation guide and more to remind everyone in every community to ask someone in their mob who might be struggling, “Are you OK?”.

Aboriginal Employment Strategy (AES) celebrated the achievements of 50 Trainees yesterday during a Graduation Ceremony on Gadigal Country, in Surry Hills, Sydney.

Over the past 23 years, the AES has provided more than 21,000 employment opportunities and 2,500 Traineeships to young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in urban, regional, rural and remote locations. The Traineeship program provides coaching and mentoring, an industry recognised qualification, alongside hands-on paid work experience with a host employer across a range of employment sectors and industries.

“The AES Traineeship Program is about empowering young Indigenous people through solid mentoring, strengthening cultural identities, creating big dreams, and providing real employment pathways. Congratulations to these young Indigenous leaders as they start their next chapter in life – strong, proud, skilled and experienced” says AES CEO Kristy Masella.

The Award ceremony also announced GP Synergy Trainee Rhiannan Reid as the winner of this year’s Chairpersons Achievement Award. The candidate is determined by their demonstrated resilience, strength and courage, demonstrated abilities beyond their years, and has gone above and beyond to complete their Traineeship.

“The AES traineeship allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and involved myself with things I thought I could never do. I have learned communication skills and how to express them in a work and non-work environment. I became independent very quickly, made new friends and work colleagues. I also gained confidence in sharing my skills with others in the workplace”, says Rhianna Reid.

The AES Traineeship program is one of the organisation’s most successful initiatives creating significant contributions to employer workplaces and their customer experiences. More than 50% of AES graduated trainees go on to achieve full-time employment with their host employer, while many others go on to undertake university study or further training, or full-time employment with a new employer.

Former 2016 Chairperson Achievement Award winner and 2019 Graduation Ceremony MC Tyrone Pynor reflects on the opportunities his Traineeship has provided for him;

“The first two years with National Australia Bank set me up for success. It was a sense of community. For people to see a 17-year -old Indigenous boy behind the teller felt really good.

The Traineeship gave me so many experiences and connections in the industry. After my graduation, I was fortunate to be offered an opportunity with SBS, and since then it’s been the most-wild ride. I can confidently say that the opportunities that AES gave me made me the person I am today.”

AES currently works with many corporate partners such as GP Synergy, Westpac Group, Wandiyali, Scentre Group, Apprenticeship Support Australia, and Awabakal in delivering Traineeships and Apprenticeships.

Georgina van de Water, Chief Operations Officer from GP Synergy says;

“We see the inclusion of traineeships in an organisation as not only an opportunity for the trainees, but for other team members to benefit through sharing their experiences and skills. The organisation also develops through the diversity our people bring. We see their success as our success.”

AES CEO Kristy Masella adds, “Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people use the Traineeships as a stepping-stone to enter diverse career opportunities. These graduates are completing the program with confidence and have high expectations of what they can achieve in their careers. We are so proud of them and the hard work, resilience, and courage they have shown.”

The AES has over 50 new traineeship opportunities available for 2020.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Kristy Masella is available for interviews
High resolution photos are available here.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Marguerite Barbara, Media and Communications Manager at 33 Creative Pty Ltd
p: 02 9516 3466 |m: 0417 692 832 |e: Marguerite@33creative.com.au

ABOUT ABORIGINAL EMPLOYMENT STRATEGY:

AES is the largest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment service. The AES programs empower Indigenous people through brokering employment opportunities and supporting candidates to have successful careers through mentoring, coaching, training and specialist support.

The AES now operates 13 offices nationally.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are encouraged to join national efforts to help break the cycle of violence against women, coinciding with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November.

Culturally appropriate resources have been developed to support communities to talk with young people about respect as part of the Stop it At the Start campaign.

Violence against women and their children is a serious issue in Australia. One in four women has experienced violence from a current or former partner, boyfriend, girlfriend or date.

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, the statistics are even more concerning.

One-third of Indigenous women has experienced physical violence from a partner, twice the level recorded among non-Indigenous women.

In addition, Indigenous women in remote and regional areas experience rates of family violence up to 45 times higher and sexual assault 16 to 25 times higher than other women [1].

All members of the community have a role to play as role models for teaching children about respect. Parents, family members, teachers, coaches, employers, and community leaders can help break the cycle of violence by reflecting on their own attitudes and talking with young people about respectful relationships and gender equality.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander role models and Stop it at the Start campaign supporters Jeremy Donovan, Lani Brennan, and Leila Gurruwiwi have reflected on their own stories and experiences of disrespect to highlight the importance of having these conversations with young people.

Kuku-Yalanji and Gumbaynggirr man, father and cultural mentor Jeremy Donovan says,

“We might say things that are harmful to our partners and children, sometimes we say things without even realising the danger it causes. Most of us, at some time, have heard adults say things to boys like, ‘stop acting like a girl’, or they excuse disrespectful behaviour by saying things to girls such as, ‘it’s just boys being boys’. I know I have been guilty of this in the past.”

Indigenous Support Worker, TV Host and role model Leila Gurruwiwi agrees that people should stop to reflect on the impact of their words.

“When I hear people say, ‘he just did it because he likes you’, I think, ‘if he loved and respects you, he wouldn’t hurt you – whether that’s emotionally, physically, spiritually,” says Leila.

Lani Brennan, Nyawaygi woman and domestic violence survivor, says the campaign is important for the community and shaping behaviours built on respect.

“The Stop it at the Start campaign is targeting the disrespectful attitudes and behaviours that parents and other role models teach our young people, often without realising it. I think this message is so important because what we say to our kids and show them by our own actions, shapes their attitudes and beliefs,” Lani says.

The Stop it at the Start campaign is an initiative under the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2010-2022.

Visit respect.gov.au for more information and to download free resources.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au

#stopitatthestart
#respectstartswithus

Notes to Editors

Download audio with Stop it at the Start ambassadors Lani Brennan and Jeremy Donovan here.
Stop it at the Start campaign videos are available here.
High-resolution photos are available here.

[1]Reducing violence against women and their children Research informing the development of a national campaign November 2015 Commissioned by Australian Government Department of Social Services: https://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/11_2015/dss_violence_against_women_public_report.pdf

For Further Information:

Marguerite Barbara, Media and Communications Manager at 33 Creative Pty Ltd
p: 02 9516 3466 |m: 0417 692 832 |e: Marguerite@33creative.com.au

Keeping kids safe online starts with having a chat

For John Paul Janke, a Canberra father to four young boys, keeping up with what the kids do online is important.

Aged between 14 and 6, the kids, like many these days, are leading busy lives both on and offline. Much of their time is spent playing online video games or watching videos online.

“As parents, we tend to give devices to our kids to keep them entertained. But we actually need to be aware of what the cost of that could be, and how dangerous that could be to the safety of our children,” John Paul said.

The key to helping the kids stay safe online, is talking to them about what they’re doing and keeping connected, says John Paul.

“I try to be aware of all the things they’re using. They play a lot on their gaming consoles so I keep across what games they’re playing. I look at the various instances in those games that allow them to play with the public, versus privately.

“And like most kids, they’re on their tablets or phones so I need to be across that too. I want to know what platforms they’re using, whether they’re on social media, or just surfing the web.

“You’re inviting the world into your house, so you’ve got to be across the various platforms, and the things they play. You’ve got to moderate their engagement with the world.”

“In our house, we talk about what platforms we use, so there are no surprises,” John Paul said.

New research commissioned by the Australian Government’s eSafety Commissioner found 1 in 5 young Australians and 1 in 3 adults have had a negative experience online. 1 in 4 young people report being contacted by strangers or someone they didn’t know, while 1 in 5 report being socially excluded online.

John Paul said it was important to discuss online safety issues and set up ground rules from the start.

“We haven’t had any issues yet with online safety, but we want to make sure that it doesn’t happen. So, we have open conversations about online safety, with the kids and with other parents.”

“Being a single dad, I talk to their Mum. We share online discipline and routine and how we moderate the kids’ accounts. The older boys can only have social media accounts if we have access too. And we’ve discussed various disciplinary measures if they step outside the boundaries we set, and they agree to being banned from the account for a day or two versus a week.”

“We’ve got a coordinated approach to parenting. We do that with school, and their life, but you’ve actually got to do it with their online life as well. So, what they get at my house is exactly the same as what they get at their mother’s house.

John Paul urges other parents to talk to their kids about online safety too.

“The way I look it, you wouldn’t drop your kids at the park and drive away. Keeping our kids safe online is no different – Start the chat, keep our mob safe online. The eSafety website eSafety.gov.au, has information to help you”.