Local, Independant and Effective

Video: Indi’s indigenous communities’ strength on show in local solutions

Posted September 08, 2017


Cathy was proud to share in Parliament the huge impact local indigenous networks are having ahead of the Deadly and Proud awards in Wangaratta next week.

Ms McGOWAN (Indi) (11:39): I'm proud to stand here to represent the great work of my Indigenous communities in Indi. I want to begin by acknowledging the leadership right across the electorate. People are stepping up and doing great work in a leadership capacity. Particularly to Darren Moffitt and Chris Thorne and to our aunties and uncles, who are so willing and generous in sharing their culture and experiences with our communities, thank you. I would also like to recognise their commitment in engaging purposefully and genuinely with those working on the ground with their communities to come up with very practical local solutions and benefits for all of us.

I would also like to acknowledge Judy Ahmat and Tahlia Biggs who volunteered at my office in Canberra and are now sharing their skills with the community. My door is always open, and I look forward to welcoming more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as volunteers in my office.

Indi is blessed to have three very strong Indigenous networks: the Albury Wodonga network; the Dirawarra; and in Mansfield and Murrindindi, the Gadhaba network. These networks bring community together, they bring government together and they bring local government together. They also plan how we might focus our energies and efforts. They are having a huge impact. I want to acknowledge and thank the communities for doing that work.

One of the projects that the Dirawarra group is doing in Wangaratta is having an awards night called the Proud and Deadly Awards. I am sad I can't be there on Thursday 14 September to celebrate with everybody. But I want to take the chance in parliament today to say how proud I am, particularly of our young people, and to thank you for the work you're doing, for being brave, for being courageous, and I am really pleased that you can have the acknowledgement that you deserve. Next week, this will be our fifth Proud And Deadly Awards. It is great having the event at Wangaratta High School, which has been supporting the event since 2013.

In acknowledging the work of the network, there is a whole lot of other people who have a role to play. To all the people on the network, thank you. I would like to do a call-out to the Kelsos from the Department of Education and Training. I know your work in visiting the schools right across the electorate is doing a lot of good so thank you.

I would like to talk about Murrindindi in the south of my electorate, one of the jewels in the crown. During NAIDOC Week, the Murrindindi Shire Council and the Taungurung clan's Aboriginal corporation recognised and celebrated with a local Indigenous language kit. What a fantastic thing to do. The kit was produced to enhance and complement the development of Aboriginal culturally inclusive practice in early-years services. It is designed for younger people, but is useful for parents as well. It is fantastic to see the traditional languages of our first people being protected, resurrected and growing. It isn't actually only happening in Murrindindi but also at Bright, which is in the Alpine Shire. The Bright P12 College has four students in Year 12 studying Dhudhuroa language. It is just fantastic to see the support. I would like to acknowledge Sue Joyce and Bec Crawley for the work they are doing, and the relationship they have developed with the Wadeye community in the Northern Territory. It was fantastic to come to the school for Sorry Day and be part of the school assembly, to hear the songs in language, to be welcomed to country in language. I'm looking forward to you coming to parliament so that we can showcase to my colleagues here what fantastic work is happening in our schools and our communities so thank you for that.

I would also like to mention another example of my local community coming to Canberra. In the last couple of weeks, Chris Thorne, who is an Aboriginal community support worker, came with the executive officer, Jenny Ashby, from the Central Hume PCP. They met with the honourable Ken Wyatt at Parliament House. The minister gave them time, was clearly interested in the work that's happening on the ground in Aboriginal health but also in the lessons that our Aboriginal people are learning into mainstream health. It is fantastic to see the minister giving us that recognition.

I want to say to my community how proud I am that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are strong in Indi. I'm really pleased to be your representative here. I call out to the young people: stand proud, not only of your heritage, of your culture, but of the future. We are really going to make a difference to Australia because our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people care and they get involved.



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