The Kookaburra

Issue 10 - December 2017 Posted: Friday 15 December 2017

Art exhibition

Some of the art available at the opening.

Some of the art available at the opening.

The foyer at One William Street in Brisbane came alive with colour and creativity from 5-7 December 2017 with an exhibition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.

It was a wonderful celebration of the richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures in Queensland.

Works from more than 20 Indigenous artists were available for purchase with the artists representing a wide variety of communities including Cherbourg, Pormpuraaw, Quandamooka (Stradbroke Island), Yarrabah, Mornington Island, Hope Vale and Woorabinda.

Torres Strait Island culture was also on display with prints that included images of turtles, pigeons, crocodiles, dolphins, stingrays, dugongs, crabs and mangroves.

The DATSIP art exhibition was held after a number of unsold art works remained from the Public Safety Business Agency's art exhibition as part of their 2017 NAIDOC celebration earlier this year.

The art exhibition was a great success with most art pieces sold on the first day, meaning more artwork had to be brought in to meet demand.

All proceeds from sales are going directly back to the artists.

Increasing NDIS services for Indigenous Queenslanders with disability

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is rolling out across Queensland from 2016 to mid-2019.

Connections Incorporated is working with new, emerging and existing businesses, organisations and communities to assist them to build their capacity and capability to deliver culturally-appropriate NDIS services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability.

Connections has employed local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mentors to lead this work in nine locations – Cherbourg, Caboolture, Woorabinda, Thursday Island, Cairns, Mossman, Yarrabah, Wujul Wujul and Gordonvale.

Mentors will work together, build relationships, talk to and work with these communities to identify what people with disability need locally, and explore the social and economic opportunities the NDIS will bring to the communities.

Connections will link, support and provide interested organisations with tools, training and resources, and will work with the NDIA Queensland’s NDIS Indigenous Engagement team to support organisations to register as NDIS providers.

To find out more about this project, contact Denise Sands at Connections Incorporated at or phone 0402 471 478.

Corporate breakfast

The Nunukul Yuggera Aboriginal dancers performed the Acknowledgement of Country.

The Nunukul Yuggera Aboriginal dancers performed the Acknowledgement of Country.

October was Indigenous Business Month. The centrepiece of DATSIP’s activities was the inaugural Corporate Breakfast held at the Brisbane Convention and Entertainment Centre on 25 October.

Almost 200 of Queensland’s best business minds joined forces to discuss ways of increasing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses.

The breakfast, titled Beyond Partnerships – Co-investing for a Stronger Queensland, was attended by Indigenous business owners, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled sector industry, peak bodies and the investment sector, as well as State and Federal sector employees.

QATSIF graduation

More than 1000 Indigenous students across Queensland have recently graduated Year 12 on Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Foundation (QATSIF) scholarships.

The QATSIF scholarship program makes senior high school education, and getting a Queensland Certificate of Education, a viable option for Indigenous students and provides a pathway to higher education and entering the job market.

Ceremonies were held in Brisbane, Cairns, Mackay, Rockhampton and the Gold Coast.

Scholarships available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees

Ten new scholarships are being offered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queensland Government employees by the Public Service Commission and the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

The scholarships are being offered as a continuing commitment to advancing the leadership skills and career pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees.

They will provide public service employees with the knowledge and skills to successfully manage the business of government and positions them for future leadership opportunities.

The scholarships are offered on an one-for-one basis where recipients will be offered a full scholarship in exchange for the agency funding an additional participant of their choice. Graduates will be awarded a Graduate Certificate in Public Administration from QUT.

Applications close on the 29 January 2018, for the commencement of the program in March 2018.

For further enquiries, contact QUT directly at or 1800 145 041.

Cape York Peninsula Heritage Act 10th anniversary

Oliver River, Bromley National Park, photo by Kerry Trapnell.

Oliver River, Bromley National Park, photo by Kerry Trapnell.

On 25 October 2007, Queensland enacted ground-breaking legislation ­— the Cape York Peninsula Heritage Act — to support Aboriginal peoples’ to regain their Cape York homelands.

A decade on, Queensland continues to champion land handback outcomes in the spirit of reconciliation with the Act facilitating outstanding conservation, employment and economic participation outcomes for Indigenous Queenslanders.

Since the legislation was introduced around 3.6 million hectares of land in Cape York has been handed back to Traditional Owners.

To mark the 10th anniversary, the Cape York Peninsula Land Tenure Resolution Program team organised a photographic exhibition at Parliament House on 25 October 2017 highlighting some of the amazing land that has been returned to Traditional Owners in that time while an exhibition is planned for Cairns on 14 December 2017.

Aurukun work recognised

The Aurukun whole-of-government response has recently been recognised in a number of awards. The awards include being Highly Commended in the Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Performance category last month, and winning the 2017 Gold Award for Performance in the Queensland Police Service awards.

A key community safety initiative is the installation and operation of the new CCTV system. In October 2017 supplier SAPE Industries won a national award for excellence in the Australian Security Industry Awards for Excellence in the Special Security Event or Project worth more than $500,000 category.

The awards stem from the Aurukun Four Point Plan which was announced in June 2016, in response to community unrest and the temporary school closure.

The Plan’s priorities are:

  • Building community safety;
  • ensuring access to education;
  • strengthening the community and its governance; and
  • harnessing jobs and economic opportunity.

The Department of the Premier and Cabinet, DATSIP and the Queensland Police Service have been working with other agencies, Aurukun Shire Council, the Commonwealth Government, service providers and community organisations to plan, coordinate and progress activities under the Four Point Plan to achieve sustained calm in the community.

Initiatives include delivery of the Restorative Justice Program to build peacemaking and conduct mediations, development of a prisoner reintegration plan, support for the Women’s Group and Men’s Group, development of a community values poster, redevelopment of the Three Rivers Community Centre and splash park, preparation of a youth strategy and implementation of a summer program of activities, delivery of a junior ranger cultural camp, and an adult literacy and numeracy program.

The whole-of-government efforts have contributed to improved community relations and sustained calm in Aurukun.

Rockhampton Indigenous business secures government project

DATSIP’s David Thompson (pictured right) congratulates Linbridge’s Ken Argow on securing the new contract.

DATSIP’s David Thompson (pictured right) congratulates Linbridge’s Ken Argow on securing the new contract.

An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander builder in Rockhampton has become the first Indigenous business outside of the discrete Indigenous communities to be awarded a selected Indigenous project under the Queensland Government Building and Construction Training Policy.

Linbridge Builders have secured a $1.37 million project to build two three-bedroom dwellings in Baralaba for the Department of Housing and Public Works. The houses will be new Government Employee Housing (GEH) residences.

DATSIP has been providing Linbridge Builders business support and suggested that they apply for the GEH contract that the builder subsequently secured in an open tender.

DATSIP’s Central Queensland Manager David Thompson said the contract win represents a big step forward for Linbridge Builders.

“We’re delighted that thanks to our help a local Indigenous Rockhampton business has been able to secure the GEH contract in Baralaba,” he said.

“Our relationship with Linbridge Builders goes back some three years now and over that time we’ve been helping them grow through initiatives like the DATSIP Business Development workshops.

“Although only a fairly small family-run company, they’ve carried out a lot of private work and now, as principal contractor, they’re moving to a whole new level which will also generate additional work for Indigenous contractors.”

Linbridge owner Ken Argow said, “We’re only a small company so we really appreciate the support that DATSIP has provided us.

“I find their Business Development workshops very helpful when I’ve time to attend them and the new business opportunities they’ve found for us are great as we’re often too busy to spend much time on identifying new work.

“The Baralaba GEH contract DATSIP identified for us is our biggest contract so far and means that we’ve been able to sub-contract some of the work, like the steel fabrication and electrical, to other Indigenous employers.

The project was awarded to Linbridge Builders on 3 November and the estimated completion date is 12 June 2018.

The Queensland Government spend with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned businesses has dramatically increased over the past few years from an estimated $26 million in 2012-13 to approximately $270 million in 2016-17 with 385 Indigenous businesses benefitting.

DATSIP’s Director, Enterprise Development and Industry Engagement Nigel Hedgcock said, “The quality of the work being carried out by Linbridge Builders and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses demonstrates that Queensland Government procuring agencies can have confidence in the Indigenous business sector being able to supply and deliver on the Queensland Indigenous Procurement Policy.”

Yarrabah Social Reinvestment project

DATSIP’s Allen Cunneen and Marika Seden with the Yarrabah Reinvestment Agreement.

DATSIP’s Allen Cunneen and Marika Seden with the Yarrabah Reinvestment Agreement.

Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council and DATSIP, with the assistance of key partners Gunggandji-Mandingalbay Yidinji Peoples Prescribed Body Corporate Aboriginal Corporation and Tangaroa Blue, have worked together on Far North Queensland’s first social reinvestment project and just the second in the State following Cherbourg.

The Yarrabah project involves developing a community led plan to tackle the waste problem in the area that encourages the local community, through an education and awareness raising program, to volunteer and get involved in a number of scheduled concentrated clean-up activities.

The project will not only lead to a cleaner, healthier environment but aims to improve general community wellbeing and will strengthen a culture of volunteering and sense of community and empower community relationships.

The pilot will build stronger partnerships between communities and government and will include engaging local people to support the evaluation of the program.

Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council Mayor Ross Andrews said litter, waste and illegal rubbish dumping was a significant problem in the Yarrabah community.

“Waste products directly affects the wellbeing and health of the community and wildlife, contributing to an unhygienic environment,” Cr Andrews said.

“A dedicated clean-up program and schedule will be introduced with community members encouraged to volunteer and take responsibility for waste management through recycling and upcycling, and will support the environmental management initiatives undertaken by the respective Gunggandji and Mandingalbay Yidinji Indigenous Ranger Programs.

“Local artists will also be encouraged to use suitable items in artwork and recycled materials will be used to create park benches and infrastructure to enhance and beautify the community,” he said.

DATSIP Deputy Director-General Allen Cunneen and Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council Chief Executive Officer Janelle Menzies officially signed the agreement for the pilot project on Friday 17 November 2017.

Building Indigenous employment pathways with new partnership

A new agreement between the Queensland Government and Construction Skills Queensland was launched recently to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders build positive futures.

The two-year agreement with the state’s leading industry-funded building and construction body will generate jobs, career development and economic opportunities for Indigenous Queenslanders.

Construction Skills Queensland Chief Executive Officer Brett Schimming said the new partnership supported the organisation’s ongoing efforts to engage Indigenous Queenslanders in the construction workforce.

“Partnering with the Queensland Government will help us deliver our vision to support a skilled workforce, including an even higher representation of Indigenous Queenslanders, to meet the evolving needs of the state’s building and construction industry,” he said.

“Indigenous construction apprentices account for about 4.3 per cent of Queensland construction apprentices, which is more than double the number of Indigenous apprentices completing compared to ten years ago.”

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