The Kookaburra

Issue 11 - February 2018 Posted: Tuesday 27 February 2018

10th Anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generation

Former Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd places a wreath alongside Aunty Beverly Johnson at the 10th Anniversary National Apology event Orleigh Park, West End.

Tuesday 13 February 2018 marked the 10th anniversary of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s National Apology to Australia’s Indigenous Peoples in what was one of the most significant steps towards reconciliation in Australia’s history.

The Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships recognised the 10th anniversary with a number of initiatives including a flag raising ceremony outside Parliament House in Brisbane on Tuesday 13 February hosted by Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Jackie Trad. The Hon. Leeanne Enoch, the first Aboriginal woman elected to the Queensland Parliament; and Ms Cynthia Lui, the first Torres Strait Islander to be elected to the Queensland Parliament, raised their respective flags.  Following the flag raising event, DATSIP held a morning tea for Elders and community members at the One William Street building to reflect on this important day in our history.

In addition, on Sunday 11 February, DATSIP organised an emotional commemorative event with Link-Up (Qld) and the National Apology Foundation at Cranbrook Place, West End.  The event featured speeches from a variety of community members including Uncle Sam Watson, Uncle Brian Gray, Aunty Noeleen Lopes as well as Australian Indigenous Education Foundation alumni Latiesha Dunbar and Shea Spearings. National Apology Foundation Chair and former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was also a key speaker on the day.

Queen’s Baton welcomed to Palm Island

Baton bearer Ikanau Conway leading the Palm Island community to the Town Centre Mall holding the Queen’s Baton.

The Commonwealth Games Baton went to the community of Palm Island for the first time in Commonwealth Games history on Wednesday 10 January. It was a significant moment for the Queen’s Baton, a symbol as important as the Commonwealth Games itself to pass through Palm Island for locals to see and touch.

The visit to Palm Island was organised under the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) to demonstrate the Games’ long-standing commitment and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their communities.

Twelve-year-old student Ikanau Conway was given the honour of being the community Baton bearer and carried the Baton from the Parish Centre to the front of Council Chambers in the Town Centre Mall.  During her speech Ikanau noted the importance of education by explaining “ambition without knowledge is like a boat on land”.

Palm Island Mayor Cr Alf Lacey said the Baton’s visit presented an opportunity for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Palm Island to continue advocating for recognition and reconciliation. Cr Lacey said he was glad the Commonwealth Games had actively worked to engage Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Photographic exhibition celebrates the Cape York Peninsula

Lyn Wallace (A/Director CYPTR Program), Elaine Liddy/Allison Liddy/ Karen Liddy (Lama Lama Traditional Owners), Hilton Noble (Kaanju Traditional Owner) at the photographic exhibition launch held at the Canopy Arts Centre in Cairns.

The Cape York Peninsula Land Tenure Resolution Program team hosted a photographic exhibition in Brisbane in October and Cairns in December, in recognition of the 10-year anniversary of the Cape York Peninsula Heritage Act — to support Aboriginal peoples to regain their Cape York homelands.

A decade of conservation, community and cultural outcomes were celebrated featuring works by photographer Kerry Trapnell and others who captured the iconic areas handed back to Aboriginal Traditional Owners in Cape York, including jointly managed national parks and other protected areas.

The exhibition celebrated the outcomes achieved by the Cape York Peninsula Land Tenure Resolution Program. In returning land to Traditional Owners, protecting natural and cultural values, as well as creating employment on Country.

The photography exhibition depicted the outstanding natural beauty of the Cape York Peninsula and was attended by Traditional Owners representing a number of landholding entities, as well as the department’s partners including the Wet Tropics Management Authority, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Cape York Land Council, Department of Natural Resources and Mines and Department of National Parks, Sports and Recreation.

Uncle Adrian Padmore celebrates 50 years of service to Queensland

Uncle Adrian Padmore accepts his thank you gift from then Acting Director-General, Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women, Ms Leigh Roach.

When described by colleagues, Uncle Adrian Padmore is best known as 'the go to man'; a man of great cultural knowledge and a man whose network, reputation and credibility precedes him.

In an intimate event surrounded by his friends, family and peers, Uncle Adrian was recently celebrated by the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services for serving Queensland for 50 years as a public servant. During the very special event, Uncle Adrian was thanked with a Service Recognition Certificate and was given a commissioned art piece by Queensland visual artist and Yiman/Gurreng Gurreng man Anthony Walker.

The painting titled 'Morning Star Pole Ceremony Dancers' was painted especially for Uncle Adrian in recognition of his home town of Innisfail where he first began his career in the public service at the Innisfail Magistrates Court as a Clerk-on-probation in June 1967.

Over 50 years, Uncle Adrian has worked in different positions and different departments including:

  • Project Administration Officer, Department of Vocational Education, Training and Industrial Relations
  • Nagi Binanga, Department of Vocational Education, Training and Industrial Relations
  • Senior Equity Officer, Department of Family and Community Services
  • Policy Resource Officer, Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy & Development
  • Coordinator, Indigenous Mediation, Alternate Dispute Resolution Branch, Department of Justice and Attorney-General
  • Senior Programs Evaluation Officer, Department of Families
  • Senior Policy Officer, Department of Child Safety
  • Principal Project Officer, Strengthening Indigenous Non-Government Organisations Unit, Department of Communities
  • Senior Analyst, Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services

During more recent times, Uncle Adrian has enjoyed providing input into matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues including DATSIP’s Cultural Capability project.

Whenever the call comes up for community recovery work, Uncle Adrian is among the first to put up his hand. He has done so since Cyclone Larry swept in and ravaged his home town of Innisfail in 2006.

Speaking at his celebration event, Uncle Adrian took the time to reflect on his years dedicated to Queensland.

"The last 50 years as a public servant have passed like a blur. When I started work in the public service, we were using the old Olivetti type-writers, then we progressed to electric type-writers, word processers and then on to the present day when we all have computers on our desks now. Even though the years have passed quickly, I don't regret any part of it. I have enjoyed serving the community as a public servant and I am looking forward to continuing to do so in the same vein, though in a lesser extent until I retire," he said.

Carly Wallace attends Young Pacific Leaders Conference in Hawaii

DATSIP Communication Officer and Young Pacific Leaders Conference delegate Carly Wallace standing on top of volcano Pele in Hawaii.

Out of a competitive pool of 700 applicants, Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Communication Officer Carly Wallace was chosen as one of three Indigenous delegates from Australia to participate in the Young Pacific Leaders Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The three-day regional conference in January, was held in conjunction with The East-West Center, United States Department of State and the US Embassy of Australia, with the purpose of creating a vibrant network among young leaders from the Pacific region to address regional challenges.

“The Young Pacific Leaders conference was one of the most valuable networking experiences I've ever undertaken. The similarities between our Aboriginal culture and those from other pacific regions was really eye opening. Although we were very different culturally as Aboriginal people compared to a lot of the other participants at the conference, the issues we all faced as minorities and as cultural people in our countries were the same and therefore we connected on a much deeper level,” Carly said.

“The highlight of the trip for me was visiting the fire goddess, the volcano Pele (Mount Kilauea Volcano) on the Big Island. Standing on top of Pele, it reminded me how similar Aboriginal people are to the volcano herself; we still have the fire burning within all of us to keep our culture alive, we will always maintain an overwhelming presence and strength from within and are capable of showing everyone our power and exactly what we are made of when we are united as a people.

Being able to visit such a spiritual place side by side with some of the greatest young leaders in the Pacific is a moment I will never forget.”

The Young Pacific Leaders conference series was launched in 2012 at the Pacific Islands Forum in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. This year’s event built on the outcomes of four previous gatherings convened in American Samoa, New Zealand, Samoa and Hawaii, and aimed to address critical issues relating to education, environment and resource management, civic leadership, and economic and social development.

Premier meets with Queensland Indigenous leaders

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk with Queensland Indigenous leaders and Queensland nominees at a special gathering in Canberra to discuss the Closing the Gap refresh.

On 7 and 8 February 2018, a special gathering of prominent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders met in Canberra to discuss the Closing the Gap refresh. This gathering was followed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting on 9 February 2018.

The special gathering provided independent advice to COAG to inform the Closing the Gap refresh to improve social and economic wellbeing outcomes for Australia’s First People.

Participants from across Australia with a range of expertise came together to provide advice on future policy priorities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, how all Indigenous Australians and governments can work in partnership, to drive change and improve outcomes.

From Queensland, six prominent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nominees with knowledge and expertise across key policy domains such as education, health, housing, employment, justice and youth attended.

The Queensland nominees were:

  • Mrs Judith Ketchell, Executive Principal, Tagai State College;
  • Ms Tanisha Bakker-Honeyman, Special Education Teacher and 2017 Queensland Indigenous Youth Leadership Program;
  • Ms Nyoka Fetoa’I, CEO, Darumbal Community Youth Services Organisation Inc, Central Queensland; Ms Gillian Mailman, Founder, Fibre Optics North Queensland and Member of Cairns Regional Indigenous Business Network;
  • Councillor Ross Andrews, Mayor, Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council;
  • Mr Shane Duffy, CEO, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service Queensland.

The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk, Premier and Minister for Trade; Mr Dave Stewart, Director-General, Department of the Premier and Cabinet, and Professor Chris Sarra, Founder and Chairperson, Stronger Smarter Institute Queensland and Co-Chair of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council joined in the discussions.

Stephen Mam hired as Community Engagement Coordinator

Stephen Mam signed his RQI contract on January 1st, 2018, and is pictured (centre, front) with (L-R front) Maurice Serico, Linda Harnett, (L-R back) Simon Brooks, Mick Bruhwiller and Peter Jackson.

Torres Strait Islander man Stephen Mam has been named as Reconciliation Queensland Incorporated’s (RQI) Community Engagement Coordinator as part of the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships three-year year commitment to promote reconciliation throughout Queensland.

Steve was a former management committee member and resigned from the committee to take up the part-time position as the Community Engagement Coordinator.

Steve is excited about building on the great work of RQI and the committee.

“I have enjoyed every moment of participating with RQI,” Steve said.

“I hope to support RQI more administratively and with more of my networks, skills, knowledge and experience,” he added.

Bama Civil wins contract to maintain road in Cape York Peninsula

Work being undertaken on the 1.65-kilometre stretch of the Peninsula Developmental Road at Ten Mile Creek by Bama Civil.

Indigenous company Bama Civil has won a contract to seal a 1.65-kilometre stretch of the Peninsula Development Road at Ten Mile Creek.

The work is part of the Australian and Queensland Government-funded $260.5 million Cape York Region Package which upgraded critical infrastructure on Cape York Peninsula.

Bama Civil received invaluable training and experience in culvert and road construction while subcontracting to RoadTek on the south of Moorehead project in 2015 and the south of Musgrave project in 2016. Now they have been awarded a contract in their own right.

The Cape York Region Package is giving remote communities more reliable access during the wet season and safer, quicker trips during the dry seasons. This means improved freight and tourism access for local communities, as well as lower ongoing road maintenance costs. It has also opened up the region for more employment, training and business development opportunities.

Works associated with the Cape York Region Package started in July 2014 and are due for completion in mid-2019.

Innovative campaign to encourage school attendance

Everyday counts campaign featuring Sam Thaiday, Johnathan Thurston and Beryl Friday.

It’s a new year, the holidays are over and Queensland state school students are back in classrooms. Therefore it’s important to ensure good school attendance habits are developed from day one.

Research shows school attendance leads to positive student outcomes and can help children to build social and emotional skills. When children go to school every day they engage better, make friends and have a brighter future. For this reason, the Department of Education has a range of free resources to promote the importance of going to school. Although this is a serious message, the materials communicate with students in a fun, entertaining way.

The Everyday counts campaign features Sam Thaiday as Sam the Dog, and a cameo with Johnathan Thurston, plus former Queensland Firebirds netballer Beryl Friday. Resources include an animation, comic book and dedicated website.

The campaign underwent extensive consultation, including with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from Brisbane, Cairns/Yarrabah, Weipa/Napranum and the Solid Pathways program for high-achieving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

View the Everyday counts resources.

Supporting the transfer of 17-year-olds to Youth Justice

The Youth Justice and Other Legislation (Inclusion of 17-year-old Persons) Amendment Act 2016 commenced Monday 12 February 2018, meaning young offenders aged 17 are now within the youth justice system.

Previously, 17-year-olds were managed through the adult justice system. This legislation brings Queensland into line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the law in all other Australian jurisdictions.

The legislation supports the wide-sweeping reforms being implemented across youth justice, to ensure the rehabilitation of young offenders. Under the Act, children aged 17 years old can access the same support and services that children aged 16 and under can access.

This change forms an important part of the State Government’s broader youth justice agenda to implement developmentally appropriate, evidence-based reforms that reduce offending and reoffending.

Find out more about the changes.

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