The Kookaburra

Issue 16 - November 2018 Posted: Friday 9 November 2018

Applications are now open for the Celebrating Reconciliation Small Grants Program 2019


The Celebrating Reconciliation Small Grants Program encourages all Queenslanders to participate in National Reconciliation Week (27 May–3 June), a national campaign that builds on respectful relationships shared by Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and non-Indigenous Australians.

The program will support up to 40 Queensland-based reconciliation events held in or around National Reconciliation Week.

Applications are now open to eligible organisations for grants of up to $2500 (exclusive of GST) per event to deliver a range of reconciliation events.

Applications close Friday 7 December 2018.

For more information please visit

Celebrating Indigenous Business Month in North Queensland

North Queensland has embraced Indigenous Business Month to celebrate the economic achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, families and individuals in business. 

To unlock business potential in the north, a number of upskilling and social events have been held in Mackay, Townsville and Palm Island including Black Coffee meet-ups along with information sessions on entrepreneurship and owning your own business. 

Last financial year (2017-18), over 420 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses secured an estimated $305 million in Queensland Government procurement.

New $15 million wastewater treatment plant for Cherbourg

The Cherbourg community can now enjoy improved health and livability with the recent opening of a new $15 million wastewater treatment plant.

Read more about the story here.

Kuku Yalanji man wins contract with Paynter Dixon

An Aboriginal-owned construction business with the help of DATSIP has successfully scored a contract with a major construction company in Far North Queensland.

Passionate about delivery high quality work, Zeph Walker established Walker Homes and Construction in 2015 and has since strived to offer inspiring, unique and sustainable residential and commercial projects.

Earlier this year he approached DATSIP to assist with promoting his business to industry contacts. The department was happy to support Zeph and his development of a capability statement to outline his skills, experiences and successes.

In June at the Indigenous Meet the Buyer event in Cairns hosted by DATSIP and the Office of Small Business, Zeph was introduced to representatives from organisations including Cairns Regional Council, FNQ Regional Organisation of Councils, Lendlease and Paynter Dixon.  

As a result, Zeph was able to connect with Paynter Dixon and was able to secure a contract for construction work at a Port Douglas resort.

Annual rugby league carnival brings Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community together

Solid performances were being dished out left, right and centre at the recent Arthur Beetson Foundation’s Queensland Murri Carnival in Redcliffe.

Held over three days at Dolphin Oval, the annual junior rugby league meet is a much-anticipated statewide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander event where student-aged participants must pass mandatory health checks as well as have a 90 per cent school attendance record in order to play.

While there has been an under 15 category for boys for since its inauguration in 2011, new for this year was the introduction of a girl’s under 17 division to feature alongside the boys’ competition.

Director of the Arthur Beetson Foundation, Brad Beetson, said they wanted to provide young women with the opportunity to make a sporting contribution to the community and the inclusion of the under 17 girls’ as part of the competition was clearly supported.

“We hope to include the junior girl’s fixtures as a permanent part of the Queensland Murri Carnival’s annual program as it is possible some of these girls could end up in the NRL Women’s Premiership,” said Brad.

“My dad would be proud of this year’s program not only because of the popularity and passion for rugby league but also because it brings the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community together.

Partnering with the Queensland Government, Deadly Choices and Queensland Rugby League, the carnival is tobacco, drug, alcohol and sugar-free and encourages Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island children to lead healthy and active lives while teaching the importance of school attendance.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health is where Meagen’s heart is

Inspiring Townsville teenager Meagen Beaumont has been named the 2018 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year at the Queensland Training Awards State Gala Dinner.

Meagen is driven by her passion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and the Closing the Gap initiative and plans to put the skills and knowledge she has gained during her traineeship to good use within her community.

She holds a Certificate III in Health Services Assistance and has experience working with not-for-profit organisation Northern Australia Primary Health Limited. An advocate for on-the-job training and experience, Meagen believes her traineeship has given her a head start on the pathway to a future career in the health industry.

Mariah is a student of merit

Mariah Johnson has a lot to be proud of. As a Youth Employment Program (YEP) candidate from Wujal Wujal in Far North Queensland, she recently completed training with the 51st Battalion, Far North Queensland Regiment within the Australian Army and graduated as a Combat Support Officer.

Last month, Mariah was awarded the Student of Merit Award by her Commanding Officer and was honoured as the top recruit in her graduating class. The award recognised Mariah’s commitment to the Australian Army’s core values of courage, initiative, respect and teamwork, displayed during her five weeks of training.

Mariah said she loved the training with Australian Army about her experience saying that she was nervous at first but now felt better about herself.

“I have more confidence and know I can go further in life. I built courage, met lots of nice people who helped me to stay motivated and I enjoyed the teamwork,” she said.

Mariah will travel across the district promoting the Australian Army Reserve and YEP to young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

For more stories like this follow us on our YEPQld page on Facebook.

Teen tennis prodigy displays excellence on and off the court

Fifteen-year-old Mikayla Zahirovic from Townsville has been named the first recipient of the Evonne Goolagong Cawley Medal of Excellence at the National Indigenous Tennis Carnival held recently in Darwin.

The inaugural event hosted nearly 200 players from every state and territory, making it the largest gathering of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tennis players in one location.

Mikayla defeated Kaecia Beattie from New South Wales in the 18-and-under girls’ competition despite experiencing initial nerves but said she just played her own game which helped with the end result.

“To get the first ever Medal of Excellence feels amazing, my goal in tennis is to see where I can go and I’d like to make it pro one day and hopefully follow in Evonne’s footsteps,” said Mikayla.

“It’s been an amazing experience, a really good competition and I played well throughout. I also found out I had family here which was pretty special so I’m really looking forward to coming back next year.”

Mikayla was personally presented with the award by Evonne Goolagong Cawley for winning and also for showing great leadership values both on and off the court.

Students say YEP to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander jobs and education fair

The department’s South East Queensland North Region recently partnered with Queensland Police Service and Kurbingui Youth Development Incorporation to host the inaugural North Brisbane Indigenous Career and Educational Pathways Expo at the Zillmere PCYC to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation in education and employment opportunities.

With around 100 students from 10 schools in the northern suburbs, the expo was a fantastic opportunity to promote the department’s Youth Employment Program (YEP) aimed at young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples finishing high school and looking for work or considering further education.

After a moving Acknowledgement of Country by Uncle Alex Davidson and cultural performances, students were able to connect with 29 exhibitors about a range of career options.

The expo was a great example of community working in collaboration with government and businesses to celebrate culture and connect mob to employment and education opportunities. There was access to interview coaching and other valuable resources including YEP, which can help participants establish a career path to success whether it be through a job, traineeship, apprenticeship or further education.”

For more information please visit the DATSIP Youth Employment Program webpage here and read about success stories on our YEPQld page on Facebook.

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