The Kookaburra

Issue 17 - December 2018 Posted: Friday 7 December 2018

Merry Christmas from DATSIP

This is the last edition of The Kookaburra for 2018 and we at the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships would like to wish all our loyal readers a safe and wonderful Christmas and New Year.

We will be back in early 2019 with more fantastic stories about Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their communities, innovative initiatives, new services and programs and general updates across this great state.

NAIDOC Week 2019


Next year’s NAIDOC Week theme has been announced: Voice. Treaty. Truth – Let’s work together for a shared future.

This theme acknowledges that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have always wanted an enhanced role in decision-making in Australia’s democracy.

You may have also noted nominations for the 2019 NAIDOC Awards are now open across 10 categories:
• Apprentice of the Year
• Artist of the Year
• Caring for Country Award
• Elder of the Year (Male)
• Elder of the Year (Female)
• Lifetime Achievement Award
• Person of the Year
• Scholar of the Year
• Sportsperson of the Year
• Youth of the Year

Award winners will be honoured at the National NAIDOC Awards Ceremony in Canberra on Saturday 6 July 2019. For more information visit:

The Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships’ Director-General, Chris Sarra was named NAIDOC Person of the Year in 2016.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists are invited to submit artwork for the 2019 National NAIDOC Poster Competition with the winning artwork collecting a $10,000 cash prize and featured as the 2019 National NAIDOC Poster. For more information visit:

NAIDOC Week 2019 will be celebrated 7–14 July 2019. For more information visit the NAIDOC website.

Supporting the community through caring

A trained performing artist, youth leader, mother and now disability support worker, Shalicia Mallie is using her skills to bring a ray of sunshine into her clients’ life at Independent Living Support Association (ILSA) in Cairns.

As a proud Aboriginal, Torres Strait and South Sea Islander woman, Shalicia has been active within her church ministry and has danced for Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park.

Shalicia says the best part of her job as a disability support worker was observing and learning from different clients and working in this industry made her feel a part of the community.

“It’s an awesome experience,” she said.

Shalicia was part of DATSIP’s Youth Employment Program (YEP) when ILSA contacted a Senior Project Officer to enquire about culturally appropriate candidates to help care for a female Indigenous client.

ILSA’s Manager of Mental Health Services, Josie O’Shea, said Shalicia’s training as an actress and dancer gave her excellent communication skills and instincts.

“Shalicia’s non-verbal skills give her a significant advantage when working with people with mental health challenges,” said Josie. “The ability to read body language is very important as only seven per cent of communication is verbal.”

Weipa enjoys Black Coffee

In October, Weipa held its first Indigenous Business Expo thanks to three extraordinary women – Florence Drummond, Yanetta Nadredre and Tishiko King.

One month later, the Black Coffee Indigenous Business Network (Black Coffee) initiative was formed for local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business networks to partner with established non–Indigenous companies.

Black Coffee has since generated opportunities in Weipa, Napranum and Mapoon and has linked potential community stakeholders and business partners with companies including Strait Success, Duyfken Eco and Goodline.

Both Strait Success and Duyfken Eco have been doing amazing things to create momentum for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and people in remote communities assisted by DATSIP.

Collaboration all the way

Albert Dynevor has brightened his future after commencing a painting apprenticeship with the assistance of the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships (DATSIP) and other agencies working together to provide opportunities that could not have been achieved alone.

DATSIP, along with yourtown’s Transition To Work program, Reclink, Major Training and Apprenticeship Support Australia, contributed to assisting Albert obtain an apprentice position at CJC Painting. The department helped him complete his Certificate I Construction traineeship with Reclink and supported him in obtaining his apprenticeship with an employer seeking a painter through Major Training.

In mid-July Albert commenced work with CJC Painting and shortly after entered into his apprenticeship with Apprenticeship Support Australia.

Brenton Wong, Project Support Officer with the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships said Albert grew from the experience and as a result he significantly improved on his confidence and communication skills.

“To go from where he started to where he is today took incredible courage from Albert as well as an incredible amount of coordination from several agencies,” said Brenton.

“To support a young man to achieve his dreams and working together to make this happen is a real celebration of collaboration.”

Hope Vale students entertained by touring Australian Army Band

Students from the Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy Hope Vale Campus were treated to a jazzy performance by the 1RAR Army Band during Child Protection Week in September.

Local school children and their teachers watched as the band entertained the crowd with their funky tunes and dance moves at a ceremony where students were presented with awards for outstanding school attendance and academic achievements. The Prep class also delivered a special treat singing a song in their local language, much to the delight of the audience.

Hope Vale Aboriginal Shire Councillor Selina Bowen welcomed the band to their school and thanked them for putting on an enjoyable show.

“The band was a hit with everyone,” said Ms Bowen. “This was wonderful for the children, the community and a real lift for everyone’s spirits.”

During the event, the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships (DATSIP) arranged for three local Youth Employment Program (YEP) candidates to meet with Army Reserve recruits from Wujal Wujal. The meeting had a positive outcome with each individual registering to become reservists for the 51st Battalion.

Coen Sports Oval opened for community use

The Coen Sports Oval has been officially opened by Government Champion Katarina Carroll and Deadly Choice Ambassadors Steve Renouf, Scott Prince, Nathan Appo and Sean Yorkston.

The $1 million upgrade project, jointly funded by Queensland Health and the Department of Sports and Recreation, now provides the Coen community with a sports field they can be proud of.

Attended by 150 local residents, Ms Carroll said the installation of new turf, goal posts, irrigation systems, lighting and fencing will allow community members to participate in healthy recreational activities and to hold sporting carnivals.

The Welcome to Country was performed by Traditional Owner Jennifer Creek and staff from Apunipima Cape York Health Centre provided a delicious barbeque lunch for everyone.

More female army recruits are on the way

The Youth Employment Program (YEP), delivered by the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships (DATSIP), provides registered Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth with opportunities for further education or employment through jobs, traineeships or apprenticeships.

Seven YEP students graduating from Cooktown P12 State School in Far North Queensland, have throughout the year met with YEP Student Engagement Officers with three have already having found career paths in the Australian Army.

Mariah Johnson, Combat Support Officer from Wujal recently spoke at a recruitment session about life as a reservist. Students Delankah Ross-Hart, Summah-Roze Ludwick and Allira Woibo were impressed with what Mariah’s had to say about the army and signed up for the 51st Battalion that day. Their training will commence in March on Thursday Island.

Fran Maddern from DATSIP in Cooktown said it was a wonderful experience getting to know these young adults and to assist with work preparation and career pathway information.

Keeping cultures alive – the Mackay Oral History project

The Mackay Oral History Project launched last month where the stories of four local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders were told at the Jubilee Community Centre.

Year 7 and Year 10 students from Mercy College interviewed the Elders during a yarning session at the ABC Tropical North Studio to capture their family and local histories to ensure these cultures are not lost in the future.

The Elders, students, their families, staff of Mercy College and community members attended to celebrate the success of the project.

For their participation in the project the Elders were gifted a painting by local artist, Barry Maitie.


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Information contained in The Kookaburra e-bulletin was published using information provided to the department by contributing government organisations. While every attempt was made to ensure its accuracy, the department did not accept responsibility for any errors, omissions, inaccuracies, or delays in publishing the information that was provided. The department reserved the right not to publish articles submitted via inclusion in The Kookaburra e-bulletin.