An event in Brisbane has marked the beginning of a new chapter in Red Cross' engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Queensland.
Tuesday June 2, 2015
Queensland Red Cross leaders with speakers Robert Barton and Milissa Phillips at the launch of a new chapter in working with Indigenous communities
The entire Queensland Leadership Team of Australian Red Cross has signed off on a Statement of Commitment which ties the organisation to building lasting social and economic value in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Queensland Executive Director Kevin Keeffe launched the commitment document at an event in Brisbane today, during National Reconciliation Week.
The event also featured a panel discussion by senior Indigenous and Red Cross staff members with lively discussion about what reconciliation means to them.
"Our goal is no longer just to partner with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities," Mr Keeffe said.
"Our goal is to create lasting social and economic value in these communities. This means tackling the root causes of poverty that cut off a future for our fellow Queenslanders.
"Through this document we are being extremely clear: in Red Cross, ending Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage is everyone's responsibility.
"This is because we are a humanitarian organisation whose purpose is to help the most vulnerable members of our society. It's because at present nearly 40 % of all of our community services clients are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. In Cairns 90 % of our clients are Indigenous, in North Queensland and Central Queensland almost 50 % are Indigenous and 20 % in Southern Queensland.
State manager Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Strategies and Engagement Shannon Bowe said it's also because the communities in Queensland that are most prone to natural disasters with a high probability of catastrophic consequences are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, like Palm Island.
"In dedicating Red Cross' collective effort to this cause, we will not only be true to our Mission - we will also strengthen our standing in our communities as a credible, legitimate, relevant and effective organisation of 'people helping people'," Mr Bowe said.