There's been a strong response to the first Koori Expo hosted today in Melbourne by Red Cross' Wominjeka Leadership Group.
Wednesday April 22, 2015
Learning through listening. Photo ARC/Kaylee Azzopardi
Wominjeka is a group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Red Cross staff and volunteers in Victoria who take the lead in driving Red Cross strategies, programs and services for their communities.
Chair of the Wominjeka Leadership group John Winch said the Koori Expo drew together more than 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and people, including Red Cross staff and volunteers.
"The Expo is a first," Mr Winch said. "We want to do business properly; that is, bring people together to have a yarn and get to know each other to drive real, authentic and sustained change."
Red Cross Chief Executive Officer Robert Tickner said Victoria's Wominjeka leadership group is a significant achievement for the organisation.
"It mirrors the national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership group, which advises us at a national level on policy and partnerships. In Victoria, Wominjenka sets up a genuine opportunity for Red Cross Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and volunteers to build long-term and respectful partnerships by working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and organisations to determine and lead their own solutions.
"As part of our ongoing commitment to supporting people in most need, Australian Red Cross is increasing our work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We aim to support families and communities as they determine and lead their own solutions to achieve positive change. This means we are guided by, and answerable to, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and organisations we work with."
"The Expo is a way to start building friendships, partnerships and respect and that's what we want to do first," said Lineesha Johnson, Co-chair of the Wominjeka leadership group.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are best placed to shape and guide programs and services proposed for their communities.
"The Wominjeka leadership group establishes an important standard for the Red Cross. It represents a mature organisational expression of commitment and authenticity to diversity, community-led and culturally driven programs, services and ways of working," said Jimmy Kyle, Red Cross Victoria's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Officer.
"We want to embrace and celebrate the value of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees and volunteers, their skills, culture and significant contribution they can and will make now and into the future," said Leslie Jackson, Recruitment Consultant for Australian Red Cross.