View Contents

Partnering with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

We build and sustain long-term partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to assist communities in driving their own solutions for better life opportunities.

Building a diverse and representative workforce

We are committed to meaningful equity and diversity in the workplace by maintaining an environment which embraces the value of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees.

This year we implemented an action plan to increase numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and to improve staff retention. From July 2013 to 30 June 2014, we increased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation in our workforce from 3.8% to 4.7%. We continue to pursue a goal of 6% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff.

Implementing place-based solutions

We work in genuine partnership with communities, supporting them in developing plans that are appropriate and respectful of their cultural context, and assisting them to determine their own priorities for change.

Dawn Gilchrist is a Yamatji Yinggardra woman from the upper Gascoyne region east of Carnarvon, and works as the Community Development Manager of our Short Stay facility in Kalgoorlie/Boulder. She shares the ‘Wellbeing Tree’ story with Joy Richards, a resident at the Short Stay. Photo: Australian Red Cross/Blossom Shroff

Our place-based approach is now well established in a number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, with good outcomes being achieved in these sites. In Kalgoorlie/Boulder in Western Australia, a short-stay accommodation facility, employing local Anangu people who speak Aboriginal language and have strong kinship ties throughout the region, provided a safe and temporary refuge for 650 people. Local Elders play an important role at the centre as facilitators. This program received an Aboriginal Islander Business Organisation, Practice of the Year Award in the 2014 NAIDOC Karlkurla Awards.

15-year-old Melynda from Broome, at a leadership camp organised by Red Cross, believes that she can help her community by “being a good role model to others.” Photo: Australian Red Cross/Michael Torres

In Woorabinda in Queensland, we have worked with the community since 2005 to address community-identified goals such as improving primary school attendance, resulting in an actual increase from 74% to 80%; and in Tiwi Islands in the NT, we are working to address a community priority of improving the health and wellbeing of families, children and young people.

Working with strategic partners

We do not compete with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led organisations or seek to replace them, but instead work in partnership with these agencies and local communities to complement each others’ activities and address gaps in services.

Our wellbeing program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youths, delivered in 12 remote areas in Western Australia, Northern Territory, South Australia and Queensland, focuses on prevention, early intervention and education. This program is a practical demonstration of strong partnerships, providing mental health awareness, social and emotional wellbeing and suicide prevention support through collaboration with other agencies and community members.

A remote infant health program is also being delivered through a strong partnership with Miwatj Aboriginal Health Service in Galiwin’ku, Northern Territory. Through working to tackle severe rates of early childhood malnutrition, anaemia and failure to thrive in children, this program has successfully increased the number of children being screened for malnutrition and the amount of active health management and treatment for children who are malnourished.

“In the area of indigenous services, Western Australia and the Northern Territory are leading the way, with programs that source employment opportunities for indigenous secondary school students, and volunteer-based activities programs that enhance health and welfare outcomes for indigenous young people.”

2003-2004 Annual Report