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2020 recipients and finalists

Business

In 2012, during its 100th anniversary, Hutchinson Builders employed a dedicated Indigenous specialist with the aim of introducing the company to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, to engage and work with the communities in a respectful manner. This has evolved to become the Statim Yaga, or Start Work program, which focusses on Indigenous training and employment while increasing the cultural capability of the broader organisation.

From its launch until early 2020, Statim Yaga has increased the company’s Indigenous workforce, placed 411 Indigenous workers into construction careers, and spent more than $25 million in contracts with Queensland Indigenous businesses.

Wulli Wulli Nation Aboriginal Corporation (WWNAC) exists to relieve the poverty and disadvantage of the Wulli Wulli people of Queensland through the advancement of education, health, social or public welfare, and culture. WWNAC actively seeks to establish and grow business enterprise activities that promote and support reconciliation to ensure the self-sustainability of its people well into the future.

One of the first key initiatives WWNAC engaged was the Indigenous Workstars (IWS) initiative which tackles the issue of equity through employment and bolsters reconciliation amongst workplaces. At its core, IWS matches Indigenous jobseekers to employers. IWS focuses on designing, implementing and delivering customised Indigenous employment initiatives for ASX 100 companies, major construction and resources projects, government and SMEs, ensuring optimum social returns for these businesses through their Indigenous employment strategy.

The Kapani Warrior program is an anger inoculation program for men between 18 and 30 years of age. The program utilises an operant conditioning model and uses intensive behaviour modification techniques in real world settings. The program was developed to address the high levels of domestic violence within Indigenous communities and aims to work directly with male perpetrators of domestic violence, individuals at risk of perpetrating domestic violence and individuals with a history of violence and aggression against other individuals and property.

Kapani Warrior acknowledges the high rate of incarceration of Indigenous men within the justice system and aims to provide a program that tackles the antecedents to incarceration, in particular, aggression, alcohol abuse, trauma and poor impulse control.  The program is designed for men, however, is a program that benefits all community members.

The Queensland Rugby League (QRL) established an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee responsible for the development of a reconciliation action plan to guide the QRL Board with strategies that empower the game to be culturally appropriate and inclusive to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders.

The QRL’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is a formal recognition of the game’s commitment to promoting inclusiveness on and off the field, and a deeper understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. The RAP provides greater autonomy and discretion to develop appropriate cultural processes to be included into business operations and at the QRL Board level. The game will grow and be guided by the RAP principles to further advance Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders to continue to remain within rugby league into the future.

Community

Beulah Community Limited established the First People's Memorial Garden in 2009 in response to a request from a First Nations People's health provider to partake in Sorry Business and install memorial plaques at Beulah's centre in Buderim Forest Nature Refuge. Paths, sitting places and artworks by various local Indigenous artists have been steadily added since.

A First People and Islanders War Memorial was installed in 2015 and in 2017, a Frontier Wars Installation featuring artworks by several local First Nations People artists was built. A statue of the local resistance leader, Dundalli, was added in 2018. Annual gatherings are held on Anzac Day to remember Frontier Wars, on 5 January to remember Dundalli and on Elders Day to remember the local Elders.

The Indigenous Wellbeing Centre (IWC) is an Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Organisation committed to reconciliation in action. Forty percent of IWC’s staff are Indigenous, and 93 percent of the region’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people access IWC services and programs. In 2017, IWC started to build Stage 2 of its health and wellbeing complex in Bundaberg. The build included window screening allowing images to be displayed.

IWC created an 80 metre-long pictorial depiction of First Nation oral histories. The screens project was undertaken with the First Nation Traditional Owners and Elders of the region and the Taribelang Cultural Aboriginal Corporation. A local artist created 11 paintings which were then copied to become weatherproof aluminium screening, which is also lit at night.

The Balaangala Restoration Fund has been developed by members of Balaangala Community Group (a local reconciliation group based in The Gap, Brisbane) in partnership and consultation with First Nation Elders and community members.

The Balaangala Restoration Fund aims to assist and benefit First Nations Peoples  through investing in cultural restoration and development, wealth and employment creation and building on enduring cultural and social resilience. The fund receives financial contributions from non-Indigenous people which are given to First Nation owned and managed groups or small businesses that are engaged in ongoing, sustainable projects. A panel of First Nations Peoples decide which groups receive money from the fund and the amounts, aiming to restore some of what was taken from First Nations Peoples through colonisation.

Ngarang-Wal Gold Coast Aboriginal Association Incorporated has a strong cultural and ethical approach to engage local Aboriginal people to gain training, skills, experience and work on country with the organisation and the Kombumerri people. Through regular consultation with government, schools, private sector and other Traditional Owner groups and individuals, the organisation has provided roles for Traditional Owners on their own country.

For the past year, Ngarang-Wal Gold Coast Aboriginal Association Incorporated has fostered training and casual contract opportunities for Traditional Owners around the Gold Coast and surrounding areas. This has enabled Kombumerri, Wangeriburra, Muninjarli, Kooma and Butchella Traditional Owners the opportunity to work on country and help maintain and enrich their cultural connections.

Education

Eidsvold P12 State School's Yumbin program began as an initiative to link students, teachers and the wider community together through health, wellbeing and an explicit focus on building cultural capability.  With the support of teachers, the P&C community and the local Elders group, the Yumbin program was implemented across the school from the start of 2017.

The Yumbin philosophy has continued to grow rapidly over a three-year period. During this time the school has set up a full P12 language reclamation program, shown a dramatic increase in community and school relationships, been a lighthouse school for positive behaviour for learning, transformed into a Queensland showcase school and hired local Indigenous staff to be involved in all aspects of student learning.

In 2019, Kelvin Grove State College implemented the rebranding of its sporting totem and sports houses with refreshed identities, a complete narrative connecting the college and houses to the history of the local area.

The House Totem initiative has been a whole of college co-creative and collaborative project. The history around its restorative and reconciliation initiative includes the inclusive community support of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, artists, storytellers, performers, parents and carers.

The school is empowering its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and college community to foster reconciliation and create a positive change in the community.

The Ngutana-Lui ('to teach') Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies Centre promotes reconciliation by developing cultural understanding and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples amongst school communities.  For more than 30 years, the centre has provided various cultural programs for the education sector using funding from Brisbane Catholic Education, offering programs to all schools and community groups across Brisbane and beyond.

Since the centre’s inception, the programs on offer have extended to kindergartens, day-care centres, TAFEs and universities. The centre also hosts visiting international students who access the cultural program, along with community organisations, who make use of the centre and grounds.

Innisfail State College is a rural secondary school located an hour south of Cairns, with a student population of 1017 students, including 338 Indigenous students, giving it one of the highest percentages of Indigenous secondary students in the Cairns region.

The Elders in Residence IVAAR (Identity, Values, Attitude, Action and Reality) program is the first of its kind delivered within a school. IVAAR is the curriculum delivered to class groups with the support and input of Elders from the local community and teaches students to identify and track their identity through their attitude and actions, and as a result, recognise their reality and identify possible change. The program is delivered by weekly lessons of approximately 20 Indigenous students, between 12–16 years of age, culminating in an excursion on-country to traditional MaMu lands with the Elders and teachers.

Partnership

Sunshine Coast Council’s Kids in Action (KIA) program was created to engage youth becoming future custodians of the natural environment. Funded by council’s environmental levy and local businesses, KIA partners with many local community groups, and is offered to all Sunshine Coast schools.

Jinibara and Kabi Kabi/Gubbi Gubbi First Nations community members partnered with the KIA program to deliver a program underpinned by ecological knowledge, language and cultural practice, connecting to country and celebrating nature's icons. In a true act of reconciliation, partnerships were strengthened, respectful and reciprocal relationships embraced and a commitment to ongoing opportunities for shared learning and understanding fostered.

In total, 257 students, 24 schools, 145 teachers/adults, 19 First Nations mentors, 7 youth leaders and 23 volunteers attended 5 events throughout the year. As a result, a unified and reconciled community of custodians is caring for country.

Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) partnered with Traditional Owners, Cape York Land Council and local Indigenous councils to deliver the five-year, $276 million Cape York Region Package (CYRP). The partnerships facilitated genuine Indigenous participation in the economic development of Cape York and set precedents for best practice protection of culture, heritage and traditional rights and interests.

Through the CYRP, TMR awarded 19 scholarships to Indigenous students. Work valued at $42 million was completed by local Indigenous businesses and more than 152,000 hours of Indigenous training and employment was reached in civil construction and maintenance works. Together, the CYRP is facilitating roads to reconciliation, driven by all.

Banaam and the South East Region Indigenous Education team formed a partnership to build culturally responsive educational settings for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, families and communities while working towards closing the disparity gap in education across Queensland’s South East Region.

Through this initiative, there are 167 Indigenous champions across 124 state schools within the South East Region who have authentically undertaken the challenge to build cultural capacity within their schools, develop and deliver culturally responsive and informed curriculum and work towards every student succeeding regardless of their circumstances to live a life of choice, not chance.  This partnership is pivotal in working towards providing culturally safe and inclusive schools for all Indigenous students, families and community members.

For thousands of years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have held Welcome Baby to Country ceremonies to acknowledge an infant’s connection to the lands on which they are born. West Moreton Health’s Welcome Baby to Community ceremony is a modernised take on this significant ceremony. With many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from many different areas living in the region, the ceremony was introduced to assist in encouraging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to access West Moreton Health services by increasing cultural safety, through the incorporation of traditional cultural practice into the business.

To date, West Moreton Health has held two Welcome Baby to Community ceremonies and welcomed 69 babies to community. With the support and endorsement of the West Moreton Health Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Circle of Elders, West Moreton Health is committed to ensuring significant cultural ceremonies are embedded across the Hospital and Health Service business.

Premiers Reconciliation Award

The Indigenous Wellbeing Centre (IWC) is an Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Organisation committed to reconciliation in action. Forty percent of IWC’s staff are Indigenous, and 93 percent of the region’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people access IWC services and programs. In 2017, IWC started to build Stage 2 of its health and wellbeing complex in Bundaberg. The build included window screening allowing images to be displayed.

IWC created an 80 metre-long pictorial depiction of First Nation oral histories. The screens project was undertaken with the First Nation Traditional Owners and Elders of the region and the Taribelang Cultural Aboriginal Corporation. A local artist created 11 paintings which were then copied to become weatherproof aluminium screening, which is also lit at night.

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