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Christmas Newsletter 2013

Contents Message from our Chairman ................................................................................................................ 2 A Word from our Board .......................................................................................................................... 3 Daniel Dawson – His Employment Journey ......................................................................................... 6 Shane Phillips – Australian of the Year Tribute .................................................................................... 7 Closing the Gap Day ............................................................................................................................ 10 Coloured Diggers Anzac Event........................................................................................................... 13 Microsoft Cultural Trip ........................................................................................................................... 16 Men’s Health – Harbour Event ............................................................................................................ 19 Spanner in the Works Lauch ................................................................................................................ 21 Nura Gili Awards Night ......................................................................................................................... 24 Carers Week – Martin Place ................................................................................................................ 26 NAIDOC .................................................................................................................................................. 27 Mental Health – Suicide Prevention ................................................................................................... 28 International Men’s Day ....................................................................................................................... 30


Message from our Chairman

Well another year has come and gone, we have been proud to continue to serve our people through our community events and have placed a number of Aboriginal men and women into sustainable employment. We have once again been active in the organisation of many events within the local community and for an organisation with no ongoing funding from the government sector we have shown that things can be done by an Aboriginal run organisation if we listen to the needs of our community and members. While I would like to say the year has had no setbacks this has not been the case. We have recently received disappointing news on two fronts that our community supporters and members need to be made aware of. As most of you know we have for the last few years had an Indigenous employment contract with the federal government. We have had enormous success in placing people into employment including some who have just been released from prison. Our retention rate is one of the highest in the area. Unfortunately we were informed that our employment contract has not been renewed and the response provided us with no reasons why. I give my guarantee that the board and I will be seeking to have this decision reviewed so that we can continue to assist our people to gain employment opportunities. We also received news that we were not successful in our application for an accommodation grant. If we had been successful we would have been able to provide a greater service to the community and expand the type of activities that we could have provided. Thankfully we still have our current location to provide for those who are in need. I would like to express thanks to each of the members and community who have been involved in the work we have done this year. To each of the board members I would like to thank you for being so dedicated and putting time into making sure our organisation remains a professionally run group. I would finally like to make special mention to two organisations that have shown their support of our organisation on an ongoing basis. Both the Redfern Foundation and KPMG are leaders in the community and by providing our group with ongoing support has allowed us to continue to grow and develop into a more professional and sustainable organisation. On behalf of the Board and all of our members I would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Healthy and Prosperous New Year.


A Word from our Board Jeremy Heathcote

It has once again been a highly successful year for Babana and contributing through my role as secretary has been highly rewarding. Babana has had some ups and downs throughout the year but we will continue to keep working to make a difference to the community. This year I have been able to assist Babana by speaking about the work we provide at a national conference in Ballarat and also writing the foreword to the important Indigenous Spanner in the Works booklet produced by the Men’s Shed Association. I would like to thank each of you who have been involved as a member, financial supporter or through your involvement in any of the events that Babana has run throughout this year. Babana is a resilient organisation and even though we have received a few setbacks including losing our employment program funding and not being successful in our application for accommodation through the council we will not stop working to provide a high quality service to the community where we work and live. Our supporters both financial and voluntary should be proud of yourselves because without your ongoing support we will not be in a position to provide ongoing support to those most in need!! I would like to wish each and every person who has been involved with our group a safe and happy holiday season, we look forward to seeing you all next year.

Wayne Moseley

I would like to wish everyone a happy holiday period – being a director of Babana means a lot to me and I continually learn from the other directors. This year I have had the privilege to represent our group at a number of key events including at Sydney Town Hall for the post NAIDOC community morning tea. I am also proud to have been involved in the lead up to many of our events including the Coloured Digger Anzac event, Closing the Gap Day and Employment expo. Without the support of each of the members and community we would not have been able to have a successful year – I look forward to continuing to provide a service to the community and being involved assisting Babana to be the leader within the Greater Sydney Area.


Raymond Minniecon Being an Aboriginal Pastor within Banana Aboriginal Men's Group is one of the richest and most rewarding experiences imaginable. Our people face so many complex social, spiritual and political challenges at the grassroots level. But, with the incredible support of the men in our Group and in our community, I have a deeper sense of what Jesus meant when He said that 'a little faith, the size of a small mustard seed can move mountains.' And we had a lot of 'mountains' to move this year. We have organised important community discussions around suicide prevention and smoking cessation programs. We have supported young men who have just exited the prison system. We have helped young people find permanent jobs. We have counselled many of our men and women with mental health issues. I personally, conducted numerous funerals for our families. And I have had the privilege of conducting a number of marriage ceremonies. And our Coloured Digger's ANZAC Day March attracted a couple of thousand people who wanted to give honour, respect and recognition to all our Veterans who became Prisoners of War. Also, even though our "Dancing With Strangers" Sculpture wasn't chosen to honour our Indigenous Diggers, for the Hyde Park memorial, we will always continue to support all our artists who seek to honour our Unsung Heroes through their artistic skills and talents. We congratulate our Lord Mayor, Clover Moore and the Sydney City Council for their incredible support for this historic recognition. We also congratulate and offer our full support to Aboriginal artist, Tony Alberts who has now been commissioned by the Sydney City Council to erect his art piece in Hyde Park, to honour of our Unsung Heroes. In the meantime, we will continue to advocate for our "Dancing With Strangers" sculpture to be erected in Sydney as an important part of our honouring of all our Indigenous Diggers. And next year, we are preparing to honour the " Unknown Soldier." These are the Indigenous war veterans who have been died bravely, and have been buried on foreign soil. We will remember them. Come join us. I look forward to serving our community again next year. Seasons Blessing! Pastor Ray Minniecon.


David Pross

I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, being on the board of Babana has enabled me to expand the reach of Babana to the central coast. I would like to thank all of the board members for being supportive of me during the year and assisting me when I have had some health issues. It was my privilege to represent Babana at the Inaugural Nura Gili awards and to present young John Carr with his award was a great experience. To see young men like John ensure that education is at the forefront of Indigenous Australia is testament to the work that we are doing in the community. Our association with Nura Gili and the University of New South Wales is one that is strong and will continue to grow, being asked by the Director of Nura Gili to provide a cultural experience to Prof Wong from Microsoft shows how important our groups is to the University, I look forward to being able to contribute more in 2014 as the last few months I have had limited time to do the work that I wanted. As a board member I also look forward to continuing the journey and assisting my fellow board members with increasing membership of our organisation and making Babana known on a global platform.

Next year will be a big one for Babana and we look forward to you all being a part of our organisation.

Eric Robinson

Being the elected elder of Babana is an honour – I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We had a great time on all the events and seeing the community supporting us was great. I hope the community continue to support us through 2014.

Dr Mick Asher

I have the privilege of being associated with Babana for a number of years, during which the group has assisted the Aboriginal people in providing jobs, health and assistance for people in difficulties. I feel that it is imperative that government funding should continue to allow Babana to be able to help and provide services to the community.


Daniel Dawson – His Employment Journey Daniel Dawson is one of the successful men who have come through the Babana Indigenous Employment Program. Our Chairman Mark Spinks sat down with Daniel to talk about how our employment program has assisted him in his life journey. Daniel has been with Harbour City Ferries for the last four months as a deckhand. Why did you access the Babana IEP? I have been involved with Babana for a number of years and know that the group is committed to ensuring that job contacts are made. You decided to change careers from carpet laying – why were you so interested in working at the Ferries? It has been a dream of mine for a long time, I spoke you about the job aspects because I had previous experience working as a deckhand with the tribal warrior a few years ago. The next thing I know I’ve been given the opportunity to speak with Mark Champley and Darrin Moy who discussed ways for me to get a position on the ferries.

What would you say about the work that Harbour City Ferries have provided for yourself and other Indigenous people? Both Mark and Darrin have been fantastic people in making my dream come true!!!! The training that they have provided me has been second to none and the people that I have met through the Ferries have supported me in the journey to my dream role. They have been supportive of the Babana men’s group and have shown an interest in making sure that opportunities are available. What would you say to those in the government who have ceased the Babana IEP? This program is the only one that has worked for me and shown honest support for my employment needs. It is disappointing to hear that the government has cut the program because without them I would not be in the strong employment position that I am today. I would urge the government to have a review of this decision because it will make a negative impact on the opportunities for other people within the community who are looking for work. This would honestly be the only employment group that I would use, the other IEP’s within the area have shown little interest in assisting me. I have spoken to others who have used this network (including my colleagues at the Ferries) and they wouldn’t use anyone else besides Babana. The Government has done an injustice in cutting the program as the could lead to the reduction of services provided to the local Aboriginal Community.


Events

Shane Phillips – Australian of the Year Tribute Babana held an event on Sydney Harbour to honour Shane Phillips in receiving the Australian of the Year – Local Hero Shane is one of our members who has been influential in the way we provide service to our community. It was a proud time for Redfern when he was recognised for the work that he is providing on a daily basis.


Closing the Gap Day The closing the gap principles align with the strategic objectives of Babana. We work closely with our partners to provide avenues to better outcomes on Employment, Health, Education and Housing. We would like to thank everyone who attended our event and the service providers including representatives from the University of New South Wales and New Horizons.


Coloured Diggers Anzac Event Each year Babana members with the assistance of Uncle Harry Allie organise an event to honour the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members who have served our nation.


Microsoft Cultural Trip Babana directors David Pross and Jeremy Heathcote were involved in showing some of the Aboriginal sites on the Central Coast to Prof Curtis Wong from Microsoft.


Men’s Health – Harbour Event Babana took one of our monthly meetings to goat island where we discussed health issues specifically related to men – a number of men discussed how health was previously not something that they really thought about.


Spanner in the Works Lauch Babana was asked by the Australian Men’s Shed Association to assist in the foreward to their Indigenous Health Booklet. The launch was held at the Babana shed and was broadcast on Koori radio.


Nura Gili Awards Night Babana was involved in the inaugural Nura Gili Awards night and we sponsored one of the awards which was provided to John Carr.


Carers Week – Martin Place Babana continues to be involved in the annual Carers Week event held at Martin Place. We would like to thank Carers NSW and City of Sydney Council for assisting us in making the day an enjoyable experience for the community.


NAIDOC Babana continues to support the local community by being involved in celebrations at Redfern, Kensington and Randwick.


Mental Health – Suicide Prevention Babana organised a mental health event on Goat Island, we had the pleasure of having Kyle Vander Kuyp one of the Ambassadors of Beyond Blue.


International Men’s Day Babana would like to thank KPMG and QANTAS for assisting us with our International Men’s Day Event and NITV for covering our event. We were able to provide assistance. We provided awards to some of the members who have made a difference to the community.


MEMerry Christmas to Everyone!!!! Babana Shed will be closed from December 16th – 7th January.


Babana christmas newsletter 2013