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2012 - edition 1

Closing the Gap

The work of CCDEU Ltd

Rural Training College Burdekin Careers on the land Shalom Christian College From education to employment Indigenous Aged Care across North Queensland Building Futures through construction Milbi Constructions

From the

CHAIRPERSON Closing the Gap is a stated commitment by all Australian governments to improve the lives of Indigenous Australians, and in particular provide a better future for Indigenous children.

In 2008 the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) set specific and ambitious targets for Closing the Gap; namely: •

To close the life-expectancy gap within a generation

To halve the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five within a decade

To ensure access to early childhood education for all Indigenous four years olds in remote communities within five years

To halve the gap in reading, writing and numeracy achievements for children within a decade

To halve the gap for Indigenous students in Year 12 (or equivalent) attainment rates by 2020

To halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a decade.

Central to the work of CCDEU Ltd are the attainment of these and other goals through our various programs which are undergirded by Indigenous Christian principles. We believe that when people are imbued with spiritual strength, renewal and re-discovery through spiritually supportive environments then they have within them the ultimate foundation and sustenance on which to overcome the barriers to the realization of a vision for their life. Without a vision people perish. The many personal transformations we are witness to are a direct result of our programs aimed at closing the gap. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Social Survey 2008, more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults had finished Year 10 or 11 in 2008 than in 2002. Our students are testament to these statistics and we congratulate our students. Erin Dean, Aldan Raymond and Philomenia McKenzie as but some of the individuals featured within these pages who are reaching their full potential. These and countless other success stories suggest that Government efforts to address Indigenous inequality would be enhanced with a formal acknowledgement that spiritual pathways and the creation of supportive Indigenous environments hold equal importance and relevance to Indigenous empowerment and development as mainstream pathways. While we are heartened by the many Aboriginal and Islander role models arising from our programs we are ever mindful of

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the challenges that will invariably present to the organization as we position ourselves to further address disadvantage through our programs in education and training, rehabilitation, aged care but to name a few. To this end we have implemented a range of process improvements across the entire organisation. A quality assurance program has been implemented to ensure our programs deliver first class outcomes in a manner consistent with the vision of CCDEU Ltd. Additionally we have also made investments in upgrading our Information Technology infrastructure as a cornerstone to driving productivity improvements. Pastor Bill’s and Star of the Sea in Cairns and the Torres Strait are now networked to head office. We are rolling out further networking capability across other divisions to ensure seamless cooperation and communication between all CCDEU Ltd divisions. CCDEU Ltd remains a robust partner with Government, as they seek to engage Indigenous people and communities, building on their ideas, strengths and leadership to help to find sustainable solutions to long-standing problems. Ours is a policy of continuous improvement with the needs of our clients and students at the forefront of everything we do. As we move into a new era of growth and development, we invite you to partner with us and in doing so be part of the legacy of change in which we work to collectively to close the inequality gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians on which our children’s future rests.

With blessings

Rev Shayne Blackman Congress Community Development and Education Unit Ltd

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Social Survey 2008, more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults had finished Year 10 or 11 in 2008 than in 2002. Of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults in Queensland in 2008, 27% had completed Year 12 or equivalent, an increase from 22% in 2002. 44% had completed Year 10 or Year 11 however only 29% had completed Year 9 or below, which was a decrease from 35% in 2002.


CCDEU Ltd recognises the importance of education in having a positive influence on the employment, health and economic outcomes of Indigenous people.

Shalom Christian College is active in developing models for Middle Schooling as not only a framework to provide targeted support for Indigenous adolescents but as an essential transitionary program to ensure Indigenous students successfully graduate to senior school. Shalom now has four campuses.

It shows that while solid progress is being made, more effort is needed in engaging students around the middle school years. The middle years of schooling encompass the developmental stages of adolescence, which most typically falls somewhere within the age range 10-15 years and grades 5-9. The quality of this phase of schooling is of crucial importance to the future lives and prospects of young Australians. Those who prosper emotionally, socially and educationally in the middle years have an excellent chance of success at the senior secondary level and beyond. On the other hand, students who fail to prosper in the middle years often become alienated from school and learning and sometimes develop strong anti-social attitudes. Indigenous young people are confronted with an array of challenges above and beyond what most young Australian students’ experience. Many regional and remote communities are imbued with adverse socio-economic statistics that unduly impact a student’s desire and ability to attain learning. This situation compounds and exasperates learning in later years of schooling with often complete disengagement in the learning process occurring.

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Shalom Christian College Townsville

Shalom Christian College is a p-12 day and boarding school with students from across Queensland and the Northern Territory.

With its emphasis on strong literacy and numeracy programs, the College has had pleasing results with the latest release of the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) which demonstrated Shalom year 9 students had performed substantially above average compared

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to statistically similar schools nationwide. The results which are displayed on the Australian Government’s My School’s website demonstrates the positive influence Shalom is having on regional and remote students who may not have otherwise had access to suitable schooling.

Erin Dean With her sights firmly set on a career in finance, year 11 Shalom student Erin Dean has secured a much coveted two year traineeship with the National Australia Bank (NAB) thanks to Shalom Christian College’s work placement program. The College is increasingly active in placing students into traineeships across a range of industries and sectors. As a role model for other Indigenous students, Erin emphasises that Indigenous students can achieve anything through self-belief and a willingness to work hard. “I am from the Atherton Tableland’s and enrolled at Shalom two years ago as I was not doing well in the State School system. My grandfather knew and was interested in Shalom as it is Indigenous Christian School. Since coming to Shalom my grades have improved as I am getting a lot of help and encouragement from the teachers. I am no longer a C

grade student. I used to previously think I was not up to a position in a bank, but Shalom encouraged me and showed me I could do it. I also like the fact that the Shalom environment helps you re-discover your culture which can easily be lost. I thank Shalom and the National Australia Bank for their support as they are creating a future for me that I thought I could never have. My message to my peers is that you can do whatever you want but you must be willing to work for it. You have to respect your teachers as they are the ones who are helping you and have respect for yourself by taking responsibility for your actions” said Erin.

Shalom Christian College and National Australia Bank School Firsts Program NAB Schools First is brought to life by NAB in partnership with the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) and Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). NAB Schools First recognises that the education of our young people rests on the shoulders of the entire community, which is why the awards component of the program supports Australian schools working in partnership with their communities to help young people realise their potential. Launched in October 2008 by the Hon. Julia Gillard, MP, NAB Schools First is a national awards program that provides, financial recognition of success in establishing effective school-community partnerships; and financial support to build stronger school-community partnerships. Shalom Christian College recently won a School Firsts award due to its partnership with the North QLD Cowboys Rugby League Club. The partnership enables Indigenous students in Years 10 to 13 to become involved in real work experience and career mentoring programs. The program, Learn to be Legends, will help build skills and abilities for transition through school and into future studies and employment. The Cowboys provide significant time and effort and bring to the partnership a large number of work experience opportunities through their sponsors and community contacts. They also advertise the students’ capabilities to help them find jobs when they finish school. The Cowboys offer traineeships to Year 13 students, provide access to part time employment, release key staff to work on the project and offer incentives such as tickets to games and meeting the players. The school and the Cowboys work closely together to ensure that the needs of the students are met and they can offer real and relevant experience and opportunities that will see more Indigenous students in the work force and in higher education.

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Philomenia McKenzie

The sky’s is literally the limit for year 11 Shalom student Philomenia McKenzie who is well upon her way to becoming an air hostess. With recent glowing reports on her performance from Rex Airlines who provided her with valuable work experience, Philomenia says she is excited about her future. “I enrolled at Shalom last year as I heard their educational programs were exciting and made for real life. I have always wanted to become an air-hostess but did not know which way to turn. The College has been very helpful in supporting me to become an air hostess. A teacher, Joe Christensen arranged my work experience at Rex Airlines where I not only experienced life as an air-hostess on a flight from Townsville to 6 | Marri-lom Murrun winter 2012

Longreach via Winton but was involved in the check-in and administrative processes and other behind the scenes work. That work experience was very helpful in showing me what to expect as an air-hostess and I am now keener than ever. I have an interview with QANTAS coming up shortly and I hope that upon leaving school I can start work. Without the support of the College and Mr. Christensen I would not be in the position I am in today and I thank them everyone for their support. My message to other Indigenous students is that when there is an opportunity; grab it while you can, as it opens doors to a better future. Listen and respect your teachers as they are there to help you get a good education and a good job” said Philomenia.

Shalom Crystal Creek Campus The Crystal Creek Campus is a middle school located 65 km north of Townsville in a tropical rainforest environment. This year the small campus will accommodate 48 boarders, 72 in 2013 and moving to 96. The campus has been developed to provide extra assistance to students who have been disengaged from education so that they become school ready. The programs, delivered by dedicated staff, have been designed to provide intensive learning in Literacy and Numeracy in a small school environment. Some of the features of the campus include, Special assisted Literacy and Numeracy support , School based Science and Art programs, Studies in traditional and contemporary Music and Dance, Full Sport and Physical Education program, Horticultural Studies and Christian Perspective Studies. A major feature of the campus is its focus on traditional languages and natural sciences program. The campus is equipped with a recording studio to capture traditional languages, and importantly the structure and makeup of traditional languages so that

students can better translate concepts from their traditional languages into English. The aim of the program is to create a traditional language resource of which the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) can develop for use in other schools. Crystal Creek Students travel to Townsville each weekend to participate in boarding activities with the Condon students. Milbi Constructions have been instrumental in developing the campus infrastructure to reflect the progressive programs on offer.

Shalom Rural Training College Burdekin Australia’s rural skills shortage is forecast to present issues for domestic food production. Estimates from bodies such as the National Farmers Federation predicts about 80,000 - 100,000 new workers are required today for agricultural production to approach pre2002 drought levels. This situation is helped being addressed through an exciting new partnership between Shalom and the North Queensland Centre for Tropical

Agriculture in the rich farming region of the Burdekin just south of Townsville. The collaboration which provides Shalom’s senior students from years

10-12 and 13 with a seamless transition into rural education and training also supports Government and industry body initiatives to encourage more young people onto the land. Marri-lom Murrun winter 2012 | 7

‘Skilling Australia for the Future’ Strategy. “Due to the existing limitations in the training market and the dominance of TAFEs as the principal training supplier in regional Australia, there are significant issues with the present delivery of rural training not fitting the requirements of the labor force or the employer” said Rev Blackman. The College offers Certificates I, II and III across a broad subject offering allowing students to specialise in either Conservation and Land Management or Rural Operations. Shalom Chairman Rev Shayne Blackman said the new Burdekin campus would enhance the College’s present course offering mix which included trade training, while directly supporting the Australian Government’s

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“This new arrangement allows us to offer those Indigenous boarding students from across Queensland and the Northern Territory who come to Townsville, with valuable rural training opportunities leading to trade level qualifications and thus real and fulfilling careers on the land. “The unemployment rate of Indigenous people remains unacceptably high, especially in remote parts of Australia

and this is another step we are undertaking to match labour supply and demand across the rural sector of the economy. “Six of the seven most demanded agricultural occupations require tradelevel qualifications or above and we want to ensure Indigenous students who choose a rural based career can do so with the right training, affirmation and support” said Rev Blackman. The Rural Training College Burdekin enrols students keen to pursue real life ‘hands on’ training and rural industry qualifications in traditional rural skills including Cattle, Cropping, Farm Mechanics and Civil Construction. The program combines senior school subjects with vocational competencies so students graduate with a range of qualification and certificates.

Aldan Raymond Aldan Raymond is a young man on a mission to not only gain valuable rural skills but to become a role model for his generation. Hailing from Kowanyama - a small community on the Gulf of Carpentaria the future leader shares his vision. I have always been interested in working with cattle and like being around horses. I was raised on the Strathburn Cattle Station in the heart of Cape York and the Rutland Plains station where my father used to work. I want a job working with livestock to learn as much as I can, as one day I would like to start my own cattle company. I enrolled at Shalom in 2010 to gain a good education and to get the skills necessary for cattle work. Shalom offers me that chance and I enjoy learning about horses, farm mechanics and cropping. The courses are very good. They are useful skills that I can use on the land or in my community. We study a Certificate I in AgriFood Operations which leads to a

Certificate II and III in Rural Operations. From there you can specialise in livestock or cropping. As part of my course, I will be assisting the Woodhouse Station bring cattle from around Mareeba to the Rural Training College where the cattle will graze. I am enjoying my time at Shalom as the teachers are very helpful and I am with friends from across Queensland and the Northern Territory.

can help others follow their dreams. If we show our brothers, sisters and everyone ‘what you got’ they will then do the same for the next generation. I know some of my friends think school is boring as you sit around all day but it’s not like that. It’s important to enrol for your future so you can know the right way from the wrong way. I hope when I am much older I will have shown others the right path to take for a better future.

My plan is to return to Kowanyama once I graduate and to then get a job in the cattle industry. To other Aboriginal students, I say follow your dreams and don’t be scared. After you finish school, go back to your community so you

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Shalom Herberton Campus “exciting new venture� Shalom Christian College is planning an exciting new venture in Herberton on the Atherton Tablelands. Congress Community Development and Education Unit (CCDEU) have positioned Shalom to establish a Primary aged Junior School Campus at what was formerly Woodleigh College. The Junior School Campus will enrol students from School Years 4-7 and features an innovative parent program. The parent program

is designed to assist parents in the education of their children and extend their own learning opportunities. Shalom will provide on-site accommodation for a number of parents. In some cases this will see parents in class with their young learners. Parents will also have an opportunity to study courses such as Communication, Financial Planning, and Computer Literacy while staying at the Herberton Campus. The Herberton Campus of Shalom will feature the same culturally rich and supported curriculum that is offered through Years 4-7 on the main campus in Townsville.

Closing the Gap Report Over the last year, Shalom Christian College has successful graduated 20 students of which 2 have progressed into tertiary studies and 2 progressing into traineeships. The College has positively influenced 37 middle school students to progress to senior studies and its Year 13 transitions program continues to grow with 13 enrolled students. The net effect of these positive outcomes cannot be understated. The attainment of higher education by Indigenous students places them into a position to not only positively contribute to the social and economic life of their communities and ultimately the nation, but importantly to act as role models to other Indigenous students to reach their full potential through education and training.

Rev Shayne Blackman addresses Shalom Christian College’s assembly

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Construction & Trade Training

Milbi Constructions continues to cement its status as North Queensland’s premier Indigenous construction company that creates valuable career paths for Aboriginal and Islander people. Uniquely the Company was established to not only construct the 13.5 million, 80 acre CCDEU Ltd development in Townsville but to tender for commercial projects and in doing so, provide prized trade training opportunities for students and young people wishing to enter the construction industry. The company has recently been active in a number of projects designed to strengthen CCDEU Ltd’s delivery of its programs to regional and remote students.

Recent projects have included: 1. Major refurbishments at the Rural Training College Burdekin which has involved the upgrading of dormitories, training classrooms, the kitchen, the dining facilities, several residences, the swimming pool and the administration building; 2.

3. The construction of the new Shalom Sports Stadium complex; 4.

The fourth wing extension to the Shalom boys dormitory;

5. The Shalom Crystal Creek campus is nearing completion with the boys dormitory and the kitchen/dining buildings well underway;

Projects about to commence include: 6. The refurbishment of the Stagpole Street Rehabilitation Centre, where Milbi is employing on a casual basis, several residents from the Centre to assist with the works as a way of not only providing valuable employment opportunities but to encourage a potential interest in future trade training. 7.

Construction work at the Shalom Campus Herberton.

Construction of the Shalom Trade Training Centre;

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Jarviad Wyles

Jarviad Wyles is a Milbi Constructions apprentice and a rising star in the building industry. Thanks to the Company he is creating a future for himself and influencing others to strive for excellence. He shares his journey... I am from Townsville and like many young people was unsure of what I wanted to do with my future. I was enrolled at TAFE and doing some casual plastering but my heart was not in it. I then started concreting and block work while continuing my TAFE studies. It was at that point I was introduced to Terry Gaffney, Construction Manager at Milbi. He encouraged me to put in an application for an apprentice which I did. After an interview, I was successful in gaining a Carpentry Apprenticeship. I have never stopped doing carpentry and really enjoy it. I think having the support and encouragement of a company that understands Indigenous people makes a big difference to your work. I did not know if I was up to the job, but Milbi provided me a range of hands on skills and showed me I could do it. I am doing a Certificate III in Carpentry. I really enjoy the companionship and the chance to work with other Indigenous apprentices as we support each other. It is great that females are also getting into the construction industry and I work alongside my colleague Jade Fewings who is Milbi’s first female apprentice. I have been involved in some amazing projects where I have learnt so much. I have been working on the new Crystal Creek Campus to the Trade Training Centre to Rural Training College in the Burdekin. My message to other Indigenous people is give it a go! There are a lot more opportunities now than in our parents day. It’s good to get a trade as the skills last a lifetime and when you work you create a better image for yourself and makes your parents proud. I thought it was hard but once you get into work a whole world of opportunity opens up. I would like to thank Terry Gaffney and Milbi Chairman Rev Shayne Blackman for giving me the opportunity to gain an apprenticeship, my life has changed for the better.

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Non-School Qualifications Non-school qualifications are generally obtained through the successful completion of vocational education and training and/or higher education at universities.

In the 2006 Census, 26% of Indigenous people aged 25-64 years reported having a non-school qualification, an increase from 20% in 2001. The majority of this increase was at the Certificate/ Diploma level (from 14% to 20%).

proportion of those with a Bachelor Degree or above (from 4% to 5%). Over the same period the proportion of nonIndigenous people with a non-school qualification also increased, from 42% to 47%.

There was only a slight increase in the

There was no difference in the

proportion of Indigenous males and females who had a non-school qualification in 2006, however, Indigenous people were much less likely to have a non-school qualification, compared with non-Indigenous people (26% compared to 47% respectively).

Persons aged 25-64 years with a Non-School Qualification by Indigenous status and sex, 2006

Source: ABS: 2006 Census of Population and Housing, Australia, 2006

In the 2006 Census, Indigenous persons living in Major Cities were more than two and a half times as likely to obtain a non-school qualification than those living in Very Remote areas (39% and 15% respectively). Indigenous people in non-remote areas were more likely to

have a non-school qualification than Indigenous people in remote areas. A different pattern is seen for nonIndigenous persons. The highest percentage (58%) of non-Indigenous persons with a non-school qualification

is found in the Major Cities (as it is with Indigenous persons). However in Very Remote areas 48.6% of nonIndigenous persons have a non-school qualification, which is higher than the percentage in Outer Regional or Remote areas.

Persons aged 25-64 years with a Non-School Qualification by Indigenous status, 2006

Source: ABS: Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, Australia, 2006 (cat. no. 4713.0).

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Closing the Gap Report Over the last ten years Milbi Constructions has indentured over fifteen Indigenous apprentices to full trade qualification status and is presently training six more apprentices. The qualifications gained provide a solid foundation for those apprentices to work in the broader construction industry and/or to make a positive contribution to the infrastructure needs prevalent in Indigenous communities. The Company is also active in addressing the gender imbalance in construction by encouraging females into trades thereby addressing the underrepresentation of women in construction.

Rev Shayne Blackman with Milbi Construction apprentices

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Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, alcohol is the second largest cause of drug-related deaths and hospitalisations in Australia after tobacco. The effect on Indigenous communities is well publicised. However, contrary to public perception surveys conducted by bodies such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Surveys show that proportionally fewer Aboriginal people drink alcohol than non-Indigenous people do. The diagram below shows that across all age groups in the low risk group fewer Aboriginal people drink alcohol than non-Indigenous people. On average, 55% of non-Indigenous people drink at low risk while only 36% Aboriginal people do. In the risky group more under-24-year-old Aboriginal youth drink than non-Indigenous young people. In other age groups statistically the same number of people drink alcohol. This is also true for the high risk group, except for people over 35 years of age. Here, almost twice as many Indigenous people drink alcohol. The decline in the over-55-year-olds could be attributed to the lower life expectancy of Aboriginal people.

do this and more, by addressing the root cause. This comes through knowledge as to what leads Indigenous people to engage in risky alcohol consumption in the first place. Indigenous alcohol abuse is motivated by numerous factors including the breakdown of traditional

social control mechanisms, a lack of group identity, unprocessed pain which requires healing and a lack of processes for reducing tensions and frustrations occurring as a result of poverty, unemployment, discrimination, racism, boredom and dislocation.

While traditional approaches to alcohol rehabilitation seek to address the consequences of chronic alcohol and drug misuse, the Stagpole Street Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Unit aims to Source: Australian Institute for Health and Welfare

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walk the right path. From my experience, Indigenous people turn to alcohol and drugs not out of boredom, but because it is all around you and it is easy for it to becomes a way of life. Children often see adults acting happy when drinking and it makes them curious and happy to try it. Soon they are hooked too, as it falsely makes you forget your problems. It is a bad cycle that creates bigger problems. I stated drinking at the age of 13 and it progressively got worse. When I was drinking, I lost respect for myself and others. I never had a social life Bruce Adams is a strong role model who as a teenager and would not helps other Indigenous people who have go anywhere without being experienced the effects of alcohol and drug drunk. The sad thing is that I addiction saw it as being normal. I lost so many good opportunities The Unit is a residential rehabilitation in my life such as meeting service focussed on providing people or gaining a job all because targeted help to people suffering of the grog. I still remember my first from the negative impacts of substance misuse issues through detox and withdrawal management, emotional health and wellbeing group therapy, substance misuse and relapse prevention group therapy, health promotion and education sessions, vocational guidance and ready for work program, living skills, individual counselling and fitness and recreation programs. A case manager is assigned to each client to pay when I managed to get a job identify their goals for the future and as an apprentice plumber. Nearly create a treatment plan to guide their all of it went on grog. After ten recovery. hard years of alcoholism, my jail

“Bruce Adams, A new start in life”

As testament to the success of the program, Bruce Adams who was a client of Stagpole Street and now an employee, talks about why people turn to alcohol and how he overcame its grip to start a new life. As an Indigenous man from Mornington Island I cannot remember how many times I have been in and out of jail as a result of alcohol. I want to share my story for others to

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stints started. I celebrated by 19th birthday in jail for drink driving and stealing an ambulance. Things did not get better for me and from 19 to 42 I cannot recall how many times I have seen inside a prison cell. I was released from my last stint in jail in 2009 and spent a year on the streets and sleeping rough. I don’t know what got into me, perhaps God but I woke up one day so exhausted and tired of the life I was living. In a sober moment I knew I wanted a change and to turn my back on the life I had led for so long. I always knew about the Stagpole Street Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Unit from in jail and from some of the

locals. I made a decision to go one day by myself. I was admitted to a six month rehabilitation program and for the first time in a long time I had a bed, a proper shower and a meal. I started to feel excited about my life and through counselling, the many programs, art classes and outings I could think with a clear head and see a purpose for my life. That purpose was to be free from alcohol permanently, to be a role model to others and to start a new life. I have made my vision come through as I am now working as a Community Engagement Officer at Stagpole Street – the same place that helped me, and I work hard to help other Indigenous people in the community overcome alcohol. I have met my beautiful partner, I have a gorgeous little girl called Megan and we now rent a place of our own. It’s funny, as the hard work starts when I come home from work looking after my little one! My life today is so much better in so many ways. These days I can go past a pub, sit with people who are drinking and have no compulsion to drink. It was not only Stagpole Street that set me free; I believe my faith played a large part. Without the love of my local church and pastor I would probably not be here. I have a strong faith now and mix with strong people. I have enrolled in a Certificate III in Community Development through the Yalga-binbi Institute for Community Development and the course is supporting my work in helping others reach their full potential such as the youth I work with in the Cleveland Youth Detention Centre. When I see Indigenous people drinking, I see beyond the image of what people often see. I know they are very smart and knowledgeable people whose real identity is yet to show. How do I know this? Because I have walked in their shoes. I know through the work of places like Stagpole Street that their vision for their life will be supported and that they will walk the right path for a better future.

Robert Haines Robert Haines from Palm Island was admitted to the Stagpole Street Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Unit (SSRADU) in late September 2011. I was suffering from alcohol abuse and was practically homeless. I had been in and out of rehab for six years with little success until I found SSDARU. It had an environment away from all the distractions in my life and it gave me time to think about my life. I really enjoyed SSDARU’s programs especially the art and lifeskills program. Most of all I enjoyed the companionship of the others there. I had one main purpose which was to recover and to learn about what I wanted to do with my life. It’s so easy to fall into alcoholism when you are unemployed, directionless and when you hit rock bottom the only way is up. Thanks to the Stagpole Street I have now got accommodation, I am working as an Indigenous Health Worker for Health and Wellbeing and am studying my Cert III and Cert IV in Primary Health Care through Central Queensland TAFE. I want to graduate to a Diploma level. I am now undertaking basic clinical work in the field, outreach, talking to others in the community and lots of home visits. I relate my experience to others in their journey toward healing.

Closing the Gap Report Over the 2010/2011 period, Stagpole Street Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Unit has successfully rehabilitated 147 individuals in its residential rehabilitation setting, effectively placing those individuals on track to a brighter future free from the adverse influence of alcohol and drugs.

Robert Haines and Bruce Adams work actively in the community to help Aboriginal and Islander people overcome the adverse effects of alcohol and drug addiction

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Language and Culture

Sylvia Robertson and Esther Fischer display just some of the books that are strenghtening early childhood Indigenous literacy

The significance of Indigenous language today is being recognised as being a means of identity and belonging for young Indigenous Australians.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2002 only 54% of Indigenous people aged 15 years and over identified with a clan, tribal or language group. This has been on an upward trend as in 2008, over six in ten (62%) were identifying with a language group. Of Indigenous people aged 15 years and over who live in remote areas of Australia, 73% speak, or spoke some words of, an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language in comparison to 32% of those living in major cities. The importance of language as a means of preserving important cultural traditions lies at the forefront of the work of Black Ink Press. The publishing house creates books predominately for young Indigenous school students and in doing so employs Indigenous authors and illustrators who in turn receive royalty income. Supporting the use of language, one of their latest is ‘Northern Territory Animals’ written and illustrated by a group of Galiwin’ku boys at Shalom Christian College. With 68 books published to date, the publications cover a wide subject matter to help Aboriginal and Islander people keep their cultural heritage alive by passing their stories and memories from one generation to another. Often, strong social messages feature in some of the books for young people confronted with the challenges of growing up. The other books Black Ink Press has just published are very diverse, with launches planned across Townsville, Mission Beach, Palm Island and Bundaberg. These include ‘Charlie’s Family’ by Esther Fischer and Dorothy Webster, ‘Behind Closed 18 | Marri-lom Murrun winter 2012

Doors’ (poems) by Tamarra-Ann Partridge, ‘The Day Palm Island Fought Back – the strike of 1957’ by Dulcie Isaro.

The work of Black Ink Press grows from strength to strength with three of its books recommended to be included in the new Australian Curriculum for Queensland Schools. “My Mob Going to the Beach” by Jaquanna Elliott and the late Sylvia Emmerton (who was a teacher at Shalom Christian College) is recommended for first term grade one.

For information on ordering books, please contact Black Ink Press at or or call (07) 4773 5077 or 4723 4546. *Also recommended are our very first book, Crow Feathers, and Biddy’s Fishing Line.

Closing the Gap Report Over the last year Black Ink Press has published 20 books (68 to date) and distributed them to all States and Territories not only effectively strengthening Indigenous literacy but enhancing and promoting cultural maintenance of Indigenous languages throughout Australia.

Aged Care

Australia’s population is ageing. Demand for aged care services are expected to outstrip supply. The numbers are confronting. According to the Australian Government’s Treasury figures between now and 2050 the number of older people aged 65 to 84 years is expected to more than double. The number of people aged 85 and over is expected to more than quadruple, from 0.4 million people today to 1.8 million in 2050. The situation facing the Indigenous elderly is especially confronting. Statistics suggest not only a lower than average life expectancy, but a lack of culturally supportive aged care. The delivery of aged care services to Indigenous communities has been made more challenging by the issue of population distribution, geographic isolation and the health status of indigenous people. Based on age-specific mortality rates prevailing during 2005-07, life expectancy at birth for Indigenous males was estimated to be 67.2 years, which is 11.5 years less than life expectancy at birth for non-Indigenous males (78.7 years). Life expectancy at birth for Indigenous females was estimated to be 72.9 years, which is 9.7 years less than life expectancy at birth for non-Indigenous females

(82.6 years). While the situation is gradually improving it demonstrates the need for more programs to address this national crisis. CCDEU Ltd is responding to these unique challenges by strengthening its delivery of Indigenous aged care services across the strategic centers of Townsville, Cairns and Thursday Island. How does it do this? Firstly the organization works to ensure that its aged care facilities meet stringent Government accreditation. Secondly it invests heavily in the training and development of its aged care staff and thirdly works to implements culturally supportive programs that affirm the unique place Indigenous elders hold not only in Aboriginal and Islander society but in the broader social fabric of the nation. The Shalom Elders Village, Pastor Bills and Star of the Sea are now recognized as premium aged care providers for Aboriginal and Islander people from across Queensland and in particular the Cape and Gulf regions.

Shalom Elders Village provides a comfortable haven of rest and care in a culturally supportive environment

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Shalom Elders Village

The Shalom Elders Village in Townsville is a twenty eight bed residential aged care facility that is located next to the affiliated Shalom Christian College. The center is home to many elders and those with a physical and intellectual disability that require specialized care. The close proximity to the College enables elders to not only see Indigenous students prepare for a brighter future, but to also attend special events such as the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee Week and many other social functions held through the Shalom community. The ability for Elders to integrate with the younger generation is an important measure in maintaining a sense of belonging, while breaking down the walls of isolation many feel in the later stages of life.

A moment with Shalom Elders Resident

Michael Thomas

Mornington Island resident and Shalom elder Michael Thomas holds a life changing record he hopes will never be broken. For 32 courageous years, Uncle Thomas has been on renal dialysis and happily promotes this fact in an effort to encourage others to adopt healthier lifestyles to avoid his plight. The massive onset of kidney disease in Indigenous communities as a result of, for example diabetes is having an enormous impact on the quality of life for many, and is contributing to the younger mortality rates of Indigenous people. Elder Thomas talks briefly about his journey with dialysis and how the Shalom Elders Village is a home away from home. “I used to work for the Mornington Island council collecting rubbish under the Community Development Employment Project (CDEP) scheme. When I got sick and discovered I needed dialysis I was worried as the outcome of a dialysis condition was largely unknown 32 years ago. However, the medics were excellent and trained me in how to use the dialysis machine so I could look after myself. This involves self-injecting, but it’s not easy, very tiring and infections can often occur. It came to the point where I could no longer care for myself. I eventually moved to Townsville where I was admitted at the hospital for a year. I found it very hard being away from my people and the support that offers, it was my spirit that sustained me through those hard times. I soon learnt about and was admitted to the Shalom Elders Village where they provided the care I needed. The care and Indigenous support networks offered by the Village are excellent. They are also active in keeping us connected to family. Thanks to their assistance, they linked me into a program run by Queensland Health and Century Mine where I was able to visit my family on Mornington Island as I had not been home for years. I am very grateful for the staff and would like to thank everyone at Shalom Elders for being a caring family.

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Pastor Bill & Ruth Hollingsworth Elders Care Centre Indigenous aged care throughout the Cairns and Gulf region has been given a much needed boost with the formal accreditation of the Pastor Bill and Ruth Hollingsworth Elders Care Centre run by CCDEU Ltd.

Previously known as Dija-meta, the centre which is home to thirty seven residents was recently renamed in recognition of the enormous contribution Indigenous elders Pastor Bill and Aunty Ruth Hollingsworth and their late son William Hollingsworth Jnr have made to aged care in North Queensland. The accreditation of the Cairns based elder’s village by the Government’s Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency means the hostel is now officially recognized as a premium provider of quality aged care with strong positioning for future expansion. CCDEU Ltd Chairman Rev Shayne Blackman said the accreditation of Pastor Bill’s broadly examined areas such as management systems, staffing, health and personal care, resident lifestyles and physical environments to ensure the hostel was a first-rate quality aged care provider.

“The ageing of Australia’s population is a very real issue and one that is strongly reflected in Aboriginal and Islander communities throughout the Gulf for which many of our residents hail” said Rev Blackman. “Caring for our elderly is an honour not a chore however it does affect many Indigenous families’ ability to provide appropriate care such as specialised medical treatment for their elderly or respite care. “As such I commend the Government for recognizing the growing importance Indigenous aged care providers such as Pastor Bill’s will increasingly play in bridging that gap while maintaining close ties to the community” Rev Blackman said.

Pastor Bill’s Executive Office Sue Boisen said residents and staff were very overjoyed at the accreditation news as they took pride in the hostel as not just an aged care facility but as a home and sanctuary of care and comfort. “This accreditation achievement ensures Pastor Bill’s is now well placed to respond to the growing demand for culturally appropriate Indigenous aged and disabled care and we will continue to work hard to provide that for our deserving elders” said Sue Boisen.

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Star of the Sea

The Thursday Island based Star of the Sea aged care home was recently placed under the management of CCDEU Ltd. The facility which is home to twenty seven elders is an important part of the social fabric of the Torres Strait Islands. Recognising this importance, the Board has implemented some important measures to ensure Star of the Sea not only retains and develops local staff but also meets the strict accreditation criteria set down by the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation agency to ensure standards across all areas of the operation are maintained. Both these goals have been met with the recent accreditation of the facility. CCDEU Ltd Chairman Rev Shayne Blackman said the Board was delighted with the endorsement from the Agency as it not only reflected the hard work of staff in gaining accreditation but respecting the rights of the region’s elderly to accessing the best possible local care. “It is important that when seeking aged care services, elders from across the Torres Strait and NPA have access to a first rate local facility so they are not forced to leave family and loved ones” said Rev Blackman.

“We are committed to ensuring the benefits of this service transpire locally in terms of employment, development and training. “I am pleased to announce we are strengthening local employment with the Operational Coordinator being from the Torres Straits as are the majority of staff. Star of the Sea is now positioned to manage the expected increase in demand for its services to the local community.

A commitment to staff development and training

As part of the commitment to the development and training of its staff, the Board of CCDEU Ltd have, in conjunction with Tropical North Queensland TAFE (TNQT) and James Cook University (JCU) enabled about a dozen Star of the Sea health workers to be mentored and supported in their study towards a Diploma in Nursing this year. The Board have also have engaged the affiliated Yalga-binbi Institute for Community Development which is a Registered Training Organisation, to conduct a Certificate III in Aged Care for staff working across the three centres. We feature four staff members who are being trained at the Yalga-binbi Institute.

Stanley Gela studying toward a Diploma of Nursing

Head of nursing campus at JCU Matt Mason Middle and Stanley Gela

Stanley Gela is one of the budding nurses from Star of the Sea who joined around 30 other students for an orientation week luncheon at James Cook University’s Thursday Island campus on the 13th February 2012. Mr

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Gela said he wanted to improve his skills and continue working on Thursday Island. “We need more Indigenous health staff across the Torres Strait, including at the Star of the Sea, because we do understand the ways, and they understand us,” Mr Gela said. “This course will allow me to improve my skills, so it means I can work here on Thursday Island, and not have to go to Cairns or further south for employment. “I am interested in going on with my career, and this is a good opportunity.”

Yalga-binbi Institute for Community Development Pastor Bill’s Staff Interview: Leonora Spina studying Cert III in Aged Care Role: I have a flexible role in attending to kitchen duties to cleaning and sometimes I am called in to undertake some Assistant in Nursing tasks. How is the course assisting you? I am learning how to

Star of the Sea Staff Interview: Ladenia Kiwat studying Certificate III in Aged Care Position: Assistant in Nursing (AIN) What does your role involve: I am involved in direct care which included such tasks as the showering, toileting, feeding and massaging of Elders. How is the Cert III in Aged Care assisting you: It is a very interesting and good course as it teaches you a lot about systems and procedures in an aged care home and how to respond to difficult situations. It also concentrates on human

Shalom Elders Staff Interview: Jackson Koroi studying Cert III in Aged Care Role: Assistant in Nursing How is the course helping you in your work? It’s a very flexible, well delivered course that teaches you a lot about aged care. Its focus is so that you are able to learn on the job. We study biology and learn about diseases that can often affect the elderly such as dementia. We learn how to best manage those conditions so as to make residents life more comfortable.

Closing the Gap Report Over the last year CCDEU Ltd’s aged care services have provided care and medical treatment for over 130 elders

communicate with older people with dementia and learning how to observe the critical signs of when they need something. This is a very useful in my day to day work. The course has also made me think seriously about further study and becoming an Endorsed Enrolled Nurse (EEN). What do you enjoy about the job? The elderly residents make the job all the worthwhile. They are like family to me and I get a great satisfaction out of making their lives more comfortable. I also like working with the other staff as it’s a good environment and everyone supports one another. In some work places you don’t get that. At Pastor Bill’s you get a real sense of enjoyment and the satisfaction of helping elders at need puts your own problems into perspective.

biology, and we learn about the different bodily functions such as the digestive system. It is a course which has given me the motivation to undertake further study at university to become an Endorsed Enrolled Nurse. Major challenges in aged care: To my knowledge, Star of the Sea is the only aged care facility in the Torres Strait Islands. It is important that we develop the facility to respond to the ageing of people in the region which is a major challenge when family members do not have the skills to cope. Major satisfaction in your job: I love working with the elderly as they adopt us as their family. The feeling of seeing them smile first thing in the morning makes the tough challenges of the job worthwhile. I am also happy that CCDEU Ltd is giving me the opportunity to work in this field and to become trained as I can then move around the country and work and contribute to aged care.

What made you enter the aged care field? I started working as a disability support worker on Palm Island and decided aged care was a natural transition. I have family members who look after people with a disability and I was inspired by them to use my skills to help our elders. I think it is important for more males to enter the field as often male elders prefer to speak and deal with males when dealing with aged care issues. I hope to become a role model for others. What do you plan to do after completion of the course? I plan to go onto further study to become an Endorsed Enrolled Nurse (EEN). Without the Cert III in Aged Care I would not have had the opportunity to become exposed and encouraged to do further study. I just want to say I enjoy working for CCDEU Ltd, as there is great cultural interaction and support between people.

from regional and remote Indigenous communities, who would have otherwise not had access to culturally supportive care. Through our aged care programs we are not only prolonging the life expectancy of Indigenous elders but closing the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

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Artwork supplied by Nathaniel “Natty” Walsh





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Marri-lom Murrun Magazine Winter 2012  

Marri-lom Murrun Magazine Winter 2012

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