Federal Parliament hears of local initiatives to close the gap

On the anniversary of the apology to the stolen generation, Federal Member for Robertson, Ms Lucy Wicks, has spoken of the significance of the ninth Closing the Gap report in Parliament.
Ms Wicks’ speech highlighted local Central Coast initiatives she said she believed were “forging strong community networks, developing local Indigenous leadership and optimising investments in the Aboriginal community.”
The Closing the Gap report aimed to address areas of inequality between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in areas such as education and employment by providing a snapshot of areas of improvement and areas where improvement is needed.
Ms Wicks spoke of the Central Coast Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council.
According to Ms Wicks, Darkinjung LALC CEO, Mr Sean Gordon, said he believed improvements had been made in some of the target areas, but there was still a lot more work that needed to be done, especially in the areas of early education and employment.
“Darkinjung is reporting real success in addressing Indigenous disparity through a fantastic partnership with Barker College and the establishment of an alternative schooling model, as well as a partnership with Lendlease to deliver employment and procurement opportunities on the Central Coast,” Ms Wicks said.
Local initiatives such as the Central Coast Local Health District’s Yerin Aboriginal Health Services and Central Coast Primary Care have formed a partnership to develop, promote and implement strategies aimed to improve access to education, employment and health services on the Central Coast.
Also, the Barang Organisation on the Central Coast included the NAISDA Dance College and the Bara Barang Corporation, which provided services such as support for young people, through community and arts programs.
“This local response to a national issue is seen increasingly across the Central Coast.
“The Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network is also working to develop a pilot project aimed at supporting Aboriginal health practitioners.
“The project aims to not only increase the availability of primary healthcare services in Aboriginal communities, but support Aboriginal students through study into employment.
“These are local projects that involve boosting health, employment and education outcomes for local Aboriginal people,” Ms Wicks said.

Feb 15, 2017
Lucy Wicks, Federal Member for Robertson

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