Working together for social change with Indigenous Cape York communities

Working together for social change with Indigenous Cape York communities

Over the last 12 months, three Department of Jobs and Small Business staff members have travelled to Cape York in Far North Queensland to work alongside not-for-profit organisations.

The work secondments, facilitated by Jawun, assist with the implementation of Indigenous-led projects under reform agenda Pama Futures.

Jawun is a not-for-profit organisation that works with Indigenous partner organisations to place skilled people from companies and government agencies into Indigenous organisations.

Jawun increases the capacity of Indigenous leaders, organisations and communities to achieve their own development goals. This in turn leads to lasting, material and measurable improvements in the lives of Indigenous people in those communities.

For a fortunate few in the department who successfully apply to take part each year, it’s an opportunity to participate in a unique cultural immersion experience with Indigenous communities.

Carol Moran, whose team facilitates Jawun participation for the department, said the secondments  offer high-performing staff the opportunity to build their cultural capabilities.

‘It also contributes to the department’s commitment to supporting employees to volunteer at Indigenous organisations under its Reconciliation Action Plan,’ Carol said.

‘Participants are challenged to think and work outside their comfort zones. Through their experiences, our staff become better informed about cultural differences, which flows on to better policy development and the creation of better targeted communications to suit different audiences.’

Pama Futures aims to close the gap on Indigenous disparity in Cape York Peninsula, including employment rates. It is a single cohesive reform agenda incorporating land rights, empowerment and economic development for the people of Cape York, by the people of Cape York.

The unemployment rate in the ABS Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2) of Cape York stood at 28.6% in the March quarter 2018 (latest available small area level data), well above the 5.5% recorded at the national level at that time and above the 5.3% recorded nationally in July 2018.

Read more about the Jawun program.

Read more about the Reform Agenda – Pama Futures.

Eve’s story

Wanting to expand her knowledge and understanding of Indigenous Affairs, Eve Wheeler set off in February 2018 for a Jawun secondment to Cape York for six weeks.

Eve was placed with Cape York Partnerships an Indigenous policy reform and leadership organisation dedicated to empowering Cape York Indigenous people.

Her primary role involved working on a transition plan, in collaboration with those involved, that will see employment services in the Cape York region run by Indigenous communities and organisations.

Eve was able to apply her expertise in the field of behavioural economics to help develop the transition plan, examining the behaviours and decision making of the Indigenous communities and organisations involved. This ensured the content that was developed was tailored, easy to read, attractive and met the needs of the community members.

Her knowledge of Government employment services and programs was also beneficial to the project.

‘I’ve always been curious about learning more about Indigenous Affairs. So when the opportunity arose to be a part of transitioning employment services in remote communities, I knew I wanted to be involved,’ Eve said.

‘To undertake this work, I spent time meeting and working with local Indigenous and community organisations, elders and community members.

‘I valued listening to their unique stories and experiencing firsthand the excellent work they are doing.

‘I believe their knowledge and connection to their communities will result in better outcomes when employment services are transitioned.’



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