It has been a busy few months already in my role as the Aboriginal Inclusion Officer at the VEC. While still relatively new, my priority has been to travel and meet as many communities and organisations across Victoria as possible.
In March I flew up to Mildura and Robinvale to connect with local Aboriginal elders and organisations, and to attend the regional launch of Richmond Football Club’s Korin Gamadji Institute REAL Program. It was a perfect opportunity to meet local families as well as the people helping to create pathways for Aboriginal young people.
In April, Electoral Commissioner Warwick Gately, Director of Communication and Engagement Sue Lang, and I attended Korin Gamadji Institute’s official 2021 launch at Richmond Football Club, again attended by many local families and partner organisations. It highlighted some of the key initiatives KGI had for the coming year, but also the strength in our continued partnership, which is celebrating its tenth year.
A key highlight so far has been forming an Aboriginal Elders Advisory Group, who will provide valuable cultural guidance and support for all our activities within First Nations communities. These elders come from across the state and represent an important step in establishing cultural integrity for our programs. We’re in the process of finalising the eight elders, and our upcoming event at the end of May to officially launch the Aboriginal Advisory Group.
The second highlight for me was attending a Korin Gamadji Youth Camp, held over three days at Gundiwindi Lodge in Wandin. Aboriginal young people attended from as far as Wodonga, Portland and Bairnsdale. The camp provided an opportunity to do some culturally specific presentations around empowerment, self-determination and how cultural resilience and identity are intertwined in the journey of democratic political engagement for all Aboriginal people.
With much still to do, I’m satisfied with the strong foundations created so far.