Northern Region Aboriginal Alliance focus on the 'whole community'

NRAA vice chair Mark Davies, chair and Gunnedah elder, Jean Hands, and lead negotiator Paul Callaghan. Photo: Gareth Gardner

NRAA vice chair Mark Davies, chair and Gunnedah elder, Jean Hands, and lead negotiator Paul Callaghan. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Gunnedah elder Jean Hands says she is pleased with the community’s interest in the work of the Northern Region Aboriginal Alliance (NRAA).

The alliance is one of seven that were formed in response to the NSW government’s Aboriginal Affairs Strategic Plan OCHRE: Opportunity, Choice, Healing, Responsibility and Empowerment. Ms Hands said the plan seeks to give Aboriginal people “a voice in government”. 

At a recent consultation at Gunida Gunyah, the NRAA chair and fellow members shared NRAA’s findings and progress, and sought feedback from those attending.

The chair said the community consultation went well, with a number of organisations represented, including Gunida Gunyah, Homes North Community Housing, Winanga-li Aboriginal Child and Family Centre, and Gunnedah Shire Council.

“The discussion was great and there was a lot of interest in what the community are doing within NRAA,” Ms Hands said. 

“I’m very happy with the turn-out.”

Ms Hands, NRAA’s Jason Smith, and deputy chair Mark Davies shared the organisation’s priorities with the gathering, which were compiled from previous community consultations throughout the region. Priorities include education, social and emotional well-being, health, housing and social justice.

An issue discussed at length was the lack of an Aboriginal advisory committee and Aboriginal councillors in Gunnedah.

“I would be looking at an advisory committee here in Gunnedah,” Ms Hands said.

“You really do need it for this community.”

Councillor Rob Hook said he supported the notion and would welcome representation. 

Ms Hands said NRAA was focused on working towards goals for the “whole community”.

“It’s not just for particular families,” she said.

“What you’ve got to do has got to be for the whole Aboriginal community.”

Ms Hands said she was thankful to the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community for their support, and Gunida Gunyah for hosting.

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