Here in Bundaberg there is the Indigenous Wellbeing Centre, a service that has been set up based upon listening to the voice of the Murries that live here. As one of our elders said at the signing of a $170,000.00 grant to set up this service, ”64 years, I been waiting 64 years for this kind of service to help us with our health problems.” She said it with unashamed tears running down her cheeks. Those words are etched in the collective memories of all the Indigenous Board, the Management, and the staff of the Centre that has now been operating since commencing in 2006.
We have the highest rate of Indigenous professional staff in this region. Up and too June this year the Centre provided services to over 1,000 clients and data collection shows that they managed over 5,500 episodes of health care in that time. Do we have reform? Yes but I call it ‘Transformational Leadership/Management. Do we have health partnerships? Yes with committed partners in Indigenous and non-Indigenous and State partners. The Centre is not an Aboriginal Medical Service, and it leans right away from the 20th Century Medical model of health care.
This service fits best under the umbrella of an Aboriginal Controlled Health Service but the services and the way in which they are provided are vastly different from other models around. The model is dynamic providing a range of Primary Health and Community care services to both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous peoples. This approach is a multi-purpose “one stop shop” that challenges existing beliefs about ways of doing business. Does it meet the health needs of our community. Definitely. However as the service is provided, the sad thing is that more health needs arise at earlier and younger population groups. This is coming out in the data that the centre collects.
The saddest thing is that we cannot say as to whether or not the sustainability factor will eventuate, in spite of Board decisions to look toward self-generated funds to supplement what the government funds us. Just thought I would like to share this innovative initiative that our Murrie mob have come up with.
Cheri Yavu-Kama-Harathunian (B.App.Sci. Indigenous and Community Health; Masters Criminal Justice)
Coordinator Nulloo Yumbah Learning
Spirituality and Research Centre CQUniversity Bundaberg 4670
Indigenous Wellbeing Centre Aboriginal Corporation
PO Box 1963, Bundaberg, Q, 4670
P: 07 41515402 Mob:
F: 07 41513140