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Local Aboriginal communities get a seat at the table

Chemotherapy discussion group at Brewarrina. Back Row: Bradley Steadman, Robert Young, Karen Boney, John Reidy, Bradley Gordon, Shannon McHughes, Chris Kirby, Geraldine Weatherall. Middle Row: Erik Hilt, Trish Frail, Lily Shearer, Angie Skuthorpe, Lacey Boney. Front Row: Loreen Coffey and Billie from Sydney University. Photo TWH

The NSW government has announced $401 million in additional funding over four years in the 2022-23 Budget to prioritise Closing the Gap and other projects that improve outcomes for Aboriginal people across the state.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the investment reflected the need for a fresh approach to shift the dial on Closing the Gap targets.

“It’s clear traditional government-led approaches haven’t worked,” he said.

“This needs to be done hand-in-hand with Aboriginal communities, who know best what changes need to be made to help communities thrive.

“That’s why we’ve worked in partnership with Aboriginal stakeholders to co-design a suite of initiatives across all levels of government to make a greater difference.

“These initiatives span areas like improving cancer care pathways for Aboriginal people, boosting the Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation sector to support empowerment, and support for Aboriginal community housing providers.”

Earlier last week, words were put into action as researchers from Sydney University liaised with the Brewarrina Local Aboriginal Lands Council about the delivery of chemotherapy in regional communities.

“We gave the researchers feedback and recommendations regarding the delivery of this service and emphasised how much we want this service in Brewarrina,” Brewarrina Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) Media Manager Urain Warraweena said.

“Being told you have cancer is perhaps one of the scariest moments in a person’s life.

“This is often followed up with chemotherapy which can be traumatic beyond imagination. Travelling 4 plus hours to and from chemo, away from their families, often driving alone or travelling on public transport, spewing on the side of the highway – that is our reality in Brewarrina.

“So, it is essential that Brewarrina acquires this valuable service for our family and friends when they are most in need.

“This feedback will be ongoing to establish this service late next year, so if you weren’t part of this research and would like to be included in future discussions, please reach out to Geraldine at the Local Aboriginal Land Council office, and we will advise you of future discussions,” Urain said.

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