Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Across key social and economic indicators Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Queensland consistently experience the highest level of disadvantage. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are over-represented in the justice and child protection systems, they experience lower educational and training attainment, have lower incomes and higher unemployment rates, and experience a higher burden of poor health and injury across all of the life-stages.
Find more information on mental health issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Inclusive service delivery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people hold a special place in Australian society. They are descendant from the original inhabitants of this country and their traditional cultures are among the oldest surviving cultures on Earth.
Since the colonisation of Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been subjected to an evolving set of government policies which, in many instances has led to suffering and disadvantage for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Community Service providers need to be aware of and acknowledge this history so that they can fully understand the needs of their clients.
The training of community service workers to raise awareness of the history and the current circumstances of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is an important part of service providers becoming more inclusive in their service delivery.
As an organisation, community service providers should undertake measures to provide a service which is inclusive towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients.
Cultural competency training
There are a number of online resources that can assist you with cultural competency training.
Immigrant Womens Support Service (IWSS) can support staff development and provide training to meet the specific needs of your organisation in working with women from non-English speaking backgrounds (NESB), to ensure the development of ethical, sensitive and responsive practices.
Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma (QPASTT) aims to provide quality training and information on issues related to Refugees and Humanitarian entrants, the impact of trauma and torture and other related issues. The capacity to deliver the training will depend on current resources available, staff skill and interest. Community based services, community groups and Government agencies are all able to make requests by using the QPASTT.
You can undertake the free course An introduction to cultural integrity on the Community Door eTraining website.
The Centre for Cultural Competence Australia offers foundation level knowledge in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Competence. The resource is available online and is accredited. Successful students will attain accreditation in Aboriginal Education.
Blackcard offers cultural education workshops, training and consultancy.
Reconciliation action plans (RAP)
Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPS) provide a framework for organisations to realise their vision for reconciliation. A RAP is a practical plan of action that documents what an organisation commits to do to contribute to reconciliation in Australia. The RAP outlines actions that an organisation commits to implementing and measuring to build respectful relationships and create social change and economic opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Benefits of developing a RAP
A RAP gives your organisation the best chance of achieving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engagement objectives, and delivering broader outcomes including:
- The opportunity to become an employer of choice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
- A more dynamic, innovative and diverse workforce.
- A more culturally safe and tolerant workplace.
- Access to new markets and better penetration of existing markets.
- Better service delivery to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.
- The opportunity to contribute to new projects, industries, services, products and ways of doing business.
Reconciliation Australia is an independent, national not-for-profit organisation promoting reconciliation by building relationships, respect and trust between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Through their programs and initiatives they work to connect people and organisations; provide frameworks for action, resources; and policy advice and promote success and engagement activities.
Reconciliation Australia support hundreds of organisations across Australia to participate in the RAP program. They will work with you to tailor a plan that suits your organisation’s specific needs. They can provide advice, templates and resources as well as provide feedback on your draft RAP.
Know your community profiling tool
Know Your Community – Key insights into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders, is a community profiling tool which enables anyone to build a community profile containing information and data about Queensland’s first nation peoples and the communities they live in.
Whether you are developing a business case for investment opportunities, seeking information about regional employment rates, putting in a funding submission, giving a presentation, engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders, or just increasing your knowledge you can be assured that Know Your Community will provide you with accurate and consistent information each and every time you visit.
Data is available from a range of topics relating to people and community, work and income, education and training, and housing for any Queensland Indigenous Location (ILOC), Statistical Area 2 (SA2), State Electoral District or Local Government Area (LGA).
Data is from the Australia Bureau of Statistics (2011 Census) and has been analysed and stratified against the same data for non-Indigenous Queenslanders.
Know Your Community has been developed by the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships and the Queensland Government Statistician’s Office within Queensland Treasury.
Visit the Queensland Government website to build a profile.
Justice resources community profiles
The Justice Resource documents were developed to provide assistance for the courts, for members of the legal profession and for people who come before the courts. They contain information about important dates and resources relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice issues. In addition to justice issues the publications provide a useful snapshot of each community including population statistics, community events, local services and local contacts.
Looking for more information on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders?
Here are some great websites for more information:
The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) is a world-renowned research, collections and publishing organisation. They promote knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island cultures, traditions, languages and stories, past and present.
SNAICC exists to see all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children thrive – growing up in nurturing environments, with loving and supporting families, adequate food and housing, and rich with culture to their dreams.
Reconciliation Australia is the national organisation promoting reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the broader Australian community.
The Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (ATSILS) aims to ensure that Indigenous Australians receive fair and equitable treatment within the justice system and acts as an advocate on behalf of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) is the state’s peak body representing, advocating and supporting the Community Controlled Health Services sector in development and delivery of comprehensive primary health care services to their local communities.
Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak (QATSICPP) was formed in May 2004 in response to the release of a report by the Crime and Misconduct (CMC) Inquiry. It highlighted that the rights and interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, young people, their families and communities, should be represented effectively.
ATSIDNQ is growing into a network with a strong voice. From the Gold Coast to the Gulf, Toowoomba to Palm Island, there are many ways the network is helping members get connected, such as morning teas, information sessions, Facebook and newsletters.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses in Queensland business directory
The Indigenous Governance Toolkit is an online resource developed for Indigenous nations, communities, individuals and organisations searching for information to build their governance.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare conduct regular research to address information gaps in health and welfare in Indigenous Australians.
The purpose of the centre is to create and share knowledge to influence policy and practice in gendered violence.