Changes I'd like to see

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Aboriginal woman in black stands in courtyard
I am a Nyiyaparli Yindjibarndi woman from the Pilbara in Western Australia and my position is the Executive Officer at Gumala Aboriginal Corporation. Gumala is set up to look after three language groups as part of the Yandi Land Use Agreement with Rio Tinto so we look after the Banyjima, Innawonga and Nyiyaparli people and it’s about looking at programs to alleviate poverty and ensure sustainable development for our people. Gumala runs various programs and one of them in particular is our 3A early years education centre, part of that is about teaching parents to be first teachers and it’s an inclusion playgroup situation that we have in our homeland communities. We think that early childhood is extremely important in setting the foundation, especially to break through some of those intergenerational crisis we see today. Closing the Gap is an opportunity to ensure equality across the platform, but it’s also important in ensuring Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people have the same quality of life that non-Indigenous Australians do. So we have a lot of factors that affect us in health and education and employment, so it’s an opportunity now to raise the bar and make sure we have equitable access. I’d like to see a strong emphasis on ensuring that the foundations of education particularly at the early years, around understanding Aboriginal history, understanding protective behaviours, but I’d also like to see primary health going through to the regional and remote communities. I think it’s important to tackle diabetes at the preventative stage rather than getting to the renal dialysis stage, which is an end stage. It’s something that I see prevalent in our communities. I think it’s important that we start a collaborative approach, we need to stop competing with one another, and start a thorough audit of what everyone is doing, rather than everybody trying to do everything but start working specifically in what areas we are experts in. And creating partnership rather than leaving the burden of one organisation. It’s about having voices and it’s about those voices being heard, particularly up at government where those voices need to be respected and appreciated as the experts in the field.