Jawun creating positive change for Indigenous communities
During March, the APSC Deputy Commissioner Pat Hetherington had the opportunity to visit Darkinjung Country, on the NSW central coast, as part of a Jawun Executive visit.
Established in 2001, Jawun (which means ‘friend’ in the Kuku Yalanji language of Cape York, Queensland) is not-for-profit organisation that partners with Indigenous communities in place-based capacity building, to empower Indigenous-led change and foster meaningful connections between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Jawun places skilled people from Australia’s leading companies and government agencies, including the APS, into Indigenous organisations. These secondees share their expertise and support Indigenous leaders to achieve their own development goals.
While on Darkinjung Country, the Deputy Commissioner met with local Aboriginal leaders, the Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council, Yerin Aboriginal Health Services, the NAISDA Dance College and other Indigenous regional organisations to gain insight into one of the fastest growing Aboriginal communities in Australia. The Deputy Commissioner had the opportunity better understand the work of these organisations in improving the lives of Indigenous people and the support that the Jawun program provides.
“Too often we hear stories of deficit in our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. I was especially pleased to be accepted into the community to understand more about the significant positive impacts that the Indigenous culture was making there."
Pat Hetherington, Deputy Commissioner, APSC
In 2021 the APS celebrated 10 years of the Jawun partnership which has seen more than 600 APS employees undertake secondments to support Indigenous communities on the ground. The opportunity to be a part of the Jawun program also provides our APS employees with a richer understanding of Indigenous communities and organisations, develop leadership skills and importantly contribute to Australia’s Reconciliation journey.
In January 2022, the APS committed to another five year partnership with Jawun. Participation in the Jawun program is an opportunity for EL1 and EL2 staff to contribute their skills and expertise to make a real difference to Indigenous organisations and communities ‘on the ground’.