NAIDOC March kicks off week of celebrations

A group from Austin Health kicked off celebrations for NAIDOC Week with attendance at the NAIDOC March for the second year running on Friday.

While only our second year joining the march, Austin Health has already increased marchers by nearly 40 per cent, to around 30 people.

This year we also carried an official banner, painted by staff in a workshop led by Aboriginal artist, Aunty Sharon Hughes.

Participation in the march is undertaken as a show of support for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, and a commitment to efforts to close the significant gap in health outcomes that exists between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.

Aboriginal staff member Erin Alexander, who works in Ward 17, is still trying to find out about her Aboriginal heritage, as both her mother and grandmother were

"When I was growing up with NAIDOC, you never heard much about it outside the Aboriginal community," she said.

"It's really good how we've all come together like this, seeing so many Austin Health staff here this year, and so much support for NAIDOC Week."

For Ngemba Elder, long-time Austin Health patient and consumer representative Julie Peers, participating in the march - which she was unable to do this year because of illness - represents "... never forgetting the past, celebrating our achievements and looking to the future with hope."

To support the organisation's efforts at a strategic level, strong participation in the both the march and our own NAIDOC Week events is now a commitment within our Reconciliation Action Plan. A number of NAIDOC Week activities will take place across Austin Health during NAIDOC Week, from July 7-14.

Don't miss the NAIDOC Week launch, which includes a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony from Uncle Colin Hunter, from 1.30pm Tuesday 9 July in the Wellness courtyard, on level 3 of the ONJ Centre.

The popular NAIDOC Week Grand Round is also back this year, promising to answer what "you always wanted to know about Aboriginal Australia but haven't known how to ask." Find the full NAIDOC Week program on the website and Hub.