Department of Health

West news

Connecting and partnering with Aboriginal communities 

West news is a seasonal publication that showcases the connections and partnerships between the West Division of the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing and the local Aboriginal communities.

Last year, we were about to press ‘print’ on a new edition of West news when COVID-19 made its dramatic entrance into Australia. The pandemic has had such an incredible impact on all of our lives that we have created this special edition to take a peek at just some of the ways West Division has coped with this insidious virus.

We hear from Jason Kanoa, CEO Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation, about how his organisation has kept his community safe, and from an impressive 25-year-old Gunditj Mirring man, Aden Hitchins, about how he has remained optimistic in the darkest of times.

Our story on the 2020 Victorian Seniors Festival is an example of one of the pandemic’s silver linings – whilst the annual festival’s usual program of live events was unable to take place due to social distancing measures, the organisers took the ‘reimagined’ event online. Several Aboriginal artists from the West participated in the reimagined festival, exposing their talent to a new and appreciative audience.

Importantly, you can also find information on the vaccination rollout. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 16 and over have been identified as a priority group and Elders, such as our Uncle Mookeye Bell who is on the cover of this edition, are leading the way in having the jab. We urge you to read the article from the vaccination team at the Mallee District Aboriginal Services and take action to keep yourself and your community safe.

The department respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Victoria and pays its respect to the ongoing living cultures of Aboriginal peoples.

Reviewed 24 November 2021


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