Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

Since 2012 INW PCP has conducted a range of initiatives (through Closing the Health Gap and Koolin Balit funding rounds) to support partner organisations to provide culturally responsive and respectful services to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

The below interactive timeline maps our journey towards improving cultural responsiveness in the INW catchment and contains links to many of the resources developed by the Koolin Balit Wellbeing Partnership.


Wellbeing Partnership

The INW PCP convenes a local Wellbeing Partnership which meets regularly to share information, resources, and project updates. The partnership is made up of Aboriginal and non-indigenous representatives from across the North and West Metropolitan Region. The group is an important sounding board for the INW PCP led initiatives and a source of advice for resource development, training and projects.


Workforce Initiatives

The INW PCP in collaboration with the Wellbeing Partnership implemented the following workforce initiatives:

  • Training to build the capacity of mainstream agencies to employ and retain Aboriginal staff (the Working with Aboriginal People and Programs) delivered by VACCHO.
  • The  Walk With Us resource video alerts CEOs, Boards and managers to factors impacting on Aboriginal people who work in their organisation and guidance on how to address those factors. As well as addressing a major information gap, the project created a paid acting, interviewing and video resource production opportunity for a young Koorie journalism student.
  • Development of the From Symbols to Systems Framework for supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Workers in mainstream organisations.


Working in Two Worlds

Aboriginal people working in mainstream organisations report that they are still regularly exposed to culturally based hazards. These hazards impact their personal health and wellbeing and undermine their ability to support their community.

The Working in Two Worlds initiative aims to assist mainstream organisations become more accessible, culturally safe and appropriate for Aboriginal people by supporting the recruitment and retention of the local Aboriginal workforce.

A Working in Two Worlds Forum was held in 2017 with over 60 Aboriginal people employed in mainstream organisations. The participants shared their thoughts, concerns and ideas about how mainstream health and community service sector work impacts them and how employers can more effectively support Aboriginal workers.

The feedback from Working in Two Worlds Forum participants, alongside an examination of current policy frameworks, helped to inform the From Symbols to Systems Framework which was launched in December 2017.

In June 2018, INW PCP won a HART award (VLGA and Reconciliation Victoria) for the Working in Two Worlds Initiative.


From Symbols to Systems

The From Symbols to Systems Framework enables whole-of-organisation protocols and strategies that place culturally informed values at the centre of service development and delivery which go beyond cultural awareness training and organisational audits. It identifies strategies to support mainstream organisations to provide services that meet the needs of their Aboriginal clients and minimise the impact of culturally based hazards on their Aboriginal staff.

In 2018 INW PCP commissioned Garralak Consulting to provide support on the From Symbols to Systems  Framework Pilot Project. The aim of this project was to test the accessibility and usability of the cultural security templates and support organisations to use the framework to improve cultural security in their organisation.

The Project Evaluation Report included key recommendations to refine the framework and reduce the complexity of language and duplication. This process has led to version two of the FS2S Framework, which will be launched in December 2019.

The full evaluation report is available to read here

For more information about the From Symbols to Systems launch or to register your interest in attending, please contact INW PCP Access and Equity project Coordinator, Isabella Roxburgh on Tel (03) 9389 2263 or email IsabellaR@inwpcp.org.au