Yarkuwa health crusade

July 15, 2017

An intervention program to help tackle issues impacting on the lives of Deniliquin and district’s Indigenous community has received more than $490,000 in federal funding.

It will see Yarkuwa Indigenous Knowledge Centre Aboriginal Corporation working with service delivery partners, NSW Police, health and education agencies and the Aboriginal community to respond to the individual needs of local Indigenous families.

Yarkuwa manager David Crew said while the program could address a multitude of issues, there are six key focus areas — domestic violence, unemployment or educational disadvantage, engagement in the criminal justice system, drug and alcohol dependency, mental health and wellbeing, and young people at risk of engagement with any issues that will have an adverse impact on their future.

Yarkuwa’s work over the last 10 years has led to the design of this project, drawing on local research undertaken in partnership with Macquarie University and examining the impact of government policies on local Aboriginal families.

It also draws on the knowledge and wisdom of local Aboriginal people and a strong desire to achieve positive outcomes for every member of the community.

Mr Crew said the program would not replace existing services available, but provide additional support to ensure Indigenous residents have access to the most suitable help.

‘‘The idea is to have a framework where the individual and family situation dictates the support provided, not the other way around,’’ Mr Crew said.

‘‘There are many services available already, however there are challenges to ensuring appropriate access to, and beneficial outcomes from, those services.

‘‘It’s fundamental to the success of the program for the Deniliquin community, including community service practitioners, to work together.’’

Yarkuwa chair Jeanette Crew said the program would be about helping the Indigenous community take the journey to better health and a better lifestyle.

Mrs Crew said one of the most important facets of the program was to ensure community members were not defined by their ‘‘problems’’.

‘‘We are aware that some members of our local community are impacted by social circumstances that require sensitive and appropriate support,’’ she said.

‘‘The program name, Tityap Telkaya, has been chosen from the local Wamba Wamba traditional language and means ‘to shift or move with the purpose of improving and feeling well’.’’

Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion said Yarkuwa would receive funding to provide support services through to June 30, 2019.

‘‘Improving the safety of Indigenous families and communities is one of the highest priorities for the Coalition Government, and this investment will enable Yarkuwa to provide additional support to people who need it the most,’’ he said.

‘‘This project is a great example of the Coalition working with Indigenous Australians to improve outcomes for First Australians living in Deniliquin.’’

The Yarkuwa project is one of 43 recently funded under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS).

Federal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley welcomed the funding and said the additional services would allow Indigenous families in Deniliquin to access direct and immediate assistance.

‘‘As well as being tailored to suit local needs, IAS funding is also outcome-based, which means there are checks and balances to ensure money is spent in the right areas and actually working to help the community,’’ she said.

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