HAVING more Aboriginal people on the ground working to tackle issues in their communities is key to reducing the problem of family violence, says Victoria’s minister for Aboriginal affairs, Natalie Hutchins.
Ms Hutchins was in Bendigo on Friday to view building progress at the Bendigo and District Aboriginal Co-operative’s Prouses Road project.
Asked what her role would be in helping implement recommendations stemming from the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence, Ms Hutchins said she would push for the continued empowerment of regional Indigenous groups.
“We’re going to be meeting with our regional Indigenous family violence groups,” she said. “We want to see any additional funding that goes into fighting Aboriginal family violence to go through those groups and their decision-making processes.”
“We want to make sure this money is basically allocated through the lens of Aboriginal community leaders into their local communities.”
Premier Daniel Andrews on Wednesday said his government would implement all 227 recommendations in the commission’s findings.
Ms Hutchins said the commission had generated a lot of discussion in regional areas about family violence issues and what services were needed.
“So that comes to having better resources on the ground with more coordinators who are of Aboriginal descent to work with Aboriginal communities,” she said.
Raylene Harradine, BDAC CEO, said her organisation would examine all the recommendations – not just the small number that directly spoke to Indigenous communities.
“They all relate to Indigenous people in some way,” she said. “We don’t have all the answers here. What we do have is an understanding of what some of the cultural aspects are and the underlying issues for our community.”
Stage 1 of BDAC’s centre in North Bendigo will house administration, health, wellbeing and child services.
“We’re on schedule. Stage 1 is going to be completed by October,” Ms Harradine said.
BDAC is seeking funding for stage 2.