Dubbo Indigenous Service Officer Dawn Towney has won a national NAIDOC Week award for her commitment and support for local Indigenous communities.
Dawn is based in the Dubbo Service Centre and provides support to many communities around the region. She travels hundreds of kilometres to work with people in their own towns so they can access government services.
“It’s about breaking down the barriers in smaller communities and building trust,” Dawn said.
“I make sure I link in with different sections of the community, like Elders groups, families or young people finishing school, to provide all the support I can.”
Dawn also works with local organisations in the towns she visits to help customers understand a range of issues like online services and identity requirements.
“It’s also important to maintain those relationships, to let people know I’m here for them, either in their communities or over the phone,” Dawn said.
“It’s about being accountable and showing respect to everyone, whether they’re colleagues or customers. I treat people the way I expect to be treated.”
Dawn began work at the Department of Human Services in Lightning Ridge four years ago. Since then she has made it her mission to improve the lives of as many people as possible.
“I’m passionate about helping our mob,” Dawn said.
“The award has reassured me I’m exactly where I need to be. I’m making a difference.
“It could be a single mum with a bub who needs help with Child Support, getting people onto the right payment or even just helping someone read a letter. I’m here to help them when they need it.”
The Department of Human Services NAIDOC Awards recognise the important work being done around Australia to connect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with payments and services.
“Dawn is a wonderful role model for other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff in the department,” National Manager of Indigenous and Remote Servicing Lauren Callinan said.
“She is a worthy winner of the award for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employee Achievement. “Her dedication and commitment to supporting local communities has won her the respect of all who work with her.”