Outstanding initiatives driving reconciliation have been recognised in the 2021 Queensland Reconciliation Awards presented tonight in Townsville.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said all winners and finalists had demonstrated reconciliation in action.
“This year, the Queensland Reconciliation Awards have honoured initiatives which have enhanced cultural awareness and understanding and improved the experiences of First Nations people at school, at work and in the community,” the Premier said.
“The winners of the Premier’s Reconciliation Award and joint winners in the Partnership category, the Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation and Rainforest 4 Foundation have formed a unique partnership – the only formalised, non-Government program which purchases land for conservation to be owned and managed by its Traditional Owners.
“Joint winners in the Business category, North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation and Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union have engaged in proactive programs and strategies to create more supportive, respectful workplaces.
“COOEE Indigenous Family and Community Education Centre has been recognised in the Community category for their work sharing the insights of Elders to address inequality and cultural competency in the Redlands and Greater Brisbane.
“I thank all of this year’s winners and finalists for their contributions to foster a more culturally aware, connected and respectful state.”
Representing the Premier at the awards ceremony, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Craig Crawford congratulated Ronald McDonald House Charities North Australia as the inaugural winner in the Health and Wellbeing category.
“An Australia-wide not-for-profit organisation, Ronald McDonald House Charities provides practical care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families in the north of the State,” Mr Crawford said.
“Since the opening of the Townsville Ronald McDonald House in 2004, they have provided over 16,500 nightly stays to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander families.
“And they’ve supported Closing the Gap education initiatives with their Learning Program helping children with serious illness catch up on missed school with the provision of one-on-one tutoring.
“All initiatives which support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to thrive support the Queensland Government’s reframed relationship with First Nations Queenslanders, including progressing a Path to Treaty.
“These actions are important steps in reconciliation to create a better and healthier future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”
Queensland Reconciliation Awards Ambassador Johnathan Thurston said education initiatives – including 2021 Education winner Gracemere State School’s Indigenous language program – were making a lasting difference in the lives of young Queenslanders.
“I have seen the incredible effect that educating school children about First Nations people and culture has on their level of engagement at school and their self-esteem,” Mr Thurston said.
“At Gracemere State School, they’ve developed and delivered a Darumbal language and Aboriginal cultural program that is creating new connections, and a greater sense of belonging for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
“I’m proud to be a part of an Awards program that acknowledges the important work of advancing reconciliation, particularly for young Queenslanders.”