NTEU congratulates Nulloo Yumbah on a successful celebration and Forum
Indigenous Education & Employment Forum a great success!
Over 50 people from CQUniversity, the local Rockhampton community and the NTEU attended the Nulloo Yumbah 25 years of service to CQUniversity celebration. After an inspiring welcome to country from Darumbal elder, Ros Dunphy, the Director of Nulloo Yumbah, William Oates opened the forum by saying this was a ‘big celebration’ for Nulloo Yumbah. Speakers then brought some relevant messages to light.
Australia misses an opportunity when Indigenous culture is not embraced, and if embraced we would have a richer history. Words are easy but genuine action is much harder. In 2011 the University will increase Indigenous employment at all levels; look at the role of Nulloo Yumbah; audit Indigenous content in programs; and audit the implementation of the CQU Reconciliation Statement.
The University needs a stronger Indigenous voice on campus; a voice that says, ‘we want to achieve better in partnership with the University – please give us a go’.
The CQU Reconciliation Statement was approved by CQU Council; hence it provides direction to the Vice-Chancellor to make the Statement genuine through action.
‘Creative custodianship’ was advanced as an organisational principle to define who we are (identity), and allow us to move forward (purpose and meaning). A custodian is somebody responsible for holding or looking after something seen as valuable or endangered on behalf of another person; through education and employment we are responsible to the next generation for their prosperity.
Recent research has shown that decision-making on an equal footing and in partnership (camp site outlook – coming to talk, coming to make a decision) was the most effective leadership model to sustain Indigenous participation, retention and success in Higher Education.
Education and employment are the answer to a lot of problems experienced by Indigenous Australians. Education is seen as an opportunity that opens doors. Nulloo Yumbah staff have seen the positive changes in the lives of their students, their community, and their family. Families will accept university education as normal when a family member succeeds at university; however success should not be measured only on graduating with a degree, but also with what life skills and new knowledge students take away.
Employment for Indigenous people is not just a job – secure employment can be the antidote to many of the social ills that plague our first nation’s peoples such as health, housing, education, life expectancy, and incarceration below or above acceptable levels for other Australians.
CQUniversity’s target of 34 Indigenous staff by 2012 representing 2.4% of total staff is a welcome milestone as it moves toward the local population demographic - 5.9% in Rockhampton, 5.9%, Mackay 3.6%, Gladstone 3.3%, Bundaberg 3.1% and Emerald with 3% (ABS 2006). Increased Indigenous employment at the University should not be limited to Nulloo Yumbah.
A senior executive or PVC (Indigenous) appointment was floated as an effective way to provide short and long-term strategic leadership in Indigenous Participation, Engagement, Education, Research, and Employment, hence positioning CQUniversity to play a leading role in the process of reconciliation, and in bridging the economic and social divides that persist between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Coincidentally as the forum was drawing to a close Dr Michael Spence, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of University of Sydney announced he would establish a new position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Strategy and Services); so why not CQUniversity?
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