Reconciliation & Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

We are committed to reconciliation and ensuring our services and workplaces are culturally safe and inclusive of First Nations peoples.

Being a large health service, we understand our responsibility to improve the health and wellbeing inequity that exists between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous people.

To create meaningful impact and provide culturally safe services and workplaces, we will centre community voice and commit to deep listening. We will engage in truth telling to understand the historical and ongoing impact of dispossession and colonisation.

We recognise and celebrate the achievements, strengths and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

cohealth’s vision for reconciliation is where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have social, health and wellbeing equity, achieved through an understanding of our shared history, deep listening, ongoing learning and reflection.

We envisage a time where the rights, sovereignty, cultures and lands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are recognised and respected by all Australians.

We believe true reconciliation can be achieved when all Australians understand and acknowledge our past and contribute to a united future where the culture and wisdom of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is valued and integral to Australia’s identity.

‘Standing strong with community in reconciliation’ outlines cohealth’s commitment to reconciliation and information about cohealth’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services.

Standing Strong With Community - PDF 1.1mb short right arrow

We developed our Reconciliation Action Plan through consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members, clients, consumers, Traditional Owners, partner agencies and staff.

Through a process of learning and listening, our 2020–2023 RAP provides a solid framework to deepen our impact, dismantle structures of power and privilege, improve opportunities and strengthen partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

cohealth is committed to helping Close the Gap through a range of initiatives that improve health and wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan - PDF 12.2mb short right arrow

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s connection to, and pride in, their cultures, histories and identities is critical to improving their health and wellbeing. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people regularly access cohealth services. There is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health team that provide a range of health and wellbeing programs for community.

cohealth is committed to improving and strengthening our services to meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members. Assertive outreach programs enable our work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to connect with people outside the walls of the health services.

Learn more about specific Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services at cohealth.

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cohealth is committed to providing culturally safe spaces for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Our community programs and groups are well attended and provide a place to meet with mob, share a yarn, and connect with a range of services.

Explore cohealth’s community programs and groups.

 

Photo of a man named Mat, a woman named Chrissie and a man named Luke at cohealth's Billabong BBQ. Luke is wearing a black hoodie with an Aboriginal flag on the front.
Photo of Mat, Chrissie and Luke at cohealth’s Billabong BBQ.
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cohealth has developed guidelines to support cohealth staff to adhere to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural protocols and promote respectful communications with First Nations coworkers, clients, community members, Traditional Custodians, Elders and partner agencies.

The guidelines aim to increase coworker knowledge and awareness of the customs and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Protocols & Communication Guidelines - PDF 8.4mb short right arrow

Cultivating culturally safe and inclusive work environments in partnership with First Nations peoples is really important at cohealth. We have an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy, setting out goals that ensure cohealth’s recruitment pathways and processes are inclusive, and that staff are supported in their roles. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff have access to:

  • Ceremonial/cultural leave
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander working group (Balit Narrum – Strong Spirit). A space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff to meet with the Executive team to build relationships, shape organisational culture and support staff safety and wellbeing.
  • cohealth’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Welcome Kit

Learn more about our workplace culture at cohealth.

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cohealth proactively and responsively develops policy submissions to represent and promote our position on key areas of policy and social debate.

Black lives matter, racism is a health issue (PDF – 436kb)

Inquiry into constitutional recognition relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples – June 2018 (PDF – 66kb)

Position statement on Traditional Place Names (PDF – 123.1kb)

cohealth stands in solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in their calls for enshrining a First Nations voice in the nation’s constitution. cohealth is also committed to ensuring the voices of community are central to decision making processes at cohealth.

Lorraine Parsons was appointed as Board Director in January 2020. Lorraine is an Aboriginal woman who identifies with her mother’s Alyawarr country and brings together her Aboriginal identity and her extensive experience in health. “First Nations people have a lot to offer in terms of an Aboriginal model of health… that can be of benefit to all Australians.” – Lorraine Parsons, Board Director

cohealth welcome Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members to join our participation register. Get involved in community participation and help shape healthcare by participating in advisory groups, advocacy, working groups and focus groups.

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Find out more

For more information on some of the work being done, get in touch our Diversity Manager, Apoorva Charukonda at Apoorva.Charukonda@cohealth.org.au or call 9448 6702.

About us

cohealth is a not-for-profit community health organisation. We provide essential health and support services in Melbourne’s CBD, and northern and western suburbs.

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