“Community health issues uncovered after dozens of arrests during a major police operation targeting drug trafficking in the south-west Queensland town of Cunnamulla has prompted a local Aboriginal healthcare provider to develop and deliver a free social education program.”
PICTURE (L-R): Lizzie Adams, Chairperson of Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC); Kerry Crumblin, CEO of CACH; Matthew Cooke, CEO of QAIHC/Chair NACCHO
The Cunnamulla Aboriginal Corporation for Health (CACH) teamed up with Australian First Aid for today’s inaugural ‘GR8 4 Life’ (Great for Life) workshops, with participants learning harm minimisation skills like alcohol and drug awareness and suicide prevention, and undertaking national-accredited Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) training.
The course was delivered in two sessions at the Cunnamulla Shire Hall: A morning course for Cunnamulla State High School Years 8 to 12 students and an afternoon session for adult.
CACH’s Sonja Street said participants’ feedback was overwhelmingly supportive of the pilot program, indicating it had the potential to be extended not only throughout Queensland but nationally.
“Cunnamulla was thrust into the media spotlight earlier this year when police arrested and charged 27 people with more than 150 drug-related and other offences,” Mrs Street said.
“And this came just four months after the Palaszczuk Government began its roll out of frontline initiatives to tackle what it described as the ‘scourge of the drug Ice in Queensland’.
“This is a good community, but the arrests really highlighted the extent of the issue, so we jumped at the chance to partner with Australian First Aid to present the ‘GR8 4 Life’ program.”
Mrs Street said community education had been widely identified as an effective contributor to combatting social issues.
“Australian First Aid developed and delivered this tailored four-hour program for our community with the focus on helping participants identify the signs and symptoms of a friend or family member in need, and then arming them with information and skills to help them, even in emergency situations,” she said.
Cunnamulla Aboriginal Corporation for Health- CACH, is one of an increasing number across Australia of self-governing, independent, community-controlled Indigenous organizations providing primary health care services to Indigenous people. CACH has grown up out of the desire of local Indigenous people to take control of their own health and of how primary health care services are delivered to and within Indigenous communities in South West area of Queensland.
In line with the principle and practice of self-determination, the general membership of CACH has the mandate to determine the broad policies and procedures governing the operations of CACH. To this end, community gatherings of CACH members are held at least approximately 12 months to ensure that all members have the opportunity to participate in the review and updating of CACH governing policies and procedures.
The local Indigenous community with the mandate to manage CACH on their behalf entrusts a Governing Committee. At each year’s annual general meeting of members, a minimum of two new members are elected to the seven-member CACH Governing Committee. The new Governing Committee is thereafter delegated with the authority to undertake the executive management of CACH over the following two years.