Around Australia, there are men and women who work tirelessly to help those individuals, families and communities affected by harmful alcohol and drug use. Many do so without recognition, reward or complaint.
The National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Awards are to honor all those -past and present, who have made a difference in people’s lives through their work.
Recipients of the National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Awards and the Coralie Ober Honor Roll are recognised as having made an outstanding contribution to reducing the harms associated with alcohol and other drug use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples.
The winners for the Awards were announced at the Gala Dinner which was held on Thursday 9 November 2018 at the National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Conference in Adelaide.
The winners for the Awards are:
EXCELLENCE AWARD (MALE & FEMALE)
The Excellence Awards recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander female and male workers as having made an important commitment and contribution to reducing the harmful effects of drug and alcohol use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over at least 5 years.
The Excellence Award for a Male Worker was awarded to MR CRAIG HOLLOWAY
Craig was nominated by Trevor Pearce, CEO of Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and Ross Broad, Assistant Director Drug Policy & Reform at Victorian Department of Health & Human Services.
Craig Holloway has over 20years experience in the alcohol and other drugs field, fulfilling roles across both treatment & policy settings. His roles have involved both direct support to Aboriginal clients grappling with AOD misuse as well as more senior management.
He is involved in numerous committees, groups and projects at a gov’t and non-gov’t level and has a list of achievements too many to outline here.
He commenced at VACCHO in 2011 where he has held positions as Team Leader of the Social Emotional & Wellbeing Unit, Manager of Workforce, Wellbeing Manager and in 2017 he was appointed to his current position as Acting Director of Workforce and Wellbeing Unit.
He is a passionate advocate, working tirelessly to reduce AOD related harm among Aboriginal communities in Vic.
The Excellence Award for a Female Worker is awarded to MS ERIN CUNNINGHAM
Erin was nominated by Eddie Fewings, the AOD Coordinator at the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC).
Erin Cunningham is a trained nurse who started her career on Palm Island before commencing at Stagpole Street Drug & Alcohol Rehabilitation Unit in Townsville in 2013.
She initially held the position of Transition Nurse before taking on the role of nurse at the unit and then the Service Manager, the position she currently holds today.
As Service Manager, she is the lead voice for the service and has been responsible for streamlining systems and processes to ensure the highest standard of healthcare is delivered to residents as well as ensuring new residents settle into the unit and feel they really belong.
She has also supported many staff to obtain their Cert IV in Mental Health and to complete tertiary based studies at La Trobe University.
Erin is described as a very capable but shy woman who has been instrumental in creating a warm friendly environment within the Stagpole St Unit.
REMOTE WORKER AWARD (FEMALE & MALE)
The Remote Worker Awards acknowledges the unique challenges facing workers in remote locations. The Awards recognize an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander male and a female worker as having made an important commitment and contribution to reducing the harmful effects of drug and alcohol use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over at least 5 years
The Quitline Remote Worker Award for a Female Worker is awarded to MS TRACEY SAYLOR
Tracey was nominated by May Doncon, Coordinator, Community Alcohol & Drug Services, WA Country Health Services Midwest.
Tracey Saylor has worked in the AOD field for more than 10 years where she has held a number of roles including Truancy Officer and her current position as the Indigenous Diversion Officer which she was appointed to in 2015.
In her current role she provides services in Meekatharra as well as outlying towns. She works mainly with youth and visits court settings supporting clients through the court process. She has built strong relationships with the police and helped educate them about the local Aboriginal culture and culturally appropriate practices assisting in bridging the gap between the police and the community. She is also a passionate educator of women about alcohol during pregnancy.
She is described as hard working and a highly respected community member who has improved the wellbeing of many Aboriginal people and is overdue recognition of her contribution & achievement.
The Quitline Remote Worker Award for a Male Worker is awarded to MR LEON JAMES
Leon was nominated by Margaret Clayton, an Aboriginal Health Practitioner with the Northern Territory Department of Health.
Leon James has nearly 40 years experience in the AOD field, holding a range of positions, currently working as the Remote Alcohol and Drug Worker at the Gumbalanya Clinic in West Arnhem in the Northern Territory.
Leon established the AOD service within the Gumbalanya Clinic and as a result of this there are a number of people who have been able to be referred for assistance with their AOD related issues. He also works extensively with volatile substance abusers providing education and referral.
He has been a major contributer to the Remote Alcohol and Other Drugs Workforce as a member of their leadership group and as chairperson for 2 ½ years. He has also sat on a number of Boards and holds a Graduate Diploma in Indigenous Health (Substance Use) from the University of Sydney.
ENCOURAGEMENT AWARD (MALE & FEMALE)
The Encouragement Awards recognise an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander female and male worker who has been active in the alcohol and drug sector for less than five years. The Award is given to an individual who has demonstrated an outstanding capability, empathy and enthusiasm in their short career.
The Encouragement Award for a Male Worker is awarded to MR STEPHEN MORRISON
Stephen was nominated by Samantha Mitchley, Goldfields Community Alcohol and Drug Services Manager at Hope Community Services, Kalgoorlie WA.
Stephen has made a significant contribution both personally and professionally in supporting people impacted by AOD over a number of years.
He joined Hope Community Services 18 months ago as a Aboriginal Outreach Worker, joined Goldfields Community Alcohol & Drug Service to allow his support for AOD counselling to develop.
He has made a tremendous contribution and has enabled his service to be a culturally safe and supportive place for Aboriginal people to come for support. He has facilitated Relapse Prevention Groups in the Eastern Goldfields Regional Prison and is involved in establishing fortnightly back to country bush trips for young Aboriginal men.
He has a Certificate IV in Mental Health and AOD skills for counselling/education.
He is respected by the community and also by his colleagues and other stakeholders.
The Encouragement Award for a Female Worker is awarded to MS MAVIS JUMBIRI
Mavis was nominated by Bianca Cottier, Remote Area Nurse at the Sunrise Health Service, Katherine NT.
Mavis Jumbiri has shown dedication and enthusiasm in her role as AOD Community Based Worker at Sunrise Health Service in Katherine.
She demonstrates care and concern for the welfare of her clients and has contributed to her community through school education and advocating for healthy environments such as a river walk.
The Appreciation Award is a new award and recognises a non-Indigenous female or male worker as having made an important commitment and contribution to reducing the harmful effects of drug and alcohol use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over at least 5 years.
The Quitline Appreciation Award is awarded to MS RAELENE STEPHENS
Raelene was nominated by Rudolph Kirby, CEO of the Mallee District Aboriginal Service in Mildura, Victoria.
Raelene Stephens is a highly experienced nurse and midwife with 35 years experience. She is the Manager of Victoria’s largest Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing service at Mallee District Aboriginal Services.
Her commitment and determination is unquestionable and commendable. Her strength is her ability to work with people, she is an enabler. While identifying and nurturing the talents and strengths of her team she cultivates the personal and professional potential of those around her in support of improving client outcomes and organisational goals & benchmark requirements.
She is a key figure in reaching out to external organisations and developing strong working partnerships and is an Alumni member of Victoria’s Change Agent Network where she represents an Aboriginal AOD perspective.
The Recognition Award acknowledges a service or program that has made a significant contribution in reducing the harmful effects of drug and alcohol use over at least 5 years.
The Quitline Recognition Award for a service/program is awarded to GINDAJA TREATMENT AND HEALING CENTRE, YARRABAH, FAR NORTH QLD
Gindaja was nominated by Eddie Fewings, the AOD Coordinator at the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC).
Gindaga Treatment and Healing Centre is a 19-bed contemporary, sophisticated and successful residential rehabilitation AOD treatment and healing service that has been delivering specialist AOD treatment services for over 35yrs.
In recent years it has consolidated a responsive service model that meets contemporary and complex challenges of healing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through healing and overcoming the burden of addiction. Their model of care is embedded in a social and emotional wellbeing framework with connection to country, family and community as central to this approach.
The service works closely with James Cook University to test, adapt and reconcile their model of care with the needs & expectations of community, clients and sector accepted, evidenced informed treatment modalities.
It is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled with Directors drawn from the Yarrabah community. Most staff are qualified Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people also from the local community.
CORALIE OBER HONOR ROLL
The Coralie Ober Honor Roll was named in honor of Coralie Ober who was a registered nurse, consultant and researcher. She was an Islander by birth with kinship ties in the Aboriginal communities of Cherbourg, Palm Island, the Torres Strait Islander community of Saibai and Vanuatu in the Pacific Islands. She was responsible for the development of Indigenous Risk Impact Screen and Brief Intervention (IRIS) and also sat on a number of state and national committees, including the National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee.
The Coralie Ober Honor Roll recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals who have made a significant contribution, over a considerable period of time (at least 10 years), to reducing the harmful effects of drug and alcohol use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This Award acknowledges and publicly recognises the exceptional effort, which is made by workers who have tirelessly contributed to this sector over a number of years.
The 2018 inductees to the Honour Roll are:
Mr David Dryden
Mrs Annette Pepper
Mrs Margaret Rajak
Mr Ted Wilkes
Mr Scott Wilson
MR DAVID DRYDEN
David was nominated by Eric Allan, Executive Manager of Residential Service at Odyssey House, Victoria.
David Dryden has worked in a voluntary and professional capacity in AOD for over 20 years. He is currently employed as the Senior Therapist/Aboriginal Consultant at Odyssey House Victoria where he has been a profound role model and mentor for all Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people, including staff at Odyssey. He has also provided a strong, supportive presence, offering encouragement & wisdom to all residents. He has helped build bridges between mainstream and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities by being masterful in making Aboriginal culture accessible to all in a mainstream service.
He also runs groups for Aboriginal men in prison whilst learning and teaching others about culture, art & leadership, is involved in organising NAIDOC activities, teaching Aboriginal residents how to be fire men and women, running cultural education & art classes and providing therapeutic emotional support to all residents.
MRS ANNETTE PEPPER
Annette was nominated by May Doncon, Coordinator at Community Alcohol & Drug Services at WA Country Health Services, Midwest.
Annette Pepper has worked in the AOD field for the past 15 years. Initially working in the Sobering Up Shelter where she found her calling in AOD, she has dedicated her life to working in this field. She has worked across many different areas and programs in AOD but her passion, interest and skills lie in working with Aboriginal women affected by AOD use. She is currently employed as the Aboriginal Support Services Officer, Mental Health & CADS WA Country Health Services, Midwest, Geraldton WA.
She was instrumental in founding an Indigenous women’s cancer support network over 10 years ago where most women had long term AOD issues. She helped educate these women about the link between AOD use and cancer. She has also worked for over 5 years with female prisoners at Greenough prison, providing ongoing education & support to female inmates.
She has a Certificate in Health Promotion.
MRS MARGARET RAJAK
Margaret was nominated byStephen Versteegh, Executive Director, at FORWAARD, in Darwin.
Margaret Rajak has been a FORWAARD Board member for 20 years, Chairperson for 11 years.
During this time she has been instrumental in creating partnerships with goverment and non-government, Indigenous and non-Indigenous and stakeholders.
She has reviewed opportunities to assist staff members by providing social enterprise plans, flexible and appropriate working conditions through to encouraging training & development. She has also been instrumental in making FORWAARD, Employer of Choice and in the development of growth of client numbers.
MR TED WILKES
Ted was nominated by Kristie Harrison, PhD Candidate at the University of Sydney.
Ted Wilkes has dedicated the large majority of his career making significant contributions to the AOD sector for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia.
Ted has worked tirelessly to advocate for changes in legislation, policies, funding, research and much more with the aim to improve the lives of our people. Ted has done so by contributing to the evidence-base in AOD space, raising awareness about the huge gaps between Indigenous peoples within Australia and mainstream Australians and fought for our right as first nation’s peoples to pave our own ways out of poverty. In recognition of Ted’s commitment and dedication he has also been awarded an OAM.
Ted has given voice to our people at numerous local, state/territory and national levels and played a pivotal role in the establishment of the National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee (NIDAC). As Chair of NIDAC for many years Ted has subsequently led or influenced the establishment of valuable research project, collaborations, advocacy pathways and events for the Indigenous AOD sector, such as this conference today
MR SCOTT WILSON
Scott was nominated by Dr Kylie Lee, Snr Research Fellow & Co Deputy Director of Addiction Medicine, Indigenous Health & Substance Use at the University of Sydney.
Scott has provided 25 years of tireless passion and commitment to the Aboriginal AOD field.
He is the founding and current CEO of the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council (SA), he has been a key advisor to Commonwealth and state gov’t on Aboriginal AOD issues, the Deputy Co-Chair of the National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee from 2001 – 2014 and an Australian delegate to UN Beyond 2008 International NGO Forum in Vienna.
He is a strong advocate for evidence based care in alcohol and drug use among Aboriginal people and is frequently utilised by the media to provide information on AOD issues.
He has a Master of Indigenous Health (Substance Use) from the University of Sydney where he was also awarded the University of Sydney’s Sister Alison Bush medal for his outstanding career.
He is an Adjunct Professor with University of Sydney and 2ndChief Investigator on National Health & Medical Research Council funded Centre of Excellence in Indigenous Health & Alcohol.