Minister must meet with Kurnai elders to Close the Gap

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath has called on the Minister for Treaty and First People to visit Gippsland and learn about specific Closing the Gap initiatives being achieved locally.

Speaking in State Parliament, Ms Bath said while there are many good initiatives happening on the ground in Gippsland, there is a danger that the Andrews Government is missing vital information by not consulting widely in the region.

“Speaking with respected Kurnai Nations elder and Labertouche resident, Aunty Cheryl Drayton, I know there is genuine concern that the Andrews Government only listens to Melbourne based views when it comes to Closing the Gap programs and services.

“There is a problem when a respected Kurnai elder says the Andrews Government is ignoring local views.

“Aunty Cheryl’s extensive knowledge and experience as a highly respected elder must be valued and she warrants a lengthy audience with the Minister.

“With over 30 years’ experience in education and health support, and providing teaching guidance and counselling for Koori students, Aunty Cheryl possesses a wealth of knowledge about indigenous curriculum.

“Victoria requires positive outcomes when it comes to Closing the Gap targets and this can only be achieved by listening to people who have on the practical solutions for education, health and the justice system.”

Ms Bath said while targets are very important, they need to be implemented at a local level, by local people.

“The Andrews Government must support local programs and solutions that are right for our region – these decisions cannot be made from within the inner city without local input”.

“It’s imperative the Minister learns about how genuine progress can be achieved by engaging with Gippsland’s Aboriginal elders like Aunty Cheryl”.