Ambulance Victoria celebrated National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) week with events headlined by traditional dancers from the Minja-Gidji Murra dance group.
An increasing number of government agencies, schools, local councils and workplaces are joining Aboriginal communities to mark the week, which has the theme Songlines: The living narrative of our nation.
Ambulance Victoria held events at its Doncaster head office and South Melbourne business centre which featured a Welcome to Country by Alex Kerr from the Wurundjeri Tribe, a performance by the Minja Gidji Murra Dance Troupe and cultural education about the history of NAIDOC and Aboriginal culture more broadly.
Ambulance Victoria Aboriginal Employment Program Coordinator Robbie Lynch, who organised the celebrations, said NAIDOC week was an important time where Aboriginal communities around the country had the opportunity to celebrate their heritage, commemorate their history and share it with the rest of the nation.
“Today is a particularly important day for Ambulance Victoria in supporting NAIDOC week because it is the first internal NAIDOC event we have ever held,” Robbie said.
“It’s important that Ambulance Victoria acknowledges these kinds of events because we want to be a culturally inclusive organisation and support not only our Aboriginal employees but also to generate education and awareness for managers and staff as to how to work with Aboriginal people – it works in a two-pronged way.”
Ambulance Victoria Acting Chief Operations Officer Ian Patrick said the events also recognised and acknowledged Ambulance Victoria’s Aboriginal employees and the important contribution they made to the organisation.
“Ambulance Victoria has an Aboriginal employment program to increase Aboriginal employment within Ambulance Victoria – a program which is already strongly supported in our Gippsland region,” Ian said.
“With this strategy comes a cultural training component which will be delivered to all staff across Ambulance Victoria, and will include online training, educational forums and significant and cultural events like today.”
The Aboriginal employment program will also aim to build and strengthen Ambulance Victoria’s capacity to ensure the organisation is respectful and safe and to ensure it is a place of positive employment.
“Ambulance Victoria is building our profile within the Victorian Aboriginal community for our on road paramedics through educational programs and community engagement,” Ian said.
“I look forward to contributing to Ambulance Victoria’s growth as we become a better and more culturally responsible organisation.”
NAIDOC Weeks runs until July 10.