1 May 2023

Life Without Barriers staff came together with partners, Elders and the community for a fun and heartfelt launch of our Elevate RAP in South Australia.

Image: From left to right: Narelle Demeris, Director, Disability & Mental Health VIC, TAS & SA; Malcolm Gollan, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander State Lead SA and Simone Mather, SA Director CYF/AOD.

The Life Without Barriers' South Australian team created a fun, warm and engaging event to celebrate their launch of the Elevate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), held at The Adelaide Pavilion on the traditional lands of the Kaurna people.

Partners who joined Life Without Barriers staff and carers to mark the occasion included representatives from Aboriginal Community Services, the University of South Australia, Tauondi Aboriginal College, Healthy Dreaming, the Department of Health and the Department for Correctional Services.

Image: Left to right: Phi Theodoros, Resident Artist CYF; Rob Russell, Director National Reconciliation; Frank Wanganeen, Aboriginal Elder and Malcolm Gollan, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander State Lead SA.

The event officially started when Kaurna Elder Frank Wanganeen beautifully welcomed all attendees to his People’s Country.

Displaying a spirit of partnership, Tony Minniecon, Department for Correctional Services, and Ellie Lovegrove, Department of Health, took part in the event and opened proceedings with a powerful and emotional performance of Archie Roach’s song ‘Took the Children Away’, while a video of moving scenes played on the large screen behind them.

Image: Tony Minniecon, Department for Correctional Services and Ellie Lovegrove, Department for Health perform on stage.

Narelle Demeris, South Australia Director of Disability and Mental Health Services, told attendees about the Elevate RAP’s three pillars of relationships, respect and opportunities, which are founded on strong Governance.

“This is our commitment to providing a cultural connection for our clients across disability and mental health, to cultural change in the workplace, to becoming an employer of choice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and to stretch targets for increased procurement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suppliers," Narelle said.

"This is our commitment to progress the Reconciliation journey.”

Simone Mather, Director of Child Youth and Family, and Alcohol and Other Drug services, spoke about Life Without Barriers’ commitment to progressively step away from providing out-of-home care services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

“The commitment is more than just the transfer of services,” said Simone. "We are committed to reducing the number of Aboriginal children entering care.

"We commit to listening and being led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices to enact prevention strategies, to strengthen families - so children are not placed in care.”

Guests also heard from Rob Russell, Director National Reconciliation, and watched highlights of the national launch of our Elevate RAP in Canberra on Ngunnawal and Namadgi Country.

Image: Rob Russell, Director National Reconciliation and Deborah Milford, SA Regional Operations Manager DMH.

Following the formal presentations, Phi Theodoros and Natasha Sumner from Life Without Barriers’ Living Arts program invited everyone to create artwork as they enjoyed afternoon tea.

Guests used paints and canvases provided to express what relationships, respect and opportunities meant to them. The finished artworks will be placed together in a collage for display in the Walyu Tutu Office, Unley SA and shown at other important events.

Image: Left to right: Anne Wall, SA Disability Support Leader; Wendy Vidugiris, Administration Officer CYF; Simone McDonald, Executive Assistant CYF/AOD, Sharon Girardi, Community Rehabilitation Support Worker MH.

The event closed with another soulful performance from Tony and Ellie, who sang a song written by Tony called ‘The Truth’ about this country’s history and the extreme hardships Aboriginal people have experienced since colonisation.

We are committed to Reconciliation

Learn more about our commitment to Reconciliation through our Reconciliation Action Plan

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