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Cullunghutti elders embrace further training to help local community

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An elderly Aboriginal woman in a colourful polo shirt standing outside next to a car.
Aunty Lynn Stewart is working to ensure that the Cullunghutti Aboriginal Child and Family Centre continues to serve the local Aboriginal community.
26 Jun 2017

Aboriginal controlled organisations are the heartbeat of communities, and the directors of one organisation have taken the initiative to ensure the organisation continues to serve their community.

Cullunghutti Aboriginal Child and Family Centre in Nowra in the Shoalhaven region of south eastern New South Wales plays a vital role, providing early childcare education and health and welfare support in Shoalhaven and surrounding areas. And with its recent transfer to a community owned management model, the directors, who are significant Elders and other respected members of the community, were keen to ensure they had the right skills to oversee the management and compliance of Cullunghutti.

As a result, Cullunghutti management worked with local organisation ITeC and the New South Wales government’s ‘Smart and Skilled’ program to deliver a Certificate IV in Business (Governance) course for the Cullunghutti directors.

According to Cullunghutti Chairperson Aunty Lynn Stewart, the training was just what was needed.

“The course was extremely challenging but has empowered us and greatly increased our knowledge,” Aunty Lynn said.

“This has been an amazing experience for our Aboriginal community leaders, who have all grown in confidence and competence during the course. I’ve been on many boards but the thoroughness in this course means that I can direct the board and the organisation so much better.”

Aunty Lynn is a Dharug and Booraberongal woman from traditional Dharug country in the Hawkesbury River region north of Sydney. She has worked in Aboriginal educational for many years, and became involved with Cullunghutti as a representative of the Upper South Coast Regional Aboriginal Education Consultative Group after moving to the region with her husband.

Aunty Lynn quickly recognised its importance to the Shoalhaven region and with its move to a community controlled organisation saw Cullunghutti’s potential to help the local Aboriginal community beyond education alone. 

“Our family centre offers a paediatrician, a child psychologist, an adult psychologist and speech and occupational therapists, along with support from other Aboriginal women’s and health organisations. We also celebrate Aboriginal significant events with children so they will have knowledge of these important events and revitalise their cultural knowledge.

“With the extra training board members feel confident of providing extra services, like working in isolated localities, providing transport for people to attend appointments, plan the succession of the next generation of board members and ensure the organisation is sustainable and can continue to thrive.”

Find out more

Strengthening governance and leadership are essential parts of the Australian Government’s Closing the Gap strategy, agreed by the Council of Australian Governments.

The Australian Government funds the Cullunghutti Aboriginal Child and Family Centre through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy’s (IAS) Children and Schooling programme. 

More information about the IAS is available on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet website.