Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Closing the gap community awards

To mark Reconciliation Week 2009, Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin today launched new awards to recognise Australians who contribute to closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in their own communities.

The inaugural certificates were presented today to nurse Vera Webber, social worker Josie Howie and school teacher Brendan Murray.

Vera’s greatest joy is to see an Indigenous woman safely through a pregnancy, taking home a healthy baby, fully equipped to continue nurturing her child through early childhood.

Brendan and Josie at The Pavilion alternative school are turning around the lives of Indigenous and non-Indigenous kids who’ve done it tough and have had no where else to turn.

All MPs are being asked to nominate people from the community who are helping to close the gap and build trust between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Building good relationships and trust is critical to closing the gap.

These awards complement a range of Budget initiatives to support reconciliation in the community, including a $10.8 million boost for Reconciliation Australia to secure the future of its education and awareness programs to build relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

The funding will also support the development of local Reconciliation Action Plans by schools, local governments and business.

We are also supporting the development of an Indigenous Healing Foundation to support healing initiatives for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

At the community level, many people, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, are quietly helping to close the unacceptable gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Their efforts often go unrecognised, but not unnoticed.

These certificates recognise their contribution and thank these dedicated people for their leadership.