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CADA Board appoints new First Nations representative

Michelle Watson has worked in remote communities in delivering indigenous health-related services.

By staff Writer Alistair Gray.

A well-known local Bribie Island personality, Michelle Watson, was recently appointed to the Queensland Centre Against Domestic Abuse Board (CADA). Michelle, who is also the Chairman of the Pumicestone Indigenous Education and Employment Council (PIEEC), brings a significant First Nations perspective to the Board. Appointed by the Qld State Government Selection Committee, her role is primarily to guide the Board in delivering support services for First Nations People affected by domestic abuse.

An Aboriginal Woman and Ghunghanji, Kuku Yelangi, Wulgurukaba Traditional Owner from North Queensland, Michelle has been a resident of Bribie Island for over six years. She has worked in remote communities in delivering indigenous health-related services and is very well acquainted with difficulties many First Nations Women have in accessing appropriate services.

"First Nations women are usually part of a close-knit community and support each other in times of difficulty rather than reaching out to access the local community and government services. In addition, resources are often scarce and difficult to find,” she says.

Michelle’s approach is strategic, recognising the needs and reaching out via the community to identify and help those in need.

The Caboolture - Morayfield area suffers from a high crime rate, drug problems and high unemployment, with high levels of domestic abuse inevitable. CADA supports both indigenous and non-indigenous people affected, offering Crisis Support, Adult Counselling, Children's Counselling, Home Safety Upgrades, Court Assistance and Women's Well-being Services.

When asked about the local needs on Bribie Island, Michelle said, "We are kind of left out, with women in need, including non-indigenous women, directed to Caboolture for support."

As Chair of PIEEC, she and her Board are often called upon to support families affected by domestic violence. While outside their operational scope, they first ensure the children are safe, help find emergency accommodation, and link those affected with appropriate support services. Much of this is by word of mouth and informal networks.

Michelle added, "There is minimal emergency accommodation on Bribie. There is an absolute need for counselling services as children are affected by generational trauma for years following a family break-up. CADA Services are touching those on Bribie, but with more than 1,000 First Nations People here on Bribie, there is a need for greater direct access to services. The Indigenous Urban Institute works closely with local schools where needed."

If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic abuse or violence, help is available. For urgent assistance, call Police on 000, Women's Line 1800 811 811 or Men's Line 1800 600 636.

For further information on CADA services in the Moreton Bay region call (07) 5498 9533 or visit .


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