NAIDOC Week tributes keep flowing

17 July 2018

This year's NAIDOC Week theme 'Because of her, we can!' sparked people’s imaginations and tributes to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women keep flowing.

As an organisation with a strong focus on women and girls, we were honoured to sponsor the Mornington Peninsula NAIDOC Women of the Year Award which recognises the long-standing contribution of female leaders in the community.

Deb Mellett received this year's award. Deb is a Gurindji woman who also has family ties to the Jawoyn people in the Northern Territory. She has worked in Aboriginal Employment and Training for more than 25 years. During this time she managed an Employment Service Office and provided specialist advice on employment strategies and training for Aboriginal people. Clients included key Aboriginal, public sector and mainstream organisations throughout the NT and Victoria. Deb was also a partner in an Aboriginal employment and development consultancy business for several years.

Over the past 3 years Deb has worked as an Aboriginal Health Coordinator concentrating on the Aboriginal Early Years in the Frankston and Mornington Peninsula Areas. Deb is the Acting Senior Social Planner, Aboriginal Culture and Community Development with the Mornington Peninsula Shire and also the Koolin Balit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Coordinator. She is also a BreastScreen Australia Ambassador and Breast Cancer Network volunteer. Deb is currently the chairperson of Nairm Marr Djambana (Frankston Gathering Place) and a Council member of First 1000 Days Australia.

Deb has been instrumental in establishing the  Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association on the Mornington Peninsula, helped form critical partnerships and implemented robust governance measures to ensure organisational sustainability. Deb is an active member on numerous committees and networks, including the Aboriginal Health Alliance, Koolin Balit Southern Metro Region Aboriginal Health Committee, Best Start Committee, Peninsula Health Aboriginal Community Action Group, Frankston Child and Family Committee, and the Local Aboriginal Network.

L–R: Deb Mellett, 2018 Mornington Peninsula NAIDOC Women of the Year; Colin Valentine, Manager Family Solutions, Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand. Congratulations Deb on the significant contribution you have made to the Mornington Peninsula community for more than 25 years.

Joining in local celebrations

We were also excited to participate in celebrations in and around our Victorian and New South Wales service areas. We joined Melbourne’s annual NAIDOC Week march, attended Melton City Council events, staffed the barbeque at Willum Warrain Family Day and participated in WEAVE’s NAIDOC in Woolloomooloo festival, NSW.

We thank all event organisers for their hard work in making the week such a success and for bringing this year’s theme to life.