Hunter organisations putting Aboriginal health in Aboriginal hands

Hunter organisations putting Aboriginal health in Aboriginal hands

9 February 2023

Ƶ Ltd, the Newcastle and Hunter region’s Aboriginal medical service, is partnering with local Indigenous health service providers to offer improved disability support.

and , will be providing Ƶ NDIS participants culturally appropriate specialised social supports.

All Ƶ NDIS participants will be able to continue to have the same coordinators and support workers, however they will have the opportunity to join either We Care or Justiz, to take advantage of their excellent, culturally safe services.

We Care operate across the region including Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Port Stephens, Maitland and Cessnock and specialise in providing supports to people living with a disability including mental health concerns. They provide in-home and community supports that focus on capacity building to help participants reach their goals.

“We work in partnership with community members to meet their individual goals and to promote their independence and connection to family, community, culture and country” says Todd Heard, We Care Director.

Justiz operate in the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens regions and also provide in-home and community supports for community members. They focus on social inclusion and participation and help to strengthen their participants wellbeing by engaging with others.

“I think our key difference is that we work on a kinship model. Our programs are very family orientated and culturally safe,” says Justiz CEO Elsie Randall.

Both organisations stress the importance of matching their NDIS participants with the right people.

“Safe, trusting relationships with participants provides a strong foundation for effective supports,” says Todd.

We Care Connecting Countries Program – funded by nib foundation
Credit: We Care Connecting Countries Program – funded by nib foundation

Ƶ will continue to focus on their people’s health, by increasing their NDIS therapies such as psychology and other allied health supports. However, they will no longer deliver social supports (eg groups) directly for NDIS participants, instead allowing them the choice to receive dedicated support directly from We Care or Justiz.

“This partnership just makes sense. We want our community to receive the best care and we know that Elsie at Justiz and Todd at We Care are dedicated to providing a high standard of meaningful support,” says Raylene Gordon, Ƶ Ltd CEO.

“This way we’re working together, instead of in competition, with two excellent local organisations, while supporting participants with informed choice and control.”

“We don’t do work we’re not good at, so we’re happy to share the management of a package to get the best outcomes for our people,” says Elsie.

“The partnership allows each organisation to build on what they do well. The people who will benefit the most are our participants,” says Todd.

All current Ƶ support workers will have the option to join the other agencies or be redeployed in other health-focused departments during the restructure.

If you still have questions, feel free to email admin@awabakal.org or speak to your clinic manager.