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The Paupiyala Tjarutja Aboriginal Corporation (PTAC) of the Western Desert is celebrating its 25th anniversary of incorporation this year. The community organisation was founded by the Spinifex people, and is based in Tjuntjuntjara, 700km east of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia.
The Spinifex people had a long road to establishing this remote community when they opted to return to their homelands in the 1980s. Since then, the community has seen the establishment of PTAC and the growth of successful programs in Tjuntjuntjara. These include a health service and dental program, social and emotional wellbeing programs, a youth program and the Women's Centre, which has produced traditional art exhibited around the State.
The commitment to the health programs established in the community has had positive outcomes for residents with information from the local Outback store showing that spending on fruit and vegetables is double that of other Indigenous communities in the area. Moreover, data from the Spinifex Health Service shows that the rate of overweight and obesity in the community are lower than the national average for Indigenous people. There is also a high rate of screening for conditions such as trachoma and middle ear infection, and vaccination rates are above the national average.
PTAC general manager, Fiona Pemberton said the groundwork was laid by a strong support of cultural matters in the community.
'I think a lot of the credit has to go to the leaders, the elders in the community,' she said. 'There's some very key, very strong elders who have been the driving force behind a lot of the good work. We also have a wonderful group of staff, who have to be given an enormous amount of credit for their hard work and dedication.'
Ms Pemberton said the community had come a long way in the last quarter of a century. 'To think that 25 years ago the mob was sitting on the Nullarbor plain, absolutely insistent they were going to come back out and live on country,' she said. 'If you look back now in terms of what we've got at Tjuntjuntjara, it's amazing.'
Source: Kalgoorlie Miner