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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) recently graduated with professional qualifications that will see them provide culturally relevant counselling and therapeutic services to their communities.
Dr Chris Bourke, ACT's Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, addressed the students from Relationships Australia's Diploma of counselling and group work for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, saying they had the potential to bring about significant change.
'The students graduating today will have a tremendously important role to play in providing help to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are in need of support,' Dr Bourke said.
The diploma was developed using ACT and Federal government funding with support from key organisations including Gugan-Galwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation, Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service, Aboriginal Justice Centre, Munjuwa, Beryl Women Inc., Canberra Rape Crisis Centre, Marymead, Yass Community Health Centre, Centrelink and Canberra Hospital.
Dr Bourke said that the diploma program would see three broad areas of benefit.
'As well as providing care for the community the graduates are also building the professional capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and, of course, enhancing their own skills,' Dr Bourke said.
'In quite a literal sense the Diploma has provided an opportunity for healing. It is building on the ability of the community to "care for their own".'
Source: Dr Chris Bourke, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs