Happy 30th Birthday, Winnunga
I recently had the enormous privilege of attending the 30th birthday of Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services with my parliamentary colleagues the Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous health, Senator Dodson and the members for Lingiari and Barton.
All of us have a long connection with the centre, which provides a culturally safe, holistic healthcare service for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of the ACT and the capital region.
In Wiradjuri language, Winnunga Nimmityjah means 'strong health', and Winnunga offers a breadth of strong medical services and programs that promote good health and healthy lifestyles.
Winnunga has come a long way in 30 years. It began life with an annual budget of $241,000, a handful of staff and a borrowed laptop computer.
It now has an annual budget of $12 million, more than 80 staff and is at the forefront of setting a national agenda for quality improvement in Aboriginal community controlled health.
I want to congratulate the board, the executive, the dedicated and tireless health professionals and the staff at Winnunga.
I also want to remember and honour those who are no longer with us and made Winnunga the success it is today: Olive Brown, Judy Harris OAM, Mary Buckskin, Dr Peter Sharp AO and Piyatissa Jayasuriya.
Also, the tireless and much-loved CEO, Julie Tongs, who's with us here today, Kacey Boyd and the tireless and much loved Beth Sturgess.
Thank you so much for your service to our community and the capital region.