Elevating First Nations women

Discover achievements made in 2022 and focus areas in 2023 to deliver on commitments made in the Queensland women’s strategy 2022–27 (the strategy) in the area of elevating First Nations women.

2022 achievements

  • In October 2022, the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, and Minister for Seniors and Disability Services and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, signed a statement of support of Wiyi Yani U Thangani. Wiyi Yani U Thangani is a watershed moment ensuring the voices of First Nations women and girls are heard as part of the national conversation, outlining an ambitious and necessary First Nations female-led plan for structural change.
  • Queensland Health’s continued implementation of the first statewide First Nation’s maternal and child health strategy aimed at providing culturally safe and secure maternity services across Queensland. Ongoing strong leadership, sector-wide partnerships and targeted workforce development is required to ensure strategies deliver the vision of “All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies in Queensland are born healthy, into strong resilient families”.
  • The Department of Seniors, Disability and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships (DSDATSIP) established the Kowanyama Women’s Group Women’s Meeting Place which delivers programs for the women of Kowanyama to restore positive social norms, including employment of a coordinator and 2 support staff. In 2021–22, over 200 local Kowanyama women accessed the service.
  • The Department of Environment and Science (DES) Queensland Indigenous Women’s Ranger Network (QIWRN) project aims to support First Nations women rangers by providing support, learning and leadership opportunities. An investment of $300,000 from 2022 to 2024 for continued support of the QIWRN to support First Nations women rangers will enhance professional development and leadership.
  • The Investing in Queensland Women grant program has seen upwards of $50,000 invested in initiatives specifically designed for First Nations women in 2022, including the Weipa community domestic and family violence (DFV) monument, the University of Queensland Strong Spirit program, and the Reach Out program of DFV prevention workshops and awareness campaign.
  • During late 2022, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Rural Fire Service (RFS) supported 2 female First Nations personnel (a RFS Bushfire Safety Officer and RFS Brigade Volunteer) and DES supported 2 female First Nations Rangers to attend a Women in Fire Training Exchange in California, USA which focussed on Indigenous Women and Cultural Burning Practices.
  • Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy (DCHDE) supported Sparks—QPAC’s First Nations Playwrights Program in partnership with Playlab Theatre—to upskill up to 6 female First Nations artists each year to develop a new play concept. In 2022, Sparks helped 15 First Nations women to develop their skills as playwrights and build key industry relationships that can support their development into the future.
  • Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) partnered with Woorabinda's Gumbi Gunya Women and Children's Centre for Wellbeing. The department’s 2022 donation helped women and children survivors of DFV to access an outdoor kitchen, materials for a fashion parade and back garden wall, books for the shelter's library, and children's Christmas presents.

Good news story

The Queensland Indigenous Women's Ranger Network (QIWRN)

Established in 2018 to provide a forum for women rangers to share their experiences, ideas and information, the QIWRN provides support, advice, and enables connections in remote and isolated communities. QIWRN held workshops in Brisbane from 23 to 25 November 2022, where 65 Indigenous women rangers undertook training in Indigenous mapping, grant writing and social media. QIWRN was the winner of the esteemed Earthshot Prize in the Revive our Oceans category for 2022, in global recognition of their custodianship of the land and vital defence of the Great Barrier Reef.

2023 focus

  • The Queensland Government has committed to developing a Wiyi Yani U Thangani action plan to support this body of work in Queensland.
  • The QIWRN will undertake 2 workshops per year with Indigenous women rangers throughout Queensland. The workshops will include networking, training components to upskill rangers, and cultural activities. Sharing of knowledge, experience and support are the key outcomes of QIWRN.
  • DSDSATSIP is providing funding of $175,000 and $150,000 each for 2 discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and 1 discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community respectively, supporting local leadership to develop DFV action plans to include prevention strategies that are culturally appropriate and address the local needs and priorities, and support local leadership to develop and implement a social reinvestment project aimed at reducing DFV.
  • DCHDE has committed to the redevelopment of the Joyce Wilding Hostel to become Kaggarabah House, in partnership with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service. This project is a new purpose-built accommodation precinct for First Nations women and children who are experiencing, or are at risk of experiencing, homelessness.

What the Queensland Government is already doing

  • Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs (DCYJMA) initiatives include:
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Wellbeing Services provide services to First Nations families to build their capacity to safely care for and nurture their children, thus reducing the likelihood of First Nations children becoming involved in the child protection system
    • the gender-informed Girls Moving On program which draws on relational theory, motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioural methods to enhance motivation, increase skill development and enhance personal resources, assisting First Nations girls to mobilise and develop personal and social resources that will enhance overall life satisfaction and mitigate risk for further justice involvement
    • the Black Chicks Talking cultural program is for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander girls and has been adapted to support cultural connections to community and identity and explore cultural histories through storytelling, yarning circles and adventure activities, allowing girls to connect with Elders in their local communities and learn about what it is to be First Nations.
  • The Department of Resources (Resources) champions the Building on the Strengths of our Stories program, which is a cultural agility program that is delivered internally by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Futures team of women. Participants in the 2-day program learn about our state's history and the impact of government administration on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including the specific impact on women. This program ensures the stories of Aboriginal women are heard and acknowledged in order to focus on equitable outcomes for all Aboriginal people, especially women and girls. Approximately 700 Resources staff have participated in the program to date.
  • Department of Education (DoE) supports female Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engagement programs including the Stars Foundation, Netball Queensland, and Beyond Careers Club. The primary objective of each engagement program is to provide targeted engagement incentives to encourage young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander female students to remain actively engaged in education until completion of Year 12.
  • The First Nations Health Office within Queensland Health is committed to understanding and empowering First Nations women and girls by listening and acknowledging their lived experience and incorporating their unique knowledge and perspectives across a range policies and strategies that impact health. These include consideration in cultural capability learning and the development of strategies, mental health and wellbeing, and reporting on priority areas under the Closing the Gap National Agreement.