IWC Director Cheri Yavu-Kama-Harathunian, elder Colin Johnson, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt and Mayor Jack Dempsey at the IWC in Bundaberg.
IWC Director Cheri Yavu-Kama-Harathunian, elder Colin Johnson, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt and Mayor Jack Dempsey at the IWC in Bundaberg.

‘Dream fulfilled’ as second stage opens to public

IWC staff and community leaders have celebrated the official opening of the centre’s $19.8 million stage two development.

It’s been nearly two years since the official sod-turning of stage two in November 2017 and five since the first stage of IWC opened in 2014.

“It was a dream that was birthed out of seven Aboriginal people that came together wanting something better for their people and that grew into not just wanting something beautiful and wonderful for Aboriginal people, but wanting something good for the whole community,” said IWC Director Cheri Yavu-Kama-Harathunian yesterday at the official opening, which was attended by local elected representatives and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack.

“This building has been the dream fulfilled.”

To the original $10.5 million stage one project, stage two is adding an accessible health and wellbeing lifestyle gymnasium, Turkish baths, isolation suites, a diesel generator, much more floor space and expansions of Allied Health services on the way.

“It’s been a long time coming,” IWC general manager Wayne Mulvaney said.

“In reality it’s come to fruition now.”

He said the expansion would give IWC more options in how they approached healthcare and wellbeing.

“In the past the biggest problem with healthcare was a lot of our services are focused on the one thing — what the person presents with — and they address that,” Mr Mulvany said.

“But typically, as the case is with the clientele we service … unless you dig down deep and delve into that, you’re not going to resolve the problem,” he said.

Leanne Connors and Raymond Johnson at the IWC Bundaberg.
Leanne Connors and Raymond Johnson at the IWC Bundaberg.

Aunty Cheri said it was often what people don’t say that matters most.

“They wouldn’t be presenting with this issue if there wasn’t something happening in the background,” she said.

“We educated out staff — we’ve got this program called Cultural Responsiveness Training — and that’s what it’s about.

“It’s about responding, not just to the presenting issue, but it’s responding to what they come with and looking beyond that, looking behind it so we can figure out how best we can have an intervention that’s going to take care of not just the presenting issue, but take care of what’s going on behind and resolving it.”

Mr Mulvany said this approach ended up addressing the problems actually presented with in the first place.

“A lot of people we service in the community do not have trust in (mainstream) services,” he said.

“They do not have trust in authority.”

Aunty Cheri said trust was vital when trying to help and heal people.

“What we talk about is healing, and we can only talk about healing when people trust you,” she said.

“When you talk about healing people, they look at us a little bit funny, but they trust us enough to say ‘okay then’.”

Additional services brought by stage two will open incrementally over the coming months.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Dr Alicia Kohn, Dr Sherine Tobias and Dr Rabiya Sajjad at the IWC in Bundaberg.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Dr Alicia Kohn, Dr Sherine Tobias and Dr Rabiya Sajjad at the IWC in Bundaberg.


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