2020 Annual Report to Members

Well what a very turbulent and unsettling year it has been for everyone, including Every Child Central Qld Inc. (Every Child CQ).

Our January meeting with stakeholders was a resounding success with in excess of 100 people in attendance and the workshop following provided a good starting point to conversations around building the Community Alliance and developing a shared agenda. Further workshops followed, including three in May, held virtually due to COVID 19.

Every Child CQ Inc has worked with Darumbal People Aboriginal Corporation (DPAC)throughout this year. DPAC is the Registered Native Title Body whose primary function is to address issues relating to the social and economic disadvantage that are confronted by Darumbal People, and we are very pleased to sign off on a Memorandum of Understanding with DPAC today.

The purpose of the MOU is to establish a formal relationship between DPAC RNTBC, as the custodians of Darumbal country, and Every Child CQ aimed at providing a platform for collaboration and equity in decision making on Darumbal country in the Rockhampton district. This document recognises DPAC and Every Child CQ share a commitment to developing a new approach to improving the future for our families, children, youth and young adults in this place. We have a collective responsibility to provide a positive future for all.

This has taken a while to get signed off due to COVID, however we are committed to the document and see it as a  first step in

acknowledgement and understanding of Indigenous issues and their impact on wellbeing of children and families. We also anticipate that this will be the first of many agreements that commit to a strong focus on working collaboratively to break down barriers and build shared understanding towards collaborative positive outcomes.

Our biggest challenge this year has been that whilst the Stronger Places, Stronger People Program had been announced by the Minister in July 2019, no funding for this important work was released until September 2020. The implication of this delay and Every Child not having funds to continue engagement of our very capable Coordinator, Susie Cameron understandably returned to her substantive position with Qld Health in June of this year.

Since that time, the Every Child CQ Management Group has continued to work with Government to secure funding to try to take the work forward. The funding received by Every Child CQ recently is to build the Community Alliance only. The short term nature of the funding, and the need to contract someone who has already built respect and trust across community has made filling this position very difficult. However we are not prepared to compromise on this fundamental role in bringing people and organisations together to ensure that the Community Alliance and the work it undertakes has sound governance around it, ensuring high level accountability, transparency and effectiveness.

We have been told that the next step is to provide evidence that the Rockhampton community is ready to partner with government to deliver the Stronger Places, Stronger People agenda. How do we do that? We need to evidence that as a collective we are committed to working together, not always with the same thinking, but are willing to compromise, to agree to disagree in a spirit of cooperation and respect to develop a shared agenda and a willingness to proceed to shared outcomes.

Over the last year, work has been done on developing partnerships and collaborative thinking, building required
capacity and resources. We now need to move onto actions – developing policies, procedures, data analysis and evaluation tools and source funding to create the required infrastructure for community to do this together.

This is the next phase – where we will all be required to “leave our hats at the door” and bring our lived experiences to the table, i.e. our experiences not as an organization specifically or with an individual view, but rather as a parent, a friend, a student, an aunt/uncle/survivor, a teacher, or football coach. This is the valuable knowledge we know is out there… however, a space needs to be created where this can be safely shared with a view to improving the lives of others, through our own life learning lens. The Community Alliance is to be this space.

Every Child CQ’s vision and drive remains the same, that is creating social innovation by using the principles of collective impact to bring about systemic and long lasting change to health, wellbeing and life outcomes for Central Queensland children, to ensure that every child has every chance to reach their full potential.

This is a vision for our community , that will require a whole of community approach and the Community Alliance will provide an opportunity to bring voices from across community, the seen and unseen, the heard and unheard, the fortunate and those that struggle from day to day, because everyone has lived experience that can assist us to understand, unpack and explore solutions to issues, steps to take on our journey of working closely together to improve community wellbeing.

In the words of Henry Ford, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” We are keen to ask you to progress the beginning of success today, together.

After such a haphazard year, Every Child CQ looks forward to a strong and purposeful year in 2021 towards creating a safe, secure and happy future for children and families across Central Queensland.

Maxine Brushe
Every Child Central Queensland Inc.

We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this country and recognise their connection to land, wind, water and community. We pay our respect to them, their cultures, and to the Elders both past and present.