here - Aboriginal Hostels Limited



here - Aboriginal Hostels Limited
AHL | Better Lives, Better Futures
Overview from the
Chief Executive Officer
Welcome to the Spring issue of Hostel News.
In this Spring edition we welcome
Dr Sue Gordon AM as the new AHL Chairperson and
pay tribute to Mr Kevin Smith’s Chairmanship over
the past four years.
We feature an article on the Patient Assisted Travel
Scheme (PATS), which has provided invaluable
financial support for our AHL residents who
have had to travel significant distances to attend
Hostel News is published
quarterly by Aboriginal Hostels
Limited and is circulated to
AHL staff, Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander organisations,
Indigenous Australians, government
agencies and interested individuals
throughout Australia.
The aim of this newsletter
is to provide a platform for
communication for staff, to promote
the activities of Aboriginal Hostels
Limited throughout the wider
community and to promote a
consistent corporate image.
specialist medical appointments.
Two of our secondary education students from AHL’s
Kirinari Secondary Education Hostel for boys in Sydney had a lifetime experience when they
attended the 2015 Garma Festival in Northeast Arnhem Land. I am particularly proud of both
students, who were chosen to attend with AHL staff, based on their leadership potential and
their exemplary progress at school. You can read more about their experience on page 10.
We spend the night out with our very own Ms Katrina Fanning, General Manager Strategy,
Innovation and People, who recently joined CEOs from around the country in this year’s
Neither the Editor nor Aboriginal
Hostels Limited accepts
responsibility for, nor necessarily
agrees with, the views expressed by
contributors in articles, discussions
or advertising published in Hostel
News or the infringement of any
copyright inadvertently published
in Hostel News as a result of any
contribution so used. All rights to
reproduction are reserved.
Vinnies CEO Sleep-out raising almost $5,000 in the process!
Topsy Smith Hostel, one of our medical/renal hostels in Alice Springs is also given the
attention and promotion it deserves. One of eleven medical hostels across the country,
Topsy Smith is an example of the important work which goes on quietly each day to support
Indigenous Australians who need to access life-saving health and medical services.
Contributions are welcomed
and the Communications and
Public Relations team encourage
suggestions and comments on the
articles contained in Hostel News.
This year has also presented AHL with the difficult decision to close several of its hostels
in Port Augusta, Brisbane, Sydney, Shepparton and Mildura. I would like to thank all
our residents, staff and community partners who assisted us in making the necessary
arrangements to ensure minimal disruption to everyone affected by the closures.
AHL continues to offer accommodation services across its network of 47 accommodation
To contact the team in
National Office:
T: (02) 6212 2070
F: (02) 6212 2099
Email: [email protected]
facilities Australia-wide, and I am pleased to say that we have now secured ongoing operating
agreements at four sites we operate on behalf of Northern Territory and Commonwealth
government agencies in the Northern Territory.
It goes without saying that none of our successes or achievements would be possible without
ADVICE: Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander readers are advised that this
magazine publication may contain
images of people who have died.
our hardworking and dedicated network of staff across the country, increasingly supported
by important partnerships with service providers and other community-based organisations.
I hope you find this issue of Hostel News informative, and encourage you to make contact
with us if you have suggestions on how we can work together to improve services and ensure
better outcomes for all Indigenous Australians.
Warm Regards
Joy Savage
Chief Executive Officer
Aboriginal Hostels Limited
Cover Photo:
Image taken from the Yothu
Yindi Foundation’s annual event,
Garma 2015, Gulkula, NE Arnhemland,
Northern Territory
In This Issue
A Snapshot of Our Organisation
Who We Are and What We Do
Dr Sue Gordon Appointed AHL Chairperson
AHL Residents Benefiting from the Patient Assisted Travel Scheme
Staff Highlight
Maria Marshall
Iris Clay NAIDOC Breakfast
AHL Luncheon
A Duty Manager’s Experience
Topsy Smith Hostel, Alice Springs
CEO Sleep Out
AHL Students Set Up Camp at Garma Festival
Remote Students Attend Barunga Festival
The 77 Australian Army Cadet Unit Wadeye Camp 2015
Apmere Mwerre Visitor Park, Alice Springs, NT
AHL and the Indigenous Australian Government Development
Aboriginal Hostels Limited provides safe, comfortable, culturally appropriate and affordable accommodation
for Indigenous Australians who must live away from home to access services and economic opportunity.
Spring Edition Newsletter 2015
AHL | Better Lives, Better Futures
A Snapshot of Our Organisation
Who We Are and What We Do
• Our hostels offer safe, secure accommodation where positive
behaviour in a social and learning environment is encouraged.
AHL was established in 1973 as a national network of hostels to
provide safe, comfortable, culturally appropriate and affordable
accommodation for Indigenous Australians who must live away
• Residents are charged a tariff rate that is affordable.
• AHL is one of the largest providers of employment and
training for Indigenous Australians, with more than 70% of
from home to access services and economic opportunities.
our 500 strong workforce identifying as Indigenous.
AHL is a not-for-profit company wholly owned by the
AHL provides three types of accommodation services that include:
Australian Government, with an independent non-executive
Board of Directors.
• Short-term accommodation;
Our vision is to improve Indigenous Australians quality of life.
• Accommodation while accessing health services; and
We do this through the delivery of accommodation and support
services that provide residents access to education, employment,
• Accommodation while accessing secondary or tertiary
education and training.
health and other services.
For further information visit
• Each year AHL provides nearly 600,000 beds to accommodate
people living away from home. We provide three meals a day to
most of our residents and ensure that they make contact with,
or are engaged with the services they need.
Thursday Island (2)
Darwin (5)
Katherine (3)
Top End
Townsville (2)
South Hedland
Mount Isa
Tennant Creek
Western Australia
Alice Springs (6)
Southern Central
Brisbane (3)
Perth (2)
Adelaide (3)
South Eastern
Regional office
National office
Aboriginal Hostels Limited
Newcastle (2)
Sydney (3)
Dr Sue Gordon Appointed
AHL Chairperson
Dr Sue Gordon AM has been appointed as the new Chairperson
of AHL, replacing Kevin Smith, who held the position for the last
four years.
Dr Gordon is a retired magistrate from Western Australia with
a long and distinguished career. She has extensive senior
leadership experience in the areas of Indigenous employment,
the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, the
National Indigenous Council, family violence and child abuse in
Western Australia and chaired the Northern Territory Emergency
Response Taskforce.
Dr Gordon is also a member of various boards, including the
WA Police Citizens Youth Club and Jawun.
AHL CEO Joy Savage said “AHL was fortunate to have a highly
professional and committed Board”. She paid tribute to the
outgoing Chairperson, Kevin Smith, who has diligently carried out
the role for the past four years, and welcomed the appointment of
Dr Sue Gordon AM — AHL Chairperson
veteran campaigner and public policy leader, Dr Sue Gordon.
“Many staff are aware of Dr Gordon’s
leadership across many social policy areas,
over many years. Dr Gordon has already
met with some of the staff of AHL and I
know is very keen to visit our Hostels as soon
as possible”.
Joy Savage, CEO
Hostel News will interview Dr Gordon in the next issue.
Spring Edition Newsletter 2015
AHL | Better Lives, Better Futures
Patient Assisted Travel Scheme
AHL residents who have travelled long distances to attend
specialised health appointments (dialysis, oncology treatment,
antenatal care etc.) know it can be very costly, particularly for
those on fixed incomes.
In addition, trying to find a place to stay that is close to where
These types of arrangements ensure AHL
residents in those locations have one less
thing to worry about, which contributes to
a positive experience with our facilities.
appointments are, can be almost impossible and expensive too.
This is where the Patient Assisted Travel Scheme (PATS) can
provide much needed support to cover petrol, accommodation,
other travel and where approved, a carer to accompany patients.
The PATS initiative provides anyone from rural and remote areas
access to support if they are required to travel within a specified
AHL hopes to be able to establish similar arrangements in other
locations in the future.
For further information on PATS in each State and Territory please
distance from their place of residence.
Each State and Territory has different eligibility requirements that
include a combination of the following:
• Completed PATS forms lodged with appropriate services within
their area
• Referral from treating medical practitioner, specialist, dentist etc.
• Permanent residence of that State or Territory
• Requirement to travel more than a specified distance from their
place of residence to access specialist treatment
• Registered with Medicare
AHL residents in Derby (Kabayji Booroo Hostel), Perth (Allawah
Grove and Derbal Bidjarn Hostels) and Alice Springs (Sid Ross
Hostel) have received support through PATS pre-paid bed
arrangements with the WA Country Health Services and the
Alice Springs Hospital.
For added convenience, the Sid Ross Hostel is across the road
from the Alice Springs Hospital, making the journey from
accommodation to appointments very easy.
Aboriginal Hostels Limited
Sid Ross Hostel.
Staff Highlight
Maria Marshall
Job title Assistant Houseparent
Location Fordimail Youth Hostel
Start date with AHL 24 August 2012
What do you like about your job?
Everything. It is a different challenge everyday.
Any hobbies? BBQs, fishing and swimming
Most inspirational person in your life?
I would have to say my husband Ray Marshall (Manager at
Fordimail) because he is always there for me and pushes me to
be the best in my position as Assistant Houseparent.
Maria Marshall from Fordimail Youth Hostel.
Spring Edition Newsletter 2015
AHL | Better Lives, Better Futures
NAIDOC Week represents a significant time to celebrate
“NAIDOC is a special time for us as it gives us a chance to thank
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples culture
everyone who plays their part in our operations and the quality
across Australia.
of the stay for our residents”, Patricia Edoni, Iris Clay Hostel
The AHL Network used this time to recognise those who
contribute to the operations of our 47 hostels as well as the
unsung support staff who ensure our residents gain a positive
experience while staying with us.
The National Office also does its bit by hosting the annual
Duty Manager.
“A lot of time and effort is often unrewarded
within our community and this breakfast is
a way of saying we appreciate everyone’s
AHL Luncheon, which provides a platform to showcase the success
of the company and provide an opportunity for community to
Patricia Edoni, Iris Clay Hostel Duty Manager
come together to celebrate our enduring culture.
“We are so appreciative of the services and support available from
Iris Clay NAIDOC Breakfast
Iris Clay because without it we find it too expensive to come into
As part of the 2015 Townsville NAIDOC calendar of events,
other specialists,” current hostel resident.
town, particularly if we have medical appointments or have to see
a breakfast was hosted at the Iris Clay Hostel which brought
together residents, their families, hostel staff and community
members to celebrate their contribution to improving the lives of
Indigenous Australians in and around Townsville.
The Iris Clay community enjoying their NAIDOC Breakfast.
Aboriginal Hostels Limited
The Iris Clay NAIDOC Breakfast is an annual event.
Descendance cultural dancers at the AHL Luncheon in Canberra this year.
AHL Luncheon
The annual AHL Luncheon again proved popular among
Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians working at the
community level, as well as in the Australian Public Service
(APS), with over 500 guests enjoying the sumptuous food and
entertainment on offer at the National Convention Centre in
Hosted by Craig Moore, on-air Prime7 weather presenter,
this year’s Luncheon featured musical entertainment by ARIA
award-winning artist Dan Sultan, the cultural dancing talents of
Descendance and discussion on a newly established partnership
between AHL and the Stronger Smarter Institute by their CEO,
Darren Godwell.
Special mention was also made of young film maker Ismail Khan,
who produced a short promotional film on a number of our
medical and education accommodation facilities (showcased
at the event), and Georgia Gleeson, founder of ‘Deadly Runners’
running club who was this year’s ACT NAIDOC Award Winner.
Planning is currently underway for the 2016 Luncheon,
which promises to be a go-to event on the 2016 NAIDOC calendar.
Darren Godwell, CEO Stronger Smarter Institute
speaking at the AHL Luncheon.
Spring Edition Newsletter 2015
AHL | Better Lives, Better Futures
A Duty Manager’s Experience
Topsy Smith Hostel, Alice Springs
My name is Natasha Appo and for the last 7 years I
I believe we can all strive to make our hostels as warm
have been the Duty Manager of Topsy Smith Hostel in
and welcoming as possible so that our residents’ experiences
Alice Springs, which is a 40 bed hostel serving renal
can be less daunting and more memorable.
dialysis patients.
I am very thankful to AHL that I was lucky to be able to get to
Throughout my time at the hostel I have come to appreciate
experience such an amazing opportunity.
the strength of our residents, who have to leave their home and
families and relocate to Alice Springs so that they can get the
medical treatment they need on a daily basis. I see the struggle
they go through each day, their commitment to their health
and wanting to return to their community. I also see how we,
Aboriginal Hostels Limited, are able to provide a welcoming,
safe and enjoyable environment which residents feel is like their
second home.
At Topsy Smith Hostel we strive to provide
an environment where our residents
are comfortable, treated with respect and dignity
and are made to feel a part of our big family.
We know we are achieving this goal when we get residents
wanting to return to our hostel and telling us how much they
wished they came earlier. This, I find, is the most rewarding
acknowledgement we receive.
On 26 March this year I was very honoured to be invited down to
Canberra to celebrate World Kidney Day. The highlight of this trip
was observing, with Katrina Fanning, a Roundtable on Indigenous
kidney health at Parliament House, as well as attending a
Parliamentary Breakfast earlier that morning. I was in absolute awe
of my surroundings as well as acknowledging that I was in the
company of an extremely important group of people who have
the ability to make serious changes in how chronic kidney disease
is addressed in our Indigenous communities.
Aboriginal Hostels Limited
Photo (left to right): Elizabeth Rankie, Nathasha Appo,
Margaret Heffernan and Vilma David.
CEO Sleep Out
This year General Manager Strategy, Innovation and People in AHL,
Ms Katrina Fanning, joined more than 1,200 CEOs, politicians
and community leaders nation-wide to rough it in Canberra’s
sub-zero temperatures. This event, organised by St Vincent
De Paul aims to raise money and awareness of homelessness
across Australia.
This year, the CEO Sleep Out celebrated its 10 year anniversary.
Although this is a huge milestone and a great effort for
those who have participated and organised this event over
the years, we need to remember there is still a lot more to do
to reduce homelessness. Across Australia, there are more than
100,000 people doing it tough on any given night and of that
number, 25% are Indigenous Australians.
Indigenous Australians can become homeless for many reasons,
living away from their community when seeking out
support services, employment, and other opportunities.
Since 1973, AHL has been at the forefront of providing
Indigenous Australians with short-term, safe, comfortable and
culturally appropriate accommodation. We now have over
47 accommodation facilities nationally.
Ms Katrina Fanning, General Manager, Strategy,
Innovation, People and Culture.
AHL Students Set Up Camp at
Garma Festival
Not many students travel nearly 5,000 km during a school week.
“I thought we would be eating bush tucker and swimming with
That is exactly what Wes Riley-Johnson and Paul Dunn did recently
crocodiles,” said Paul, who will complete Year 12 later this year.
to attend this year’s Garma Festival in North East Arnhem Land.
Both are students at AHL’s Kirinari Secondary Education Hostel
for boys in Sydney and made the trip with their Houseparent,
Bradley Bell, as part of a group of AHL staff attending this
year’s Festival.
Chosen to attend as recognition of their leadership potential and
strong progress at school, Wes and Paul were not entirely sure
What a difference a few days can make. After a visit to Yirrkala
community and attending Garma’s dedicated Youth Forum over
two days, both boys came away with great things to say about
their time at Garma.
“It is a lot different to what I expected.”
what to expect when they stepped off the plane at the remote
Gove airport.
“On fire,” said Wesley, a Year 9 student at Sydney’s
Endeavour Sports High School at Caringbah.
Spring Edition Newsletter 2015
AHL | Better Lives, Better Futures
This year’s Garma Youth Forum had a lot to offer, including arts,
“I went to school with some of these parents
culture, music and a digital technology showcase. The Forum
in Western NSW. I want them to know we
featured presentations by Yolngu educators, students and a youth
panel facilitated by renowned Australian actor and Garma regular,
Jack Thompson AM. Paul and Wes also found time to join a
can achieve Year 7 to Year 12 attendance
for their kids if we work together.”
spear-making group.
Both boys certainly made an impression at Garma, with a number
Meanwhile, Paul and Wes returned to Sydney with a once in a
of the adult Festival goers commented on their maturity and the
lifetime experience under their belts to share at school and with
respectful way they carried themselves.
the other boys at Kirinari.
“This is no surprise”, says Bradley Bell, Houseparent at the
AHL would like to thank the Yothu Yindi Foundation and the
Kirinari Hostel. “We’ve got a good thing going on at Kirinari.”
Yolngu people for their hospitality and warm welcome at this
Bell believes respect is a big factor in the success of his students.
year’s Garma Festival, and Wesley Riley-Johnson for keeping our
campfire burning throughout the Festival!
“I give respect to the boys, and I get
it back… they call me Uncle.”
AHL currently has nine secondary education facilities in Dubbo,
Katherine, Kununurra, Newcastle, Tennant Creek, Thursday Island,
Sydney (2 locations) and Wadeye. Brad speaks regularly with AHL’s
other houseparents and youth workers for advice and to make
sure approaches that work are shared across AHL’s secondary
educations hostels. Staff are heavily invested in students’ success.
Kirinari Hostel has a particularly strong student
development program, which Brad puts a lot of work
into maintaining, including active links with Clontarff’s
Talented Sports Program and the local Police Citizen’s Youth Club.
These links provide two-way support, so that AHL’s students gain
access to sporting opportunities, excursions, social engagement
and career pathways, while Clontarff can be assured of
accommodation places for talented students identified through
its programs.
It is a family approach which is bearing fruit in terms of student
engagement and education outcomes, and Brad makes a
particular effort to maintain good communication with parents in
his students’ home communities.
Paul and Wesley join in a spear making workshop as
part of the Garma Youth Forum.
Aboriginal Hostels Limited
Remote Students Attend
Barunga Festival
In June 2015, 20 remote students from the Kardu Darrikardu
The Festival gained a lot of accolades from across the
Numida Hostel at Wadeye, along with 17 other students from
Northern Territory and the students from the Kardu Darrikardu
their school, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, attended the
Numida Hostel enjoyed themselves immensely.
Barunga Festival. Over the weekend the students enjoyed cultural
immersion in a drug, alcohol and smoke free environment.
“This year’s Barunga Festival was the most
2015 marked the 30th Anniversary of the Festival.
positive and inspiring event I think I’ve ever
The students participated in sports including football,
been to. The generosity and willingness of
basketball and softball, watched didgeridoo making,
indigenous (sic) people to share their culture made
basket weaving, cultural dancing and were entertained by bands
the whole event a truly amazing exprience.
and performers including The Emu Sisters (also from Wadeye),
Seeing those thousands of Indigenous and
Paul Kelly, Gurrumul Ynupingu, Sammy Butcher and Neil Murray.
non-Indigenous people camping out, sharing and
The bush band line up included the Lonely Boys, Mambali,
celebrating being together made me so hopeful for
and Mauel Dhurrkay from the Saltwater Band.
the future of the Territory. I’ll be back next year and
The girls’ team made it to the finals of the Footy Competition,
and while they did not win, they all enjoyed themselves and
I reckon you should come too. You won’t regret it.”
exhibited excellent sportsmanship.
Kris Keogh, NT News
Barunga Festival Snapshot
Total distance travelled from Wadeye to Barunga (and return)
Approx. 1,116km
Kardu Darrikardu Numida Staff
7 (Head of Boarding, two Senior Youth Workers, four Youth Workers)
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Staff
6 (Assistant Principal, three teachers, two support staff )
Duration of Excursion
Thursday 4 June to Sunday 7 June 2015
Kardu Darrikardu Numida Students
20 (12 girls and 8 boys)
Total Number of Students
The girls football team.
Spring Edition Newsletter 2015
AHL | Better Lives, Better Futures
The 77 Australian Army Cadet
Unit Wadeye Camp 2015
The students of the Kardu Darrikardu Numida Hostel made up
100% of the 77 Australian Army Cadet Unit (77 ACU) Wadeye
Camp held at Wadeye in Term Two 2015.
The students were issued with their Army Cadet uniforms which
were earned by being on parade at weekly cadet meetings and
fulfilling the required attendance.
Everyone learned to march and did so well at this, that their
Commanding Officer said they were permitted to march in an
official capacity, representing the 77 ACU Wadeye.
Cadets learned how to prepare army rations, apply
camouflage paint, hide undetected in the bush, and use a range of
army equipment.
Aboriginal Hostels Limited
Students at the 77 ACU Wadeye Camp.
Apmere Mwerre Visitor Park,
Alice Springs, NT
Apmere Mwerre is pronounced ‘upmerra merra’ in the
The hostel offers short term stay for residents accessing the
Arrernte language and means ‘good place’. Apmere Mwerre
following services:
Visitor Park was established in 2011 with the NT Government
being the owner/landlord. AHL has managed the Visitor Park
on behalf of NT Government for the past four years under
an Operating Agreement.
The Visitor Park can accommodate 80 people on any given night.
During significant peak times the capacity grows to a maximum of
110 residents with the use of tent and campsite spaces. It is made
up of a mix of self-contained units, cabins, tents and camp sites.
• social workers to assist with access to social housing and
other services
• assistance to help children attend school
• advice to access free government preventative health services
• Centrelink
• Patient Assistance Travel Scheme (PATS)
The park idea came about as there were no other options available
• legal and crisis/emergency assistance
for Indigenous Australians who were visiting Alice Springs.
• information about other AHL accommodation
The Visitor Park is close to bus transport and services communities
throughout Central Australia, South Australia and the Barkly.
• a bus service providing free transport to medical appointments.
Since the Visitor Park began operation, the average occupancy
level has been above 75%.
Apmere Mwerre Visitor Park.
Spring Edition Newsletter 2015
AHL | Better Lives, Better Futures
AHL and the Indigenous Australian
Government Development Programme
The Indigenous Australian Government Development Programme
Linyja also attributes the leadership within her family as a major
(IAGDP) is an entry-level employment and development
factor in why she decided to participate in the IAGDP.
programme for Indigenous Australians who are interested in
working in the Australian Public Service (APS).
“I have strong, hardworking Indigenous
The IAGDP is a 15 month programme that combines ongoing
women in my family who have made
employment with structured learning. It aims to increase
significant sacrifices in their lives to get
the representation of Indigenous Australians working in the
to where they are today. They are my role
Australian government.
The programme includes three main components:
models and have shown me a pathway
for success which I am committed to”.
• a diploma-level qualification
• full-time work experience and on-the-job-training
In tribute to this strong family leadership, Linyja hopes that her
• learning and development opportunities.
success will, in turn, prove to be a positive role model for her
AHL is one of 22 Australian Government organisations involved in
the 2015–16 IAGDP.
Ms Linyja Doyle, a young Ghungalu woman from Rockhampton,
began her IAGDP placement with AHL in September 2015.
She described the IAGDP “as a push start for my career within the
APS…particularly in Indigenous Affairs which I have a passion
younger brother and other family members.
The IAGDP assists participants to build their confidence, skills
and knowledge of how the APS works and effectively progress
their careers.
For more information about the Programme go to
for. I chose to do my placement with AHL as I felt it provided me
with the best opportunity to experience government structures
and systems along with grassroots, client engagement under the
one roof.”
2015–16 IADGP Participants with Senator The Hon Nigel Scullion, Minister for Indigenous Affairs.
Aboriginal Hostels Limited
Aboriginal Hostels Limited | Better Lives, Better Futures . . .
Aboriginal Hostels Limited provides safe, comfortable, culturally appropriate and affordable accommodation
for Indigenous Australians who must live away from home to access services and economic opportunity.
Contact Us
National Office Canberra
Level 1 Capital Centre
2-6 Shea Street Phillip, ACT 2606
PO Box 30, Woden ACT 2606
T: (02) 6212 2000
South Eastern Australia Regional Office
5th Floor 128–134 Chalmers Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010
T: (02) 9310 2777 F: (02) 9310 3044
Southern Central Australia Regional Office
Western Australia Regional Office
Suite 2 Ground Floor, Lindsay Place Building,
Unit 9, 152 Great Eastern Highway, Ascot WA 6104
15 Leichhardt Terrace, Alice Springs NT 0870
T: (08) 9479 5953 F: (08) 9479 7607
T: (08) 7905 8700 F: (08) 8953 0422
Top End Regional Office
Queensland Regional Office
1st Floor, Winnellie Point, 60 Winnellie Road, Winnellie NT 0820
110 McLeod Street, Cairns QLD 4870
T: (08) 8947 0797 F: (08) 8947 1302
T: (07) 4051 4588 F: (07) 4051 8839
Spring Edition Newsletter 2015