Dear Elders, clients, partners, stakeholders, supporters, members and staff.
My name is Jim Golden-Brown. As the newly elected Chair after our Annual General Meeting in November 2021, it is a great pleasure and honour to write my first Chairperson message.
Aboriginal Community Services (ACS) has over the past couple of years been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus has impacted all parts of our society, especially the aged care sector and our First Nations communities here in South Australia, but also in all other First Nations communities throughout Australia.
I am proud of the work our staff do and how ACS, led by Graham, has managed the COVID-19 responses to date.
Despite the challenges we have faced over the past couple of years ACS has continued to grow in all aspects of its business. Client numbers, income streams and increase in staff resources. We now have over 700 clients and over 150 staff.
I have had the pleasure to visit and attend many communities and events, from Oodnadatta, Marree, Riverland, Mount Gambier, APY Lands and metropolitan Adelaide. In the coming weeks I will be attending with Leadership Team members on operational reviews and meetings.
On 26 November 2021 the Board Room at ACS Head Office in Mile End was named The Aunty Shirley Peisley AM Board Room in honour of the hard work, commitment and dedication by Aunty Shirley to ACS’ growth and prosperity over many years. This was an honour well deserved.
The Board of ACS has been working hard in partnership with the Leadership Team to improve the services we deliver at ACS, influence decision makers in government and form strategic alliances and partnership which supports our services to ACS clients.
The Board is in the final drafting stages of a new Strategic Plan, which will ensure ACS to continue to grow, provide the great support and services to our clients and align resources to areas of need and growth.
In 2021, after consultation and negotiations, ACS was awarded the contract to manage the residential aged care facility in Pukatja, APY Lands.
I would like to make special mention of an Elder, who is still working for ACS and for our First Nations communities in the health and wellbeing sector and has done so for about fifty years, Trevor Buzzacott. Trevor, at the 2022 Australia Day Awards was a recipient of the Order of Australia Medal (OAM). Trevor has been working tirelessly on improving eye health for our First Nations communities. Trevor’s work started back in the 1970s working with Fred Hollows and he came out of retirement at Graham’s urging to lead a Trachoma Project in the APY Lands that ACS was a partner in. A much-deserved award to a humble Elder who improved the lives of so many people and communities over the last fifty plus years. Congratulations Trevor from all of us at ACS, our clients and partners.
I am looking forward to the Adelaide NAIDOC Week Elders function in July and celebrate NAIDOC with our Elders, staff members, Board and partners. It has been over two years since we have been able to hold an event for our Elders.
Thank you to all of our staff members, Directors and partners for your great work and support over the ACS journey, especially during the past couple of years and how COVID-19 has impacted all our lives.
– Jim Golden-Brown
Chairperson, Aboriginal Elders and Community Care Services Inc.