Unaisi Buli and Sharon Edwards set-up the ICAN booth at QSuper’s collective impact event on Thursday Island during 2019 NAIDOC celebrations.
NAIDOC week celebrations were in full swing across the
country in July, including a free community event on Thursday Island at the TRAWQ
Community Hall, hosted by QLD’s largest superannuation fund, QSuper. ICAN was excited to be part of the day, as QSuper
has been an active participant and sponsor of the Big Super Day Out (hosted by
First Nations Foundation) helping First Nations people understand and access
Thanks to QSuper, the Thursday Island community had access
to not only superannuation information but a broad range of services from agency
partners including the ATO; Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages; Good
Shepherd Microfinance/No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS); and of course, ICAN. There was also colouring activities for the
kids, QSuper show bags and ICAN piggy banks that were a huge hit, and even free
food laid on for everyone from Uncle Frankie’s Café.
Jason Murray, QSuper’s Chief of Member Experience, said the
event is the first of its kind hosted by QSuper and hopes the breadth of
partners attending will provide a one-stop-shop for accessing services not
necessarily readily available on the island.
ICAN Financial Counsellors Sharon Edwards and Unaisi Buli
were lucky enough to attend the event. “Many people have longstanding concerns – both
simple and complex – and are unsure where to begin to resolve them”, said
Sharon. “Access to face to face specialist services in remote communities is
limited, and negotiating matters over the phone or online is a significant
barrier, so providing people with immediate assistance is incredibly rewarding.”
Events like the QSuper Community Day are an excellent
opportunity for community members to gain a deeper understanding of what
services are available to support them, and how agencies work together to achieve
the best possible outcome for their situation.
As Unaisi explains “It’s great to be able to greet people at
the door and take them directly to the agency they need. Many people in the community wanted to visit every
booth to see what was on offer and what the service could do for them. We also
had the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (ATSILS) and other large
organisations on Thursday Island wanting to know more about the services we all
We’re not just showing up for the day; we’re making real connections
with the community.”
A matter of identity
So when you need to provide proof of ID to complete personal
business, it’s no biggie, right?
Wrong. It’s one of the first
obstacles people in remote communities face when trying to resolve their
financial issues. If someone doesn’t have these vital document to start with,
like a birth certificate for themselves or a family member, the whole process can
be overwhelming, if not seemingly impossible. Personal identification is fundamental
to achieving not only financial control, but it is also important information
about your family, who your mob is, and where they’re from.
“Community days are so important, what we do is more than
help someone fill out a form,” said Sharon. “It goes to the wellbeing of the
community and the individual. Taking a
holistic approach is integral as the impact of what we do for people can be
much bigger than just having a financial win.
When all of the agencies work together like this – Births, Deaths and
Marriages; the ATO; QSuper; Good Shepherd Microfinance; and ICAN – we are
working collaboratively to support outcomes for individuals, families and the
whole community alike. Its why we do
what we do.”
“I feel like we’ve just skimmed the surface in terms of the need
for events like this in the Torres Strait.
These opportunities allow us to form relationships with other key
services in the region so that we can work in partnership to provide ongoing
access for not only Thursday Island residents, but for the outer islands as