NAIDOC Week is a great opportunity to share the work the Department of Human Services Indigenous Specialist Officers do.
Ali and Tracey work in Tasmania and provide support and assistance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customers all around the country.
Both women are Aboriginal and their family history and understanding of their culture is one of the reasons they’re so passionate about what they do.
“Being Aboriginal myself helps me understand what issues my customers deal with every day, like family and domestic violence, substance abuse, health issues, and a lower life expectancy, just to name a few”, said Ali.
A typical day for Ali might involve assisting customers over the phone and in the office, providing outreach services to Aboriginal organisations, and getting involved in local community events.
Tracey’s family is from Flinders Island, located off the coast of Tasmania.
She works closely with organisations like the Cape Barren Aboriginal Association, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre and the Elders Council of Tasmania, to resolve issues her local community might have in accessing the department’s services, among other things.
“Tasmania is quite a small community, and because I live here I know what issues are important to the customers I see. Because I’m known in the local community, people are more comfortable and open in talking to me”, Tracey said.
“Using my contacts within the department, I can refer people and organisations to the right area to get the best result for everyone involved.
“The most rewarding part of being an Indigenous Specialist Officer is helping my community”, said Tracey.
One of the ways Ali and Tracey help Tasmanian Aboriginal customers is during mutton bird season.
“Every year we provide support to customers who travel to take part in this important cultural tradition”, Ali said.
Ali said she’s also been transitioning customers to myGov lately, and showing them how they can do their business online using self service.
“Some customers have been reluctant to do this, but taking the time to sit down with them and show them how easy it is really pays off,” said Ali.
“I love being able to help vulnerable customers get back on their feet.”
Read more about Indigenous Specialist Officers.
Feature image: Indigenous Specialist Officer Ali