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Loddon

Respecting culture and cultural differences

Why this is important

Koorie Cultures

Loddon Campaspe has a significant Koorie population with approximately 4% of our primary and secondary school students identifying as Aboriginal in 2017.  The Loddon Campaspe area includes country traditionally owned by several Aboriginal clans including the Dja Dja Wurrung, Yorta Yorta, Taungurung, Baraba Baraba and Wurundjeri.

We should not forget that Victorians from non-Koorie backgrounds have much to learn from Koorie communities. As the longest continuous culture in the world, Victoria’s Koorie communities have a considerable depth of knowledge and experience we can draw upon.” (Marrung Aboriginal Education Plan 2016-2026). 

It is acknowledged that for Koorie children and families to receive necessary support we need to ensure services are inclusive, responsive and respectful, providing culturally safe environments and celebrating the cultural identity of Koorie children and young people.  (Marrung Aboriginal Education Plan 2016-2026.)

There is evidence of a growing commitment to strengthening culturally appropriate responses but recent reviews have highlighted an urgent need to build this commitment.  

The Office of the Commissioner for Children and Young People reported in its work of Taskforce 1000 “countless examples of institutional racism, cultural ignorance and a failure to comply with legislation to ensure the protection of our children’s cultural rights.” (Commissioner for Children and Young People Annual Report 2016-17, p.5)

There continues to be a lack of understanding of Aboriginal inter-generational trauma and its impact on children and their families. 

Services must better understand the importance of culture and identity in an Aboriginal child’s life. “ (Commissioner for Children and Young People Annual Report 2016-17 p. 28)

In 2014-15 the rate of Aboriginal children in Out of Home Care in Victoria was 71.5 per 1000 compared to 6.6 per 1000 for non Aboriginal children.  The Loddon Area Partnership is committed to contributing to turning these concerning statistics around by embedding a strong respect for Koorie cultures across its services.

Other cultures

Loddon Campaspe continues to enjoy growing diversity across many cultures.  We have a growing Sikh community and a strong Karen community, in addition to offering refuge to people escaping trauma from Afghanistan, Myanmar and South Sudan.  The Loddon Area Partnership recognises the benefits and contributions experienced in communities due to multiculturalism and is committed to ensuring our services are appropriate and respectful to children, young people and families from all cultures. 

Resources

Organisation and Staff self-assessment tools