Central and North Burnett Times - - VOICE OF THE BURNETT -

NAIDOC Week takes place this month from July 5–12. It’s a time to cel­e­brate and recog­nise the his­tory, cul­ture and achieve­ments of Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der peo­ples. It also pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity to shed light on one of most sig­nif­i­cant is­sues af­fect­ing Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der peo­ples – home­less­ness. Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple are sig­nif­i­cantly over-rep­re­sented in our In­nerWest Youth Home­less­ness ser­vice, mak­ing up 17.8% of our young peo­ple. Aus­tralia-wide, Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der peo­ple make up 23% of those ac­cess­ing spe­cial­ist home­less­ness ser­vices, but only make up 2.5% of the pop­u­la­tion.

Youth Off The Streets recog­nises the need to fa­cil­i­tate dis­cus­sions about this is­sue. The cam­paign draws on the idea that not every­one has the priv­i­lege to un­tie their shoes of a night; some young peo­ple have to keep them on in or­der to flee from dan­ger at a mo­ment’s no­tice. By get­ting the com­mu­nity to get in­volved in cam­paigns like these dur­ing NAIDOC Week, we are not only help­ing to raise the pub­lic’s con­scious­ness about youth home­less­ness, but we are also rais­ing aware­ness to the over-rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Abo­rig­i­nal young peo­ple in this is­sue. NAIDOCWeek is a per­fect op­por­tu­nity for all Aus­tralians to get in­volved in Abo­rig­i­nal is­sues be­cause un­for­tu­nately, Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der peo­ple are over-rep­re­sented in many of our ser­vices. Our goal is to bring these num­bers down, but we need com­mu­ni­ties to get be­hind this to make it a re­al­ity.

I en­cour­age every­one to get in­volved in the cel­e­bra­tions and ac­tiv­i­ties that are tak­ing place across Aus­tralia. For more in­for­ma­tion about NAIDOC Week please visit events-cal­en­dar.

Fa­ther Chris Ri­ley CEO and Founder at Youth Off The Streets

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