First Nations Strategic Plan: Jalba – Coming Together

Legal Aid WA acknowledges the Traditional Owners and Custodians across the vast State that is Western Australia and pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.
We acknowledge the Aboriginal Legal Service of WA and Aboriginal Family Legal Services as the leaders in providing culturally appropriate legal services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Aboriginal) people and look forward to strengthening our working relationships to achieve the best outcomes for our people.

A message from our First Nations Staff Network

Last year, Legal Aid WA provided lawyers to Aboriginal West Australians on 26,886 occasions. One fifth of our clients identify as Aboriginal and the number of Aboriginal people seeking our help is increasing every year. In 2019-20, we provided 20% more grants of aid to Aboriginal people than in 2016-17. Our northern offices at Kununurra, Broome and South Hedland provide services to a client base that is almost solely Aboriginal. Given these figures and trends, it is important that Legal Aid WA has a plan for service delivery to our people. We aspire to be proactive and to spell out where Legal Aid WA is going over the next few years in terms of service delivery to Aboriginal Western Australians.

Legal Aid WA anticipates a future where services are tailored to the needs of our Aboriginal clients; improving cultural safety and accessibility. We hope to increase Aboriginal staffing levels in order to better reflect the diversity of our clients. We are excited by the prospect of collaborating with Aboriginal-led organisations. We envisage, by implementing this plan, Legal Aid WA will be equipped to deliver improved justice outcomes and positively impact the lives of Aboriginal people in Western Australia.

This being our first Strategic Plan, it has been led by Legal Aid WA Aboriginal staff in its creation and development. Early in its growth, our First Nations Staff Network sought guidance from, and responded to, feedback from the dedicated Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) committee. We consulted with Aboriginal Elders, clients and external stakeholders while remaining the drivers in the formation and ongoing growth of this strategy.

We are proud of our organisation's commitment to provide improved services to Aboriginal people and for allowing us to be heard, valued and supported.

The artwork

Cover artwork from Strategic Plan - copyright Teejay (Thomas John) Cox Worrigal

This painting represents the meeting of Aboriginal Lore & Law with Western Law. It shows the colours of Western Australia with each region and it’s people in our State represented. The centre circle is the metro region, the far left circle is the Kimberley region and the next is the Pilbara region. From the centre up, the circle represents the Wheatbelt, Goldfields and south to Esperance. From the centre down represents the Gascoyne and Midwest. And the circle south represents the Peel, South West and Great Southern.

The kangaroo, kangaroo paw, swan foot print, and boomerang represents the WA Coat of Arms which symbolise the Western Law in our State. The other cultural symbols such as the spears, the Elders seated, the shields and other tools represent Aboriginal Lore & Law.

This symbolism highlights that when we understand the difference in our cultures, we can all come together respectfully. Pre colonisation First Nations people had, and still have our own systems. We now must work within this new system. Understanding and respect is needed from both sides moving forward.

Artist Teejay (Thomas John) Cox Worrigal was born in Derby, Western Australia and raised on Gooniyandi country. Gooniyandi country is located in the central Kimberley region of Western Australia and includes the mighty Fitzroy River to the west and runs almost to Halls Creek in the east. Teejay was taught to paint by many Elders in his family, but particularly Marjorie Cox (Yiyili) and Frank Gardiner (from Balgo and Billiluna).

 

Reviewed: 28 April 2021

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