New legal resources help empower Aboriginal Victorians
Victoria's Attorney-General, The Hon Martin Pakula, officially launched resources associated with the 'Your life, your choice project' at the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service on Wednesday 28 February.
Your life, your choice' is a joint project of the Victorian Aboriginal Service (VALS) and Office of the Public Advocate (OPA), funded by the Legal Services Board Grant Program 2017, to deliver culturally-appropriate and accessible information to Victoria's Koori community.
The project reflects the importance of working with Aboriginal organisations to develop culturally appropriate resources and services.
The resources aim to give Aboriginal Victorians more information about their right to choose who can make decisions on their behalf using Victorian powers of attorney laws.
The new resources include a brochure for community members about planning for the future and fact sheets about medical treatment decisions, guardianship, and powers of attorney.
A handbook exploring these issues for those working with Aboriginal communities is also part of the package.
The brochures, fact sheets and handbook have been provided to all 27 members of the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation – the peak body for Koori health services in the State.
In addition, staff from VALS and OPA travelled throughout Victoria to deliver information sessions to Koori communities and workers.
Mr Pakula said: “These resources will give Aboriginal Victoriansaccess to more culturally appropriate information so they can plan and make decisions about their futures.”
“I congratulate the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service and the Office of the Public Advocate on the development of these important resources.”
The Public Advocate, Colleen Pearce said: "While we all have the right to make our own decisions, too often Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been systematically disempowered by decisions that have been made by others on their behalf. The central theme of this project was empowerment. It was, in a very modest way, seeking to assist the Aboriginal community take back control of decision-making when they lose capacity. It is about encouraging people to take control now, so that if in the future if they are unable to make decisions for themselves and need someone else to make particular decisions for them, these decisions reflect decisions they would want for themselves."
The publications are available to download from the OPA website. Printed copies are available upon request.
Pictured (from left): Loretta O'Neil (VALS), Hilda Quiroga (OPA), Attorney-General Martin Pakula, Public Advocate Colleen Pearce