Young woman standing in front of Feros Care sign with crossed arms

From seafaring, salt-water people, new Feros Care project leader Tash Jessimer feels centred on the Tweed as she sets about creating and implementing Feros Care’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

A formal statement of reconciliation, Tash’s goal for the RAP will be for staff, businesses and customers to work together to improve the economic, health and social opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their communities.

Connecting the past, present and future, Tash, a proud Indigenous woman, is excited about the opportunity to draw on her culture and experience to deliver on a project close to her heart.

“With the significant history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reconciliation is so important as a lot of knowledge, respect and culture has been lost over the years,” Natasha said.

“So, it is important to have a RAP to start acknowledging the past and moving forward in the future to work together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and increase that respect and partnership.”

Drawing on culture and experience

While born and raised in Mackay, Tash’s culture and heritage extends to the heart of Queensland’s Great Keppel Island, where her mob, the Woppaburra, are traditional custodians of the land.

Tash has compiled a history of experience across various roles in Victoria, New South Wales and her home state. A twist of fate while living in Sydney placed Tash onto a path towards the Tweed, where she landed her role with Feros Care.

“After leaving Mackay, I was back and forth and lived in Brisbane and Melbourne, before spending four years in Sydney,” Tash said.

 “I was working with people who were victims of violence and as an identified support worker, I worked as a community capacity building officer and with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and with Aboriginal women rurally, educating them on domestic violence and the supports available.

“I got married and just over a year ago, we wanted to be closer to my family in Queensland and my husband got an offer to council children with Autism at the Pacific Coast Christian School.

“He loves it, and traditional owners in the Tweed, the Slabb family, have been very welcoming to him. My husband goes fishing with them and not only does he learn fishing tips from them, they share cultural and traditional stories with him.  

“I love living in this area as there’s a lot of nature and beach, so I feel centred when I’m not on country and it’s a way to connect.”

After gaining experience as an assistant to a RAP project lead during her time at Parramatta City Council, Tash said she was excited to be able to secure her long-term goal of working in projects.

Setting about building new relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations and peak bodies such as Reconciliation Australia, Tash will also aim to reach out to community elders and prominent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members to create an advisory group for the RAP’s progression.

Promoting cultural awareness and connection

Internally, Tash will engage staff from all areas to create a RAP working group and hoped to have a focus on cultural awareness and connection.

“It’s also about opportunities to increase cultural competency in the workplace and looking at appropriate cultural protocols, the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and significant events in history, which are very important to have knowledge on when you’re working with the community,” she said.

“I also want to help with engagement, so even outside of the RAP, People can feel safe in coming to me and asking for guidance or advice on culture.”

While creating a RAP is not a fast process with the first stage expected to take up to a year-and-a-half to implement, Natasha said she was in for the long haul.

Proud to be tasked with the role, Tash said she was looking forward to assisting Feros Care’s increased connection with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“It’s a real honour to be in this role and it’s exciting to have the opportunity to promote culture and reconciliation,” she said.

“It shows Feros Care is genuine about engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and I’m excited about getting out to meet people and bringing more people along in the journey.”



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