Healing to thrive: the inspirational June Oscar

On 23 May, June Oscar AO delivered a truly inspirational and deeply moving address entitled ‘Healing to thrive; building the collective strengths of our families for positive generational change’.

1373-1339Presenting the 2016 Families Australia Oration at the annual Child Aware Approaches Conference in Brisbane, June drew our attention to how the women of Fitzroy Crossing have been constructing a healing model which is at the forefront of 21st century learning and evidence that places children and families at its centre. It is a model with a profound respect for the integration of both Indigenous and Western approaches that moves services away from isolated delivery, toward wrap-around health and educational supports for all.

To quote June:

“It is a failure of our democratic system that we cannot see how the costs outweigh the benefits. I’m not just talking about the figures, I’m talking about the human lives that become expendable when we don’t properly quantify and qualify the effects of crisis investment over prevention.”

June is Chief Executive Officer of Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre and a proud Bunuba woman from the remote WA town of Fitzroy Crossing. She is a Bunuba language speaker and is considered one of the most outstanding Aboriginal leaders in the Fitzroy Valley, and across Australia.

Her courage and determination to address the most complex and sensitive issues affecting the lives of Aboriginal Australians is hugely important. Her focus on Aboriginal children, and her determination that we not sacrifice the health of our children for the so-called ‘right’ to buy full strength take-away alcohol, makes her a role model for all Australians.

In 2011, in an article appearing in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, June was named as one of the 50 most influential women in the world for her work in improving the lives of those living in remote Aboriginal communities. She was awarded the prestigious Desmond Tutu Reconciliation Fellowship in 2016.

Please read the full text of June’s address here.

Dr Brian Babington

7 June 2016