1R Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander


Stuart McMinn,

Patricia Occelli,

Wednesday November 21 2018

Time: 2:40pm – 3:10pm

Room:  Boardroom 2

1R Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Providing culturally appropriate services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in a mainstream service



Interrelate has a proud history of building strong and sustainable relationships with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander communities that are founded on mutual respect and a desire to work in partnership. In this paper you will hear about the journey and commitment of Interrelates Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander staff whose contributions are pivotal to the organisation’s success.

Presenters Stuart McMinn and Patricia Occelli will share Interrelate’s journey of setting the vision, building trust, and delivering results.

Interrelate currently supports over 23,000 clients annually across 10 service centres and 28 outreach locations. Last year 10.9% of these clients identified as Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander. In addition 7% of staff identify as being Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander.

The model of engagement in Interrelate is not linear. A holistic and multilayered approach encompasses:
– Community engagement
– Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander staff engagement and workforce development
– Building a culturally aware workforce
– On-the-ground adapted and culturally aware services
– Integrated Systems and processes and
– Governance

Key areas this presentation will cover include:
– the collaborative approach taken by Interrelate in aligning services with community need
– the whole of organisation approach from on the ground staff to governance
– and the power of staff to influence change

The presentation will also include video featuring staff and community testimonials illustrating the broad range of work undertaken by Interrelate.

Change needs to be driven at many levels and supported from the top. Without that high level support and commitment a coordinated a consistent approach is not possible.

There have been many resources built to support these outcomes including:
– Aboriginal employment strategy
– Cultural audit tools
– Reconciliation action plan
– Mandatory Cultural training webinars and induction
– Modified programs, e.g. Aboriginal Building Connections
– Targeted programs, e.g. Yap’n’Yarn and Sista to Sista
– HR policies
– Engagement strategies
– Governance
– Staff engagement

By reflecting on the success of family and relationship services organisation, Interrelate, in providing culturally-appropriate services for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people in a mainstream service, attendees at this paper will be challenged and supported to consider how they might implement such strategies.


Stuart McMinn is cultural man whose heritage comes from the Dharug and Waka Waka people. Stuart is Interrelates Aboriginal RAP Coordinator/ Community Liaison and his role consists of internal culturally appropriate policy development and external program development and delivery. Stuart has spent many years working with Aboriginal communities throughout NSW and continues to develop programs that are born out of community need through deep consultation. As part of his role Stuart sits on the NSW Men’s Health Executive, On the Central Coast Community Councils Board and serves as a member on Interrelates internal Aboriginal Advisory committee Kutanya.

Patricia is the CEO of Interrelate and is passionate about making a difference in people’s lives by addressing social justice issues and by delivering quality services. Patricia is a Social Worker and Diversional Therapist with extensive experience in the design, delivery and leadership of human services in government and non-government sector.