Overcoming the disadvantage faced by people living in remote communities will take courage and innovation, Frontier Services’ Kate Higginbotham told Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association 41st Annual Conference in Griffith today.
Ms Higginbotham spoke to delegates who have travelled from all across the country about Frontier Services’ experience of supporting isolated families and communities over the past 100 years.
“People ask if anything has changed, if there is still a need – and we say yes,” Ms Higginbotham said.
“The shape of Australia is changing and the needs of communities are now as much around supporting the challenges of fly in, fly out, drive in drive out as they are of flood, fire and personal tragedy.”
It is imperative that legislators and regulators see Australia as a cohesive whole and understand that decisions they make have a greater impact on those who live in the remote places of our country, she said.
Ms Higginbotham, who is Frontier Services Centenary Coordinator, said when facing these issues in remote Australia we must look at partnership, rather than a single-handed approach.
“But, as we commit ourselves to the future, as we celebrate a hundred years, we know that we do that only in partnership with organisations like the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association.”
Frontier Services is the successor in the Uniting Church to the Australian Inland Mission which was established on 26 September 1912, with the pioneering work begun by Australian legend John Flynn, the man on the $20 note. This year the organisation celebrates 100 years in the outback, supporting the people of remote Australia.
“We have been privileged to be part of the story of remote Australia and we are committed to its future.”
The two-day national conference brings together issues and concerns about how to ensure isolated families have equal access to the education of their children from early childhood to tertiary education.