Hon Stephen Dawson MLC

Hon Stephen Dawson MLC

Former Minister for Emergency Services; Innovation and the Digital Economy; Medical Research; Volunteering

    Community Liaison Officers important step to improved Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing

    30/07/2021 6:00 AM
    • McGowan Government announces contracts for nine Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations, to employ Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers (CLOs)
    • The CLOs will support the implementation of region-specific Aboriginal suicide prevention plans
    • Appointment of CLOs is part of a $9.8 million commitment to address and reduce Aboriginal suicide rates with a region-by-region approach

    The McGowan Government has taken the next steps in their commitment to address and reduce Aboriginal suicide rates through the establishment of the newly created Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer (CLO) positions across the State.


    Based at Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations, the CLOs will work with their respective communities and support the implementation of the region-specific Aboriginal suicide prevention plans.


    The region-specific plans form part of the implementation of the Western Australian Suicide Prevention Framework 2021-2025 and include culturally informed social and emotional wellbeing initiatives designed by and for Aboriginal people.


    These CLOs will play an important role in ensuring the regional plans and associated initiatives remain responsive to community needs.


    The CLO appointments are aligned with the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap, which has identified building the community controlled sector as one of the four priority reform areas. The appointments also align with socioeconomic targets set out in the National Agreement, including achieving a significant and sustained reduction in the suicide of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people towards zero.


    Between 2016 and 2019, Western Australia had the highest age-standardised rate of suicide among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia.


    This new way of working is strongly guided by the key principles of: Nothing for Aboriginal people without Aboriginal people; enabling Aboriginal-led solutions; and cultural understanding and respect.


    In February 2021, the WA Government announced a further $17.6 million commitment to establish a three year Social and Emotional Wellbeing Model of Service pilot at five Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service (ACCHS) sites.


    Comments attributed to Mental Health Minister Stephen Dawson:


    "The announcement of the new Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers reaffirms the McGowan Government's commitment to helping communities save lives - we know that there is no one-fit solution to improving mental wellbeing.


    "These new regional specific Aboriginal Suicide Prevention plans and the establishment of the CLO's position reflects the guiding principle of Nothing for Aboriginal people without Aboriginal people and ensures that Aboriginal people are integral and supported to take ownership of these programs and determine their direction.


    "It is initiatives such as the appointment of these CLOs that will have a real and sustained impact on closing the gap, especially in our regional and remote communities.


    "I would like to congratulate the Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and other stakeholders working together to provide this new program to their communities. I hope it will help change lives right across the State."  


    Minister's office - 6552 5800


    The nine regional ACCOs that are being awarded a contract are:

    • Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services
    • Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service
    • Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service
    • Bega Garnbirringu Health Service
    • Southern Aboriginal Corporation
    • South West Aboriginal Medical Services
    • Moorditj Youth Foundation Aboriginal Corporation
    • Moorditj Koort Aboriginal Corporation
    • Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service Aboriginal Corporation