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WNAC Newsletter

It has been a busy time for the board of the WNAC in recent months. Much effort has been put into a Native Title Claim which to this point has not been successful. We are still pursuing available legal options to try and attain benefit for the Nations’ members. In addition we have implemented community programs and made advances in respect of likely uses of all WNAC properties. More can be read about these in the following articles.

Our Board is continuing to meet monthly and keep the affairs of the WNAC well managed. As a result we are continuing to move forward on a number of fronts. In particular we are holding significant funds in our health and education accounts and encourage everyone to apply for the benefits that are available under the current policy. We are taking on separate programs that offer benefit to all community members, in order to build the size and standing of the Nation as an organisation that represents the Wonnarua community.

All the directors look forward to our AGM and reunion in September and hope that we will have some new and exciting news for the members at that time.  If you have any concerns that you wish to bring to the attention of the Board, please contact me, or a Board Member.  The contact detail for each director is at the end of this newsletter.

Laurie Perry
Acting CEO

Wonnarua Nation Parent and Community Engagement Program

(PaCE Program)

This is a learning project for Aboriginal parents, caregivers, elders and community members that seek to develop their skills and knowledge to cope, support, learn and participate in improving educational outcomes of their children in our community. It will also assist in their re-engagement into the education system. The program aims to build strong community leadership that will support the demanding expectations of Aboriginal students' educational outcomes.  25 parents/caregivers of Aboriginal school aged children and youth in the Singleton and Muswellbrook region will participate from the Upper Hunter.

RTA Hunter Expressway Proposal

The Hunter Expressway proposal is undergoing what we hope will be a final revision. The current intention is to prepare an integrated master plan for the development of St Claire as the Cultural Centre for the Wonnarua People.
A range of activities are being considered including rebuilding the church, a cultural walk, community hall, community garden and picnic facilities.

Update on Education and Health Committees

“Providing health/wellbeing and education support”
The WNAC Health Fund and the WNAC Education Fund is operating well.  Over the last twelve months this has helped the Wonnarua people with funding assistance for Health totalling over $27 000 and in the last 7 months Education funding assistance totalling over $15 000. Directors are concerned that there may be elders who are not utilising the benefits the Health fund offers. Family members are urged to assist our Elders in completing the necessary documentation to make Health claims. Any problems in doing this should be brought to the attention of a director or Health Committee member.
Under the WNAC Health policy, gap payment (after reimbursement by Medicare and health funds) will be considered for a range of treatments and support, these are broadly defined as:

  • relief of pain and suffering;
  • providing respite care;
  • access to health services which would not otherwise be available;
  • reducing the effect of a disability or injury;
  • help in recovering from an injury, and
  • assist in improving a medical condition which prevents you from working

A further Health Fund Policy is available to provide financial assistance of up to $500 to WNAC members towards funeral costs; noting that there are other resources that can potentially assist Aboriginal families in need including a grant of $1,000 available from the NSW Aboriginal Land Council.
Under the WNAC Education Policy payment will be considered for a range of study related costs for secondary, certificate, diploma, graduate, undergraduate, postgraduate or higher degree courses and professional development courses.  These are broadly defined as:

  • Institutional fees, cost of text books, stationery and compulsory excursions;
  • Cost of sporting equipment up to $300 per year for secondary students;
  • Cost of tutoring – the tutor must be pre-approved by the Assessment Committee;
  • Assistance towards the purchase of a laptop for tertiary students, and under certain circumstances, secondary students, and
  • Assistance towards cost of Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS)

If you would like to apply for assistance you can download the Health Claim form or the Education Claim form, complete and mail to the address on the claim form.  Receipts or quotes must accompany your claim form.  Alternatively all documents can be scanned and emailed to
health-education@wonnarua.org.au or faxed to 02 65715419. 

Free Prescriptions Anyone?

Do you know Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are entitled to get many prescription medicines either free or heavily discounted?

There is a Federal Government scheme that can help you.  All it takes is for your Doctor to put the initials ‘CTG’ (Close the Gap) on the prescription and the filling pharmacist is legally compelled to provide the medicine to you free or at a significant discount.  So, talk to you doctor now.

Land Alive Bio Banking Project

The Land Alive Project, under the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW) and MEGT Indigenous Apprenticeship & Traineeship Network, has entered into its final year of building the capacity of Aboriginal land owners to manage land for conservation and to promote the Biodiversity Banking and Offsets Scheme (Bio Banking).
In late 2009 the Land Alive Project commenced a review measuring the achievements and progress of the Project to date.  Whilst the project has achieved many positive outcomes, the evaluation highlighted a number of areas requiring further action.
A key action for the Land Alive Project team over the next 12 months is the ongoing support to Aboriginal land owners that have received funding for a Land Management plan.

Wonnarua Nation Aboriginal Corporation CEO Position

The CEO position has been filled on a short term basis pending the final results of a Native Title Claim. It is anticipated that the position will be advertised again at the end of April 2011.

Potential Development at St Clair

The Board is pursuing the development of a Master Plan for St Clair to be developed as a Cultural Park and Training Base. We are seeking the assistance from the RTA and Ashton Coal to do this, and will update members regarding our progress at the AGM.
Should you wish to discuss this approach, please contact the CEO or a Board Member.

External Relations

Recently the WNAC Board and a number of our Elders received presentations at a meeting day in Singleton.  Presenters on the day included representatives from Coal Australia, BHP Billiton, RIO Tinto, RTA and GHD.  The presentations provided information on a number of important issues the Nation is involved with.  These span cultural heritage, naming rights, Elders issues and biobanking.  Such days are important in assisting directors and Elders plan for the future.

Native Title Claim MLA 351

The initial attempt by descendants of Sarah Madoo to pass the registration test has failed. Legal action has been funded by the board to challenge this decision and we are currently awaiting the results.


Wonnarua Nation Reunion Photos. To view a photo click an image below.

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