At the inaugural PeakCare Awards Ceremony held on 20th November 2019, it was made official – Aunty Rachel Atkinson, CEO of the Palm Island Community Company, member of the Queensland First Children and Families Board, Co-Chair of Family Matters Queensland and Chair of the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak (QATSICPP) is a LEGEND.

In presenting the LEGEND Award to Aunty Rachel, PeakCare’s Board President Darren Young said, “This award is presented to Aunty Rachel in recognition of her continual advocacy for better outcomes for her community. Instrumental, committed and passionate are just a few words that describe Aunty Rachel. We can now add ‘legendary’ to that list.”

In accepting the Award, Aunty Rachel quipped, “I know I’m a legend, but that’s just because of my age!” Aunty Rachel graciously said that the award belonged to all who work at QATSICPP and the legendary alliance that QATSICPP shares with PeakCare. Aunty Rachel also acknowledged and paid tribute to Michael Hogan, the Director-General of the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women (DCSYW).

Special Commendations in the LEGEND Award category were given to Michael (Mick) Shearer, Central Queensland Regional Executive Director, DCSYW for his transformational leadership in motivating staff to innovate and create change, and Karyn Walsh AM for her longstanding advocacy and fearlessness in speaking up for those who don’t have a voice or choice.

The LEGEND was one of five Award categories included in the ceremony. Keep reading to find out the recipients of these awards.

 


SIC AWARD
(Translation: good awesome)

Leanne Clausen

The SIC Award sponsored by the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women was awarded to Leanne Claussen for her establishment of Parents on a Mission and creation of ‘Leanne’s Gift’, a kit that provides emotional, practical and informational resources to assist parents when the removal of children from their care occurs. The Award was announced and presented by Michael Hogan, the Department’s Director-General. 

 

SIC Award Special Commendations were awarded to:

  • Early Indigenous Response Collective operating within the Moreton Region
  • Joanne Roff from IFYS for partnering with the University of Melbourne on a research project with young kinship carers and her advocacy in seeking improvements to current policy and practice relating to kinship care in Queensland, and
  • HALT Collective for outstanding results being achieved from several community-controlled organisations and government agencies within the Moreton Region in collaboratively applying a cultural lens to ensure that the best responses are being provided for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.

 


DEADLY AWARD
(No translation needed)

Early Indigenous Response Collective

In presenting the Award to Darcy Cavanagh from REFOCUS, Natalie Lewis, QATSICPP’s Chief Executive Officer applauded the successful collaboration across several organisations in the Moreton Region in promoting early assessment and planning to ensure that responses are timely and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families are connected to the right support, thereby avoiding the need for statutory intervention.

 

DEADLY Award Special Commendations were awarded to:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Services (Human Services Branch) for challenging the status quo and for their belief that all children, young people and families deserve the opportunity to succeed and lead their own change, and
  • Aunty Cephia Williams for her tireless work over many years in stopping the forced removal of First Nation children from their families and advocating for the maintenance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s connection to country and culture.

 


WOKE AWARD
(Translation: Highly aware of social issues)

Queensland Family Matters Leadership Group

The WOKE Award sponsored by the Every Child Campaign was presented to Natalie Lewis, Co-Chair of the National Family Matters Campaign by Every Child Campaign Director, Karen Struthers. Ms Struthers said the award served as recognition of the impact of Family Matters in shaping legislative reforms that fully recognise all elements of the Child Placement Principle, and the Leadership Group’s contributions to the co-designing of the State Government’s Our Way Strategy. 

 

WOKE Award Special Commendations were awarded to:

  • Human Rights Act for Queensland Campaign for its successful advocacy in promoting the need for human rights legislation in Queensland, and
  • Home Stretch Campaign’s Queensland Steering Committee for the concerted efforts of several non-government organisations and peak bodies in preparing for the launch of the campaign in Queensland.

 


LEGEND AWARD
(Translation: Fabulous; famous for their unique qualities and impact over many years)

Aunty Rachel Atkinson

The LEGEND Award went to Aunty Rachel Atkinson, CEO of Palm Island Community Company, member of the Qld First Children and Families Board, Co-Chair of Family Matters Qld and Chair of the Qld Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak. On presenting the Award, PeakCare’s Board President Darren Young said, “This award is presented to Aunty Rachel in recognition of her continual advocacy for better outcomes for her community. Instrumental, committed and passionate are just a few words that describe Aunty Rachel. We can now add ‘legendary’ to that list.”

 

LEGEND Award Special Commendations were awarded to:

  • Michael (Mick) Shearer, Central Queensland Regional Executive Director, Dept of Child Safety, Youth and Women for his transformational leadership in motivating staff to innovate and create change, and
  • Karyn Walsh AM for her longstanding advocacy and fearlessness in speaking up for those who don’t have a voice or choice.

 


THANKS MATE AWARD
(PeakCare’s own award)

Aimee McVeigh

The THANKS MATE Award is PeakCare’s own award. It is not made subject to a call for nominations or voting. The award went to Aimee McVeigh for her coordination of the Human Rights Act for Queensland Campaign and her dedicated advocacy in promoting the need for human rights legislation in Queensland, a cause that was strongly supported by PeakCare.

 

THANKS MATE Special Commendations were awarded to:

  • Robert (Bob) Atkinson AO APM for the role he exercised throughout the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, his authoring of the 2018 Report on Youth Justice and his current role as Chair of the Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Taskforce
  • Vanessa Summers, a legend in the making, for her passionate advocacy in achieving better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, young people and families, and
  • the late Mal (Muckoo) Walker for being at the forefront throughout his life in ensuring that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people were afforded the same opportunities as every Australian child. This Special Commendation was presented to Mal’s son, Kevin Walker.