The voice of Doomadgee borne to safeguard Aboriginal Culture

21 October 2022




Gunawuna Jungai Directors – Barry Walden, Troy Fraser & Toni Fraser

An Aboriginal owned and operated company dedicated to representing the voice of the Doomadgee Community has been established after 15 years in the making.  

Gunawuna Jungai Ltd, which is a community-controlled organisation, will play a powerful role between governments, service deliverers in Doomadgee and the Gangalidda and the Waanyi people, who for far too long have been disadvantaged.  

Gangalidda Traditional Owner and Gunawuna Jungai Director Barry Walden, who has been championing the project, says this is a historic milestone for Aboriginal People, who deserve to have a voice.  

“Under this model, the voice of the First Nations People of the Doomadgee Community, consistent with traditional cultural practices, will play the lead role in the design and delivery of services such as health, housing, disability, Early Childhood, Children and Youth Justice meeting the needs of the Doomadgee Community.” 

Doomadgee has recently been in the spotlight, including the inquest into the tragic deaths of three Doomadgee women, who died of rheumatic heart disease.  

“One of the key issues highlighted in the inquest was the lack of cultural practices in service delivery across the community. Gunawuna Jungai will now be here to represent Doomadgee,” Mr Walden explained.  

Gunawuna Jungai will also work hard to ensure culture is always at the forefront of decisions and programs relating to education, children’s wellbeing, housing, healthcare and employment. 

We will have a voice at the table when decisions about community are made and we will advocate on behalf of our people. We know that when the right cultural processes are followed, we have better outcomes in Doomadgee,” Mr Walden said.  

The company will also play a crucial role in ensuring Doomadgee meets targets set out in the National Closing the Gap Agreement, after the Palaszczuk Government endorsed the community as the state’s first site for place-based partnerships.  

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Minister Craig Crawford said the name of the new Aboriginal company in the Gangalidda language captured the essence of the place-based program. 

“I’m told “Gunawuna” means “the children”,’’ Mr Crawford said. 

“And Jungai” represents “cultural authority or boss for country”. 

“That’s the whole idea of this program. 

“We want cultural leaders to talk for their country, talk for their people, identify their needs and aspirations, and take ownership of decision-making in community.’’ 

Toni Fraser, Gunawuna Jungai Director, Kieran Smith, Gunawuna Jungai, Barry Walden, Gunawuna Jungai, Director, Hon. Craig Crawford, Queensland Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Troy Fraser, Gunawuna Jungai Director, Doctor Katrina Lines, Act for Kids CEO, Berkeley Cox, Partner King & Wood Mallesons

Gunawuna Jungai has been endorsed by Doomadgee Aboriginal Shire Council and Mayor Jason Ned established with the enduring support of third-party organisations King & Wood Mallesons, Act for Kids and Auto & General powered by Budget Direct. 

“The People of Doomadgee would like to thank the Queensland Government for its continued support and for recognising the importance of community-led decision making by endorsing Doomadgee as a sight to implement the National Close the Gap Agreement,” Mr Walden said.  

The company is a significant and positive step forward for Doomadgee on the journey to self-governance. 

For pictures of the launch click here

Read more about Gunawuna Jungai here.

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