Lisa Jackson on Cultural and Ceremonial Leave
CPSU/CSA member Lisa Jackson, an Aboriginal woman working at the Department of Communities in Kununurra, presented a powerful argument on the importance of Cultural and Ceremonial Leave:
“Cultural and Ceremonial Leave is important because, as a worker, it allows you still be part of your community and fulfil your cultural obligations.
“The benefit for the Department is that I’m out there building up positive relationships with your clients and the community you service.
“In some ways you become the face of the Department, especially in Kununurra, people know where you work! So it builds up that trust with the community because you’re there, you’re participating in women’s business, you’re at NAIDOC week and you become the one they go to if they need help with public services.
“Being at cultural events helps with that informal type of communication, instead of an authoritative figure saying “Come to the office”, we can have a brief chat with them at an event, break down the barriers and say “Ok, I understand but we need to follow up back at the office”. It’s a much safer and approachable introduction to the Department.
“NAIDOC week is one example of where Cultural and Ceremonial Leave should be taken.
“NAIDOC week is a celebration of who we are as Aboriginal people, it’s the connections we have with country, it celebrates our cultural identity, so being part of the community at an event like NAIDOC week is a positive.
“And if people don’t see you there, they ask!
“The Department is trusting you to use legitimate cultural time to go and be part of your community and the community is trusting you to help, and do the right thing by them, as part of the Department.”
On behalf of the YUA bargaining team, we’d like to thank Lisa for her valued contribution.