'We've come a long way': Nidjalla Waangan Mia celebrates 10 years

Aboriginal community leader George Walley, GP down south chief executive Amanda Poller, and Nidjalla Waangan Mia client Keith Savage celebrating the organisation's 10 year anniversary. Photo: Claire Sadler.
Aboriginal community leader George Walley, GP down south chief executive Amanda Poller, and Nidjalla Waangan Mia client Keith Savage celebrating the organisation's 10 year anniversary. Photo: Claire Sadler.

The Nidjalla Waangan Mia team only conducted 24 Aboriginal health checks in its first year of operation.

However, 10 years on the service completed 312 health checks in the past year and helps 964 active clients.

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Celebrating the milestone anniversary during NAIDOC Week, Aboriginal community leader George Walley made a speech and played didgeridoo at the event.

"Nidjalla Waangan Mia is quite an extraordinary place because it allows us to now work with families and clients to help them manage their own health - we've come a long way," he said.

GP down south chief executive Amanda Poller. Photo: Claire Sadler.

GP down south chief executive Amanda Poller. Photo: Claire Sadler.

GP down south chief executive Amanda Poller highlighted some of the team's achievements.

"Access is a big issue in terms of health and it's important to break down the barriers that stop people accessing the health services they need," she said.

"So we have a transport service here, we have outreach services, and we do offer rapid appointments - all the eligible people that come here are offered an Aboriginal health check, offered prevention measures and health promotion measures to live the best lives they can.

"Nidjalla now has 964 active clients, which is 56 per cent of the Aboriginal community in Peel based on the last census."

Aboriginal community leader George Walley playing the didgeridoo at the 10th anniversary of Nidjalla Waangan Mia. Photo: Claire Sadler.

Aboriginal community leader George Walley playing the didgeridoo at the 10th anniversary of Nidjalla Waangan Mia. Photo: Claire Sadler.

One of those clients, Keith Savage said without the service he may not be alive today.

"I started my journey here nine years ago and I thought I was quite fit and healthy but I came here for a check and I had diabetes - Nidjalla got me on a program, which I'm still on today," he said.

"A couple years later I couldn't breathe properly and I thought it was indigestion - I came in for a check and next minute I was in hospital because I had a triple bypass.

"If it wasn't for Nidjalla I don't think I'd be here today but thanks to the service I still am."

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Before capping the celebration, Ms Pollard said she was looking forward to improving Aboriginal health services even more in the near future.

"One of the things we are aiming to do in the next 12 months or so is greatly improve the involvement of community in planning and providing services," she said.