“ Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council will endeavour to improve, protect and foster the best interests of all Aboriginal persons’ within our jurisdiction, intrinsically, is to ensure that such connection and belonging to the Land is experienced by all Aboriginal persons and that this connection is protected by rights, by law, and by means of the advancement of our peoples’ prospects and opportunities to live a full and realised life.”
GLALC’s purpose is manifold, defined by various objectives that enable us to realise our vision and mission. The ALRA 1983 (NSW) states that:
The objectives of each Local Aboriginal Land Council is to improve, protect and foster the best interests of all Aboriginal persons within the Council’s area and other persons who are Members of the Council.
The principle of ‘best interest’ is not defined objectively under Australian law but encompasses the protection of the rights and wellbeing of the persons concerned. The ‘best interests’ of persons, at the very least, implies due respect according to their values; they care for their physical, spiritual and economic wellbeing and; the preference attended to their rights and interests above others.
The best interests and wellbeing of Aboriginal peoples can only be determined by Aboriginal peoples. That is why Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council is a Member-driven, community-controlled Aboriginal organisation that actively listens to its Members’ needs and the ways in which Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council can improve, protect and foster those needs.
Policy reform in the areas of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health has evolved to understand that for our People, health and wellbeing are holistic concepts – our best interests encompass our physical wellbeing, but also extend to the social, emotional and cultural wellbeing of ourselves, our families and our whole communities. This holistic understanding of health and wellbeing includes broad issues like social justice, equity, and rights, as well as traditional knowledge, traditional healing, and connection to Country.
The ALRA 1983 (NSW) acknowledges that the Land and Country are vital aspects of Aboriginal wellbeing, without which we cannot thrive. Land ‘is of spiritual, social, cultural and economic importance’ to Aboriginal people, and ‘past Government decisions’ have ‘progressively reduced without compensation’ the ‘amount of land set aside’ for our People.
“Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council will serve as a meeting place for local Aboriginal people and the broader community to come together to Connect, Belong and Thrive, where they feel a sense of belonging through connection with each other and with our Land.”
Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council’s vision for the next four years is to enable Our Members to Connect, Belong and Thrive together. Our vision statement builds upon that of our previous CLBP’s (2016-2020) vision statement by expanding our sense of thriving to include our relationships with the wider community around us and acknowledging our connection to include the land on which we Thrive.
GLALC’s mission statement details how the Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council will achieve its vision. The objective of the Mission Statement is to create a scenario whereby Members can ‘Connect, Belong and Thrive’.
We will accomplish this through unity and cohesion, moving forward together towards a stronger future.
Connect. Belong. Thrive.
Gandangara exists to provide for the needs of its’ Members and the local community.
Gandangara’s services are creating a closer, healthier and stronger community
– one Member at a time.
Gandangara’s services are solving its’ community’s problems
– one Member at a time.
Gandangara’s services are improving its’ community’s prospects
– one Member at a time.
Gandangara cannot achieve anything lasting or worthwhile any other way.
We are all connected. Intentionally. For a purpose.
Gandangara belongs to its’ Members, works for and with its’ Members, and that nurtures personal strength, a sense of belonging, and a spirit of unity and co-operation in all of us.
We will Connect. Belong. Thrive.
We create a cohesive, unified, and healthier community – one Member at a time
What it Means to Connect
Bring together. Bring into contact. Create a link. Attach. Bridge. Bind. Join.
To Connect is not merely the act of bringing together, or making contact with, persons or organisations. To have a meaningful connection, we need to create a link that grows into a meaningful relationship through respect and understanding.
This quality of relationship becomes a mutual, personal attachment whose bonds get stronger and stronger with shared time and experiences. The respect and understanding underpinning such a relationship works to build bridges within families and organisations, and between individuals and communities, creating powerful bonds that make us all stronger. This quality of the relationship is noticeable by others and will draw them to us, to want to join us.
Through their relationship with us, many of Our Members make the most important connection of all.
They Connect with their Aboriginality, mobs, culture and protocols, history, sacred sites and art. They Connect to Country.
The community get back what has been missing or been taken from their lives - the truth. The Aboriginal truth. This truth restores our spirit and makes us whole.
Gandangara staff serve the Members of this Land Council. Our connection with Our Members begins with the first contact - the first phone call - the first visit to our services. The quality of our connection is developed by how the caller is answered, how the visitor is greeted.
Our connection, once it has been made, is our responsibility – to maintain and to develop it – to stay connected with the Members. We have to be aware, show patience and insight, and respond appropriately to the needs of Our Members.
We solve our community’s problems together through trust and cooperation – one Member at a time.
What it Means to Belong
Be a Member. Be a part. Be included. Have a place. Be accepted. Be safe. Have a voice. Have a say.
Becoming a Member is the first step towards belonging. You start to Belong when you begin participating in a meeting or a gathering, a yarn or a circle. You start to Belong when you ask for a service, and you use it. You start to Belong when you ask for guidance, and you follow it.
You start to feel part of something bigger than you are, something deeper, kinder and older than your own experience when people you don’t know show more care and provide more help than many of those you do know.
You start to feel included when you’re known by sight and by name. You begin to feel included when you don’t have to wait to be invited. When you’re asked your opinion, and it’s heard.
You start to feel you have a place, a good, respected place amongst others when you don’t question why you are there, and nobody else does either. A place where you can feel safe to share your thoughts, your feelings, your fears, your weaknesses.
You start to feel accepted when you are not judged, or when your motives are not questioned. You begin to feel accepted when you stop feeling self-conscious about who you are, where you come from and what you look like. You feel accepted when those around you are not conscious of them either.
Acceptance is the rock on which the real sense of belonging is built. For many, it takes time to believe they are acceptable, let alone being accepted. This may be the result of poor self-esteem, lack of confidence, abuse, fear, resentment, or lack of confidence. Or simply because they have never known what it feels like to be accepted. We provide that rock for them.
We become stronger and progress our community’s future – one Member at a time
What it Means to Thrive
To prosper. To grow strong. To develop. To succeed. To advance.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone, and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
This profoundly insightful expression of our personal responsibility is a call to realise our own potential. These insights inspire us in our hearts and raise our self-expectations of If we believe we can achieve our potential, we can develop our talents and live successful, happy lives.
To Thrive, we have to be healthy physically, mentally and emotionally. We also need the imagination to see beyond our current circumstances and limitations. However, very few, if any of us, are born this way. We all need mentoring, guidance, advice, education and support to help us develop these attributes, to help us shine. But it takes personal commitment and much effort too because nothing of any lasting value comes easily.
Gandangara is here to help Our Members raise their ambitions and realise their potential. We provide for Our Members in all of these areas, according to their individual needs and circumstances. And where we can’t help directly, or to the extent needed, we refer to those who can. Just as importantly, we provide our services and support in a manner that is sensitive to our cultures, social codes and protocols. We listen to and see Our Members through the lens of an Aboriginal heart.
One Team. One Plan. One Dream.
Our spirit and character are embodied in the core values of Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council – we are loving, caring, ethical, respectful, patient and responsible. Our values are the only effective antidote to, and protection against, the damaging effects of intergenerational trauma within our community.
Aboriginal history has been scarred by racism, discrimination and injustice, but our values won’t scar our spirit. Our values are unchanging and immovable principles and standards of behaviour that, when practised, unite and bond us. They Connect us. They cause us to Belong. They help us Thrive.