Hand-ups, not hand-outs – Bathurst LALC investing in local community
Powered by just two staff members, Bathurst Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) is a community leader in the region, providing essential social services and using land and Wiradjuri culture to improve people’s lives.
Under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Toni-Lee Scott, Bathurst LALC is the driving force behind the city’s Food Bank, is heavily involved in the innovative Girrawaa Arts Centre at Bathurst Correctional Centre and operates a homeless shelter.
The Food Bank started life at the LALC office but as it expanded a partnership with the Bathurst Community Club was soon forged.
There are now about 400 registered members – Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal – who access the Food Bank once a week to buy everyday and emergency items, many of them for less than one dollar.
“On a typical day we have people waiting at the doors from 8am. There’s fresh fruit, veg, bread for when people come in to use Food Bank.
“It’s a great initiative. I see it as a hand-up for the community not a hand-out,” Ms Scott says.
One of the enduring partnerships the Bathurst Local Aboriginal Land Council has been involved in is the Correctional Centre’s Girrawaa Arts project
The Girrawaa provides inmates with art experience, sand-blasting, framing, living skills, shirt prints .
“Once they’re released they take canvas paints, brushes and a portfolio of their art with them which acts as an incentive to succeed when they rejoin the community.”
Through the LALC’s partnership with the Bathurst Correctional Centre, inmates have been have also been helping care for country, helping return 135 acres of land at Wahluu Gimaara, a men’s initiation site at the top of the mountain.
A number of endangered species inhabit Wahluu Gimarra, including the frog-tailed owl and the albino wallaroo.
Bathurst LALC has plans to keep culture Wiradjuri culture strong and to educate the wider community
“The vision is to do educational tours to teach people about Aboriginal culture. So it’s a big project but we’ll eventually get there.”