Date 14/12/2020

Feature: First Palm Island Elders’ Conference a Success

Feature: First Palm Island Elders’ Conference a Success

The inaugural Palm Island Elders’ Conference was a roaring success. Held across a long weekend in September, the Conference was a chance for Elders to discuss and learn about issues of importance to them or relating to them, especially the role and future of the Elders’ Advisory Group. The Conference was also a recognition from PICC to the Elders for all they have done for us and for Palm.

In attendance were fourteen Palm Island Elders, as well as representatives from PICC and the Palm Island Council (including Mayor of Palm and former Chair of the Board of PICC, Mislam Sam), providing extensive formal and informal access and interaction between them. Sean Choolburra was the master of ceremonies for the weekend, providing lots of laughs, and the Bwgcolman Dancers put on a spectacular show. Several PICC staff also assisted in running the event.

The Elders reported being very pleased at the Conference and what it achieved. Over three days and three nights, the Conference included:

  • draft terms of reference for the Elders’ Advisory Group, which will be finalised and endorsed in 2021;
  • points to be addressed to improve the Elders Advisory group, which will be discussed at future Elders’ meetings and by PICC and the local council;
  • an information session on the transition of PICC to community control, which is expected early next year;
  • an information session from the Palm Island council on issues of concern to the Elders;
  • a workshop on self-care for Elders;
  • an information session on the Community Advocates Program for the transition of the Primary Health Care Centre to community control in 2021;
  • a dinner on Saturday evening for Elders, attendees and their guests and families;
  • an art project of Elders’ handprints, which will, in time, be displayed at PICC permanently; and
  • a forthcoming report into the governance of the Elders’ Advisory Group.

Throughout the Conference, attending Elders had the chance to raise issues of concern to them in an environment which welcomed candid discussions.

The Conference was held at the Children and Family Centre and facilitated in part by the Palm Island Motel, where the attending Elders stayed free in a holiday-like atmosphere. It was the first conference ever held at the Motel and was so successful thanks to Erica and her staff, we’re sure there will be many more.

Elders were surveyed before and after the Conference to obtain their views on the Advisory Group, the Conference and issues on Palm important to them. The responses provided were valuable for future support for the Group and Elders, and for informing future events.

A second, smaller Elders’ conference is likely in the autumn of 2021 to continue the work done at the first. PICC will provide more information on a second conference early next year, including in the Wunja Tribal Voice. Annual conferences from 2022 are also being considered, depending on funding and interest; this will be a topic at the 2021 conference.

The Elders’ Conferences were organised by PICC as an initiative of PICC and the Queensland Government as part of the Age-Friendly Community Grants programme.

Back to News

SIGN UP NOW. Get all of our latest updated by signing up to our newsletter.