November 11, 2020

Bilang ‘Straight Talk’: Directory of Aboriginal services launches

As part of our NAIDOC Week celebrations, Northern Health is pleased to launch, a directory of Aboriginal services in the north.

‘Bilang’ means ‘Straight Talk’ in Woi wurrung, the language spoken by the Wurundjeri-(balluk/Clan).

The development of the Bilang Directory is a recommendation from the Northern Health Aboriginal Advisory Committee to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the right information about necessary services, organisations and networks to effectively manage their health and wellbeing in the future.

Emiliano Zucchi, Director, Narrun Wilip-giin (Aboriginal Support Unit) says, “The Bilang Directory aims to strengthen local knowledge about Aboriginal groups and organisations through building connections and networks.”

The Directory was created after extensive consultation with Aboriginal community members who access services and programs in the North and North East Melbourne areas. They requested that information regarding Aboriginal services located and operating within the Northern Health catchment be made available to them to increase community knowledge.

They were keen to get information on culturally safe accessible services and organisations, opening hours of the services, disability access, etc.

The Directory features artwork by local artist Gary Saunders. Gary is a proud Bangerang, Wiradjuri, Yorta Yorta & Dja Dja Wurrung man and a graphic designer and musician. He says his inspiration was the growing suburb of Wollert in Melbourne’s north. Wollert is a Woiwurrung word meaning ‘where possums abound’.

Gary says, “The mother possum with baby, symbolises care and nurturing. The lines and circles in the background represent the many communities and depicts diversity. This artwork is continuous and flowing, which symbolises the ever changing landscape of the people and the community.”

The directory was funded by the Hume Whittlesea Primary Care Partnership (HWPCP), a voluntary alliance of primary care agencies operating in the local government areas of Hume and Whittlesea, located in outer northern metropolitan Melbourne.

“The launch of Bilang ‘Straight Talk’ is really exciting for the community in the North and represents another way that we can acknowledge NAIDOC Week,” says Briana Baass, Chief Allied Health Officer.

Briana goes on to say, “I have thoroughly enjoyed looking through the reflections from our own Aboriginal Support Unit, as well as other local community members, on the Northern Health intranet and I encourage everyone to click on this link to explore the information.”

Max Lee, Chief Executive Officer HWPCP, said, “The Northern Health Bilang “Straight Talk” Directory is part of our long-term shared commitment to ensuring Aboriginal people can access culturally safe health services locally. We are proud to partner with Northern Health and the local Aboriginal community on this essential resource because ‘good information means good health.'”