26 September 2023

Cultural leaders to add Ambulance diversity

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A team of leaders has been appointed to build on the Queensland Ambulance Service’s (QAS’s) cultural capability and advance health equity for people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestry.

The Service’s recently-established Cultural Safety Unit has named three new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Safety Support Officers (CSSOs) and two new Senior Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Safety Advisors.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, Yvette D’Ath agreed it was important for the QAS to embrace diversity in its ranks.

“The QAS is really leading the way when it comes to Indigenous relations within the service and community,” Ms D’Ath said.

“We’ve seen first-hand, with initiatives like the QAS Indigenous Paramedic Program, what a difference it makes to health outcomes when First Nations people are on the front line in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities”.

Deputy Commissioner of Operations North, Rural and Remote at the QAS, Kari Arbouin said three officers had been appointed to the inaugural CSSO positions and would be operating within their own areas, including North Queensland, Central Queensland and South Queensland.

“Our CSSOs will also be out and about, playing their part in improving health equity and fostering better engagement across all Queensland communities,” Ms Arbouin (pictured) said.

“As QAS continues to develop a more culturally responsive and inclusive workplace, our new team will be working to support our workforce to become more culturally aware and safe,” she said.

New North Queensland CSSO, Claine Underwood said he was looking forward to playing a supporting role with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues, as well as working more broadly within the organisation to guide and educate staff about cultural awareness and safety.

“Our front-liners are some of the most trusted professionals around the State and growing that trust within our communities is something I’m passionate about,” Mr Underwood said.

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