Shoalhaven Community Housing’s (SCH) Aboriginal Tenants Advisory Committee (ATAC) held its inaugural meeting on Monday.Attendees included. SCH’s NSW Housing Manager, Shane Meijer, and two members of the Communities Assist (CA) team, Daniel Pearson and Mitch Hawthorne, along with three tenants from Shoalhaven and one from Bega Valley.The meeting was organised after months of preparation and hard work by the Communities Assist team, and it was hailed as a great success from both an organisational and tenant perspective.

The meeting began with an Acknowledgement of Country by Shane Meijer, who also provided an overview of his role within SCH and his professional history. Each group member then spoke candidly about their own histories and shared why they wanted to be a part of this initiative and what they hoped the group could achieve.

Mitch Hawthorne, representing Cathy, presented the ATAC Terms of Reference & Code of Meeting Conduct, which was well-received by the group. All members were happy to sign off on the Code. Mitch then went through each of the pre-arranged agenda items, which included National Sorry Day, Aboriginal Community Controlled Mechanisms, ShoalCoast Legal Clinic, SCH’s Reconciliation Action Plan, and Closing the Gap – Overcrowding. Resources were distributed to all group members regarding these items, and members were engaged in discussing each topic, with particular interest shown in ACCM’s, SCH’s RAP, and the Overcrowding Project.

The group felt that the Closing the Gap – Overcrowding project was an extremely worthwhile initiative and were keen to participate in any capacity that they could. They also discussed the Cost of Living & Accessing Maintenance for SCCH Tenants, specifically in the Southern region. These topics produced robust discussion, and many of the suggestions made could potentially come to comprise the overall ATAC Project for the coming year.

Feedback was sought informally after the meeting by Dan & Mitch around how members felt the meeting went and their thoughts overall. The responses received were extremely positive, with all members expressing that they liked the content of what was discussed, the flow of the meeting overall, and the open discussion-type format with which the meeting was facilitated. From an organisational perspective, the meeting witnessed high levels of engagement, a willingness to improve the social wellbeing of ATSI tenants within the SCH community, and a focus on respectful, collaborative interaction among ATAC members and SCH team members.