Wathaurong Media Statement

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Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-op was contacted by the Geelong Advertiser to provide a response to a recent media article regarding allegations by former staff members. The follow up article published in today’s paper includes only a small snippet of the full statement that was provided to the Geelong Advertiser by Wathaurong yesterday.

Below is the full statement that was provided. As outlined in the statement, it would be inappropriate for the current Wathaurong Board or Executive Management team to comment further on matters that are before the court.

Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative is aware of recent media articles relating to allegations by a former staff member. As the matter is before the courts, it is otherwise inappropriate to provide further comment on the allegations.

The Board of Directors, who are elected and representative of our Aboriginal membership and Senior Executives, stand in solidarity with our elected Chairperson Craig Edwards.  Over the past 2 years under Mr Edwards leadership as Chairperson of Wathaurong, he has led an organisational restructure, strengthening Wathaurong’s governance and operations by employing a highly skilled Aboriginal Executive team which is overseen by current CEO Lisa Briggs.

Lisa Briggs said that Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-op has been at the forefront of the COVID-19 response for Aboriginal people, advocating for and providing services to the community.

“The Wathaurong Board of Directors and Executive management team were disappointed to read such a headline on the front page of our city’s major newspaper. Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-op is the largest service provider within the Barwon region servicing over 2,500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members. We have worked tirelessly throughout this pandemic to ensure that our community is not forgotten and is taken care of. That community also includes our staff, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal. We remain the largest employer of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Geelong and we provide many training and career opportunities for our community.

“Our staff are our most valuable asset and we are proud of the work they do each and every day for our community.”

Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative will continue to provide support and services to our community beyond the COVID-19 pandemic and the Board and Management remain committed to the welfare of both our staff and community.