New hospital building smoking ceremony

Left to right: Senior Darug man Lex Dadd performs the smoking ceremony accompanied by a welcome song, group photo of event attendees, and Aboriginal liaison officers Shai Grigg and Narelle Holden

A traditional Aboriginal Smoking Ceremony has marked the start of construction of Westmead’s new central acute services building.

The Smoking Ceremony, performed by senior Darug man Lex Dadd, was held last Friday on the site of the new hospital building, which is due for completion in 2020.

The Smoking Ceremony marked the start of a long-term collaboration between the Westmead Redevelopment project and the local Aboriginal community, which will be reflected in artworks and facilities in the new hospital building.

Western Sydney Local Health District Westmead Redevelopment executive director Leena Singh said the Smoking Ceremony represented Aboriginal tradition and healthcare coming together, and reinforced the project’s commitment to planning health facilities with its diverse communities.

“Our commitment is to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, our staff and the community to build a positive and lasting tradition at Westmead,” she said.

“We are working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to ensure all people feel safe, welcome and connected when they walk onto the precinct and into our buildings.

“We are constantly reviewing the way we deliver healthcare and how our patients and families experience care to ensure we are providing the best service possible.”

“We feel privileged to be part of the Westmead community and want our role here to extend beyond the life of the project,” said Multiplex regional director Daniel Murphy.

“As well as our commitment to offering apprenticeships and traineeships that exceed government targets, we have partnered with Indigenous employment networks and other agencies to assist some of the disadvantaged in our community to gain sustainable employment in construction.”

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