The $1 billion Westmead Redevelopment project has reaffirmed its commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, launching its legacy strategy and action plan at an event today. Revealed before Aboriginal Elders and hospital staff, the legacy strategy intends to close the gap at Westmead, committing to creating a welcoming, safe and connected environment in the new hospital building and refurbished spaces.
It also affirms the redevelopment project’s goal to provide employment and education opportunities to Aboriginal communities. The project will also embed an Aboriginal worldview of culture, language, kinship and country through its arts program and new building.
Westmead Redevelopment executive director Leena Singh said the strategy aimed to build trust with the Aboriginal community.
“This strategy was shaped by the community, local Elders, and Aboriginal staff at Western Sydney Local Health District and the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network.
“We are committed to continuing to work hand-in-hand with our community, staff and partners to address barriers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people accessing healthcare services and employment.”
Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network Aboriginal health management advisor Lisa Crawford said an Aboriginal world view was central to the development of the strategy.
“The Westmead Redevelopment has provided us with an opportunity to work in true collaboration and partnership with communities to address health inequalities in all aspects of life for Aboriginal people,” she said.
“It has reinforced our commitment to addressing barriers, and helping our Aboriginal patients and their families feel connected to services at Westmead.”
The strategy will be distributed across the Westmead precinct, including to staff at Westmead Hospital and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.
During today’s launch event, the Westmead Redevelopment also revealed a dragonfly artwork, produced by local Darug artist Leanne Tobin.
The dragonfly has emerged as an important symbol for Westmead, following consultation with staff and community members. This feedback led to the naming of a new road at the rear of the precinct - Dragonfly Drive.
“The dragonfly is a beautiful and vibrant creature and is a welcome visitor to many Aboriginal communities across Australia,” Leanne said.
“Dragonflies share the important healing properties from various medicinal bush plants, as they fly from one plant to another, just like the doctors, nurses and pharmacists of our hospitals [who provide care to a range of patients]. It serves as a reminder of the change, access and adaptability reflected in the transformation happening at Westmead today.”
Leanne’s artwork - Dance of the Dragonflies - will be adapted into banners, posters, and digital publications focused on Aboriginal legacy and arts and culture.
Download a copy of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legacy Strategy and Action Plan and fact sheet.
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Download a copy of the media release.