We made contact with Barbara Cook who is running for Division 2 and asked her about her stance on a multicultural Moreton Bay Region. Below is what she had to say.
Barbara is a mother and partner who has lived in this area since 1981. She is am a Registered Nurse and Midwife working in Brisbane.
What Barbara had to say:
My background is I grew up in an isolated rural community near Rotorua on the North Island called Rotoehu Forest or Pongakawa Valley. Dairy, beef and sheep farming and later kiwifruit mixed with a State forest. Because of its isolation and poverty, my primary school mates were a few pakaha and many Maori children. We were equals in every sense and embraced our culture. Later embracing the Tokelau forestry workers and their families when they migrated into our community. I actually identified as more more Maori as I grew up. I still have a strong connection to my whanau.
After doing my NZ general and obstetric nursing training at Tauranga I moved to Melbourne ‘for love’ in 1979. Greg and I have been together for more than forty years. We moved to Deception Bay, living in a caravan in 1981. We are now in Burpengary East after a brief spell Tamworth NSW.
We have two adult children, Robin and Katreena who are now happily settled with their families at Newport and Sydney. Our children went to local schools finishing at St Columbans and Southern Cross Catholic School.
I must acknowledge the First Nations indigenous people as having a significant role to play within our community. I support all efforts to ensure their culture is preserved, supported and continued through the generations.
I was the inaugural secretary to the setting up of the Deception Bay neighbourhood Centre early 90’s. Community cohesiveness comes from within our community, initiated and supported by us as residents.
I firmly believe the diversity of our nation embracing people’s from the world has had a positive influence on Australia and Australians. No matter what country you have come from you should be able to access services. Australia is full of opportunities and it has been kind to me and my family. I became an Australian in 2000. My work involves ensuring respectful, safe cultural care for all peoples, all ages, all backgrounds. I have learnt much from the people I attend in my role as a midwife and Registered Nurse.
If elected to Division 2 I would strongly support the work of the Multicultural Association of Caboolture and Surrounds Inc.(MACS Inc). I would be asking many questions and would support a review of community services throughout MBRC. I have had many interactions with translating services in health. To be informed is about having access to information. If elected I would strongly urge Council subscribe to a translation service to support residents. Our libraries should have sections available for those of other nations to be able to source information in their language. I also believe the community may also be able to provide CALD translation or economic services if an organisation such as MACS is funded and supported.
Successful and healthy communities are about being inclusive, respectful to all residents and creating a sense of belonging within the community. I would embrace Council supporting significant special cultural events. I would consider right for a Councillor to attend and support such functions. Citizenship ceremonies would continue to be funded and supported.
I have had experience supporting Queenslanders after the Emerald, Central Queensland floods in 2010-11. I have had resilience training in supporting communities who have suffered loss or trauma. Being listened too, respected and understood goes a long way in supporting communities. I acknowledge some immigrants to Australia have been through trauma and have great difficulties and encountered many barriers in settling.
I have significant experience with the Pacific Islander groups -Samoan and Tongan families of Deception Bay and attended the Motu Fono opening. I strongly support them in their efforts. Quietly and respectfully going about their business. Their community garden they are creating with Council support will provide them a great opportunity to grow their foods, share their crops and enhance the community.
I would support Council employees at induction to the organisation have multi-cultural education understanding the diversity of all the various communities in MBRC and know where to seek specialist advice such as translator services.
I would propose greater connections with all community groups, improved cohesiveness with all multi-cultural groups throughout MBRC such as the Multicultural Association of Caboolture and Surrounds Inc., Caboolture Malayalee Association, Moreton Bay Multicultural Action Network, Moreton Bay Murri Network, Brisbane North Chinese Association by having regular Council multi-disciplinary community meetings established. Individual Councillors should have set time to meet individually with leaders of any community. Re-establishing regular community meetings for all residents would be a priority if elected Councillor Division 2.
Migrant and refugee business communities and opportunities in MBRC I would totally support. I confess I would need to learn much more about this aspect if elected. I support any business to be set up in Division 2 as gainful employment enhances the community well being.
I would strongly support the employment of a Council diversity officer for employees and residents. Employment of an economic officer to explore employment opportunities and diversification. This role would ensure appropriate sourcing of funding to implement various programs to support jobs, for all. If MBRC does not have a Multicultural Action Plan then let’s create one.
You can learn more about Barbara and what she stands for by visiting:
0412 658 124
We wish you all the very best with your campaign Barbara. #unityindiversity