The Relationships Australia National Executive Officer, Alison Brook recently visited the Territory, before she left we asked her about her impressions of the NT.
Was this your first time to the Territory?
No, I’ve now visited Darwin and Alice Springs (and privately to Uluru and surrounds) many times.
What was your first impression?
My original impression of Darwin – when I first visited RA-NT in 2010 – was “how on EARTH do people survive in this humidity?” and “I think I’m going to die!”
Of course this contrasts with my recent July visit – my first during the dry season – in which I thought “I’m never getting back on that plane!” It was heaven!
You visited the Tiwi Islands – do you see similarities in the issues people face in these communities compared to Canberra or indeed nationally?
I did visit the Tiwis – a real privilege. I think the issues in Tiwi – and other remote Aboriginal communities – are different from what I’ve observed and learned about other communities we work with around the country.
The remoteness adds so much pressure, in terms of costs, availability of goods, accessibility to social services, justice, employment opportunities etc. I’m still processing what I learned. I’m still scared of the crocs.
What stood out the most about the people you met on the Tiwis?
The people I met struck me for their heart, their generosity, their compassion and their humour. As I say, I felt really privileged to have spent a day in the company of Lisa and her marvellous team.
What learnings did you take away from the Territory?
I always take away something from the NT. I learn different things from the Centre than I do from Darwin and surrounds.
I think the issues I learned about with the fabulous RA team on the Tiwis were at the top of the list this year, but I also had a fabulous lunch with Robyn and the CEOs of NTCOSS and Anglicare NT. I couldn’t believe our meeting had finished – the time just flew. I could have listened to their reflections all day.
The other thing I always take away is an appreciation for the beauty and majesty of the NT landscapes and gratitude that I live in such a diverse, wild, beautiful country.
Thanks Alison we look forward to seeing you up north again soon.