North Richmond Community Health (NRCH) marked Reconciliation Week with public events and the launch of a Reconciliation Action Plan last week.
The service held a ceremony and barbecue on Sorry Day (May 26) and another last Thursday, when its Reconciliation Action Plan was launched.
Gurnai man and local resident Robbie Thorpe conducted a smoking ceremony and spoke about his experiences at both events, which were attended by a mix of staff, housing estate residents and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members.
NRCH Health promotion coordinator Ismael Elrifae said around 70 people turned out for the Sorry Day barbecue day while a lesser number attended Thursday's event.
"They were a good chance for people to have a yarn and talk about what real actions they could take," he said.
In keeping with this year's Reconciliation Week theme, 'Be Brave, Make Change', the organisation vowed to call out racism and try to effect organisational change, particularly in positions where staff interacted with Aboriginal clients.
Elrifae said a significant number of Indigenous people were using the health service, some of whom sleep rough.
"It's difficult when you actually see it in front of you," he said.
The evidence of their disadvantage reinforced the importance of "trying to do the right thing and act appropriately," he said.
Actions included in NRCH's preliminary Reconciliation Action Plan included engaging with local Aboriginal-run organisations, employing more people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities and building "cultural competence" across the whole organisiation.