by Marc Barnbaum
Indigenous mum from Mackay keen to go into bat for her community
Mackay local Melissa Parter hopes 2020 will be a watershed year as she forges a career focused on Indigenous community development and represents Queensland in indoor cricket, all while juggling her role as a single mother to two children.
The proud Indigenous woman is a descendant of the Darumbal people, from the Rockhampton region.
She also celebrates her Australian South Sea Islander heritage, with links to both the Tanna and Ambrym islands, and plans to take her mother and children over to Vanuatu in 2020 for the 40th anniversary Celebration of Independence.
Melissa has just completed her Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) through CQUniversity, after overcoming challenges along the way.
After an early work life as a butcher in Central Queensland, she moved to the Northern Territory to drive heavy machinery.
Then came a major setback in the form of a serious motorcycle accident, exacerbated by a period of mental strain.
Melissa started a fresh phase of her life through a role as a logistics supervisor in Emerald and then started her journey as a mother.
“It was when I became a single parent that I decided to enrol in university,” she says.
“I found academic essay writing challenging at first but CQUniversity’s STEPS program made the difference and I set my heart on Social Work.”
Melissa found support along the way through an Indigenous Commonwealth Scholarship, along with a BMA Indigenous Scholarship and an Australian South Sea Islander Community Foundation Scholarship, awarded by CQUniversity. There was also regular contact and tutoring from the Indigenous Student Support Team.
She recently completed her final-term community health field placement and is now seeking a career in the area of Indigenous community health or mental health.
Ms Parter has managed to balance her CQUni studies and paid employment in the community health sector while volunteering her time to the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME).
She has also served as a volunteer at Mackay South's Junior Rugby League Club, as part of the coaching and management staff, and served a term as secretary on the committee for the Mackay After School and Vacation Care service.
"Being a volunteer in my community is very rewarding ... I will continue to build my leadership skills and be a positive role model to not only my children but the wider community," the promising graduate says.
Melissa is due to represent Queensland in the Women’s Masters (Over-35) Indoor Cricket competition scheduled for May 2020.
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Indigenous talent in total control at awards night
[Brooke Fryer, SBS]
Award-winning actress Deborah Mailman was just one of many First Nations talent to receive an Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Award on Wednesday night.
Creating opportunities for the next generation of Indigenous leaders
by Marissa Pagliarello
AFL SportsReady’s new cadetship program is paving the way for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students at University by giving them the opportunity to gain paid industry experience in their field of study.