Chairperson Messages

eMessage ATSIEB Chairperson – 27 August 2021

Yuma Community members.

This is my first message as the newly elected Chairperson for the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Body (ATSIEB).

I would like to begin by acknowledging the fabulous work being undertaken by our essential workers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community organisations . Your dedication to your roles and your community does not go unnoticed. I know I can speak on behalf of the broader ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in thanking you for your efforts during these challenging times.

I am extremely grateful to be elected as a member on ATSIEB and am thrilled to be Chairperson for the next 3 years. Our newly elected members had our initial meeting on 4 August 2021 where we commenced discussions about the approach of the group. At this meeting, member portfolio responsibilities were finalised and I am pleased to announce the following arrangements:

  • Lynnice Church (Chairperson) – Chief Ministers, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate, Major Projects Canberra, Canberra Institute of Technology, Office of Work Health and Safety Commissioner
  • Tanya Keed (Deputy Chairperson) – Community Services Directorate
  • Paula McGrady – Transport Canberra and City Services
  • Leah House – ACT Health Directorate and Canberra Health Services
  • Margaret Blackman – Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate
  • Maurice Walker – Education Directorate
  • Jo Chivers – Justice and Community Safety Directorate

As active members of this community, our ATSIEB members are all passionate and committed to building the capacity of our local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to ensure that we are achieving genuine outcomes for our families.

As Chairperson, I know our newly appointed members have a renewed focus on building our working relationships with our community, including our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community organisations and businesses, so that we can appropriately capture and represent your interests, aspirations and voice.

If you have any ideas around how ATSIEB members can engage with community, I encourage you to send these through to our secretariat via email

ACT Community Update – August 2021

As you are all aware, the ACT is currently in a period of lockdown following several positive active COVID-19 cases in the community. At this stage, the lockdown will extend until 2 September 2021. It’s important that during the lockdown period that our community remain healthy, safe and follow the advice from the ACT Government.

For current information relating to COVID-19 restrictions can be found in the following links:

I understand there are members in our community who will need assistance during this period. There are supports available being provided by ACT Government and the community sector. If you are aware of members in the community who need help, please visit the ACT Government COVID-19 website at access support.


During the lockdown period, many of our families are having to home school their children.

In the ACT, teacher-led remote learning commenced on 20 August 2021 in all ACT Public Schools. Families that require a dongle need to let their school know and once the order by ACT Education for these has been filled, they will be sent to schools to be distributed to students. Information relating to ACT Public School arrangements can be found at ACT public schools.

Parents with children attending Catholic schools in the ACT can access information on remote learning by contacting your school directly.


Vaccinations protect the health of all our community, particularly those that are more vulnerable such Elders, children and people living with chronic health conditions. If you would like more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, I strongly encourage you to call the COVID Vaccine Clinic or speak with your doctor.

COVID-19 vaccinations are available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members aged 12 years and over. Bookings can be made online by visiting ACT Government Covid Vaccination Clinic or on (02) 5124 7700 (7 am to 7 pm) . Winnunga Nimmityjah are also providing COVID-19 vaccinations and general health services. Winnunga can be contacted on (02) 6284 6222.

Free Meals and Emergency Food Relief

If you are experiencing hardship and need assistance during the lockdown in the ACT, you can request a food and essential item delivery to your front door for free. To place an order for emergency food and essential items, and to find out which items are available, contact VolunteeringACT on 1800 43 11 33, Monday to Friday, between 9am and 5pm. (If the phone is not answered, please leave a message and someone will return your call)

Further information is available on the ACT Government’s emergency food relief page.

For individuals who are unable to connect via phone may email:

Housing and Emergency Accommodation

The ACT Government has taken steps to help reduce the risks of homelessness and financial hardship during the COVID-19 public health emergency. For further information, please follow the following link Tenants impacted by Covid 19.

For information concerning ACT Housing and services that are being provided during lockdown please visit ACT Housing. For tenancy issues, please call 1800 950 255 and general enquiries on 133 427.

Onelink is the central intake service for people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing homelessness in the ACT. Please call 1800 176 468 Monday to Friday – 8am to 6pm; Saturday and Sunday – 12.30pm to 5pm or email

Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC)

Due to the current COVID-19 lockdown, face to face visits of detainees have been suspended. The AMC has in place an audio-visual link using Zoom. To book, please contact the visits phone line on 1300 286 583.

Mental Health and Wellbeing during COVID-19

It is important at this time to check in with your family and other members of community to make sure they are ok and stay connected. The COVID-19 outbreak, physical distancing and isolation can make us feel anxious, stressed and worried. Visit the ACT Health website for tips, links, and resources to help your mental health and wellbeing and those around you. Alternatively you can register for a call using this form or call (02) 6234 7630 between 8am and 4pm weekdays.

Finally please take care, wear a mask, maintain good hand hygiene, keep your distance and use the Check-InCBRapp. Staysafe.

Djan Yimaba Yara
(Thank you and Bye in Ngunnawal language)

Lynnice Church


ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body

Media contact

ATSIEB Secretariat

(02) 6205 2551

Media release

27 August 2021


Acknowledgement of Country


The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body acknowledges the traditional custodians of Canberra, and those who have made it their home. We celebrate their ongoing culture and contribution to the ACT and surrounding regions.