Positive future as MDAS reform journey continues

Setting MDAS for a stronger future

An overhaul of north-west Victoria’s key Aboriginal service Mallee District Aboriginal Services (MDAS) has delivered significant reforms and set the organisation up for a stronger future.

Mallee District Aboriginal Services (MDAS) this week welcomed the release of a report by Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (VACCHO), which details the MDAS Reform Project delivered over the past nine months.

At the request of the MDAS Board and the Victorian Government, VACCHO has worked with MDAS to deliver major reforms since late last year. With the reform project now complete, VACCHO will step back from MDAS operations at the end of the June.

MDAS Executive Director Jill Gallagher said she was proud to this week deliver a report on the completion of the nine-month reform project to MDAS Members and the broader Mallee Communities.

“These are important, lasting reforms, and even more remarkable considering the project started during Stage 4 COVID-19 restrictions,” Ms Gallagher said.

“The reforms that have been implemented include a membership drive, a successful AGM with a competitive election for the Board, and recruitment of a new CEO.  We have also started implementing significantly strengthened controls for finances, assets and operations,” she said.

“Importantly, a new Constitution is now in place that is based on best practice governance and truly reflects the aspirations of Communities.”

Ms Gallagher said while MDAS was now a robust, democratic organisation, the challenge remained for Mallee communities to stay involved and to drive the future of its organisation.

“None of this would have been possible without the courage and persistence of Elders who demanded change to return MDAS to community control,” she said.

“Aboriginal organisations get our strength from our Culture, our community control, and our self- determination. The changes outlined in this report are critical first steps.  They lay the foundations for MDAS to build on.  However, there is much more to do, and the staff and Board cannot do it alone.

“MDAS Members got us to this point.  Now is the time to stay engaged and help MDAS grow even stronger.”

The MDAS Reform Project provided lessons for VACCHO and other Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations across the State, Ms Gallagher said.

“The MDAS experience is a clear demonstration that ACCOs need a broad membership, and to continually promote membership, as well as offering many ways for Communities to participate,” she said.

“Constitutions need review to ensure they reinforce community-control, self-determination and best practice governance, and that there is a system to ensure robust whistle-blower protections are in place.

“And for strong governance to be embedded in ACCOs, they need to invest in their Boards through good quality training and independent support if they need it.  There needs to be a strong culture of continuous governance improvement to support Boards to fulfill their obligations.”

Ms Gallagher acknowledged the role of MDAS staff, led by new CEO Jacki Turfrey.

“They have stayed focused on providing the best services and supports to Aboriginal Communities in the Mallee and have worked hard to implement the changes we’ve identified and made,” she said.

“The reform project is over, but VACCHO will still be there to support MDAS and the State Government is also committed to continuing to work in partnership with MDAS to make it even stronger.

“There are still challenges ahead in embedding these reforms throughout the organisation and responding to any issues identified by IBAC and governments in relation to financial management.

“But I encourage all Aboriginal people in the Mallee to be part of this reform journey – to join MDAS, to speak up and have your say, and, importantly, to think about working for MDAS.

“I look forward to MDAS’ continued reform. There is nothing we can’t do when we are driven by our Communities and based in our Culture.”

The full report on the MDAS Reform Project can be downloaded here.

Pictured: Jill Gallagher

Other News

MDAS calls for kindness ahead of referendum
NAIDOC art competition winner announced
Background and geography shouldn't dictate health outcomes
MDAS calls on community to have their say
MDAS Responds to new Victorian legislation
MDAS Appoints Chief Executive
MDAS puts out call for Board nominations
Progress at MDAS
NAIDOC Awards recognise Mildura community leaders
Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! this NAIDOC Week
Koori community Gets Up! Stands Up! Shows Up! for NAIDOC
MDAS renewal taking shape
National Reconciliation Week a time for healing
New gathering place for Aboriginal Elders
COVID Vaccination clinic at Mildura Primary School
MDAS Annual Report
Strategic Plan sets new direction for MDAS
ACCO Vaccine Van back in Mildura
Nominations for MDAS Board
MDAS Annual General Meeting
Mildura Public Holiday Arrangements
COVID-19 Vaccine Van heading to Mallee
COVID-19 Update Swan Hill Kerang October 15 2021
COVID-19 Update October 8, 2021
Response to current outbreak
Koori Night Patrol hits the road again
MDAS Clinic not a COVID-19 exposure site
Board Update - July-August 2021
MDAS pilots Victorian first
MDAS welcomes new Board members
A circle that's changing lives, one family at a time
COVID-19 Vaccine for over 12s
MDAS Mildura reopens in a COVID-safe way
MDAS Closed due to COVID-19
Pfizer vaccine supply secure at MDAS
Board Update - June 2021
Positive future as MDAS reform journey continues
Board Update May 2021
Extension of vaccine rollout program at MDAS
Mallee Mobs urged to vaccinate
COVID-19 Update - MDAS Services
Board Update
MDAS Members approve new constitution
Information about Influenza Vaccine
MDAS no longer at Menera Station
Koori Youth Night Patrol is back!
MDAS CEO announcement
Constitutional Reform Workshops Cancelled
MDAS renewal takes shape
Coloring Competition
MDAS Constitutional Reform
Design our Sunraysia 2021 footy jumper
Reports from our Annual General Meeting
MDAS meetings consider constitution reform
Christmas Message from MDAS
New faces at MDAS Board table
MDAS Board Nominations
MDAS meet and greet with new Community Leadership Group
Call to community from MDAS leadership
Welcome to Acting CEO Jacki Turfrey
Chilly art at Robinvale
Lockdown brings out NAIDOC winner’s artistic side
Letter of Introduction - Jill Gallagher
Save the Date for our AGM - Saturday November 28, 2020
Focus on fresh food collaboration
Community Leadership Group 2020
Young artist winners announced
Our Mob Speaks Update
MDAS innovations supporting community in COVID-19
Service delivery 'COVID-normal' at MDAS
On-the-spot COVID-19 testing to help protect our mobs
Free Meningococcal B Vaccine for Aboriginal children
Art competition to design Aboriginal breast screen shawl
$1000 prizes for Mallee female artists
Reconciliation is an ongoing journey
Touching tribute to the Stolen Generations
A touching tribute for Sorry Day
Listening to Our Mob Speak
Local voice part of Reconciliation event
Statement - CEO resignation
Coronavirus information
Coronavirus - Am I At Risk?
Get painting for Mallee NAIDOC design competition
Good food for hungry tummies!
Swan Hill Art Competition Winners
Award nominations for Swan Hill Youth team
New Aged Care and Disability Services hub open for business
Swan Hill-Kerang Indigenous Art competition
Reward and Recognition
Mallee Tigers take out state title at VACSAL
Mallee Tigers roar towards Indigenous carnival
Victorian First Peoples urged to ‘get enrolled’
Gambling research paper published
Hands-on fun for Aboriginal Children's Day
Menera Farm a hive of activity
Weekly Koori News July 5 & 6
Weekly Koori News June 28 - 29
Koori News June 14-15
MDAS Robinvale office open for business
Trying to get in touch at Kerang?
Make a change! EVOLVE!
Calls to share autism experience
Tick of approval in accreditations
MDAS Mildura celebrates Close the Gap Day
New mums' group reaches new families
Robinvale staff on the move
Bringing cultural knowledge to kinder
MDAS leading the way on better services for elders
Welcome to our new board member
Wearing red for heart health
Kick Start to a heathy 2019
New advertising campaign targets family violence
MDAS Clinician recognised for leadership
HIPPY celebration for happy graduates
Men's healing gives back to the community
New pharmacy service at MDAS
Research calling for input from Koori cancer patients
Talking out the challenges together
Gambling no laughing matter
Spring 2018 Newsletter out now!
Know a Deadly Hero?
Gambling figures prompt Mildura forum
Robinvale Men's Program going strong
Congratulations to our NAIDOC Award winners
Deadly Choices comes to the Mallee
Partnership takes smoke-free message to shoppers

MALLEE DISTRICT ABORIGINAL SERVICES  “Our Vision: "Self-determined, healthy, robust and culturally strong Aboriginal communities across the Mallee region."

MDAS calls for kindness ahead of referendum

Read more


NAIDOC art competition winner announced

Read more


Background and geography shouldn't dictate health outcomes

Read more


MDAS calls on community to have their say

Read more


MDAS Responds to new Victorian legislation

Read more


Events Calendar

View event

120 Madden Avenue Mildura
Phone (03) 5018 4100

70 Nyah Road Swan Hill
Phone (03) 5032 8600

9 Nolan Street Kerang
Phone (03) 5412 6004

Interested in*:

MDAS - Quality Innovation Performance Accredited
MDAS - Quality Innovation Performance Accredited