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Gunditjmara statement for members

22nd November 2022

Ngatta Members,


On behalf of Gunditjmara Aboriginal Cooperative, I would like to advise you that we aware of the small section of the community raising issues and concerns regarding the Co-op, how it is run and the provision of services.


I am aware of a community meeting which was held on Sunday 20th November and would like to advise that the Board of GAC and I were not invited to attend and were not offered an opportunity to answer questions or address those concerns.

To date there has been no correspondence to the CEO or Board on specific concerns therefore has made it difficult for us to address these matters.


Whilst we have no issues with community raising concerns, it should be in a culturally safe and respectful way, not through division and intimidation.


Over the last 5 years, the Board, Management and Staff at Gunditjmara have worked together to strengthen processes regarding our community members ability to raise concerns through various internal channels including our generic email, feedback forms, groups, website, surveys, newsletters.  We also gain regular feedback from our community members who access the Co-op on a daily and weekly basis on ways to improve our service provision.


Therefore, I am very disappointed in certain individuals’ behaviour in continuing to perpetuate lateral violence toward vulnerable members of our community. It is clear these behaviours are having an impact on the mental health of our staff, and we are continuing to support them through this.


Now is the time we should be united not divided.  Our community will continue to look to us for service provision as the increasing cost of living impacts our families and friends through financial and psychosocial stresses.  Obviously, we are not out of the pandemic as infection numbers surge again leaving our community vulnerable.  Protecting our community will remain a key objective of all staff at the Co-op.


Gunditjmara has just led our community through the most challenging period in its history and come out strong . We have continued to grow and have supported our community despite every challenge.  This is something we should be all proud of because the cooperative is as strong as it has ever been.


Our feedback forms can be accessed through the following link



Ashley Couzens


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