Make life easier with Koori Support
Our Koori Support Team have plenty of experience working in our community, for our community.
Recently, team leader Kym Williams caught up with previous VCAT user, Aaron, to hear how his experience with Koori Support made life easier for him as he prepared for and went through his hearing.
Aaron’s case involved challenging a large corporation who were well-resourced in legal practices – something that Aaron found daunting.
However, when Koori Support was offered to him, he said it made the process much easier and less intimidating.
‘I found it daunting because the terminology they used was stuff I didn’t understand,’ Aaron said, ‘but once I got onto the Koori Support Team, they explained it...it levelled that (playing) field out.’
Aaron felt it was the smaller details of the support given to him by the presiding member that made him feel empowered and comfortable throughout the hearing.
‘Once the acknowledgement of country was done, he (the member) introduced himself, explained how the process was going to work, and said if I had any questions or if I don’t understand anything I could ask the Koori Support officer or I could also interrupt him and he would try to re-explain it.
‘I felt very reassured and empowered after that,’ Aaron said. ‘The member really did take the technicality approach out and put in a really human aspect, which was really important because it just made it so much easier.’
This is music to the ears of the Koori Support Team – a sign that their role is making a difference.
‘We do a lot of work before the hearings and we talk to our community and give (them) an idea of what to expect on the day,’ said Kym . ‘So when it comes together like that, and they do feel reassured and empowered, that’s really powerful stuff for us to hear.’
Following a long, drawn-out dispute with the other party, Aaron’s VCAT hearing resulted in a positive outcome for him within one day.
The outcome saw Aaron receive a full refund for the claim he lodged plus all out-of-pocket expenses, which is more than he originally claimed for.
Though not all hearings will have a favourable outcome for all parties, it is the Koori Support Team’s purpose to make sure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can prepare as best they can and be helped throughout the entirety of their case.
‘We know that it’s not always going to be an outcome that everybody wants and expects,’ Kym said. ‘So, if we can just help people to prepare as best we can for that and get (users) to stay the course, that’s really important.’
Following the success of his case, Aaron believes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should not hesitate in coming to VCAT if they have a valid claim.
‘There is another avenue: it’s called VCAT,’ he said. ‘They do have a Koori Support Team, they will look after you, they’ll have a yarn to you, they’ll explain it to you in lingo you understand, and they’re there to support you the whole way through.’
‘By going to the Koori Support Team, I felt that the scales were balanced and my matter was heard in a fair and just manner, and that’s all you can ask for.’
Find out how you can access Koori support.