Community thinking about an Indigenous gathering place to serve the Aboriginal people of Healesville and district began in 1999. Active planning commenced in 2004 and in 2007 a feasibility study was completed. The Healesville Indigenous Community Services Association (HICSA) became incorporated in December 2009. In 2010, following recommendation from community the Department of Health 'Close the Gap' and the Department of Planning and Community Development provided seed funding to employ staff, to develop governance and organisational capacity and to commence service delivery.
A strategic direction that embraces our core values of Respect, Caring and Sharing guides the establishment of integrated health, well-being, education and employment services for the Aboriginal community.
HICSA is an Aboriginal controlled organisation. 51% of the Board Members must be of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent. The governance model adopted by HICSA is based on the Koori Heritage Trust and Wuchopperen Health Service approaches. HICSA adopts a reconciliation model whereby Aboriginal and Non Aboriginal staff are appointed based on merit, work experience, personal attributes and cultural knowledge or experience.
Community liaison and collaboration is through the Friends of HICSA group which provides a way for community to provide input to the Board. This group will meet every 4 to 6 months, or sooner if a key social issue is raised.
HICSA recognises that its success as an organisation and capacity to bring coordinated services to Aboriginal community members of the Yarra Valley will be reliant on the quality of the partnerships it forges.
The concept and commitment of HICSA to establish a purpose-designed ‘Belonging Place’ for the Healesville Indigenous community and supporting service providers, which will also reflect strong cultural elements of the community, remains a core focus. In the interim, HICSA operates from Swinburne University, Oonah.
HICSA is on the land of the Wurundjeri people and we acknowledge Elders past and present.
We acknowledge our visionary partners from State and Local Government that are contributing to the achievement of a Belonging Place in Healesville. We also acknowledge Philanthropic Trusts, individuals and organisations who have actively contributed to our establishment. Our featured artist is Safina Stewart.