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Curtin University
Note to staff

February 13, 2008


Apology to the Stolen Generations

Many of you may have already heard the apology made by the Federal Government in Parliament today to Indigenous Australia’s Stolen Generations. The University, and in particular, Curtin’s Centre for Aboriginal Studies (CAS) strongly supports this apology which acknowledges the pain and suffering of the Stolen Generations and their families.

A complete transcript of the Prime Minister’s announcement can be viewed online.

At Curtin, we have long held an ongoing commitment to Indigenous education, culture, and reconciliation. Our Centre for Aboriginal Studies was established in 1983 and in 2007, 298 Indigenous students were enrolled at CAS, and a further 168 were enrolled in mainstream studies.

Curtin was the first university in Australia to sign a Statement of Reconciliation in 1998 and recently signed a Statement of Commitment in December last year, which can be viewed on the Reconciliation Australia website, re-affirming this commitment. In 2006 the University formed the Curtin Indigenous Policy Committee, which launched the University’s Indigenous Governance Policy in November 2006.

Our next step is to open up for consultation a draft Five-Year Reconciliation Action Plan to the Curtin community foreshadowed in our Statement of Commitment. The Plan will drive innovative initiatives in education, commitment and governance in Indigenous issues across the University and will be developed during 2008.

Through this action plan, the University is also taking on the challenge of seeking innovative ways to positively impact broader Indigenous communities in key areas such as education and health.

We are working with UWA on a three year $950 000 project into cardiovascular disease amongst Indigenous Australians. The project: Management of coronary heart disease in the Indigenous population in Western Australia : from information to action is significant because cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among Indigenous Australians, with a death rate three times higher than the total Australian rate.

I am also pleased to announce that next week 25 Indigenous students – forming the largest class to date – will graduate from the University’s Bachelor of Education Conversion Course offered by CAS. Most of these students are placed at regional or remote schools to address the teaching shortage in these areas.

While we acknowledge that there is still a lot of work to be done to address the many issues facing Indigenous Australians, Curtin once again takes this opportunity to support the Rudd Government’s historic apology to the Stolen Generations and celebrates the outstanding achievements of our Centre and our staff in relation to Indigenous education and research.

New bus services to Canning Bridge train station and improved accessibility to the City

Many of you will be aware of (and using!) the new bus service operating between Curtin and the Canning Bridge train station, an initiative developed by the University and Transperth, to enable students and staff travelling from Perth’s northern and southern areas to catch the train direct to the Canning Bridge station and then take a bus to Curtin. This high frequency service has buses running every seven to eight minutes during peak time and is proving very popular. It stops at the Curtin Bus Terminal on Hayman Road and is also available to members of the community.

I am aware that several staff members have started using the bus service to connect to the train into the City to attend meetings as an alternative to taking their cars. It has proved faster and more economical than driving and removes the need to find parking. I can highly recommend these services and encourage staff to consider using the bus and train when they are next required to go into the City.

40 years at WASM

Congratulations to WASM staff member, Lewis Pannell who is proudly celebrating his 40th year at the Western Australian School of Mines. Lewis is one of WASM’s (and of the University’s) longest serving staff members. He started work as a lab technician a few days before his 18th birthday and has seen many changes and transformations over the years. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Lewis for the significant contribution he has made to WASM during his career and we look forward to his continued involvement with Curtin.

Vale, Howard (Topper) Girvan-Brown

It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of Lt Col (Rtd) Howard (Topper) Girvan-Brown. Howard joined WAIT in 1969 and overhauled the way in which the institution procured, stored, classified and distributed supplies. He also had responsibility for overall logistics and WAIT’s entry into a full blown vehicle purchase, service, maintenance and disposal program. His most lasting contribution however, is Rotary International House, our first student accommodation built with funding other than by Government.

Our deepest sympathies are with Girvan-Brown family and friends and in particular, his daughter Ms Shelagh Pascoe who is our Recreation Manager.

Vale, William Nichols

It is with great sadness that we also mark the passing of William Nichols last Friday after a fairly rapid battle with cancer.  William was on the academic staff of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department as well as being a former Dean of the Curtin Sarawak campus. The funeral service will be held  on Wednesday 13 February 2008 at 1:30pm at the Fremantle Seventh-day Adventist Church, 10 Cleopatra Street, Palmyra. Follow link to map.



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