Mark Spinks from Babana Aboriginal Men’s Group Inc

Meet one of the Speakers at the Long Term Unemployment Conference, Mr Mark Spinks from Babana Aboriginal Men’s Group Inc

Mark is an Indigenous leader and was the Indigenous Community Development Officer with Centrelink for 18 years where he commenced the first Centrelink Community Jobs Expo. Mark extensive experience and achievement include the following:

  • Chairperson of the Aboriginal Housing Company
  • Chairperson and founder of the Sydney Aboriginal Men’s Group (BABANA)
  • Director of Tribal Warrior Association (TWA);
  • Director of the Redfern Foundation and
  • Was instrumental in organising the first World Indigenous People Day at Sydney Town Hall in 2005.

The Babana Aboriginal Men’s Group supports Aboriginal men both from the inner city of Sydney and the greater metropolitan area. The term Babana means ‘brother’ in the Dharuk language. A common form of greeting among Aboriginal men, the term ‘brother’ also conveys a sense of the cooperative effort and community that underpins Babana. Babana members meet regularly and are involved in a variety of activities and programs that address a range of issues ranging from men’s health, through to family relationships, anti-violence, anti-drug and alcohol campaigns, post release programs and more. Babana has been instrumental in running campaigns that help unite and affirm the positive values of traditional Aboriginal culture, focusing on healing together to create a safe and hopeful community.

In addition to regular meetings and workshops, these include:

  • running the ‘Family Day on the Block’ and ‘No Drugs on the Block’ initiatives that are restoring to the rightful inner city community a safe, pleasant and functional place in which to live, socialise, work and raise families
  • encouraging partnerships with the private sector to bring Certificate II training courses and other employment and training opportunities into Redfern, including for men and boys on probation and parole
  • conducting ever-growing men’s health awareness days that now attract over 100 Aboriginal men from all over the greater Sydney metropolitan area
  • providing support and personnel to conduct ‘Christmas for the kids’ on the Block and at Wooloomooloo. As an organisation run by Aboriginal people, for Aboriginal people, with founding members that are respected and recognised as leaders, Babana holds an esteemed position in the Aboriginal community. This enables it to achieve outcomes that other organisations seldom can.

Babana’s Chairperson Mark Spinks and fellow Babana member, Shane Phillips, are both Australian of the Year nominees. Mark was also a nominee for the 2007 Australia Justice Awards.

Australian Long Term Unemployment Conference will be held on the 18-19 of August 2014 at the QT Hotel Surfers Paradise. The 2 day conference will feature keynote presentations and streams on long term unemployment issues, please click here for the Preliminary Program. For more information about the conference please visit the website or call the conference secretariat on 61 7) 5502 2068.