Gallang Place Chair Toni Janke, featured in Catholic Leader

June 2019

Toni Janke in her role as Indigenous Services co-ordinator within Centacare Family and Relationship Services’ Brisbane Metropolitan Region.

Toni, a descendant of the Wuthathi and Meriam peoples of Cape York and Murray Island, Torres Strait, has had this role for four years.

She works across south-east Queensland providing support, through Centacare Family and Relationship Services, to clients and staff, and primarily working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.

Day to day she’s supporting people in crisis, sometimes facing the toughest time in their lives.

Toni’s at the coalface of helping people caught up in years of entrenched inequality and injustice – “every day, every day, every day”.

“Part of my role as a practitioner, is working every day with families who walk through the door in crisis – sometimes three, four, five families a day – and being able to get a good result …,” she said.

“When I say a good result – that’s keeping somebody safe or trying to keep them out of the system, whether it’s to put them in touch with housing supports or put them in touch with specialist services, counselling support – all of those things – I think that’s the way forward.

“There might be inter-generational trauma, where people don’t know who they are because they have been removed or stolen – the stolen generations we talk about.

“A good outcome is keeping kids out of the system. A good outcome is trying to make sure the basic needs are at least met, to start with.”