Wednesday, 29 May 2024

SA Health Aboriginal Health Scholarship Program Reception

It is Rod’s and my pleasure, to welcome you to Government House.

We do so not only to congratulate the new SA Health Scholarship awardees and graduates, but also to mark the 25th anniversary of the partnership between SA Health and Rotary in this, National Reconciliation Week.

The theme of this year’s Reconciliation Week is ‘Now More than Ever’, and as Governor, I am heartened by the many examples I have seen of what is possible when we commit to genuine engagement, inclusion, and learning.

The Aboriginal Health Scholarship Program is but one example of what is possible when we set out to make positive change.

Nearly 200 years ago, good intentions towards First Nations people – proclaimed by our first Governor – were encompassed in the foundational documents of our State.

History shows, regrettably, they did not come to fruition.

I restate my commitment to supporting reconciliation in South Australia by working, in ways appropriate for a Governor, side by side with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.

Rod and I, in our visits across the State, have been impressed by the many young leaders we have met who are contributing to their communities and sharing their knowledge, culture, and love of country.

In this room we have yet more young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders who will contribute to our community through our health system in myriad roles.

I congratulate the 11 scholarship recipients who graduated from their course in 2023. This year, 12 new recipients will enter the scholarship program.

You join 169 graduates from diverse fields including nursing and midwifery, medicine and surgery, dentistry, allied health, paramedics, and public health.

Like them, by choosing such a career pathway, you have demonstrated a personal commitment to caring and improving health outcomes across the community.

To the participants I congratulate you on your academic achievements and professional successes. I wish you well in your further studies and careers.

Importantly, as young people, you have the opportunity to be change makers.

As you progress in your chosen fields, I encourage you to be bold, but also to be patient as you travel your own pathways. We all develop in our own time and in our own individual ways.

I urge you always to surround yourselves with others from whom you can continue to learn throughout your careers.

I trust you will always be open to the ideas of others because some of our best ideas come from actively listening to other people.

You walk within two cultures. I encourage you to share your perspectives as Aboriginal Australians with others.

I hope you will also help influence how we deliver culturally appropriate services.


I congratulate SA Health and Rotary Health for the longevity and success of the scholarship program. The engagement between the scholarship recipients and the Rotary clubs and sponsors remains valuable.

You have enabled participants not only to develop personally, but to contribute to a profession that makes a difference to people’s lives.

To family and friends, thank you for being there to guide the participants through their studies and careers – through both triumphs and challenges.

Through the Aboriginal Health Scholarship Program, we can make progress in addressing health inequalities and raise tertiary education participation rates amongst Aboriginal people.

Now, more than ever, I wish the program and its past, present, and future participants all the best for the future.

Coming events