Alinta joined the UNSW Yuwaya Ngarra-li team in 2022 to work as a researcher focused on youth justice issues 2 days a week, after previously collaborating with us as part of her role at The George Institute for Global Health on the Food and Water for Life project.

Alinta is a Thunghutti and Gamilaroi woman, originally from the Mid-North Coast of NSW. She has an associates degree in psychology and a trauma informed approach to the work she does in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Alinta has worked in roles in NSW Health and Aboriginal Affairs NSW and has experience working with Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal organisations in community-led projects.

Alinta brings experience of understanding and applying Aboriginal perspectives in research, and culturally informed community engagement. 

Learn more about Alinta below:

What draws you to working in youth justice?

What drew me to the Youth Justice space was the lack of progress I’ve seen in this area, not much has changed since I was younger and in certain areas there’s been a loss of progress. I think the Youth Justice system needs serious reform especially in terms of how it interacts with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids. There’s little empathy and compassion for the circumstances that see our kids come into contact with the Youth Justice system, or the true impact it has on their families and communities, and for that reason I see the space for Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation to create solutions as a necessity. I’ve worked with YN, DEG and WAMS through TGI and the Food and Water for Life Project and seeing what’s been achieved in that area made me want to get on board with Two Rivers Pathway to Change project. 

What are you hoping to achieve with your work?

I’m hoping to grow my knowledge and skills and I’m confident I’m in the right place to do so. In terms of the Two Rivers Pathway to Change model, I’m hoping to contribute to this piece of work to see some real progress. I personally haven’t seen something like this before and I’m committed to working with community to achieve their vision of change in the Youth Justice space. I think there’s a big opportunity for the scalability of this model in other communities as well so I’d like to see how that would come to fruition.

What has been your experience working with YN so far? Is it different to other places you’ve worked?

It’s been a huge learning opportunity, there hasn’t been a day where I haven’t learnt something new. The YN team is invested in building each other’s skills, knowledge and capabilities and it’s something they do really well. Everyone is super committed to the work and everything we do is consistently community centred. I think the biggest difference I’ve seen is YN’s approach to a community-led partnership. I’ve heard the term hundreds of times but I’ve rarely seen it done in a way that values the knowledges within Aboriginal communities and understands the richness of knowledge. I think YN has created a blue print and standard for what a research partnership with an Aboriginal community should look like. The work is completely guided by community priorities and voices, and YN has mastered the intricacies that come along with working with community.