Birrang was established in 2003 and has been in continuous operation since its establishment. Birrang was established as a regional based community service provider offering employment and related services to Aboriginal people of New South Wales. Over time, Birrang has expanded its activities to include people from other cultures and backgrounds, in response to identified needs and opportunities.
The Board of Directors all of whom are Aboriginal are located in Bourke, Griffith, Balranald, Bathurst, Deniliquin and Albury. The Board of Directors have held their positions since 2003 with the exception of our Bourke director who joined our company in 2012.
Birrang is a Not-for-profit Company with limited liability registered as a charity (Public Benevolent Institution) with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC). Birrang is endorsed to receive income tax deductible contributions as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR).
Birrang is governed by a skilled Board of Directors drawn from diverse geographical regions across NSW. Birrang employs a Chief Executive Officer to manage its day-to-day operations at an office complex in Orange owned by Birrang. The CEO supervises a team of qualified staff including trainers, project co-ordinators and a Finance Officer.
‘Birrang‘ is a Wiradjuri word meaning ‘Horizon’. The logo contains a circular motif on the left, which represents the organisation, the horizontal lines represent the communities served by Birrang, and the nodes at the ends of the lines represent the individuals and activities supported by the vision of the organisation.
From 2003 to 2015, Birrang has provided case-based employment services for Aboriginal people in regional NSW under funding agreements with both the Australian and NSW governments as follows:
Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP)
Birrang was a provider of the Australian Government’s CDEP program, which “helps Indigenous job seekers to gain the skills, training and capabilities needed to find sustainable employment”.
From 2003-2013 Birrang provided CDEP program services under a series of funding agreements with the Australian Government. Program specifications: 360 individual job seekers supported in the following communities across regional and remote NSW: Alice Edwards Village (2008-13), Bourke (2008-13), Brewarrina (2009-13), Cobar (2008), Enngonia (2009-13) and Weilmoringle (2009-13).
Indigenous Employment Program (IEP)
Birrang has a Deed of Standing Offer with the Australian Government as a member of IEP’s 2012-2015 Employment Panel and 2012-2015 Economic Development and Business Support Panel. The Indigenous Employment Program provides support for “employers, businesses and other organisations for activities or projects that help increase employment outcomes and economic participation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people”.
Since 2013 Birrang has focused increasingly on community education, training and employment support, whilst retaining its membership of the IEP Panels.
New Careers for Aboriginal People (NCAP)
Birrang was a provider of the NSW Government’s NCAP program, which “aims to increase the participation of Aboriginal people in the labour market by identifying, creating and supporting opportunities for sustainable education, training and employment”.
Road safety and licencing initiatives
Birrang is contracted by the Roads and Maritime Services [formally RTA] to deliver and facilitate a range of community based programs.
- Reduction of and facilitation of payment plans for fines and suspensions
- Development and delivery of safe driving and parental responsibility workshops
- Customised programs for Aboriginal people to obtain their licence
- Decreasing barriers to employment and financial restraints.
In July 2000 the NSW Government Introduced a new licensing scheme called the Graduated Licensing Scheme [GLS] under the scheme a learner driver who held a learner license was required to obtain a minimum of 50 hours of on road supervised driving experience before they could apply for a provisional P1 license.
In July 2007 this was revised and increased to a minimum of 120 hours of driving experience. The driving experience obtained must be recorded in the logbook and signed by their supervising driver.
The introduction of the Graduated Licensing Scheme has for many disadvantaged people left a feeling that driver licensing is out of their reach. Low levels of the literacy, financial capacity, access to licensed supervising drivers, and access to licensing enrolment in testing are significant barriers for disadvantaged including Aboriginal people to be able to obtain and maintain a driver’s licence.
Birrang’s objectives are to:
- Deliver an appropriate learner driver program which caters specifically to the needs of disadvantaged people
- Assist disadvantaged customers to remove pre – licence barriers [proof of identity, SDRO and literacy issues]
- Assist disadvantaged customers to prepare for the Driver knowledge test
- Increase the accessibility of learner drivers towards compiling the required 120 hours of supervised driving experience.
- Increase the number of disadvantaged customers entering the driver licensing system.
Birrang Learner Driver Program
The strengths and difference of the Birrang Learner Driver Program is its complete approach to all aspects of eliminating the barrier of employment of not holding or being eligible to gain a drivers licence.
The program initially addresses the Financial Planning aspect of gaining a licence that may prevent the client even gaining their learners permit. Birrang Enterprise initiates contact between the client and State Debt Recovery Office. The client is encouraged and assisted with entering into a time to pay arrangement that reduces and eliminates the fines preventing the client from progressing with their licence.
The client undergoes onsite training covering the Road User Handbook. All questions are extensively covered and discussed with a Birrang accredited trainer and are delivered in a culturally appropriate setting and manner. This enables a comfortable forum for the clients to discuss any questions and provides the most successful learning opportunity available to ensure the participant is not set up to fail. The training provides clients access to computers and familiarize them with the format of the Learner Driver Knowledge Test and gives them a pass or fail mark at the completion of each practice test. The client and trainer have comparison to work against to track progress and identify any areas of the test that may be providing problematic for the client.
When a consistent pass rate has been achieved, Birrang then guides the client through the process of booking their learner driver test at the local Roads and Maritime Service Centre. Once the learners permit has been achieved, Birrang then assists the client to accrue the hours of driving required to gain their provisional licence.
To make this possible, Birrang Enterprise has purchased five (5) dual control cars which they use to assist the learners in general operations of the vehicle and to accrue their hours. For the majority of the clients who start the driver training, without the avenue to accrue the required hours the training is almost obsolete, as the Provisional licence will not be able to achieve.
The gaining of their licence and the elimination of outstanding fines removes a major vocational barrier and in many instances, depending on the value of the fines, a major personal issue. It also has a positive ripple effect on many non-vocational barriers e.g improved levels of confidence and motivation and an elevated level of independence.