While working at Canberra Hospital more than 30 years ago, Julie Tongs initiated a liaison service to bridge the gap between Indigenous patients and hospital staff. This work led her to become CEO of Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services in 1998. Winnunga provides a culturally safe environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to access health and community services.
A Wiradjuri woman, Julie is always generous with her time, readily available to offer advice and information on matters involving the health and wellbeing of the Australian Capital Territory’s Indigenous population.
Julie also dedicates her time to helping Indigenous people who are detained in the Alexander Maconochie Centre. She advocates for more appropriate monitoring, effective management and support.
This work can be stressful at times, and sometimes involves supporting families whose relatives have died in prison. Despite this, Julie never shies away from the work. She’s always prepared to pursue their concerns in a bid to achieve better societal outcomes.