OAM formally presented to Raymond Terrace community leader Dianne Ball

Nine months after being named an Order of Australia, Raymond Terrace community leader Dianne Ball has been physically presented with the award.

Ms Ball was recognised for her work as a board member of the Raymond Terrace HealthOne Family Practice, deputy chair of Awabakal and co-founder of the Wahroonga Aboriginal Corporation in the Australia Day honours list.

On September 29, Ms Ball was formally presented with the OAM at the Port Stephens Council chambers by Mayor Ryan Palmer, Paterson MP Meryl Swanson and Port MP Kate Washington.

Ms Ball said Raymond Terrace's services, particularly for Indigenous residents, had come a long way since she moved to the area in the 1990s.

This has been achieved in part through the establishment of the Wahroonga Aboriginal Corporation which guides clients through programs including emergency relief, family support, housing, employment and medical services with support from Port Stephens Council.

"I go in and I be that voice to help our people to access services that are already existing. I don't get paid for it, I don't get funding for it, but if I can make a difference to a woman's life or a family's lives, that's my reward."

Two years ago, Ms Ball approached Raymond Terrace Rotary to help secure bulk billed medical service access for disadvantaged individuals.

There are now three practices that offer the service. She also worked with Rotary to establish a driver training program in Raymond Terrace.

A list of Ms Ball's achievements:

  • Ms Ball was the first Aboriginal woman to graduate Year 12 in her country of Gumbangerri (Armidale).
  • She has shown an absolute passion for community service with a vision of a single inclusive community.
  • As families and individuals move from country to Raymond Terrace either as they have become dispossessed or in search of employment, Ms Ball has been able to bring together community groups to soften the landing of these individuals and families by coordinating interagency support including the Salvation Army, Port Stephens Family and Neighbourhood Centre, the Smith Family, St Vincent De Paul and Rotary.
  • Ms Ball negotiated for the Awabakal Medical Services Group to take over the Raymond Terrace HealthOne premises and expand the community service offer to include programs specific to eyes, hearing, dental, psychology, Black Dog depression services and diabetes.
  • In support of domestic violence victims, Ms Ball has taken on responsibility for front line support in court and in support of victims seeking Police intervention. She follows through into areas such as crisis accommodation, child and meal support.
  • Ms Ball has initiated and participated in programs aimed at providing early intervention to children of all ethnic origins through the Smith Family in conjunction with the Raymond Terrace Primary School. The school now has a cultural learning and a transition to primary school and a transition to high school program in place.
  • She has been recognised as a finalist in Lifeline's Steel Magnolias awards, and in 2018 she received both a certificate of commendation from NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and a pride of workmanship award from Raymond Terrace's Rotary Club.