Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

National Executive announced for National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples

The Australian Government today welcomed the announcement of the National Executive of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.

The National Executive will oversee the full establishment of the body including the coordination of its first Annual Congress towards the end of this year.

The Government looks forward to working with co-chairs Sam Jeffries and Dr Kerry Arabena, as well as the Board Members, to close the gap in Indigenous life outcomes and opportunities.

Mr Jeffries, Dr Arabena and the board members are passionate about giving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people an effective voice to achieve lasting change.

I acknowledge the hard work of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders in developing this body with a focus on strong governance.

The establishment of the national representative body follows consideration by the Government of the report ‘Our Future in Our Hands’ developed by the former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Tom Calma, and an Indigenous Steering Committee.

The Government is committed to resetting the relationship with Indigenous Australians and working with them in new partnerships based on trust, goodwill and mutual respect.

The National Congress is expected to be fully operational by January 2011, and will provide a central mechanism with which governments, the corporate and community sectors can engage and partner on reform initiatives.

It will bring to the table an informed and strong national voice for the goals, aspirations, interests and values of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The establishment of a national representative body delivers on an important election commitment made by this Government.