Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Next steps for Indigenous body

The Australian Government is advancing the establishment of a National Indigenous Representative Body to give Indigenous Australians a voice.

The process for establishing the body will be lead by Indigenous Australians.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner will convene a roundtable meeting of Indigenous leaders in early 2009 on the shape of the new body.

Tom Calma will convene a steering committee to oversee the process.

Following a public nomination process, the committee will select around 100 people to help develop a sustainable body with a strong voice for all Indigenous people.

The initial public consultation process to establish a National Indigenous Representative Body began in July 2008 and included 80 public meetings in each state and territory and received more than 100 submissions.

The consultations have been extended due to requests for more time for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to consider what form the National Indigenous Representative Body should take.

The Government is determined to reset the relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

The national apology to Indigenous Australians, in particular the Stolen Generations, was the first step in building a bridge between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

It is vital that Indigenous people have a voice and a means to express it.

Mr Calma will present the results of the roundtable and further consultations to the Government by July 2009.

This expanded process will build on the first round of consultations, which demonstrated the widespread support for a sustainable new body.

The Australian Government is committed to establishing the body during this term in office.

The Government has indicated that the new representative body will:

  • not be another ATSIC; and
  • have urban, regional and remote representation.

Information about the nomination process to attend the workshop will be advertised in Indigenous media throughout January.