Giving a voice to the vulnerable

RAISE YOUR VOICE: Professor Peter Buckskin.
RAISE YOUR VOICE: Professor Peter Buckskin.

Public consultation sessions focused on establishing groups that will give indigenous people in the regions the ability to voice their issues to the federal government will be held in Port Augusta and Ceduna.

Co-Chair of the local and regional Indigenous Voice co-design group Professor Peter Buckskin said the group would help inform policy related to First Nations people at a federal level.

"The principal of co-design is to work with our communities which is why we are now consulting on the proposals that members of the working group and the senior advising group have put together for the government to consider" he said.

"That work needs to be finalised by June for a report to go to the Minister and the federal cabinet."

Local and Regional Voices would be community designed and led governance structures at a regional level.

Currently, the Local and Regional Voices could:

  • Provide clear ways for local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities and organisations in the region to get involved and have their say. This includes Traditional Owners and all other residents.
  • Allow for local priorities to be addressed at the local level
  • Have an agreed way to work together in partnership with governments (for example through regular partnership meetings).

The Interim Report proposes from 25 to 35 Local and Regional Voice regions across Australia. Feedback from consultations will help inform the advice to government in the final report on this number.

If the government supports this proposal, there will be more discussions with communities and all governments to help decide regional boundaries.

Mr Buckskin said issues around remote disadvantage were common in the region.

"Some communities are disadvantaged because of their remoteness and lack of access to services," he said.

The National Voice would be a national body made up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that provides advice to the Australian Parliament and Government.

All Australians, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people are invited to attend to provide feedback on the proposals.

Mr Buckskin said local voices were important and need to be heard so the best possible proposals can be presented in the Final Report to the Australian Government.

The interim report, fact sheets, and more information on the Indigenous Voice proposals and consultations sessions is available on the website: https://voice.niaa.gov.au/.

The Port Augusta session will be held at the Barracks on 6 Beauchamp Lane on Thursday, April 22 in three sessions from 9:30am-12:30pm, 1:30pm-4:30pm and 5.30pm - 7:30pm.

The Ceduna session is at the Far West Aboriginal Sports Complex on Tuesday, April 20, from 1:30pm-4:30pm and 5:30pm - 7:30pm.