NACCHO #RedfernStatement meeting today : Indigenous Affairs Minister Scullion to face some of his most vocal and influential critics

leaders

“We are looking forward to the workshop and a new narrative moving forward in the way that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs is negotiated,”

“We hope [the workshop] will bring some answers and some new direction, engagement and a new relationship.”

National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples co-chair Jackie Huggins 

Download Redfern Statement here

redfern-statement-june-2016-elections-18-pages

“I would like to explore strategies to progress issues outlined in the Redfern Statement — and note there are significant areas in which it aligns with the Government’s Indigenous reform agenda,”

“I share the aspirations outlined in the Redfern Statement and see the workshop as an important step to bring about positive and sustainable change. We must connect through genuine dialogue, and I am looking forward to a continuing and constructive conversation.”

Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion will face some of his most vocal and influential critics, when he holds a workshop with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders leaders on the Redfern Statement today reports Anna Henderson on the ABC

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alert : Major #Redfernstatement by leadership for #healthelection16

Picture above NACCHO CEO Pat Turner with some of the leaders meeting today

During the election campaign, 18 Indigenous groups, backed by prominent human rights, legal, health and education organisations, launched the Redfern Statement.

The lengthy document called for urgent action to reverse half a billion dollars in federal funding cuts and a review of the way federal funding is distributed.

It further made a case for the inclusion of a specific Closing the Gap target for reducing Indigenous imprisonment.

One of the most controversial proposals was to reverse the Abbott government decision to move the Department of Indigenous Affairs into the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The statement calls for the department to be re-established and “managed and run by senior Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander public servants”.

The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples spearheaded the Redfern Statement, which has suffered significant funding cuts under the Coalition and has had a rocky relationship with the Minister.

But the organisation’s co-chair Jackie Huggins is optimistic about today’s meeting and what it can achieve.

Don Dale triggers new approach

Dr Huggins said the scandal engulfing the Northern Territory youth detention system appeared to have contributed to the Minister’s new approach to the portfolio.

National Congress of Australia's First Peoples co-chair Jackie Huggins speaks.

A number of the positions in the Redfern Statement are at odds with current government policy, but Senator Scullion has stressed his interest in finding common ground.

Dr Huggins has agreed there is room for compromise on all fronts.

“There is room for negotiation tomorrow and into the future,” she said last night.

Senator Scullion released a statement announcing the workshop at the end of last month, and said it will “build on the Government’s reforms” and provide an opportunity for stronger ties with the signatories.

“I would like to explore strategies to progress issues outlined in the Redfern Statement — and note there are significant areas in which it aligns with the Government’s Indigenous reform agenda,” Minister Scullion said.

“I share the aspirations outlined in the Redfern Statement and see the workshop as an important step to bring about positive and sustainable change. We must connect through genuine dialogue, and I am looking forward to a continuing and constructive conversation.”

The National Congress is hoping the workshop will be followed by a meeting with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull directly.

Dr Huggins said she thought the Government and Indigenous groups were in agreement on about 80 per cent of the statement.

Statement calls for Indigenous-run portfolio

Dr Huggins said there was a strong case for Indigenous public servants to run a stand-alone portfolio.

“It’s not working at the moment and obviously there is a flaw in the system and we would say certainly, with people who are doing those jobs, in terms of the bureaucracy, in terms of really having the cultural capability to carry out the work that needs to be done, there’s a real bottleneck here,” she said.

“The best way to address it is to employ senior Aboriginal bureaucrats who can transcend the barriers, that know within their own communities what’s happening.”

Former prime minister Tony Abbott carried through an election promise to move Indigenous Affairs into the prime minister’s department.

Mr Abbott promoted Indigenous Affairs to be one of his top priorities and argued the departmental change would ensure the portfolio was given the prominence it deserved.

A number of Abbott government policy and budget decisions face criticism in the Redfern Statement

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