On the morning of 14 February 2017, Jackie Huggins Co-Chair of National Congress for Australia’s First Peoples handed Prime Minister Turnbull a Coolamon holding the Redfern Statement. In doing so, on behalf of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, she will call for:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have the solutions - it’s time Australian governments listen and genuinely engage with Australia’s First People.
What is the Redfern Statement?
Launched on 9 June 2016 during the federal election campaign the Redfern Statement comprehensively set out their expectations and priorities for engagement and progress by Australian Governments.
The Redfern Statement is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander blueprint to address the disadvantage and inequality still besetting their communities today. We know that the measures in it are far more likely to succeed than any top-down approach from a disengaged government.
The statement contains sections on: meaningful engagement, health, justice, preventing violence, early childhood and disability.
Why is it so significant?
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are amongst the most disadvantaged people in Australia, with the worst rankings in social indicators of education, employment, health, standard of living and incidence of family violence.
Over the past 25 years there have been numerous reports and hundreds of recommendations on how to end this disadvantage and resolve massive gaps in equality. However, in this time few have been adopted and most have been ignored.
The disadvantage confronting many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people won’t be improved if the identified strategies for improvement are ignored.
We join National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples and other peak organisations in seeking a commitment from the Prime Minister and his government to commence a period of structured and focussed engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations on each of the areas identified in the Redfern Statement.
This includes a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Summit in September, where we’ll be seeking clear commitments to act on the outcomes developed through genuine partnership.
How does ANTaR support the Redfern Statement?
We supported the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples and the peak organisations from the very start of developing it, and we are dynamic hard-working partners on three of the national campaign coalitions supporting the statement: Close the Gap, Change the Record and Family Matters.
We have played an active role in developing the approach to launching the statement last year and in handing it to the Prime Minister at Parliament House on the 14th February 2017.
We have campaigned relentlessly on the Redfern Statement since it was launched and have had some important breakthroughs.
Last year ANTaR, with the backing of our supporters, we called on the Prime Minister to meet with First Peoples, and for government to engage with First Peoples’ peak organisations on the Redfern Statement, and we were successful.
And now we’ve supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations to take the Redfern Statement to Canberra to hand it directly to the Prime Minister in this historic event in the Great Hall of Parliament House.