Launched on 9 June 2016 during the federal election campaign the Redfern Statement comprehensively sets out Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander 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.

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 called for:

“A new relationship that respects and harnesses [our] expertise, and recognises our right to be involved in decisions being made about us”.

She appealed to the government to: “Draw on our collective expertise, our deep understanding of our communities, and lifetimes of experience working with our people.”

She made clear to the Prime Minister that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have the solutions and that it’s time Australian governments listen and genuinely engage with Australia’s First People.

Why is it so significant?

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are amongst the most disadvantaged people in Australia, faring the worst in the country across  social indicators such as 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. But 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.