A NEW representative body independent from government, with an equal number of men and women in leadership roles and reliance on strict ethical standards are among the key elements of a ground-breaking new approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs proposed today by a Steering Committee led by Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma.
Announcing the proposed model for a new national representative body during an address at the National Press Club today, Commissioner Calma said Australians could be on the cusp of great change.
“Today is a day when, as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, we begin a new journey and express our determination to put our future in our hands,” Commissioner Calma said.
“What we are proposing today will be radically different from anything we have ever seen in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs. It will certainly not be ‘business as usual’.”
Commissioner Calma was asked by federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin in December 2008 to convene an independent Indigenous Steering Committee to undertake phase two of consultations and develop a model for a new national Indigenous representative body.
He said the new representative body should be a private company limited by guarantee and should be funded by the Australian Government on a recurrent basis for an initial five-year period, subject to negotiation.