Thursday, March 12, 2009

Indigenous Australian Aboriginal Workshop Begins in Adelaide

National Indigenous Workshop Kicks Off in Adelaide, Australia March 11

One hundred Indigenous people from around the country will meet in Adelaide next week for a three-day workshop to lay the groundwork for a new national Indigenous representative body.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma, who agreed to a request from the federal government to convene the independent Indigenous Steering Committee organising the consultation, said the 100 applicants were selected from a highly competitive field.

“There was an extraordinary field of highly committed Indigenous people from all walks of life who applied,” Mr Calma said.

“Such a high quality field of applicants meant that the selection process in the end had to come down to obtaining an appropriate balance of ages, locations and experience so that the workshop can represent the diversity of Indigenous communities across the country.”

Mr Calma said 263 applications were received by the closing date on 13 February, with a further 35 late applications which were not considered. He said 56 per cent of the applicants were male, 44 per cent were female and that 45 per cent were from urban areas, 34 per cent from regional areas and 21 per cent from remote communities.

“This national workshop will focus on identifying the key elements or features of a new national Indigenous representative body which can then be distilled down to a series of preferred models for the new body,” Mr Calma said.

“The workshop won’t be endorsing a final model for a national representative body nor will it be deciding the membership of it.”

The independent Indigenous Steering Committee assessed each applicant against criteria in the nomination form, including: the requirement that they be an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander; that they be nominated by an Indigenous community organisation or self nominated with two written references supporting the nomination; that they have demonstrated leadership capacity; that they have an ability to take part in high level discussions on strategic issues; and that they are able to make a positive and considered contribution to deliberations on the establishment of the new national Indigenous representative body.

Read more about the National Indigenous workshop here.

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