Sunday, 22 November 2009
New National Congress of Australia's First Peoples announced
Tom Calma, Chair of the Steering Committee charged with establishing the new national Indigenous representative body, has today announced that the new organisation will be called the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples.
Commissioner Calma, who has convened the independent Indigenous Steering Committee since December last year, announced the name after the federal Government confirmed it had accepted the recommendations of the Committee's report, Our future in our hands, and had agreed to initial funding of the organisation until December 2013.
"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have been without a representative voice for too long," Commissioner Calma said.
"This is a critical moment in forging a new relationship with the Australian Government and I thank them for honouring their commitment to establish the new representative body in this term of government."
Commissioner Calma said that setting up the new National Congress of Australia's First Peoples was a monumental task that would require a development phase until the end of 2010.
"The Steering Committee has continued to work in a voluntary capacity on the institutional arrangements for the organisation in recent months and will continue to do so for the coming months. I thank them for their tireless dedication and personal commitment," Commissioner Calma said.
The Steering Committee continues to focus on:
- establishing the Ethics Council for the organisation;
- selecting and appointing the interim National Executive to lead the organisation through the development phase;
- completing the preparatory work required to incorporate the company, including developing the constitution and the rules of the organisation in order to lodge it with ASIC; and
- finalising selection documentation and the duty statement for the Chief Executive Officer, with the recruitment process for the CEO to commence in the coming weeks.
"It is critical that we carry through the knowledge and understandings gained by the Steering Committee over the last year and ensure this is used to help us in the start-up phase of the National Congress," Commissioner Calma said.
"For this reason, the Committee has agreed that one member of the Steering Committee will initially sit on the Ethics Council and one member will sit on the Interim National Executive.
"An announcement on the Ethics Council can be expected in the next week."
Mr Calma said once in place, the Ethics Council would recommend to the Steering Committee the suitability of candidates for the eight-person Interim National Executive and their appointment would follow a merit based selection process.
"With funding secured for the initial years of operation, it is now up to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to put our future in our hands," Mr Calma said.
"I call on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to support the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples and contribute to the task of building a truly representative and effective national voice."
Media contact: Louise McDermott 0419 258 597