Aboriginal people in Moree will soon be able to have their say on local issues affecting them when a new Aboriginal Consultative Group is launched.
Moree Plains Shire Council is establishing the Moree Aboriginal Consultative Group in response to feedback gained as part of the recent Community Strategic Planning process.
The new group will allow first nations residents to have direct and genuine input into local decision-making.
“The main thing to come out of meeting with people representing the Aboriginal community and Aboriginal service providers is that there needs to be a way for Aboriginal people to be consulted in a more formal setting,” council’s community development and social planning officer Dominic Wilcox said.
“It’s not a council committee but will be an internal consultative group that council staff will consult with about issues that will affect Aboriginal people.”
In addition to providing advice to council on a variety of topics, such as decisions about land or areas that affect Aboriginal people and council events and activities involving Aboriginal people, the group will also advise other government agencies and services on request.
Meetings will be held when needed, either on the request of council or the group.
Mr Wilcox said the idea is to help facilitate meaningful connections and relationships between Moree first nations people and decision-makers.
“It’s not a window-dressing exercise, we really want it to be a two-way process and conversation,” he said.
“It’s important we start to have a platform for those voices to be heard.”
The creation of an Aboriginal Consultative Group in Moree is reflective of the national movement towards better representation for first nations people, in particular the recent call for a representative body to be enshrined in the constitution.
Mr Wilcox said the group in Moree will be a step in the right direction.
“It’s extremely important, as the first nations and custodians of the land in which we all live that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have meaningful input into decision-making, but especially decisions that affect them,” he said.
“The more that we can do this, the more we can move towards reconciliation as a community and as a nation.”
If you are interested in being involved in the group, nominations are open until June 30.
Nomination forms can be collected from Moree Plains Shire Council or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.