The Redfern Statement was developed in July this year by a number of Indigenous organisations to call for a better approach to all aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs.
The forum was hosted by the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion and the co-chairs of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, Dr Jackie Huggins and Mr Rod Little.
Mr Scullion thanked the signatories for producing the Redfern Statement and said he shared their vision for a brighter future, outlining current funding arrangements.
“We are investing $4.9 billion over four years in the Indigenous Affairs portfolio and I reaffirmed today my commitment to ensure every dollar in my portfolio delivers an outcome for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Mr Scullion said in a statement.
“We are funding more Indigenous organisations than ever – with 55 per cent of funding under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy now being provided to Indigenous organisations.”
The Redfern Statement compiles many recommendations from community leaders in relation to policies and programmes impacting on First Australians.
It includes restoring funding to the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples and the establishment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative bodies in areas of concern, such as education, employment and housing.
Although Mr Scullion did not explicitly commit to the establishment of these representative bodies, signatory Rod Little said that one of the key outcomes of the day was Mr Scullion’s willingness to have a better relationship with the leaders and ensure better engagement.
Mr Little told NITV News: “The Redfern Statement signatories will analyse today's event and commence development of the National Summit and prepare for our meeting with the Prime Minister.
“Obviously our calls for urgent action are on the whole government and we have assured the Minister that today is only the beginning,” Mr Little said.
Mr Scullion expressed yesterday's forum was an “opportunity to dispel some myths and false statements” about the Indigenous Affairs portfolio, including claims that $500 million had been cut from the Indigenous Affair’s portfolio.
"Those making these statements know that the savings from Indigenous Affairs programmes were less than half that figure with significant funds reinvested in new initiatives, like the successful Remote School Attendance Strategy,” Mr Scullion said.