• WA Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt announced plans for an Aboriginal advisory body in Western Australia. (AAP)Source: AAP
The newly announced Independent Office for Aboriginal people will be established after a two-year consultation process.
By
Rangi Hirini

Source:
NITV News
7 Jun 2018 - 4:14 PM  UPDATED 7 Jun 2018 - 4:15 PM

The West Australian Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt has announced Western Australia will give Aboriginal people a voice to the state parliament.

The advisory body is similar to the federal model proposed by Aboriginal leaders in last year’s Uluru Statement, which was subsequently rejected by the Turnbull government.

Minister Wyatt said the McGowan wanted to 'reset' the relationship between Aboriginal people and the WA government. 

"The proposed Advocate will advocate policy development and reform to government and provide a level of accountability about the relationship between the state government and the Aboriginal community of WA," he said.

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"Importantly, it is proposed that the Advocate will report to the parliament, not the government of the day."

Minister Wyatt labelled the proposed Aboriginal body as "a significant institutional reform".

He said the only statutory bodies currently advising the government are the Aboriginal Advisory Council and the Aboriginal Land Trust.

"Those bodies are limited in their effectiveness by a lack of Aboriginal community mandate and legislative functions about their roles," he said. 

This isn’t the only policy from last year’s Uluru statement that West Australian government says they will work towards.

Minister Wyatt has previously told NITV News the McGowan government supports treaty. He is hoping to get treaty discussions happening in WA once the Noongar native title settlement is finalised.

“When I move around WA a lot of different Aboriginal groups say, ‘well, we want to have a similar conversation with the state government that the Noongar people had',” he said.

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“I think once the Noongar settlement is resolved, the next conversation is what does a treaty look like in WA.”

Minister Wyatt, a proud Yamatji man, disagrees with prime minister Malcolm Turnbull's rejection of a national treaty.

“I think a huge opportunity was lost, I think the prime minister would regret that decision around the Uluru Statement because he didn’t need to dismiss it in the way that he did," he told NITV News.

"I think he’ll live to regret that."

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