28 May 2019

Ken Wyatt's appointment a landmark for Aboriginal people

Australia will see the appointment of its first Aboriginal Cabinet Minister following Prime Minister Scott Morrison's announcement of his Ministry.

As well as being promoted to the Cabinet, Member for Hasluck, Ken Wyatt will also become the first Aboriginal person to serve as Federal Minister for Indigenous Australians.

New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council Chairperson, Cr Roy Ah-See said the appointment of Ken Wyatt would be seen as a key milestone for Aboriginal people.

"For the first decade and a half of his life, Ken wasn't even counted in the Federal census.  Now he will have a seat at the Cabinet table when all the big decisions concerning the future of our country are made," Cr Ah-See said.

Cr Ah-See said Minister Wyatt was well placed to forge the new partnership with the Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Bodies as foreshadowed in the Prime Minister's Closing the Gap speech.

"Ken has the respect of Aboriginal leaders and has a very strong understanding of Aboriginal health and education.  He's the ideal person to drive positive outcomes out of this partnership," Cr Ah-See said.

Cr Ah-See said Minister Wyatt's willingness to work in a bi-partisan way was also one of his strengths.

"Ken has never been one for political point scoring.  Instead, his focus is on working across the aisle to secure long term, positive change for our people."

"The strong relationships he has built with Labor's Patrick Dodson and Linda Burney will be crucial to furthering Constitutional recognition as spelt out in the Uluru Statement," he said.

Cr Ah-See also paid tribute to outgoing Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Nigel Scullion.

"We had a fantastic relationship with Nigel and wish him well in retirement," Cr Ah-See said.

"However, there is no one better placed to continue his work than Ken Wyatt."