12 July 2019


NSWALC Statement on Commonwealth Commitment to Constitutional Recognition Referendum


The New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council is encouraged by the Federal Government commitment to a referendum on constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

The announcement was made by Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt at the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday.

The plan would usher in a referendum on constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians within three years.

Acting NSWALC Chair Anne Dennis said this was a step in the right direction towards substantive constitutional and structural reforms based on the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

However, Cr. Dennis urges the Government to move beyond recognition to more meaningful reforms.

"This is long overdue and there is an absolute need for constitutional reform to strengthen legislative and other practical approaches. Symbolic recognition alone is insufficient," Cr. Dennis said.

"I am heartened that Minister Wyatt has reaffirmed his pledge to co-design the proposals with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people."

"I call on the Minister to continue working with NSWALC and Aboriginal communities as proposals are developed and refined."

NSWALC has previously expressed its support for the Voice to Parliament, and has called for consultation with Aboriginal people to develop the precise model.

Cr Dennis also supported Minister Wyatt's intention to take a bipartisan approach to the issue.

"I am confident that politicians from all sides will bring good faith to the table, not just in their discussions in Canberra but with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as well."