NSWALC takes first steps to establish its own Elders and Youth Advisory Councils.

NSWALC moves to establish Elders and Youth Councils

28 May 2009

The New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council has taken the first steps to establish its own Elders and Youth Advisory Councils.

NSWALC Chairperson, Bev Manton, announced the move today following a meeting of the Council in Sydney.

Ms Manton said NSWALC's Governing Council agreed to pursue the establishment of the Elders and Youth Advisory committees to NSWALC.

She said the decision flowed from the success of the Elders and Youth Forums which were held at NSWALC's recent State Conference at Cessnock in the Hunter Valley.

"Both were included on the State Conference agenda for the first time ever and both proved an outstanding success with delegates," Ms Manton said.

"Both raised a range of issues pertinent to both groups and to all Aboriginal people committed to the future growth of the land rights network," she added.

"Issues raised by the Elders Forum included the need for a full history of Aboriginal people in New South Wales to be recorded, the need for Aboriginal languages to be preserved, and the need to lobby to have the use of the word Indigenous dropped when referring to Aboriginal people.

"The Youth Forum proposed formation of a Youth Advisory Forum or Committees at local, regional and state levels to provide a voice for Youth.

"It was suggested young people had to be provided the ability to speak up at meetings of Local Aboriginal Land Councils but faced a number of barriers.

"These included Isolation and a lack of a support network, and the inability to attain full LALC membership before the age of 18 and a lack of understanding about land rights and the ALRA were identified as barriers.

"All members of State Council were agreed at the conclusion of the State Conference that we needed to act quickly to establish appropriate forums for our Elders and our Youth.

"These issues were further discussed at today's Council meeting in Sydney and all Councillors agreed there was a need for the establishment of the Advisory Councils.

"A number of Councillors have already begun discussions at their community level on what would be involved.

"It was agreed further discussions should be held at the regional level on the shape and structure of these Advisory Committees with a report back to Governing Council from each region ahead of a formal decision to establish both Advisory Committees.

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Further Information:  Peter Windsor: Mobile 0400 554 603