As we embark on the long-awaited national referendum to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australian Constitution, the AH&MRC reaffirms its support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
The 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart called for:
- Constitutional recognition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
- Makarrata (agreement making/ treaties); and
As the Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Peak Body in New South Wales, the AH&MRC works to support thriving and empowered Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. We recognise that the achievement of this vision will require significant work to address the structural problems that have created the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
The AH&MRC notes that shared decision making, and self-determination are core tenets of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, to which the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments are signatories. The National Agreement acknowledges that our people have faced disadvantage, political exclusion, intergenerational trauma and institutional racism. It emphasises the need for a fundamental shift to a system in which our people are engaged as equal partners, acknowledging that we are best placed to make decision for our communities.
The AH&MRC also believes that the mechanism for operationalising Constitutional recognition under the Uluru Statement, must be developed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and not dictated by government.
It is high time that we as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a say in the matters that impact on us.