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Indigenous Roundtable being held in Australia

An Indigenous Families and Communities Roundtable in Australia will be backed by $20 million in funding on indigenous-specific projects the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Minister John Herron and Family and Community Services Minister Jocelyn Newman announced this week.

The Roundtable, to be hosted by both Ministers in Canberra on October 24, brings together indigenous and non-indigenous leaders as well as community-development experts and representatives from church, government and industry groups to discuss how government can better support indigenous communities and families.

Senator Newman said the Roundtable would provide a forum for developing new ways of assisting indigenous families and communities.

"We take the commonsense notion that local communities know best what solutions will work for them. Senior indigenous leaders from the Roundtable will be able to advise us on how indigenous communities and families can gain as much benefit as possible from the funding," Senator Newman said.

Senator Herron said indigenous leaders had identified community breakdown, substance abuse, family violence and the need for youth leadership as some of the major problems facing their communities.

"The Government is very serious about supporting indigenous people to overcome disadvantage. The Roundtable will help us find new ways of building on our strong commitment to practical reconciliation. Indigenous Australians know what their problems are and have good ideas on how to address them. Governments need to recognise this and support indigenous communities to work together to tackle their own issues," Senator Herron said.

He said the Roundtable reflected requests from prominent indigenous Australians for governments to support indigenous communities to tackle their own problems.

"Some time ago I commissioned a report from former ATSIC commissioner Colin Dillon on possible new approaches in responding to community problems at Palm Island and Doomadgee. The Roundtable will give us the opportunity to discuss these sorts of ideas and raise issues about the role of government," Senator Herron.

"A forum like the Roundtable creates the opportunity to take a national perspective on indigenous issues and to draw the best from new and innovative approaches being discussed around the country," Senator Herron said.

Further enquiries can be made via www.australia.org.nz

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