A statement from Member for Parkes Mark Coulton – Come together to heal this NAIDOC Week


Member for Parkes Mark Coulton. Photo contributed

Each year, NAIDOC Week is a time to celebrate our rich Indigenous cultures, to honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander excellence, and to recognise the significant contribution Indigenous people make to our lucky country.

This year’s theme, Heal Country! is not only a call for us to better protect and preserve our lands, waters, sacred and historically significant sites, but is also an opportunity to reflect on past injustices and the ways we can all support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to thrive.

It’s about coming together, furthering reconciliation, recognising, protecting, and maintaining all aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage, and building a stronger more resilient nation, based on mutual trust and respect.

The Federal Government is committed to improving the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, through the Closing the Gap and Indigenous Voice policy initiatives.

The historic National Agreement on Closing the Gap came into effect on 27 July 2020, with four key reforms that will transform the way governments and Indigenous Australians work together.

These include shared decision-making, building the community-controlled service sector, transforming mainstream government services to work better for Aboriginal people, and building better data to support Indigenous communities to make informed decisions.

Embedding these Priority Reforms is how we will change the way we work with Indigenous Australians and provide the foundation for future progress against the socio-economic targets.

The 2021-22 Budget included important investments for achieving Closing the Gap targets and Priority Reforms. Further targeted measures will be included in the Commonwealth’s Implementation Plan to be released mid-year.

The Parkes electorate boasts one of the largest Aboriginal populations in Australia and I am proud to acknowledge the traditional owners across the region, including the Barkindji, Ngemba, Kamilaroi, Murrawarri, Nygampaa, Paantji, Mulyanguppa, Wilyakali, Tubbagah and Wiradjuri people.

NAIDOC Week is a special time for communities across the Parkes electorate and there’s plenty happening over the next week to celebrate.

I encourage everyone from all walks of life to get involved in an event in your community to learn more about local Indigenous cultures and share in the traditions that make Australia unique.

Depending on COVID-19 restrictions, we may need to adjust the way we celebrate this year. If you do attend an event, make sure you do so safely by following the current health advice. To find an event near you, visit naidoc.org.au.

We are privileged to have one of the world’s oldest continuous cultures and through NAIDOC events we can share in this proud history and Heal Country!