Queensland committee an ‘historic step’ to ATSI self-determination

By Melissa Coade

July 8, 2022

Craig Crawford
Queensland minister for seniors and disability services, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander partnerships Craig Crawford. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

A new First Nations Consultative Committee (FNCC) has been named by the  Queensland state government to mark NAIDOC week and give Indigenous Australians a greater say in decisions about their lives, communities and future.

Patricia (Pattie) Lees, Terry O’Shane, Karen Dini-Paul, Edward Smallwood, Joshua Gorringe, Kerry Crumblin, Cameron Costello, and Talei Elu are the inaugural eight committee members. Their appointments will be for a 12-month tenure. 

In a statement, minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) Partnerships Craig Crawford said the appointments to the FNCC marked an important step to realise a voice to parliament for First Nations. 

“After a state-wide expression of interest, members have been appointed based on their connection to their region, expertise and experience,’’ Crawford said of the appointees chosen from every region in Queensland.

“Each member demonstrated they had community support and proven ability to advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders of all ages, abilities, genders, and locations.”

Their advice would inform the state’s input into proposed national reforms, he added. 

“[The committee] will help design a Queensland Indigenous Voice model that best meets the needs and priorities of First Nations peoples and reflects the diversity of ATSI peoples and communities in Queensland,” Crawford said. 

“This is about giving voice to the people. It involves them working with and listening to First Nations peoples across the state.”

Last May, the Queensland government publicly released an interim report into its Indigenous Voice co-design process to the federal government. The state government has since committed to furthering discussions with federal counterparts about how the outcomes of this state-based co-design work can inform the national Voice reform.

The minister said the group’s experiences would lead the government’s co-design process and also consider what form state-based structure a voice to parliament should take. 

“We also need to make sure non-Indigenous Queenslanders are part of this incredible momentum we have across Australia as we work towards: Voice, Treaty and Truth,” Crawford said.

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