This Monday, Thursday Island will host the first of six face-to-face engagement meetings in Queensland on the development of a new National Agreement on Closing the Gap.
The meetings provide anopportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Queensland totell the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander CommunityControlled Peaks (Coalition of Peaks) and governments what changes are neededto improve their lives.
The Lead Convenor of the Coalition of Peaks andCEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, PatTurner said that the engagements, which started in September, will provide anopportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and theirorganisations to be at the centre of decision making on those issues thataffect them.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peopleknow what works best for their communities so our voice should be at the centreof policy development,” Pat Turner said.
Unlike the original Closingthe Gap agreement reached by governments in 2008, this time Aboriginal andTorres Strait Islander peoples have a seat at the negotiating table through theCoalition of Peaks. The Coalition of Peaks are committed to making sure thatcommunities and their organisations across the country can contribute theirperspectives and have their voice heard.
“The Coalition of Peaks represent community controlled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations across Australia, including in Queensland and in key service areas such as health. We have already led community engagements in the other States, from the Northern Territory to Tasmania, and we are very pleased to commence the Queensland engagements on Thursday Island. “It is vital that the Torres Strait Islander people of Australia engage with this process”.
Following the engagement on Thursday Island on 11 November, the Coalition of Peaks will lead meetings in Townsville on 19 November, Cairns on 20 November, Mount Isa on 26 November, Ipswich on 28 November with a date to be confirmed in Rockhampton.
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