On Friday 26 May 2023, the Minister for Indigenous Australians and the Assistant Minister for Indigenous Health met with the Referendum Engagement Group.
The meeting was held at Yulara and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, on the lands of the Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara peoples.
The Group gathered in the spiritual and geographic centre of the country on the sixth anniversary of the signing of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and on the eve of the historic 1967 Referendum.
Today is also National Sorry Day, when we remember and acknowledge the pain and trauma experienced by members of the Stolen Generations, who were taken away from their families and communities.
The referendum later this year, to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Constitution through a Voice is a major step forward in implementing the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
The Referendum Engagement Group acknowledged the passing of Yolngu man of the Gumatj clan Dr Yunupingu, a member of the Referendum Working Group.
The Group also acknowledged the passing of Uncle Alfred Neal from Yarrabah, who was instrumental to the 1967 Referendum.
Members of the Group discussed their role in engaging with First Nations communities and the broader Australian public, to ensure all Australians are able to fully participate in this historic opportunity.
Ms Dorrelle Anderson, the Central Australian Regional Controller, joined the group to give an update on implementation of the plan for A Better, Safer Future for Central Australia – a $250 million package to improve community safety in this region.
The Australian Electoral Commission provided an update on its preparatory work to deliver the referendum later this year.
The Group travelled to Mutitjulu to mark the anniversary of the Uluru Statement of the Heart.
In the words of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, “in 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard”. In 2023, Australia has the opportunity to listen to the call from First Nations people to walk together to a better future.