Monday, 9 November 2020
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Indigenous Australians. Will the minister please update the House on the Morrison government's commitment to empowering Indigenous Australians and the importance of NAIDOC Week—
Honourable members interjecting—
My question is to the Minister for Indigenous Australians. Will the minister please update the House on the Morrison government's commitment to empowering Indigenous Australians and the importance of NAIDOC Week in celebrating and recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture?
I want to thank the member for Herbert for his ongoing advocacy in this important and key area. NAIDOC Week is an opportunity for all Australians to celebrate and engage with history and the achievement of Indigenous Australians. It's a time for us to reflect on and understand our nation's shared history and how we can learn from practices reaching back 65,000 years to better inform our actions of today. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were the first of many: Australia's first explorers and navigators, first scientists and engineers, and first astronomers and artists. The Morrison government acknowledges this, and that's why we are working to empower all Indigenous Australians and ensure that we utilise Indigenous knowledge in developing programs and policies that better all Australians.
Last week, the Minister for the Environment, the minister for agriculture and I announced the opening of a $2 million grants round to strengthen and share traditional knowledge and practices in respect of Indigenous fire and land management practices. This builds on the findings of the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements, which called for all governments to further engage with Indigenous owners to explore the role Indigenous land and fire management practices can play in improving Australia's resilience to natural disasters and the management of public land.
Empowering Indigenous Australians goes beyond the work of our government. We are a partner with the Indigenous Australians and state and territory governments through the priority reforms we are implementing in programs and policies that address the refreshed targets in a national Closing the Gap agreement. Indigenous Australians must be seated at the table in this decision-making. But we know Indigenous Australians are more than capable of excelling in their own right. This morning I was honoured to visit DXC Technology here in Canberra to launch their reconciliation action plan—a practical and tangible example of how businesses are investing in Indigenous Australians and creating opportunities for individuals to reach their potential.
Our role is to enable an environment where Indigenous voices are heard, Indigenous knowledge is accepted and Indigenous enterprises are supported. A practical example of this is the government's Indigenous Procurement Policy. Empowering Indigenous people in key decisions on how businesses are run or projects are implemented is critical to improving the broader economic outcomes. From 1 July 2020 the Commonwealth's value based target will rise from one per cent to 1.2 per cent. This will sit alongside the existing three per cent volume based targets and they will increase the opportunities post COVID. Our culture is as important today as it was 65,000 years ago, and their involvement in shared decision-making is a strength that our government will take forward. Thank you.