Garma ignites a new approach to engagement

Release Date: 
6 August 2019
Media release

Story-telling around campfires depicts a very Australian way of learning for so many of us.

Every year at the Garma Festival, big-sky thinkers, community leaders, organisations and government come together to talk, listen and learn around campfires.

In 2019, for the first time in history, the first Indigenous Cabinet Minister and first Indigenous Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, sat with cultural leaders to discuss a ‘new approach of old’ that will drive the National Indigenous Australians Agency’s (NIAA) engagement strategy.

‘I want to acknowledge the Yolngu leaders who have announced their commitment to walk with me to deliver cultural and political leadership. I would like to personally thank Dr Galarrwuy Yunupingu and his brother Djawa Yunupingu’

‘I pay my respect and honour to Michael Yunupingu for outlining the joint journey of his 21 years of life as a young Yolngu man and the parallels of the 21 years of the Garma festival. It is important for the Morrison Government and I to understand the hopes, challenges and wisdom of our future leaders,’ explained Minister Wyatt.

‘Improving the way we work with community will be pivotal to our approach to support Indigenous Australians by embedding Indigenous knowledge into how we deliver culturally appropriate interactions and better outcomes.’

A culturally informed engagement will guide our approach, which will place community elders and leaders with cultural authority as the pivotal point of contact on all deliberation. Equally important, we will ensure that the appropriate Agency representation will be provided respectfully.

‘There will be no more informing in the name of consultation. To ensure this takes place I will seek counsel from Indigenous cultural elders across the nation to guide my decision making process,’ said Minister Wyatt.

Elders from across the nation will provide Minister Wyatt with cultural advice to best inform him of his approach to deliver for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

‘The time of imposing policy on Indigenous people is over and the time for informed sound Indigenous-led initiatives has begun. We also need to remember that we are many of different voices, nations and views’ said Minister Wyatt.