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Media Release
The Hon Dr Sharman Stone MP
Federal Member for Murray
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
for the Environment and Heritage

3 June 1999

PUBLIC COMMENT WELCOMED ON RECONCILIATION DOCUMENT


Australians from all walks of life have been invited to contribute to the Reconciliation process, with the release of the Draft Declaration for Reconciliation for public consultation, Sharman Stone MP said.

The Draft Document for Reconciliation is being launched around Australia by Council Members today to coincide with National Reconciliation Week.

Mrs Stone, the Federal Government's Representative on the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, said the Council urged all Australians to get involved in the nation-wide consultation over the latter half of the year, and to provide their views on the document.

"This is for all Australians - indigenous and non-indigenous. It's about moving forward together in an inclusive and consultative way."

"Raising awareness about the Reconciliation process, what it means and how ordinary Australians can contribute, is vitally important."

"By inviting public feedback the Council hopes the Draft Document will be broadly reflective of the hopes and aspirations of all Australians - a people's document that all Australians can support," Sharman Stone said.

The public consultation period will extend from July to November 1999, with the final document due to be launched in May 2000.

The Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation is holding a series of 35 public meetings in regional centres around the country in every state and territory to gather public views. People are also encouraged to organise their own discussions and provide feedback to the Council.

The Declaration for Reconciliation was drafted by the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation. The Council, established in by an Act of Parliament in 1991, aims to promote reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the wider Australian community by the year 2001.

"Its great to see we are moving beyond talk to action on Reconciliation. Creating a blueprint for the community, governments and the business sector is vitally important if we are to achieve equality and justice for indigenous peoples."

"A Document of Reconciliation is symbolically important, but to achieve real Reconciliation we have to raise the standard of living for indigenous peoples, create more job opportunities, particularly in the private sector, and improve access to basic services such as health, housing and education that other Australians take for granted. It's about ensuring indigenous Australians have the tools to influence their own destiny."

"The Federal Government is already marching ahead with indigenous communities trying to address disadvantage and promote economic independence."

"That's why initiatives such as the $115 million Indigenous Employment Policy announced recently by Minister Reith are so vitally important," Mrs Stone said.

For further information about the Reconciliation process or to obtain a copy of the Draft Declaration, the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation can be contacted on freecall 1800 807 071.

For further information please contact:
Nicole Johnston, Assistant Adviser, 0419 219 415 or 02 6277 2016

Commonwealth of Australia