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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

6 October 1999


Aboriginal reconciliation heads bush this week with a community meeting scheduled at Port Headland in northwestern Australia on Thursday to discuss the Draft Declaration for Reconciliation.

May O'Brien, Western Australia representative, and Sharman Stone MP, Federal Member for Murray and Government Representative on the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, will host the meeting on Thursday from 9.30am at the Port Headland Civic Centre.

"We want to encourage all people in the Port Headland area to come along to this important community meeting. All are welcome and we look forward to hearing your views about the draft document," Sharman Stone said.

"By inviting public feedback the Council hopes the draft document will reflect the hopes and aspirations of all Australians - a people's document that all Australians can support," May O'Brien said.

The public consultation period will extend from July to November 1999, with the final document due to be launched in May 2000. 35 community meetings are being held in regional centres around the country in every state and territory.

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

"The Draft Declaration for Reconciliation is a document for all Australians - indigenous and non-indigenous. It's about moving forward together in an inclusive and consultative way."

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

"We should also remember that while a Declaration for Reconciliation is symbolically important, 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, services that most Australian's take for granted."

"It's about ensuring indigenous Australians have the means to influence their own destiny," Sharman Stone said.

For further information about the reconciliation process or to obtain a copy of the Draft Declaration fro Reconciliation contact the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation on freecall 1800 807 071.

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

Commonwealth of Australia