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Territory's emerging Indigenous leaders address NT Cabinet

Callan Morse -

Members of the Northern Territory's First Circles Leadership Program recently addressed the Territory's highest level of government at a special cabinet meeting.

Held last Tuesday, the 18 Aboriginal leaders, who hail from across the Territory, offered advice and guidance on policies, projects and initiatives that impact on Aboriginal Territorians and remote communities.

The Cabinet presentation completed the journey for the 10 male and eight female participants that commenced in March of this year, which involved learning about the government, its policies, programs and mode of operation.

Earlier in the year, participants attended workshops across the Territory, as well as the NT Aboriginal Leadership and Governance Forum in Alice Springs.

First Circles member and Yarralin community member, Wesley Campbell, said participating in the program helped him grow as a leader within his community.

"Being a member of the First Circles Leadership Program has enhanced my knowledge of leadership and provided opportunities to step outside my comfort zone and grow," Mr Campbell said.

"Knowledge is power and strong leadership is essential to positively influence and contribute to our communities and regions."

Through the program, participants also learnt how to produce and present effective presentations, and useful techniques to use when having difficult conversations in order to influence change.

First Circles member and Barunga community member, Andrea Andrews, said the experiences she gained through the program are helping her follow in her father's footsteps.

"Leadership is an area that I want to excel in, following in my father's footsteps. I want young men and women to see how amazing it will be to be a First Circles member," Ms Andrews said.

"To come and experience great opportunities to gain more skills and knowledge. To learn about government policies and processes and how to best influence positive decision making to achieve better outcomes for our communities."

The First Circles Leadership Program is an NT Government flagship program aimed to help identify, mentor and support Aboriginal emerging leaders from remote communities across the Northern Territory.

Northern Territory Minister for Local Decision Making, Selena Uibo, said participating in the program helped prepare her for a career in the public sector.

"As a First Circles member in 2015, I valued the opportunity the program presented in focusing on solutions in my remote community. It is important as Government that we support people in regional and remote communities to enhance their leadership skills," Minister Uibo said.

"First Circles is a program for emerging community leaders to share their stories and ideas and to work directly with the government to create change at a local level and have their voices heard."

Northern Territory Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Chansey Paech, said the First Circles initiative helps participants continue to build on their skills and knowledge, and to amplify their voices.

"It's brilliant to see so many strong and deadly Aboriginal Territorians from remote communities across the NT having the opportunity to participate in First Circles," Minister Paech said.

The program is calling for expressions of interest from Aboriginal Territorians that want to be part of the program in 2024.

Applications close on 30 November 2023. For more information visit aboriginalaffairs.nt.gov.au.

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