Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in South Australia are able to take a leading role in shaping their communities by nominating for the inaugural First Nations Voice to State Parliament, which opened on Monday.
It comes after the South Australian government became the first jurisdiction in Australia to create a First Nations Voice to Parliament when it passed the First Nations Voice Bill 2023 in March last year.
The government is now urging Indigenous South Australians to make their voices heard by putting their hands up for the six Local Voices, across six regions of the state that will make up the advisory body.
Most of the regions will have seven elected members, while the Central region covering the Greater Adelaide area will have 11 due to the higher population of First Nations people.
The yet-to-be-determined regions will be drawn up after community engagement and advice from leaders and experts.
Each region will choose two joint presiding members, which will make up the First Nations Voice.
The nomination period is open until 5 pm on 12 February, with elections scheduled for March 16. To be eligible, nominees must be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent and registered on the South Australian electoral roll.
Commissioner for First Nations Voice and Kaurna, Narungga, Ngadjuri and Ngarrindjeri man Dale Agius, said he wanted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to help shape the future of communities in South Australia.
"The First Nations Voice to State Parliament is a game changer, where hearing directly from community representatives can make a difference," he said.
"It's an opportunity to engage with decision-makers at the highest level of the state government and shape the policies that impact our lives.
"Now is the time for people who want to see our communities thrive into the future to stand up to get involved – to ensure our voices are heard loud and clear."
South Australian Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Kyam Maher, said his government would get the best outcomes by listening to the people impacted by government decisions
"South Australia's First Nations Voice was legislated in March 2023, and now Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the chance to nominate to represent their local community," he said.
"I would urge all South Australia Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with a passion for their communities and a desire to see better outcomes to stand up and nominate for these important roles."
More information is available at savoiceelection.sa.gov.au, with successful nominations to be announced on 26 February.