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Peak community-controlled Indigenous research institute backs Voice as a means for better outcomes

Jarred Cross -

Australia's peak community-controlled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research institute says a Voice to Parliament presents an opportunity to improve lives.

Lowitja, a member of the Government's Referendum Engagement Group, backs the adoption of implementation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart's calls for Voice, Treaty and Truth for the benefit of health and wellbeing of Indigenous people.

"We welcome the Statement of Intent, recently signed by the Prime Minister and state and territory leaders, that formally recognises the importance of constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and for a Voice to Parliament enshrined in the Constitution," Lowitja Institute chief executive and adjunct professor Janine Mohamed said.

Ms Mohamed said long-term economic disadvantage and social exclusion has contributed to lower life-expectancy, higher disease and disability rates.

Lowitja Institute chief executive and adjunct professor Janine Mohamed. image supplied

She pointed to democracies like Canada and Aotearoa (New Zealand) as examples of nations instilling constitutional recognition on First Peoples and inclusion in decision-making on issues affecting them.

Lowitja chair Selwyn Button said an enshrined Voice will allow First Nations Australians to be heard, a crucial element for realising better outcomes.

"It would enable even our most vulnerable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members – who have long been absent from federal government decisions – to have a seat at the table when decisions that directly affect them are being made," he said.

"The Voice will help fix a glaring omission of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australian Constitution – our country's birth certificate.

"That can only be a unifying moment for the nation and a long-awaited one for our peoples."

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