Indigenous affairs conference to set new direction for policy

Wemba Wemba artist Emma Bamblett created this piece for the Reimagining Public Administration conference.

Editorial

The Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG), in partnership with the Australian Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, will bring public sector leaders, not-for-profits, academics and Indigenous communities together to imagine a better future for Indigenous policy at a conference in Melbourne next February.

The conference aims to provide a space to explore new ideas, and discuss better ways to engage with Indigenous communities and include Indigenous knowledge and culture in public service practice.

Registrations for the Reimagining Public Administration: First Peoples, governance and new paradigms conference are now open.

ANZSOG Dean and CEO Professor Ken Smith said the conference would build on the success of the inaugural 2017 conference.

“There are no quick fixes to these issues, but there is a genuine desire for change among public services, and we hope that the conference will assist public sector leaders to make positive changes to the way they deal with Indigenous issues,” Mr Smith said.

“The purpose of this conference is to see what we can achieve together that builds on the knowledge of the past and offers a better future, which is focused on action rather than just talk for talk’s sake.”

Professor Ian Anderson, PM&C’s Deputy Secretary of Indigenous Affairs said the conference would provide valuable discussions on the direction of Indigenous policy.

“There is a need to open up to public discussion a critical and informed look at the fundamentals of public administration,” he said.

Speakers will include Melbourne University’s Professor Marcia Langton, and head of the Queensland Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Dr Chris Sarra.

Professor Langton, who has held the Foundation Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne since 2000, said the public service was not working for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

“There is a feeling that we are being ignored or forced into policies that we do not agree with.”

“There is quite a bit of education to be done – if they (public servants) are working in Indigenous areas, they need to specialise, and need rapid and intense education.”

ANZSOG and PM&C will pay transport costs for some Indigenous representatives, in a bid to ensure representation from all parts of Australia.

The conference will be held at Melbourne’s Federation Square on 20-21 February 2019.

Find out more at anzsog.edu.au

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