At 33-years-old, Selena Uibo has been appointed Australia’s youngest ever Aboriginal Affairs Minister by Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner.
Ms Uibo was appointed the NT’s Minister for Education last year and has been part of a Treaty working group that includes representatives of the Territory’s four Aboriginal land councils.
She said she loves the Territory and is proud be to able work to improve the lives of all Territorians.
“Investing in generational change and creating jobs for all Territorians – no matter where they live –are absolute priorities of the Territory Labor Government,” Ms Uibo said.
“The Territory will never reach its full potential unless we invest in remote Territorians and put them in control of the solutions.”
Ms Uibo, who was a teacher for five years before entering politics as a Labor candidate, will retain her Minister for Education and Minister for Workforce Training portfolios.
She completed her schooling in the NT towns of Batchelor and Darwin and participated in youth programs including the Aboriginal Islander Territory Aspirations Program, YMCA Youth Parliament and the National Youth Round Table.
She obtained a dual Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Education degree at the University of Queensland before moving back to the Territory to teach, including four years in her mother’s community.
In 2014 Ms Uibo won the NT Award for Excellence in Teaching or Leadership in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education in both the Arnhem region and as the overall category winner across the NT.
Her mother is a Nunggubuyu woman from Numbulwar and Wanindilyakwa and her father is a second-generation Australian who was born in Sydney and is of Estonian, Irish and South African descent. She is fluent in a number of Indigenous languages spoken in her Arnhem electorate.
Ms Uibo’s appointment is part of a cabinet reshuffle after Resources and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ken Vowles and assistant ministers Jeff Collins and Scott McConnell were recently sacked.
The three NT government members spoke out publicly about the government’s handling of the Territory’s economic crisis.
A report found the Territory’s net debt is projected to increase from $3 billion in 2017-18 to $35.7 billion by 2029-30.
Mr Gunner is expected to announce in February the appointment of a Treaty Commissioner who will oversee talks and negotiations on an historic Treaty for the Territory.
By Andrea Cantle