The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Alliance announced this morning by Minister for Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin could be a step forward in giving a voice to women whose concerns need to be heard, Oxfam Australia said today.
Oxfam Australia spokesperson Sabina Curatolo said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women were the backbone of their communities and families.
“We’re awaiting further detail, but if this alliance puts women in the driver’s seat of bringing forward their concerns, setting the agenda and forming solutions, then it will be a big step forward from where we are now,” Ms Curatolo said.
Ms Macklin made the announcement at Oxfam’s Straight Talk Summit, which sees Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women of all ages and backgrounds from across the country at Parliament House meeting with female politicians to find ways to work together to improve the lives of Indigenous peoples.
Ms Curatolo welcomed the Minister’s acknowledgment that the alliance would be made stronger by diversity in its ranks.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are not one homogenous group, so the new alliance should allow their different voices to be heard,” Ms Curatolo said.
“The 55 women here at Straight Talk come from the length and breadth of Australia – from remote Badu Island in the Torres Strait and Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, to regional Victoria and metropolitan Sydney.
“Their concerns, ideas and strategies to bring about change can be vastly different, and it’s this difference and diversity that needs to be captured if the new alliance is to be truly representative and successful.
“One of the issues women at Straight Talk have consistently raised is the need to be in control of finding the solutions to problems in their communities,” she said. “These women know their community best and know what their community needs.”
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