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Time for leadership on reconciliation: Labor charts a new course on Indigenous affairs.

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Senator Kim Carr

Labor Senator for Victoria Shadow Minister for Public Administration and Open Government, Indigenous Affairs and Reconciliation and the Arts

30 May 2005

Time for leadership on reconciliation Labor charts a new course on Indigenous affairs

The ALP has today outlined the beginning of a new course on Indigenous affairs, acknowledging that as a nation we are still failing Indigenous Australians and we must find a better way.

Under Labor a new Department of Indigenous Affairs would be established as a separate department within Cabinet.

Indigenous Australians deserve a dedicated department. They do not deserve to be lumped in with the increasingly discredited Department of Immigration.

Labor believes the national government has a responsibility to say sorry to the Stolen Generations and Labor will do it. It is not time to forget and move on, as the Howard Government would have us believe.

Labor believes that Indigenous people must have control over their own futures. To achieve genuine self-determination, a new national representative body must be established that is workable and supported by Indigenous Australians.

Labor believes that real reconciliation cannot be achieved until economic prosperity is shared. Traditional owners should be able to enter into fair partnerships, and get a fair return from projects on Indigenous land.

Prime Minister John Howard promised today that his Government will not undermine Aboriginal land rights. Labor will hold him to that pledge. Labor will not support changes to land rights or native title legislation that have not been the subject of full consultation and are not supported by Indigenous Australians.

Further information: Kim Carr 0419 563 922, Catriona Jackson, 0417 142 238.