The Australian Government is proud to support one of Australia’s largest cultural events, expanding the iconic Barunga Festival with an additional $150,000 for the festival’s cultural program.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said this year marked 30 years since the Barunga Statement was delivered to the then Prime Minister Bob Hawke stating the aspirations and demands of Aboriginal leaders from across the Northern Territory.
“Thirty years on from the Barunga Statement, we have achieved a lot as a nation with First Australians.
“Through the Native Title and Land Rights regimes, Indigenous land is now 46 per cent of all land in Australia, and in the Northern Territory the Australian Government is investing an additional $8.5 million to progress land and sea claims, ensuring Aboriginal land is granted as soon as possible.
“Our recent reforms to the Land Account, which funds the Indigenous Land Corporation’s (ILC) land acquisition program, will deliver an additional $1.5 billion in new opportunities for the Indigenous Estate and we have ensured that First Australians who want the ILC’s support to invest in their sea country are now able to do so.
“Through our Empowered Communities policy, we are supporting more place-based and local decision making in eight regions across Australia about the services and programmes delivered in their communities.
“The Australian Government is also looking at a post-determination future and I am excited by the early discussions and work we are doing with Cape York leaders on the Pama Futures model for greater autonomy and decision-making.
“The Australian Government of course remains committed to pursuing Constitutional reform to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in our nation’s founding document,” Minister Scullion said.
As one of Australia’s premier cultural events, this year’s festival is also something for all Territorians to be proud of. It is expected to bring up to 4000 people to the Barunga region for three days of music, sport, traditional arts and cultural activities.
“Barunga comes alive during the festival, the local economy gets a boost and all manner of Aboriginal small businesses from across the Territory have the opportunity to showcase their products to a wider audience.
The Festival also hosted an important joint meeting of all four Northern Territory Land Councils which Minister Scullion was pleased to address on Thursday the 7th of June.
“I recognise the important role of land councils in the Northern Territory including as the largest representative bodies – and I am working in partnership to ensure Northern Territory Land Councils have a significant role in policies and programs that are delivered to benefit Aboriginal Territorians, including housing, ranger programs and the Community Development Programme.
I am delighted to attend the Territory festival in its 33rd year and encourage others to join in the celebrations.
This year’s festival will be managed by Skinnyfish Music, appointed by the Bagala Traditional Owners.
The Barunga Festival is held from 8-10 June. More information on the festival can be found at – www.barungafestival.com.au