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Indigenous Australians will be at the centre of the Coalition’s plans to develop Northern Australia, Shadow Indigenous Affairs Minister Senator Nigel Scullion said while speaking at the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Yirrkala Bark Petitions.
“I have made a commitment on behalf of the Coalition that Aboriginal people will be front and centre of economic development that springs from The Coalition’s 2030 Vision for Developing Northern Australia,” Senator Scullion said.
“The 50th anniversary of the Yirrkala Bark Petitions reminds me of those times when Aboriginal people were bypassed when it came to economic opportunities. It won’t happen under the Coalition.
“Indigenous Australians are telling me that welfare is destroying their people. Land rights offer an opportunity to turn that around. We should be listening to people like the great campaigner for Indigenous Land Rights Galarrwuy Yunupiŋu, who spoke about the need to get serious about economic development.
“It is a shame that at such a positive event the Prime Minister tried to politicise the bi-partisan issue of constitutional recognition of Indigenous people.
The process has involved a very close partnership across party lines and now Johnny-Come-Lately Mr Rudd is trying to make it an issue of division.
“John Howard committed to constitutional recognition in 2007 and Labor has had six years to act on this.
“Mr Rudd is obviously not across the facts, Tony Abbott has said if the Coalition is elected, we would release a draft constitutional amendment for public consultation within 12 months of taking office,” Senator Scullion said.
Download media release:
bark petition speech release.pdf