Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion has paid tribute to Bundjalung man, Mr Sol Bellear AM.
“Mr Bellear AM was known for his efforts in land rights, social justice, self-determination and better health outcomes for First Australians,” said Minister Scullion.
He witnessed first-hand the racism experienced by many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the 1960s and 70s and was involved in the early years of the Tent Embassy.
Mr Bellear served as Deputy Chairperson of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission during the 90’s.
In addition to his achievements across a number of important causes, Mr Bellear AM also exceeded in rugby league. He was a legendary Koori Knockout and South Sydney Rabbitohs fixture, and generously lent his time to mentoring young Indigenous players in later years.
In 1999, he was awarded an Order of Australia for his services to Aboriginal peoples, in particular health policy.
In recent years, Mr Bellear focused his advocacy on improving the health of First Australians, in particular heart disease among Aboriginal men.
My thoughts and condolences are with his family, colleagues, many friends and the wider community at this sad time.