The first Commonwealth Closing the Gap report has been released after the National Agreement on Closing the Gap in 2020. The National Agreement focuses on prioritising partnerships between governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Community-Controlled Organisations with four priority areas. There are also 17 socio-economic outcomes, four of which were on target.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council ran their national assembly in September of this year in Townsville. It was an incredible event especially given this was the first time the community has been able to get together since COVID-19 began. The website now has a video available with photos of the assembly as well as a twenty minute wrap up video which summarises the event.
An update is provided on the Uluru Statement from the Heart after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announcing that the referendum for the Voice to Parliament will occur in the 2023-2024 Financial year. The Australian Catholic Bishops endorsed the Statement last November and Dean Parkin spoke at the NATSICC Assembly. Resources and ideas for grass roots promotion are available through a new website.
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC) are this week conducting their national assembly in the diocese of Townsville. After needing to be rescheduled due to Covid-19, Indigenous Catholics from around the country are travelling to be together and share in their faith, knowledge, and community. The theme for this year’s assembly is, “Holy Spirit in this Land.”
Sorry Day (26 May) and Reconciliation Week (27 May-3 June) both focus on alleviating personal, social and cultural injustice that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have faced from non-Indigenous Australia. The onus of these weeks are on non-Indigenous organisations, people and groups to take steps to “Be Brave. Make Change.” This is the theme of this year’s week and Reconciliation Action Plans are a good first step.
A new resource exploring the relationship between the Uluru Statement from the Heart and care for the environment has been released, aimed at small group discussions in a parish setting. The resource is a creation of the South Australian Dialogue of the Roman Catholic and Uniting Churches and can be used across denominations. A leader’s guide is also available through their website to help preparations.
The Australian Catholic Bishops have released a new election resource highlighting key issues for consideration this election. The guide doesn’t assign ratings to candidates or parties, but rather gives a background on the different issues that could affect the election and information on these issues from a Catholic perspective.
Reconciliation week is approaching and the theme for this year is, “Be Brave. Make Change”. The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council has helped many Dioceses and Catholic agencies create a Reconciliation Action Plan and encourages organisations to do so. The theme for Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Sunday (3 July) is, “The harvest is plenty, but the laborers are few. Get up! Stand up! Show up”
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC) released a statement ahead of 26 January, Australia Day. In it they affirm their belief that 27 May would be a better day to celebrate and encourage all Australians to take up the theme this year, adding one key element: Do. NATSICC provide a practical guide for all to make this their year of ‘Do’.
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council has created a new online cultural competency course which provides a foundational knowledge for any Catholic worker, volunteer, Clergy or religious. To be used with engagement with local Traditional Custodians, this cultural competency course is available online and is the first of its kind to be created from a Catholic perspective. All are encouraged to participate.