Eora Journey Economic Action Plan Workshop

(10am, Reception Room, Sydney Town Hall)

Thank you, Natalie [Walker, Inside Policy], and good morning, everyone, and welcome.

We're pleased you could join us today for this workshop. We wanted to bring those key organisations with a focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander economic development together to look at opportunities to promote that development, and to discuss solutions that we might find together.

Many of Australia's longest-established and most significant Aboriginal organisations are based in Sydney, and of course Redfern has an historic and continuing status as a focus of indigenous life and culture.

The City recognises the unique place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and culture and we have a very strong commitment to engaging with and supporting the communities.

When we began talking to people and institutions across Sydney to develop our future vision for the city, we were anxious to ensure that indigenous voices and viewpoints were included. The resulting plan - Sustainable Sydney 2030 - was shaped by those consultations and it included a very clear call - from both indigenous and non-indigenous people - a stronger public presence and profile for Australia's first people.

That led to the development of our Eora Journey program, designed in consultation with Aboriginal communities and artists, to celebrate the living culture that is an integral part of 21st century Sydney.

The cultural element is well under way. Last month, I was proud to launch Yininmadyemi [yin-nin-mad-jemi], Tony Albert's magnificent sculpture recognising the sacrifices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander servicemen and women.

Located in a very prominent site in Hyde Park, near the Anzac Memorial, this was the third project of the Eora Journey to be completed and there are more to come.

Our History Unit has also been active collecting oral histories telling personal and family stories from the war-time sacrifices and service of indigenous Australians - from Changi to the Battle of Long Tan, from the Solomon Islands to the Middle East, from Africa to Europe.

However, cultural recognition needs to be underpinned by economic opportunities. Our task now is to develop the City's first-ever Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander economic action plan as a crucial step towards building those opportunities.

Work to create this plan has already begun, and many of you were involved in the City's community consultation program last year, the Eora Journey Prosperity Talks. Through this consultation we heard from a wide range of community members and key partner organisations, and we learnt a great deal about what prosperous ATSI communities and businesses could look like in the City.

Our task now is to work together to move towards this vision for prosperity.

We have asked you here today, not only to gather your ideas but also to ensure that we align our focus in the Eora Journey Economic Development Plan with your organisation's commitments and priorities.

I'm excited about taking these first steps towards that plan and I thank you for your support. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas as we continue to work together towards this important goal.