Tony Abbott signs off on Prime Minister's Indigenous Advisory Council

Warren Mundine and PM Tony Abbott

Patricia Karvelas The Australian 25 September 2013

Tont Abbott has formally signed off on the Prime Minister's Indigenous Advisory Council to inform the policy implementation of the Coalition government.

The Prime Minister explained that the council would meet three times a year with him and senior government ministers.

The chairman of the council will meet with Mr Abbott and Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion every month.

In a statement Mr Abbott said the council "will focus on practical changes to improve the lives of Aboriginal people".

"I am delighted that Mr Warren Mundine will chair the council. Warren Mundine's expertise is widely recognised. He is a natural leader and a forthright advocate for indigenous Australia. A new engagement with Aboriginal people will be one of the hallmarks of the Coalition government."

Mr Abbott said while many Aboriginal people are fully participating in Australian society, too many are not. "Preserving indigenous culture and building reconciliation means doing more to ensure that children go to school, adults go to work and the ordinary rule of law operates in indigenous communities," he said.

It will include indigenous and non-indigenous Australians with a broad range of skills, including experience in the public sector, business acumen and a strong understanding of indigenous culture.

The chairman will be a part-time position and supported by a secretariat seconded from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Mr Abbott has invited people who wish to apply to be part of the council to register their interest.

"Australians yearn to see practical and genuine improvement in the lives of Aboriginal people," he said.

"There is so much goodwill. The challenge, though, is to convert good sentiment into practical change for the better. I want to be a prime minister for Aboriginal affairs and I am delighted that Warren Mundine has taken up the call to be part of this journey with me."

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