By Angela Dorizas
The Federal Government is holding more than 50 workshops over the next six months to promote local leadership in Indigenous communities.
Federal Indigenous Leader Jenny Macklin met with 37 new Indigenous engagement officers on Thursday to discuss issues affecting their local communities, including housing, employment, health and safety.
Ms Macklin said the meeting in Canberra provided Indigenous leaders, in both voluntary and paid positions, with the necessary skills to tackle tough issues within their communities.
“I congratulate each and every one of them for their individual efforts and for the way that they have come together, to really put their shoulder to the wheel, to help us achieve these very difficult tasks,” she said.
In February, the Government will hold three, two-day national leadership programs in cvairns and Brisbane, with a total of 175 participants. In Alice Springs, around 80 leaders will meet with the Federal Government to begin developing local action plans in health, education and employment.
Within the same month, the government will hold workshops for Australian Defence Force Indigenous pre-recruits in Tasmania, leaders from Walgett and Wilcannia in New South Wales and public servants in Canberra.
Ms Macklin said the Government’s progress report on closing the gap will be delivered by Prime Minsiter Kevin Rudd next week.
She also announced that consultations have begun for the feasibility study into a National Indigenous Knowledge Centre.
The concept of an Indigenous knowledge and culture centre was first raised at the Australia 2020 Summit in April 2008.
Ms Macklin said community consultations led by Indigenous leader and academic Dr Jackie Huggins began last Friday.
Participants in Blacktown, NSW, and Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, have been supportive of the centre, Ms Macklin added.
The feasibility study will be conducted by the M.I. Murren Trust, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, and the State Library of Queensland.
Written community submissions close 31 March 2010.
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