Reconciliation in Queensland will receive a much-needed boost thanks to an expected three-year funding agreement, foreshadowed by Minister Mark Furner at this year’s Annual General Meeting.

Mr Furner, who is Queensland’s Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships and Minister for Local Government, was guest speaker at RQI’s AGM on 24 September 2017 at Arana Leagues Club.

“I’d like to reiterate the Palaszczuk Government’s support for Reconciliation Queensland,” Mr Furner said.

“And I’m pleased to note that this year, one in kind support to your organisation will expand it through the negotiation of a service agreement we’re directly funding for the next three years,” he said.

Funding will support community engagement

In setting out the rationale for the deal, Mr Furner acknowledged “the significant push made by Reconciliation Queensland Incorporated to establish local reconciliation groups around Queensland”.

“I strongly support RQI’s engagement with local councils throughout the State to assist in the reconciliation process and to build relationships with local communities,” he said.

In response, RQI non-Indigenous Co-Chair Peter Jackson said Mr Furner and his staff at the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships should be congratulated for their support for reconciliation.

“I think that between yourself, your staff and Reconciliation Queensland we’re going to be doing some great things, so I look forward to that,” he said.

According to Mr Furner, additional funding would be available through this year’s State budget to deliver the next steps in reconciliation.

This funding would “assist Queensland’s remote regional and urban Indigenous communities, removing barriers, increasing opportunities, and closing the gap on disadvantage,” he said.

Among these budget initiatives, Mr Furner said the Government had allocated:

  • $1 million to help communities preserve Indigenous languages;
  • $400K per year to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders reconnect with their past, their families and their culture; and
  • $560k over four years to support the involvement of Elder groups in the delivery of policy for local service delivery responses regarding child protection, family violence and kindergarten enrolments.

Mr Furner said the $21 million reparations scheme also formed part of the Palaszczuk Government’s reconciliation efforts.

In acknowledging the stolen wages issue, Mr Furner said the reparations scheme was an important vehicle for acknowledging a regretful period in Queensland’s history and the significant contribution Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had made to the State.

In other funding support, Mr Furner said the Government would be contributing $25,000 toward the establishment of a Queensland memorial for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander servicemen and women.

Mr Furner also discussed the State Government’s support for the annual Queensland Reconciliation Awards program and acknowledged this year’s award winners.

These included the Puuya Foundation, which won the Premier’s Reconciliation Award for ‘Developing Everyday Leaders’.

In other AGM business, RQI members duly elected their 2017/18 management committee. Full details of the committee are available here.