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Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Indigenous Advisory Council Co-Chair appointed to Royal Commission

Indigenous Advisory Council Co-Chair appointed to Royal Commission

Indigenous Affairs Indigenous Advisory Council
Friday, 05 April 2019

National Indigenous Australians Agency

The Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council (the Council) congratulates Ms Andrea Mason OAM on her appointment as a Commissioner of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability (Royal Commission), announced today by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

On the panel of six Commissioners, Ms Mason’s appointment will ensure that the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples are heard.

The Council strongly supports the Royal Commission and the recognition that First Peoples need to be included in this process.

“For too long now our people with disabilities, their families and their carers have not been heard and many have suffered violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation,” the Council’s co-chair Roy Ah See said.

Councillor Roy Ah-See sincerely thanked Ms Mason for her significant contribution to the Council and said she would be missed, but recognised that her appointment is a significant event for First People living with a disability.

On the announcement today of her appointment to the Royal Commission, Ms Mason has tendered her resignation from Council and as Chief Executive Officer of Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Women's Council, effective today.

“I know Andrea well and I have seen her passion to improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people first-hand,” Councillor Roy Ah See said.

Ms Mason has been a leader in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community for many years. In 2016 Andrea was the Northern Territory Australian of the Year, National Telstra Business Woman of the Year for Special Purpose and Social Enterprise and the Australian Telstra Business Woman of the Year.

Ms Mason has also been the chief executive of the NPY Women's Council from 2010. The NPY Women’s Council is a key service provider in the NPY Lands, working across a 350,000-square-kilometre area of Central Australia helping women to raise strong and healthy children.

“Andrea will continue to lead our community during this period of genuine change occurring across Government, and I am positive and excited about what the future holds for our people when we have strong Indigenous women leaders like Andrea,” Councillor Ah See said.

Ms Mason co-chaired the Council with Mr Chris Sara from February 2017 to June 2018, and with Councillor Roy Ah-See from June 2018.

The Council agrees that it was a pleasure to work with Ms Mason and real progress was made during her tenure as Co-Chair towards achieving demonstrable progress in producing positive outcomes for Indigenous Australians.

Ms Mason said: “It has been a pleasure to work with the Prime Minister, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Government Ministers and the Council and I am looking forward to my new role.”

During Ms Mason’s tenure the Council advised the Prime Minister on notable policy such as the Closing the Gap Refresh, the National Disability Insurance Scheme and recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia’s Constitution.

Also during this period, the Council influenced the Government’s narrative about Indigenous affairs to emphasise a strengths-based approach where the Government has high expectations for what the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community can achieve through mutual respect and genuine engagement.