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Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Charles Perkins posthumously recognised for contribution to the APS

Charles Perkins posthumously recognised for contribution to the APS

NIAA Indigenous Affairs
Friday, 22 March 2019

National Indigenous Australians Agency

A black and white image of Dr Charles Perkins

Prime Minister and Cabinet has recognised the contribution of the late Dr Charles Nelson Perrurle Perkins AO by renaming the home of Indigenous Affairs in Canberra in his honour.

The Woden building formerly known as Centraplaza has been renamed Charles Perkins House for Dr Perkins contributions to the Australian Public Service and the nation.

Dr Perkins’ niece Pat Turner officially launched the new building name with Secretary of PM&C Dr Martin Parkinson and Deputy Secretary of Indigenous Affairs Group, Ian Anderson.

Dr Parkinson said the renaming to Charles Perkins House reflected the 'significant legacy of Australia’s first Indigenous secretary of an Australian Government department'.

“Dr Perkins was a proud Arrernte and Kalkadoon man and laid the foundation for the type of forward-thinking Indigenous Affairs policy we aspire to at PM&C,” Dr Parkinson said.

Dr Perkins entered the public service in 1969 as a Research Officer in the Office for Aboriginal Affairs. Just 15-years later, In 1984, he became head of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs.

Dr Perkins was committed to using his position in the Commonwealth to influence policy makers and ensure the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were heard.

PM&C’s Deputy Secretary for Indigenous Affairs, Professor Ian Anderson, said Dr Perkins served as an inspiration to public servants and the Indigenous community alike.

“Dr Perkins was one of the first Aboriginal people to receive a university degree, he led the Freedom rides and racial discrimination movement in Australia, and he was at the forefront of advocating for the ‘Yes’ vote in the 1967 Referendum."

The ceremony was attended by the Perkins family and other significant names in Indigenous Affairs.