Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Shane Rattenbury, today announced the establishment of a new, stand-alone Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs (OATSIA).
“The establishment of the centralised Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs will provide an enhanced coordination point for the ACT Government, and ensure that all business units within Government continue to work towards creating better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders ,” said Mr Rattenbury.
We know the only way to close the gap in health, education and housing is through social inclusion, participation and engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people. It is hoped that the new office will provide the ACT Government with better opportunities to meet these targets.
“OATSIA sits within the Community Services Directorate which has, in consultation with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, identified a need for a centralised office within the ACT Government that will bring policy and program together in one section.
Mr Rattenbury also announced the appointment of Robyn Forester as the Director of the new office.
Ms Forester has extensive experience in building workforce capacity and organisational relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Ms Forester joins us from the Australian Federal Police where she was the Senior Team Leader of the Workforce Diversity Team.
Ms Forester has also previously worked in a range of Commonwealth Government roles across departments working in workforce diversity and service delivery areas.
In 2012, Ms Forester was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to investigate support networks for Indigenous law enforcement officers, researching models in New Zealand, the USA, Canada and the UK.
Ms Forester has strong relationships throughout the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and is an Aboriginal/Islander woman from Bundaberg.
“Strengthening the capacity of government to support Aboriginal and Torres Islander people is critical to achieving success and I am pleased to announce this new office during NAIDOC celebrations and as part of our ongoing commitment to this relationship,” said Mr Rattenbury.