Council to introduce a First Nations committee

Council to introduce a First Nations committee

City of Melbourne councillors have unanimously voted in favour of establishing a First Nations advisory committee (FNC), which will play a crucial role “in the governance of the council”.

Despite the rejection of an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the 2023 referendum at the national level, an overwhelming 77 per cent of Melburnians showed their support for the Voice, prompting the council’s motion.

The FNC will consist of 12 representatives, including nine individuals who “collectively represent the broad demographics of First Nations communities”, the council’s Aboriginal Melbourne director Jason Eades, and its deputy lead of the Aboriginal Melbourne portfolio Cr Dr Olivia Ball.

The committee will also be overseen by the council’s Aboriginal Melbourne portfolio’s lead, which is a position currently held by Lord Mayor Sally Capp.

“I’m really looking forward to this committee getting up and running, and the valuable input they’ll have into the work of council,” Cr Capp said at the March 5 Future Melbourne Committee meeting.

The nine First Nations representatives on the FNC will serve three-year terms and receive a sitting fee of $300 for each of the four annual meetings.

Additionally, the council has allocated a $30,000 budget for start-up expenses.

The council hopes the establishment of the FNC will be a key mechanism for the implementation of First Nations’ self-determination.

“It’s taken us too long to get to this point, but I’m very glad to finally be here and establishing a First Nations advisory committee to the City of Melbourne,” Cr Dr Ball said. “All First Nations people have a right to self-determination – this is not a fulfilment of that right, but a step towards it.”

Expressions of interest to join the FNC are now open until April 4, 2024. •

Like us on Facebook