Closing the 17 year Indigenous life expectancy gap through community transformation, empowerment and confidence are just some of the outcomes of the (UAICC) national conference being held in Perth until the 9 July 2009.
The theme of the Conference, “Determining Tomorrow’s Communities’ is focused on the holistic measures required to improve the prosperity, health and wellbeing of Indigenous communities, many of which have made solid progress since the last national conference.
National Conference 09 has integrated a number of innovate and exciting programs which include health workshops, youth forums, elder reflections to presentations by guest speakers including the renowned theologian Dr. Daniel Smith-Christopher from Loyola Marymount University.
UAICC National Chairperson Vince Ross said the power of the Gospel had demonstrated its influence in steadily transforming individuals and their communities in the past however it was incumbent on the Conference and its leaders to ensure all avenues of support were afforded to those communities and individuals seeking affirmation, help and direction.
‘If we are to continue addressing the appalling17 year life expectancy gap then our people must move forward and break the shackles of inequality and injustice that have held them back for so long and this grave responsibility rests with not only on those individuals but that also of the Church.
National UAICC Administrator Rev Shayne Blackman said the fervent attendance and participation of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in the conference was testament to a real desire for lasting change in the spirit of the covenant.
“Our nation’s history is tainted by Indigenous marginalization especially when it comes to decision making and empowerment; what we are doing is tackling this unjust state head on to equip our people with the confidence and spiritual sustenance to make the necessary changes in their lives and that of their communities.
“The outcomes of this forum will have been the result of many Indigenous people coming together and articulating their hopes and dreams for a better future expressed through a number of key resolutions.
“The time is upon us to embrace these aspirations and support them for the lasting benefit of the first people of this nation and ultimately the nation as a whole” said Rev Blackman.