National

Group to begin work on indigenous voice

By AAP Newswire

Proposed versions of an indigenous voice to government will be created by a newly appointed 16-member group of experts.

Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt has on Wednesday announced the group, which includes Donna Odegaard and former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett.

"This group will work on options to have indigenous voices heard on the national stage and take a model to Indigenous leaders, communities and stakeholders around the country to refine," Mr Wyatt said in a statement.

"Indigenous Australians want their voices heard at all levels of government and want to help shape the policies and programs that affect their lives."

The co-design group also includes the head of the National Native Title Council, Jamie Lowe and Rodney Dillon, who is the indigenous rights adviser for Amnesty International Australia.

Dr Odegaard says it's an unprecedented opportunity to bring together voices from the indigenous community.

"We cannot expect to succeed in changing our future as Indigenous Australians if we do not bring each other along," she said.

"Working together towards the same goal, within the same framework that we establish, gives us greater chance of success but we must expect hard work, determination and dedication."

The co-design group will work closely with the existing advisory group, led by Marcia Langton and Tom Calma.

The government has rejected the idea outlined in the 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart that an indigenous voice be enshrined in the constitution.

Instead it would be legislated and empowered to work with local, state, territory and federal government.