Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton has said that he is looking forward to events being held over the next few days to commemorate the 50 year anniversary of the historic Freedom Rides.
Mr Coulton said that he was honoured to be invited to be involved with events being held in Dubbo, Moree and Walgett.
“My involvement in a Parliamentary Committee hearing in Queensland has prevented me from being present for all of the events however I am glad that I will be able to attend some of the functions in Moree.”
Mr Coulton is a member of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs. The Committee is holding hearings in Far North Queensland and Groote Eylandt for the inquiry into the harmful use of alcohol in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Mr Coulton said that he was particularly interested to hear from the community at Groote Eylandt who have implemented a whole-of-island liquor management plan.
“There are many significant challenges within Aboriginal communities in both remote locations and in towns like Moree or Dubbo,” said Mr Coulton.
“While we look at the issues that we are currently facing, it is also beneficial to look at how far we have come.”
“The Anniversary of the Freedom Rides in 1965 provides a good opportunity for the whole community to reflect on the progress that has been made with Indigenous rights.”
“We will shortly have the opportunity of a referendum on amending the constitution to recognise the First Australians which will be another important step along the reconciliation path.”
“I commend those who are working proactively to promote reconciliation and would like to give a special mention to Moree Plains Shire Council who last year released their Reconciliation Action Plan which is the first ever of its kind.”
“Organisations like the Clontarf Foundation are having a very real, positive impact on the ground. This will set up the next generation of leaders within Aboriginal communities.”
“Congratulations to those who have put the work in to organise the commemorative events across the country. I know that these efforts are appreciated by the community.”