I am pleased to share with you that as an organisation, the North Queensland Conservation Council has decided to support the YES campaign in the upcoming referendum on an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament.
We have heard the invitation in the Uluru Statement from the Heart to walk with First Nations Australians in a movement for a better future. We hear Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders in their call for Voice, Treaty, Truth, and we support, as a first step, a change to the Australian Constitution that will recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples as the first peoples of this land and enshrine an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament
Why have we made this decision?
NQCC has worked to protect the land, waters and atmosphere of North Queensland for almost fifty years. First Nations Australians have cared for Country for millennia.
We recognise Australia’s First Nations peoples’ unique and profound connection to Country, through their complex knowledge systems, language, relationships and culture. We also acknowledge the devastating impacts that colonial practices have had and continue to have on First Nations peoples and communities.
As a conservation organisation that works to protect our natural environment, we need to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are leading the conversation on how to best protect their Country. A Voice to Parliament will help to amplify these voices.
At NQCC, we respect the knowledge, perspectives and rights of First Nations peoples, and one of our strategic goals is to work alongside and be guided by First Nations peoples in delivering our vision and purpose. We believe that supporting a YES vote in the referendum is one way that we can live by our goals and values and demonstrate that we, as a conservation organisation are here to listen, learn and help to protect Country together.
We acknowledge that there are a range of perspectives in the community and among our members. It is vital that we engage in reflective discussions and generous listening so that we can understand one another and learn together. We hope that our decision to join the YES campaign is the start of these conversations, not the end.
We look forward to hearing from you,
NQCC acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the many countries within the North Queensland region. We recognise the strength and knowledge that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples bring to our communities and pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. We are committed to growing our connection with First Nations Peoples of our region and furthering our understanding of their unique relationship to Country.