The National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) has been officially established as an Executive Agency in the Prime Minister’s portfolio.
Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt said the new Agency represented a fundamental change in the way of doing business with Indigenous Australians.
Mr Wyatt said it would form partnerships with Indigenous Australians at all levels, from children in remote communities to peak national organisations.
“Establishing this Agency solely dedicated to the advancement of Australia’s First Nations is a significant opportunity for the Government to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on the ground,” Mr Wyatt said.
“It will provide opportunities for growth and advancement, in education, employment, suicide prevention, community safety, health and constitutional recognition.”
He said the NIAA would play a critical role in supporting him, as the first Indigenous Cabinet Minister and Minister for Indigenous Australians, to meet the changing needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their leaders and communities.
“All of us must work together with State and Territory Governments to bring about change and close the gap in Indigenous communities,” Mr Wyatt said.
He announced that the NIAA’s inaugural Chief Executive would be the former Chief of Navy, Ray Griggs (pictured).
“NIAA is privileged to have such an experienced leader at the helm,” Mr Wyatt said.
“Ray Griggs will lead a dedicated team of some 1,200 staff committed to making a significant contribution to an Australia that respects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and peoples,” he said.
Mr Griggs said that evolving the Indigenous Affairs Group of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet into an Executive Agency in its own right was a natural progression.
“This change provides the opportunity to enhance the way we work across Government and ensure we have better coordination across the Commonwealth on matters that affect Indigenous Australians,” Mr Griggs said.