2485

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Submission Number
2485
Participant
Rachel Yerbury
Submission date

Dr Rachel Yerbury
Farmborough Heights NSW, Australia
NSW 2526

Dear Sir/ Madam,

I was born in NSW, Australia and have lived near the NSW Southern coast all my life. I have recently completed a PhD, looking and people's connection with nature: the land and the ocean and I care deeply about people, society and the land. I work at The University of Wollongong and through my work I learn about and support first nations people.

The Uluru statement is important because it gives the First Nations people a voice. It will not erase or change the huge injustices done to indigenous Australians at the hands of white colonialists. It will not reunite the families torn apart by the stolen generation. It will not fix the erosion of the culture by white educators and missionaries. It will not heal the injustices and trauma that First Nations people have endured. And it will not rehabilitate the land destroyed by rich, white mining, logging and fishing companies. However, what the Statement of the Heart is about, is moving forward and finally acknowledging the offences committed against the oldest people on the earth. It is a powerful action of peace and of collaboration.

The First Nations Australians deserve to be recognised in the Australian constitution- the law of our land. They deserve to be part of the decision making that affects their people and other Australians and the lands upon which they have acted as custodians for tens of thousands of years.

To give First Nations Australians constitutional recognition is long overdue. It would recognise that they are the original holders of the land and that the land was never ceded. The time is now.

First Nations people would be empowered by having a Voice in parliament. It would mean that they could share their knowledge and skills about how the lands need to be managed. They would have valuable input into managing the threats of climate change as evidenced by our recent long droughts, severe fires and flooding rains. They would be able to represent Country: the lands, the ecosystems, the rivers, lakes and oceans. They would give Voice to what white people have never been able to get right- respect of First Nations people and the land. Their input would have a beneficial impact on Australian society. It would allow us, as a country, to be inclusive, to be responsible and to be balanced.

Before it's too late, Let's finally try to do something right for this proud and ancient culture that colonialism has almost destroyed.

Kind regards,
Dr Rachel Yerbury