2656

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Submission Number
2656
Participant
Community Services #1
Submission date
Main Submission Automated Transcript

30 April 2021

To whom it may concern

Co-design process: Submission for Kelly Altenburg on behalf of Community Services #1

My name is Kelly Altenburg. I was born in Sydney and grew up in Canberra, which is also
where I now live and work. I am writing this submission on behalf of my organisation,
Community Services #1 (CS1). I am the Corporate Operations Director and this
submission is strongly endorsed by our CEO, Amanda Tobler, and the CS1 leadership
collective. CS1 is a profit-for-purpose organisation that provides emotional and practical
support to over 2,000 children, young people, women and men every year. Our
programs and services across Canberra and New South Wales include early childhood
services, aged care services, health services, youth and family wellbeing support
programs, transport services, social support groups, a food pantry, housing support, and
singing and activity groups.

Why CS1 thinks the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important
The Uluru Statement from the Heart is a clear, concise and collectively-voiced
communication to Australia and its governments explaining what actions First Nations
people need to feel recognised, relevant and heard in today's Australia. It's important
because our First Nations peoples are telling us in their own words how we can truly
acknowledge our collective past and start to become one nation in all respects.

How a Voice to Parliament could improve the lives of our community
Communities work best when government makes decisions with people, not for (or 'to')
people. In the short term, our broader community would be improved by a Voice to
Parliament because the traditional owners of the lands on which we live, work and
socialise would have a say in all matters that may impact or benefit them. CS1 would
expect a Voice to Parliament to enable some of our community's most marginalised
peoples to start to feel safer, visible, heard. Longer term, CS1 would expect
reconciliation to stand a greater chance of success, health and education outcomes to
improve, life expectancy to increase and incarceration and forced family separations to
decrease.
Why it is important for Indigenous peoples to have a say in the matters that affect
them
It is important that all peoples have a say in the matters that affect them. Decisions
made on behalf of Australia's indigenous peoples since settlement - however well-
intended - have resulted in multi-generational trauma, lower health, education
outcomes, lower life expectancy, and higher incarceration and forced separation of
families. The government is more consultative today than ever before, yet the harm
continues; current consultation approaches do not work.

Why CS1 thinks it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution,
rather than include it only in legislation

Simply, because that is what First Nations people have asked for in the Uluru Statement
from the Heart. Including the Voice to Parliament in legislation, only, could reasonably
be seen by First Nations peoples as another example of government refusing to hear
what they have to say. First Nations peoples have asked for a Voice to Parliament that is
protected by the Constitution. CS1 would expect legislating the Voice to Parliament will
make implementation very challenging; protection under the Constitution will better set
up a Voice to Parliament for success.

Once a model for the First Nations Voice to Parliament has been developed, CS1 expects
Government to deliver its election promise to conduct a referendum for the Voice to be
protected by the Constitution. However the final model for the Voice to Parliament
looks, it must ensure previously unheard Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
have the same chance of being selected as established leadership figures. Following the
referendum, CS1 would expect legislation to be tabled and passed at first opportunity.

Kind regards

Kelly Altenburg
Corporate Operations Director
kelly.altenburg@communityservices1.org
(02) 6126 4744