The FNWA was established by the ACTU to provide Community Development Program (CDP) workers a collective voice to campaign for fair wages and employment conditions.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact the FNWA at [email protected].

Linda Burney – Australia’s new Minister for Indigenous Australians

On 1 June 2022, Linda Burney was sworn in as Australia’s new Minister for Indigenous Australians, as part of the Albanese cabinet. We want to welcome Linda, as a new representative for Indigenous Australians, with an important role to play as part of a Labor government committed to addressing Indigenous issues.

Linda herself has spoken many times about her commitment to implementing the Statement from the Heart, beginning with the first step of enshrining a First Nations Voice in the Australian Constitution.

A lifetime of advocating on Indigenous issues

For much of her life, Linda Burney has been a trend-setter for Indigenous Australians and, in particular, Indigenous women.

Growing up in the small town of Whitton on Wiradjuri country in New South Wales’s Riverina region, Linda began her career in education, attaining a Diploma of Teaching and PhD from the Mitchell College of Advanced Education – the first Indigenous Australian graduate to do so – then teaching at Lethbridge Park public school in Western Sydney.

In 1981 she began work at the NSW Department of Education Aboriginal Education Unit (Policy), before moving on to work in the New South Wales Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (NSW AEGG) until 1998.

It was in 2003 that she became the NSW Parliament’s first Indigenous Member, and again in 2016 – at the Federal level – becoming the first Indigenous woman to sit in the House of Representatives in federal parliament, winning the seat of Barton.

A prominent voice calling for a Voice to Parliament, and with over thirty years of commitment to Indigenous issues, we want to congratulate Linda Burney on her swearing in as Minister for Indigenous Australians, and look forward to seeing what she achieves next.

Labor's commitments on what this means for the FNWA and Indigenous Australians

Here at the FNWA, we are optimistic about what lies ahead, now that Australia has elected a Federal Government not only fully committed to the Statement from the Heart, but also to strengthening economic and job opportunities for First Nations peoples and communities, and scrapping the punitive Community Development Program (CDP).

On the issues that affect First Nations peoples, the Albanese Labor government has committed to the following:

  • Implement the Uluru Statement in full – Voice, Treaty and Truth.
  • Work towards Closing the Gap.
  • Abolish the punitive Community Development Program.
  • Turn the tide on incarceration and deaths in custody through landmark justice reinvestment funding.
  • Improve housing in remote Indigenous communities.
  • Invest in First Nations management of land and waters.
  • Strengthen First Nations economic and job opportunities.
  • Get rid of the privatised Cashless Debit Card.

These issues, of course, won’t be fixed overnight, but they are a step in the right direction, and as the FNWA we look forward to continue playing our role as a voice for CDP workers.

With the CDP set to be abolished, we need to ensure that whatever Indigenous Jobs program replaces it is a fair and just one, and that the government implements it in consultation and cooperation with the diversity of First Nations voices.

You can see the Albanese government’s full First Nations policy list by clicking here.