ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLES
In the feature article ‘Future directions for measuring Australia’s progress’ (ABS 2010), the ABS acknowledged the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to which Australia is a signatory. Among other things, this Declaration says indigenous people have the right to have their cultures, traditions, histories and aspirations appropriately reflected in public information. It also recognises that indigenous knowledge, cultures and traditional practices contribute to sustainable management of the environment.
As well as ensuring that a number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives were included on its expert panels (see Appendix A), the ABS welcomed submissions from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and individuals. Issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were also often mentioned by non-Indigenous Australians as being important to national progress, particularly in regards to the equitable distribution of opportunities, and where national progress was linked to the well-being of the nation’s least well off. People also spoke about the value of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures as well as traditional environmental practices and land management.
The themes that arise in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and that are expressed so vividly in some of the quotes in this publication were also found to resonate with other groups in the Australian community.
There is a great diversity of views held by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in regards to the nation’s progress. The suggestions presented by the ABS cover just some of these aspirations and have been drawn from the MAP consultation process and other relevant sources.