Indigenous leader welcomes scrapping of DAA

Wayne Bergmann, the CEO of KRED Enterprises, welcomes the new state Labor government's enthusiasm for Indigenous reform, after the government announced last week that they'd be scrapping the Department of Aboriginal Affairs (DAA).

Bergmann says the new government has an opportunity to get Indigenous reforms right and to achieve a proper realignment with the realities of native title.

"The Department of Aboriginal Affairs was slow, cumbersome, and represented a ball and chain around the advancement of Aboriginal groups. It was also ineffective in fulfilling its statutory obligations under the Aboriginal Heritage Act and the Aboriginal Lands Trust," Mr Bergmann says.

Across Western Australia, Aboriginal people who have worked at the forefront of Indigenous rights and services, have a wealth of knowledge about what's effective and what isn't when it comes to Indigenous affairs. Mr Bergmann says it's time to draw on this knowledge.

"I call on the Hon. Ben Wyatt to engage with Aboriginal leaders to create a new model for Indigenous affairs, one that's streamlined, inclusive and values the knowledge on the ground," Mr Bergmann says.   

"I propose the development of an independent statutory body to set the policy and service agenda, one which has been elected by Traditional Owners around the state. We need an independent body that's adept at handling the new realities of native title, including the recognition of native title as a property right," Mr Bergmann says.

"The WA state government has a unique opportunity here to set the standard for state Indigenous affairs across Australia."