‘Be brave. Make change.’

For more than a hundred years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have proudly served in the Australian Defence Force and across Defence enhancing our capability.

CAPTION: The new Defence Indigenous Champions, Deputy Secretary Celia Perkins and Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, take part in a Smoking Ceremony and Welcome to Country at the inaugural Defence Indigenous Champion Handover Ceremony in Canberra.

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is an opportunity to learn more about our shared histories, cultures and achievements.

This year’s theme ‘Be brave. Make change’ challenges us all to tackle the continuing path of reconciliation for the benefit of all Australians.

Defence’s Indigenous Champions, Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, Chief of Air Force, and Ms Celia Perkins, Deputy Secretary Security and Estate, are committed to embedding the ‘One Defence’ ethos of Indigenous Affairs across the department.

“Defence has a footprint in every part of Australia and we have the opportunity to make a powerful contribution to implementing the National Agreement on Closing the Gap and supporting reconciliation,” Ms Perkins said.

“I am conscious every day that the millions of hectares of land that make up the Defence estate belongs to traditional owners around the country.

“We must recognise, protect and maintain Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage across the Defence estate”.

CAPTION: Ngunnawal Elder Serena Williams greets Secretary of Defence Greg Moriaty after performing a Smoking Ceremony and Welcome to Country at the inaugural Defence Indigenous Champion Handover ceremony at Russell Offices in Canberra. Photo by Nicole Mankowski.

Air Marshal Hupfeld echoed Ms Perkins sentiment stating reconciling would take work from all of us.

“We need to learn from the past and move towards a better tomorrow for all,” Air Marshal Hupfeld said.

“I can see Defence becoming the example of our nation to what true reconciliation looks like, two cultures coming together in unity and sharing a positive future together.

“This National Reconciliation Week, we challenge you to Be Brave, Make Change and continue to support our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce and communities in order to ‘close the gap’”.






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