I acknowledge and recognise Australia's First Peoples as the traditional custodians of the lands, waters and seas. I pay my respects to the Elders and thank them for their knowledge and guidance. Always Was, Always Will Be Aboriginal Land.
I'm Nat Walker, a Kuku Yalanji woman from the Daintree Rainforest. I've been living and working on Gadigal and Guringai lands for over 20 years.
An embedded First Nations voice is about deeply embedding the wisdom and aspirations of our First Nations peoples into planning and decision-making processes.
Our Six Cities Region is home to the oldest living continuous cultures on the planet. We have more than 65,000 years of First Nations peoples' incredible wisdom and knowledges.
The voices and perspectives of the traditional custodians must guide and shape our future. Just as the Uluru Statement from the Heart calls to establish a First Nations Voice in the Australian Constitution, we are embedding First Nations perspectives and Caring for Country into our Region Plan and City Plans.
It's time to fundamentally change the way we strategic plan of our cities. We must actively recognise First Nations peoples' ongoing custodianship of the land and what this means, to truly unite as a nation and so all Australians can walk together to build a better future.
It's not about having all the answers straight away. It's about setting up the framework for listening and knowledge sharing. It's about valuing cultural knowledges, and fostering strong working relationships with community so that the perspectives and aspirations of First Australians truly influence planning.
In 20 years, we hope that 65,000 years of deep and unique knowledges is central to our shared identity, and that the cultural knowledges of First Nations peoples is embedded in planning for our future.
It's time to be bold and step forward together into a better future for First Nations peoples and everyone who lives, works and plays in the Six Cities Region.