New partnership supports Indigenous voices

A new $200,000 partnership between Griffith University and the Queensland Government will open up  academic opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Announcing the scholarship in parliament, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Mark Furner said two jointly-funded PhD scholarships, worth $100,000 each, would be offered to encourage Indigenous Queenslanders to have more input in national policy, research and academic conversations.

Boni Robertson, Professor Indigenous Policy and Director of Indigenous Community Engagement Policy and Partnerships, said Griffith University was delighted to develop the scholarships with the Queensland Government.

“Both of these research projects will inform how Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Queensland understand the impacts of the Protection Acts across a 90-year period,” Professor Robertson (left) said.

“Such a robust and thorough study of our past will help to bring new important perspectives to historical accounts and commentaries, and enrich the future of all Queenslanders in the process.”

Mr Furner highlighted the importance of a collaborative approach on the journey towards reconciliation.

“The best people to have a say in future Indigenous policy, are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people themselves,” he said.

“These scholarships will allow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers to explore and document different perspectives on wages and savings that were stolen or controlled under former governments’ so-called ‘Protection Acts’.

“Ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have equal access to education means we can generate new knowledge, insight and direction for Indigenous research and policy reforms.”

The scholarships fulfill two recommendations by the independent Reparations Taskforce established to oversee the Qld Government’s $21 million Reparations Scheme.

“The Reparations Scheme and response to taskforce recommendations form part of our reconciliation efforts to address the impacts on Indigenous Queenslanders whose wages and savings were controlled in the past,” Mr Furner (right) said.

“We can’t undo the wrongs of the past, but we are focused on working together for a better future for all Queenslanders.”

To be eligible for scholarships, applicants must have Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent and be undertaking or about to start PhD research on the history of government control of wages and savings of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders.

Applications are open until October 3, 2017 and further details are available by emailing health-dean-research@griffith.edu.au.