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On Friday 3 October 2014, the Federal Member for Higgins, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, representing the Prime Minister, officially launched the Lowitja Institute Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander CRC. Ms O’Dwyer was joined by the Hon Shayne Neumann MP, Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs, and the Hon Warren Snowdon MP, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Indigenous Affairs.
The Institute was established in 2010, emerging from a 14-year history of Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs). This event celebrated the extension of funding to 2019 by the Australian Government’s CRC Programme. 'Since 1997, we have helped change the way research into the health of Australia’s First People’s is done, empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to set the research agenda, reflect our ideas of health and wellbeing, and maximise the impact of our work', said institute Chairperson Ms Patricia Anderson AO, in her speech at the launch. Ms Anderson also said that the Institute will work with its valued partners around Australia—from the community-controlled health sector, government, and research institutions—on a program that will look at the social determinants of health; the needs and opportunities for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce; and broader health policy. Through its scholarships program, the institute will develop the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health researchers.
Aunty Joy Wandin Murphy, Senior Elder of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nations, conducted a traditional smoking ceremony and welcomed guests to Country. The launch coincided with the formal opening of the Lowitja Institute’s new office. Indigenous architect Mr Jefa Greenaway designed the fit-out of the space, using his Indigenous philosophies of placemaking centred on collaboration, communication and community. 'The new Lowitja Institute office is an important and exciting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural and knowledge space, respectful of the wisdom of the ancestors yet contemporary and in the heart of inner Melbourne—a space to collaborate, exchange knowledge and works towards the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,' said Mr Romlie Mokak, Lowitja Institute CEO.