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The Working Group was established to progress initiatives from the Canada–Australia Roundtable on Indigenous Health and Wellness held in Canberra in December 2016.
Then Lowitja Institute CEO, Mr Romlie Mokak, and then High Commissioner of Canada, His Excellency Mr Paul Maddison, acted as co-Chairs, ensuring membership encompassed government, academic, community and public service perspectives. The Lowitja Institute provided secretariat for the collaboration and continues to do so.
From April 2019, the Group co-Chairs are Dr Mark Wenitong (Apunipima Cape York Health Council, Australia) and Dr Tom Wong (Indigenous Services Canada).
The aim of the Working Group is to identify priorities related to Indigenous health and wellbeing for bi-national collaboration and action. The main priorities identified for collaboration and action are the need to genuinely address racism and to provide a platform for the voices of Indigenous youth, with two sub-groups established to focus on each of these priorities.
The primary focus of the racism sub-group is to develop a discussion paper to assist in the sharing of knowledge and strengthening of impact and to engage with diverse urban, rural and remote Indigenous communities in both countries. The paper also aims to influence bi-national action to address racism, as experienced by First Peoples of Canada and Australia.
The sub-group established to consider the voices of Indigenous youth will progress young people’s priorities through an intersectional understanding of identity and experience. The aim is to represent a range of Indigenous youth perspectives, through the recruitment of youth from a diversity of locations, professional experiences, abilities and sexual and gender identities.
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