ANTaR ACT – March 2024 Newsletter

Our first event for the year was our annual David Hunter Memorial Lecture with the theme ACT-ION – ACT Indigenous Outcomes Now!! Thanks to all who joined us on 5 March to hear from three amazing speakers:

  • Kim Davidson Executive Director of Gugan Gulwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation
  • Julie Tongs OAM Chief Executive Officer of Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services
  • Selina Walker kinship carer, founding member of Yerrabi Yurwang Child and Family Aboriginal Corporation and 2024 ACT Local Hero

The panellists talked passionately about their work to bring about change, through health and justice programs designed for First Nations children, families, and youth. They also talked the actions needed to improve the outcomes for First Nations people and communities in the ACT, highlighting in particular the importance of Boomanulla Oval and the need to return it to the control of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. You can read more about the discussion and watch the recording of the session at: DHML 2024: ACT-ION! ACT for Indigenous Outcomes Now!

A special thank you to Valerie Albrecht, who stepped in to MC the lecture when the scheduled MC was unable to attend. Valerie has a long association with ANTaR, in Queensland, Western Australia and the ACT, and brought together the event seamlessly.

Valerie has published a number of books, most recently One Voice Medicine: Conversations with First People Healers, Australia (published 2022, reprinted 2023). One Voice Medicine records conversations with community accepted First People Healers and Elders in Australia. The conversations address the question “What do we need to know when an Aboriginal person comes to our clinic?” For more information, or to contact Valerie to obtain a copy, see her website: The Oceans of Energy – Books.

ANTaR ACT Organising Group

We welcome those who want to get more involved to join the ANTaR ACT organising group and be part of our ongoing advocacy and actions. We meet at 6pm on the second Monday of the month via Zoom, with our next meeting Monday 8 April, 6pm. In addition,we will have an in-person planning day on Sunday 14 April, from 2-5pm. If you would like to join us for either or both, please email and we will send you the details.


Close the Gap Report and Closing the Gap target updates

The Close the Gap campaign arose in response to Professor Tom Calma’s Social Justice Report (2005), which challenged governments to bring about health equality within a generation.

Close the Gap Day is on Thursday 21 March.  You can join a livestream of the Close the Gap Campaign Report for 2024 on Wednesday 20 March, 10am. More information and registration at: Livestream: Close the Gap Campaign Report 2024 Launch Tickets, Wed 20/03/2024 at 10:00 am | Eventbrite

The Australian government adopted the goals of the Close the Gap Campaign in 2008, in a strategy known as Closing the Gap, and in 2009 committed to making an annual progress report to Parliament on progress with the Closing the Gap strategy. To support this, the Productivity Commission maintains an information repository to support reporting on Closing the Gap targets. This includes a dashboard setting out progress against the targets, which was updated on 6 March 2024 to include a new year of data for eight targets and nine supporting indicators.
Dashboard | Closing the Gap Information Repository – Productivity Commission (

Many of the targets (where sufficient data is available) include information about the ACT in comparison to Australia and other states. This provides a stark reminder of the issues we are facing in the ACT, as highlighted by the speakers in the DHML. In particular, see:

Launch of the Wiyi Yani U Thangani Institute and Change Agenda for First Nations Gender Justice

The Wiyi Yani U Thangani Institute will find its home at the Australian National University. It will work alongside First Nations women, girls, gender-diverse mob, researchers, practitioners, and non-Indigenous collaborators to reform systems and structures, and achieve sustained meaningful change for communities, everywhere. As articulated by First Nations delegates at the 2023 Summit: 

“The Institute will be our place, where we will create the research agenda, design the models to support thriving societies for our women and families on the ground, and put forward our stories and lived experiences as evidence-based and innovative policy.” 

The Wiyi Yani U Thangani Change Agenda will be an overarching generational roadmap for transformation. A living document, designed by and for First Nations women and girls—inclusive of women and young people with trans experience and gender diverse and queer mob—the Change Agenda will be a powerful shared commitment for the future, including the steps needed to get there and how to form the enabling conditions for women and girls to pursue their unique rights and interests.  

Livestream launch: The Institute and Change Agenda will be proudly launched by the Australian Human Rights Commission in partnership with the ANU First Nations Portfolio and the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, and supported by the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA), Oxfam Australia, the Paul Ramsay Foundation and Big hART. Tuesday March 19, 2024, 6:15pm-8:30pm (AEDT). More information and registration: Livestream ~ Launch of the Wiyi Yani U Thangani Institute and Change Agenda for First Nations Gender Justice! | Humanitix

Events and exhibitions

Vincent Namatjira: Australia in Colour

National Gallery of Australia, until 21 July 2024 | Free with ticket
This new exhibition is the first survey exhibition of acclaimed Western Aranda artist Vincent Namatjira, charting his career, revealing the power of his painting and the potency of his words.
Renowned for producing paintings laden with dry wit, Namatjira has established himself in the past decade as a celebrated portraitist and a satirical chronicler of Australian identity. His paintings offer a wry look at the politics of history, power and leadership from a contemporary Aboriginal perspective.
Showcasing Namatjira’s burgeoning artistic practice, this major exhibition brings together paintings, works on paper and moving image from public and private collections nationwide. The exhibition will also feature a selection of watercolours from the national collection by the artist’s great-grandfather and critically acclaimed Western Arranda artist, Albert Namatjira.
For more information and bookings: Vincent Namatjira Australia in colour (

You can also see some of Vincent Namatjira’s paintings in this video of the animation projections the NGA commissioned for the 2024 Enlighten Festival– titled Indigenous All Stars. More information and video here: Indigenous All Stars – National Gallery of Australia (

Emily Kam Kngwarray

National Gallery of Australia, until 28 Apr 2024 | Ticketed
The National Gallery’s major exhibition on the life and art of Emily Kam Kngwarray brings together important works of Kngwarray’s career, from early vibrant batiks to her later monumental paintings. For more information and bookings, see: Emily Kam Kngwarray – NGA.

National Press Club address – outgoing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, June Oscar AO

Now in the final weeks of her term as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, June Oscar AO will address the National Press Club of Australia in Canberra on Wednesday 27 March at 11.30am. Tickets to the event are sold out, but you can still tune into ABC TV to watch on the day. More information: June Oscar AO – National Press Club of Australia (

Canberra International Music Festival Finale – Mulanggari

The Canberra International Music Festival closes with a celebration of the oldest living culture on earth. In the language of the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people, mulanggari means ‘alive’. 
For more than twenty years, the Stiff Gins have sung in language about Indigenous culture and women’s empowerment. Now, in a unique Festival collaboration, Kaleena and Nardi join forces with the Dudok Quartet Amsterdam to perform the Gin’s tender songs like you’ve never heard them before – arranged by jazz legend Jonathan Zwartz. Three percussionists bring Holly Harrison’s new trio to life, while William Barton and Véronique Serret summon a final moment of magic alongside works by Nardi Simpson and Yuin composer Brenda Gifford.
On Sunday, 5 May 2024, 6:30 pm, at Snow Concert Hall, Canberra Grammar School Campus, Red Hill. More information and bookings: C15 Festival Finale – Mulanggari – Canberra International Music Festival (

ANTaR ACT wish to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which Canberra is situated, the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people. We wish to acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region. We would also like to acknowledge other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may visit this area.

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