The referendum has been decided, but we still have work to do

Over the weekend, Australians exercised their democratic rights and voted against an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament.

This is a disappointing outcome for the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) however, we respect the decision of the voting public.

The NSWNMA’s support of a Voice to Parliament was empowered by hundreds of volunteers who campaigned daily to inform the public of the key challenges facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Our volunteers worked tirelessly to speak with voters at a grassroots level. This effort has helped kickstart a new conversation around our First Nations people, and for that we thank everyone who contributed to this campaign.

We recognise that although the Voice has not been endorsed, there is still a wide-spanning appetite to deliver improvements for the traditional custodians of our lands.

Here at the NSWNMA, we have an ongoing part to play in this, namely in health care, and we are proud that work is underway in this area.

At our 78th Annual Conference in September, the union marked an historic moment with the passing of a motion to appoint two Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander positions to the Association’s Council, and the formation of a dedicated Members Circle.

This will ensure our work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members continues, and our culturally and linguistically diverse members are represented and have an effective voice in their workplaces.

Closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous care, and improving cultural safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers, is a priority for our union.

We continue to stand with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and are committed to championing health reform that uplifts some of our country’s most disadvantaged communities.

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