Gooreng Gooreng man Justin Mohamed has been appointed as Australia’s inaugural Ambassador for First Nations People.
Mr Mohamed will lead the Office of First Nations Engagement in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
“I am honoured to be appointed as the inaugural Ambassador for First Nations People and excited about the opportunities ahead to embed First Nations voices and knowledge into Australia’s foreign policies and trade,” he said.
“I am looking forward to sitting down and listening to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the country, as we develop foreign policies that have First Nations People’s knowledges, voice and connection to country front and centre.”
In his role as Ambassador for First Nations People Mr Mohamed will work in genuine partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to progress Indigenous rights globally and help grow First Nations trade and investment.
This new position ensures, for the first time, that Australia will have a dedicated Indigenous representation in international engagement.
Mr Mohamed is a Gooreng Gooreng man from Bundaberg, and he will bring a strong connection to community in his new role.
Currently Deputy Secretary of Aboriginal Justice in the Victorian Government, Mr Mohamed has worked for decades in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, social justice and reconciliation, in roles spanning across the Aboriginal community, government and corporate sectors.
He was previously Chief Executive Officer for Reconciliation Australia, Chairperson of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, and has represented Indigenous organisations internationally, including at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
In the landmark announcement, in Australia’s history, earlier this month Foreign Minister Penny Wong said Mr Mohammed had extensive knowledge and she thanked him for taking on the new role.
“Mr Mohamed is a Gooreng Gooreng man from Bundaberg, with extensive and impressive experience across many roles and he will lead the Office of First Nations Engagement in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade,” Minister Wong said.
“He, my department, will work together in genuine partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to progress Indigenous rights globally and to help grow First Nations trade and investment.
“This new position ensures, for the first time, that Australia will have dedicated Indigenous representation in our international engagement. We're so happy to have you take this role, Justin.”
She said the new role would acknowledge the importance of moving into the future while recognising the past.
“I hope this underlines what an exciting and hopeful time this is for First Nations diplomacy in Australia, in our region and around the world,” she said.
“We have the opportunity to tell our full story and we have the opportunity to see First Nations business and exports taken to the world.”
Mr Mohamed will commence as Ambassador in April.
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