Organisations and web links
- Structures &
- National Indigenous
Structures and organisations
There are many organisations concerned with indigenous issues.
- Government organisations
- Indigenous representative organisations
- Indigenous non-profit organisations
- Other non-profit organisations
Australian Government Departments, Authorities, Programs
The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) is the world's premier institution for information and research about the cultures and lifestyles of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, past and present.
AIATSIS is an Australian Government statutory authority established under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013. The Minister responsible for AIATSIS is the Hon Simon Birmingham MP, Minister for Education and Training. We sit within the portfolio of the Department of Education and Training.
The Lowitja Institute
The Lowitja Institute is a national health research institute focused solely on the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Lowitja recognises that better governance can improve care and support the work of health care staff. The Institute’s research on governance and health systems explores the impacts of; contracting and funding environments on health service providers, relationship between government and Aboriginal community controlled organisations and practical methods to address overburden.
Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet
Collects relevant, high quality information and research about Indigenous health issues and treatment.
Closing the Gap
The Prime Minister’s annual report to Parliament on progress in Closing the Gap
The National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee organises events, and assists others to do so. NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
National Native Title Tribunal
Seeks to assist in reaching timely and effective outcomes for native title claims, as well as arbitrating between parties over applications for land use or ownership.
Indigenous Land Corporation
Assists Indigenous people to acquire and manage land to provide cultural, social, economic and environmental benefits.
The Registrar is an independent statutory office holder who administers the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act). This Act guides how Indigenous corporations are run. The CATSI Act started on 1 July 2007.
The Registrar's office supports and regulates the corporations that are incorporated under the CATSI Act. It does this in a variety of ways: by advising them on how to incorporate, by training directors, members and key staff in good corporate governance, by making sure they comply with the law and by intervening when needed.
This website has been developed to share information, news, stories and events that are of interest to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians or people working in Indigenous affairs. The five programme streams of the Australian Government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy have been used to shape the navigation of the site, reflecting the key areas of focus for Indigenous affairs.
National Indigenous representative bodies
Article 18 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states: Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision-making in matters that affect their rights, through representatives chosen by themselves in accordance with their own procedures, as well as to maintain and develop their own Indigenous decision making institutions. A national representative body is a key mechanism to enable this contribution, through partnerships with government, the private sector and the Australian community. Over the past 50 years there have been four main national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ representative bodies in Australia:
- the National Consultative Committee (established in 1973)
- the National Aboriginal Conference (1977–1984)
- the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (1989–2005)
- the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission: Archived resources
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Act 1989 established ATSIC and first came into operation on 5 March 1990.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission—ATSIC—has been Australia’s peak Indigenous organisation within what was, until 30 June 2004, the Australian Government's Indigenous Affairs Portfolio.
ATSIC is established by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Act 1989 (ATSIC Act) and began operations on 5 March 1990 as a means to involve Indigenous people in the processes of government affecting their lives.
ATSIC's structure has combined:
- an elected arm of Indigenous representatives, consisting of 35 Regional Councils around Australia and a national Board of Commissioners led by an elected Chairperson; and
- an administration headed by a Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
On 16 March 2005 Parliament passed the ATSIC Amendment Bill repealing provisions of the ATSIC Act, and in particular abolishing ATSIC ( and transferring programs administered by ATSIC-ATSIS to mainstream government agencies.
The legislation received the Royal Assent and was proclaimed with effect from 24 March 2005.
The legislation also provides that Regional Councils will cease on 30 June 2005.
The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples
The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples (National Congress) was established in May 2010. The National Congress has an Executive Board of eight directors, led by male and female co-chairs.
The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples (Congress) is a unifying voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in Australia. It is an independent and representative body - a national voice, a leader, an advocate and a source of advice and expertise for all Australians. Its members are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals and organisations. Through their participation and decision-making, we will defend our rights and protect our unique heritage as the First Peoples of Australia. Congress strives for equality, freedom and opportunity. We are focused on our Peoples’ ability to make decisions and to control our lives and communities.
The National Board is led by member-elected male and female Co-Chairs, who along with the other six Directors, represent our members and set the priorities and agenda for Congress. Congress has set high standards for everything we do. An Ethics Council, a special body of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experts, provides independent advice on standards and guidelines to the Board, members and staff.
Land councils represent Indigenous affairs at state or territory level. They aim to protect the interests and further the aspirations of Indigenous communities.
Australian Capital Territory
United Ngunnawal Elders Council (UNEC): See www.dhcs.act.gov.au
New South Wales
Central Land Council: www.clc.org.au, covering the southern part of mainland Northern Territory.
Northern Land Council: www.nlc.org.au, covering the Top End, the northern part of mainland Northern Territory.
Tiwi Land Council: www.tiwilandcouncil.com, covering Bathurst and Melville Islands north of Darwin.
Anindilyakawa Land Council: www.anindilyakwa.com.au, covering Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Anangu Pitjantjatjara Land Council: www.anangu.com.au.
Barengi Gadjin Land Council: www.bglc.com.au, managing a few land parcels in western Victoria.
South-West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council: www.noongar.org.au.
Yamatji Bana Baaba Marlpa Land and Sea Council, covering the Murchison, Gascoyne and Pilbara Regions of Western Australia.
Goldfields Land and Sea Council: www.glsc.com.au, covering land from Wiluna (on the edge of the Great Central Desert), to Esperance on Australia’s southern coast.
Kimberley Land Council: klc.org.au.
Ngaanyatjarra Council: www.ngaanyatjarra.org.au, covering communities in the east of Western Australia, but also around Alice Springs, NT.
There are many organisations working directly for the well-being of Indigenous people, the following are a few of them. Their web sites also list other relevant organisations.
Reconciliation Australia was established in 2001 and is the lead body on reconciliation in the nation. We are an independent not-for-profit organisation which promotes and facilitates reconciliation by building relationships, respect and trust between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Our ambition is to enable all Australians to contribute to the reconciliation of the nation. Our vision of reconciliation is based on five inter-related dimensions: race relations, equality and equity, unity, institutional integrity and historical acceptance. These five dimensions do not exist in isolation; they are inter-related and Australia can only achieve full reconciliation if we progress in all five dimensions, weaving them together to become a whole.
Australia for Native Tile and Reconciliation (ANTAR)
ANTAR's pPurpose is "To engage, educate and mobilise a broad community movement to advocate for justice, rights and respect for Australia's First Peoples." ANTaR has been working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and leaders on rights and reconciliation issues since 1997. ANTaR is an independent, national network of organisations and individuals working in support of Justice, Rights and Respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia. ANTaR is an independent non-government organisation and is non-party-political.
Link-Up (NSW) Aboriginal Corporation was founded in1980 to assist all Aboriginal people who had been directly affected by past government policies; being separated from their families and culture through forced removal, being fostered, adopted or raised in institutions. Link-Up (NSW) supports the healing journeys of those removed; delivering professional, culturally sensitive and confidential research, reunions and Social, Emotional and Wellbeing services to those over the age of eighteen.