The South Australian Aboriginal Advisory Council (SAAAC) was established by the Premier in November 2005. Its initial role, as an interim council, was to investigate and recommend structures through which the State Government could engage with Aboriginal people in matters of Aboriginal affairs’ programs and policy.
In May 2007 the interim SAAAC recommended that an ongoing Aboriginal Advisory Council be convened as a key engagement mechanism between South Australian Aboriginal people and the State Government, and that a Commissioner for Aboriginal Engagement be appointed. The Government formally adopted these recommendations in December 2007.
The Council comprises up to 10 Aboriginal people who are appointed by the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation for a term of two years. Membership is determined through a public nomination process that is open to all Aboriginal people who are South Australian residents.
Current members of the Council are:
- Ms Sharron Williams (Chair)
- Mr Marcellus Enalanga (Deputy Chair)
- Mr Joel Bayliss
- Mr Richard Callaghan
- Ms Glenise Coulthard
- Ms Michelle Hopkins
- Mr Wayne Miller
- Ms Tracy Rigney
- Ms Aileen Shannon
- Mr Dean Walker.
The current make-up of the Council is broadly representative of the South Australian Aboriginal community – it includes members from a range of language groups, a gender balance, a mix of younger and older members and representation from metropolitan Adelaide, regional and remote South Australia (including the APY Lands).
The Council meets approximately six times per year, with executive support provided by Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation.
In addition to the Council’s formal meetings, the Chair meets regularly with the Minister, Chief Executives and other senior South Australian Government officers, the Co-Commissioners for Aboriginal Engagement and key Aboriginal stakeholders.
Since 2013, the Chair and Deputy Chair have also attended meetings of the Chief Executives Group on Aboriginal Affairs.
The role of the Aboriginal Advisory Council is to:
- provide the Government with advice on existing programs and policies as they affect Aboriginal people
- identify and inform the Government of emerging issues that will affect Aboriginal people from both metropolitan and regional perspectives
- provide the Government with advice on the development and implementation of future policies and services concerning Aboriginal people
- provide advice to Government agencies about appropriate consultation processes with Aboriginal communities
- maintain links with other relevant advisory bodies.