Inaugural First Nations Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) discusses the important role of First Nations people in upcoming decarbonisation efforts.

Inaugural First Nations Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) discusses the important role of First Nations people in upcoming decarbonisation efforts.

The event, spearheaded by Matthew Cooke and Josh Hollingsworth, featured a lineup of decisionmakers and advocates for change including Ambassador Justin Mohamed.

As world leaders make commitments to meet net zero under the Paris Agreement and respond to the economic impacts of the COVID19 pandemic, all levels of government in Australia are making bold commitments to decarbonise our nation through a transition to renewable energy sources. The shift towards renewable energy and decarbonisation offers a unique national opportunity for First Nations people to play an active role in Closing the Gap through economic participation in supply chains and equity projects on Traditional Owner lands. Engagement with First Nations people cannot be an afterthought if true economic participation is the goal. Early – stage consultation and planning needs to start now, so that this unique opportunity to drive initiatives that can have a truly transformative effect on Closing the Gap is not missed.

Matthew Cooke was elected as Deputy Chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) in 2011. He had previous experience as the CEO of Nhulundu Wooribah Indigenous Health Organisation Incorporated, the Aboriginal Medical Service in Gladstone, for more than 6 years. During this time Matthew has been a recipient of many awards and has served as the Deputy Chair and Secretary of the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC). Matthew is a proud Aboriginal and South Sea Islander man from the Bailai (Byellee) People in Gladstone. He is passionate about empowering and building the capacity of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations.

Mr Cooke has addressed the importance of empowering local communities and believes that through improved governance and innovation, the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector can sustain another 40 years.

“If you’re passionate about something and you possess the abilities to work diligently and respectfully, and you strongly believe in it and put in a lot of hard work and can make sacrifices then eventually one day you’ll be able to reap the rewards of your success,” stated Mr Cooke.

Josh Hollingsworth, who is the executive lead of FNCCI, grew up in Cairns and understands the importance of how a region can depend on one industry to support growth.

“Renewable energy and economic development projects can provide opportunities for genuine and sustainable employment opportunities, which in turn can provide business development opportunities from small to medium enterprises alike.”

“It’s very important to discuss what’s going on and collaborate and ensure that everyone’s voices and opinions are heard,” said Mr Hollingsworth.

The two-day event sought to bring together First Nations businesses, Traditional Owners, Industry and Government to explore the best practices of engagement between all sectors of the economy.

Justin Mohamed is a Gooreng Gooreng man from Bundaberg in Queensland who brings a strong connection to the community has been recently appointed as Australia’s first ever inaugural Ambassador for First Nations People. This new position ensures, for the first time, that Australia will have a dedicated Indigenous representation in our international engagement. By elevating the perspectives of First Nations People – this land’s first diplomats – enables deeper engagement with many of our closest partners, including the Pacific family.

Mr Mohamed has worked for decades in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, Social Justice and Reconciliation Australia, Chairperson of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), and has represented Indigenous organisations internationally, including at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Mr Mohamed has recently attended Gladstone’s First Nations Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) and spoke about how the importance of placing First Nations Leaders at the forefront of change making decisions to ensure that our First Nation’s Leaders voices are being heard when it comes to addressing key issues such as solutions relating to Healthcare.

“This is all very energising to witness this happening today, as doors of opportunity are now opening even further for our First Nations Leaders and hopefully, we can continue to further educate other parts of the world on the importance of including and incorporating our people into more change making decisions,” said Mr. Mohamed.

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