Indigenous-Aboriginal Party of Australia, Media Release, 5 May 2022
A newly launched national Indigenous political party will be represented by a candidate from the Clarence Valley at the 2022 federal election.
The Indigenous-Aboriginal Party of Australia (IAPA) was formed by Uncle Owen Whyman, a proud Paakindji man from Wilcannia in north-western NSW. The only Indigenous party in Australia, IAPA will be standing candidates for the NSW and Queensland Senate, and three candidates for the House of Representatives, including Brett Duroux for the Division of Page.
Duroux a proud Yaegl, Bundjalung and Gumbaynggirr man, is excited to stand up for his community.
A family man, living with his wife and kids in Coutts Crossing, Brett’s experience includes working for the Grafton Ngerrie Local Aboriginal Land Council and the Gugiyn Balun Aboriginal Corporation. With plenty of knowledge about the area Brett says, “I have worked all over is area and I really care about the locals and our environment. I have been a stable hand in Grafton, a civil engineering carpenter with the RTA, I’ve done bush regeneration with Envite and many other jobs. I also teach cultural ways to students at Nymboida.
Brett is a fantastic communicator, with a genuine interest and concern for people and the environment, and is campaigning to give his community a strong voice and leadership, and to promote respect for the land and encourage unity and equality. Brett says, “The locals of this area, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, are not being heard.”
Brett has always been an outspoken leader in his community and now he is keen to use the platform of the Indigenous Party to raise awareness of the issues facing the Clarence Valley, issues which he says are mirrored all over much of the country.
Duroux is opposed to coal seam gas exploration and mining in the Clarence Valley. Brett says, “Anything that puts our waterways and farmlands at risk needs to stop. We need to protect our water, farmland and towns.” IAPA policy is to return to the traditional ways of managing the land and rivers.
Also high on Brett’s list of priorities is addressing unemployment and skills shortages. “I would like to see a massive injection of funds into TAFE”, says Brett. “TAFE is such an important educational institution and if we could offer free TAFE, I believe, it will not only help with the skills shortage but also go a long way to assist with the mental health crisis our country is facing.
To this end, Brett will also be calling for Indigenous Head Spaces, “the suicide and incarceration rate for Indigenous people are at epidemic proportions. I know there are some great organisations focussing on youth mental health, but the more we can do the better. I want to see our Indigenous kids going back onto Country, led by elders, teaching respect and the old ways. This model would assist all youth regardless of background.”
Brett also says that he is concerned about the housing situation in regional communities which is worse than ever now after the recent floods. “My family were surrounded by flood waters and were stranded for days, but we were lucky; we can still live in our home. Even before the floods there was a housing shortage. We are not a poor country; no-one should be homeless in Australia.”
Brett has lived in the Clarence Valley for over 40 years and attended Grafton High School. ‘It is so important for our kids to go to school and stay at school. However, our mainstream public school system does not suit every kid. I support alternate schools for Indigenous and non-Indigenous kids and young people that have had trouble with ‘normal’ schooling. We must do what we can to let these kids know there is a place for them and sometimes it is only our small independent schools that have the time and ability to do things a bit differently to keep these kids engaged. If elected I will support this type of school.
With a vast history and knowledge of the mechanics of Local Aboriginal Land Councils, Brett will also continue efforts to strengthen the relationships between Land Councils and Traditional Owners and encourage them to work together. Brett says, “What interests me is talking to people about their concerns and getting answers for them and helping my community in any way I can. “I believe in positive change for our community.”
Authorised by Owen Whyman
Indigenous-Aboriginal Party of Australia
13 Hood Street, Wilcannia NSW 2836