Aboriginal Affairs Minister Dr Kim Hames today announced the appointment of Irene Stainton as the first full-time chairperson of the Aboriginal Cultural Material Committee (ACMC).
Ms Stainton is also the first woman to chair the ACMC, which advises the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs on heritage matters, in particular various land use proposals.
Dr Hames said Ms Stainton’s vast experience in Aboriginal heritage matters would be of great benefit in the new, expanded role of the ACMC chairperson.
“That role will include negotiating with Aboriginal community groups, Native Title claimants, politicians, senior public servants, mining companies and developers,” Dr Hames said.
“These talks can be highly sensitive, especially when discussing the use of land which includes secret sacred sites.
“Ms Stainton is a Nyoongar person and is well accepted throughout the State because of her great knowledge and understanding of the cultural differences of all Aboriginal peoples.
“For the last five years, Ms Stainton has managed the heritage and culture function of the Aboriginal Affairs Department, and has been State Registrar of Aboriginal Sites.
“She is the first Aboriginal person and the first woman to be made Registrar.
“This work has included acting as the Executive Officer to the ACMC and managing the operation of the State Commission of Elders’ Council.”
Dr Hames also praised the outgoing ACMC chairperson, Ken Colbung and thanked him for 28 years of valuable work.
“Mr Colbung has been a member of the ACMC since its was formed in 1972, and in that time has served as chair more often than any other member,” Dr Hames said.
“It is his belief that the chair should be a full-time position, to deal with growing pressures of work and responsibility.
“Although he ruled himself out of the chairperson’s position, he will remain as a member of the ACMC, where his experience and knowledge will continue to be of great value.”
Sandy Gater on 9424 7455
AAD: Ken Suttie on 9235 8067