Indigenous Australians

Indigenous Australia

Australia’s First Nations Peoples 

Read a summary of our advocacy position 

The Society stands in respectful solidarity with Australia's First Nations peoples.  

We honour Australia’s First Nations peoples' cultures, lands, waters, histories and their rights to live in a society free of economic, social and cultural oppression.  

We recognise and admit past and continuing injustices as the first step towards reconciliation. 

Our members, volunteers, and staff acknowledge and adhere to these values in every aspect of their work.   

What we do 

We provide emergency relief and support to all who seek our help. Up to one in four of those we assist identify as First Nations peoples. However, this varies significantly by location and the type of assistance provided.  

We work with First Nations peoples to provide: 

  • Accommodation including emergency housing and homelessness services. 
  • Assistance with day-to-day essentials including food, transport, clothing, medical and utility needs. 
  • General support, including home, hospital and prison visits 
  • Referral and advocacy. 

We are committed to providing employment and procurement opportunities for First Nations peoples and strive to ensure our workforce and supply chain reflect the diversity of the communities we serve.   


We welcome the Fifth Catholic Church Plenary Council of Australia’s First Decree, Reconciliation: Healing Wounds, Receiving Gifts, which endorses the Uluru Statement and commits to walk with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in working towards recognition, reconciliation and justice.   

We have supported constitutional recognition of Australia’s First Nations peoples since the 2012 Constitutional Recognition Bill.  

We respect the outcome of the 2023 referendum and will continue to work with First Nations peoples towards recognition, reconciliation and justice. This includes advocating for improvements to the co-development and co-design of policy and funding of services and programs. Real change can only be achieved by empowering First Nations communities, groups and individuals to contribute to the important policy making decisions that impact on their lives. 

We are also committed to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, noting that improved outcomes will only be achieved when First Nations Peoples are able to “live in dignity, to maintain and strengthen their own institutions, cultures and traditions and to pursue their self-determined development, in keeping with their own needs and aspirations”. 

Artwork by Budda Connors a Ngunnawal artist from the Canberra region.

This striking artwork was commissioned by the Society from Budda Connors, a Ngunnawal artist from the Canberra region.

  • The Centre piece represents a meeting place for all six states and the two territories where the Society’s members and services work.
  • The three big white circles with the coolamons represent the three cups (vessels) - the hand of Christ blesses the cup; the hand of love offers the cup; and the hand of suffering receives the cup.
  • The seven light blue circles represent our seven key values.
  • The handprints represent strength, unity and belonging.
  • All the small white dots represent the healing that is circulated throughout our country.
  • The small blue dots represent the people.

We call for

Funding of, and commitment to, Closing the Gap targets by all governments

The age of criminal responsibility to be raised to 14 years

Community-led policies on justice reinvestment and keeping children safe, with ongoing funding

We believe that the solutions are there. But real progress will not be made without significant join investment by all parties, and coordinated effort from all jurisdictions, in partnership with First Nations peoples.

Aboriginal-led solutions must drive the changes needed to improve outcomes.  

Learn more

Do you need help?

We're here to help. We offer local services in each state and territory.

Our international impact

Learn about the work our Overseas Partnership Program does in Asia and the Pacific.

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