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Canberra communicators keen for insights on Indigenous engagement

23 Aug 2021

A raw and honest conversation about communicating with First Nations People brought together over 120 professionals from across Canberra’s public and private sector at an event hosted by IABC Canberra.

Country and City: Communicating with First Nations People offered an insightfulpanel discussion at the National Museum of Australia drawing out lessons learned in communicating with this diverse audience.

Dan Bourchier, Indigenous affairs journalist and ABC presenter emceed the event, which featured a panel of experts from across government and the private sector: Assistant Secretary Communications at PM&C Dana Robertson; Assistant Secretary COVID-19 Indigenous and Remote Policy and Implementation Michelle Steele; writing specialist and Indigenous business owner Danika Davis; and iSentia Head of Government Business Canberra Kylie Dunstan.

Speaking on behalf of the IABC Canberra board, President Justine O’Brien said she was thrilled with strong turnout.

“We had such an amazing turnout, which indicates just how important it is for communication professionals to better understand how we communicate with indigenous audiences across Australia,” she said.

“My biggest takeaway from the discussion is how crucial it is for government to communicate their policies or service to the people it actually serves.”

Dan Bourchier said he was honoured to be in a room with incredible leaders from across business, across consultancy, government and non-profit who were determined to make positive change.

“The panel was absolutely outstanding, and their depth of lived experience and knowledge was next level,” he said.

“There was so much honesty and truth telling during the conversation. It matters to me to be showing leadership in these sorts of conversations and we all have a role in helping to bring people together. I’m really glad IABC Canberra stepped in to facilitate a conversation that matters and one that helped grow and enrich all of us.”

Michelle Steele, a Kamilaroi and Gomeroi woman, said she jumped at the opportunity to share her views in efforts to influence change.

“It was the opportunity to change the hearts and minds of the way in which Government operates,” she said.

“Networking is really important and so is bringing different perspectives to the table. For me, today was about influencing and changing the way others think about indigenous messaging, and how we target messaging for First Nations people across Australia.”

Justine added the panel discussion was just one of the many types of events that one would expect from IABC Canberra.

“Our membership network is an amazing way to connect with like-minded colleagues and find out what is going on in the comms world here in Canberra,” she said.

“Being involved with IABC Canberra, an international organisation, means you not only have special access to events like these but also a plethora of helpful resources and contacts across the Asia-Pacific region and globally.”

View the recorded event.

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