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On behalf of SNAICC – National Voice for our Children and the conference advisory group, welcome to the official website for the 7th SNAICC National Conference.

Delegates and speakers will gather from around the country – and some from overseas – to discuss our challenges and share our knowledge and experiences in raising happy, healthy and confident children in our communities.

The conference will appropriately be held at the National Convention Centre, in the lands of the Ngunnawal people where Canberra’s name is derived from the Ngunnawal word ‘kamberra’ meaning ‘meeting place’.

Providing a powerful and inspiring learning experience for all those attending, the conference is a must for anyone working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and family services. We hope you can join us.



About the Conference

The conference is hosted by SNAICC – National Voice for our Children. SNAICC is the national non-government peak body in Australia representing the interest of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

The conference is convened to assist with the achievement of the SNAICC vision: An Australian society in which our communities are empowered to determine their own future; where the rights of our children, young people and families are protected; where our cultural identity and achievements are valued; and our children and families have access to culturally appropriate services.

As the largest conference of its type in the southern hemisphere the SNAICC Conference provides the opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, policy makers, researchers, government representatives, other non-government organisations and industry representatives to gather and make renewed commitments to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

The conference provides a powerful and inspiring learning experience for attendees and features:

  • International and local keynote speakers
  • Over 70 concurrent sessions, yarning circles, panels and workshops
  • Displays, poster presentations, exhibitors
  • Cultural highlights and performances
  • Social events and opportunities to network and connect with peers

It is expected that the 2017 conference will again attract a diverse audience of 1000 participants from all over the country. This will provide a dynamic networking and learning opportunity for attendees. SNAICC aims to develop a program and conference experience that is culturally rich, interactive and culturally safe.


Bring Them Home: Securing the rights of our children

Our 2017 conference gathering coincides with the 20-year anniversary of the seminal Bringing Them Home report, which exposed the violations of fundamental human rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and communities through the policies and practices of the Stolen Generations.

The Bringing Them Home report unearthed the ongoing grief caused by these policies and their far-reaching impact.  It charted a way forward to redress the wrongs, to support those who had experienced wrongs, and to ensure that such a phenomena would never happen again. 20 years on many recommendations lay unimplemented and rates of child removal continue to soar. Never before have so many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children been removed from family and culture.

The SNAICC Conference will be centred on this anniversary to raise awareness and discussion of ongoing child removal, its causes and consequences for children, families and communities.

The focus will be on strategies and best practice in supporting children to be safe and cared for within family and culture – strategy and best practice in reducing interaction with the child protection system.


Conference Objectives

Honour and learn from experience
To honour the Stolen Generations and their families – their strength and resilience – by listening to their stories and strategies, learning from their experiences and committing to systemic change to protect the rights of our children, families and cultures. To honour also the knowledge of our Elders and wisdom of our cultural responses, sharing successes and struggles to chart effective, evidence-informed ways forward.

Strategise Collectively
This conference provides an opportunity to reflect, 20 years on from the seminal Bringing Them Home report, on one of the most pressing human rights issues facing Australia today: the care and safety of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and the appallingly high rates of their removal from family and culture. It presses upon us the need to redress the recommendations from this report, to share best practice, and to develop collective strategies – from the local to the national – to see our children grow up safe and cared for within family, community and culture.

Inspire Action
To inspire and enable leaders, services and other partners to take the leadership of Bringing Them Home to the next level, to step up action to redress the causes of child removal today, and to ensure the rights of our children and families are respected and fulfilled.


Conference Advisory Group

The conference Expert Advisory Group is made up of experts and leaders working on issues relating to the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families. The group provides high-level advice and direction on the conference.

Our members for our 2017 conference include:


Geraldine Atkinson
President of the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc. (VAEAI)

Geraldine Atkinson is a Bangarang/Wiradjuri woman. She is president of the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc. (VAEAI); was instrumental in developing the 2001 Yalca education partnership between the Victorian Government and VAEAI; is the National Indigenous Education Consultative Body representative to the MCEETYA; and the chairperson of Lidje MACS and Batdja Aboriginal Preschool in Shepparton. Geraldine has served on the SNAICC Board of Directors since 1999.


Professor Ngiare Brown
Senior Medical Practitioner

Professor Ngiare Brown is a Yuin nation woman from the south coast of NSW. She is a senior Aboriginal medical practitioner with qualifications in medicine, public health and primary care, and has studied bioethics, medical law and human rights. Over the past two decades she has developed extensive national and international networks in Indigenous health and social justice, including engagement with the UN system.

Amongst her many achievements she is also undertaking doctoral research in law, addressing Aboriginal child protection systems and practice. Prof. Brown has made extensive contributions to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, research process, bioethics, policy, translation and practice. She is dedicated to Aboriginal child and adolescent wellbeing, and supporting communities to develop initiatives focused on cultural education, and breaking the intergenerational cycles of disparity.


John Dommett
Non-Indigenous Chair of the National Stolen Generation and CEO of Connecting Home

John Dommett is the non-Indigenous chair of the National Stolen Generations Alliance. He is also the developer and CEO of Connecting Home, a Victorian organisation that provides essential human services to Aboriginal people of the Stolen Generations, as well as linking these people to the families and communities they were often forcibly taken from as children.


Mick Gooda
Royal Commissioner, Royal Commission into Child Protection and Youth Detention Systems NT

Mick Gooda is a descendent of the Gangulu people of central Queensland and was recently appointed as Royal Commissioner into the Child Protection and Youth Detention Systems of the Northern Territory. Prior to this he was the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Mick has experience in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs, having worked remote, rural and urban environments throughout Australia for over 30 years. He has a strong record of achievement in implementing program and organisational reform, and delivering strategic and sustainable results across the country.


Stan Grant
Current Affairs Host, Author and Adventurer

Stan Grant is a multi-award winning current affairs host, author and adventurer. In 2016 he was appointed special advisor to the Prime Minister on Indigenous Constitutional Recognition, replacing Pat Dodson on the Referendum Council. The appointment came soon after he made a speech on racism that went viral, and then reduced the Prime Minister to tears during an exclusive interview with The Point when speaking about Indigenous issues.

Stan Grant’s Aboriginal heritage has shaped his dynamic, resilient personality. Born in Griffith in south-west New South Wales, Stan Grant’s mother is from the Kamilaroi people and his father is of the Wiradjuri.

His career as a journalist has spanned internationally for more than 30 years, and he has more recently worked as the Indigenous editor for the Guardian Australia, managing editor for National Indigenous Television, and international editor for Sky News. Stan has won many major awards, has written Tears of Strangers and Talking To My Country (Harper Collins), and has published numerous articles and opinion pieces for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian.


Matilda House

Matilda House is a Ngambri-Ngunnawal Elder with long-established connection to Canberra and its surrounding regions as one of the traditional custodians of the land. She has been actively involved in Aboriginal affairs and social justice in the Canberra region since 1967 and is the Chair of the Ngunnawal Local Aboriginal Land Council in Queabeyan, and the Joint Chair of the Interim Namadgi National Park Committee.

She helped establish the Aboriginal Legal Service in the 1980s, and is a member of the Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee. Matilda has served on the first ACT Heritage Council, contributed to the Bringing Them Home report into the Stolen Generations, and is one of the original protestors who established the Tent Embassy in 1972.

In her role as an Ngunnawal representative she has performed numerous welcoming ceremonies including the first Welcome to Country to be held at the Australian Parliament at the opening of the 42nd Parliament of Australia. She is still vitally active within the community and in 2006 she was named Canberra Citizen of the Year.


Dr Jackie Huggins
Historian and Author

Dr Jackie Huggins is a Bidjara (central Queensland) and Birri-Gubba Juru (North Queensland) woman from Queensland who has worked in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs for over 30 years. Jackie is a celebrated historian and author who has documented the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people throughout the decades.

In 2001, Jackie received the Member of the Order of Australia for services to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. Throughout her career, spanning over four decades, Jackie has played a leading role in reconciliation, literacy, women’s issues and social justice. Jackie holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Queensland and Flinders University (with Honours), a Diploma of Education, and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Queensland.

Most recently, Jackie was the Director of Jackie Huggins and Associates, a successful consultancy business, following a long and distinguished record of public service and professional achievement.


Sue-Anne Hunter
Manager of the Aboriginal Children’s Healing Team at VACCA and SNAICC Director

Sue-Anne Hunter is a Wurundjeri woman and has worked at the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) for 12 years, undertaking senior roles within a number of programs – from policy and project work to service delivery.

Sue-Anne is the currently Manager of the Aboriginal Children’s Healing Team at VACCA and also a member of the SNAICC Board of Directors. The Healing Team is the central point across VACCA for the development of an integrated culturally appropriate and trauma-informed approach to working with Aboriginal children and families.


Lisa Hillan
Director of Programs and Knowledge Creation at the Healing Foundation

Lisa Hillan is the Director of Programs and Knowledge Creation at the Healing Foundation. Lisa is a social worker with over 20 years’ experience working with vulnerable communities in program design and delivery. Over the past 10 years, Lisa has worked in Queensland and the Northern Territory in partnership with many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations to build their children and families sector. As Programs Director, Lisa is responsible for the development of healing and training initiatives with a culturally-strong program design, creating positive change to the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.


Sharron Williams
CEO of Aboriginal Family Support Services

Sharron Williams has served as the Chairperson on the SNAICC Board of Directors since 1999. Sharron is a Narungga/Kaurna woman who has been the CEO of Aboriginal Family Support Services (AFSS), the peak Aboriginal child welfare organisation in South Australia, since 1997. The agency was formed in 1978 in response to Aboriginal children often being removed from their families and communities without the consent of, or even consultation with, extended family members.

Sharron’s experience has included 15 years with Correctional Services in strategic and policy development positions, including as the first Indigenous Public Relations Officer within the Correctional Services system in SA. Sharron’s strengths are building strong relationships with government and industry on behalf of the community, based on respect, and a strong commitment to protecting the rights of the Aboriginal community.


Key Dates

5 December 2016 Abstract Submissions Open
24 February 2017 Abstract Submission Deadline
1 May 2017 Registration Opens
23 June 2017 Early Bird Registration Closes