Rugby league legend Johnathan Thurston is among the high profile Indigenous Australians in Darwin this week to take part in the 9th Aboriginal Economic Development Forum.
The forum, to be held over the next two days at the Darwin Convention Centre, provides a platform for businesses to showcase their products and services and connects Aboriginal entrepreneurs with the private sector, industry, government and non-government organisations.
Mr Thurston is attending as Managing Director of the Johnathan Thurston Academy, which works to improve outcomes for children and youth in disadvantaged communities across Australia.
Other high profile speakers at the forum include Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt MP, the NT's inaugural Treaty Commissioner, Professor Mick Dodson AM and Territory businesswoman Dr Donna Odegaard AM, Chief Executive of Aboriginal Broadcasting Australia.
About 350 delegates are expected to attend.
Aboriginal Affairs Minister Selena Uibo said: "The Government is delivering a significant Aboriginal Affairs agenda, centred on empowerment, local decision making, self-determination and ensuring land and sea ownership delivers on economic and social aspirations.
"We have appointed the Territory's inaugural Treaty Commissioner, Professor Mick Dodson, AM, to develop a Treaty framework in the NT and we are restoring local decision making (LDM) to our Aboriginal communities.
"Aboriginal Territorians have told us loudly and clearly they want self-determination. We have listened and we are acting, with the signing of several LDM agreements with Territory communities.
"I welcome all delegates to this important two day discussion in Darwin and hope everyone can take away some new opportunities that will benefit our Aboriginal business owners."
Johnathan Thurston said: "It's incredible to see the positive change our workshops and programs can have on a young person and more often than not, it changes the direction of their lives.
"I am really excited to bring this to the Northern Territory to help young Australians have access to the resources they need to get meaningful employment."
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