Dr Roger Thomas

Established in 2007, the Commissioner for Aboriginal Engagement is a point of contact for Aboriginal people to express their concerns about issues that matter to them.

The Commissioner provides advice to the state government, as well as promoting Aboriginal inclusion more broadly through the non-Aboriginal community.

Dr Roger Thomas, a well-respected Aboriginal leader in South Australia, was appointed as South Australia's Commissioner for Aboriginal Engagement on 18 July 2018.

The role of Commissioner provides Aboriginal leadership in South Australia, advocating on behalf of all Aboriginal people and communities across the state.

The Commissioner is the public advocate for engagement between the broader community and Aboriginal people, and investigates and advises on systemic barriers to Aboriginal people’s access and full participation in government, non-government and private services.

Commissioner actions

  • Provide advice to government, non-government and private organisations on issues and barriers raised with or identified by the Commissioner.
  • Act independently, impartially and in the public interest.
  • Consult with non-government organisations and peak Aboriginal bodies and represent their views to government as appropriate.
  • Provide written advice at each meeting of the South Australian Aboriginal Advisory Council through a standing agenda item.
  • Consult with the Chief Executive, Department of the Premier and Cabinet and the Premier, as the Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairsand Reconciliation, when public statements are to be made, consistent with agreed protocols.
  • Report regularly on their activities to the Premier, as the Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation.

On 3 December 2020, the Commissioner provided a report on the achievements of his office for the period July 2018 to November 2020 to the Parliament of South Australia’s House of Assembly.

Report of the South Australian Commissioner for Aboriginal Engagement (PDF, 1.23MB)

About Dr Roger Thomas

Dr Thomas has extensive experience in conducting public consultations and negotiations with the Aboriginal community and has held various positions on state, national and international advisory committees working on strategic initiatives.

He has presented numerous papers at conferences and forums nationally and internationally in such countries as Germany, the United States of America, Colombia and the United Nations.

He was the inaugural Professor of Indigenous Engagement and Adjunct Professor of Education at the University of Adelaide and the Dean of the Centre for Australian Indigenous Research and Studies, Wilto Yerlo.

From February 2017 to July 2018, Dr Thomas was the South Australian Treaty Commissioner.

Submissions on the Draft Aboriginal Representative Body Bill 2021 are now open

Dr Roger Thomas, Commissioner for Aboriginal Engagement is currently seeking submissions on the Draft Aboriginal Representative Body Bill 2021.

If you are an Aboriginal person, organisation or community in South Australia, the Commissioner would like to hear your views about:

  • will the model of engagement proposed in the draft Bill deliver an improved engagement relationship and ensure Aboriginal voices are addressed in government decision making?
  • any other comments you may have about the bill.

This is our final chance to shape the Bill before it is put to the South Australian Parliament.

Email your submissions to DPC.CommissionerforAboriginalEngagement@sa.gov.au by COB Friday 17 September 2021.

Draft Aboriginal Representative Body Bill 2021 (PDF, 489.2 KB)

FAQs (PDF, 714.0 KB)

Map of electoral boundaries (PDF, 1.7 MB)

Contact us

Free call: 1800 931 733

Fax: (08) 8226 8999

Email: DPC.CommissionerforAboriginalEngagement@sa.gov.au

Office of the Commissioner for Aboriginal Engagement
GPO Box 320
Adelaide SA 5001