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.

Dr Roger Thomas

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 Affairs and 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.

South Australian Aboriginal Engagement Reform

The Commissioner has begun state-wide consultation to seek views from the South Australian Aboriginal community about a recommended engagement model to improve relationships with the South Australian Government.

Learn more about the South Australian Aboriginal Engagement Reform.

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.

Media release

Commissioner for Aboriginal Engagement acknowledges passing of Aboriginal leader Tauto Sansbury (PDF, 97.8 KB)



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