Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Program (AACAP) 25th Anniversary Ceremony address

14 October 2022

Elders of the Gapuwiyak and Baniyala communities.

Elders and communities of Arnhem Land, especially those along the route which we travelled to be here this morning.

The Honourable Natasha Fyles, Chief Minister of the Northern Territory

Rachael Jackson, National Indigenous Australians Agency.

Representatives from the Northern Territory Government and both the East Arnhem Regional Council and Northern Land Council.

Lorraine Hatton, Indigenous Elder, Australian Army

Soldiers of the Australian Army.

It is truly wonderful to be gathered here on the land of the Yolŋgu

As Chief of Army, I wish to acknowledge the Yolŋgu as the Traditional Custodians of the land which we are meeting on today and pay my respects to their elders, past, present and emerging.

Our Army has a long and very proud history of Indigenous service, so I wish to also acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and men who are with us today who have served in our Defence Force in times of peace and war.

Especially those who have contributed to the Army Aboriginal Assistance Program and its many successes since its inception in 1997.

Today is a very special day in the history of the Australian Army, as we celebrate the end of the 25th Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Program here in Gapuwiyak together with the National Indigenous Australians Agency and the local community.

Our Army is an Army for the Nation, and our people derive great satisfaction being in the community, working with others and serving the nation by helping others.

And there can be no better expression of that by the good work done here in Gapuwiyak and Baniyala in consultation with the local communities.

From improvements to the Barge Access Road and the delivery of the Youth Centre here in Gapuwiyak, through to the delivery of comprehensive health support programs and on-the-job training with local community members.

These are just some of the successes of this years’ AACAP program, the fruits from which I am sure will bear for many years to come.

It is for this reason the Australian Army is re-signing the longstanding Memorandum of Understanding with the National Indigenous Australians Agency.

Because the Army Aboriginal Assistance Program reinforces the strong association between Army, the First Nations people of northern and central Australia, and the National Indigenous Australians Agency.

Together we can and will continue to do great things.

Thank you to all involved in this years’ AACAP program, and indeed, all who continue to contribute to the ongoing success of the Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Program.