Leading Through Collaboration

South Australia’s new Commissioner for Aboriginal Engagement believes that collaboration is the way forward and says he wants to use networks and relationships developed across his long career to influence government for the benefit of Aboriginal people.

Mr Harry Miller has been appointed for a three-year term as South Australia’s Commissioner for Aboriginal Engagement. The Commissioner advises the South Australian Government on systemic barriers to Aboriginal people’s access and full participation in government, non-government and private services.

“I’m not a single voice person. I believe in the fact that unity is a major contribution towards change” Mr Miller told Aboriginal Way recently.

“I don’t see this office working in isolation. People who know me will understand, I’d rather sit in groups and have conversations about change” he said.

Mr Miller is from Port Lincoln and is well known in that community.

“My head is in South Australia, my heart is on the West Coast with Aboriginal people, and my soul’s in Port Lincoln where I’ve lived most of my life, worked most of my life and brought my family up in Port Lincoln, along with my wife, Roxanne” he said.

The new Commissioner’s family has moved to Adelaide for the duration of his time in the role.

“With connections to most of the government departments here, and senior bureaucrats, and with politicians, it was obvious that it would be a better move to place myself here in Adelaide for that short period of time” Mr Miller said.

On announcing his appointment, the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Kyam Maher said that he “brings decades of experience in Aboriginal policy and leadership to the role”

Mr Miller has worked in a wide range of services across his career, he explained to Aboriginal Way.He was most recently Chief Executive Officer at Port Lincoln Aboriginal Health Service but has worked in other sectors.

“I’ve worked across most of the social areas with social security as a starting point. Education, I firmly love my roles in education, starting as an Aboriginal education worker, through to a senior Aboriginal worker, taking on vast areas across the West Coast, and the northern areas.

“Then, I went into the Commonwealth and worked on a number of positions before I left the Commonwealth to become an ATSIC chairperson

Education is key to personal and community development, according to Mr Miller

“Education is the foundation of, I think, anybody’s growth. It gives you comradeship, it gives you the fundamental literacy and numeracy. It supports community capacity building and personal pathways leading into tertiary and higher education.

“We have a multitude of academics that have come out of the educational system, and working in high-profile positions, providing evidence-based information to our communities. I think that’s a gracious gift.

He also has an interest in economic development, for individuals and communities, as well as the state as a whole.

“I have a vast interest in the economics of the state. And I think it’s time now to … give Aboriginal South Australians the opportunity to create and be part of building their own wealth as individuals, as families, or as communities” Mr Miller said.

On appointing Mr Miller, the Minister thanked outgoing co-Commissioners, Mr Frank Lampard OAM and Ms Inawantji Scales.

Pic above (left to right):  Harry Miller, John Buckskin, Peter Buckskin

By Lucy Kingston 

SANTS acknowledges that the land on which our office is based is the traditional lands for the Kaurna people and we respect their spiritual and cultural relationship with their country.