Alumni News Articles

Tania represents Queensland in South Africa

16 March 2007

2007 Young Australian of the Year Tania Major

2007 Young Australian of the Year Tania Major is a wonderful ambassador for Australia and for Queensland. Her visit with Mr Beattie to South Africa next week is to help build cooperation and understanding between the next generation of young Australian and South African leaders.

"Trade between South Africa and Queensland has expanded rapidly in recent years and it is important that we develop social and cultural ties to complement this economic expansion," Mr Beattie said. "Tania Major, 25, is an Indigenous Australian youth advocate from Cape York.

"The Queensland Government is sponsoring her trip for the three-day Johannesburg- Cape Town leg of the trade mission to help build contact and partnerships between the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership and similar organisations in South Africa.

The Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership is a public policy organisation that champions reform in Indigenous economic and social policies. It is focussed on issues in Cape York, but aims to have a national influence.

Ms Major is a former board member of the Institute and is now a member of staff working on youth development.

"The Institute is a partnership between the people of Cape York, Federal and Queensland Government and Griffith University,' Mr Beattie said.

"Indigenous South Africans and Indigenous Australians have many experiences in common, including the need to boost educational opportunities and develop youth leadership - two areas where Tania has special skills and interest.

"I'm delighted Tania agreed to accompany our trade mission and believe she will help build new bridges of cooperation and understanding between Queensland and South Africa."

During her visit Ms Major will participate in several official events with the Queensland Government delegation and will hold talks with representatives from South Africa's National Youth Commission and the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.

Ms Major said she was looking forward to talking to South African youth leaders about the issues they face.

"I see a lot of common concerns and want to see if there are opportunities for us to work together on a human rights agenda," Ms Major said.

"I'm interested in a broad range of issues that effect Indigenous people and I'm very keen to share my experiences about life as a young Indigenous woman from Cape York with my counterparts in South Africa.

"Indigenous Australians are a minority in their own country. I'm really looking forward to the visit to South Africa where the Indigenous people are in the majority.

"During the visit I will be making initial contact with many youth leaders in South Africa and will work with them to explore ways to build closer cooperation in the future," Ms Major said.

Ms Major was named 2006 Queensland Young Australian of the Year in recognition of her leadership efforts and community work with young people in Cape York. In 2004, she represented the Australian Government as a delegate at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues.

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