Lowitja Institute celebrates landmark transition to community controlled organisation

The Lowitja Institute, Australia’s national institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research, today fulfilled its long-held vision to become an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisation.

Lowitja Institute Chairperson Ms Pat Anderson AO said the landmark transition was endorsed today at a special online general meeting of the organisation.

“Over the past 22 years, the Lowitja Institute and four Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) have demonstrated what can be achieved when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledges, priorities and leadership are at the centre of the work to improve the health and wellbeing of our peoples,” Ms Anderson said.

“That work has fundamentally changed the narrative of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research in Australia, but the CRC structure did not always allow us to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to the extent that we wanted and needed.”

“We are now able to greatly expand those partnerships and go into the future with great hope and excitement for what it will mean for our research.”

Ms Anderson said the Lowitja Institute had already taken the first steps towards community control, through the establishment of the Lowitja Institute Members Community:

Full Member Organisations – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations committed to the purpose and values of the Lowitja Institute

Associate Organisations – Non-Indigenous organisations committed to the purpose and values of the Lowitja Institute

Lowitja Institute Scholars – Lowitja Institute Scholarship recipients, past and present Alumni

Associate Researchers – whose work and values closely align with the Lowitja Institute.

Lowitja Institute CEO Ms Janine Mohamed also celebrated the adoption of the new governance structure that will allow the Institute to build on its outstanding legacy with many more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled organisations and researchers.

“It has been a long-held aspiration at the Lowitja Institute to become a community controlled organisation, and today we are doing that,” Ms Mohamed said.

“This change allows us to privilege our own mob when it comes to allocating research funds and will ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people drive our research agenda more strongly than ever.”