The Congress was incorporated as a Company Limited by Guarantee in April 2010. As a company the Congress is owned and controlled by its membership and independent of Government.

Click here to download the Congress fact sheet.


  • advocates for the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples rights
  • works towards securing an economic, social, cultural and environmental future for our peoples
  • builds new relationships with government, industry and among communities
  • has fair and diverse membership, guarantee gender balance for delegates and office holders
  • ensures participation from youth, urban, regional and remote communities
  • encourages new leadership
  • will grow and change based on decisions made by our members, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Congress does not:

  • provide service delivery or funding for public programs
  • have representatives or memberships who are handpicked by government
  • depend upon the good will of parliament or the government of the day


Click here to read the Congress Strategic Directions 2012-13 Report.


Read the Congress Evaluation Report here.


Our constitution sets out our purpose, rules for meetings and eligibility for membership.

Click here download or read our Constitution.


In December 2008 the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner convened an Independent Steering Committee to research a preferred model for a national representative body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

In 2009, a comprehensive series of consultations and workshops were held around the country gathering feedback and advice from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities about the model.

The consultations culminated in November 2009 with the release of the Steering Committee’s Our Future Our Hands report.

The Committee wound up its work in April 2010 when the first Board of the National Congress was appointed and the company was incorporated. Other AHRC reports and documents outline the consultations and meetings about the creation of a new representative body and explain some of the background to the Congress. Access them from the Human Rights Commission website


The National Congress is both a company – our Board and members, as well as an annual forum of 120 Delegates.

The Company

As a private company or organisation, the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples Ltd is registered under the Corporations Act and is made up of three distinct parts.

A National Board of Directors led by elected male and female Co-Chairs and six Directors who are responsible for the Chambers of the annual Congress meeting

The Board is supported by an Ethics Council – a special body of experts who provide independent advice on standards and guidelines.

Congress staff, headed by the Chief Executive Officer, assist with operations, policy advice, membership, promotion and education.


The annual Congress forum has 3 chambers made up of 40 delegates in each chamber.

  • Chamber 1 : Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak bodies and national organisations
  • Chamber 2 : Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations
  • Chamber 3 : Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals

The 120 delegates nominate every 2 years to attend the annual forum.

See information from the National Congress 2011 meeting in Sydney here

See information from the National Congress 2012 meeting in Alice Springs here

See information from the National Congress 2013 meeting in Cairns here

Chambers 1 & 2 hold elections for their 40 delegates. Organisations that are members of those chambers have the right to vote for these delegates.

Individuals that nominate to be in Chamber 3 are assessed against criteria by both the Ethics Council and the National Board. Gender parity and adequate representation of the membership are included as part of the process to pick the 40 members for this chamber.